I love the title of your thread. It is a question that indeed needs to be pondered and discussed heavily among us.
You mentioned the good, dare I say, ?lighter? side of being recognized as a witch, but left out the more important, dark chapters of witchcraft history: the ever-present persecution, the burning of temples, idols, adoration sites, not to mention of the witches themselves, their familiars and their homes. How many men and women were unjustly tried and found guilty of siding with the Devil? How many men and women were branded, stoned, dismembered, dragged behind carriages or drowned simply because a neighbor?s cow died or an infant child was sick with fever? Many witches lived alone in the woods or in caves near riverbanks or the ocean. They had no one to care for them, no man would marry them, and so they relied solely on their skills and knowledge to survive. Few had apprentices because people feared them; most lived their last years impoverished and isolated.
People keep asking me the same questions over and over: how do I become a Witch? How do I learn Magic? Can I learn Magic fast? I always roll my eyes because there is no easy answer to any of these questions. I?ll try to elaborate as succinctly as possible.
To be a Witch in today?s Modern world is to be a Believer. A man or woman that Believes in the power of Nature, that Believes in the power of Creation and that Believes that the Universe will provide everything and anything you need in excess as long as you respect and abide by the natural laws that govern it.
To be a Witch in today?s Modern world means to experience the world through modern media but also to retreat in solitude to find your own voice and recharge your spirit being. Sometimes, it means being in the crowd but feeling deeply and utterly alone.
The sad truth is that as Practitioners and Devotees we are still struggling between our real-life personas and our Magic ones, trying to make the ends meet with every lunar cycle. We talk about Magic, Spells and Rituals yet our families, our closest loved ones, are completely oblivious to this. Many cannot even begin to explain their beliefs to their parents or co-workers for fear of being laughed at our losing their jobs and with that their livelihoods.
And so, we meet here in SoM, to vent, to share and to enlighten each other. And yet, when we get up and get away from our laptops we are, once again, mere humans going through the same experiences as everyone else. We fail sometimes to capture the meaning of our beliefs, and so we fail the Craft altogether.
I now live alone, as many of you know. When I was living with my ex I could not practice or cast spells in front of him. Now that he is gone it seems even more difficult for me to concentrate and make daily practice an enjoyable experience. Somehow, opposition made everything worthwhile. Now, as master of my own home and castle, I can do anything I want but I am overwhelmed by all the things I can do and so I do nothing.
I don?t think people do not take apprentices for fear of lawsuits. I think it?s because there are no suitable apprentices, period. There?s a Japanese martial arts saying that goes like ?when the apprentice is ready the teacher will show up.? I find a lot of truth in this. Today?s youth is influenced heavily by the media?s portrayal of witchcraft and cannot even begin to comprehend what it really means to be a Witch. And some of us, the old farts that we are, we get tired easily and have minimum tolerance for undisciplined children.
It?s not up to you to decide if you are ready to be an apprentice. It?s the teacher that recognizing true potential will approach you and will teach you everything he or she knows. Because he/she recognizes him/herself in you.
OK, enough rambling. Thank you for posting this thread.