Because of So Called Witches Like Her...

“Because of so called Witches like her is that things are the way they are today.”

I doubt I have to tell you the story behind that statement for you to figure out how much it pissed me off. But I’ll tell you anyway:

I was invited to a rather eclectic Beltane ritual this year, and was excited out of my mind, until the priestess told me that no male Witches could attend the celebration. I was surprised and a bit ashamed because a few friends of mine, male and female Witches, had come from far away (in NYC standards this means more than 20 miles) to enjoy the festivities. I excused myself, and explained to the priestess that I couldn’t be part of the celebration either. I wasn’t going to leave my friends hanging, especially when they came just because of me. I also told them that I wasn’t crazy about covens/groups that include only one of the sexes.

I was ready to say goodbye when someone blurred out the above statement (not meant for me to hear) and made me turn around.

I didn’t know who had spoken, for I wasn’t very familiar with the five Witches who were staring right back at me, probably wondering if I heard what was just said. I looked from face to face to face… “And exactly what kind of ‘so called Witch’ am I.”

No one said a word.

I stood my grounds, waiting for a reply. The priestess finally realized that I wasn’t going away, so she tried to mellow things out. “She didn’t mean anything by it Magaly.” The priestess squeezed the elbow of a woman whom standing next to her. “The thing is that we have been oppressed by men for so long, that we needed to put our foot down and reclaim our Goddess given rights.”

I took a deep breath and blinked a few times, to see if that would help me sort out my ideas, and allow me to say what I wanted to say in an eloquent, respectful manner. “That is such a load of crap!” I guess it didn’t work.

The priestess’ eyes opened really wide, and I think I saw her mouth open and close several times before she said anything. “We respect your opinion, but we don’t need to like it, just like you don’t need to like what we do.”

Damn! She wasn’t mean to me, and that made me feel like doo-doo. I was in a fighting mood, but she didn’t feed my fire. Good for her. “I apologize. I’m just a bit upset. I have to start calling my friends and letting them know that there would be no celebration. I just wish you guys would have told me that this was a feminist group before inviting me and saying that I could invite friends.”

The priestess accepted my apologies and I went on my way. The conversation kept on replaying in my head, over and over, as I drove home. I just can’t see how anyone can justify any type of society exclusively lead by women or men only; it makes no sense to me, especially within Witchcraft. One of our most sacred symbols is the pentacle, which is an example of perfect balance: the Elements and Spirit within a circle. Perfect. Balanced. Complete. It has everything in it. 

I’m not trying to say that feminism as a movement is wrong. As a matter fact, I believe that people who take the time to advocate for equality of the sexes deserve a special place in society. For instance, I have this friend who I met at school who happens to be a feminist and all around activist goddess. I understand and applaud her efforts. She doesn’t advocate for a world ruled by women, but for a society where women and men have the same rights and opportunities. That I understand. I can't make sense of a Pagan group that excludes a bunch of people in the name of oppression. 

I always do as much as I can to understand where people are coming from. I started doing a bit of reading to see if I could make sense of the Traditionalist versus Feminist Witchcraft concept when I came across Mike Nichols’ Two Witches: A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale. I was glad I did. It kind of let me know that at the end of the day traditionalist or feminist doesn’t matter much, in the eyes of the Gods we are just people.

Still, I would really like for someone to help me understand feminism a little better. I just hate feeling dumb, and that’s how I feel when I think of it. I think a society ruled by only one sex, one group, one color… is just irrational. I know women have gotten the short end of the stick for a while, but I can’t see how changing the roles around would make things better. Two wrongs have never made a right. But maybe I’m just too close-minded in my on ways.    

Would someone enlighten this silly Witch?

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