I'd like to preface this feature by saying that I do not have a problem with Wiccan "influencers" per se. I think there are a great many knowledgeable people sharing important information about Wicca and witchcraft on YouTube and Instagram; people like Thorn Mooney, for example, stand out from the sea of internet Wiccans with a much deeper and more insightful exploration of the lifestyle. But the vast majority are doing more harm than good.

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay

One of the main reasons why it's difficult to take Insta/YouTube witches seriously is the huge focus on aesthetic. We know that it's important for the success of a channel or page that it's visually appealing, but all it does is encourage new witches to focus their energies on obtaining material stuff they don't need rather than on obtaining knowledge. A witch can do just fine working with what she's got; you don't need expensive crystals, a grand altar space full of animal skulls, and vintage bottles and jars. It's just dressing, and new witches will do so much better investing their money in as many books as they can lay their hands on, rather than pretty wands and fancy cauldrons.

It certainly seems that many influencers don't do an awful lot of the old reading. Whenever I come across a new channel on YouTube attempting to educate on the various areas of Wicca or witchcraft, their knowledge of such things seems surface level at best, and the vast majority of these videos consist of regurgitated information from the likes of Scott Cunningham, Lisa Chamberlain and Wicca.com. Sometimes brazenly verbatim. You can largely tell this by the lack of elaboration on certain apects particularly in terms of correspondences, or else strictly talking about Gerald Gardner in regards to the history of Wicca with little regard for earlier (or later) sources.

Too many influencers appear to simply practise without taking the time to really understand the purpose of doing certain things. There's an uncertainty laced throughout these videos masked by phrases such as "I'm probably pronouncing that wrong", "This is just how I practise, it's different for everybody", and "This is just what feels right to me"; all quick ways of saying "I skimmed some information on this topic but I haven't studied it as much as I should before teaching others or incorporating it into my practice".

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they are defensive of their practices because they'll be slammed for them regardless of what explanation they give. And yet they sound so certain and staunchly uncompromising when discussing the subject of the Three-Fold Law or the Wiccan Rede.

This one probably bugs me the most. There's nothing wrong with having a moral compass that disinclines you towards cursing or hexing people, but telling people they can't because of Wiccan rules is just plain wrong. There are no rules in Wicca or witchcraft. Not all Wiccans subscribe to the idea of the Three-fold Law (which, in most interpretations, dictates that whatever energy you put out, be it positive or negative, will always return to you three-fold). There is no special kind of universal justice that punishes the bad and rewards the good; that's just not how life works. As for the Wiccan Rede - "If it harm none, do what ye will" - the word "rede" means "counsel" or "advice". It doesn't mean that it's the number one rule of Wicca, and it certainly says nothing of what will happen if you do do something to harm another. That's down to the Wiccan's personal conscience. You are no less of a Wiccan if you choose to curse someone who has bullied or abused you. Go right ahead.

You are also no less of a Wiccan if you choose to call yourself a Kitchen Witch, a Cottage Witch, an Eclectic Witch, a Hedge Witch, a Green Witch or whatever else, but please stop doing it anyway. Witches are witches, putting labels onto ourselves when we have no idea where our path will take us in the future just feels like a way of trying to sound more interesting in a world where simply being a witch is no longer extraordinary enough.

And speaking of trying to sound interesting, we have got to stop validating every person who claims to have had transcendental experiences with a higher power, or who casually drop in notions of having chats with their Gods and Goddesses. Your Goddess told you to buy that absurdly expensive athame from Etsy? Really? Personally, I'd rather the Gods focused on big picture stuff like fixing the government rather than the everyday mundane reality of my altar tools. But that's just me.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk