It started in 1995 when I was researching pre-christian European religions, because I was wondering what in the world my ancestors did before Christianity was “placed” upon them. Anyway, I was finding things like shamanism, druidism, and of course Roman and Greek mythology. [Here comes some history] These things morphed after Christianity and elements of folk magic, herbal healing, and earth magic (among others) grew out of the larger pre-christian religions in the European countryside.
During the early rise of Christianity in Europe, pockets of non-christians, who referred to themselves (at least in old English) as the wicce, or the “wise” (those who remembered the old ways of healing, worshiping the old gods and goddesses, etc), were referred to as “pagans” from the word “paganos” which meant “country dwellers” and was used derogatorily. They were the unconverted, the lost, and were often treated to severe abuse and punishment and forced to accept Christianity.
They became demonized in the dark ages, middle ages and others, and associated with the Christian lord of darkness, Satan. Crop failures, deaths, storms, plagues and all kinds of things were blamed on them. The poor country women who worked with herbs and danced to the moon were suspected and often tortured or killed.
Anyway, I could go on, but in the late 1800’s and through the 1900’s, there was a resurgence of interest in the “old ways” and it grew into what we now call Paganism, neo-Paganism and witchcraft (craft of the wise). Some modern practitioners practice reconstructionist versions of old religions such as Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Norse or Druidic. That means they try to recreate as much as they can (and in a modern context) the old religions. Others practice a very modern version of the resurgent witchcraft religions, which can vary greatly from the original country witches, since there isn’t much to go on, but they do what they can. I practice a very eclectic version of modern Wiccan religion, and was trained as a Correlian. My particular variety has grown as I have learned more and reflects my interest in Tolle’s teachings, Buddhist teachings, and some modern writers influences such as Starhawk, C Penzak, M Adler, D Lipp, S Cunningham, and many more.
So that is how I got into being a Witch. I practice a modern interpretation of a resurgent version of a mix of old religions. My rituals may look nothing like what the old country dwellers practiced, and contains influences from many other religions, such as Buddhism (I do Chakra work) and Chinese religions. But it speaks to me, and I like the freedom it provides me. Plus, it will continue to grow with me as I grow. It changes with me. C. h. a. n. g. e .
Energy? …yes Witches do work with energy, but it is the same energy that many other belief systems work with, such as Chi or Prana, or whatever various cultures call it. It is a universal energy recognized by many religions. Witches (and the various religions) just work with it in a different way. We use spells, circle casting, energy raising, chanting, visualization, incense, candles/fire, etc. Christians use similar things, but call theirs prayer.
So what does this look like when working with energy in your body? Very, very briefly, there is the grounding of it, then the calling it up when its needed again. It can be called upon and gathered and sent out as an intention into the universe.
Intention. Will. Energy.