by Marie Davis
When did you first feel it? That electricity that sizzled through your veins, crawled up your brainstem, tickled your synapses and so you could ask yourself in your very best Jessica Lange, “Who’s the baddest witch in town?” In the Wiccan community, we call that “The Charge.” It is a sudden awakening or awareness to all things magical. It’s hard to describe… maybe a flash of white light behind your eyeballs, or just a swift and overwhelming sense of knowing that tells you what you might have secretly thought or pretended in your cosplay circles. That there is magic, it is everywhere and you can learn how to manipulate it.
It seems like Hollywood has felt “The Charge” as well. With recent shows such as Lifetime’s “Witches of East End,” the upcoming “Salem” on the WGN network, and of course the aforementioned Jessica Lange and her posse in “America Horror Story: Coven.” Who can blame Hollywood, right? Just like vampires, werewolves and fairies, witches are alluring, mysterious and powerful. Magnetic. Who doesn’t want to tap into that, even if it’s just for an hour on a Wednesday night off your flatscreen. However, unlike previous Hollywood supernatural cravings (“Teen Wolf,” “Vampire Diaries,” “True Blood,” “Twilight”), witches actually exist. As in, we are real.
You most definitely have come into contact with a few in your daily life and maybe one or two of them are in your social circle. We fix your food, check your wounds, make music you listen to (shout out to Godsmack), and give you that on point advice you crave. Shoot, we even have our own pride day in NYC! No, not the Renaissance Faire, smart ass. Pagan Pride Day, it is called, in case you were wondering.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of Wiccan or witchcraft, to dispel a few notions of your own, if you will, allow me to introduce myself. Magic and witchcraft were always a part of my family lineage. I had a great grandmother who was referred to as Mambo (which means High Priestess in Voodoo practice) and another grandmother who was an amazing Shaman who specialized in fertility issues and dream walking. It seems that it is a gift that is inherited by all the females in my family.
I remember the first time I had my first premonition. I was nine years old and I had a dream that a boy in my class threw up during English class. I didn’t think much about it, but when English class rolled around and that same boy blew chunks, I felt a funny fuzzy feeling in my fingers. I went home that day confused, eager to tell my mom what I had dreamed and what happened. She listened, patiently, smiled knowingly and began her, “Now that you’re of age, there’s something you need to know about yourself and your ability,” speech. She told me I might see or hear things from the spirit realm or maybe I would think about things and they would just seem to happen. Just like that. But she also told me that most people would not understand my extra senses and that they would think of me as a freak or weirdo. “In fact, it’s best if you just keep this kind of thing a secret.”
Not quite as awkward as the, “this is how yo’ ass gets pregnant” speech, but, like that infamous speech, it made me scared to think about magic, healing and dreaming for a while. So, I forgot about it. Until I got to high school, saw the movie “The Craft” and vowed that I would turn into some badass witch that could change traffic lights and glamour people like Sarah and Nancy. However, it wasn’t until I was an actual adult that I would feel that sticking, all-knowing sensation of The Charge that I was talking about earlier. And this Charge was finally what made me want to honestly buckle down, study, learn, practice and develop skills. Ironically enough “The Craft” is exactly what Wicca is. It’s a craft that must be practiced often; it requires a lot of dedication, an open mind, discipline, responsibility and a willingness to give of yourself. Wow… sounds like any other religion or spiritual belief, right? *jaws closed*
Before I get into what it is, let’s first start off with what it isn’t.
It’s not a bunch of angry single, hairy chicks with 100 cats and crazy hair running around. It’s not Glinda or the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s not just for white girls. It’s not about being the most powerful. It’s not for the power hungry or for people who want to be able to do cool sh*t just because they can. It’s not about curses, hexes, warts and making people fall in love with you. It’s not about getting everything you ever wanted in your entire life with a flick of a wand or by muttering some incantations in five minutes. Hell, or even five months! It’s not about hating on Jesus or Christianity. It is not about worshipping Satan. It’s not just for women! Men can be wiccans or witches, too. However, DO NOT be that dude who practices witchcraft and refers to yourself as a warlock. You WILL get laughed at. Wicca, at its core, is about: balance, the elements, and the divine feminine. Now there are other sub wants and needs that fall into these categories, but those are the main things that almost all wiccans can agree on.
When I say balance, think of a scale that has to be even at all times. Balance comes in many forms and in energies, specifically light and dark energy. We need to be able to have equal amounts of both, like the yin yang sign. Some darkness can be good! It makes us human, relatable, grounded, helps us create boundaries for ourselves, gives us a healthy sense of skepticism, and in some cases can help us be assertive or aggressive in situations that call for it. However, too much darkness and we become those more negative things that people think of when they think of the term darkness: greed, arrogance, manipulative behavior, being an evil or mean spirited person.
Light energy is awesome, and you know it when you feel it. That person or friend that has that “something.” That radiance or aura that just makes them a good time to be around. Happiness, peace, serenity, a positive attitude and an overall good vibe. However, too much light energy and those people are often unrelatable, can be fanatical and ungrounded, all over the place and, in some cases, delusional. We need both energies in equal parts to be happy, healthy human beings.
Aside from light and dark, there also needs to be a balance between masculine and feminine energies. Which leads me to another component that drew me to Wiccan: the divine feminine aspect.
THE DEVINE FEMINE
You know how in Christianity there is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit? In Wiccan, there is The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone. These are the aspects of the Goddess. The Maiden is new, fresh, ripe with innocence (not to be confused with virginity), young, and ready to experience the world before her. The Mother is the aspect that is nurturing, caring, and is at her peak power wise. The Crone is perhaps where the earlier stereotypes of witches come from. (You know what I’m talking about. Homegirl dressed in black, with the gray stringy hair and crooked nose with the warts and stuff.) She is old. She is wise. She has experience, and is able to counsel everyone. However, vengeance from this aspect is most harsh. If there is a lesson you need to learn, she will serve it up to ya. Like an OG son. The Crone is also the doorway between the dimensions of death. Which makes sense, because would you ever want to imagine some trigger happy teenager holding the key to the land where the pine box dwells?
Witches dig nature. Witches pay attention to nature and what it is telling us. We are sensitive to environmental issues. For example, that whole fracking thing? It’s a big freaking deal to every witch I know. Because, like farmers, we use nature, the seasons, and moon phases as a guide to create, manifest and destroy things in our lives. This is not done out of a desire to be some power hungry magical being, but to create the most beautiful abundant life filled with happiness and love for ourselves…
Sounds a little more hippy dippy than you thought, right?
Now, each tradition may have their own additional thing, but when I say elements, I am referring to: Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit. Air, brings in communication, inspiration, ideas and creativity. Fire brings in courage, passion, lust and purification. Water deals with emotions, the spirit world, that which normally can’t be seen or felt. Earth, is about being grounded, and the manifestation of our goals. It is the physical world that we interact with everyday. Last, but not least, is Spirit. There are a couple of differing takes on this, I’ll tell you mine. The Spirit realm is the Goddess and/or God you believe in. The Spirit is that gut need in your stomach and soul that motivates you to participate in a ritual or create and cast that spell. It’s your ancestors and loved ones who have passed on who you feel still look out for you. It’s your guardian angels. It’s your intent and magical need, which is most important. Without your intention or magical need, your spell. Will not. Work. But more on that later in a future article.
Are you still with me? Want to dig deeper? Go underneath the veil? There is a lot to being Wiccan way too much to cover in one article. So think of me, think of this, as your Wiccapedia. Your starter guide to things magic and Wiccan. You might feel The Charge, you might get rid of some fear based stereotypes. Or, you might just discover that you have more in common with witches than you thought.
Keep reading here at SaltedScarletry, I’ll be popping in “for a spell” each month to give you more!
Resident pen-witch, Marie Davis, is an actress, dancer, jill-of-all-trades and practicing Wiccan living in Harlem. On the average weekend, Marie enjoys a good rum-based cocktail and feeling the weight of her samurai sword in her hand. Rarely at the same time.