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How The Various Terms For Magick Practitioners Are Perceived by Different Cultures-Does It Matter?


I wanted to write this as a follow up to my previous article “The Term “Warlock” From The Perspective of a Hereditary Male Witch”. As I mentioned towards the end of that article, while I personally don’t like the term Warlock as I’ve always have known it be associated with being disgraced, I understand that there are people who do find the term empowering, and that’s okay! My main objective to that article was more about informing people about how the term not gender specific to male witches.


A friend and I were discussing that, while we both find the term Witch to be empowering, in some cultures the term Witch can also seen as derogatory and offensive. Examples of this are in the African Azande culture, and the Native American Navajo culture. In these cultures, the term Witch is used to refer to a magick practitioner who is evil, in the sense that there’s no such thing as a good witch, and thus calling yourself a witch would basically be admitting that your an evil person. I myself have met, who I refer to as witches, who do not like the term witch for that reason (others because they don’t like being grouped in with the Wiccans and Pagans).


I was watching this witch movie the other night and there was a part that reminded me of the conversation my friend and I about the distinctiveness of witches and how we are born with power, but that same philosophy is seen in other cultures who may not use the word Witch. In the movie, one character was saying that she wasn’t a witch and the character she was speaking with said “fine you can call yourself whatever you want, I personally prefer Magi, either way our power comes from the earth and lives within us”.


And that is basically what it comes down to, is that terms like "witch", "folk magick practitioner", sorcerer... it's all basically the same type of practice - energy manipulating nature-based methods through liminality and/or gnosis.


I was told that in the Philippines, depending on the region, there are multiple names but they're all “Tagalog” names, so when it's translated, it can translate to witch, sorcerer, healer - just depends what translation system you're using. My partner’s mom who is from Vietnam had also told me that in their culture, someone born with power is typically referred to as a sorcerer/ess, and a witch is more like the western perception of a Gypsy in the sense that they have their own magickal folk practice but are typically seen as con artists.


The point I’m trying to establish here is, that if someone wants to identify with whatever term they feel empowered by, that's their prerogative. And nomenclature is irrelevant at this point because there are literally SO many different names for the same thing.


I absolutely do not like the term warlock, and absolutely love calling myself a witch, but if someone feels the need to establish their masculinity through nomenclature, so be it. I also understand that there are some out there who are struggling with gender identity, and if that's what's needed at the time, then that's what's needed.


In conclusion, What one calls oneself as a magickal practitioner really has no meaning, it’s just a word that all boils down to the same type of gift and practice. What does have meaning is that they are an ACTUAL practitioner of magick and not a dabbler or fad folk. Their actions are what matters. And thinking about it, like my friend beautifully said “honestly if someone wanted to call themselves a Dust Feather Bunny but was an authentic serious magickal practitioner, I'd much rather have that than the thousands of dabblers and fad folk calling themselves "witches" who have very little knowledge and awareness of the magickal arts”.


That I can say is definitely something every practitioner of magick regardless of what term they go by would agree with!!

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