The amazing path of the Green Witch – Part I

By Wicklow

I follow a path know as Green – making me a green witch. It’s not one of the popular paths, nor is it one that many identify as a path of Wicca, and for good reason.

That doesn’t mean I don’t “borrow” from some of the established Wicca practices though.

For example, for me, the Sabbats are important, while for many green witches, they simply don’t follow them. I guess many of us are actually eclectic, green witches.

As one of the owners (along with witch Rain) of Familiar Territory, we are really blessed to have access to so much information, and, of course, Pagan products. Much of that knowledge and some of the products have been of great value to me as I walk my path. However, I wanted to share a bit about what my path is, and so this series ( with much of it extracted from “The Green Witch” – a book by Arin Murphy – Hiscock, as well as the “Grimoire of the Green Witch” by Ann Moura – It’s one I eagerly recommend to anyone who wants to  really explore the path of the Green Witch.

My path has been an exciting one to walk, and opened doors that may have stayed closed had I chosen a different one. As a certified herbalist I find such joy in plants and their powers, and  that only adds to my love of this path.

So without further ado, let’s start this series.

The Green Witch – Part I

Despite its so-called progress, our modern society tends to look back to a simpler time, even though pioneer days were probably harder and more isolated than life today. This yearning isn’t nostalgia, which is a longing for an airbrushed memory. It is a genuine subconscious draw to the knowledge that has been obscured by innovation, progress, and improvement. We don’t need to remove or reverse modern innovation and give up our sidewalks and television sets and computers. What we need to do is discover how to connect in our modern environment to that earlier knowledge that is waiting for us to find it again. Removing the technology and replacing it with witchcraft and agriculture-based practice is not the answer. To reverse evolution and merely substitute something older is a denial of the modern world.

What we need to do is discover how to connect in our modern environment to that earlier knowledge that is waiting for us to find it again. Removing the technology and replacing it with witchcraft and agriculture-based practice is not the answer. To reverse evolution and merely substitute something older is a denial of the modern world. A green witch does not deny the world around her. She accepts it and seeks to understand how to integrate it into her spiritual practice. The green witch serves as a bridge between past and present, new and old. The trick is to recognize the presence of green energy as it exists in the world today, to learn how to see it as it still operates.

Learning to Identify with the Earth

The main identifying trait of green practice is a close identification with the earth. Although honoring the earth and being aware of the natural world is a large part of the majority of modern alternative spiritualities, the green witch is not necessarily a member of an alternative spiritual path. The main difference between the green path and the neopagan religions is that godforms are not an essential part of a green witch’s practice. While the green witch is content to look to mythology and ancient religions in order to deepen personal understanding of how earth energy has been perceived throughout the ages, she does not necessarily worship the gods and goddesses that are expressions and representations of earth patterns and energy. The planet itself is an archetype of nurturing, but further refinement of that archetype is not necessary for the green witch. That being said, a green witch often finds a mythological figure—be it a deity or a hero—who resonates with her personal beliefs and energy. She finds inspiration in this mythological figure. This does not, however, lead to worship of that figure.

Whereas alternative religions promote the idea that humanity is a steward or custodian of the planet, the green witch understands that she is the manifestation of the earth itself, not merely a caretaker. That close sense of identification allows her to work in partnership with the earth’s energies.

Someone who honors the earth and considers the natural world her primary teacher is sometimes labeled a nature-worshipper or called a pagan. In modern use, however, the terms are not generally pejorative. They describe people who honor the divine in nature. In New Age spiritual practice, the word “pagan” is being reclaimed by those whose spirits resonate to the heartbeat of the earth itself. So is a green witch a pagan? Many are, but not all. The path of the green witch is not by definition a religious one. It is a spiritual path, yes, but spirituality does not necessarily equate to religion.  A green witch can participate in any religion and honor the divine in her own way provided that she still honors nature as sacred and blessed. The green witch sees the divine in all of nature, and each green witch interprets that divinity a little bit differently.

CELEBRATING LIFE

Green witchcraft is an ongoing celebration of life. It is a dialogue with nature, a practice that enriches both the green witch and the earth itself. The exchange of energy produces manifold benefits that may be stated in simple terms: through this dialogue, we heal the earth and the earth heals us. We seek harmony through our actions. We look to balance energies that are askew.

Like other earth-honoring paths, the roots of green witchcraft can be found in the agricultural calendar, seasonal shifts, weather patterns, and folk magic performed for health or fertility. Much of the modern neopagan practice comes from basic green witchcraft practice. Note that the word “roots” is key here: when something is rooted, it springs from a source, but it is still strong and anchored. To deny roots is to deny both foundation and strength. We may see only the trunk and the branches of a tree, but the root system ranges deep and wide.

As green witchcraft is not a formal path, practitioners are free to adapt what they learn to what they need. This doesn’t mean merely modifying practices created by someone else; it means adapting yourself to what needs to be done. It means being flexible and responsive to your needs and the needs of the earth.

It’s important to note that green witchcraft is not Wicca. Wicca is a formal, structured religion that sets out certain tenets and moral guidelines and whose followers celebrate certain rituals in certain ways. Green witchcraft is a nonstructured, flexible practice that has no set holidays and no compulsory rituals. The green witch is adaptable. She creates her own path according to her individual strengths and talents and the energies and supplies native to her geographical locale.

If you live in Massachusetts, for example, and then move to New Mexico, your practice will shift as you adapt to your new environment, the new flora and fauna around you, and the new energies of the landscape. You yourself will adapt as well. As you settle into a new relationship with the earth as it manifests in New Mexico, you will discover yourself evolving to reflect it in a different fashion than you reflected the environment of Massachusetts.

Photo by Ian Sane

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