What It Means to be a Witch
A Conversation with Rowan Foxx
Crones with sandpaper skin and mossy cottages that house breadcrumb incantations and sinister intent is a common image that fills our minds with dreadful misunderstanding when we hear words like “witches” or “magic.” Cauldrons boiling over with toad’s tongues and cackling incomprehensible mantras to evil gods and goddesses frighten our children and capture our wallets as we stuff our fear-puckered faces with salty popcorn in anticipation of what the wicked witch might do next.
Indigenous cultures throughout history have communed with natural energies, spirit realms and the interconnected web—consider it the matrix—of life itself; yet, we have allowed ourselves to become spiritually ignorant as we put more focus on our egoic understanding of the physical world and lost touch with our ability to sense into the invisible.
Wicca is an ancient, earth-based practice that involves bridging the visible with the invisible through practicing the art of magic. Magic is within us and all around us. It is in the air we breathe and the water that fills our skin with vitality. Magic is in the law of attraction and the synchronicities that reveal themselves time and time again through numerology, astrology and totem guides.
To shed light on this ancient practice, I had the privilege of sitting down with Rowan Foxx Giles, a practicing solitary witch whose perspective on Wicca opened me up to the ways in which many of us are practicing magic unconsciously in our daily lives, and provided me with amazing insight in terms of learning how to practice magic with conscious intent and curiosity, instead of fear.
When the Witch’s Blood Stirs
The moon was full as it stirred the tides in her blood. The Samhain was also in full-effect, though at the time it was only a “fun” holiday called Halloween. Rowan was 7 years old when she felt the power of the Samhain (pronounced SAH-win), but it was this particular evening that began her journey toward the practice of wicca and the magic therein.
“When the witch’s blood stirs, it calls to you,” Rowan said. As this calling began to howl within her like the wolves crying out to their lover in the face of the moon, she felt enthralled by the energy of the holiday that reached to her from beyond the veil. This would set in motion a series of unanswered questions that would inevitably propel her toward her purpose with great curiosity and fervor.
At the age of 20, she stepped onto the path of being a witch with a self-dedication and self-initiation with a close friend in the warm embrace of Nature. When it comes to communing with elementals and the energies of the natural world, nature is the place where these energies are the most potent. If you don’t believe me, then go to the Amazon Rainforest where Shamanism is still actively practiced by tribes and then tell me you don’t feel the unprecedented power of the jungle.
Stepping onto the path of Wicca simply involves introducing oneself to the other multidimensional beings and elementals that lie beyond in the invisible spectrum of existence in a ceremonial and ritualistic way. When she did this, she could feel a celebration of her awakening to her power as a communicator and quantum explorer.
What Is Wicca?
Wicca, at its core, is about connection. It is about connection to the world all around us, as well as the invisible world, and co-creating with both of those worlds consciously in our lives. As I mentioned earlier, Wicca is an earth-based religion that is rooted in pagan practices that date back before Christianity. Its foundation is the understanding that what we do in this realm affects all other realms, and as such, it is all about building relationships upon the bedrock of respect for existence and all of its moving pieces.
According to Rowan, we are all here to clear our karma, as well as the karma of our ancestral and spiritual lineages that we have been a part of before. It is with this underlying purpose to our being here, as well as our purpose of experiencing the world and all of existence in its multidimensional glory, that we can begin to truly feel ourselves as essential in this interconnected web of energy and relationship.
Earth; Midgard; Middle Earth; is the altar, the crucible, and the cauldron of change. It is the playground where we play with free will as sovereign beings and explore the vast possibilities of life. Wicca is a practice that honors this truth in that it is about building and upholding a healthy relationship with the very fabric of life itself. Whether it is the physical world or the world beyond illusions, it is about respect and relationship with all the aspects of existence; light and dark, good and evil, love and fear.
A Magical World
As I previously mentioned, all of us are practicing magic in every waking moment. It’s just that many of us are unaware that we are doing it. I can certainly speak for myself in saying that when I have researched magic or heard stories of Ouija boards and other ways of communing with beings in the nether realm, I felt fear about attracting negative energies. Rowan mentions that many people feel this way, and that most people have the wrong idea about Black Magic, as it isn’t just something you can slip into.
What makes Black Magic black is the intent behind it and the purpose it is used for. For instance, if one were to call on dark energies for the sake of personal gain at the expense of others, that would be considered black magic. Hence, it is a choice.
Dark Magic, while often confused with Black Magic, is not an evil or harmful thing. When we understand the totality of the universe and ourselves, we realize that we are composed of both light and dark, night and day, beginning and end. Dark magic entails calling on darker energies and deities to assist and empower us in times of great need. For instance, perhaps in ancient times you would call on dark gods and goddesses to conjure up a storm to thwart off invaders, or perhaps you are calling on the strength of a powerful animal spirit to give you strength and courage in the face of a detrimental situation. Dark magic and dark energy has its place in our world when it is used with conscious application and pure intent to protect the things we love.
Light Magic, as you can probably guess, is using its power for good. Whether that be calling on the rains to ensure a plentiful harvest, health for one’s loved ones, or safe travels, light magic is something that many of us do regardless of what faiths we subscribe to. Through prayer, meditation, and other conscious forms of calling on the unseen to protect and nurture the seen, we are all practitioners of magic in our own ways.
How Does Magic Work?
Magic requires three things in order to work: belief, emotion, and ritualistic practice.
Belief is simple: if you believe that the magic is real with every ounce of your being and are opening yourself to it, then it becomes real. We have been trained to believe that only that which we see is real, not paying any mind to our extrasensory perception or that which lies beyond this three-dimensional world.
Emotion is key to any sort of magic practice or manifestation. As such, if you can feel what you are calling on in the present moment with full lucidity, then you have successfully opened yourself up to the alternate reality which you desire to create.
Ritualistic practice is the bridge between the first two components, as it pulls the practitioner into their body with full awareness. This is where the conversation happens between the witch (or warlock) and the universe.
Advice for Novice Witches
Begin by simply taking it all in. Read as much literature on the practice and history of it as you can and see what areas pull you in. Meditate in nature and pay attention to which power animals and guides show up for you. These are but a few ways that Rowan recommended for a new witch to dip their toes in the magical waters of Wicca to start finding their own path.
Wicca entails a lot of exploration. So it should be an experience that connects you more deeply with yourself, as well as the outside world. Being an eclectic witch is a great way to start, as it allows you to find what your calling is. Once you feel that your purpose and calling has revealed itself, seek out a mentor or teacher to assist you in your growth and expand your practice even more.
Working with the ‘Wheel of the Year’ is also a wonderful way to bring oneself closer to the way of the witch. It helps you to tune your body, mind and soul to the changes of the seasons and operate more closely with the moon cycles, which are also very important to practicing Wicca and being in communion with the other realms of existence.
When I asked Rowan, “If I could snap my fingers right now and grant you one wish, what would it be?” She gave me a wonderful answer. “I would like to continue to lead a charmed life, and to share it with others. I’m all about the magic.”
So, take it from Rowan. Magic is very real, and Wicca is one of many ancient art forms in which one can practice it and become more in-tune with the everpresent energies that coexist with us in this space of existence. What is there to really fear apart from fear itself? In the end, it is all you; only you can only experience it one at a time.
I’ll send you off with this: if magic is essentially the force, then will you choose the path of the Jedi, or the Sith? The unfolding of your path is up to you.