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- A Story for Beginners

Once upon a time, maybe last week or so, a little witch went to a beautiful place. It could have been a beach by the ocean, a ledge by the mountains, a park in the city, or any place where there was a decent view of some natural beauty.

The little witch found a bench and sat down, carefully avoiding the latest deposits of chewing gum and graffiti, and went into a light alpha state. There, she let go of the never-ending stresses of the day: family concerns, work issues, how to pay the bills, etc. She let go of all her spiritual worries and doubts. She gave over everything to the Goddess and the God and felt Their peace. After she tried to telepathically say hello to a nearby bird, who in reply pooped the undigested remains of a candy bar and flew away, the duly humbled little witch relaxed and took in the beautiful scenery in front of her and around her, letting things happen as they must.

As she thus relaxed, the sounds of a nearby conversation invaded her consciousness. It was an excited, energetic conversation, and it went something like this:

"I'm gonna cast that spell !"

"Oh kewl !"

"That'll be fun!"

Annoyed but curious, the little witch perked up her ears and listened to more of the conversation. As she looked at them, she saw that they were three girls (though it could have just as easily been boys or other new or inexperienced people). The conversation continued.

"Like, I'm just so glad to do this stuff. I always *knew* I was a Witch !" the first girl said.

"You always *were* a Witch," the second girl said imperiously. "Didn't you read that part about reincarnation?"

"Well, that's what I meant," the first one replied.

"Hey guys," the third girl said, "you like said what I was thinking! It's our psychic bond. We're sisters in the Craft !"

Restraining the urge to regurgitate her last meal, the little witch forgot her manners and openly stared at the group as it continued its conversation. "I'm gonna work on my *powers*" the third girl continued. "The *new moon* is coming up, and that's supposed to be a good time for working magic!"

"That's stupid !" the first girl said.

"It's not *stupid*" the second one said, helpfully. "It's just that, the *new moon* is for banishing stuff, like *bad energy.* You can't ask for powers then."

"Well," said the third girl, studiously ignoring that response, "I wanna get my powers soon, and I don't wanna wait a whole month!"

The first girl merely shrugged, and the second girl fiddled with her brand-new, ancient Tarot deck.

At this, the little witch didn't quite keep from chuckling, which the group heard.

"Hey, lady, what are you laughing at?" the first girl asked.

"Yeah, you'd better watch out; we've got *powers*" the third girl mischievously giggled.

The second girl looked up from her deck. Then, with a look that was half taunting and half knowing, she said, "We're Witches."

And the little witch simply replied, "You are? How nice. So am I."

The group was stunned. After all, the little witch struck them as ordinary, maybe even diminutive. Her looks were normal, as were her clothes and jewelry. All in all, she looked like a regular person, someone who could be described, contemptuously by some, as "one of the little people."

She did not seem at all to be powerful, beautiful or important. Still, she had said she was a Witch ! Maybe she was in disguise, using a kind of glamor to keep others from seeing her power or her beauty. As the thought simultaneously crossed the girls' minds, they became excited. Then, their expressions changed, as if they had found a wonderful surprise. The girls showed expressions of joy and started plying the little witch with questions.

"So, you're like a *real* Witch?" the third girl asked.

"Yes," Little Witch replied.

"Have you been doing it long? the second girl asked.

"Long enough," said Little Witch.

"Oh wow, so like maybe you could answer some questions," said the first girl. "We're, like, new to this. But, we just *know* we're witches, and we, like, totally believe in it."

"I'll do my best," said Little Witch with a smile.

The girls thought a moment. One of them asked, "So, can you fly?"

Little Witch laughed and said, "Only in an airplane, and that's when the flight hasn't been overbooked."

The girls were a little startled, but only for a moment. "Can you, like, move things with your mind? You know, like maybe when you're really angry at something?"

Little Witch momentarily thought back to her last grocery shopping expedition, when she had foolishly chosen the "express" lane and learned anew the virtue of patience. "No," Little Witch said, "I can only move things with my hands or with machines and sometimes with luck."

Not put off, the third girl asked with a nervous giggle, "Well, can you stop time?"

I wish, the Little Witch thought. "No, I can't stop time, though certain hair products help slow it down a little..." the Little Witch added with a chuckle.

"But, you've got, like, powers, right?" the third girl continued.

Little Witch sighed and said, "The only *powers* I have are from developing my talents and skills. And I do that through hard work, determination, and patience."

"Aren't you even psychic?" the first girl asked.

Little Witch smiled to herself as she recalled the last time she totally missed something obvious. "I'm about as psychic as anyone else, " said Little Witch. "I may have worked on it more than most folks. But, I don't have anything special. I get intuitions. Sometimes I can sense what others are feeling or that they're worried about something, but that could be just as much from reading body language and context than anything psychic."

"Sometimes I get a dream that comes true or a flash of what might be. And there are some deeper things I can, with effort, perceive. But, that's about it. If I were really psychic, I'd be rich from the lottery or the stock market !"

"*Can* you predict the lottery?" the first girl asked excitedly.

"No," replied Little Witch with annoyance.

"But, you, like, practice magic, right?" asked the second girl. "You make things happen."

The Little Witch smiled and said, "Yes, I do practice magic. But when it works, which doesn't always happen, it's pretty unspectacular. It helps things work out. It doesn't make stuff materialize out of thin air. It's not like the special effects you see on TV or movies. It's another way for natural laws to operate; it's *not* a way to break or get around natural laws."

"Can you make someone like you?" impatiently asked the third girl.

The Little Witch frowned. The *love spell* issue, yet again. She replied, "I can't *make* anyone do anything. People have their own free will. Do as you truly will, so long as it doesn't harm anyone. That means respecting other people, and that means respecting their free will too. If you don't, you end up *hurting* other people as well as yourself. As for whether people like me, I try to simply be myself and, like I said, I try to respect other people and their free will. After that, people can like me or not, as they choose."

The girls were quiet for a moment. They didn't expect to meet a Witch, but they assumed a Witch had "powers" and that her magic would look like special effects, and that a Witch could command or control others. What Little Witch had said didn't sound like what a Witch was, and they said so.

"So, like, what good are you? You sound like anybody else." The first girl was becoming confused.

"Exactly," replied Little Witch. "I *am* just like anybody else. I have a job; I have a family, and I spend most of my day trying to take care of those things."

The second girl joined in: "But, can you change things? I mean, like, can you make things happen?"

The Little Witch smiled. "Girls, a Witch isn't someone who makes things happen, like making things appear out of thin air. A Witch is someone who helps things happen, naturally, in special ways."

The Little Witch paused and continued. "If you want to *know* how things physically happen in the world, in Nature, study science. The word "science" means knowledge, and it's the knowledge of Nature's physical laws and how Nature physically works. And if you want to *make things happen,* study technology: engineering, chemistry, physics, computers, that kind of stuff."

"Science and technology are about Nature's physical laws and the ways that people can use those to cause physical changes. In fact, science and its physical applications, technology, are the most consistently effective ways that human beings have devised to understand and cause physical changes."

"After all, the TV, the microwave oven, modern medicine, and pretty much everything we use in daily life came through patient, dedicated study of Nature's physical laws (science) and trying to use that knowledge to make physical changes (technology). Those things *didn't* come from waving a magic wand; they came from science and technology."

Little Witch continued, "Just remember that people don't *change* Nature, and they can't *conquer* Nature either. People and the world around us *are* Nature, or, more accurately, parts of Nature. Remember that we are part of Nature, and therefore remember to take care of Nature, and then science and technology can be wonderful."

"Besides, there's good money to be made in science and technology, especially in computers, and there are not nearly enough women in those fields. So, by studying -- really hard-- science and math and technology, you could learn how to "make things happen" and, make money too !"

The girls were really confused now. They expected to hear about magic and spells and instead they heard --from a Witch! -- about science and technology and *stuff*! Before the girls could protest, Little Witch went on:

"Now, if you want to learn how to change the world by changing people, let me give you a piece of advice. Learn how to change *yourself* first. That doesn't mean doing whatever the heck you feel like or not thinking about other people. Quite the opposite is true: we define ourselves most often by how we deal with the world and the people in it."

"The point is, you *can't* change someone else. We can influence others, but we can only ever truly change ourselves. But here's the mysterious part: We can change ourselves only by going outside of ourselves --through other people or through the world or interiorly through our deepest selves. Either way, we can discover the interconnection of all people and all reality."

"Some know this as "God"; many Witches call It "the Goddess and the God." Others have other Names for It, but perhaps the best name is simply "Love." That love, the love that connects and transforms all and that *is* All, is the only thing that can really "change the world."

The girls were silent and confused, *really* confused. But Little Witch continued:

"Aside from changing yourself, there are other things you can do. Lawyers help people work in compliance with the law, which is one of the most powerful ways the world's people give themselves order. Business is a way for people to create and collect and distribute wealth. Trades and skills allow people to transform the physical world into useful things, anything from farmers growing food to machinists making things to musicians making music!"

"All the worlds' work can be a way to change, for better or for worse, in big ways or in small ways, the world."

All the girls were impatient by now, especially the second girl. She asked, "What are you talking about? That isn't Witchcraft!"

And Little Witch replied, "Perhaps. But what I was talking about are transformations, and transformations *are* the stuff of Witchcraft."

"Look, just because there are magical and spiritual transformations doesn't mean we can ignore the physical transformations. A Witch is in tune with *all* transformations, though some perhaps more than others. " (Here Little Witch thought, but did not say, that many Witches focus on spiritual and magical transformations but, like everyone else, Witches are occupied with the realities of physical transformations, which constitute most of daily life, too.) Little Witch continued, "The key is the harmony of transformations, all of them, in ways that are most beneficial for Nature. You have to know about all transformations, especially the physical ones, to live well."

One of the girls was annoyed and said, "You use big words, like 'transformations.' Why can't you just talk normally?"

And Little Witch smiled and said, "I use 'big words' to have a 'bigger mind.' Try it yourself."

The girls were silent for a moment by the quick exchange. Mostly, they were silent and confused by Little Witch's "normal" talk --like from their parents!-- and nothing about spells and powers.

This did not suit the girls, not at all. The first girl asked, "So what makes you a Witch? I mean, I could hear that stuff you said anywhere, even from my parents !"

The third girl chimed in, "Yeah, what makes you a Witch if don't have powers?"

And the second girl, in a moment of real perception, simply asked, "So, what *is* a Witch?"

Little Witch paused, framing her answer. And here is what she said:

"A Witch is, first of all, a person like any other. We eat, we sleep, we poop (well, when the body cooperates), we breathe. We have families. We work to make a living. We live in houses or apartments or other places, not in fairy castles or in the clouds. We're real, regular people."

"But, a Witch is different from other people too. A Witch can work alone, a solitaire, or work with a group of Witches, a coven, but she is always "other."

"That's not just because she is always studying, either out of books or directly from Nature or through prayer and meditation. It's because she sees and is united to the world in a way that most others aren't."

"A Witch sees that everything is interconnected, that causes have effects everywhere. She sees the regular world and she "sees" (she is aware of) the unseen (invisible) parts of the world too. She also sees and knows that, on a certain level, everything is One. And she knows how all of this, taken together, is the source of great power."

"That great power expresses itself in everything, and it acts in all the forms we see and more. But the power is itself just an expression of something bigger, something vaster, something in everything and beyond everything and the source and ending of everything too. Some people call this "God" and others call It by other Names. ("For Truth is One and the sages call It by different Names," as one holy book, the Rig Veda, puts it.) But the Witch sees this Truth primarily through Nature."

"That includes people and animals and plants and herbs and rocks and things we can't see with our physical eyes too, like spirits and other "worlds." And the Witch works with Nature to help things and events in Nature to unfold.

"That's magic, and it's not Hollywood style special effects. Its real, but it usually works by making something more likely to happen than otherwise was the case. Witches know that we are, in a very intimate way, one with Nature. And, united with Nature and for the benefit of all Nature, we work with Nature."

Since the girls were listening to her, Little Witch kept going:

"You should also see that Witches are *not* Satanists, and we don't do things like sacrifice children or animals, and we don't try to do harm, like by manipulating people or cursing them. Those things are wrong. Also, we know that everything is interconnected; if we use the power of the interconnectedness of Nature to harm, it will only harm ourselves.

The girls were still quiet, so Little Witch figured --what the hey?-- and continued.

"So, if you want to be liked or popular, be true to yourselves and be respectful of others and the popularity will come on its own."

"If you want to be special or mysterious, know that you already are. Then, spend some time discovering that, by mediation within and by good actions to others. You don't need bizarre clothes or secret codes; you just need to truly pursue love. And you can do that by being good to yourself and, especially, by doing good to others for the sake of goodness itself, even when it is hard or when there is no apparent benefit."

"And, if you want love, don't look for a slave to your desires; don't try to control another. Instead, attract love by giving proper love and respect to yourself and to others. Like attracts like, and with a reasonable amount of being active and experience, you will attract the love of others who are likewise loving. In fact, you probably already are."

"If you want to control nature, know that you cannot. We are merely aspects of Nature, and we must comply with Nature's laws. However, we can learn Nature's laws and we can choose to use that knowledge to direct how Nature works. The most consistent way of doing this physically is science and technology. Learning and applying these will produce physical results, including, probably, getting a good income; so, study math, science and computers and study hard !

"Magic is also a way of understanding and working with Nature's laws. Thus, it can be a complement for science and technology, and you can certainly practice both. But, when magic works, it doesn't usually show up as special effects. Instead, it usually merely helps making something more likely to happen, in a *natural* way. This works because of the power that is in all of Nature and its interconnectedness; it's *not* because of *powers.*"

"A Witch is someone who understands and lives all of that and more. A Witch is someone who is religiously, mystically and magically united with everything, in everything and as everything, especially as Nature. Whether the Witch marks the changing seasons of Nature, meditates, or works magic, the Witch is ultimately doing these and more: the Witch works with the *all* of Nature, in a very intimate and total way."

The Little Witch stopped.

The girls were silent as they took in all she had told them. They began to realize that Witchcraft is more than mysterious clothes or TV shows or movies or "powers."

The girls began to see too that Witchcraft is not a substitute for real life, like studying useful skills really hard to make a living or developing a likable personality and stable relationships. Instead, they got a glimpse that real Witchcraft is a religion and magic and something more... something much more, something connected to Nature in ways that we can see and in ways that can be scarcely comprehended.

Mostly, they saw, perhaps for the first time, that Witches are real, normal people who are "other" because of their union (on all levels) to what can be called Nature or "God" or "The Goddess and the God" or a hundred other Names. This was really different from what the girls had thought about Witchcraft, and they would be thinking over what they had heard for a long, long time afterwards.
Finally, the second girl asked, 'OK, what do we do next if we want to become Witches, I mean *real* Witches?"

The Little Witch pursed her lips and replied,

"First, if you are minors, you must obey your parents or guardians about how they want to bring you up religiously. You don't have to believe their religion, but you do have to do what they say."

"Aw," one of the girls said, "my folks would kill me if they knew I was into this stuff. They would never let me study Witchcraft."

"If that's how your parents are, " replied the Little Witch, "then while you are a minor, you will not study Witchcraft. It is a parent's right to raise their children in the religion of their choice, and its a child's duty to obey their parents in this regard. "Honor you father and mother" isn't just a Jewish or Christian commandment."

"Next, develop into a healthy person. Don't do drugs, don't drink and drive, etc. Eat right, sleep right, do all that good stuff. Just as important, learn how to love: respect yourself, respect others, and try to do good for the sake of doing good and not just for what you might get out of it."

"Third: Study! Study, study, and study some more. Obviously, you have to hit the books and learn something that will let you support yourself when you are grown up; for example, science and technology (and computers)."

But, honestly judge your talents (and find out what they are by trying lots of things), and see how you can use those to make a living. Maybe your strengths lie in law, business, in a trade, in the arts, in the humanities, in service, etc. There are lots of opportunities, but none are available unless you work for them ... even if you cast a spell."

"Study Nature, too: the natural sciences, the human sciences (like history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, religion, the arts, etc.). Study Nature directly, too. Get outside and start to experience Nature. Learn about herbs and trees and the weather and the stars. Finally, learn how to learn and how to love learning, for as your knowledge grows so too can your wonder grow.

"If, after doing this (and when you are old enough), you still feel an attraction to the Craft, there are plenty of resources available. There are many excellent books, and there are many materials online. You may discover that the Craft is not for you; that's wonderful! Find the way that the Divine has created you to follow. And, if you decide that the Craft *is* for you, the Goddess and the God will direct your steps.

The girls just sat there.

The third girl, the one who wanted powers, was impatient and not at all entertained; she announced that she needed to get going and made her way home, ultimately to watch some new fantasy on the TV.

The first girl, the one who had "known" she a Witch, realized that she wasn't one. She didn't understand everything she just heard, but she did understand at least two things: Little Witch had spoken truly and what she had previously thought about Witchcraft was totally wrong. She also wasn't too sure if she liked what she had heard: it didn't sound fun or exciting and, truth be told, it kind of scared her. So, she mumbled some thanks to Little Witch for her time and left.

The second girl, though, the one who had gone from knowing everything to understanding that she knew very little indeed, stayed behind. She didn't say much, and Little Witch eyed her quizzically.

The second girl tried to say something about the weather, then how weird everything went, and then apologized and started to sound really silly. She said all of a sudden, "You know everything, don't you!"

Little Witch honestly replied, "No. In fact, the more I learn the more I realize my ignorance." Little Witch smiled and understood the girl; in fact, Little Witch was remembering when she first was made conscious of what real Witchcraft might be.

The girl looked up at Little Witch-who now seemed very big and not at all "little" - and Little Witch answered her unspoken question:

"In time, perhaps, in time."

by John

john_littlew@angelfire.com

originally found at http://www.witchvox.com/basics/little_witch.html