An Overview of Modern Witchcraft with Lilian Anderson

Modern Witchcraft

So tell me about yourself?

I’m 42 years old, I’ve been practising witchcraft for about 20 years although I’ve always had a bit of an interest, but yeah I’ve been practising consciously for about 20 years. I’m a mature student and I’m training to be a counsellor

And now tell me about your experiences with witchcraft?

Probably my first experience was in primary school, I found some Tarot cards and started experimenting with the Tarot cards while I was quite young and just kind of moved forward and from there started learning a bit about the Divination arts. Around my mid teens I started getting a bit more serious about it, but it was when I started training to be a counsellor initially that I started doing Reiki, now I do need to add that Reiki isn’t something that would be considered witchcraft or Wicca but it encouraged me to be more congruent with myself and explore, so while I’d always been interested in alternative therapies and religions and divination and those sorts of things but between my counsellor training learning to be congruent with myself and the Reiki training and learning to channel the healing arts all helped me more to be focused on what I had innately.

What’s the difference between Wicca and witchcraft?

Best way to describe it to an audience that doesn’t know about Witchcraft is, what’s the difference between Christianity and Catholicism. Right, Paganism and Witchcraft are often used interchangeably, Paganism is a big umbrella and Witchcraft is a slightly smaller umbrella and Wicca is an even smaller umbrella still. Wicca is a modern reinterpretation of the old gods. Wicca comes essentially from the Gardnerian (a tradition in the neopagan religion of Wicca which can be traced back to a British civil servant and amateur scholar of magic, Gerald Gardner) who looked at what he was taught by the practitioners of the old arts. But Witchcraft itself encompasses Voodoo, Hoodoo and a whole host of other things including Wicca. So if you’re Wiccan you’re a witch but if you’re a Witch you’re not necessarily a Wiccan. To go back to the Analogy I made at the start, it’s like if you’re a Catholic you’re a Christian but if you’re a Christian you aren’t necessarily a Catholic.

Do you use holistic or alternative medical treatment and how do they compare to ‘conventional’ medical treatments?

Well I trained at a holistic therapist as well so yes, but anyway I was actually talking to a friend earlier and a lot of the things I did 20 years ago with my daughter had people laughing and going “ya old hippie” but are now considered more mainstream. For example I did baby massage in the early 90’s whereas now it’s something that people are recognising the benefits, that it promotes the bond between the mother and child and it can help with so many other different things. I would definitely consider holistic and alternative methods as an add-on. Obviously the way I’m training just now as a counsellor is very much in the medical field and I would never advise, in fact I actually had an argument with someone over Facebook who was advising to follow a certain supplement and alternative protocol rather than the medical advise, I would always encourage or suggest you follow your Doctor’s advice. Even if you are also adding some supplementation or following a holistic or alternative treatment I’d always suggest you still seek medical advice as well. The advantage of that is that presumably your Doctor has access to your complete medical history and can make an informed judgement.

The other day I shared a post on Facebook, a little anecdotal story about a religious man, a very pious man whose home was flooded, the water was rising coming over the door step and a fire crew arrive to rescue him and he says “why don’t you rescue my neighbour, my God will save me” so they do and the flood water continues to rise so he goes to the second floor of his home, and this time a boat comes along and he says again “no save my neighbour, my God will rescue me”. Finally he ends up on the roof with the water still rising and a helicopter comes along and again he says “save my neighbour, my God will rescue me”. The man ends up dying and he is in heaven and asks his God “Why didn’t you rescue me” and his god replies “I sent you a fire crew, a boat and a helicopter what more do you want me to do”. And the point of the story at least to me is that you’ve got to understand that the Universe is the one that is creating a scientist and while not every scientific breakthrough is going to be the best, the universe has given us these conventional medicines as well as the alternative treatments. So just because something doesn’t come directly from nature doesn’t mean that it’s not natural. Holistic medicine as a whole means treating the body as a whole. So somebody going to their Doctor with depression, which is something because I’m training in psychology and counselling, is something that’s very important to me, so someone going to their Doctor with depression might get medication, but from a holistic point of view you also look at the person’s circumstances, you’d refer them to a CPN (community psychiatric nurse) to get them out and about, and try different things including maybe using the healing touch of massage or Reiki to add to the medication. It’s referred to in Psychology as the biopsychosocial model, but it’s basically holistic healing because you have the medical point of view and the taking of the medication but you’re also dealing with the other circumstances and dealing with the person as a whole rather than just treating the symptom.

What’s the impact of witchcraft on the culture and Scotland and how is it different to witchcraft in other countries?

Pretty much in Scotland and in the UK, and you’re going to get a history lesson here, it goes back to James IV of Scotland (he was also known as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625) who was partially responsible for the Witch hunts across Europe and America. James I rewrote the Bible, so your King James Bible was funnily enough written by King James. So yeah, he rewrote the bible to match his thinking and a lot of the things like “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” come directly from his experiences and and what he was taught about how witches are inherently bad and that’s there was a curse placed upon him by witches because he unified England and Scotland. But anyway his bride was coming over from Denmark and she was met with this huge storm which he assumed was because of this witch curse and so he kind of started this huge anti witch craze which spread across the world. A lot of what you read in modern times focuses on America, the Salem witch trials but it all comes back to these events that happens in King James’s time. He also wrote and published Daemonologie (in full Daemonologie, In Forme of a Dialogue, Divided into three Books: By the High and Mighty Prince, James &c) a dissertation which essentially provided a reasoning for persecuting witches in a Christian society. It and Malleus Maleficarum (translated as the Hammer of witches) a medieval treatise on witchcraft, written by a discredited Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer, were the foundation of the anti witch movement and in fact, the Malleus Maleficarum is often viewed as the typical inquisitorial manual, although this has been disputed by historians. Anyway Witchcraft is still illegal in the UK, the most recent execution was actually ridiculously recently, it was a woman called Janet Horne and she the last person legally executed for Witchcraft in the British Isles, and that was in 1727. Which is particular sad because elsewhere for example in Salem the witch hunts and trials were coming to a close by 1693.

Because Scotland is still very much rural based, sure we have the big cities but there’s a lot in between that’s very rural, the old ways and the old wives tales, and the cottage hospital healing is all very much based on herbs and instruction from the local wise woman and that became witchcraft. People think that witchcraft is all Buffy and Charmed where people to big magnificent things, it’s not. It’s about revering nature and recognising the seasons of the year, seasons of the person and the patterns of the world. Magic is sympathetic, it’s not about point *ping* and there’s a flame, it’s about sitting with someone, talking to them and making a pot of tea with some herbs that are going to help them with their condition. Spell-work can be similar to a prayer, it’s more about putting out that energy than anything else.

Take a look at the idea of Collective Consciousness, the term was coined by by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his The Division of Labour in Society in 1893. He posits that we all possess a specific set of set of shared beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and knowledge. So we share all of this and whether I’m sending out good energy or bad energy somewhere in the ether, in the collective consciousness you will feel that.

Is it a religion or a way of life…or how best would you describe it?

Well first of all I don’t claim to represent the entire group, I can only speak to my own personal experiences, so the answer you get from me might be different from what you’d get from other people. But to answer the question, it’s both. It’s a religion in so much as there are a pantheon of Gods that I venerate and worship, but it’s a way of life in so much as every religion should be. Now I don’t mean to sound like I’m Christian bashing and that’s certainly not my intention but the way I look at it it’s like the old thing about ‘Just because you go to church doesn’t make you a Christian’. It’s all about how you live every day life, and I live everyday life in ways that I show respect to mother earth and to my gods and every day in my life whether it’s big or small I try to do something to help my fellow human beings. My soul’s purpose is to help people and that’s part of my religion, my way of life and just who I am. So yeah, to me at least it’s both.

What are some myths/stereotypes you want to dispel?

A Lot of the time when I speak to people now they are a lot more understanding, as I was saying earlier when I was doing this 15/20 years ago when I first started to be open about it I’d just call it Wicca because people can understand Wicca and don’t automatically go “Oh…you’re going to put a spell on me!” but now I don’t really care. One of the tenets of Wicca is ‘Do what you will but harm none. And for the most part I believe in that but I also believe you can’t heal without hexing. Think about it this way, if you’re ill, you’ve got a bacterial infection, that Bacteria is a living entity and it has a purpose and I’m having to kill that bacteria to make to you better. Something I do want to talk about is…there’s always free will. I work as tarot reader and people will come to me for that and we will go through it and they’ll say that “is that definitely going to happen” and I have to say “no it’s not definitely going to happen”.

I’ll give you an example, I was doing a reading for one of my regulars the other day and I wanted him that a position was going to arise where he could have an affair, and my advice to him was be yourself and don’t put yourself in a position where that could happen. Sure you might be going on this lads holidays but don’t get too drunk, keep your wits about you because at some point a woman is going to appear and you need to be ready. Now he has the free will to ignore my advice and get blind drunk and have the affair, I’ve given him the warning but his free will is the deciding factor as to whether the situation arises or not. So yeah, even with the best spell-work I can’t control free will.

Another thing is that Voodoo/Hoodoo dolls and Poppets can’t make you dance. I use them a lot, I tend to use them for healing, it’s just about having a physical item to channel your energy for healing.

I don’t have green skin, I don’t think my nose is particularly long and I don’t think I have any warts. But I’m also happy to adopt those thing for Halloween, in fact the origins of the whole green skin and witches thing is pretty interesting and if you want to check that out you can do that here.  

Can you give any beginners tips for someone inexperienced with witchcraft?

Mediate! People find it quite difficult, they tend to think just about not listening, about blocking everything out but at least the way I’m suggesting you do it is by listening to your inner voice.

Get with nature, go for a walk in the park, take your shoes off and feel the grass between your toes. Be at one with nature and listen to your inner voice, listen to your instincts and trust your own instincts.

As for actual spell-craft, a very good one for beginners is just to light a candle. Easiest one is just anoint a candle with a healing oil and draw a symbol on it. For example a quick and easy money spell is to get a green candle, draw a pound sign on it and rub rosemary on it and then think about about what you need the money for and then light the candle.

That does bring me back to something for the previous question, another myth we can dispel. Just because you’ve lit that doesn’t mean you’ll wake up and you’ve won the lottery but it means that opportunities will come for you to earn the money. Something might happen and you could pick up a wee side job or get the chance to do overtime. The universe will take the path of least resistance in helping you out.

Also while I’m talking about that, never ask for more than you need. When I do a healing spell I don’t ask for it want superhuman strength I maybe just want my asthma to improve. And you still have to recognise their are physical limitations, we are still human. It should be like a good parent, in so much as if they put the effort in you match their effort, but if they don’t then I won’t. But if you do put the effort in then I’ll do everything I can to support you and that’s the way I see my relationship with the gods.

Care to share any stories about your experiences with witchcraft and how it’s impacted your life?

Because as I said above I’ve made it a part of my life it’s impacted every area of it. It can be as simple as letting the dog out for a pee in the morning and looking out and taking the chance to be grateful for the new day, even if it’s cold and wet and miserable and I’m standing there with all my aches and pains it’s another day and we are here. And it’s the same in the evening, just taking a moment and saying that another day in this creation, in this life and accept it.

Lots of people have trouble sleeping can you share a magic cure for insomnia?

Right, not magic but mediate. Switch off your devices and take some time to clear your head. Maybe use Lavender essential oils.

What’s is your impression of magic and what is its place in modern culture?

Again if you’re looking at magic as me snapping my fingers and creating anything that’s not going to happen but if you’re looking at magic as me putting energy into something that’s different. There’s been research done where if you take a glass of water and you freeze the glass of water and say negative things to the glass of water, and then you get another glass of water and freeze it and say positive things and then look at the ice cubes and the ice cubes molecules, the ones that had negative comments made are all spiky and the ones that had positive comments are all flowing. If you want to find out more about that experiment then you can follow this link.

Magic is essentially that, it’s about putting energy into something. If I’m putting positive energy into a poppet of someone or negative energy into a binding spell to stop someone from doing harm, it’s all about the energy behind it. I’m experienced enough now to know that 99% of the time the mundane reaction is the best course of action but occasionally you need a little boost from the team upstairs then you’re doing okay.

Is it more thought/idea based or is their a requirement for physical objects and/or ingredients?

You can generate energy and send energy with just your hands but if I’m sitting at my physical altar with my candles, herbs and poppets it gives me somewhere to focus that energy. I can focus my energy in my finger just as easily as with my wand but using the wand gives me somewhere to focus it. The tools themselves i.e the wand doesn’t have any power itself it’s all about the intention I put into it and the years of intention I’ve put into it. Last year I got a new wand is a piece of wood with some pretty crystals on it but when I took it and and I ritually cleansed it and ritually blessed it and blessed it under the sun and blessed it under the moon and I put energy into it then it took on an energy of its own, but the physical actual item doesn’t have its own innate energy. It’s a little different when talking about herbs and oils and crystals even because they have their own vibrational energy because they come from nature and using sympathetic magic means I’m taking a herb with a specific vibration energy coupled with something else coupled with my intention to make something happen. So burning a bay leaf will give me a different energy to work with from burning sage

If you could leave the readers with one clear idea or impression about witchcraft what would it be?

There’s more of us than you think.

And lastly a believe you have a business which deals with spirituality and witchcraft would you care to share some links?

you can find me on Facebook by searching Bewitching health and Beauty or by following this Link.


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