Who Gets Devalued in Witchcraft

posted in: feminist | 6

We all know that time, that heady thrill when you start to become competent at Witchcraft and you know which names to flaunt, who to be friends with if you want to be in with the in crowd, what paths will get you recognition, what is considered brave, daring and bold.

We also know who we are supposed to look down on.

Mama Fortuna speaks about it really eloquently in her post, “Basic Bitch Witchcraft“:

I honestly thinks that this reaction is the newest incarnation of the fluffy bunny backlash. Initially, the term fluffy-bunny was used mainly to describe people who stubbornly refused to consider the darker aspects of magic and paganism and preferred to focus on ideas like universal love and the idea that everything is going to be okay if you think enough positive thoughts. Gradually, however, the term started to be applied to newcomers to the craft in general. “Oh, you read Scott Cunningham? I GUESS that’s an okay starting point.” Cue eyeroll and snickering.

You know who a lot of those newbs were? Young women. You ever notice how we make fun of anything young women like?

The internet is full of people bitching about what is and isn’t real witchcraft. Jesus, just look at Patheos’s pagan section and be bored to tears after the tenth article on the subject. That hasn’t changed since the dawn of the internet, and it never will. The only thing that changes is the target everyone is trying to tear down. Pastel Instagram-worthy witchcraft is a fucking easy target because it looks shallow as hell.

“Oh, you think you can cast spells because you reblogged some sigils  and like crystals? I GUESS.” Cue eyeroll and snickering.

The subtext is that if you’re a young woman who, god forbid, likes something popular? You’re vapid. And so is your magic.

I got into witchcraft because of a movie.  I was a teenage girl, and witchcraft – even a popular version of it sold in bookstores – was a way to have SOME kind of power. It doesn’t matter how stupid it was, because it worked. And so will your indie-darling sorcery. You can use your ink-and-watercolour tarot. You can use your scented soy candles and rose quartz crystals. You can read an overpriced pamphlet on moon phases and magic herbs. Just because it isn’t handed down through family traditions or written by some dead white guy in a funny hat doesn’t make it invalid. You want that magic, girl? Take it. Take it and make it yours.

 

I write and I work and and I perform Witchcraft and I exist firmly rooted in Girlworld.  This means my writing will often be treated with derision because it is not founded in traditions that white men approve of and I write about sex that women are interested in which, gross who cares about that?  My work will always be undervalued because I have been a Professional Housewife all my career and it is my job to take care of children and my betters in the work place and in the homes of the rich, my Witchcraft has no lineage that can be held up as a pedigree as my worth because what’s important about glamour anyway?  God, you’re just always yelling at us to lint roll our clothes and to be austere and to magically straighten someone’s tie, why does any of that even matter?  I see all the subtle and not so subtle cues in the wars that my sisters, my enemy amazons and female identified brethren fight every day, with each other, with ourselves, with those who hold power over ourselves.  We come home, every day and remind ourselves and each other that what we do matters.  We have to say it over and over again, under our breath like a rosary, our mantras to our goddesses and spirits and ancestors and YES the goddamn UNIVERSE HERSELF because we need to know someone, somewhere is listening and hears our cries and our pains and our curses and our devotions and that we’re not just screaming into the void, getting battered and bruised and losing who we even are and forgetting who we even are as we try to bend ourselves into shapes that are pleasing to others, contorting ourselves so we know that we can claw our way up while trying to still hold onto our narratives, our Witchcraft, our morals.

Because it feels soooooo good when you are already oppressed as a spiritual minority to have the high ground over your lesser sisters, doesn’t it?  Oh it’s all just so inconsequential, they have little circles together and cry and chant and use crystals and read books By No One We Think is Important and practice all of this adorable pretty lesser magic, thinking it will help them, thinking it will get them somewhere, thinking what they do matters.  What will sisterhood get any of them anyway?  Real magic is done alone, without the corruption of others who may not be as hardcore as you are.  Real magic uses language that is not their mother tongue, forget the fact that countries have been torn apart centuries ago just to get the Mass said in English so everyone could understand what they had to sit through every Sunday.  Real magic is about offending the mono culture, not smiling with your crystals and clawing a place into the local community until you are treated with respect and dignity.  Real magic is about complicated rituals and pacts with obscure demons, not your bullshit spice cabinet and what you can do at your kitchen table.  You get to stand so tall, don’t you?  You get to sneer at your lessers, you get that high of having your sisters to step on, you get to Be Someone Important.  You are learned, they are uneducated.  You are powerful, they are lesser.  You are hardcore, they are love ‘n light ‘n dumb.

Power comes from all kinds of places, even the places you think are trivial.  Remember that when your sisters that you were so eager to step on as you were coming up get strong enough to come for you.

 

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  

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6 Responses

  1. Yes, and … HELL YES!!!

  2. Spice cabinet for ever!
    Meliad recently posted..Full Moon – Leaf/Flower Moon CrestsMy Profile

  3. Holy hell, YES to this post, and to your blog in general. The work you’re doing here is real, and important, and of high value. Thank you for being a fearless inhabitant of Girlworld.

  4. Fuck. Yes. Thank you for writing this – I’ve just discovered your presence online & I’m delighted.

  5. Thank you for the introduction to Rock-n-Roll Witch… that was a good read. Loved it.

    There’s this elegant bit that you almost touch on in your last couple of paragraphs (and your last sentence, WOW!), which is that love and light and dumb and crystals often work. Maybe not reliably, maybe not perfectly, but they’re neither as dumb as ‘we more serious practitioners’ would like them to be, nor are they any less bad-ass than our own methodologies that involve kitchen witchery AND obscurely-summoned spirits — a newbie pastel goth with fury on her mind and vehemence in her tongue is as capable of speaking a spell of vengeance into being as any gnarled crone with decades of practice under her belt; Merlin was defeated by Nimue, and none of us are immune to those perils. Ultimately, it’s better to help them up than put them down…

    • Oh definitely. I love your comparison with Nimue and Merlin, that’s spot on. Last year, I was at an event sort of out in Bumble. There were two sixteen year old red headed twins who stood in front of my table for a v. long moment whispering to each other. They left and then one came back with a crumpled ten in her hands and took a Lucrezia Borgia candle which was titled, “Tarts Don’t Gossip (When There’s Poison Involved)”. And . . .while I certainly sold her the candle, all I could think was, Becki in gym class better watch her ass. Because Red here was sure serious.

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