“Speak ye little, listen much.”
Secrecy is a major part of a lot of forms of witchcraft. It keeps the uninitiated from messing around with things they’re not prepared for, and it keeps those who’d persecute you from recognizing your handiwork. Secrecy is, overall, a good thing.
So why do I talk so much about this stuff here?
A lot of it has to do with the different climate that I and those around my age or younger are faced with — now, being Pagan or into witchcraft-adjacent things is less likely to be met with derision when compared to some of the things I’ve heard from older practitioners. Even I’m old enough to remember when daytime talk shows and news outlets would trot out the existence of witches as a way to shock their audiences. While there are still occasionally news stories that attempt to paint Pagans and witches in a negative light, it’s a far cry from the “Satanic panic” that had parents convinced that playing Dungeons & Dragons would send their children to Hell for eternity.
I’ve also been on the internet long enough to remember situations where Pagans, going about their lives, were ostracized for their practice. I remember the first beauty, lifestyle, and personal blogs with Pagan writers. I remember the petition that went around when a bunch of mommy bloggers claimed that a Pagan blogger shouldn’t be eligible for a blogging award because she wasn’t a Christian like them. I still sometimes see Pagans and witches get shut out of blogging and social media groups because of who they are.
It’s very normalized for bloggers to talk about the role their faith plays in their lives — as long as they’re Christian. That won’t bar them from attaining success (by whatever metric you measure blogging success, anyway) or making friends. I want to be able to enjoy blogging and the interactions it fosters without being Mean Girled or having to limit my circle to people like me.
I also remember my experiences with the books that were available to me as a kid. Virtually no books told me the kind of things I wanted to know. Sure, there were plenty that tried to give witchcraft a marketable cachet and mystique, but I didn’t get the practical advice I wanted. How could I work herb magick into my life in between school, physical therapy, and a close-minded custodial parent? What could I do if I didn’t have access to herbs, oils, crystals, tools, and the time/space for a ritual? What about the aspects that didn’t fall into the fashionable, sanitized, 90s The Craft aesthetic that was popular at the time? How could I reconcile the (very different) beliefs of both of my parents? Like anything else, some books on witchcraft and Paganism were helpful and valuable to me. A lot of them sucked. All of them suffered from one problem — the author wasn’t exactly around to answer questions I had about their material.
There are things I will always keep secret, but I like to write and show my writing. I don’t want to maintain the stereotype of witches or Pagans as shadowy things to be feared. We’re regular people like anyone else — some of us are funny, some of us have a killer fashion sense, some of us have interesting lifestyles, some of us can cook really well or create drool-worthy DIY projects. Almost none of us are interested in negatively impacting the lives of anyone, let alone cursing them.
I had to spend a lot of my life unable to connect with others like me, keeping my practice hidden and unable to really “live” my faith. Life’s too short for that shit.