Let's Talk About: Being Witchy with Mundane People

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

It's been overstated how little occultists are interested in converting others and understated how important personal expression really is.  Speaking our minds and trying to modify those of others are not the same thing.

It's true, generally magic users don't dream of everyone in the world becoming one too.  And if they did, we really wouldn't care; we're very much a "to each his own" crowd.  However, being this disconnected has created another problem, an assumption that magic folk shouldn't--or can't--talk about their practice with outsiders.  I'd like to say right away that this isn't so, and may even be hindering your progress.

My early years as a practitioner were fun for me because I didn't have any limits.  I kept staunch secrecy (even to the guy I was dating at the time who was a dabbler and very open about it!) so no one questioned me--my decisions, the books I chose to read, the spells I cast, all of it was up to my own inspiration.  No one condemned me.

But that meant that no one challenged me, either.

No one made me examine those decisions and really work through the processes in my head.  I was happy not to have anyone's influence, but it would have been helpful to have their insight.

And then there was the time, many years later, when I was standing among a group of new acquaintances--who did not yet know I practiced--as they bonded over their mutual distaste for a co-worker who was Wiccan.  Their mockery of him was based on his general awkwardness coupled with what little they knew of his beliefs.  It displayed more about them being pointlessly aggressive and elitist than showing anything negative about Wicca.  That could have been a perfect time for me to chime in and clear up some misconceptions, as well as shut down what could be considered hate speech.

But I was not in a position that I felt was strong enough to speak up.  When the perfect moment had passed, I realized how important a moment it was, not because I needed to correct these women or because I wanted to make the guy better liked, but because we deserve a strong defense.

As you can see, I completely understand the kinds of thoughts that prevent the magical community from being open to outsider discussions.  Besides the assumption that we should remain an insular group, there are some really unappealing images that many of us fear we project when speaking up.  Rather than try to dissuade you from thinking that way, let's bring those images out in the light.

Street Corner Preacher

You open your mouth to spread a bit of enlightenment but in your head you must certainly be screaming through a bullhorn and wearing a sandwich sign.  It's okay, you're (probably) not actually doing that.

Combat it with:

  • Short, clear statements
  • Terms we all understand--don't say things like "paradigm shift" 
  • If you're asked a question, answer only that.  Don't complicate things

Rebellious Teen

Many of us started out our occult careers as teenagers (I certainly did), but that doesn't mean we want to be written off as bored and rejected kids who crave attention.   If that's not what you're doing, then don't let that be what you're saying.  

Combat it with:
  • Not trash talking other practises
  • Separate information--your viewpoint is important, just make sure you're clear about it being an opinion
  • Your message must be about what you do, not what others think of you

Flower Child

When you're the first actual spellcaster someone has met--and don't laugh, that has happened to me several times--you might be surprised to find out what they're expecting to see.  It's okay not to normalize witchcraft; it is indeed special and different.  Plus, you'll probably have no choice but to describe certain topics in a fanciful way, but that doesn't mean you'll lose cred doing so.

Combat it with:

  • Be authentic. Show the side of your personality that comes out most with magic
  • Remember how it felt when this was new to you and speak in a way that is reminiscent of that
  • Be descriptive, liken one thing to another, explain and express.  Paint an emotional picture.  It's okay to wax a bit poetic if the conversation is going deep
  • Project a balanced, realistic image.  Magic doesn't send you off into other realms; it's for the here and now

The Pretentious Nonconformist

I know, there's a bit of pretention that will probably come out around some folks no matter what you do to fight it.  Any time I find myself caught in conversation with someone who says "Yuck!  I hate to read!" or "When I'm not at work, I pretty much just watch tv until it's time to go back to work," unless I catch myself I feel my eyes start to roll and a give snobby sniff from my upturned nose.  We all have our limits.

But you're not really a snob and neither am I.  I think that most of us do our best to find a point of connection with others, and when talking about something that is so close to our hearts, maybe we put even more into that connection.

Combat it with:

  • Focus on the personal stories.  It's these things that are most interesting to outsiders and what makes your viewpoints the most human
  • Don't fight against pop culture references.  There are little pieces of what we do in familiar things like Harry Potter and Charmed.  Talk about what's real and what's inspirational; they know you don't actually ride a broom
  • Remember to note the little things that non-practitioners can identify with: mementos from loved ones as protective objects, actions and circumstances that bring good luck, even dream interpretation
  • Share your experiences as casually as others do.  If you're asked what you did over the weekend and you spent it at a festival or celebrated the Sabbat, say that.  It's just another part of who you are.  If they want to know more, they'll ask; if not, they'll move on

We can be as open about our beliefs and practices as anyone else.  We don't have to fear appearing like a bland stereotype when the truth is so rich and complex.  When we open up we give the people in our lives a glimpse of what is most important to us, but we also open them up for tolerance and understanding in a corner of society that easily suffers from a lack of both.  All it takes for outsiders to see it is a willingness to share one little piece at a time.


Images from:


Post a Comment

About Me

My photo

My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive