Which Witch is Which?

I was going to go hear who the ACLU and the Southern Baptists thought today’s witches were last night, but I couldn’t find my pointy black hat and so I refrained.  Still, it makes me think that there really must not be a whole lot of pagans in Nashville that one could ask that question and not have any actual witches on the panel, just for some perspective.

But maybe folks don’t know that there are witches and Witches and witches again of various sorts and so I thought it might be useful to have a reference guide to witches.  And who better than me to write one?

Ha, anyway, here we go.


There are three, maybe four types of folks who call themselves Wiccans.  Wiccans will often call themselves Witches.  But not all Wiccans are Witches and not all Witches are Wiccans.  Hell, not even all Wiccans are Wiccans, as you’ll see.

Traditional Wiccans

Traditional Wiccans meet in a coven, worship a Lady and a Lord (under various names), and can trace the lineage of their high priest and high priestess back to Gerald Gardner, a British civil servant.  There are, loosely, two main traditions of traditional Wicca–Gardnerian and Alexandrian.  I don’t know what the differences are, but they’re there.  Maybe some Wiccans of this sort will come by and straighten this out.

Dianic Wiccans

Feminist separatist (at least theologically) witches.  They draw from some of the rituals and beliefs of traditional Wicca, but for the most part, they are concerned with the worship of the female divine by female females for the betterment of women.

Eclectic Wiccans

These Wiccans don’t meet in regular covens and don’t necessarily follow the rituals or theology of traditional Wiccans.  There’s a lot of debate about whether these “eclectic Wiccans” are actually Wiccans or if they’re just witches who don’t get that they should be calling themselves “witches” not “Wiccans.”  I think they call themselves Wiccans, though, in order to indicate that their practice is religio-magical or magio-religious–meaning that they practice magic, but in the framework of their religious beliefs.

Fluffy Bunnies

I don’t know if this term has fallen out of favor, but I love it.  There’s a lot of overlap between eclectic wiccans and the fluffy bunnies, but fluffy bunnies tend to be young women who have watched The Craft, Charmed, or Harry Potter one too many times and decided that that’s them.  These are the folks most likely to go on about the outrageousness of the “Burning Times” and to believe that they are part of some centuries’ old underground religious tradition.  In general, they tend to either outgrow this stage or they go back to church.

Non-Wiccan Witches (eh, that’s kind of an unsatisfying catch-all title, but what can you do?)

Hedge witches and kitchen witches

These are witches who have incorporated the practice of magic into their everyday lives.  Speaking broadly, these are folks who believe that influencible forces are all around us and constantly at work and they spend their time doing what would appear to be ordinary things in order to exert influence on those forces.  This is not necessarily a religious belief (though it can be) and so you can find pagan witches of this sort and Christian witches.

Family witches

Some folks claim to be from a long line of witches who have been practicing witchcraft for generations with only minimal outside interference.    As you can imagine, these kinds of claims are met with skepticism.   On the other hand, who knows?  Again, not necessarily a religious thing.

Other folks who practice magic but don’t call themselves witches

A lot of pagan faiths have a role for someone in them who practices what we might consider magic.  They might not call themselves witches, but they might be typified as such.  You also might lump folks throughout the ages who practiced magic but didn’t consider themselves witches (by the definition of ‘witch’ at the time).  And folks like hoodoo practitioners or folks who curse or bless in African-Hemispheric-American religions.

Wicked Witches

People around the world are still accused of witchcraft in the traditional, traditional sense of the word–in that they consort with the forces of evil in order to place magical spells on people that will harm them.  And there are people who do do this.

It should be obvious, though, that most folks in this category are there for political reasons.

Have I forgotten anybody?  Let me know.

Like Cool Water

This morning I was talking on the phone to one of you, a person so devoted to victory that, when he achieves it, he will often thrust his pelvis at his opponent AND talk smack about the people on his own team, and said person said to me “It’s all about the winning with you, isn’t it?”

And, y’all, that just struck me as so funny that I laughed like a grade-schooler at a slumber party.  I mean, I laughed, thought I was done laughing, and tried to calm down only to find that there were still more giggles and when those subsided, more bubbled up.  I had to tilt my head back and just let them come.

I haven’t laughed like that in ages.  It felt good.

My doctor (ha, the fact that I have a doctor about bowls me over) has me on a trial of Advair and she said it would be about two weeks before I noticed any big difference, but I’ve got to tell you, America, I feel like I notice a difference already.  I still feel like I’m breathing through a sponge and I still think I’m really noisy when I breathe, but I feel like more air is getting to my lungs.

I don’t feel like I’m struggling as much.  I wonder, too, if I’m sleeping better.

Anyway, my hope is that Advair will be a price that I can afford and I can keep taking it, if, indeed, the gradual improvements continue to gradually improve.

And I’m starting to think about this year’s utiseta and which consecutive nine nights I can devote to it before the end of the month.  I’m really looking forward to that.

The TIRCC Breakfast & Other Thoughts

First, let me say, as someone who has been sucked into boring, long meetings designed to break your soul, whoever put together the TIRCC breakfast is a miracle workers.  It really was just an hour (a little less, if I’m remembering it right) and it was light and informative, with some serious notes thrown in there to remind folks what it is their supporting and why.

But what got me thinking was how folks were talking about the awesomeness of diversity and what great additions immigrants make to our community.  Of course, I believe this to be true.  And they also talked about the important work they do to help the communities that receive these immigrants to deal with the influx of new people successfully.

Because, of course, as we all know, that’s been the hard part.

(As a side note, they showed this brief film and in the film was a segment where a couple of women with their small children were sitting around talking about how afraid they were of police raids and of the police in general, and it kind of made me want to throw up.)

But the whole thing got me thinking again about the rapid changes in my neighborhood, both on my side of 440 and on the side closer to West End.  Our side of the interstate is, with the exception of the big houses along Murphy Road, a typical working class-looking neighborhood in Nashville.  We have some a couple of apartment buildings, some houses that have been broken up into apartments, some modest-sized family homes, a bunch of those post-war Monopoly-house houses and a few tiny shotgun shacks.

On the other side of 440, there were more modest-sized family homes, quite a few condos that are just a step up from what we live in and quite a few apartment buildings.  All priced, though, so that people like us could afford to live here.

There’s a general problem with all of the houses in my neighborhood, which one of my co-workers discovered when she was looking to buy over here.  The bigger old houses tend to have really shitty foundations and tend to be held up by what appears to be glorified firewood–bark still on and everything.

I think there was a moment when homeowners in my neighborhood wondered if they could benefit from the gentrification trend going on in other parts of town.  So, for instance, the house that my co-worker looked at, when she looked at it, was listed for $210,000.  Considering the surrounding neighborhoods, that’s not unreasonable.  Considering the problems with the foundation, it was.

I hear that house sold this spring to a developer for $300,000.

It’s sitting empty, waiting to be torn down.

I’m sure that most of the new, high priced condos in my neighborhood are, at best, half full.

(I’m sure we’ve all heard rumors about how empty some of the new growth closer to downtown is, too, but I can’t speak to that personally.)

I have often wondered who’s buying these condos.

But sitting at breakfast, I began to wonder if I was missing the point.  Maybe the point is who is not buying the houses that used to be there.

I mean, let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how close to work it is, we’re still not at the point here in Nashville where you’re going to get more than $75,000 for a three room shot-gun shack with no air conditioning.  I mean, no one who intends to live in that house would pay you more than that for it.  That house cannot be gentrified.

So, who would buy it?  Just across the street and two empty lots away from the $500,000 condos that are still half empty?

If you’re trying to create a neighborhood where rich people can experience urban but not too urban life, doesn’t it behoove you to shut down the possibility of the neighborhood becoming something else?

Deliberately keeping properties bought up and empty will do that.

I probably should have figured that out sooner.

Right now, in my neighborhood, I think this is about economics.  This is like a little donut-hole of regularness in the middle of a lot of wealth.  Transforming it so that it matches what’s going on down West End or closer to Vandy makes sense, especially if you’re convinced that you can afford to hold onto the empty housing until people whose lives and income match what’s going on down West End discover you and decide to buy in.

But it makes it a bitch for diversity, doesn’t it?

I’m Leaving It To the Butcher

The orange cat came home covered in burrs.  I mean, like he’s wearing a little burr jacket.  I tried to pick them off, but he’s having none of it.

Fine, orange cat.  Fine.

Lay around all day in burrs.  I’m letting the Butcher deal with you.

Wait.  Or will he lie around all day in burrs?  Damn you, orange cat, damn you and your grammar confounding problems.