When Witches Share, How Much is Too Much?

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

So I meet a witch and we begin to engage in that most sacred of magical rituals, the Intellect Dance. Who knows more? Who's read more books? What spells have you cast? What was your most impressive success?

We weave around each other offering tiny boasts, sprinkling the exchange with quizzes and minor tricks.

And in the midst of this--especially when it's painfully obvious that there's no need for it--I offer up too much information.  I say something that gives away what took me years to discover. Or maybe I reveal my ignorance of a popular practice. Or brag that my collection contains illegal items and then spend the rest of our conversation wondering if I can trust you to keep that to yourself.

Then there are the times I've found a conversant who thrills at the topic of magic but has very little knowledge of it. I should take it slow, lay out something soft and easy to digest, but instead, my excitement overrides my judgement and suddenly I'm chatting about my history with coercive love spells. Or I launch into a passionate rant about the value of demonic evocations. Or gossip about the trouble I've had with covenmates in the past.

Yep, I've said too much again.

As you know, I'm a firm believer that all practitioners, as to their desire, should be honest with themselves and others. We have the right to openly discuss our knowledge, abilities, and practices on the same level as any other person, and to use our magic in whatever way we choose. That being said, there is a definite point when things can go too far and that which should have been better guarded is allowed to land in front of those utterly unprepared to receive it. The one hurt by a reveal like this could be either party, or both.

So the question becomes, is there is a limit and, if so, can it be perfectly predicted?  Is there a way to prevent spilling secrets to those with whom we don't share a magical intimacy?

To this end I've devised a simple method--SCRIBE

It's based on the idea that our words should be worthy of preservation. If they're not, they shouldn't be shared at all. Before you open your big fat mouth, consider the following:




Does this information fit this time and place? Should I save it for a more private occasion? Would it be best shared after I've gotten to know this person better?


Does this information fit the current conversation? Am I rerouting its direction just to talk about witchcraft?


Is this a conversation? Will the other person have anything to add to this topic?


If I consider this informative, has this person expressed interest or am I just spouting facts?


Do I have already in mind the best way to express this concept to this person? Am I able to explain it without slowing down the give-and-take of our conversation?


(As honest as you can) Is this just bragging? What do I hope to gain by sharing this?

Some Life Experience

As often happens to those of us who inhabit a counterculture, I've been faced with circumstances that give me only a moment's pause to consider whether or not to open up to a certain person about my occult life. Sometimes it has proven to be the wisest choice.

An example that I often return to is a story that Silver RavenWolf told in her book "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" wherein she told a job interviewer that she was a witch--before she even got the job. That, to me, is the absolute wrong time, wrong person, wrong place kind of scenario. How many of the SCRIBE items did she forget to check before she came out with this information?  
I can compare that incident to one of my own. I was meeting with our son's preschool teacher for the first time to sign papers, learn about the schedule and whatnot, when he asked if there was anything else about our son that he should know. After giving the idea a quick inspection, I decided to share that our family is Pagan and because our son has been surrounded by it since birth and we haven't hid the fact, the teachers would probably hear about holidays, traditions, and other practices that were unfamiliar.
This was my heads-up and I said so right away. I knew the teacher would be uncomfortable as soon as I said it (and he was), because it is illegal for him to bring up religion as part of a screening process, but I wanted him to know so that he wouldn't be surprised at anything our chatty 4 year old said. That, to me, was the right time, right person, right place.
You, of course, will have to decide for yourself.

Keeping Perspective

Magic is a big, emotional topic and it seems that everyone--even non-practitioners--have big, emotional opinions about it. Keep this in mind when you're talking to others, especially if you stray into the more controversial corners.  If you keep facts clearly separate from opinions, maintain a strong take-away message, and hold onto a "quick escape" statement in case you need to wrap things up quickly (especially if the other person is getting upset at your choice of discussion), and all will be well.

Remember that sharing of all kinds is about letting people in on the real you. This means that anyone from your sister to the coworker you've been hanging out with after work can hear about this part of your life and it isn't going to ruin everything. Naturally, too, other witches should hear about your take on magic.  The secretive nature of the occult really does us a disservice when we try to hide from fellow practitioners.

So go on--share! But do it like all your magic: with care, skill, and no more than is required.

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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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