Myths and Misconceptions
It’s safe to say that Witchcraft is currently “having a moment” in the media, and it feels like being a Witch has never been so popular.
This interest is partly thanks to TV shows like the recent remake of Sabrina the Teenage Witch; plus, celebrities such as Lana Del Rey and Beyonce herself are all rumoured to have Witchy associations.
Particularly in the US, there are currently more people self-identifying as Witches than members of some mainstream religions, such as the Presbyterian Church.
We are also seeing the increasing growth of Witchcraft being associated with political activism and particularly feminist movements.
Access to information online and social media interest in Witchcraft has made exploring the subject easier than ever before. Instagram has a staggering 11.3m posts with the hashtag #witchcraft, and TikTok is further changing the way new Witches access and consume information.
Yet, despite widespread interest and easier access to information, our Secrets of the Cauldron inbox and DMs are full of new Witches asking for help because they are stuck, don’t know where to start, are overwhelmed or even scared.
One of the most confusing things for new Witches is the myths and misconceptions that are out there.
These might be some of the ideas that you have read about, are thinking about or are things other people might have said to you, if you stepped out of the broom closet.
So, let’s break some of these down.
Myth 1 - You have to be “born” a Witch
So, if you come from a family of doctors … would that make you a “born” doctor? No, of course it wouldn’t! It might be expected that you will become a doctor … but you are still going to have to go to Medical School.
If your family has a hereditary practice, you may have easier access to information, and practicing Witchcraft would be accepted and even encouraged. However, all Witches still have to learn and study to develop their skills and knowledge.
Unfortunately, the concept of being ‘born a Witch’ or having ‘Witch-blood’ is often used to gate-keep new Witches out of the community.
So, just to be clear!
You can be the first Witch in your family or you can trace your Witch lineage back a few generations – it does not make any difference … it’s about the curiosity, heart, focus and energy you bring to the pathway.
Myth 2 – If you’re a witch … you’re a Wiccan
The misconception that Witchcraft and Wicca are the same things is one of the things that make me scream internally The Witchcraft versus Wicca confusion is definitely one of the most common myths.
Witchcraft has many definitions, so I will give you how I see it … Witchcraft is the practice of harnessing and focussing natural and supernatural energies to bring about desired change and results.
Whereas, Wicca is a pagan religion usually based around the worship of the Goddess and God and following the cycles of nature. It includes Traditional Wicca, which tends to be coven-based with a formalised degree structure and lineage. The practice of Witchcraft is also usually seen as part of Wicca.
Witchcraft is a magical practice in and of itself, and you can be a Witch and identify with any spiritual or religious beliefs or none at all. Hence, Atheist and Christian or Buddhist witches exist.
I strongly encourage anyone interested in Witchcraft research the different definitions and see what feels right for you.
Myth 3 – You need to be spiritual, psychic or have ‘gifts’
The practice of witchcraft is often intertwined with spirituality, and there are certainly some overlapping interests, such as a love of nature and working with energy, however, they are not the same.
Some Witches have very firm religious or spiritual beliefs, however, others are strident atheists. No two Witches practice alike, and the question of faith is personal to each Witch.
Also, you do not need to be psychic to be a Witch, nor do you need to read tarot or communicate with spirits. This will be a substantial part of some Witch’s pathway, but it is for us, as individual Witches to determine whether that will be part of our practice.
Finally, what some people describe as ‘gifts’ such as clairvoyance, I would say are skills that everyone can develop to a greater or lesser extent if we are willing to put in some time, effort, and practice.
Myth 4 – “But, you’re a "white witch," right?”
If you have ever had a conversation with anyone outside of the Witch community about your identity as a Witch, the chances are they have developed a concerned look and said “but you’re one of the good ones … I mean you’re a White Witch, right?”
This is one of the most damaging and inaccurate misconceptions in Witchcraft.
The idea of Witches being good versus evil and, therefore, that baneful magic is associated with “blackness”, has significant racist undertones and needs to be avoided.
As in nature, magic is all about balance and how that balance is executed is a matter for the intentions of each Witch. When we cast spells, we are directing the magical energy to its intended outcome. That energy is inherently neutral and has no colour.
Myth 5 - You need to be initiated to be a ‘real’ witch
Some Witches will feel a genuine call to be formally initiated into a traditional coven with a lineage and degree system. That is a very valid pathway, and if it is for you, then you may want to seek out a local coven with an outer court.
However, there are different types of initiation.
Some people will experience a form of initiation by the Spirits they work with. Also, for a solitary practitioner, a self-initiation or dedication ceremony can be potent and empowering.
These rites include you dedicating yourself to a path of Witchcraft and personally claiming the title of Witch.
The different forms of initiation are not for everyone; and sadly it has become another form of gatekeeping in the community.
All Witches and pathways are valid – whether this involves initiation or not.
We are all real Witches!
There are many more misconceptions and myths out there! I find most Witches become very adept at dismantling these ideas in discussions and conversations.
You know, while wearing gothic black clothes and stroking our required black cats.....