Young Adult Witches: The Generation In Between
Author: Soull the University Witch
For some youth, the world of Wicca and magick in general is a rather strange and awkward world. In middle school, they hide their new-found religious interest to “different faith” parents. In high school, they may continue on that course, or flaunt it as a means of rebellion to those same parents whom they had to hide their faith from. Anyone today, from Pagan to Mundane, can read it and see it, in many forms of media. It is almost a stereotypical plot device in books, television, and movies.
But after high school comes the tricky age.
What happens when Witches enter young adulthood? Already, society demands they have the same responsibilities as an adult, and yet they have none of the experience, nor are they really treated as “adults” by the older generation. Those who have entered the world of Witches (or have been so all of their lives) , hit a rather strange crossroads that, for some, can either make or break their religious path.
Many religions have a place of social congregation, such as a church, or a synagogue. The Wiccan/Pagan religions do not, as most of the ritual and any form of ceremony and celebration can take place within the house or backyard of another Witch. Minus the large gatherings of the Sabbaths, other Witches may also practice in covens.
For young Witches, coven is a word, an almost sacred word, that holds some sort of rite of passage to it. In a way, to them, being in a coven makes you a real Witch. Of course, this is not true at all. There are many Witches who are solitary practitioners, young and old.
But is that by choice, or unfortunate circumstance?
There are several books, perhaps hundreds, written to guide the solitary practitioner. That’s far too many. Witches have the word ‘coven’ to use it, to form one, to be in one… and yet there are witches across the country, the whole world, who find their magick merely at their own altar, burning candles and tossing the ashes of their regrets into the wind. Alone.
There’s a bit of disconnect between the older generation and the new Witches who are finding this path in a strange and uncertain new century. Do they think young Witches are merely there for a thrill, or for fun? Do they not believe that the younger generation can take this path seriously?
Of course, we cannot just blame the older generation for the odd gap. Are younger Witches unwilling to sacrifice convenience for tradition? Do they take an interest in Witchcraft merely due to the media, and once they find out it takes more than a wave of wand to create and make magick work for them, do they give up?
The branches of Neopaganism are essentially a religion, even if outsiders such as ‘mundanes’ have a hard time grasping such a concept. It is a spiritual path that does not attempt to bring people into the circle though means of recruiting and “spreading the word”. It is the happenstance that those interested in the Craft find us. Other religions have people who go door-to-door to spread the word of their faith. Witches don’t do such a thing, instead preferring that people decide this path is right for them on their own.
Do all of us take it a step too far when it comes to not pressing our religion onto others? It seems more than not that instead of sharing who we are and what we do with those whom express curiosity, that we merely clam up and choose to not inform supposed outsiders. The ways of Paganism can be something that sounds outlandish to those who have never crossed ways with it before, or only have the knowledge of what the media provides. But how do we expect these new people to become kin with us if we’re unwilling to dispense information? We certainly can’t expect that everyone can merely “look it up” themselves. In an age where paper books are becoming less common and the Internet reigns, someone interested in Neopaganism can easily stumble upon false information.
For those of the younger generation, the Internet may be the only source of information they touch in this regard. For some, it’s the only way; an outing to the bookstore with a parent or guardian could end up badly if they catch them in the new age or metaphysical section, especially if the parent is unaware of their interest. It’s also rather hard to just find people whom are of the same path to speak with in regards to magickal faith. It is this generation whom will be the next High Priests and Priestesses, the metaphysical shop owners, and the authors of many books about magick-based religions. Both parties should make sure the right information is being passed down.
The age of the young adult Witch is a strange time. The Neopagan community as a whole should strive to find ways to make a smoother transition from this early Witch stage and into adulthood. Websites should reconsider the way they separate things for “adults” and “teens”. Witches in their mid to early twenties have a wide variety of interests. Some Witches may still be interested in the topics teen Witches are covering, while others many wish to partake in the more serious discussions you can find in forums for more mature Pagans. Said forums should attempt to find a way to bridge the divide, such as adding a “young adult section” (which could also be handy for teens who wish to move on from the discussions found on younger forums) .
There are plenty of books that offer introductory advice on solitary practice for teenagers, such as Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch and Confessions of a Teenage Witch: Celebrating the Wiccan Life by Gwinevere Rain. However, very rarely can I find something that reaches for an age beyond the teenager years, but not quite into true adulthood.
By implementing a few simple changes, or even supporting and promoting websites, books, workshops, and events geared towards a younger crowd of adult Witches, we can ensure a smoother transition, and perhaps even increased openings for change in the Wiccan community. Like all religions, more people are turning to the path of the Old Ways, and there is a strong potential for growth within this age range.
If both sides are able to set aside generational and cultural differences, there is room for plenty of improvement… and change.