The Darkness in Witchcraft

imagesIn my first post on this blog I detailed my shift toward a more gothic lifestyle and mindset. I mentioned the fact that embracing the shadow side of life helps temper my own fight against depression. While I feel strongly about this shift, there still is a hippie aspect to my life. I have carved out a simpler lifestyle, I’m a barefoot kind of gothic witch, and I still am committed as ever to leading a green lifestyle.

I don’t think I’m alone in balancing the light/darkness aspects when it comes to being a witch. When I came to the path, I was highly influenced by Scott Cunningham’s view of witchcraft. It harkened back to my youth as a hippie kid, growing up in the 1970’s.

As I became more experienced as a witch and as time went on, I found myself in the presence of lots of people in the goth subculture. There is a mysterious darkness to witchcraft that is undeniable. It is inherent in the mythology and secretive nature of the Craft. While Cunningham’s style is a rather sunny view, a whole lot of witchcraft is performed at night. We are drawn to the night sky. Our workings are often dictated by the phases of the moon. The new moon and the full moon are each powerful in their own way.

Around year 3 of my witchcraft journey, I realized I had quite a bit in common with those in the goth community. I found myself drawn in, embracing even more aspects of that subculture. My taste in art, music, decor, lifestyle choices, and literature all swung heavily toward a gothic tone, and I found myself letting go of societal norms, while not concerning myself as to what other thought about it. It was emotionally freeing.

A few years ago, I became interested in living an even simpler lifestyle than I already had carved out. I began creating my own cleaning and personal care products, and I embraced minimalism even more than I had before. This brought out a very hippie vibe, and I felt like I needed to move in that hippie direction. What I didn’t realize was that in trying to live that lighter, more airy mindset, I was working harder at keeping my depression at bay. Finally, it culminated in destroying a blog that I had worked so hard on, for almost a year.

Upon reflection, I decided that while a goth mindset focuses on the darker aspects of life, that embracement of the darkness works better at controlling my depression. By not constantly (what I call) slaying the depression dragon, trying to keep it at bay, but by accepting its’ darkness, and reveling in it, the emotional toll is not so devastating.

I do think that many witches have depression or anxiety issues. Many have communicated that fact with me, and I’m pretty good at spotting others in the same boat as I. While certainly not all witches are goth, I think there is something comforting, something that draws these fellow magickal travelers to the dark imagery, the secretive nature, and the non-conformist path of witchcraft.¬†One need only to Google “witchcraft images,” and you will see the popularity of the more gothic appeal of the Craft.

I think of this as part 2 of my initial post. A further explanation for the shift (back) in my path, and to hopefully demonstrate that A) I’m not alone, and B) this is about embracing darkness as something positive, not something bad or evil. Sometimes our art may come across as a bit evil (see above), but it often just there for the same reason there are horror movies. And we each have a different reason for loving those.

 

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Author: Patchouli Autumn

Adult male Pagan, witch, psi vampire. I'm letting the cat out of the bag.

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