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Following the Path of the Witch

I get asked a lot what path I follow and what path my coven follows. My answer is simple, as a coven we don’t follow one path. We function because we each have respect for different paths, a love of learning, and no one has an ego that requires followers, therefore we are all equals. As for myself I am an eclectic bruja with foundations in Espiritismo Racionalisto, Santeria, Indigenous Caribbean Magic and Wicca. I am comfortable mixing them as they were already a mix in my family tradition, with the only aspect I studied on my own being Wicca. There are so many paths to follow that many get hung up on wanting to know which is the “right one”. The truth is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so how do you start?



First I want to point out that many witches are steering away from labels. The reason is simple, we are complex beings from various cultures and each culture will have it’s own traditions. Add to this the fact that Wicca has a very easy-to-follow system that both is readily available and coincides with many other traditions and you find many witches diving into various paths to come up with a combination that works for them. When we put labels on ourselves, and more importantly on others, we start putting witches in boxes that can be hard to get out of. I believe the community is finally at a place where people are beginning to be valued without a need to know someone’s lineage or path to determine their worth. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still witches who will defend their path against all others to the point where they will try to invalidate another’s path. I’m just seeing less of it. That being said, many starting out want to know the options available. So I will try my best to explain here briefly.

This is in no way a definitive list, but meant as a jumping off point for many questioning the difference among the various paths.


Wicca


Founded in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner, the man took mythology from his part of the globe and united it with much of the work of ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley to create a religion that he felt took into consideration the practices of pre-Christians in Great Britain. His style of Gardenarian Wicca gave birth to a variety of traditions and even a solitary path. For the most part, Wicca is a coven-driven religious-based path of Witchcraft. The paths usually consist of male and female witches, with some covens being female only. They are known for their rede, or code of conduct, that says “an ye harm none, do what thy will.” Some confuse this to mean that all Wiccans are love and light when it really means that you need to take responsibility for your actions. Everything has a reaction, and those working in the Wiccan realm are aware of their actions.


Books: The Meaning of Witchcraft By Gerald Gardner

The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland

Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham


Faery


Faery Witchcraft can be practised alongside other forms of Witchcraft. These are witches who work with the Fae of Irish and Scotish culture.


Book: Fairycraft: Following the Path of Faery Witchcraft by Morgan Daihmer


Hedge Witch


A Hedge Witch works primarily with spirits and is most comparable to a Shaman. Their main work is to be a mediator between this world and the spirit world. The name comes from the fact that a hedge usually marks the edge of a territory and a hedge witch is basically the hedge between two worlds. This is one path that is great for solitary practitioners


Books:

The Hedgewitch’s Way: Magical Spirituality for the Lone Spellcaster by Rae Beth

To Fly by Night: Craft of the Hedgewitch by Veronica Cummer


Cottage/Hearth Witch


These witches are home focused. Their magic is centered on the house so they specialize in floor washes, herbs, altars around the home and some also practice kitchen witchcraft.

Book:The House Witch: Your Complete Guide to Creating a Magical Space with Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home by Arin Murphy-Hiscock


Kitchen Witch


The name says it all. This tradition comes from the idea that the hearth is the central place in the home so it is the perfect place to make magic happen. Cooking is a sacred act, with everything made from scratch and many ingredients homegrown.


Book:The Book of Kitchen Witchery: Spells, recipes, and rituals for magical meals, an enchanted garden, and a happy home by Cerridwen Greenleaf



Green Witch


This witch is an herbalist at heart. Everything there is to know about the land they know. The green witch relies on nature to guide them as they will use stones, plants, and gems from the land they live on.


Book: The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs,

Flowers, Essential Oils, and More by Arin Murphy-Hisock



Ceremonial Witch


Ceremonial magick is all about ritual. There is not one exact thought but rather a

mix of such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires.


Books:

The Grimoire of St. Cyprian - Clavis Inferni (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic) by Dr Stephen Skinner and David Rankine

Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes (Sourceworks of Ceremonial Magic) by Dr Stephen Skinner and David Rankine

The Complete Book of Black Magic and Witchcraft: Including the rituals of Ceremonial Magic, Exorcism, True Sorcery and Infernal Necromancy By Shadow Books

The Three Magical Books of Solomon: The Greater and Lesser Keys & The Testament of Solomon by Aleister Crowley, S.L. MacGregor Mathers , et al.



Traditional or Folk Witch


Traditional witches take a historic approach to the traditions in the land where they are living, not necessarily where their family is from. Those who practice traditional witchcraft, or folk magic, are usually pretty knowledgeable about the spirits of land and place in their area, as well as customs and folklore of their region.


Books:

The Crooked Path: An Introduction to Traditional Witchcraft by Kelden

Besom, Stang & Sword: A Guide to Traditional Witchcraft, the Six-Fold

Path & the Hidden Landscape by Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire

Weave the Liminal: Living Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Laura Tempest Zakroff



Hereditary Witch


A hereditary witch is using customs that have been passed down in their family from one generation to another. These customs may or may not be similar to other witchcraft practices but one thing is clear, things taught this way are not shared with those outside of the family.

As this is a very personal type of witchcraft that varies from family to family, there aren’t books on specific practices. However, Raven Grimassi wrote one that is basically a beginner’s guide to witchcraft.


Book: Hereditary Witchcraft: Secrets of the Old Religion by Raven Grimassi



Maybe one of these paths calls to you, perhaps it is a mixture, or perhaps you have questions about other magical paths. The best advice I can give you is to read, not just about spirituality, but about the history of various practices. I purposely did not add anything to this list from my own practice other than Wicca. Some practices are meant for folks from a particular background and culture. While we can all appreciate others' magical customs, we need to be mindful of the potential of appropriating another’s culture in creating a practice. I would also advise to do as much on your own before seeking the advice of others. Know who you are, what your limits are, and what exactly you want to gain from a practice and from a teacher. There are many folks out there looking willing to take on students for the sake of money, fame, power, etc.


I would leave you with this. You are your best guide. Trust your instincts to guide you towards the right path for you. Lastly, if you enjoyed reading this and would like to hear more then tune into my podcast partner and I talk about the Craft and many of the books about it, check out WitchSpace podcast (on Spotify, Podbean, and iTunes) every new and full moon.

This post has been authored by Nori Negrón, WDA Head Witch and teacher. She's got two courses in our platform readily available for you! You can listen to her podcast WitchSpace on iTunes, Spotify, Podbean and more!



Brought to you by Maria Alviz Hernando, WDA Tarot Teacher, and Blog Coordinator.


Do you want to be featured in the blog? Send an e-mail to thesibyl@thesibylstarot.com

Find out more about Maria here.

©2016 by World Divination Association

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