Connecting with the Community

Many magical practitioners work alone. In fact, I’d say most of us work alone most of the time. Some of these do so out of necessity and some out of choice, but even those of us who choose to work alone sometimes long for the company of like-minded people. In this age of the internet, it is easier than ever to connect with other magic-users, witches and Pagans but it can still be an awkward venture. There are as many different types of magic users as there are magic users. Every witch defines the term witch in a different way, it seems, and the magical community can seem fraught with social faux pas and other difficulties even beyond finding the initial connection. It can take time to navigate the community to find your people, but with patience, courage, a bit of caution and a whole lot of humor, you’ll sort it out eventually. Or not. You have the choice to be a solitary witch and that is a valid choice.

Caveats and Words of Caution

The magical community is just like any other. It is full of very nice people. And predators. And narcissists. And generous souls. And the well-meaning, the misguided, the misinformed, the arrogant, the prejudiced, the holier-than-though, the completely unrealistic and the mentally ill, running from mild anxiety to criminally insane. There are many very clever, wise, generous and kind people in the magical community. There are also many who were once and are now just cynical and done with the nonsense. And there down-to-Earth people and people who are completely off the wall and everything in between. There are people who forcefully spread misinformation as truth and there are some very capable and well-informed people who don’t have the self-esteem to claim it. In short, the magical community has all sorts of people. Some you will like and will like you, some will not. Some will be good for you, some will not. Just because someone else has this one thing in common with you, does not make them your friend, nor should it.

You are a Witch now. Trust your instincts. If a person or a situation makes you feel uncomfortable, extricate yourself. Do not feel that you have to conform to someone else’s comfort level- you do not.

There are many magical and Pagan organizations you will find to join (or not) and they will all have membership requirements, some will be strict, some will be loose. You must decide if you can meet the strict requirements. If you prefer stricter requirements, you must decide if the requirements are strict enough for you. Many of us have been led to believe that we are alone and isolated as magic users and so we may be predisposed to just accept whatever we can find. But this there is little truth in this. The magical community is everywhere; probably right under your nose. You just have to look for it and you’ll find you have options. Do not just make due. Find your tribe.

Take a moment to read The Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.

When meeting a person or a group of people for the first time, take the usual common-sense precautions to ensure your safety. You don’t know who these people are, really. You don’t need to tell people why you’re going somewhere, but do tell someone where you are going. Meet in a public place- not an abandoned building, the forest, or a graveyard- you can do all that when you’ve gotten to know each other. Many folks in my community frequent coffee shops, book stores, libraries and public picnic areas. If someone wants you to meet in some isolated place, be suspicious.

Some Words About Etiquette

When you take what I have taught you out into the world, you will soon find out how little I’ve taught you. Though I have attempted to prepare you, when you attend your first public ritual, you are likely to see things happening that seem strange or even silly to you. It is your job, as a guest, to always play along in the moment. If you need an explanation later, you can ask after the ritual when the leaders are not busy with other things, but don’t interrupt a ritual for any reason. Once the Circle is cast, do not leave it.

If you feel that something is going on that is illegal, you should report it to the authorities immediately, but don’t make a scene that puts yourself in danger. It is not a value of the magical community to protect those who would put children or animals in danger or force others to do things against their will. Consensual acts of sex and/or violence between adults does happen in some groups; as does the humane sacrifice of animals that might otherwise have been slaughtered for food, perhaps less humanely. These things aren’t illegal. But if there are children involved, animals are being tortured, or consent is not freely given, this should be reported.

When you meet other people in the magical community in a neutral location, like a book store, remember that many of them are still in the closet. It is best that the first meetings be low key. Unless you are instructed to wear “garb”, wear street clothes, keep the occult jewelry to a minimum and keep your voice lowered when you’re talking about specifically magical things. Whatever your broom closet status, you do not want to accidentally out other people. Of course, if you’re meeting at a Temple or an occult shop or you are going to a public event for the community, you can feel free to go all out.

Pagan Standard Time (PST) is a thing you are likely to encounter. You may have to deal with it. Please, don’t perpetuate it. Can I just say that when you are nursing a baby every 3 hours and you show up 10 minutes early for a ritual and then have to wait 2 hours for half the participants to show up for an hour-long ritual it is not fun. Not fun at all. And it’s extremely difficult to focus when you’re chest is trying to explode. Be kind. Be on time. If you have any questions, be early.

I recommend the book Magickal Manners: Guide to Magickal Etiquette by Puck Shadowdrake. This is a good reference to help you avoid faux pas as you step into the community that can only help you feel more confident.

The Word Wide Magical Web

There are many places to connect with other magical people online. While Facebook is a wonderful resource and everyone seems to be on it, there are many sites dedicated to communication between magical people specifically.

Witch School International http://www.social.witchschool.com/
PaganSpace http://www.paganspace.net/
The Witches’ Voice http://www.witchvox.com/

http://wildhunt.org/2017/08/international-pagan-heathen-and-polytheist-communities-an-overview.html

Connecting with the Locals

Finding local people with whom to connect can be intimidating and challenging. Or not. Some areas have very large and active communities that are eager to welcome newcomers. Other areas don’t. If there are other magical people in your neighborhood, you’ll likely find them at your local metaphysical shop. You can find this shop by doing a business search in your favorite search engine or in Google maps for the keywords “metaphysical shop” or “occult books”. Once you’ve found it, pay it a visit. Many metaphysical shops serve as a meeting place for local magic users and Pagans and usually have a bulletin board to help the locals connect and many offer workshops and public rituals in their back rooms. Some even hand out newsletters and flyers for local events. Some shops even host regular rituals, classes and social events for the community that are low cost and low commitment with a mix of newcomers and regulars who are prepared to welcome newcomers from a variety of backgrounds.

Another way to connect with the locals is to go to a local event.
Pagan Pride Day events are free and they take place all over the world and are attended by members of the magical community who aren’t Pagan as well as those who are. Most Pagan Pride Day festival organizers maintain a website and you can find it if you search “Pagan Pride Day (your nearest big city)” Pagan Pride Day events usually take place in September, though August is not unheard of. There is a central website at http://www.paganpride.org/

Many magical communities embrace the tradition of the Witches’ Ball. Ours here in the metro Detroit area is enormous and I understand Salem, Mass has an even bigger one. It is quite probable that you have a Witches’ Ball somewhere near you too. Search for “Witches Ball (your state)” to see if you can find it. They usually take place in around Samhain or Beltane (October or May).

We also have very large festivals and conventions pretty regularly throughout the festival season which runs from Mayish to Septemberish. Some of the largest have been going on for years. These are huge events, often lasting 3 or more days, that take over whole hotels and campgrounds and feature festivities as well as serious scholarly discourse. People travel from great distances to attend these conventions and you can rub elbows with magical authors and artists from all over the world. Individual magical and Pagan organizations also host their own festivals and conventions for their members, but the ones I’m listing here are more general in nature.

Check out
Witchfest http://witchfest.net/events/witchfest-international/
Convocation http://www.convocation.org/
OCCULTicon http://occulticon.ca/
CalderaFest is a Pagan music festival https://www.paganmusicfestival.com/

Other places magic users hang out- Psychic fairs, holistic festivals, herb shops, crystal shops, book stores, tea shops, renaissance festivals, Unitarian Universalist Churches. If you want to be recognized by other witches (and Pagans), a small, tasteful pentacle necklace (or ring or bracelet) will likely go unobserved by most but will be spotted by other magical people looking for friends. The pentacle is the symbol of the Wiccan faith, but it is also something of a universal symbol for the occult and magical practice in general. I have met several people in many boring and mundane places just by the spotting of the pentacle.

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