“The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes.”
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Tombs of Atuan
In the darkness most people will huddle around the fire and look into its warm bright flames, but sometimes there is a person whose face turns away from the light and looks into the dark of night. They know the light blinds so one cannot see what hides in the shadows or see the beauty of the night with its moon, stars, nocturnal creatures, and dusky colours. Such persons who choose to see the unseen are often shamans, witches, spirit workers, and other walkers between worlds. Come with us away from the fire and learn how to see in the dark.
As above so below. As within so without. We are the children of Nature and so our nature’s reflect our progenitor. We are two sides of the same coin; bright and dark inseparably entwined. We are good, kind, compassionate, and helpful, but we are also cruel, selfish, destructive, and wrathful. Each of us is capable of acting in benevolence or malevolence. If you truly know yourself and are able to look into the shadows of your own soul, you can make peace with your darkness and embrace it as a lover. To love oneself, or another, or a deity, or a spirit, one must wholly accept both sides of the coin and love ALL that one is. Cherry-picking will not be permitted if you choose to walk the path of Witchcraft for Nature and the Gods embody life, death, and rebirth – creation and destruction – and you cannot have one without the other. To worship life is to worship death. To worship light is to worship darkness. Too much light can lead to being blinded by reality and lacking in truth, honesty, and balance. Too much dark can lead to madness and ruin.
It is not evil to work with the underworld, the ancestors, the night, the moon, death, and bones. It is dark, but there is goodness in it. We fear the unknown and the unseen. Modern witches call the above and the gods, but they often ignore the underworld and the spirits of the dead in their circle castings and magics. The chthonic deities and ancestors are great allies with their vast store of ancient wisdom and knowledge of the other worlds… but if neglected and ignored they become as the uninvited fairy from Sleeping Beauty and we all know how well that worked out. Ignore the darkness within yourself and expect the same results.
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I know when people try to judge me for working with darker magics that they are only acting out of fear of what is within themselves and fear of what they do not know. Because I embrace the darkness and shadows of my own nature, I accept that everyone contains light and shadow. Who am I to judge someone’s beliefs and practices? This is why I am accepting of and consort with darker practitioners alongside healers and white witches.
The wolf does not apologize to its dinner, the lightning to the tree it strikes, or the bee for its sting. As a witch I will not apologize for my nature. There is a reason poison plants are associated with us: they are poison and medicine, witch and witch doctor. There must be balance. Be too light in your measurements and nothing will happen, be to heavy handed and you will kill instead of cure. The witch is the fulcrum and magic is the lever. Accept responsibility for your power and accept there may be consequences for your actions. Complete awareness is key. Be grounded and balanced in your judgements before you perform magic. Be always clear headed and pure in intent whether the magic you will work belongs to the light or dark. In honesty and truth, with yourself and your spirits, you will find the balance.
~ Sarah Lawless, The Witch of Forest Grove
“…the belief that witches exist and that they can work supernaturally to the injury and even to the destruction of their enemies — is the heritage of the human race. The Englishman of the sixteenth or seventeenth century did not excogitate or dream it for himself, or borrow it from the Continent, or learn it from his spiritual advisers whether before the Reformation or after. He inherited it in an unbroken line from his primeval ancestors.”
~ George Lyman Kittredge, Witchcraft in Old and New England
The black bird sits by my side. The bird informs my magick: For it is only when we stand in a place of darkness can we see what lies within. There is nothing hidden when one lives in this place for one can see what resides in the shadows and dark places, one can look out into the light but much is hidden when one stands in the light and looks into the dark. For in the darkness there is truth, the knowledge of self. For me the dark is closest to divinity itself, the journey of one’s soul toward Oneness. It is a journey of self for no other can make this journey but you.
That all creation begins in this place of darkness. It is a place where the spirits dwell. For within the dark all potential resides in its wonder and promise. For within the dark all that is yet to be and all that has been resides. We spend the formative years of our existence in our mother’s dark womb. Our world is about constant change, about birth, living and dying for despite our yearning for grace we consume other souls to survive. We sleep and spend a large part of our lives in the dark. Our earth is embraced by the deep darkness of space, everything in existence is embraced by her loving embrace. The Dark Lady calls and the Lord of Light comes, he comes to her every dawn, for he is the bringer of the light; her lover, her brother, her son. He stands in his magnificent glory. They dance to the cosmic song. For we ourselves are born from this union, the darkness embracing the light. My magick is a product of this dance, this journey toward the One. For I am as dark as my black bird.
~ Mel Tomlinson, Elder of the Wolven Path