Tag Archives: rewilding

To Be a Witch: A Response Post Pt. II

So Midnight and I were discussing further the Re-wilding Witchcraft article and certain points that the author had made in regards to the response (as witches) to the coming doom of mankind. Regarding that, and also spurred by a comment made by one of our readers on that particular post, we decided to talk about our thoughts and musings in a “part II” blogpost, and on (as I affectionately call it), being a ‘wyldling witch’. Please forgive any repeats in what you read below, we both speak on similar topics and I couldn’t find a way to blend both of our thoughts into one so I left them separate.

Essentially, right now… we’re being lied to. Hardcore. We’re being spoon-fed everything and doused in fluoride to keep us complacent in front of our glowy movie boxes and sipping carbonated beverages and espressos while the world around us is falling to pieces. This is the end for us, plain and simple. It is time to acknowledge that there is no turning back for us as a species. Hell, there’s no turning back for a lot of things… we’ve damn near reached Peak Soil and Peak Oil, the oceans are on their way out, thousands upon thousands of other species are going extinct each day… Some of us will survive and live on, but our legacy is coming to an end. There is no stopping it at this point. Those of us who take the time NOW to learn the ways of their local wilds, local edibles and poisons and medicines, the tracking of game and divining of bird flight and weather prediction, of REAL WILD WITCHCRAFT, of communing with the land wrights and the Otherworld….. and teaching all of that to our children…. those few will be the ones who survive. The rest will be overcome, chained, and eventually annihilated, totally oblivious to the world burning outside of their A/C-cooled cookie-cutter homes. And they will be lost to oblivion. And the world will go on without us.

by Margaret Seidler on DeviantArt
by Margaret Seidler on DeviantArt

Isáine:
I do think that there are multiple aspects that need to be recognized and cultivated here. I agree with the Re-wilding Witchcraft article’s author in his talking about witches rising up, resuming our old ‘face’ so to speak, and re-learning and creating the death-rights and things like that. Bringing back ceremony in all aspects of birth, life, and death. Essentially I think he was getting at this: make peace with the fact that death is imminent. Annihilation is upon us. Get to know death, and yet LIVE. Work with the spirits, work with the land. Work with yourself and your family. I was talking with Midnight about this and we feel like those who will survive will be those who do these things and learn to re-wild themselves and re-wild their witchcraft, then teach their children those skills-– how to make a snare and butcher meat, how to wildcraft herbs and the knowledge of herbalism– particularly for your *local* flora.. this is key here… How to live off the land and be a part of the land, and also to be a part of the spirit world and know how to work with spirits, particularly– as Sarah Lawless puts it– working in the realm of bioregional animism (working with the spirits of your locale, the ‘Genius Loci’).

Paganism is a religion or spirituality (however you look at it) that is broad-reaching, but generally claims to be in some form or another, earth-worshiping. But are we really? Witchcraft and paganism are dark and old, like the deep earth where the roots and bones are lying. Magic comes from the earth, and the Otherworld(s), and from within ourselves. But many of those who would use the title “pagan” and “witch” know very little, truly, of the earth or of the other side of the Veil. We have gouged out our Seeing Eyes ourselves, clipped our own wings and talons and bleached our fields (spiritually and physically speaking) infertile. We worship alien gods, shun the Ancestors and ignore the herbal medicine that is right outside our kitchen door (or worse yet, spray those healing, magical dandelions with bee-killing, water-poisoning Roundup)… We claim to love the Earth Mother and yet we stick our heads into the sand when some seemingly crack-pot conspiracy theorist hippy starts yelling from the rooftops about the state of the world and our part in its undoing. We have forgotten how to make offerings, we have forgotten what a sacrifice really meant to those who came before us– the continuation of a clan line, the feeding of your people from fertile fields and woods, the promise of the sun’s return, survival of mother and babe during childbirth– the blessings from those who had gone before upon those who now live. Life for life, blood for blood. These are the kinds of things that we need to bring back into our practice, into our witchcraft and every-day lives.

    Soon the Earth will take her sacrifice by force, and it will be our blood and bones in the dirt.

from edies.farm/tag/rewilding/
from edies.farm/tag/rewilding/

Midnight:
I think when looking at something of this scale, what’s really important is that we do SOMETHING. We have seen the truth of things, ignorance should never have been an excuse but now it isn’t even an option. Willful blindness is evaporating like so much mist. Our generation is faced with a hard reality now. Perhaps not in our lifetimes but in our children’s and certainly in our children’s children’s, mankind will face an extinction level event. Our situation isn’t a question of rethinking our resource management anymore, now its a base question of survival.
Not survival as individuals, but our survival as a species is in question. We have been at war with the earth. We have poisoned tomorrow’s water to drink today. We have killed and cut and maimed the land in our efforts to further progress.

Now as the world is want to do, a balance will reassert itself. If we do nothing then it will do something, by obliterating us. I think that the author’s message was that we need to first find each other, then reestablish our connection to nature. We need to re-immerse ourselves in it, re-wild ourselves and our magic. Our best chance of survival in any significant way is to be a part of nature, not apart from it. To do this we have to strip away many of the fineries we have donned to fit in amongst and be accepted by the other “recognized and established” religions and modern society as a whole. ( I’m saying all of this as blanket statements with no distinctions between craft or sects because in every aspect I am trying to include all of us… any distinctions we may feel or value between us are irrelevant. To any outsider looking in they see only witches, and in the face of what we are looking at dealing with, any differences are irrelevant in the face of what we all need to become. ) We need to return to being the mediums between this world and the Others. That means knowing death, knowing the wild places, knowing the spirits and how to speak to them, how to garner their blessings and how to live with the wild world. We need to re-synch with our local wilds, learn (y)our sacred places, learn (y)our magical times– not by a book but by living it and feeling it. More importantly still, we need to know how to pass this knowledge on to others, and we need to share it with our children so that they, and their grandchildren, have a chance at surviving.

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Our “Part III” post will be a recap and further suggestions, as well as some resources on how to re-wild yourself, re-wild your witchcraft, and be a “Wyldling Witch”. We would love to hear your thoughts and any input, and keep this discussion going and the dialogue open. Feel free to comment below, or e-mail us at thetwistedtree.shoppe@gmail.com

oldreligion

To Be a Witch: A Response Post Pt. I

Tar Pit #3

How tame we have become. How polite about our witchcraft. In our desire to harm none we have become harmless.

Truth speaks, uttered forth, and realization hits. My stomach tightens and my jaw clenches.

I will not be part of this process, because to do so is to be complicit with the very forces that are destroying all life on earth. It is time for Witchcraft not to choose, but to remember which side it is on in this struggle.

A fire burns deep in my belly and my throat tenses. Again, realization hits. We have given up everything– our roots, our truth, our power. We have disempowered, hell even dismembered ourselves in an attempt to be accepted by the masses. I chuckle, a bitterness coating my tongue, as I remember defending my new-found neopagan beliefs to my mother, insisting that it was no baby-devouring devil that I worshipped, but the green beauty of the earth and a loving goddess… Harm None, says the Rede… all the while the dripping of rooster blood onto black feathers and brick dust across the threshold called to me, but I turned away, heart aching, for fear of being outcast.

Ours is a practice grounded in the land, in the web of spirit relationships, in plant and insect and animal and bird. This is where we must orientate our actions, this is where our loyalty lies.

This is where our loyalties lie. With root and rock and stone and beast and bird… Months, no, a year or two ago I spoke of the duty, the responsibility, that we as pagans and witches have to defend the earth. How we claim to be “earth worshippers” and yet we can’t even be bothered to recycle. But I was dismissed, my words brushed aside. Offense was taken, my words faded into the wind that blows dry and crackling with toxic particles that are killing us as we breathe. But here– here I have found someone once more stepping up, and he is being held aloft, his words spread ’round. It’s about damn time someone starts listening to what some of us have been trying to say. But he has a much more terrible, a much more sinister picture he has painted. But it is one that is most needed, I feel, to jar us awake and knee-jerk us into a reaction if we are to save anything, much less ourselves.

No living system that can escape the fate which our actions have bound it to. We are living in the age of absolute ecological collapse. Habitat loss is occurring at a staggering rate, driven by what industrial civilisation has in common with the religions of the Book: the view that nature, like woman, is ours to dominate.

Terror and a deep sadness I have not felt in a long time weighs heavy in my heart. My chest tightens to match the restriction in my throat like a serpent squeezing tighter and tighter with its soft belly scales cold and smooth on my skin. This is what we have done. This is what we are doing. We are experiencing the largest extinction event in the history of the world– including that of the dinosaurs. And it is all. Our. Doing.

So what does our world look like?
Let me describe to you our power animals.

Wolf carcasses bored through with rifle point. Wet piles of Golden Eagles and Buzzards fed poisoned meat. Sharks long-lined and finned by fishing fleets that have butchered through the Tuna shoals we have fed to our plague of familiar cats. Barn Owls bleeding from their eyes and hæmorrhaging their guts down ghost white plumage due to the warfarin in rat poison. Toads and amphibian life mutating into monstrous pained death, whose gelatinous bones do not float back up the river.

Tears well in my eyes, I bite my lip. Read it again. And again. We say we are earth-worshippers, animists, druids, shamans, witches… Then BE that which you claim to be. DO that which you are meant to do– your charge stands before you cloaked in crude oil, belly filled with plastic. Your enemy stands before you, honey-tongued and black-suited with pen in hand as the resources of the world are signed away, as another 10,000 species become extinct. Your fellow pagans and witches are not the enemy. Nay, in a time as critical as this, there cannot be strife amongst allies.

Seawater so acidic that the shells of molluscs are dissolving. Oceans overfished to the extent that they resemble deserts, seabeds ploughed to destruction, micro-particles of indigestible plastic poisioning bird life and turtles, reefs bleached, plankton populations which are the building blocks of all ocean life disappearing…Water, I bid you hail and welcome.

All life comes from the sea, and without it, we would be nothing. Our tears as acidic as the waters that now cannot hold life nor oxygen enough for us to breathe. Our bones returned to a desert landscape no longer lush and green.

The Earth itself is exhausted, soil degradation endemic, washed with its nitrogen fertilisers into our already poisoned seas. The living Earth is fragile, it takes a hundred years to form a centimetre of topsoil. Farmland is a limited resource and eroding fast… Insect populations will soon not be able to pollinate the crops… The wheel of the year has been broken. Earth, I bid you hail and welcome.

People speak of peak oil, but no one is considering peak soil. Our foods are becoming less and less nutritious as our crops grow in pesticide-laden soil that has been stripped of its vitamins, minerals, bacteria, and fungi. Soon they simply will be unable to grow at all. Bees are dying at an unsustainable rate. Butterflies are disappearing. Amphibians are suffering horrible mutations and terrible deaths. We are growing as a population too fast to support it.

This is where you should feel the knot of fear in your stomach. The CO2 emissions that are wreaking havoc now are the result of what we burned forty years ago. Since then we have engaged in an orgy of denial and consumption. There is no tech-fix in the Anthropocene, the age of manmade climate change. Nothing has been done… Clearly we are being lied to. Clearly something is very wrong. Air and Fire, I bid you hail and welcome

My eyes close, pressing out tears that roll in rivulets down freckled cheeks, wetting lips that may never again feel truly fresh, clean, nontoxic water cross them. Lips that wish to spread wide and let forth a raging cry to the world. But none would hear me, it seems.

Some will be afraid of this knowledge; witchcraft should be liberated by it, liberated from petty concerns to pursue lives of beauty, liberated from the sleepwalking into death that our culture has made for us and our children. So I counsel, confront death. For witchcraft to be anything other than the empty escapism of the socially dysfunctional or nostalgia for bygone ages, it needs to feel the shape of its skull, venerate the dead and the sacred art of living and dying with meaning. We are all on the fierce path now.

Confront death, not by pretending that you have cut a deal with the Elder Vampire Gods invented for you by some internet Dark Witch fantasist in their over-priced books. Confront death, not by pretending that a beautiful Beltane ritual and a blue sky means everything will stay the same. Confront death, not by practicing the magic of ploughmen and wortcunners in your urban appartment believing that it makes you more authentic than any given Wiccan…

Witchcraft has never been about turning the other cheek to this. The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it… We need to offer the death rites in a culture that pretends that death can be cheated by buying the latest i-gadget or hooking ourselves up to plasma bags of young blood… If you are engaged in witchcraft I suggest that you work on the lament, on your death rites, your eschatology and on your spirit body. There are the examples to emulate of those sensitively lifting roadkill from the asphalt for burial or reanimation, tending the graves of their neglected local cemetery, lighting candles for their ancestors, remembering the lost children.

If you call yourself a Witch, if you call yourself a Pagan, an Animist, an Earth-Worshipper of any kind. Take a look around you. Open your eyes to the world. Open yourself to the Spiritworld. And step across. We need you for this fight. The earth needs you. Leave behind the capitalist materialism and constant hate between yourself and others– the continual attempt to separate us and keep us wary, untrusting, and isolated. Take up your stang, and step into the role you claim. Before it is too late. And, as a final note, I will leave you with one last quote. I encourage you vehemently to go and read the article quoted herein in its entirety. And read it again. And then, once you’ve read it (and hopefully read it at least twice) go and read a response article by Sarah Anne Lawless. And then, go be a fucking witch.

Witchcraft has never been passive in the face of power. Our witchcraft will not be silenced at a time such as this, it will not be polite. Witchcraft cannot retreat to the wilderness, because there is no exterior wilderness left; instead we need to exteriorize our inner wild. We need to wake up the animal in our bodies. This is witchcraft as contagion, as living flame. We witches must however reluctantly return the curse that has been laid upon us all.

manifesto_1

Quotes (and photos) taken from the article, “Rewilding Witchcraft” over at the Scarlet Imprint website. Please read it in its entirety here: http://scarletimprint.com/2014/06/rewilding-witchcraft/

Please read Sarah Lawless’ response post here: http://sarahannelawless.com/2014/07/01/the-witch-and-the-wild/