Those Upsetting Words
They cause discomfort and embarrassment. They’re difficult to explain to your friends and family. They can be downright hard to accept. No, I’m not talking about planter’s warts. It’s all those darn Witchy words! Wicca is a practice filled with terms that can enchant, amuse, and even bewilder.
Ironically, Wicca is not ultimately about words. Wiccan practices aim to take the practitioner far beyond the limiting worlds of language and terminology. The words of the Craft are meant to transport the practitioner into the heart of life itself, where words are ultimately limitations and qualifiers. More specifically, they can guide practitioners toward a direct mystical experience of deity, nature, and the individual spirit. Words obliterate and become meaningless when the practitioner achieves this experiential state of understanding. Wiccans therefore first come to accept that words are only valuable as signposts and guides that point toward mystic experience.
To Wiccans, a word is not reality itself. For example, the word “apple” is not itself an apple. You can hear the word and understand it intellectually. However, in order to know an apple you must hold it in your hands, smell it, and take a big juicy bite. Likewise, the word “god” is not deity itself. It is only a mental abstraction, a convenient symbol that we can all use to refer to something that goes beyond the word.
As you walk the Wiccan path, you will eventually have your own experiences of direct mystical contact with the divine. But before that happens, it is understandable and natural that you might struggle with the language of Wicca, which often flies in the face of convention and social norm. As a practice today, take a look at the list of words that follow:
Regarding each of these words, explore the following questions:
- What is my comfort level in using each word?
- How do I understand each word?
- How do I imagine that each word impacts other people who are not involved with Wicca?
Take time to commit your feelings (whatever they may be) about each word to paper. You will use today’s writing in tomorrow’s exercise. So when you are finished, set the paper aside. After you have explored your own understanding and reaction to each word, take a look at how Wiccans generally define them.