occupy faith

Kill your Gods

Lately I have been considering the role of religion in the practice of the Craft. That overlapping territory occupied by the faith of the practitioner and the function of their practice.

A religion is, at its base, a system of living. It provides rules/dogma it expects its participants to adhere to, gives an outline of its cosmology, and generally some kind of universe creation narrative. Thus providing a given culture with a framework of agreeable boundaries on which reality occurs.

Conflict, when it occurs between religions historically, is based on the disagreement of the location and shape of the boundaries of reality. The differences in the systems create a tension between cultures and often bring about conflict.

For a practitioner over the past millennia the framework of the western world has been Christianity. An Abrahamic religion that has engulfed much of the world since the Middle Ages. A stated enemy of the Craft still the common practitioner agreed to the framework of their kin and kith, in the God of the missionaries who infiltrated pagan cultures throughout the world, and in the inherent cosmological consequences both in life and after that come with this religious framework.

Though the Craft existed long before Christians spread like a venereal disease over Europe. Before even the Norse had conceived of their Aesir, before even the Vanir had come out of the mists of mankind’s past. The Craft has always been, because it is that state of harmony one achieves with nature in the seeking out of the Path.

The Craft is the smell of the forest floor on a damp spring morning, the clouds coded message across the fenland sky, the pools of rainwater gathering to host frogspawn, insects and algae, the birdsong cascading across the air like the clash of invisible hosts dancing in the twilight.

In the modern era we have no more need of the cosmological frameworks of bygone cultures to explain the world to us. We need not the myths of world creation, the dogma of eternal sin, nor the needy demands of a pious god that threatens us if we do not love it.

Yet still there is, when we put aside the reality system of our mothers and fathers, the Craft. When we abandon mankind’s gods, refuse to make offerings to distant and uncommunicative deities, shun the dogma that would lash us to its boundaries, we begin to see outside of the framework, around the edge of our reality boundary. To see with clear eyes and illuminated heart the true world.

A witch is not bound to a god nor a devil. A witch need not worship at the foot of some anthropomorphic embodiment of cultural control. A witch needs not a church nor a god to bind, a devil nor an angel to conjure, heal or maim.

A witch knows that it is the natural world that is the ‘god’ mankind seeks, and yet so easily overlooks. We move at that boundary of civilization, pushing outward into the uncivilized spaces of reality. Lingering in the exaltation of green chaos, we learn not the words of our prayers and charms from books of dead men, but from the wind and the sea, the brook and the bird.

So I say, cast aside your piety and worship. Kneel no longer before God nor Goddess, Devil nor Angel. Your Craft is stronger for your lack of blind devotion to an uncaring abstraction. Seek instead to listen to those entities with whom you share the forest and the meadow, the stream and the seashore. Abandon these masks of human nature deified, and see the world with unclouded eyes. Cast away your church and return to the wild. Cross the hedge and return once more to the fold of nature both dangerous and beautiful.