Witch Tip--Unpleasant Truths: Our Community's Mental Health Issues

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I realize that this is a difficult topic to breach for anyone, let alone the magical community where so many of us found acceptance after being shunned by the world outside.  To many, many practitioners, this is a safe and comforting place where we can be ourselves without judgment.


On the mundane side of things is the simple fact that a dangerous number of individuals with mental health issues are not coming forward or being properly diagnosed.  The stigma of needing help to balance one's mental landscape is too great for a lot of people to bear, so they hide their issues as best they can.  Others cannot afford doctors and treatment.  Still more have been on medication in the past and have chosen to go unmedicated for as long as possible, believing the drugs change them and that without such "unnatural" help, they are, in fact, their true selves.

The occult is all about seeing the world with an inner eye, delving boldly into the underlying beauty and terror of the universe, reaching for the pinnacle of human understanding.  But what if what you're seeing is really just a dangerous hallucination?  What if those guiding omens were delusion?  How can you tell if you are indeed powerful and important or just experiencing symptoms of unaddressed inner turmoil?

It's been my experience that the magical world contains a stunning number of people with Bi-polar Disorder, and of those I've met, none were currently on their medication.  They said that the doctors gave them drugs to keep them from being creative, from having visions, and to stifle their magic.  You can imagine how difficult it was to come up with a response that wouldn't be pushed aside as just more of the same "mundane" thinking they believed was ruining witchcraft.

But that isn't witchcraft, people, it's dangerous.  Magic is something you can and should do with all your wits about you.  You don't need to have mental imbalances to see visions or speak with spirits.  In fact, I'd prefer if that were the case.

Here's a little story.  Many years ago, I met a young man--in a very mundane way--while grocery shopping.  He, amazingly, picked me out immediately as a witch.  I wasn't wearing anything that would make the average person suppose it, but somehow he figured me out.  He was eccentric, but I didn't see any harm in him while he talked rapidly and happily about his journeys into spirit conjuration.  I replied with more reserve than him, but didn't try to calm his fervor.  After all, he was in his early 20's and thrilled to meet another practitioner.  Who wouldn't throw caution to the wind and share magical experiences with abandon?  I gave him my phone number so we could talk more later.

You might suppose that giving him my number was the mistake.  In fact, letting him carry on was probably where I should have corrected myself.  Because I gave him the unspoken acceptance of the tales he spun in person, on the phone he opened up even further.  Demons regularly visited him.  He once killed a Goddess to punish a former friend.  His past life continually intruded on his current life, causing black outs and showing him long periods of that time in a dreamlike state.  The Devil himself wanted to talk to him.  And after all that, he needed me to ask around the Catholic church for any priests available for performing an exorcism on him.  

All of this was amusing at first but when put together, it became troubling, then terrifying.  He told me finally about the meds and how he only pretends to take them.  He was diagnosed as Bi-polar, but he knew better; he was special and would someday be the savior of the world.  I didn't believe he was Bi-polar, either--it looked much more like Schizophrenia.  I ran.

After that, I no longer answered the phone and he eventually stopped calling.  But what if he had known where I lived?  What if we were related or worked together?  To what extent could these delusions have taken him, a vain but seemingly unprepared actor in a movie under someone else's direction?  At what point would the average person have shut this down, and how much sooner than an occultist?

I'm no stranger to interesting magical tales.  I've listen with rapt attention to the conjurations of others, witnessed--and personally experienced--powerful deity possessions, made incredible things happen with spells.  I've seen with my own eyes fairies, sprites, and gnomes with others present to verify it.  So I know what it's like to see and do things that no one else would get.  But we're talking about something altogether different here.

This is the fatal flaw in the magical community; just because someone tells rich and detailed stories about their magical work doesn't make them true.  In our eagerness to be accepting and non-judgmental, we let in dangerous thinking without even a moment's hesitation.  We say "everyone's experience is different" rather than identifying patterns and beliefs that could point to mental problems.  We don't want to be like other groups, so we bring in all those who were both unjustly and justly removed from them.

If you know someone who seems a little off, do some research into the most common types of mental illness.  When they talk, stick to the big picture and stop them from trying to make their delusions real for you.  This sounds mean, but it could cost you something far worse than your time.  

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

u know me of not of big words, just simple in words and thoughts. given too much time on our hands, seem to turn our guardians into demons. dreams into nightmares. life into death. i know.....i am strange. lol

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About Me

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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. 








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