One of the reasons I prefer Traditional Witchcraft over the modern practise of Wicca is the fact that it lends equal weight and value to both the light and dark aspects of magic. The path I follow embraces the duality of dark and light, good and evil, hidden and open. This is reflected in the duality of the deities I worship, God and Goddess, representing both male and female, the sun and the moon. And in a sense I embrace both the positive and negative with the deities each incorporating the darkness and the light within them.
I dislike the modern belief that a God must only be good. I particularly dislike the Christian practise of splitting good and evil into the separate entities of God and the Devil. This simplistic view of evil does nothing to help us comprehend the complexity of deity. And it gives us a false view of the world that the only path forward is only one of light.
The deities represent higher versions of humanity. And we are a pretty complex creation. To imagine the higher form of us to be so spiritually simple as to have a single core of wholly light or dark is unimaginatively unlikely. The deities (for those of us who acknowledge them, I am aware many witches choose not to work with deity) have a higher level of complexity, a greater awareness of the duality of light and dark and a deeper understanding of the conflict between good and evil. They embody all the elements of life (not just the pretty shiny ones).
Like it or not, we turn our back on the dark at our peril. If we fail to acknowledge evil exists we fail to recognise and react to it when we encounter it. Taking a biased approach and only seeking out that which can be defined as good means you are unprepared for what you may find in the world.
And a witch needs to be prepared. She needs to know how to fight fire with flame. There are times when a situation warrants more than light and fluffy magic can throw at it. A witch who refuses to curse, hex or bind denies herself half the power at her disposal. You wouldn't become a soldier and think it not fair play to fight with both hands? Then why be a witch and voluntarily choose to limit your power to such an extent?
There are also times when taking a utiltarian approach to magic can advance the greater good. That man you bind, how much harm have you prevented? That curse you cast, he won't do that again will he? Sometimes we can cause more harm by not causing harm. Sometimes its a better moral choice to be the proactive bad guy than the non acting good guy. Sometimes people deserve all that you can throw at them.
To be truly focused as a witch you need to have all the different parts of your character integrated. And shutting those parts of yourself off, just because you would rather not think about them prevents this integration. When we look deep inside ourselves we all have selfishness, malice, even cruelty. If we shut ourselves off from these emotions it weakens us as a person. It leaves the monsters clanging in our basement as a reminder that there is a part of ourselves that we daren't confront.
So as a witch I look within myself and work with all aspects of my character. I look to do the right thing and indeed the moral thing but I understand that morality is a more complex matter than following a list of moral imperatives or refusing to acknowledge anything beyond that which others would perceive as good. I strive to strike a balance, to see the world in its many shades of grey. I strive to see everything and to appreciate the balance in the world, in myself and in my deities.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1341396 (S Hinni)
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