Witchcraft is a diverse tradition with many pockets and facets that people practice. I found my spiritual home in Reclaiming witchcraft and I shape my magic in the structures taught to me by priestesses from all over the world.
The following are some common frequently asked questions about Reclaiming. Feel free to email any further questions you may have to me about it’s history, elements or anything you may be curious about.
“Decide what is sacred to you, and put your best life energies at its service.”Starhawk (The Spiral Dance)
WHAT IS RECLAIMING WITCHCRAFT?
Reclaiming Witchcraft is an eco-feminist tradition that was birthed in the 1970’s by Starhawk and her community. Our practice is one that embraces diversity, honors mystery and believes that the spirit is intimately connected with political action. We align ourselves with these principles for the sake of healing ourselves and the earth that supports all life. It is this practice that allows us to become our best, most authentic selves and shift our communities back to right-relationship with our planet as well as each other.
WHAT IS MAGIC?
Many Reclaiming witches believe in immanence: the notion that every living thing is connected though webs of energy seen and unseen. These energy currents can be intentionally influenced, bent and shaped to create change, raise energy and manifest desires within ourselves and the world. This process is what we call magic, or as Dion Fortune defined it: “the art of changing consciousness at will.“
Everyone performs their own variations of magic, although most are unaware of it. Reclaiming witches choose to refine their magical skills by learning their own biases and becoming aware of their subconscious habits as well as cultivating their will power and system of ethics. Reclaiming witches also practice magic using a multitude of tools including (but not limited to) ritual, tarot, runes, trance, astrology, spellwork, oracle work, scrying, writing, singing, drumming, dancing, speaking and connecting with other beings within our web. While magic can be done by one person, when more Reclaiming witches come together the size and area of magical impact grows.
WHAT IS A RECLAIMING RITUAL LIKE?
Our sacred gathering are opportunities for introspection, self-discovery, shifting energy and cultivating a deep connection with others. Reclaiming rituals are: Ecstatic (high energy that is pleasurable), Improvisational (without script and spontaneous), an Ensemble (non-hierarchical where many witches share roles to make magic like music), Inspired (discovering and celebrating new ways to experience the sacred in our world today), and Organic (embracing the wild nature of energy that is alive and ever-changing.) For more information about Reclaiming style rituals, see A Working Definition of Reclaiming.
We believe that everyone who shows up is a vital part of the magic created by the group and strive to be radically inclusive. This is not ritual theater: everyone is invited to participate as they feel called.
WHY POLITICS IN THE CRAFT?
Cultivating our True nature, developing healthy relationships with others and reconnecting with the earth are all actions that require personal and collective responsibility. Domination and control over others by what is known as “Power Over” has shaped society in unhealthy ways that continue to diminish our planet to something to be used for monetary gain and consumed to the point of destruction. It also devalues uniqueness and perceives individuality as a threat to be conquered.
Shifting this dynamic that Starhawk refers to as “Power Over” means transforming our culture by acting in accordance with our beliefs. This can take the form of speaking up when a neighbor says something racist, showing up to a protest, or participating in a trance to free oneself from harsh, personal judgement. Immanence reminds us that all of these events are connected to the vitality of the whole, and therefore decision making on behalf of the whole is a magical act on a larger scale. Reclaiming witches know this and do their best to act with integrity and Willpower to invoke balance, healing and equality through their magical practices.
HOW DOES ONE BECOME A RECLAIMING WITCH?
There is one step, and one step only: agree to The Principles of Unity. This is a document created and agreed to via consensus by a group of Reclaiming witches in the Bay Area of California in 1997 (revised in 2012 to shift language to be more inclusive.) Anyone who finds this document to resonate deeply and consents to these values as their own code of personal ethics may call themselves a Reclaiming witch.
Because diversity allows for growth and regeneration, there are many different flavors of Reclaiming all over the world as well as ways to practice Reclaiming magic. To find other Reclaiming witches near you, search for witchcamps or Reclaiming workshops in your area. You can also purchase many books on the subject (The Spiral Dance is a great starting place for beginners), work through the exercises and start a group of Reclaiming witches in your own community.