Are we in danger of becoming ‘armchair witches’?

When we first start on this journey of paganism and discover the different strands or paths that we can take, we spend most of our time learning, browsing through social media and maybe trying out one or two spells to start with. Then you soon find that you are calling yourself a witch and want to know more.

So you buy more books, read more blogs, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and even end up taking tips from social media. On this journey, some people will choose to stay eclectic and others will choose to find a group they can work with, a particular strand of paganism. And each individual journey can take you in so many paths. However, the one thing they have in common is the learning that we undertake and the practice that goes hand in hand with that.

Over the last few weeks I have read a lot of posts on social media about emphasising the need to be actively doing witchcraft. And to my synchronicity amusement, in some podcasts I have been listening to I heard the term ‘armchair magician‘ being used. The speaker in question was using this term to refer to the people who read and read and read about occultism and magical practices of antiquity, yet, never have done one single ritual or spell, or hardly ever practice. In effect, you spent all your time reading in an armchair without doing magic.

This term can easily be applied to witches. Specially those who ‘like’ the social media aesthetic craft, maybe read a few books, buy all the stuff that is evidently ‘important’ for their new found path and then do nothing. Essentially, sit on your armchair whilst still browsing online or reading about it.

Where did the ‘craft’ go from witchcraft?

When I trained in Wicca, my mentor emphasized that ‘witches are what witches do‘? Witchcraft is about doing, the term in itself has ‘craft’. And even when you look at what the Cambridge Dictionary says about its meaning it is quite obvious:

Craft = skill and experience, especially in relation to making objects; a job or activity that needs skill and experience, or something produced using skill and experience

The emphasis here is on the experience. Witchcraft is about doing, trying, experimenting, see what works and what doesn’t.

And yet, the more witchcraft is becoming popular amongst the new and old generations, the more I see that people love to buy the aesthetic of witchcraft. The increase of witchcraft in popularity has meant that some people like to buy the pretty things and like to buy the books.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how the craft is expanding and helping people. Calling yourself a witch nowadays means power to some people, it means they have the means to create the future they want. Which I must say is one of the best parts of becoming a witch.

All the witches I know personally, love to read and increase their knowledge, however, they also practice. Witchcraft, and indeed wicca too, is a balance between reading, discussing and doing. To then, fail, try again and achieve success… and repeat.

No journey is perfect and to achieve success you need to do. To build an experience of what has worked for you and what has not, you need to get on with it. Stop making excuses, and work your craft. Don’t become an armchair witch!

If you find yourself, starting as a new witch (of whatever age or gender), make sure you always have time to practice.

Remember, witches are what witches do.


Further reading