The term “gatekeeper” is commonly used when someone devalues others’ opinions or knowledge by claiming they are not entitled to that information or interest because they are not qualified in that person’s opinion. Now this term can be applied to a multitude of hobbies or crafts but has been abundantly used when referring to witchcraft in an old world facing a new dynamic and growing generation. A lot of times this behavior is not intentional but is protective over their craft or knowledge. I have always strived to keep my gate as open as possible to those who want to learn and here's why:
Everyone must start somewhere
Now matter how many years you have been practicing you had to have started somewhere on your magical journey. Sometimes, Witches can be put off if a new Witch didn’t know about a step in a spell or a special symbolism, a mispronunciation of a word or holiday, etc. Mistakes happen to everyone; phones are left on during ritual and circles weren’t cast. I’m not saying choose chaos and to not pick up a book in the future, but don’t beat yourself up when slip ups happen. We say oops and move on. All I’m saying is think back to your first few spells and consider how much easier it would have been if you had a friendly Witch to answer questions when you had them.
No matter how small the question or who is asking I always make a point to answer them with a smile. Doesn’t matter if you are trying to learn witchcraft or just have a curiosity, I’m happy to help. Why? Awareness. With the media the way it is you say the word “Witch” and people conjure up ideas of people levitating, demons, dancing naked in the woods, Hogwarts and more. They don’t know whether to look at you with musing or fear. Whereas when someone calls themselves a Witch it is a title and very serious reality. If we want to be perceived as a proper belief and to some a religion, the only way we can do this is by answering those curious questions with an approachable attitude.
Don’t be a Jerk
This one seems self explanatory, but its safe to say, no one enjoys being looked down upon and it can really turn them off an interest. The reality is some people need help when starting out and everyone does things a little differently. That is one of the best things about Witchcraft is that there are so many different paths that one can take! These differences should be celebrated not frowned upon. It may even give you an opportunity to learn something new or give a different perspective.
The argument for gatekeepers has been made that the idea of being a Witch is currently “trendy”. It is hard not to feel jaded when you see perfumes marketed as “beginner witch” items. However, as a practitioner I feel it is my duty to help teach and be a voice to the craft. It is not in my control if people fall away from practicing if they choose. What is in my control is how I react when someone wants to learn and they ask for help. That is my profession as a practitioner of Witchcraft. It is not to judge and deem who I think is worthy.
So, the next time a beginner or someone looks at your craft with curiously or interest, I urge you to meet them with respect and a smile.