So What is a Zen Witch, Anyway?

candleThe Art of Zen Witchery

I don’t like labeling, but in the ‘real’ world, internet personas, and for the sake of easily explaining my theory and practice, I am a Zen Witch. Spirituality is, and always will be evolving, and over the past four decades I have seen a real shift in my own spiritual thinking and the way I personally practice my Path and my Craft. Reflecting back on my childhood years growing up Catholic, to my exploration of self-awareness in the New Age school of thought, to becoming a professional Tarot reader, then on to spending a summer being wild with a group of Maenads and freely expressing my devotion to Dionysus, to my practice of being a hedgewitch, and then on to becoming an initiated Wiccan High Priestess, I realize that I’ve developed a true sense of my spirituality, and can’t help but wonder what other adventures are in store for me.

For me the definition of ‘Zen’ and the definition of ‘Witch’ are complimentary. Being a Zen Witch is melding the best of two spiritual worlds to fit nicely within my spiritual framework. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ thinking. It’s about weaving in what works best for me.  My way is most certainly not the only way and what works for me may hinder another’s spiritual growth. See, that’s the beauty of eclecticism in spiritual practice. It’s the take it or leave it approach.  I take what feels right, incorporate it into my spiritual practice, and then leave the rest behind. And if, for any reason I want to tweak something, it’s my right to do so. Some might say it’s just Eclectic Paganism, but I think Zen Witch has a nice ring to it, Don’t you?

The Zen part of being a Zen Witch comes from the way I take a holistic approach to spirituality. I practice elements of Zen and find it very much akin to Witchcraft, especially for it’s lessons and practice in self-discovery. It is a way of living by blending both body and mind. For finding the true nature of your spirit.  It’s developing a discipline which leads to effective meditation and awareness. This in turn nurtures the expansion of intuition which is crucial to performing any spell within the realm of Witchcraft. Karma and the Three-Fold Law go hand in hand. Reincarnation and past-life regression is a partnership that creates a deep level of knowing exactly who you were and your purpose in this incarnation. However as a Zen Witch, I am not a Witchy Buddhist, although I’m sure there are many out there who may call themselves just that. It’s actually kind of cute, only it’s not me.

Zen is about finding balance and practicing mindfulness in everyday life. It’s a guide to living which expands awareness of my true self while acknowledging my unique oneness with the universe. It’s being compassionate and practicing mindfulness. It’s about being kind to yourself and others. It’s about being a good person.

The ‘Witch’ part of being a Zen Witch means I draw on several traditions of Wicca, but I do not consider myself ‘Wiccan’. I’ve referred to myself as a ‘Witch, Pagan, or Tree-Hugging Dirt Worshiper. I use minimal tools, but I always cast a Circle, honor the directions, and give thanks to the Divine. I love speaking the beautiful Charge of the Goddess during ritual and I appreciate Doreen Valiente’s written work, but I just can’t box myself in the Gardnerianism role.  I have a Book of Shadows and am currently working on my third grimoire. I prefer working as a solitary when I’m performing spellwork or personal/intimate rituals. There are then times I choose to celebrate in Circle with my Sisters in Spirit for the Sabbats. I also enjoy being a part of larger public rituals within the greater Pagan community whether as a writer of the ritual, the High Priestess, or as a participant. Public ritual is important because it shares the beauty of Pagan ritual with others, it also promotes religious tolerance which is so desperately needed in the world, even in a city as culturally diverse in its thinking and well known for its open-mindedness as Portland.

My spiritual practice is a daily practice; a way of life. As a Zen Witch I practice grounding and centering, visualization, mindfulness, and personal responsibility. Auras, karma, dreamwork, astral travel, and divination all go into the big pot as well. There’s spells, charms, herbalism and healing.

I honor the Earth, my higher power (which is deeply personal and private to me) the elements, and elementals (yes, faeries too). I keep busy with dream work, journaling, scrying, and all types of creativity. Crystals, trance work, tantra and yoga are important to my overall well being. Chants, symbols & sigils, runes and divination. Astrology, and lunar phases. It’s all there, but there’s so much more. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. The basic most fundamental and important aspect of my spiritual practice is that it’s a daily practice.

Descartes once wrote, “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am.”

I am simply a Zen Witch not only because I said so, but because I am acutely aware of why I’m saying so.

From me to you,

Blessings on your Journey )O(

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