Posted in Cottage Witchcraft

On Being A Hippie Witch..

ntWSX81gvZu5l57F7CI90ebmJGzsmyz5C3gbMUvZXgpISLf-LsnJMYiM367k3wsQ3-YtJQ7A4vYH_hLU-V0wyjTr4jiUc7zo4EmirQ71Hy1RuYwLOZ-LZllIn1AKXHuaC4sLXDKRkAgvSz3ZwWZJn82LX2Zyk6JeWT33hngW9G4Uw-y0vV4h3tsD0FNlvIiGqq3XW6ojfRYF-FvQUUKwzMzS2yMzZdDnnMy grade/middle/high school years were in the 60’s and 70’s. When I got to middle school I was pretty much as full blown hippie kid that you can be for being in my early teens. I had the requisite army jacket with peace signs and ecology patches that my mom had sewn on for me. In grade school I had become a member of the Audubon Society, when we were raising baby chickens. I continued to have an interest in bird watching into high school. I wore bell bottom jeans, and I carried around a dog-eared copy of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. That was a book detailing the poisoning of our lakes, streams and oceans with pesticides. It was a book that helped with the formation of Earth Day, and the EPA. Of course the GOP want to abolish the EPA these days. You know, all that pesky oversight of big business, and their impact on our health. What’s a little chemical waste in the rivers, huh?

But I digress. When I got to college, I was still in hippie mode. Not quite as much as before, but I loved sociology and psychology. After college came the end of my hippie days. I got into business, got all caught up with making money, having a family, nice cars, nice suits, nice house. Yep, I got caught up in the Me decade.

(As a side note here, if you read my blog that I stupidly deleted, you have read some of this. But I’m rewriting it for those who hadn’t, so bear with me..)

As the 90’s approached, it all came crashing down. Divorce, job loss, family deaths, losing friends, and developing a healthy case of depression and anxiety issues. Gone were the days of self-importance. It became just trying to cope on a daily basis.

Eventually things evened out a bit. I found new love, and rediscovered the joy of parenting. My job situation was tenuous, but it worked somehow. But the depression and anxiety were still there. I had abandoned my birth religion for good in those dark days, and now I needed something spiritual to grab onto. That was how I found Paganism and Wicca in 2004.

So finding those paths rekindled the hippie passions I once had. Not as much at first, but after I found the goth subculture (way of thinking, not way of dressing) I balanced it out with a return to a hippie lifestyle.

Over the past couple of years, that lifestyle has been more pronounced. We (yes, I dragged my wife into all of this!) became avid re-purposers, re-users, and recyclers. We stopped buying extra stuff, and found happiness with the things we already had. We stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Over the past year, I have become more determined to live an even simpler lifestyle. I quit spending $30 bucks a pop for haircuts and cut my own hair. I have less hair these days, so it’s not a huge problem. I blend essential oils and carrier oil for moisturizers, deodorant, and medicinal uses. I have largely gone “water only” for face and hair washing. I make most of our cleaning products, and what I don’t make, I buy brands like 7th Generation or other environmentally friendly brands. We have decluttered, but I still like some decor, rather than a stark look in our home.

This concentration on the home, and keeping things simple was basically the spark that led to cottage witchcraft. It seemed the most logical step in simplifying our lives. Include witchcraft in everyday life, in ordinary chores and actions. In doing so, I’ve found that I actually practice witchcraft more now than I did when I set aside specific times to do rituals or spells. Now magick happens many times a day, rather than just on occasion.

I’ll admit, there is a dose of New Age added to my Craft path. I find it practically impossible to avoid it. Most witches I know work with stones, crystals, aromatherapy, chakras and other practices that have ties to New Age philosophy. I get that some witches are really bothered by that association, but it has just become a part of daily life for me. Most of us find a balance in blending various philosophies and practices in our Craft activities, and that has become a part of mine.

So this is kind of a how-I-got-here post. I’ve found a good degree of peace in both a simpler, hippie-like lifestyle, and a simple cottage witchcraft path. I’ve lived through my share of drama and heart-wrenching times, and it’s nice to find a pathway that is low-key and earthy.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Wicca/Witchcraft

Witchcraft, What’s in a Name?

paganpath

I’d like to thank the people (a surprising number, actually) who contacted me privately through various social media avenues about my comments on Wicca. In my first post, I mentioned that perhaps I had stretched the limits of the definition of Wicca too far to continue to call myself a Wiccan. Everyone that wrote to me challenged that thought (in a good way) and said that as a solitary practitioner, if being Wiccan was important to me, there was no reason that you couldn’t be Wiccan and be a cottage witch. I was reminded that we all celebrate the Wiccan path in varying ways, and each of us determines for ourselves what aspects of the path are particularly important to us.

I was really touched that people took the time out of their day to write me. Since these were private messages, I will respect the privacy of the correspondence, but you know who you are.

I think sometimes we all get caught up on labels, and I think that happens a lot in the Pagan and witchcraft “communities.” I believe that happens because there are so many different paths within Paganism & witchcraft, and we try to give others an idea where we stand as far as our particular path.

Over my 12 years in Paganism & Wicca, I’ve gone through a lot of changes, phases, and even tried on other paths for size. At given times I’ve identified as hippie, goth, Wiccan, just a witch, cottage witch, humanistic Pagan, polytheist, duo-theist, pantheist, chaos magician, and even Luciferian. I don’t know how anyone doesn’t experiment because Paganism and witchcraft offer so many choices. I know I’m not alone, because I read about others doing this all the time.

I don’t think I’ve ever completely abandoned any path, mindset, or subculture with which I identified at one time or another. There is a part of all that aforementioned list within me. I think I was drawn toward what is a part of me, otherwise I don’t think it would called to me in the first place.

So I will try to put less emphasis on any particular label. I think those who wrote me are right, I do still feel the pull of Wicca, but I am just not as drawn to formal ritual as I once was. I am drawn to herbs, essential oils, making homemade cleaning and health/body products, and infusing aspects of magick and witchcraft in our home. Small, spontaneous rituals and spells on a daily basis, making it more a part of everyday life, rather than setting aside an hour or so upon occasion only a few times a month.

I’m now going to move past this self definition exercise in this blog. The things I will write about will be aspects of various paths, with an eye toward how it applies to home life.

Thanks for reading!