I am a witch and the cycles of energy are my religion. However, this was not always the case.
I was raised Roman Catholic in the Northeast United States, a location where Catholicism is commonplace and deeply ingrained in the culture. Although I left the Catholic Church in my late twenties, I still apply the culture and traditions to my life in many ways. It is the foundation of who I am and the cornerstone of how I was raised.
Yet many people are surprised, or even find it hypocritical, that I still find meaning in many Catholic doctrines and rituals. There is a sentiment of confusion, of the need to delineate between religious orders. I tell them that I simply do not need to compartmentalize my life to fit into societal definitions of religion. And neither do you.
Catholicism and witchcraft
Perhaps you have a similar experience with Catholicism or Christianity as the foundational spiritual model in your life. If so, it is likely there are aspects about the Easter season you still contemplate, partake in, enjoy, or even struggle with. And that’s ok. You are allowed to access all parts of yourself that resonate with you. You are allowed to find value in a Christian tradition; even if that tradition hurt, rejected, ridiculed, and broke you in other ways. After all, duality is the linchpin of witchcraft.
To be clear, I am not suggesting a mere cherry picking of the feel good stuff in Christianity and throwing away the rest. That is ego serving, not soul serving. Finding value means grappling with a range of emotions and judgements to transform the alchemy of our lived experience into soul flourishing. We must own all facets of our relationship with our past to authentically move forward. On this Good Friday, I offer you perspective on that which resonates with me about the Easter season and how it strengthens my witchy power.
Good Friday mindfulness
The Good Friday narrative particularly focuses on being mindful. We are mindful of what we eat (no meat! Get the pepperoni off that pizza! Better yet, cook some damn fish!) while the somber tone of the day honors the death of Jesus. Yet, is also a day off from work and from school at a time of year when the warming weather is just starting to beckon us away from the more subdued pursuits of winter.
The Good Fridays of my childhood were culturally a time to enjoy frivolity and play. Mindfulness often gets a reputation as a somber approach to life, meant to calm and organize. The 55 degree Good Friday reminds us mindfulness can, and should, be filled with joy and spontaneity as well.
Stations of the Cross
Good Friday is also a day that many Christians devote to the Passion of the Christ. Catholics, as well as Episcopals, Methodists, and Lutherans express this devotion through the Stations of the Cross. For those of you not familiar with the Stations of the Cross, they are 14 physical pictures or sculptures of Christ’s Passion. The penitent moves between each station to view defining moments in Christ’s Passion like His condemnation to death and burden of carrying the cross. One contemplates, prays, and continues on to the next station. This religious act is called reparations, or the idea that devotional acts can ease the sins and evils of mankind.
For me, there is great magick in the Stations of the Cross as it provides a method for healing the greater evils of the world. As individuals, we often feel powerless as struggle after struggle is born upon us and our communities. Furthermore, these struggles are often products of an ailing society rather than some random natural disaster. Problems such as wealth disparity, inadequate healthcare, nonexistent mental health care, and fear of otherness manifest into racism, homophobia, ableism, and sexism. When the natural disaster hits, (hello, Covid), everything is spiraling and we feel completely out of control.
The drama of the Stations of the Cross can be viewed much the same. Incident after incident of pain, betrayal, and eventually death seems increasingly evil and, let’s be honest, completely unfair. Yet, as witches, we consider the Passion of the Christ and we are reminded of the strength of the individual to heal and change the world. Yes, we consider the enormous sacrifice of Jesus. But the Stations of the Cross innately show us that divine death is not the only way to heal humanity. Much as each tumultuous Station of the Cross is considered by the Christian, so should we as witches consider the pains in our world and the connectivity of our place in it. How can we turn the energy of pain into an energy of healing?
For me, that is the pinnacle of witching and the essence of magick.
Have a very Good Friday, my Witches.