Are You a White Witch?



Photo by Est Bleu2007

Some Witches like to explain that they practice only “white” magick.

This is probably their way of assuring you that they don’t cast “evil spells” or try to manipulate you through their magickal talents. The term white witch was much more prevalent in the early 1990’s, possibly as a need to be more politically correct or to counter the prejudices of those who would do them harm before New Age ideas became more popular. Some African-American and Native American Witches take offense to being called whiteWitches as the term implies race to them.Magick really isn’t black or white. It just is. The idea of black or white is to differentiate between the intentions. White being good, according to the theory, and black being malicious.

One popular Wiccan author refuses to consider her work to be black magick but does practice “Dark” magick. “Dark isn’t the same as evil,” she says. Dark can relate to any type of protection or defensive spell, and this particular woman is very strong in her protection rituals. She would never cast a healing spell without the permission of the patient or perform any ritual that would bring ill will to another human being.

Think of Kestrel Firehawk in Flying By Night when she invokes Hecate, the Dark Mother, to protect her family and get her through this terrible crossroads in her life.

Most Pagans believe in karma, reincarnation, and/or some form of cause and effect. You may have encountered the same beliefs among Buddhists. You get back what you send out. What goes around, comes around. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

It’s as simple as this: if the guy who sold you your car cheated you by rolling back the odometer, he’ll get that same energy back. Maybe he’ll be cheated tomorrow. Or maybe his disgruntled customers will talk to all their friends, and soon no one will buy a car from him and he’ll go bankrupt. Maybe he’ll never be able to hang onto any financial gain. Or maybe he’ll spend his next lifetime in jail as a car thief.

Flying By Night novel

Wiccans subscribe to a set of rules known as the Wiccan Rede, which says to do what you will but harm none. Some Wiccans try to take the Rede very literally, trying not to hurt any living thing, including insects. Most Wiccans fall somewhere toward the middle of the interpretation: don’t perform magick to hurt another person or attempt to alter their destinies (including healing spells) without their permission.

Still other Wiccans perceive “harm none” as a call to protection and justice and believe that practicing magick responsibly includes doing what you can to make sure no one is hurt. For example, if you don’t practice magick to protect or defend and you have those abilities to work with the elements and Deity that most people don’t have, then you are in fact doing harm, the same as if you had caused the harm directly. Following through  with this call to defense might include performing magick to locate a serial rapist and bring him to justice or to reveal the identity of a terrorist so your community will be protected.

The differing interpretations have been the source of heated discussions in Pagan communities around the world. Do you let Karma take care of murderers for you? Or do you cast a spell so that the murderer will be found and brought to justice? Each Pagan has his or her own convictions in this matter, just as people of all religions do.

Do Witches ever do harm intentionally, other than bringing criminals to justice, if that’s perceived by some as harm?

Yes, some do–just as people of all religions occasionally do bad or unethical things. Occasionally, you hear of a Pagan High Priest (whether real or supposed) who wants to make sex with teenage girls part of the initiation into his coven. We don’t know. We’ve yet to meet him. However, we do personally know Baptist clergy who were arrested for molesting little boys in their churches and Catholic priests who were charged with having kiddie porn on their computers. That certainly doesn’t mean that all preachers and priests should be tossed in jail or burned at the stake. Doing harm doesn’t have to be a major criminal activity. It can be little things that leave the victim with a distaste for a particular religion if we aren’t careful. Haven’t we all dealt with the office Power-Ranger or gossipy neighbor who could be unbelievably dastardly behind our backs and yet first in line to let everyone know they sing in the church choir, lead prayer circles, or teach Sunday School? Haven’t you ever wanted to call their pastor or religious leader and tell them to ask this person NOT to tell anyone about their religion because they’re such bad examples? And especially not to advertise their religion alongside their profession if they can’t be counted on to act ethically?

There are good and bad people of all faiths.  We should all strive to be the best possible representative of the Deity (or Deities) we follow, because–like it or not–we are Their representative.


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