Learn Witchcraft in a Week

Recently, The Independent newspaper published an article from a woman who had spent a week learning witchcraft. I’m not going to link to it because I don’t want to give it any oxygen, but it’s out there should you want to look. There were (unshockingly) a lot of problems with it. One of the issues it raises for me is how long we think it takes to get to grips with something.

The smaller and narrower you think something is, the shorter a time it would seem reasonable to have to spend getting to grips with it. Modern witchcraft has a history of more than 60 years and reference to historical witchcraft is of course much older, appearing in all kinds of texts. To get to grips with the history, variety, philosophy and practices of witchcraft might fairly be assumed to take more than a week. It’s hard to imagine anyone suggesting you could have a meaningful understanding of Christianity after just one week. Or existential philosophy. Or Zen.

One of the problems here I think is that we have so much modern literature that suggests you can do a great deal with very little. Glossy New Age magazines that tell you how to have everything with a few minutes of minimal effort. Highly priced courses offering instant life changes and satisfaction. All the serious witches I know are clear that you’ve got to put in the time to change yourself and your life.

But, we’re still close to the New Year – that time of instant and magical transformation. New Year, new you! it’s a pernicious lie that helps sell us all kinds of things. Real change takes time. Even the most superficial and cosmetic of changes can require more than a week.

The inclination to be changed quickly suggests to me a deep dissatisfaction with self. The person who wants a whole new identity in the space of a week, or a weekend, is clearly in trouble, and won’t be rescued in that kind of time frame. Self development takes time. Growth and healing take time, and effort. Studying anything much takes time. Nothing worth having for the long term can be grasped in a matter of a few days. We are creatures of habit – changing how your brains work and what we do with our time takes a while. A new you might be possible, but you’ll have to build that you, and work on dismantling the old bits of yourself that trouble you, if anything real is going to take place.

It’s frustrating running into things like this shoddy bit of ‘journalism’ but I remind myself that twenty years ago and more, media coverage was even less helpful, less informed and less sympathetic. On the whole we’ve come a long way in getting Paganism taken seriously. It may take a while yet to establish that these are valid spiritual paths and not passing amusements for bored fools. But, nothing worth having is ever perfectly quick and easy…

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

15 responses to “Learn Witchcraft in a Week

  • astijake John

    That’s a very interesting post, I find it fascinating. Can I ask you how long you’ve been a pagan?

  • Barney Rubble

    Great piece. I can’t stand the term ‘fast tracking’ in business or sport. We do the right thing because we enjoy living right not to take short cuts for rewards. Living is a process and we are part of it. It is not clever to try and cheat the natural flow… good things come or they do not. We know in our own hearts how we are really going.
    Great article

  • lornasmithers

    Agh. Exactly. Last year I attempted to write a six week course called ‘The Gates of Annwn’ for Gods & Radicals helping others to create their own gateways to the Brythonic Otherworld and to journey there. Wrote a whole text book on how the gates were shut and how we might re-open them again. I was never quite comfortable with it but it was only when I watched myself on the vids that I realised I’d got it wrong, that accessing Annwn can’t be taught, that my own experiences have come from a lifetime of questioning, doubt, being turned upside down and inside out and certainly can’t be taught in six weeks. And really, most people wouldn’t want to go through that!

    • Nimue Brown

      But, that kind of teaching, coming from your depth of experience and made with integrity, even if it’s in some ways wrong, may be enough to start a person on their own journey and give them some kind of map…

  • Nick Isabella

    Of course it is frustrating and who knows where this “Journalistic Bit” came from, but, the more it reinforces ALL of our journeys and paths, the more the profane and mundane world will start to think about what they are doing(hopefully) and thereby starting more people to look at where they are going and what they are doing in our world!

  • Wrycrow

    Ah, *that* article. Sigh. I definitely remember when I first discovered Druidry wanting to skip ahead to the “being a Druid” part and if I could have done it in a week, you bet I would have tried to! But of course, it’s the journey not the destination, and it really doesn’t seem that this writer got as far as putting on their shoes, let alonge giving the journey a really good try.

  • zita666479

    *hand to forehead* thankfully in this world we have individuals like you to clear up the misinformation.

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