Many witches go through times of questioning the various categories of witch, and the array is a bit mind boggling with no clear consensus on every term. Am I a…
Wild free bitch?
Am I of kitchen, hedge or garden?
Am I cosmic, dark or blue?
Elemental, ceremonial too?
Traditional witch, eclectic witch?
Pagan, Wiccan, Hekatean witch?
And who cares… really?
Many experienced witches will tell you that it doesn’t matter, that a witch is a witch is a witch. Each person is on their own path, that the witch types are distracting and unnecessary.
But then sometimes it does seem to matter. When it becomes a matter of personal identity.
Capitalist, neoliberal society has an obsession with the labels with which we categorize ourselves. Naming things, drawing lines on things, defining things has been part of the colonial agenda and how we (settlers) define things is part of how we claim them as belonging to us.
Some identity labels are imposed upon us by birth or circumstance, how others see us in the world, such as race or assigned gender. Some we find community and safer spaces by seeking others with the same labels, such as queer or disabled.
Sometimes I imagine each of us, like little spiders in a storm, anchoring ourselves in our individuality by spinning as many threads of connection as we can. Each of us creating our own little web or cluster of intersecting identities… white, woman, mother, sister, lover, queer, cisgendered, settler, Canadian, barista, witch, grey witch, middle-aged, hippie, etc. (etc. etc.) as though if we find enough labels then we will somehow find ourselves.
Other times these labels, these identities, can feel like they pull at us, like ropes we cannot escape. One rope pulling me towards what it means to be a woman, or what it means to be queer, and having to submit through association to the expectations of the others who also claim that identity label. If, for example, we take on the mantle of Green Witch, we allow ourselves to be defined by our own understandings of what a Green Witch does, and are shaped by others who tell us what a Green Witch is.
Sometimes the more identities we adopt, the more it can feel like a cage. That the labels that define our borders, our edges become a colonization of our beings. Sometimes these identities are used by others to oppress, to genocide, or to selectively eradicate. The witch trials that claimed the lives of far too many of us are that imposition of identity upon others. Sometimes I think many of us, no matter what identities we carry, long to just dance free and naked and wild and be seen as nothing else other than a divine expression of our unique selves.
So why take on a new identity?
I mean it.
If a witch chooses to specify what sort of witch they are, why are they choosing to do that?
Is it to help you to define yourself, an exploration of identity?
Is it a choice you make or something that chooses you?
Is it to communicate to others?
To feed your ego?
Sometimes I think of the witch types as similar to a job title. I worked as a teacher for many years. Depending on the context it was sometimes helpful to specify such as primary teacher, Outdoor Education teacher, alternative school teacher. They’re all true but when it comes to it I’m also just a teacher.
This is similar to how I identify as a witch. I could be described as a Hekatean witch in some circles, or a green witch, or a hedge witch. Sometimes I do what might be more kitchen witchery or when I jump in the ocean in winter to cleanse myself it could be sea witchery. They’re all just descriptions of what I, as a witch, might be engaging in at that time.
Except for Hedge Witch. For me that label matters because I have assumed it as an identity. Hedge witchery was my path to witchcraft. It is an identity that helped me to understand myself and in doing so, helped me to free myself and claim who I am. For me, finding this identity, like a deep knowing in my bones, is only comparable to me to finding the identity of transgendered. It allowed me to be me.
What sort of witch you are doesn’t matter.
Except when it does.
And when it does, it’s helpful to understand why.
Seek You (CQ)