Being a witch in the modern world – as we discuss often on this website – brings many challenges that would have been widely unknown to the witches of older times. However, living with a witch also brings a whole host of challenges of its own with friends, parents and long suffering partners struggling to make sense of our witchier ways….
Don’t get me wrong, there are some real benefits to living with a witch. Free tarot and oracle readings, someone to hex your enemies and for those living with a witch who observes the sabbats – eight damn good opportunities a year to really let your hair down. And witches are notoriously easy to buy presents for. I’m the best person in the world to give a present to. I’m as happy with a pretty stone from the beach or a feather picked off the pavement as I would be with anything expensive from a shop.
Want to economise? Marry a witch! My husband usually crafts me a wand from word cut from the trees in our local woods for birthdays and anniversaries and although to the outside world, giving his wife a stick for her birthday may not be the most romantic of presents (although possibly that does depend on what he does with the stick ;) ) for me its the perfect present. I don’t think my lack of interest in materialism is all that unique either, its true for a lot of witches. In general we place little value on acquiring (certainly much less value on the acquisition of status symbols) and more emphasis on doing. Sundays tend to be more about going for walks in nature than trogging around the local shopping centre and many witches will get as excited going home with a pocket full of acorns as other ladies would buying a new hat. (And acorn hunting is cheaper and a lot better for your health!)
But despite the benefits to your health and your wallet, a witch isn’t always the easiest person to live with. The trouble is that we do strange things… They don’t feel strange to us, indeed they feel eminently rational - I store bottles of my own menstrual blood because I know it will give a positive boost to the herbs that I grow – but to the non witch a room covered in bottles of blood could seem a bit weird? (And old bottled blood smells absolutely revolting. Pity the people who share a house with me when I’m watering my plants toward the end of the month!)
Talking of those herbs, you probably wouldn’t want to go randomly picking a handful of anything out of a witch’s garden. Some of the plants growing in my greenhouse at the moment are capable of causing some pretty nasty side effects. Death is certainly a nasty side effect and consuming quantities of my Belladonna, Hemlock or Datura would almost certainly result in a rather nasty death. You take your life in your hands when you pick anything a witch happens to be growing. Though on the positive side (there’s always a positive…) we’re pretty good at growing things that will interest you as well. Suffering from a cold? I’ve got herbs to cure that…. Fancy a hallucinogenic trip without breaking the law? Yep, I can help with that too!
After a while even the strangest things become acceptable and what might cause a raised eyebrow or two in the average house goes unremarked on in my home now. Its rare these days that I cause the horror I did when I first boiled up a dead badger’s head on the cooker. You get used to a house that smells of incense with the occasional animal skull lying around... My husband has even got used to the fact that I insist on sleeping (alone) on the floor of my witch room next to my four tarantulas under a tree from which I hang all my drying plants and flowers. I regularly wake up to find myself covered in dried flowers with stray crickets hopping over my bedding...Its not a sleeping environment for the faint hearted…
A witch’s relationship with animals can cause problems for those choosing to share their home and their lives with her. I’ve filled our home from ceiling to floor with animals, the only animal free rooms in my house are the kitchen and the bathroom and I’ve got plans for frogs in one and terrapins in the other (shush…don’t tell the husband!) Its rare you find a witch without a few animals grunting and growling around the place. So anyone wanting to live in a pristine and ultra hygienic environment would do well to avoid cohabiting with a witch. It simply isn't in our nature to be too clean. Witchcraft is a messy, dirty, hands on soil, blood, sweat and animal hair business. If you want to live in a show home, marry an air hostess.
A witch needs to communicate well with those around her. Families can feel neglected if you keep nipping off for solitude. I speak from experience, my own husband sometimes forgets what I look like…the two of us can go for days at a time with only an occasional passing chat. Its important for a witch to explain why she needs so much time alone. If those around you don’t understand the need for meditation, magical working, journal writing, spells and spending time talking to other witches then there is a danger the family may feel snubbed and slighted. The only time I really panic is when I feel my solitude is being threatened and it’s hard to always expect other people to appreciate that . Don't be surprised if the witch you live with disappears a lot. Try and understand, its a witch thing!
Most witches are intensely private about their craft. Some, like myself, speak out to a varying degree but the essential nature of being a witch is linked with a certain amount of secrecy in regard to personal practises. This does make living with a witch easier as a lot of the things we do are done in the privacy of ritual rooms or quiet space. I do not perform magical workings in front of my family, I rarely involve them in my rituals and although I am open and frank about what I do, I don’t share the specifics and the details. If you lived in my house for a week, you may not even notice you were house sharing with a witch…Even those closest to me are probably unaware to what degree I involve my craft in my life on a daily basis.
For me personally I am very lucky, my home is an accepting one and those close to me take an interest and support me in what I do. Even outside the home my friends, colleagues and family are very non judgemental and this makes practising the craft easier for me than it is for those witches who have to hide themselves away and keep everything they do a secret. Mind you, even in the wider world being a witch can cause problems, I had to let my sister down when she asked me to be godmother to her daughter (though she was very understanding on the matter) and I've certainly had a few cool looks from colleagues when I avoid doing Christmassy stuff (Massive bonus of being a witch, you get to ignore Christmas!). Wearing a pentacle at has raised the occasional eyebrow at times and some of the more Christian members of my extended family have been very quiet on my Facebook wall... Compared to the persecution some witches face though, I've got it very easy and I'm grateful for it.
In the end its all about compromise, articulating your needs as a witch but ensuring those needs are not actualised at the expense of those around you. Its remembering that some people find witchcraft a little intimidating and either taking the time to demystify
the stigma or having the courtesy not to shove your practises and beliefs in other people's faces. Its standing up for who you are but equally making sure you extend that same respect to those you share your homes and your lives with.
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