|Image c/o loulou Nash on pixabay
Witches and Gatekeepers: When Can Someone Call Themselves a Witch?
I belong to a Facebook Group called "Solitary, Eclectic, Kitchen Witch," and recently someone in the group posed a question about whether or when someone can call themselves a witch. Do you have to have all the bells and whistles, spells and brooms, etc etc and belong to a coven and get initiated?
My answer is: I think it depends on which witch is which 😆
Solitary, Eclectic PractionersBeing a solitary/ eclectic/ kitchen witch, by its very definition, means when you decide/realize you're a witch, you're a witch. And then you go along your path discovering what your eclectic, solitary, kitchen/ hearth/ home-based journey is about. So you join groups like the Solitary, Eclectic, Kitchen Witch group on Facebook, you read books, your explore Pinterest and websites, you go to witchy shops and events, you listen to podcasts, and you make connections as you come out of the broom closet and discover how to best live in and with your spiritual practice.
Other Types of NeopagansIf someone looks to be a specific kind of of neopagan, like Wiccan or Gardnerian witch, or pagan reconstructionist, well those factions require their members to go through more of a significant and specific gamut to be considered part of those groups.
Personally, that's not how I feel connected to this big umbrella term of neopagan spiritual practice. This is why I am a solitary practitioner pantheist neopagan who observes the Celtic Wheel of the Year. I don't usually use the term witch, but will as a shorthand, since solitary practitioner pantheist neopagan who observes the Celtic Wheel of the Year is kind of a mouthful.
Other Social Circles and the Issue of GatekeepingI'm a poet, too, and the same conversation comes up there. When does someone get to call themselves a poet? When they've been published? Gotten a writing degree? Give a reading? I don't think so. That's far too exclusionary to me. Like with identifying as a witch/neopagan, I like to say you are a poet if you've written poems and you want to call yourself a poet. The end.
Same with solitary witchitude. You want to say you are? You feel it inside you, emotionally? Then, you are. No wand, no crystals, no spellbooks required. Just declare it and go from there.