you are men well i am a woman; you don't frighten me

anonymous asked:

1 Of 2: I don't think the creator of that post said that men couldn't practice magic, just that they couldn't be witches. I don't know if there are any practices available only to witches, but I'm guessing that a wizard, warlock, druid, or whatever can worship the same deities or cast the same spells as a witch. It's important to some people that the title witch be reserved females because it's a historically female term, and I'm not saying that's right or wrong.

2 Of 2: I know you’ve done research and there are claims of historically male witches but I’m honestly a bit dubious of the numbers you’ve provided, and no matter what way you paint it, women were the majority killed in the Salem Witch Trials, the majority who are prosecuted to this day. Shouldn’t there be some female exclusive magic space? There are a number of gender neutral terms for magic users, or male terms, but witch is already associated with females and the only term that has traction. 

And I’m not trying to be bitchy or condescending I’m just confused and I want to understand both sides of the issue.

I got off my phone and on to a computer to answer this question. Doesn’t seem like you want both side of the issue, honestly - I have given mine, quite clearly, and you seem to have picked yours, also quite clearly.

Witch is a gender neutral term. The term witch isn’t “historically” female - it’s only been a term used to describe magic users as mostly women in modern times (1600s; that’s only 400 years). “Witch” has always been a gender neutral term - only in recent times has it been used more exclusively for women, but that was not ever its only usage. Man, even in Wicca, they call men who practice “witches.” 

Druids are not the same as witches; druidry is closed prior to initiation - people shouldn’t be using that title unless they are a druid or studying to be an actual druid - so that term should not be grouped in with the others.

You know, other people made the gender neutral terms, because shit like this made them scared and uncomfortable to use the term “witch.” They were frightened people would come out of the woodwork and tear them apart because “oh you’re not a woman, you can’t use that word!” Think about that.

There are zero practices available only to witches (if you’re referring to “witches” as still women-exclusive then yeah, definitely no practices closed to anyone due to gender either) - witchcraft is an open practice that anyone can delve into, use as they like, and take away however they want. So, yes, literally anyone can cast spells like a witch, but they can also cast spells as a witch - using that term as their classifier, if they so wish. Because witchcraft is not closed in any aspect to anyone, neither is the label. No one can dictate who can use the term “witch.”

I don’t honestly know why you’re bringing up Salem tbh. Yes, perhaps the majority of the people accused during Salem were female, but that still doesn’t give women the right to place ownership over the term “witch.” It seems like you’re trying to imply something about the fact that women were the ones who “mostly” died for it, so they should have a right to it exclusively? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I’m getting, and oh man does that not feel right to me.

Witchcraft was never a woman-exclusive space, period, and I don’t think it ever will be, and I think it’s great that anyone can come in and be accepted for who they are and practice magic like a boss however they want. If you want there to be spaces exclusive for women, make one, but it’s not the fault of the practice for not being that way naturally; there actually is a woman-specific space in Wicca, Dianic Wicca. However, exclusive spaces and stuff shouldn’t be something that is thrown over the entirety of the community regardless of how anyone else feels about it.

The term “witch” was never exclusively for women, as I’ve stated like a half a dozen times now - it is associated with almost exclusively women because that’s how it’s been used in modern times, but it has been used for men in the past too. It is gender neutral. If you thought it was a term for women-only, I’m sorry, but it never was; we’re not actually taking anything away from anyone, it was free to use from the get-go. You’re free to make your own spaces, but don’t try to take or claim something that wasn’t actually your “property” to begin with, please, and leave the rest of us struggling to fill it in. Just because we may not have “died” for it, doesn’t mean we have less of a right to it. 

(Okay, calm, calm down Richtor, civility.)

You’re also ignoring the fact that there are people who use the term “witch” who don’t fall under the category of either men or women. You declaring it a female-only term or space is not only excluding men. You’re excluding me too, you’re excluding many other people who don’t identify as either, which is why I am standing so hard for this point.

Witchcraft is an open practice. Anyone can use the term witch, and anyone can practice witchcraft. I stand by my point, and the history of the word witch. If you don’t like it, well, I’m sorry, I’m not stopping. I’m standing up for me, for all the male witches, for all the trans witches and the non-binary witches, and the genderfluid witches, like me. We have just as much right to that term as anyone else, because hey! It was never exclusively for women, and witchcraft is a very open practice that anyone can take and use as they like. So I’ll be damned if I stop calling myself a witch, and I will not stand by as other people are bullied for using that term because of their fucking gender.

(Sorry, civility lost, let’s see if I can calm down again.)

This is a passionate issue for me, as I’m sure you can see. Trying to collect myself, I’ve made a few changes to what I wrote, but I’m not changing how I think, or some of my phrasing choices. This is important to a lot of us - having an inclusive space and term would be awesome for our community, in my opinion. A lot of people get into witchcraft because they have not many other places to go, to turn to, to draw strength from. Some people draw their self empowerment and confidence from calling themselves a witch - yes, exactly that term witch, not any other term. It gives them the strength to keep fighting and being active in their own lives, to not take life’s shit lying down. We use the word as armor, sword, and shield. It means the world to some of us, because of how it can be seen, regardless of gender. 

It’s a shame you can’t see past the gender part, really. There are some lovely witches out there, men and people who aren’t either, or who are both, and we just want a place to belong and feel welcomed. Trying to exclude us from a term no one actually had any rights to… It doesn’t feel nice. Which is why I will forever stand by my followers and friends, those who identify as ways other than how the term witch has been used, and still call themselves that with pride. (I still stand by those that use other terms for whatever reason, I stand by all magic users, but I hope you can see my point on this one.) I will keep fighting for the word that has no rightful owner, and for the people who want to call themselves it, regardless of its stereotype. 

If that is something you can’t accept, well, what you do next is on you. Because I know where I stand on this, and I’m not going anywhere.

don't wait for "next time"

Rain in Los Angeles is affecting. When the clouds come in, there are no $12 juices, no leggings like skin, there’s no feeling of summer to justify afternoon sins. The rain washes streets caked with old seeds from trees that never feel frost. It washes out spider webs and petals and leaves from plants that were already dead. And of course talking about rain in LA is lyrical and whimsical, because it feels like a movie set, like breathing in someone else’s air. Farm girls remember lightning and old men remember soaked boots. And the children too young for memories find themselves imitating the movies, their fight scenes come to life with the gravity that sunshine can’t lend. We’re all somewhere else when it rains. We’re all indoors in our heads.

But the rain is rare and mostly time stands still here. Months in LA are useless. There’s no back to school feeling, no coming of Christmas, no feeling of renewal, no first day of sundresses, no change of the leaves, no first winter frost, it’s just palm trees and windbreakers and the only passage of time is how much older you look than the girls in the line for the bar. It’s very easy to accomplish nothing when it feels like time doesn’t pass. And when time isn’t precious, you take it for granted and failures of character are assuaged by saying, “I’ll do better next time.”

But next time never comes. It exists in the same sphere as, “I’m never drinking again” and “we’re just having fun.” It’s a displacement of disappointment, an admission of guilt laced with a get-out-of-jail free card. I’ll do better next time in a city that never ages lets you off scot-free. I’ll do better next time speaks not of ambition and not of hope, but of a current complacency that doing nothing for now is fine. I’ll do better next time is bullshit because next time’s right now and we’re not doing shit.

I’ll be more social, and I’ll call my grandmother, and I’ll finally write something new. But then I’ve spent hours doing nothing avoiding what might feel like failure if it doesn’t go well. For time standing still it’s a remarkable thing how different you can feel from who you were. What happened to the girl at the party so eager to meet her potential? So excited for “come what will”? Did I get tired or did I get old? It feels like no time’s passed at all. It feels like spinning, but in control. No forward momentum, no glowing horizon, just the beach, the sun, that’s all.

But if anything was concurable without some enigmatic summon from the horizon, surely it was calling my grandmother. Days prior she had moved from Ohio, where she had spent the entirety of her 87 years, to a new apartment in Arizona. A small woman, Sicilian, bored of life and looking forward to Heaven.

“Hey, Grandma.”

“What’s wrong, doll?”

“I’m worried I made a crappy decision.”

“Well, there will come a time when the choices you make have to be practical, but you’re too young to think the life you imagined for yourself can’t be yours. If you made a decision you’re not happy with, do something to fix it.”

That night it rained in LA and I stayed up all night listening. The sound was so foreign, it was almost frightening. I fell asleep to nightmares but the ghouls in my dreams weren’t successful and in the morning, the sun hit the wet pavement like it was hitting snow, reflecting and blinding. The city was hosed down, cleaning out the stale air of summer. It was warm and sunny and beautiful, but it felt like fall and suddenly I felt time pass. I felt younger, like feeling time actually gave me time.

I could keep waiting until the timing felt right. I could keep waiting to write and keep waiting to apply and keep waiting to say how I felt. That’s the comfort with doing better next time, you get to do nothing until next time shows up. Sometimes we’re lazy and sometimes we’re scared and sometimes uncertainty obstructs the path. The bad and misguided decisions setting us on a free-fall until the next opportunity comes, assuming that we’ll do better next time because this time can’t be fixed. And maybe it can’t. But waiting for a similar situation to come along, waiting for the exact play-by-play so you can enact your “better this time” is both a waste of time and waste of mind. The time spent plotting how to be better in the future could have been spent being better right now.

When you’re young, and I still am so I know this to be true, it feels like decisions are absolute, like they’re irrevocable and you’ll never know what might have happened if you’d taken the other path…but this is nonsense. Decisions may be this or that, but they’re part of a strategy, part of a game plan, and when one fails, you just edit the next to get back on course. A road may cross a river only once, but you can take whichever roads you need to cross the river again.

I made a decision that was foolish and I made another decision that was sad, but the game plan is still clear, the objective still in sight, and though I am on this path, I can hack my way through the woods ‘til I find the path I want. Maybe it will be harder. Maybe it will take longer. Or maybe, as unplanned adventures are wont to be, it will be a blast. I’m not waiting ‘til next time to do better, because I’m going to start doing better right now.