I am using this month’s writing to address the several reviews of Wicca: A Year and A Day that place a caveat on what I’m teaching. Several readers have raised concerns over my characterization of the Witch’s magic circle. In the book, I state that the magic circle is a “platform for the Gods” and for our spiritual work. Unfortunately, there is a vein of hard-core superstition that runs through our overall spiritual path that fuels misinformation and a general fear-based approach to the Craft.
…diversity strengthens Wicca/Witchcraft as a whole, just as it strengthens any ecosystem.
Some within our ranks rigorously defend a view that the magic circle is a form of “impenetrable” spiritual shield that somehow contains the Witch’s magic. My point is not to shame anyone for their views, because, as a whole, we who walk the hidden path must develop an appreciation of the diversity of our views. This diversity strengthens Wicca/Witchcraft as a whole, just as it strengthens any ecosystem. We who practice the Craft embrace views that are different from the mainstream in fundamental ways (beyond the obvious particulars). Specifically, in mystical paths such as Wicca/Witchcraft we have a shamanic heart beating at the center of our practice. Magical practices across the globe (including those from the ceremonial lineages) know that there is always an individual’s interpretation of a spiritual message that forms the kernel of any spiritual lineage or tradition. Layers of practice, of sharing one to another, from initiate to postulant then forms the core practices of any spiritual path. What can happen next can develop a real spiritual crisis for some of us.
The content of our path is shamanic, mystic.
If one’s tradition is not renewed, reinterpreted by the individual practitioner, the spiritual path becomes nothing but form. It becomes calcified, lifeless, and has no opportunity of informing us spiritually. Form should never be mistaken for content. The content of our path is shamanic, mystic. It is always based on one’s personal experience with the Gods, with magic, and with a direct contact with nature and life itself. When we begin to obsess about finite detail such as whether the magic circle is a “container” or a “platform,” or whether we think the more powerful tool is the athame or the wand, or whether the solstice was practiced on the exact hour on the exact day (or else we have somehow failed spiritually), we lose the important content of our spiritual practice. Wicca should be much less anxiety-based. There is no power when we approach life with fear and obsessive action taken to maintain rigid views. Furthermore, there is no container strong enough to impede shadows of our own making. I characterize the magic circle as a platform because a platform can be any kind of container we choose. It is a stage for us to create whatever “set” or “props” we need at any given time to realize our spiritual tradition, to raise magic from within ourselves and to touch the divine. As always, I do not offer this teaching as something to “believe.” I ask you to practice this. I invite you to try this out for yourselves.
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