Why I Became a Witch (the Answer Might Surprise You!)

Following a blissful, spontaneous moment of cosmic union last August, it became clear to me that I don’t really need ritual or spellcraft to have transcendent spiritual experiences.

This makes sense–I’m a Mind Witch. My magick, though it incorporates many of the trappings of witchcraft, places far more emphasis on shifting consciousness than it does on the properties of physical objects. Some of the most powerful magick I’ve done hasn’t taken place at my altar; rather, an off-the-cuff declaration of a genuine desire has been enough to deliver some pretty amazing things to my doorstep.

Given this, I could essentially drop the language and materials of craft and begin referring to myself as “spiritual.” I could practice the way I always have, but without the stigma or risk.

It was tempting for a moment, Beauties. Constantly concealing the truth with euphemisms is tiring at best, and soul-crushing at worst. When a fellow parent asks you what you do for a living, it’s kind of hard to say “magick and witchcraft” and leave it at that. Each casual conversation suddenly becomes awkward and strained, because even the most well-meaning can’t hide an expression that wordlessly says “that’s literally the last thing I expected you to say.”

But there’s a major reason why I’m not turning away from witchcraft anytime soon, and it’s this: being a witch is way too much fun.

I don’t need tarot cards to access my deep inner knowing, but I really enjoy reading them. I don’t need candle spells to align with a particular desire, but I love casting them! And maybe I don’t need relationships with personified deities, but they add so much richness and clarity to my life that I’d be a fool to give them up. The grimoires, the altars, the incantations–they’re all an expression of my Genius and of a creative practice that brings me such joy and delight!

During the past year, the teachings of Alan Watts have had a profound effect on me. Watts was a self-professed spiritual entertainer who gave lectures on Zen, Taoist, and Buddhist thought to Western audiences. Towards the end of his “Give Away Control and You Will Have It” lecture, he shares this:

“Go into one of these Buddhist temples along with all the faithful followers and have a ball. Buy a candle, buy some incense, go in and dig this great thing going on, but don’t take it seriously. When the priests laugh at the altars because they’re having such fun because this whole scene is so beautiful, it’s the difference between some stuffy old priest humming a sutra and Alan Ginsberg chanting a sutra–it’s like a jam session where everyone is absolutely delighted. That’s the way to do it, and if you can’t do it that way, forget it.”

I’ve been drawn to many spiritual paths in my 37 years of life, but I chose to practice witchcraft because I knew I could have the most fun by doing it. My magick heals me, reveals me, inspires me, and empowers me, but so could a variety of traditions and religions. Witchcraft, however, fills my world with wonderment and possibility and invites my creative spirit to come out and play in a way that nothing else has.

When I’m taking my life far too seriously, I carve a sigil in a candle, rub some cinnamon into it, and light it up. I’m instantly excited, delighted, intuitive, and turned on. Call it magick, call it the placebo effect, call it whatever you like–it’s a blast to explore and experiment with, and I’m not going to stop any time soon.

xoxo Jessi, the Mind Witch Mama