I promote Simple Witchery as a practice for everyday enchantment—witchcraft with no religion. I best describe myself as agnostic, leaning over to atheist. I don’t believe in God or gods, at least not the way most people do. Early in my path to personal empowerment, I was initiated as a Priestess, but I am no longer a devotee of the Wiccan Goddess. I do believe in a greater power (note I did not say higher), but it’s complicated.
I wrote in Favored or Forsaken, on the Agora for Patheos, about the problematic nature of an all powerful deity that gives with one hand and takes away with the other. I’ve taken issue with people who declare with certainty that God, or Goddess (Hekate, Mokosh, Thor, Mithros, Vishnu or any of the multitudes of mythical divine beings) answered their prayers. Especially when the same people refuse to believe that the same being is responsible for their hardships.
For example, if somebody tells me that the deity they have a personal relationship with saved their precious pooch when it ran into the path of a car speeding through the neighborhood, then I believe they have to agree that the deity is also responsible for the accident that totaled their car, landed them in the hospital and left them with a mountain of bills—or whatever misfortune may befall them.
“But I didn’t deserve that! It was just a freak accident.”
I don’t think you can have it one way, without the other. In my case, I would have to believe that some supreme being deliberately took the lives of four young men in my family. Why? For what reason? Because they or, worse, somebody who loved them, sinned? Did the deity I paid homage to choose not to protect my family because I failed to please her? I don’t think it works that way.
Life as we know it is random chaos in action. Good things happen and bad things happen. We have some control, and we can make wise choices. We can drive safely, but somebody else might cause an accident, or a bridge might collapse beneath us. We can teach our children to avoid danger, but a dangerous person may target them regardless.
So what’s the point of witchcraft at all? I do believe that there is a collective power, not in the universe but of the universe, that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is in f of us, and we are in and of it.
We might not be able to see energy, but science has proven that everything vibrates at its own frequency. We can use our own vibrations, to affect other vibrations. Think of a row boat on a calm lake. A barely seen current will move that boat slowly in one direction. An opposing wind can move it in the opposite direction. A stronger current will overcome the direction of the wind, and a strong paddler or a motor, will overcome a less powerful current.
Witchcraft is about focusing our intent and personal energy on a micro level to achieve a desired result, often on a macro level. This makes things harder. Think of trying to move that row bow by blowing on it (micro effort for macro results). So witchcraft takes practice to build skills, determination to keep improving, and a source of energy outside ourselves.
I’ll give you another example, a form of witchcraft almost every person has used even if they don’t call it such. When you meet somebody you are interested in sparking a romantic relationship with, you put all of your energy toward your desired outcome. Some of it is visible energy, some of it is subtle, nearly imperceptible—in fact you yourself may not be aware of all the vibes you’re sending out. This type of person to person contact magic is easy because we can see the results and make adjustments if needed.
With most of the witchcraft we do, we form our intent, focus our energy and send the energy out beyond our immediate realm of contact. We have to hold the belief, or the faith that we’ve created some vibration to nudge things our way. This is where the three Ls come in: laws, leverage and luck.
Working within the universal laws of nature and science, including the probabilities of human nature, increases the chance of success for your witchcraft. But then, do we know all of those laws? Sending sound waves through the air was once thought impossible. At this time, we have no evidence that telepathy works, but no proof that it doesn’t.
Using whatever leverage you have (from keen intuition to highly developed psychic abilities) takes your witchcraft up another level. But don’t discount mundane skills that can tip the scales your way. Casting a spell to find the perfect house in a competitive market? Make connections that help you tap into those wavelengths, like professional house painters, roofers, or landscapers who may be the first to know when a house is about to go on the market.
Finally, don’t discount ordinary luck—the odds being in your favor. Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time for the right reason. That said, it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to opportunities for getting in the way of good fortune. Whenever you can, position yourself to be on the receiving end of those good vibrations.
Enough of the witchcraft 101 lesson. Let’s get back to deity. As I said, for me it’s a complex construct. Whatever greater power there might be, I believe we are all part of the same energy. We are life force contained in a corporeal vessel that limits our power. For this force to be all powerful, as we believe deity is, it has to be able to take on any form, to travel through space and time, be in two—or two hundred places at once. When we impose human images on this force, we diminish the power.
I believe since mankind first began venerating this greater power in the universe, we imagined images like ourselves so that we might communicate with common concepts. For me there is no benevolent deity that grants wishes, nor a vengeful one that metes out punishment (deserved or not). There is no sentient being watching the game and keeping score. There is a live-wire source of power surging through the universe that replicates itself at lightning speed, a force that we can grab hold of, sort of like taking the reins of a speeding horse and steering it in the direction we wish to go. I believe it has no form and yet is all forms. It is neither female or male—genderless, yet all genders. It is not good or evil, but can be used to both ends.
So when I write an impassioned tribute to a mythological deity, such as the one below to Hekate, I am simply using familiar images to call forth the aspects of energy I wish to connect with. Having that icon helps me hold focus. I can give a face to whatever it is that draws me outdoors on a moonless night. I can create a womb to represent the cauldron of life and death. I can hear a beating heart, sounding out the rhythm of primal dance.
When I say that all are bound by Hekate’s invisible cords of influence, I’m giving a persona to the laws of the universe that bind us all. For those who know the laws, there is freedom to use them at our will. And for those who dare to reach beyond the known laws there is magick. To know, to will, to dare—three of the four pillars of witchcraft.
Of course, we are accountable to man’s laws, but that’s another lesson in witchcraft.
Hail Mighty Hekate,
You who are the face of the dark moonless night
that beckons me into the mystery.
You who are the womb of the cavernous earth
that brings forth writhing life in howling struggle,
and welcomes rotting death in silent repose.
You who are the perpetual beating heart of ocean waves,
the primal rhythm calling my soul to the spiral dance.
Hail Hekate, Sovereign Queen
of ethereal, earthly and watery realms,
of endless sky, ancient rock and ageless sea,
of promising light, hopeless shadow,
and the truth that lies between.
You are the expression of life’s eternal force,
the power of creation and destruction,
the storm of chaos and the calm of cosmos.
You are manifest in all that is natural and supernatural,
the seen and unseen, the known and unknown.
All are bound by the invisible cords of your influence,
and by knowledge of you
all are set free.
Hail Hekate, Witch Mother.
You who are the fertile earth, the breath of life,
the water of purification, and the fire of transformation—
You are my body and my breath,
my blood and my spirit.
I am your witch Daughter.
You hold the keys to all that I desire.
Hear me; In your name my words are spoken.
See me; In your image my deeds are done.
By your hand in mine all doors open.
By your power through me all things are possible.
Hail Mighty Hekate
I am of you and you are of me.
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