One of the things I love most about witchcraft is the ability to focus my magickal intentions in the directions I choose; in the manner I choose to focus them. Instead of being instructed upon what should be important to me based on an ancient tome or through an intermediary speaking for some deity that I may or may not agree with. In witchcraft, I can base my choices on that which calls to my soul.
For example, I choose to have an intimate focus on nature, as many witches do. From the witches I have met, most seem to be very involved in ecological movements, alternative energy movements, non-GMO and organic movements, etc. Even more witches focus on the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” movements, which are sweeping the world, currently. I suspect this is because witches acknowledge that nature knows more about living and creation than humankind ever will.
As a witch, I enjoy learning more about ways to reduce my overall footprint in harmful ways and grow my knowledge of how to influence, positively, the world around me. I enjoy finding new uses for old items. I thrive on trying to reduce our families’ consumerism to its lowest point and recycle everything possible. I use the Freecycle website to give away items we do not need and gather those we do. We plant food to eat, we make compost for the veggie, fruit and flower beds, we ration our water beyond what is asked of us and use 100% renewable wind power for our home. As a witchcraft based family, we do all we can think of to reduce our damage and increase our contributions to the earth.
I know that many people from all lifestyles are doing these same things. Blogs, Pinterest pages, FaceBook pages, and more abound on how to make ourselves more nature friendly. However, as a whole I see the pagans, witches, LHPs, Eternalists, Druids, etc. heading up the charge to improve the ways in which we interact with the world around us. This is not a coincidence.
I remember talking to different preachers, elders, and deacons in the religious system I was raised in as we traveled church to church. My father, the itinerant preacher, was, quite simply, mortified when I would discuss the idea that hunting animals for sport was evil, the possibilities that humankind was having a negative impact on the earth’s climate, that we should stop polluting the world because it was just wrong to pollute, in general. I will never forget the reasoning of these men as they quoted Genesis to me:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Every time I heard this, I would ask, “But if he gave it to us as a gift, aren’t we supposed to honor it by taking care of it instead of polluting it and hunting animals and killing them because some people think it is fun to kill?”
Thus began the inevitable “after church sermons” as I came to know them. Instruction on how because the earth was given to us, we can do as we like and nothing will go wrong, because it was a gift to us from God, Himself. Therefore, we could kill as much as we wanted and pollute as much as we wanted because our Christian God was a powerful God and he would take care of us, regardless. This was usually about the time that I would bring up the extinction of some animals, which had already occurred, the Clean Air Act, which was exactly one year younger than I was, the Clean Water Act, which was in the news a great deal due to the on-going “Love Canal” scandals. The proverbially “poo” would hit the fan, dad would bundle me to the car and off we drove.
There was many a Sunday that I was made to regret opening my mouth. Whether in the car ride home or after arriving home, but most often, both. Yet, almost thirty-five years later, I am still asking these questions when right-wing Christians feel it necessary to challenge my choice of spiritual path to ask me what I have against their religion. Sadly, the answer has not actually changed in the intervening decades. The only good news is that more and more young Christians are starting to come around. More of them are starting to ask the same questions I asked in my youth as a Christian.
I wonder… does this mean that there is hope that the religion is finally adapting and growing based on current knowledge? After all, if the Pope, himself, is calling for humans to be “Custodians of Creation” then isn’t that a massive step in the right direction?