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Broken and Reborn Aflame: Acquiring the Power of Witchcraft

"Folklore and history present a very different concept of the witch than the one that began to take the world by storm a hundred years ago. To comprehend the heritage of power that witchcraft presents to us, we must explore the nature of the Other. How does the witch become the Other? What does it mean to be the Other? Most importantly, what does the relationship with the Other tell us about how the power of the witch is acquired and cultivated? This class explores these questions in consideration of the folklore and history surrounding how one acquires witchcraft and becomes a being who is both human and spirit."


Witch Fire. Witchblood. Witch Power. 

These three words can express the same, or closely intertwined concepts. They invite us to explore and understand the innate or inherent power of the witch and how that defines what the witch is. 

Broken and Reborn Aflame is a class which I offered at two conferences this year (2024). The class dealt with the concept of rebirth and how we can consider the difference between psycho-social change and intrinsic change. It explored traditional worldviews and concepts of the witch and witchcraft and how we can understand those worldviews and concepts today. We looked at how we can obtain that experience and power. Most importantly, we looked at this often overlooked element of magical experience which sets people apart and makes them different. 

The last part of this was very meaningful for me, because in both classes there were people who connected with this experience but who hadn't had a context in which to feel like there were others who understood or who could give them words to describe and understand it. 

People often push back against the idea of witchblood, but it's a real and meaningful concept that has actual effects on people's lives and experiences. It's also a concept that people can reach towards and obtain if they don't have it already. 

While it's a concept I've talked about a lot, these classes help bring a lot of this thinking and the ideas around it together into one fluid space that will help people really grasp it. 

My experience presenting this differed at each conference. While it's the same presentation drawn from the same notes, the two presentations are significantly different. 

At ConVocation, it was a pretty straight presentation. There wasn't a lot of interaction, and I was pretty settled into the presentation, having just polished the notes the night before. So you get a history focused, folklore focused, clear and ordered presentation that dives into the intended elements. It covers more of the ideas about how acquiring witch power works as well. 

At Sacred Space, it was my second time presenting this presentation. The notes weren't as fresh and I was pretty comfortable with the subject, so I spoke a little more freely and departed from the notes more. The group was also larger, some participants were familiar with me. So there was more conversation, more exchange and discussion. We got to talk more about experience and ideas and perspectives of people engaging these ideas, but departed more from the details of how people acquire the power. 

The two versions of the presentation bring different energy, different focus, and each add their own elements to exploring the idea. 

You can listen to one or the other, but you might get something from listening to both. There are a few points where some significantly different things are discussed. In fact, after about the first ten to fifteen minutes there are some significant differences between the two.

ConVocation 2024 - Broken and Reborn Aflame

Sacred Space 2024 - Broken and Reborn Aflame

If you're interested in more about these ideas and my views on witches, here are some other examples of me discussing this topic. 

Chilling Adventures: Witchcraft...The Devil...Fact or Fiction - a class I taught at William Blake Lodge available for you to listen to for free.

Some Thoughts on Witchpower - a blog post reflecting on witch power and the witch nature inspired by silly comments in a Facebook Forum that came in response to a great quote from a book.

In a Word? A Witch - a blog post from 2016, one of my early attempts to explain my concept of historical or hereditary witchcraft as opposed to more modern uses of the term. As witchcraft has a confrontational or antagonistic component, these blog posts on the subject have that nature as well. 

The Witch Stands in Power - a blog post from 2023. I almost didn't include this. When it was originally posted it was part of a discussion happening over a handful of blogs. A handful of people wanted to stir drama and pointed to an argument that wasn't actually happening between the bloggers. Some misandrists suggested we couldn't discuss witchcraft because we were men. Some erroneously, and hurtfully, claimed it was a bunch of folks who weren't witches saying what witches are. Ironically, for as much as people complained about the posts being people telling witches how they had to act to be post was entirely about how power defines a witch and the witch can do whatever they want and be whatever they want if they have that power. I included it here because the post is a good description of witchcraft and the nature of the witch. I also considered linking to Ian Chamber's post which kicked off all the posts referenced in "The Witch Stands in Power," and it is already linked within my post - I encourage you to read Ian's post as well. 

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