Alright yall. We’ve all seen a lot of conversations in the magic and witchcraft communities about a number of different topics such as…
- What “counts” as real witchcraft, spells, magick, or magic vs. “wishing” or beginner nonsense?
- How do we personally define multidimensional terms like “religion,” “intent,” and “witchcraft”?
- How do these and other terms pertain to what we do as witches, chaotes, and/or magic(k) practitioners?
- Who can use which terms and in what ways such as “sigils” and “spells” for certain activities?
There’s a lot of conflicting answers to those questions in our community. It’s important because the answers can have very big implications for how we view and treat each other. People are entitled to their own opinions and personal beliefs about definitions, techniques, and methodology, but I want to address the specifically racist, Eurocentric perspectives that underlie some of what I’ve seen in discussions about these topics.
Telling us that you look down on our forms of traditional and indigenous magic (or don’t even consider it to be magic at all) just because our methodologies and our practices don’t conform to Eurocentric standards is racist. It is racist to try to judge the magic methodology and practices of non-Eurocentric magic traditions by Eurocentric standards. And if you’re not part of and well studied in a magic tradition, I’m not sure what right you have to judge it even by its own standards either. In other words…
If you aren’t a bruja, don’t presume to judge the methodology or technique quality of a bruja. If you aren’t a rootworker or hoodoo doctor, don’t be comparing what we do to chaos magick or any other tradition in terms of standards or effectiveness. These are just concrete examples, but this goes for any non-Eurocentric magic tradition and honestly, probably also for any magic tradition in general because if you don’t practice it and you aren’t well versed in it, how do you expect to make a reasonable critique of it?
On a more personal note, I do not study or practice traditional European or American witchcraft, chaos magick, ceremonial magic, or any other Western magic tradition. I don’t practice witchcraft either, which is not inherently “European” necessarily – I understand that people from all different cultures and backgrounds refer to their craft as witchcraft and I support that. In the way that witchcraft is a very diverse and inclusive term, it has become a global concept and at all not one that refers only to European traditions.
But it’s true that “witch” and “witchcraft” are English words, not the indigenous terms for what I do, and they are terms that don’t feel to me personally like they represent or embody anything in my craft, especially given their connotations in the cultural context of Africana traditions. So it does not make sense to judge or scrutinize any of my techniques or what I do by the standards of chaos magick, witchcraft, or any other tradition that I do not practice or study at all.
I am a rootworker, and I don’t conform to Eurocentric standards of “magick” on purpose.