Being a practicing Wiccan and witch who is a member of several online spiritual forums, I often find emailed requests for information on witchcraft and spells in my Yahoo! mail in-box. The most common requests are of course for “love spells” (and most seekers are none too thrilled when I point out a little thing called “ethics”, and advise to “be careful what you wish for”.) Throughout the last couple of years, with the popularity of the fictional TV show “H2O”, one forum I frequent has received incessant “make me a mermaid” spell requests.
Sometimes, my patience and tolerance with such spell-seeking teens wears thin. I feel they make it harder for those young people who sincerely wish to learn the ways of Wicca and witchcraft.
Over the years, I’ve had my share of dealing with teens who have the, as some may label “fluffy bunny” or “McWiccan” attitude, and I usually respond with as honest and polite truth as I can, point seekers in the direction of educational resources, and go on my merry way. But this most recent chain of events got my attention, and I’ll admit, as further information was brought to light, it got my goat as well.
Email received yesterday morning, from a person I will call “X” going forward:
“Hello. I’ve tried to cast 3 spells of my own and I do not think that they are working. I’m in need of spell casting and I’m not that good with it. I was wondering if you could cast spells for me or aid me. I understand that spells are best done when the person who is in need of them are casting them but I’m lost nor do I have the material needed. In addition, I’m not good with visualizing my spells due to the fact that everytime I try to do so my thoughts get overpowered or I’m not able to focus and concentrate. If you could help cast spells and assist me. All would be appreciated. Thank You.“
I had never come across this person on the forum before. I knew nothing of this person, and there was no information about her on her profile – in fact, I couldn’t even tell if this was a him or a her, though for the sake of writing here, we’ll go with “her”. I suspect a younger person, but can’t be sure with the lack of information. I also suspect X has not put much in depth study into spell-craft and is basically trying to run before she learns how to walk (due to the admitted inability to focus and lacking the “material needed”). Note that nowhere in the email does X say what kind of spells she is in need of help with. Also note that it was requested that I cast the spells for her OR aid her.
Unfortunately, emailing through this particular forum doesn’t save my emails to my “sent folder”, but I will include what my responses were as honestly and completely as I can from memory.
I responded noting that spells do require focused will and intentions, focused thoughts, and the raising of energy to be directed into the spell. I recommended Christopher Penczak’s book “The Inner Temple of Witchcraft” to help X learn meditation and the ability to better focus her thoughts and energy for her workings.
I also provided a link to The Witches’ Voice and suggested X seek out local shops and such where she may find further resources and information, and possibly even witchcraft classes in her area.
I stated that I do not cast spells for strangers over the internet. I prefer to be able know who I’m working with in person so that I can get a better feel for the situation and the intentions involved. And I added that I would try to answer some more specific questions for her if she had them.
Fair enough, I thought.
This was X’s emailed response:
“Well, the spells that I needed casted are actually positive ones. Hmm . . . The fact that you are a stranger did NOT! bother me and I thought that maybe it wouldn’t bother you either. If everyone believed to think of humans as strangers, this world would be No where. Everyone is a stranger at first. If you’ve ever made a friend you would realize you didn’t always know him but instead you had to engage in him. If doctors thought of new patients as strangers then there WOULDN’T be many people receiving medical help. The term, “Stranger,” would have this world collaspe quicky. If both genders thought of the opposite sex as strangers the world wouldn’t be here.There are many other examples I can give you but there are way to many. In addition, I thought that Wiccan religion was very into peace and helping others as much as they could so I assumed that you could help me with my problems. Everyone goes to someone when in need for help with problems. And I came to you for help because some Wiccans do cast spells. If you believe that I’ve offended you, I WASN’T. I was just trying to find someone to help me through my time of need. So, if you didn’t want to help me you could have said so. But thanks anyways! I’ll just have to find someone who is very willing to help me out, just as I am pretty sure there have been people in your life to help you out when needed, regardless if you were a stranger or not. Have a NICE day and hopefully people will NEVER turn you down because you’re a stranger.”
I have a few issues here.
“I thought that Wiccan religion was very into peace and helping others as much as they could so I assumed that you could help me with my problems.”
Since when are Wiccans supposed to be everyone’s problem-solvers? Did I miss the memo that this was mandatory based on the religion that I practice? Wicca is NOT about casting spells for others, it is about our relationship with our gods, attuning to nature and the natural cycles of the year, keeping the Sabbats, and living by a code of ethics based on Wiccan teachings and beliefs.
Does the fact that I promote peace among people despite differences, and that I believe in helping others when I can mean that I am obligated to honor every request for help I receive?
Does being Wiccan mean I am obligated to agree to cast I don’t know what for spells for anyone and everyone who asks?
I am also rather confused as to why providing educational resources and offering to answer specific questions was in no way an offer of help.
I was reminded of a quote from Robin Wood’s excellent book on ethics from a pagan/Wiccan perspective.
“Helping someone doesn’t mean taking the control our of their hand and doing it for them.” ~ Tim Short, age 11 (love it!)
Oh, and it gets better. Click here for Part II and read on.