You Have Permission to be Witchy

All of us in the nontheist/SASS*/Atheopagan sphere start out having to contend with that pesky internal Critic Voice that says, as we begin to move out of our ordinary mental states and towards creating or participating in ritual, “THIS IS STUPID. YOU’RE MAKING A FOOL OF YOURSELF.”

For we are practical, rational folk, yes? We sift the world for evidence to make our determinations. So actions for no concretely definable reason become questionable at best. Ergo, the Voice.

Yes, that voice speaks JUST LIKE THE CHARACTER DEATH in the late lamented Sir Terry Pratchett’s novels, with as much authority and gravitas and certainty.

The difference between Death and your inner critic, though?

The critic lies. A lot.

In fact, most of what the critic says–though it may contain an irritating droplet of truth–is lies. It’s trying to keep you small in order to keep you safe, but…you don’t want to be small, do you?

Certainly not.

Ritual is a form of play–even when it’s solemn and earnest–and play is a deeply important thing in human experience. Playfulness fosters happiness and celebration. Playing together builds community with others of similar worldview and values. But we have been cudgeled throughout our upbringings with the Christian Overculture’s ideas of “putting away childish things” and “acting our age”.

It takes courage and effort to reclaim our childlike, wondering, enjoying-the-magic-of-living selves. So when you lay down that cloth and start to create a Focus, tell that nattering voice thanks, but no thanks: you would rather be silly than captive to a mentality that exalts suffering over joy.

It gets better over time. After all these years, I find it pretty easy–almost automatic–to enter the presence and glow of the Ritual State.

But if you are just starting out and can’t remember your birthright, let me spell it out:

By the authority vested in me by dint of being a human being,

Signed very cordially,

with love and kisses,

Mark.


*SASS: Skeptical, Atheist/Agnostic, Science-Seeking Pagans and witches.

6 thoughts on “You Have Permission to be Witchy

  1. Lori A. Mongillo

    This makes absolutely no sense at all. Being an atheist is being a total non-believer in supernatural anything. You can go to your local community theater and get the same effect of “Play”. Immersing ones self in a FALSE FORM of connecting to something greater, is “Ignoring TRUTH because I like witchy stuff”. Instead of pseudoscience, we have pseudo-witches. Really? There are so many other ways to express ones need to “Play” than to practice pseudo-witchcraft.

    Like

    1. With all due respect, you’re missing the point. Being spiritual/religious or atheist/non-believer is not always black and white. There can be a whole lot of grey in between. Speaking for myself, I KNOW that there’s no gods to care if I leave an offering of nuts and seeds out in nature, or if I light that candle in memory of a loved one that passed away. There’s no gods to hear when I whisper that silent “prayer” of thanks when someone I love gets out of surgery and will make a full recovery. These and other rituals can give peace, comfort or are just plain fun to do. And yes, the benefits of ritual is backed up by science (I don’t have the link at hand, but Scientific American has an article called “Why Rituals Work” that can be a good starting point to learn more. There’s a subreddit for SASS Witches (thanks for the mention, Mark!) that is another excellent resource).

      I understand that this approach is not your thing, and that’s perfectly fine. But for a lot of us, it works. And that’s enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Top Ten from 2021 – Atheopaganism

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