I read an article this morning written by Jason Mankey on Patheos titled The Know-Nothing-Witch. I was intrigued by the title because, well, how can you be a witch and not know anything? After reading this article, it got me thinking about why being a Know-Nothing Witch can actually be a good thing.
There are several different types of Know-Nothing-Witches. There are some who are new to the Craft and truly know very little. “What books should I read?” “Will this spell from TikTok work?” We’ve all met that person, and we’ve all probably been that person.
Jason describes a few different types of Know-Nothing Witches. The first is a witch who literally knows nothing. These are going to be those who call themselves baby witches - those who are entirely new to the Craft in any form, pagan or not.
When I was in my 20’s I was the worst type of Know-Nothing-Witch, a Witch who really did know very little and yet was convinced of the opposite. We’ve all seen this type of Witch, they love to get in arguments and lord their superiority over people…This sort of Know-Nothing-Witch has just enough knowledge to be dangerous, and not enough sense to leave certain things alone.
The second type of Know-Nothing Witch that Mr. Mankey describes is the type of witch we all do not want to be. This witch is someone who thinks they know everything, someone who has a superiority complex and thinks that their way of doing things is the only way.
The third type of Know-Nothing Witch is like me - someone who realizes that while they may know what they know, they can never know what they don’t know.
This third stage of Know-Nothingness is the best stage of Know-Nothingness; it comes not from ignorance, but from being just smart enough to realize there are certain things you’ll probably never know.
It may be strange to refer to yourself as a Know-Nothing Witch, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. I have been a practicing witch since I was 13 years old. At this point, that is almost 15 years, and guess what? I still don’t know everything. Heck, there are some things that I might think I know but I don’t actually know. I hope that the last bit there makes sense…
Anyway, this article that Jason Mankey wrote just further affirms that even as witches and pagans, we all go through stages in our craft. We go from being the brand-new witch that is eager to learn anything we can get our hands on to the witch who realizes that they will never know everything there is to know.
I agree with Mr. Mankey. Eventually, we have to reach a point where we realize that there are just some things within witchcraft and paganism that we will never know - and that is definitely okay! I don’t think we should be striving to learn everything. It would be almost impossible for you to know every single correspondence or use for herbs and oils. It would be almost impossible for you to remember every single thing about astrology or numerology while simultaneously trying to remember everything else.
This is a good reminder to us that there is no need to be perfect. There is no need to have our hands in every single pot so to speak. I always encourage anyone who is new to witchcraft or paganism to start with what they know. Start with what they are interested in. There is no point in researching a million different things if they are of no interest to you. Honestly, this is why I don’t know much about astrology - I just don’t find it interesting.
As a community, if we build up those around us and realize that we all have something to contribute, we can all be happier witches that can learn from one another.
I’ve been studying the Horned God of Witchcraft for twenty years now, and when I sat down to write a book about that subject last year I couldn’t help but realize that I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did.
There are points in our education where we may think we know everything, but this is when we need to make sure we don’t get stuck in the trap of hubris and ego. Mr. Mankey makes a good point about why being this kind of Know-Nothing Witch is okay and I want to reiterate it here. Once you get past the idea that you don’t know everything - and you probably never will - it is sort of refreshing and freeing. It gives us the sort of perspective that is needed in this community - one that allows for growth. It keeps us curious.
As he puts it…
Curiosity might kill the cat, but I think it makes the Witch.