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Warlock: Defense against the Deceitful Arts

By any other name….

The word as defined from Oxford Languages is “a man who practices witchcraft: a sorcerer”.

Given my own specialized past, I will state here that any form of the Goddess who finds themselves resounding with this name is completely entitled to it. While I will refer to Warlock in the masculine here, it is in reference to the energy used to act as a Warlock, not the body which houses it. There is a known concept that a yang sword is shielded by a yin scabbard.

That said, allow me to share with you my research and personal definition of the title “Warlock”. I hope it will inspire those who feel the resonance to take it up proudly.

Long ago, I heard this word whispered in the circles of magical people.  When I heard it, my heart skipped and my pulse raced.  This was my word, my title, my identity. Upon questioning those around in the circles where it was spoken I was told things like, “Oh no! You don’t want THAT name! It’s a bad person! You’re not like that. Only a dark, evil traitorous witch is called that!”

Have you ever experienced a moment when everyone you hold in respect tells you one thing but your heart screams another?  This was that moment for me.

“Something’s not right here.  There’s a misunderstanding. This doesn’t mean what they say it means.”

I started out on a quest for “The Truth”. But first, I had to break all the illusions cast on my mind and what I had been taught to believe. My path of transformation was starting.

“Spell of Breaking” – Merlin’s Descendants, Heather Alexander

I walked a dim, unsteady path of vaguery, outlined by trees of theory and guesswork.  A streaming history of fear, drama and pretense ran along beside it, but I refused to drink its contents. I finally knew who I was and how I identified.

There was something people were missing in this title of “Oath Breaker” and I wanted to find it.

What I found was that, like a lot historical documentation on magic; theory, guesswork and presumption added a great deal to defining our ways as we know them to be.

I started with the etymology. I found two sources suggested. The first was the more known source: the Anglo-Saxon word, “waerloga”.  “Waer” meaning “pledge”, “loga” meaning “liar” or “to speak falsely” thus the combination creates the definition of someone who pledges falsely, lying against an oath.

The second was an Old Norse word: “vardlokker” (an enchanter, singer of spells or caller of spirits)

Being a musician myself, I zeroed in on the second of the two and decided that history is written by the conquerors and I was willing to fight this battle.

“Tomorrow I leave for Battle” – Midsummer, Heather Alexander

Next came the usage throughout history.  The first written reference of the “oathbreaker’ term we can find appears in the writings of Orthodox Catholic monks beginning in Hungary around 452 and extending through 600 CE while chronicling the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. Whether it was used to describe heathen outsiders of the church or new converts who forsook their oaths of Christianity to dance around a Beltaine fire is unclear. It was not indicated to be a word used within the Pagan community to itself, but rather a name put upon us by outsiders.

Now the Norse word “vardlokkur” is a combination of “vard” which means “guard, watch, or defend” and “lokkur” meaning “magic song or musical charm”. Together they give the word definitions such as “song of warding” and “the singing or chanting of magickal music for protective purpose”

So, in theory, “vardlokkur” describes the practice of guarding and/or using defending magic in a musical form. It has been theorized to be a specific type of “galdr”, which is singing in a rhythm meant to entrance the mind and intended for use in sorcery and the act of magic.

“Magic is in You” – Animals All the Same, Alexander James Adams

Still, despite the actual histories and choices of etymology, Warlock has developed a bad rap. Everyone needs a villain, and this is a great sounding name to give them.  “War” is a confrontation of power and death. ‘Lock” is an obstruction which renders forward motion impossible. An unmoving confrontation of power and death? Sounds villainous to me.

There tends to always be at least a grain of truth in everything, so where is this grain hiding?

After reflecting a great deal on human nature, I came up with this:

What if a Warlock meant someone who would break oaths, unbind, free the trapped, and expose the lies that hide amongst that which positions itself as the ruling power over all?

What if a Warlock is someone who will risk their own positions of safety and power to bring down and expose those corrupted above them by challenging them in any way possible?

An Oathbreaker, yes. A betrayer of people who trusted him with their dirty secrets of success only to have all of their skeletons released from the closet into the street, exposed in hard truth to the people they injured? Perhaps so.

I now define a Warlock not by what he does, but why he does it.

He does it for the Truth.

The painful, raw, destructive, cleansing, invigorating, enduring and empowering Truth.

The Truth will free you, follow you, empower you or break you down.

Warlock’s Oath” – UnSeelie Self, Alexander James Adams

THIS is why we are feared or loved.  THIS is why people steer clear of us or come straight for us. What we defend and bring to the people is either a blessing or a curse depending on what choices they have made. I would like to see the name Warlock reclaimed, much as Witch has been.

I see it as a specialized title of practitioner, much like Medium, Chaos Mage, Druid, Hedge Witch, or even Necromancer.

A Warlock is a challenger of the code, a discerner of Truth, a defender of Free Will.  They are bond to no one and yet honour all power and will use whatever means available and appropriate to accomplish their goals. Their code is: “Do as Thou Wilt, and Be Completely Responsible for It.”  It makes no sense to conjure injurious energy just for personal judgement. That will not well serve the caster.

Beware the posers and shock jocks.  They like the power that the name inspires, but they don’t hold the title well. They can’t handle their own real truths, let alone help others achieve theirs.

A power figure can look like a villain from the right perspective.  Exposing what is true for the greater good will always look bad to those who hide it.

But some of us know that like Puss in Boots, when you need to make things right and all you have is a pair of boots, an empty sack and your wit; wit means Whatever. It. Takes.

With These Boots” – AJA Summer Releases, Alexander James Adams

The post Warlock: Defense against the Deceitful Arts appeared first on Pagan Song: Music for Your Magic.

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