The ambiguity of the word witch makes many people feel very uncomfortable and yet, that is what makes it amazing. This morning, I woke up to rather unconstructive commentary regarding how people feel about the concept that a man could be a witch. While historically speaking it has been a stereotyped word with the image of a woman taking central focus, I don’t think men were exempt. Why you choose the word will ultimately have more value to you than the word itself but that doesn’t mean the word choice won’t have an effect on others.
Now you may be reading this and nod in agreement or reading through just to see where it goes, it is important to say that feelings are relative, subjective and ultimately they relate to the person who is expressing them -they go hand in hand with those fantastic things called opinions. Does a man who refers to himself as a witch somehow impact people negatively? No, of course not. Will people verbalized their disagreement, opinions and most probably justifications for the choice concerning the life path of another -most certainly. I am grateful for all of these opinions and how very diverse they are -but they shouldn’t divide us completely.
Men are/can be witches. I don’t feel that is mutually exclusive to women only. The terminology might indicate where you focus or how you feel about magical practice. Of course, what follows is my personal perception/ideas only. Consider this lens for a moment: warlocks, for me, has always been a term for someone at odds with themselves magically speaking and are engaged in using magick for purposes of conflict in one manner or another. Sorcerer, Sorceress; a magickal focus without religious overtones. Magus or Magician evokes images of ceremonial work, high magick. The word witch conjures images of cooking, folk magic, animal spirits, ghosts, skeleton keys, knowledge of plants, dream working. Wizards are the thinkers, the analyzers, the contemplators. Meaning, those acts take primary focus prior to any magickal work (and may take precedence over magickal acts altogether.) Wizard shapes visualizations of the wise old hermit, the man in the tower with lots of books, the old wise man in a straw hat with a corn cob pipe (an old dream I had.) Ultimately, I perceive the wizard as focused on the development and mastery of the mind. Does that mean the witch doesn’t think clearly? Does that mean that all wizards are old men? That would be laughable! Of course not! In Wicca, men are considered not only Wiccan, but if they apply magic to their practices they are also witches. These images paint the associations that I have with the word, they tell me something about the person (and therein lies the challenge and source of some of the apparent conflict.) As people of varied experiences, we have differing lenses. If those lenses are overlayed with others -quite frankly they won’t always match. Suddenly, we find ourselves faced with a completely different idea about a label, idea, group etc. What makes it more of a challenge is that the labels themselves are simply not just the images and ideas that come to us. Often, they are a state of mind, a way of life, a matter of being and walking through life.
Don’t choose to adhere to one lens alone, be willing to consider the very varied opinions and ideas that exist. The advantage is that it broadens the experience of the individual and promotes concepts such as inclusiveness, and diversity for a very beautifully colored community. The witch is a powerful symbol -that challenges norms, that sees the magic in the mundane and that is willing to stand defiantly in the face of adversity -but there is always more to a word. So to the men out there walking magical and/or religious paths, who feel aligned with the term “witch,” remember you have no need to justify how you feel and that you shouldn’t feel threatened to either voice your opinion in positive/constructive ways or simply stand tall and walk your path.