She spent a week “becoming a witch”, but her article falls short of being respectful. The Independent continuing to let this article slide is clear communication from the editor(s) in charge that they don’t care about the discriminating and offensive nature of their journalist poking at an entire group of people and their belief systems.
[expand title=”Video Transcript”]Gods help me not lose my shit in this video.
Hey everyone. Welcome back to my channel. So today’s video was going to be something a little different. I was going to do a sort of reaction to how Christian parents are freaking out over the fact that Disney just released a new show called the owl house. However, that video is still coming, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I’ve got my tea because we’re, going to yeah, this is a tea episode. I was going to say we’re going to spill the tea, but I don’t know how to use that terminology properly. So if that’s the proper term for this video, let me know in the comments below. Oh. And I will try to keep my swearing to a minimum, but I’m not making any promises. I will do my best to keep my F-bombs down, but I’m very upset at this fact right now and I need to let you know why and what’s going on – what’s happening in the pagan community.
So, I saw something on Twitter today that really pissed me off. So, and I’ll link – everything will be in the description, all the links. The links to this article, the links to the tweet that I’m going to mention, it’ll all be down there. But the article was written by someone who writes for the Independent, and this person’s name is Ceri Radford. I think I’m saying her name right. At this point, I don’t care. But she wrote an article called, “I spent a week becoming a witch and the results were worrying”. Now at first glance, it might just be like your typical, I tried to do this and I didn’t like it or it didn’t work for me or whatever. Which those sorts of things are fine because you’re giving criticism and feedback on something that you tried and it didn’t work. However, I have a huge problem with this article and the way it was written.
So let me just read you, if you haven’t read the article already, let me just read you some of what she says because she comes off in an extremely condescending manner. She is essentially poking fun at the belief in witchcraft, which that’s her prerogative. That’s fine. If she doesn’t believe it, that’s cool. But she went into this experiment that she did thinking that it wasn’t going to work to begin with and with just to sort of attitude about her that was really condescending and really offensive to those of us who practice witchcraft. Now I’m going to be talking about witchcraft here as a belief system in response to this article because it’s – witchcraft is not a religion, but in this aspect, it is a belief system. It’s something that you believe and it’s something that you hold true in your own heart and you believe that it works.
Okay? So technically speaking, in my opinion, it is a belief system. It has rules, it has structure. Now, those rules and structure is going to depend on your tradition and how you practice. But however, most people within their witchcraft have their own rules and their own structure and all of that stuff. So in this video, I’m speaking of witchcraft as a belief system. And this lady – or this person – from the independent really missed the mark and a lot of people are pissed off. So, she starts off the article saying that she could have given up booze and bacon or started a punishing new fitness regimen for the new year, but instead she decided to do something that has dogged resistance to logic – witchcraft. Now she said, okay, so I need to preface this by saying that she was inspired by a book called the Modern Witch’s Guide to Happiness written by Luna Bailey.
Okay? So this whole new year transformation for her turning herself into a witch for a week was inspired by a book that she read. Which is totally fine, right? We’re going to get to why I have an issue with this particular thing in a minute. But she said she could have given up booze and bacon or started a new fitness plan, but instead she decided to do something against all logic and practice, witchcraft, okay? Whatever. So she breaks her article down by day because she did it for a week, seven days. So you’ve got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then she lumped in Saturday and Sunday together. The first thing on Monday, she says that one of the things she needed along with a suspension of belief in the scientific underpinnings of the universe, is an altar – condescension. Okay? And then she says it’s not to sacrifice a goat upon. No, this book is whiter than a student union snowflake, but to claim a space for quotation, creativity, spiritual growth and guidance. So right off the bat she’s extremely condescending and is poking fun at everything that a witch believes in all right. And… ugh!
So, she said about her altar that she got a potted plant, a bottle of Polish plum vodka, and a stripy scarf. Now those things are supposed to represent for her the elements, earth, air, fire, water and spirit. If they represent those for her, that’s fine. You know, whatever your altar is, your altar. But then she says it doesn’t look anything like the Instagrammable extravaganza in the book, but at least it made me tidy my bedside table. By the end of the day though, it has been joined by a light smattering of cat hair. And my four-year old’s Lego T Rex. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Okay. So Tuesday was about crystals. She goes in and she talks about how the book that she read says that you should let your intuition guide you when picking crystals. So she said that she went into a gift shop. I don’t know what she means by gift shop. Is it like a touristy gift shop – or why couldn’t she go to a metaphysical or an esoteric store? Because one of her complaints was that while she was uncannily drawn to something, it was a price tag for the Rose Quartz bracelet and it was 10 quid. Now I don’t know what 10 quid is in terms of US dollar. Hold on, let me look it up.
All right. So according to Google, 10 quid is roughly 13 American dollars. $13 for a Rose quartz bracelet, or just for a bracelet in general. Like that’s not bad. That’s kind of average. If I’m being honest, it’s kind of on the cheap side. So this makes me think that she went into just some like random gift shop where you buy knickknacks and shit and saw a Rose Quartz bracelet. Who’s to say that it was real genuine Rose Quartz? $13 or 10 quid for a Rose Quartz bracelet is fairly cheap and inexpensive. Now, one of the things that she does say about the crystals is that they do have a price tag, which of course they do. They are crystals. They come from the earth. They are minerals and gems, but she makes it seem like crystals are a requirement in witchcraft. And this ties into one of my major complaints with this article that I’ll get to in a minute. So, Wednesday was all about embracing nature, connecting with nature blah, blah, blah. Thursday she decided to attempt a spell. Okay, so it’s – she says, “since I’m well into my first week as a witch, I decided the time has come to attempt my first bell. None of the magic incantations listed, involve putting pox on my enemies, which will be a relief to the landlord who’s failed to fix my broken boiler” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. “They’re all perky personal growth exercises”. So she settled on a, what she quoted as a burning and banishing spell. And this is like a spell that I have on my own website where you write down things that you want to get rid of, light it on fire and let the universe take care of it. Okay? So she said next to tax return, I put knee-jerk scoffing cynicism. I would have set it on fire, but I was too cynical to waste a match. She says in fairness, there is a reasonable body of evidence to suggest that journaling is good for us. Taking time to think about and articulate what we want to let go of is no doubt psychologically healthy. For me, it’s the puff of smoke that’s a step too far.
So Friday she says that it was time to take it up a level and start to read tarot cards. Okay. So keep in mind, she’s going along for a whole week. We’ve done Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Now we’re on Friday. Okay. Out of this whole time she spent some time in nature. She went to a gift shop to look at some crystals and ended up walking out with nothing because it was too expensive. She, half-ass did a spell. She couldn’t be bothered to completely follow the instructions in the book anyways because as she said, she was too cynical to light a match and she didn’t think it was going to work anyway. So on the last day, she is going to practice tarot. She’s going to read tarot cards, but she didn’t have tarot cards. So what is she going to do? She goes and she gets a deck of cards from her kid – from her child. It’s a set of sea creature playing cards. So according to her, the book suggests that she started by selecting three cards and using them to answer three questions. What is my dream? What is stopping me, and what is my reality? Or what is the reality? So she turned the three cards over – dolphin, shark, dolphin, and she says that the interpretation should apparently come from her own intuition. And then she goes on to say that, Hey, it makes sense. But then she says, confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias has its place. Yes, I get it. This is part of the reason why I don’t personally like to do a full spread reading for myself all the time because I know about the issue of confirmation bias. Okay? But that was her main issue. She says that our brains are built to leap to conclusions to see what’s not really there. Helpful if the twitching leaves might hold a crouching saber tooth tiger – misleading in modernity. It’s part of the reason we’re all such credulous suckers still seduced by superstition at a time when we have the technology to make a space probe orbit Saturn.
So now to the weekend. She spends the weekend pondering all things witchy. “On one hand, it’s not hard to snort coffee through your nostrils when you read that water that has had a Rose Quartz soaking in it can be given to sooth traumatized animals. On the other, Witchcraft is no less irrational than any other religion, and many of its practices are in fact a fairly reasonable response to the major challenges of our time.” Okay. So that’s basically what she did for a week. All right? One week – seven days. Do you know how long I’ve been practicing witchcraft? More than 10 years. And there are some people that have been practicing witchcraft longer. It’s a practice. You can’t learn everything that you need to know in seven freaking days. Okay? Like this is just a – it’s offensive and one of the most offensive parts of this article to me is towards the end. I’m quoting from the article here, I’ll put it up on your screen. It says, “the answer of course, is that however benign or even beneficial the rituals, it’s all built on a wobbling base of bat****. No matter how many spells we cast to ask the universe for help, the universe isn’t listening. On a personal level, it’s probably better for us to just accept that life doesn’t always go our way and lower our expectations.
And on a broader level, the recent zest for the mystic is part of a worrying backlash against the enlightenment values that have driven human progress. On the one end of the political spectrum, you get the anti-vaxx movement; on the other climate change deniers. Standing in the light of a full moon to recite our resolutions may be harmless, but as a society we shun science at our peril.”
Please, I encourage you, if you haven’t already, go read the full article and I want to know what you think. Let me know in the comments below what you think about this article, but I’m going to go ahead and talk a little bit about some of the issues I have with this. The first issue is that she goes into this experiment with a piss poor attitude. It’s like she did it for the clickbait. She did it so that she could write a really snotty, condescending, offensive article about a minority group of people who have a set belief system so that she could put a clickbait title on it and get views to her article and to the website. It’s bullshit. My next issue is that instead of reaching – out if she was genuine – instead of reaching out to people that actually practice witchcraft and whose belief in witchcraft is a part of their everyday life, she read one book. One freaking book. That’s like rule number one of learning. You don’t read one source. No! You don’t read one source. You read as much as you can get your hands on. Go from that book and look at books by Scott Cunningham and – especially since the book that she seemed to pick up appears to be a very love and light and airy and very self-care-based and peace and all of that stuff. There’s way more to witchcraft than that. And if she would’ve done her research, she would have known better. She would have known that. And I want to say this, she says that – essentially she makes the point that witches aren’t logical people. That witches throw common sense and logic out the window. Okay? That we shouldn’t be doing these rituals and we shouldn’t be casting spells and playing pretend because as a people, we have the technology now to orbit out into space and do space exploration and explore the ocean. That’s fine. But, I don’t know, rewind several hundred years and if you would’ve gone into the past and told somebody that in the future you’d be able to do that. Do you know what people would tell you? You’re a witch. You’re practicing magic. Historically, as far as I’m aware, most of our scientific developments have their basis in some occult practice – medicine! Modern medicine, okay? Historically, herbs and plants were used to treat ailments.
Herbs and plants were used to create tinctures and potions and salves, and it would’ve been called witchcraft, right? Using nature and the energy of nature to affect the world around you and to make a change. But now what do we have because of that? Modern medicine. So, speaking to you, Ceri, you’re probably never going to see this video and that’s fine, but I need to tell you something.
Just because you don’t believe in the practice that you just decided to hop in and read a book and do for seven days doesn’t mean that you get to shit on the rest of us that do believe this, that have been doing it for years and that have the proof in our hearts and in the world around us that what we do works and what we do matters. And since one of my themes for this year, since I’m doing a depth year, is shadow work. Maybe if this person ever sees this video, they will go to previous videos or listen to the podcast I did on shadow work because I think they really need to examine why they feel the need to react this way to the belief systems of other people. And I want to let you guys know too – I’m not going to put the tweets up on the screen because I don’t have permission from that person to include that.
But I will leave a link in the description below. Someone had sent an email to the Independent complaining about this particular article. Okay? And the Independent replied, let me find it here really quick. The Independent replied, and I’ll link these in the description below, but I want to read you this last paragraph from their reply to this person. And this reply was written by someone named Madeline – I can’t pronounce their last name. Palacz. The Editorial Compliance Manager for the Independent. Okay. They say, “While I do not consider that the article requires correction or amendment for the reasons I have explained above. I nevertheless wish to thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns to the editorial team. We always welcome the opportunity to engage with our readers. If anything in my response is unclear, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.” Now in this whole email, in this whole reply, this person says that they’ve received several complaints about this particular article, but that it doesn’t go against their code of ethics. It doesn’t go against any of that stuff. You know, they’re totally fine with letting one of their journalists just shit all over a whole group of people. Let me ask you this, what would happen if she did an article and instead it was, I became a priest for a week and I did an exorcism and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to?
What do you think would happen? Or what if =she did this whole piece and it was still condescending and full of attitude on Islam or Buddhism or any form of Christianity or Catholicism?. What do you think would happen? People would be pissed off. And in those cases, it would be way more people because those groups of people are larger in number, but no. Instead she decided to just dump out and be condescending to the witches of the world. Now you might be saying, Megan, you’re overreacting. I disagree because of the point that I just made. If this was written about any other belief system in the world that had a larger following than witchcraft, there would be an overwhelming response. Okay? Everyone would be pissed off and the Independent would probably take the article down because they pissed off a huge number of their client and a customer base, right?
Because it’s about the money. So this lady, this person, wrote this article with a clickbait title. She read one book and she practiced witchcraft for seven days and decided that it’s all bullshit and we just don’t believe in science and we don’t believe in logic. Well, I call bullshit on her article. And that’s all I got to say about that. So read the article for yourself. Let me know in the comments what you think. Do you think I’m overreacting? Do you think the whole pagan community is overreacting? Do you think her article was condescending or was it informative or, I don’t know. Let me know what you think. I want to know. So yeah, thanks for sticking around for this video. So I forgot to mention that this article was written on January 12th, I believe. I think it was January 12th, but yeah, go read it. Let me know what you think. I’ll see you guys later. Bye.[/expand]
Have you read the article in the Independent yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
o Independent Article: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/witchcraft-astrology-modern-witch-guide-happiness-book-luna-bailey-a9276886.html
o Tweet re Independent Reply: https://twitter.com/TaenOfVessels/status/1217159360998191106?s=19&fbclid=IwAR1a1Z06s7P0a-ikNEIwUvV1HOwKXoBpW8vrCyzfzRQoO2sAKUkExRzyGSA
o Petition to have the article removed: http://chng.it/JrCggjVPn5