One of the most ingrained aspects about living in the South- other than college football and bourbon- is proper etiquette. From an early age our mommas teach us how to behave in a proper manner so no one can doubt her raising of her children. We are taught that men shake each others hands with a firm grip while maintaining eye contact, you always offer your seat to an elder, you never take a casserole dish back empty, in the same respect you never show up to a dinner party empty-handed, and not using “yes/no m’am” or “yes/no sir” is liable to get your rear-end tore up.
Pretty mannerisms are as deeply rooted in our culture as moonlight and magnolias. And football of course.
In speaking with a few fellow southern witches recently we had a hysterical conversation about proper etiquette within the pagan community and some rules that every southern witch should follow in order to save face. We laughed about showing up to your coven or group’s ritual without the eye of newt or wing of bag! Or how rude it would be if you didn’t respond to the Yule potluck invite in a timely matter. While some may argue with me that the guidelines of Emily Post are antiquated and have no place in these here modern times, I will politely smile and remind that in fact good manners are always in style. Bless your heart.
The Southern Witch’s Guide to Good Manners, y’all…
- Under no circumstances should you NOT reply to an RSVP. If the host has been considerate enough to invite you to a Coven Potluck, ritual, or any other related event, and requests that you RSVP, do it. It is extremely RUDE not to do so.
- Reverence to you Ancestors should be year round and not only for Samhain. How rude is it not to check on Granny but only once during the year? It is because of our Ancestors that we are here, respect them.
- When taking anything from a plant, kindly ask it’s permission first. If you feel like you have been granted permission then proceed. If you feel a “no” from the plant, sweet them with an offering or two and then ask again. If you still get a negative answer, do not pick it. Plants are just as sentient and aware as we are, don’t go around thinking your better than them.
- When attending a ritual, and especially as a guest, call ahead and ask what you can bring. You could be someone’s saving grace if they are flat out Sage poor and you just happen to have some on hand.
- After a ritual or feast is over, stay and offer your help in cleaning up. Your host is no doubt exhausted and will be more than grateful for some help in breaking down the ritual space.
- When visiting with a Witch friend, please don’t touch things that do not belong to you. You don’t know what that candle is intended for and dressed with, and there you go putting your hands all over it. Or for that matter, do not touch anything on their altar, just don’t. The same rule applies for someone’s divination tools. *I will fight someone for handling my cards without my permission- I’m quite protective over them.
- This may be controversial for some, but is only a personal opinion of mine: Do not try to “command” deities you work with. The old adage is you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and the same aspect applies here. Who are you to try and “command” a god? I can ensure you that they are probably more incline to help you if you are polite in your requests rather than demanding. I’m sure there are those who feel differently, but I could never feel right about trying to “command” my gods.
- And as always use your good manners. Whether it be with a fellow witch, a familiar spirit, or you gods, please and thank you go a long way.
These are just a few ideas I had, as I am sure this list can be greatly added to. The point of this post is to not bring up some nostalgic Gone with the Wind scenario, but rather to remind be to always be gracious, courteous and kind. We need less assholes in the world and more well mannered people, both in the mundane and magical worlds.