"How can you be a Hindu Witch?" Explained

During my years of practice of witchcraft, I have faced criticism and straight-up hatred for calling myself a Hindu Witch. What is difficult to explain to many of us out there is how Hinduism and witchcraft are related.

Hinduism is a Pagan religion. Paganism is an umbrella term for all nature-based religions, thus marking Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and many eastern religions as Pagan. Paganism in itself is not a religion. Now, witchcraft is the practice of herbs, exercise, natural resources such as moonlight and sunlight for energy exchange, astrology and other divination practices. Much like these practices, Hinduism has its own branches of all of them: Ayurveda- the knowledge of herbs, Jyotish shastra- the practice of astrology and divine practices. Surya namaskar- a type of yoga practice is the morning ritual to appreciate and utilize energy more than just the sunlight of the Sun. Finding parallels between the two is neither difficult nor impossible.

The term "Witchcraft" was demonized in the middle ages by people prosecuting Pagans. Being a witch or witchy practices are so infused in Hindu practices that we do not realize what this western term could mean to people outside our circle. Things like lighting a Diya or candle can be "magick" or "evil" to someone who wants to see it in a negative light. In medieval times herbal practitioners were seen as doing Devil's work. The misconception of witches being Christian Devil's minions is what drove the bloodshed by people who understood less of humanity.

Hinduism comes from "Sanatana Dharma" which loosely translates to a righteous path that has been old and undying, which can also be "old pagan religion" in English. Dharma in Hindi means two things- religion and duty. When we use it interchangeably, we understand that being righteous is both religion and the duty of humans for Hindus. Thus, when someone says they are Hindu, it points out to their lifestyle and life choices more than them confined to what "God" they pray to.

Another interesting observation here is that Hinduism does not force you to pray to god, visit the temple, perform rituals or confine to religious practices. The term "Aastik" means people who have faith in gods and goddesses, and are religious; the opposite word "Naastik" means people who are exploring skeptics and who do not believe in religious practices. They are not "Non-Hindus" or atheists but Hindus who do not follow the religion or pray to gods. This makes Hindus open and acceptable to many flexible views.

On my journey to learn witchcraft I found parallels between almost every practice in Hinduism, which makes me wonder how long we have been practicing witchcraft without knowing, especially in India, how people around the globe see it. But I am sure about one thing- be it witchcraft, be it Hinduism is a way of life. It is a lifestyle that isn't enforced or taught just in religious places. It is something you learn and be!

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