Haters Gonna Hate

One of our familiar silver spirits tipped us off to something she had read on the interwebz today, and it delighted us to no end, because it was about US! We love us! And we know you love us too, so we’re sharing it with you in the spirit of siblinghood, camaraderie, and behoosiery. So grab a snack, get comfy, and go read the lovely stylings of Frater Barrabas, and remember, the term of the day today is “Reading Comprehension.”

Gardnerian Snark Exposed.   <———click here. Also lol @ the idea that our snark wasn’t already obvious, and at witches who work skyclad being exposed. Hee!

Seriously, read it first, before you read our delightfully tacky, yet unrefined response below. Did you read it yet? Did you? Don’t miss out! Ok. Here we go.

Hey Barrabbas!

Nice name! We are DELIGHTED (yes, in all caps!) that you were so moved by our writings as to author your very own screed in its rightly-due honor! (PS Thanks for that word. We LOVE it. LOVE.)

We must say, your last paragraph here was almost our exact thought in your first! Please, deign to teach us about your Alexandria tradition. Is that the way the true, old school witches amongst you refer to it? Was that N at the end just superfluous and tedious, or was that just your attitude? So many questions! We would take the time to detail all of the other grammatical errors in your blog, but an informal examination of it indicates that you really, really don’t care, you were just grasping at any straw you could to levy an argument against us. We love it. Good for you. Live your life.

Since you’re Gardnerian-lite via your “more circuitous yet no less valid lineage,” I daresay you’re being a bit disingenuous in this gloriously self-righteous diatribe of yours. As fun as it is to have Wicca mansplained by someone on the internet going by Frater anything, you’re BTW enough to know that everything we wrote in our blog about Wicca is true. Had you even the tiniest bit of critical reading skill, you would also have noticed that in several places on our blog, we differentiate between Wicca and witchcraft. We are not in the business of saying who is and who is not a witch. That is for each person to decide. What we are in the business of doing is identifying, vouching for, or denying those who make claim to being members of the Wica, a term brought into public by Gerald, who was initiated into the cult in the New Forest, and taught that initiation was necessary to become one of that priesthood. But you go right ahead and pretend like it’s still 1960 and the two terms mean exactly the same thing and remain interchangeable. Quite traditional of you, and, in your very own words, perfectly full of “obnoxious conceit.” It’s so particularly egregious that we’d love to have you as a guest blogger representing the ‘Alexandria tradition” on the Gardnerians blog! People really should know how some traditionalists actually think, no?

We loved this statement: “What we can’t do is to judge others who are not part of our various traditions by the same measure that we would judge ourselves or our lineage members.”

Some further critical reading would also clue you in to the fact that the particular piece you’re warbling about was written in response to those attempting to claim Gardnerian lineage specifically, from outside of BTW. These people are actively claiming to be members of our specific priesthood. It would make sense then, to someone with a reading comprehension level above the fifth grade, that the initiation rites we’re talking about also apply only to Wicca, which we use in the traditional context, per our entire blog. Again, we’re not talking about witchcraft at large. Just a tiny sub-sect within the greater craft which identifies its members as the Wica. You can preach that self-initiation exists and is as legit as initiation into the cult by its priesthood all you want. All that does is open the floodgates to every IRAB 14 year old HPS who started her own coven in the same grade you abandoned your reading comprehension and logic skills. Maybe this was the founding of this mysterious Alexandria tradition? The mind boggles.

While we understand that some persons on the internet such as yourself have absolutely no sense of humor and will obviously fall all over themselves at any attempt at sarcasm or jest, we do thoroughly enjoy it when both members of our shared cult and those outside of it hit us up with how funny they think our writing is and how often they refer others to it. In fact, we enjoy it almost as much as we enjoy the vitriol spewed by our haters. We’ve never really felt empowered enough to wear one of those horrid ‘I ❤ haters’ hats from that hillarious millennial fuck boy starter kit, but thanks to you we might just purchase one! Thanks, Lexiepoo!

This blog itself is presented as an over-the-top hot mess with occasional bits of truth laced throughout it to get across a basic understanding of how Wicca works from a traditional context. One of those bits of truth that you decided to refute is that there is one shared book of shadows within traditional Wicca. I don’t know which member of the ‘Alexandria tradition’ brought you in, but she should have also equipped you with a version of this book. Your version of this book, if it at all resembles the copy I have in Alex Sanders’ handwriting, would be very, very similar to the one I also have in Gerald’s handwriting, Doreen’s handwriting, Gerald’s other, very-difficult-to-read handwriting, and type-writer, word processor, and e-formats from multiple traditional Wiccan lineages/traditions, several continents, and 7 decades.

Assuming that the “quite provisional” first degree initiation you underwent was Alexandrian in nature, I have multiple copies of it in front of me currently. The fun thing is that they all contain the same things, all of which originated with Gardner’s initiation rite. I mean, we can neither confirm nor deny whether the one in the Alexandrian BoS is EXACTLY THE SAME. We said there was one book, and there is. We never said there was only one authorized version of it. Those are your silly little words. Regardless of what others have added to any version, each copy of the book is a repository of rituals, and it would need to actually have the rituals, including that ‘provisional’ one you supposedly went through. Tell us, does your HPS describe it the same way you do? Is that part of your oral lore? Delightful.

The point of having a tradition is that there are certain things that we maintain. The initiation rites are some of them. The oral lore is part of it. The sabbat rites are part of it. The esbat rite is part of it. Sure, we innovate. We’re witches. We add our collective knowledge as we progress and we pass it down. All 967 pages of it. But we always maintain that which we consider core to the tradition. The core rites and rituals are the skeleton upon which we stand, the shoulders of the giants who have come before us, and that which connects us in a chain of lineage and spiritual ancestry backwards in time and forwards to those who come after us. It is how our spirits know us, know our call, and heed our words. If you remove that from your book of shadows and practice, we daresay you’ve abandoned the tradition, and wouldn’t recognize your initiate as one of us. It would be an extremely provisional view of our shared praxis and history, and one destined for conflict if one wishes their initiates to remain counted amongst our ranks. But we can already tell that you haven’t abandoned it all. You just felt like mouthing off on a straw-man argument you constructed for attention.

Have we mentioned yet that we’d love to have you as a guest blogger? Pretty please.

The rites exist in extremely similar form in books of shadows of many different BTW traditions. It is in identifying them that those of us who reach across traditional lines are able to recognize our brothers and sisters of the Art and share with them in an oathbound context without violating our oaths. The book of shadows exists to enable us to practice our most basic and fundamental rites, and to tie us together, even if some of them recommend a lot more incense than others 😉

As for the need for familiar spirits to be a witch, I have no idea where you got that definition. Yes, having a familiar was certainly something touted in the middle ages and early modern period (and probably in current trad witch circles and sabbatic craft grimoires that want you to crucify a frog over an ant hill to contact the devil), but witches existed in Africa and Asia long before then. They are mentioned in the bible under various names and various languages, and they are present without that delightfully European moniker, or that requirement. Rage against a narrow definition now, son! 😀

To be a Gardnerian, to have Gardnerian lineage, or any BTW lineage, you do, in-fact, need to be initiated by a qualified member of the priesthood. We stand by this, and remind all seekers that the doors are open. If we weren’t open to those who feel the call, we would have died out a long, long time ago. Besides, we’re delightful and hilarious in person.

We’ll leave you with this and then go back to referring to ourselves in the first person:

A witch is born. A Wiccan is made (by another Wiccan, regardless of who made the first Wiccan).

And really dear, every quote of ours that you used was grammatically correct and contained no misspellings, though it certainly utilized the all caps feature that seems to get you off so.

Ta, broseph! Thanks for the attention!

Gardnerian A
(Only 11 years in the cult, more to come.)

P.S. Seriously let me know about that guest blogging spot. You can write about anything and say anything. In the words of our venerable founder, it would be #glorious!

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10 comments

    1. The second we learn even the slightest thing about it! We have copies of the…uh… shit, I have to google it…wow, that took a minute: the Azoetia, copies of the Tubal Cain materials (Doreen’s other BoS is GORGE!) and like a metric shit ton of other so-named trad craft material, but we’re so busy practicing the witchcraft we know and love that it’s hard to squeeze in reading between cocktails HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED YOU ASKED ABOUT HOARDERS AND I’M TECHNICALLY ONE OF THEM AS OF A MONTH AGO I NEED ANOTHER WHISKEY.

  1. Just to clarify on your point about familiar spirits; Asian and African (up to and including the diaspora) traditions do indeed have familiar spirits and don’t actually consider allowing you to progress unless you can contact and bond with certain spirits. So do the “shamanic” First Nation and indigenous traditions. As you pointed out, so do the folkloric based witchcraft traditions, and the Grimoiric magicians.

    All of this is easily verified by a quick search. It’s only the sanitised modern witchcraft traditions of the west ,in fact, who refrain from doing so, and, in my opinion, have lost a great deal because of it.

    1. I think there’s a bit of a language barrier here when it comes to discussing non-european traditions in regards to witchcraft. Obviously every religious system and tradition has its own spirits, but whether or not they count as “familiar spirits” as defined in English and applied to the witchcraft hysteria is debatable, especially if we take the popular definition of the term today to mean a unique spirit familiar to the witch who takes animal form to assist her with her evil. Which traditions specifically are you speaking of? And how would you define witchcraft in those systems as opposed to say traditional religious practice? Obviously, Taoists have tons of gods and immortals and spirits, but the idea that the household gods or family gods or ancestors count as “familiar spirits of witchcraft” is kind of a stretch. How you define witch in various cultures also changes.

      Obviously, communication with spirits/gods is one of the definitions of witchcraft, and that can be found in almost all religious traditions around the world.

      1. Looks like my “’trad’ witchcraft\tubal cain\sabbatic skull hoarders” comment struck a nerve, maybe? I enjoyed the attempt at conflating African patron/matron deities, “Holy Guardian Angel”s via grimoires, Asian ancestors, and European familiars like they’re all the same thing, all in an effort to squeeze in a quick read on Wicca as “sanitised”.

        1. Heh. I don’t think that person was referring to your comment, though I do see how someone could construe the “familiar spirit” concept as any familiarity with any spirit, which is just silly, because that makes every Catholic a witch 😉 If you call a Lucumi practitioner a witch, she’d likely slap you. Same with any non-European religious practice. Calling their gods and spirits “familiar spirits” and equating them with hopping toads that help witches hex their neighbors is pretty insulting. Luckily, we got a degree in east Asian religion, so the false comparison was rather obvious.

          Also, we’re gonna need more topic suggestions from you because you’re brilliant.

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