"Do what you believe to be the right thing and trust yourself."
My journey as a witch began several years ago with my search for a path that fit with my personal and my moral beliefs. It was important to me to find a way to actively worship rather than simply believe. In my teens and twenties I looked at many different religions and ways of worship before eventually coming to the realisation that I was unwilling to subsume my own thoughts on morality into a socially accepted code. Once I realised this, I knew my path was destined to be a solitary one. I wasn't suited to following an established belief structure - I was far more interested in creating my own.
At the same time that I was exploring my spirituality my interest in magic morphed into an ability and I began to obtain results from my spell work that I could feel proud of. I often discuss the fact that a witch should only be judged by the results she produces and in all honesty these days I would be pretty happy being judged by mine.
Although Witchcraft is often considered to be a secular craft, for me it encapsulates the structure of how I follow my spiritual beliefs. It allows me to blend the control over myself and others derived from my craft and working of magic with the humility of a faith. Although I speak of faith I do not subscribe to a particular pantheon or an established perception of deity, I honour the Gods in line with my own personal interpretation of deity and I establish my morality from my own judgement.
My craft is deeply connected with the idea of balance. I practise neither dark nor light magic but a blend of what I believe to be morally appropriate for the given situation. I do not believe that the world is as light and pretty as many modern Pagans seem to think it is. I am comfortable knowing I am a blend of contrasts on a spectrum from compassion to cruelty and I make use of all the parts of who I am in the work that I do.
It follows from the idea of balance that I don't limit myself to a love and light interpretation of my magical craft. I am not a Wiccan witch and I do not adhere to modern limitations such as the rule of "harm none" or the law of "threefold." That said, I cast responsibly. I'm a pretty good enemy to have as I will employ every possible angle of reasoned discussion and compromise before even thinking of knocking you for six with a hex.
My beliefs and practises are a blend of Traditional influence, some Wiccan influence (though I'll repeat I am NOT a Wiccan Witch) some elements incorporated from other religions and my own intuition. I complete formal ritual work on at least a weekly basis. This is usually a combination of worship, meditation, healing, candle magic, spell work, tarot and more recently I have done a lot of work with using dance to raise energy. I meditate regularly and ground as often as I can to siphon off excess energy and negativity.
As the wheel turns each year I become less concerned with what I know and more aware of how much wisdom I have yet to acquire. Witchcraft has opened up an understanding of the world beyond me, both in terms of nature and also with regard to the complexities of other souls. This has helped me to treat other people with compassion and to treat my environment and the earth with love and respect. Witchcraft essentially has helped me to find a peace within myself.
Over the past two years I have taken on and developed my first apprentice which has probably been as much of a learning experience for me as it has been for her. I've taken real pride in watching my apprentice develop as a witch in her own right and although I'm still consulted on the casting that "really matters" I've got real faith that should she ever need to, she could go it alone.
I read Tarot for other people and have written spells for others on several occasions. I do not charge for my work because frankly I do what inspires me when it suits me. This is one of the reasons why I have resisted putting advertising on my site, I prefer Ask a Witch a Question to be a labour of love rather than a job. I'm also very conscious that without sponsorship I have no governance and therefore I can give the advice I want to and not the sanitised politically correct advice that an anxious advertiser might require me to hand out. It's really important to me that my website reflects good old fashioned common sense - I'm outspoken and direct at times but I always have my readers' best interests very genuinely at heart and I want to be in a position to give the advice that I believe is needed, not what the reader wants to hear or what the advertisers believe I should be saying.
I have knowledge in some areas and ignorance in others. I will always be honest about what I know and understand and what I do not. I do not validate myself by the opinions of other people. I do not see lack of knowledge as a weakness. I do not, have not and never will judge myself in terms of how society views me. I am perhaps a little jaded by the social conformity and materialism of this twenty first century incarnation, I think I probably preferred being around in Saxon England.
I try to be critically aware of the way my life affects other people. I believe very much in the oft quoted: "A witch must tread lightly on the world." The older I get, the less interested I become in my rights and the more focused I become on my responsibilities. I want to leave something of value behind me when I shuffle off this mortal coil. It may not be much but this website is my way of giving something back and of helping people. It's my way of lifting up my own life and making it something I can look back on with the knowledge that I did more with my ninety years than sit and watch television. I may never change the world but if I can just nudge it along a little, that will be enough for me.
I also co manage Resisting Hate where we challenge prejudice, racism, hate and discrimination.
Roanna Carleton Taylor