From One ‘Deviant’ To Another: How Witchcraft Embraces Queerness In India

Posted by Rev.Puneet in Cake, Gender & Sexuality, LGBT+, Taboos
October 30, 2017

Wicca chose me when I was 12 years old. I was born with the talent of healing, divination, and psychic instinct, and I learnt to make the whole of existence a celebration. Today, I am a Wiccan high priest, teaching students this ancient esoteric knowledge – of life, death, and life after death.

Wicca is a neo-Pagan religion which believes in the existence of the power to which many of us would call “Nature”. The name comes from the word “wic”, which means “the wise”, and we witches believe knowledge is power, but if only one has the wisdom to use it. We believe that this path is not our choice but one we are born into. But many myths about witches make us look evil and unacceptable in society. Not unlike another community of people who are seen as ‘deviant’ in India.

A Pagan altar to the Mother Goddess. Source: Pixabay.

People from the LGBTQ community have come to me for answers. Unfortunately, many who came were unhappy with who they were. Either they considered their life a cursed one or they hated the whole of existence. There were people who tried casting spells to cure themselves, some of them went to fraud magicians to change their sexuality, and many were considered to be possessed, and took it as a punishment of past lives.

No magickal spell can change a person’s gender or sexuality, for I believe this is most beautiful magick of nature. And yet, everything in our society takes a different approach. When I was in Class 8, a group of priests came to my Catholic school to deliver lecture on sex education. All day, they told us sex is a sin and homosexuality is the greatest sin of all.

I remember, a young man in his 20s came to me and asked what opinions I hold of the LGBTQ community. My reply surprised him. He told me that he had never received any positive views from spiritualists on different sexual orientations, as many viewed it as unnatural.

We should remember that the LGBTQ community is considered in many traditions. In Hindu Tantra, gender diversity and different sexual orientations were always the part of our culture. The word “kinnar” has beautiful meanings: “The one who is above nar (man)”, “the one who is whole”, “the one who is God as well as man”.

As a Witch, I have found that many religious texts have accepted, and, more significantly, praised the diversity and plurality of gender and sexuality. But today, people have categorised acts, things and habits into Right and Wrong, Good and Evil on that basis of what their minds accept and refuse and to accept.

Wicca does not bind us by rules, but allows us to be conscious enough for self-discipline to come from within. It gives us spiritual and mental liberty. Socrates – who I believe had a Wiccan Spark – spoke about the gender binary, saying: “I see no difference among men and women except one, the man begets and woman bears children.”

It is not a reality to be accepted that biologically men’s bodies possess a Masculine gender, or women possess a Feminine gender. Feminine and masculine natures are simply two phases of a soul and the whole existence. Yes, physical factors like body shape, pheromones, and personal taste matter to an extent. But Wiccans believe that it is not the female body that attracts men, it is the feminine aura.

We worship nature in its all its forms. For us, gender is not limited to ‘male’ and ‘female’. Neither is power. It is like the phases of the moon, which show completeness but also transformation. This is perfection.

Wicca itself has propagated inclusiveness. In the 1930s, Gerald Gardner made the world aware of Wicca through his books. He mentioned that a witch is a witch – male or female, it hardly matters.

Aleister Crowley.

Aleister Crowley, another great magician of 1900s, was bisexual. He wrote about homosexuality in his books, considering this phenomenon as normal as human existence. He openly talked about sexuality with his students and explained them the concepts to free their minds so that they could focus on their magick. But knowing that the world wasn’t ready to accept his reality, he began calling himself “The Great Beast 666”.

There is tradition in Wicca, that one comes to one’s altar every night, light the candles, ring the bells, feel the athame (ceremonial blade) or the wand (which represents power) and align the mind with the natural flow. I believe we all must follow this concept, every night to give ourselves time to think, and become aware of ourselves, our prejudices, our path and place in this universe.

I leave these few thoughts for my queer siblings: You have your own truth, your own opinions, your own likes, and your own sexual orientation. It was always within you, and does not come by any influence or curse. It is your own Journey and you have to walk it alone.

To all others, you too have a path before you – one of truth and acceptance. Will you choose to walk it?

Do not expect but accept.