Written by Algoth’s Grove
“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”
– Galileo Galilei
The point of this article is to put many of our so called past afflictions to rest. Many of the truths we believe happened in our pagan past are incorrect and have underlying reasons that usually amount to nothing more than humanities condition. It is so easy to blame a faith or way of life for hatred, murder or betrayal, but as someone who has walked the path of many faiths, I have come to see that it is not the faith that kills, but the person; it is not the faith that stabs you in the back or the god of that faith that betrays you, it is the person who has found something concrete enough to hide behind and bleed out their misconfigured personality traits on the world.
The christian bible, every witches grimoire, every psychics tale, and each and every text on this planet was written by humans. There is no evidence to prove otherwise. Many times the texts have been written under the influence of some serious hallucinogens, sometimes written from a sober body but a traumatised or ill mind. The concrete truth is that texts, religious or otherwise are simply accounts of people’s experience with the divine and with their surroundings. With that said, let us move onto some serious misconceptions throughout time.
Misconception #1 – hundreds of witches burned in Salem.
The Würzburg Witch Trials in Germany, was the most horrific account on earth of burning witches or consorts of the devil alive. No witch was ever burned at the stake in Salem. In fact, there is no concrete evidence that any witches were ever present in Salem to begin with. Würzburg, however, saw the death of 900 people accused of witchcraft, of which, 19 were catholic priests, and many were children (7 years old), who were accused of having sexual relations with the devil.
Salem was an inter community rivalry. It began with three sisters who pointed their fingers at the worker, who pointed her finger at others, and they in turn pointed their fingers. A large amount of pointing resulted in 19 hangings, and all this huff and puffing lasted a little over a year. So, when you are opening your mouth about how you are a reincarnated Salem witch who burned at the stake for your powers, please remember literature is usually free to digest.
Misconception #2 – The pointed hat was a mark of the inquisition’s mockery.
Pointed hats have always been either a symbol of fashion or used in rituals by druidic practitioners or other smaller sects. The witches hat was in fact brought into fashion but did not look anything like the one that Halloween sports today. It was also only banned by the catholic movement because of the representation of the horns of the devil. Ludicrous rules made by people in power.
Misconception #3 – All Christians hate pagans, all Muslims hate Jews, and everyone hates everyone.
Christians do not hate pagans, Muslims do not hate Jews, but people like to hate on other people. There is this constant story of how us witches hate to enter a church, or a mosque or a synagogue but we are happy to enter a buddhists temple when we are not buddhists at all, nor do you share any similarity with the buddhists in their strict regime.
If only the pagan community would put down their defences and openly speak about the beauty and the love that exists in the old ways, christian folk may not be so afraid and try to bible bash. The problem is that humanity loves to spread fear. It makes people feel bigger, and more important. There is nothing terrifying about the pagan community. There is nothing terrifying about the monotheists. You are all just people living your lives and incorporating certain practices into your path which will assist you in your growth. Practice love and acceptance, whether you call yourself a follower of Lucifer, a devotee of the Morrighan, or a ‘black witch’. If we pagans do not start with tolerance, then how can you expect anyone else to understand or tolerate you?
Last week a rite was performed in our circle with a christian in circle. It was a hand fasting and he asked nicely if we could respect his faith and so he was anointed with a cross, and we called in his God when doing the vows. It was in fact the most incredible piece of tolerance that I have ever witnessed. If one man can be steadfast enough in his faith to walk into our circles, respect our space in the name of love, then so can the world. Respect, and you will be respected. For the rest, they will catch up in time. We all going out in the same way, anyway.
Misconception #5 – Witchcraft will give you power over others, allow you to control objects, and fly around the room on your besom.
Here is a big one. Not all witches have the sight. Not all pagans have special gifts. Not all followers of the old ways are lucid when astral travelling. Not all people of the craft commune with spirits and see them in full light. Guess what? This is okay. There is a huge stigma attached to the inner circles that make many of the pagans feel pressured to see energy and feel it, that pressure you to be an expert in something, be different and be weird, be terrifying and be the oddest one in the group. The truth is that knowledge is power, but once you have learned up to a point in the craft or in your lineage, the spiritual guidance will sway you in two ways:
- You will realise your path is so ingrained in your life that you do not have to prove anything to anyone. You will be steadfast in your being and you will walk with tolerance, understanding and revel in the fact that you know that Wormwood, Mugwort, Peppermint and Vervain is an excellent recipe to open your third eye to see across the veil.
- You will realise that all your research and knowledge have not taught you to fly or control the mind of others. Your ego will take over, and like the Peruvian shamans warn, your ego will desire that power more than the love and acceptance that the gods have shown you. You will then begin to create a persona of fearful terror and spew lies of communing with dark spirits. Your own madness will eat you and you will confuse and terrify those that you meet.
It is either following the heart, or it is following the ego. There is a balance, and contrary to popular belief the ego is necessary, but it needs to be under control. There is no power in the faith, there is only power in the person. That power can be contorted when it is based on the physical materialistic plane, but when harnessed as a heart-centred force of spiritual growth and enlightenment, it can change the world, it can grow communities of kindness and it can bring happiness, joy, abundance and incredible beauty into your life. Make sure that your heart is your first magickal tool.