Power in its many shapes and guises is one of the most fascinating attractions known to man. The need to command and control both our own lives and the lives of others is one that most people can understand and identify with. The desire to be masters of our own destiny is a simple facet of human nature.
An awareness of power is perhaps for a witch doubly compelling. A witch cannot but help be aware of the powers around her, both the powers she can wield effectively and the deeper powers that she may be unable to manipulate but which she can sense even if she does not consciously aspire toward them. Power is as intrinsic to the practise of witchcraft as breathing.
But power brings its own problems and often these problems are overlooked by outsiders admiring the glamour of the craft. With power comes responsibility and it is a poor witch who puts her desire to pursue her own abilities before the need to behave responsibly both toward herself and others. Now when I say responsibly, I don't mean that a witch necessarily has an obligation to act in a certain way. But what I do believe is she has an obligation to consider the effects of her actions and to act in accordance with her own moral compass. And this is very much where the problems with power come in. Remember that man who first climbed Mount Everest? When asked why, he replied; "Because it was there." This attitude is one to be avoided at all costs in the pursuit of the craft. We should not act simply because we have the power to do so but because we have considered the alternatives and believe it to be the best course of action. A witch has no obligation to follow a set of moral rules but to my mind a witch of value takes the time to look inside herself and question whether she is doing something because she believes it to be right or simply because she can.
Acting within the confines of personal morality is harder than it looks. There are some real pitfalls involved in being a witch, none the least being the fact that an awareness of your own power breeds arrogance, self delusion and egoism. The temptation to push things further, to see what happens...to test the limits of your own abilities... its heady stuff. And every time you experience success it strengthens that little voice in your head that insists on whispering just how wonderful you are. I'd be surprised to find any witch who hasn't fought a battle against the demons of her own ego. But its a battle worth fighting because the path of arrogance
leads to the magician, the illusionist and the wonder worker. Its building a house of cards with no foundations to your magic. And like any house of cards, its liable to all come crashing down the first time you are forced to seriously question your own ability. The self worth of a witch should come not solely from her power but from the rounded elements of what make her a witch, her compassion, her morality and her ability to discern right from wrong.
Something I have seen among friends who practise the craft, which if I am honest rather saddens me, is a tendency to turn the back on compassion in favour of personal accomplishment. In some circles compassion in a witch is genuinely perceived as a weakness and caring for others seen as an unnecessary constraint on a witch's chosen path. Although developing abilities is undoubtedly a worthy pursuit for the individual witch, I would personally caution that she should not choose to do so at the detriment of her humanity and her own conscience. Progression at the expense of others is costly progression indeed.
An awareness of power can also bring conflict in relationships with other people. Many witches make the mistake of believing themselves to some extent better than non practitioners of the craft. The mistake of course is in taking success in one area to be indicative of overall supremacy - again the pitfall of arrogance... A witch needs to understand her abilities in perspective with the achievements of others. Out there in the world are talented musicians, artists, business executives. If you don't consider yourself lesser than these individuals for not playing on their playing field then my advice to any witch would be not to look down on those who don't choose to play your game. And also I'd advise to bear in mind that there are non practising witches with powers far greater than even the most disciplined of regular casters. Remember - not everybody chooses to do just because they can.
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