Observance of the soul can be deceptively simple. You take back what has been disowned. You work with what is, rather than what you wish you were. – Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
Are you a witch?
That question has been asked of me several times in my life. Once was when someone saw a book of spells my brother had bought for me. Once was by my husband who is convinced I have bewitched him. Other times were not as innocent.
Say the word ‘witch’ to any modern, spiritually seeking woman and I guarantee they will have an emotional reaction. Our collective, ancestral memories of the witch burnings – both of the women and men who were killed and also those who betrayed them – are still very raw on a cellular level. We know that anyone who had any sort of magic (that definition will be covered in another post) was not safe then, so it is obvious that we are not safe now. The passage of so many years between then and now means nothing.
If you are a woman and you believe in magic, if you are connected to nature, to your own instincts, to the healing arts, to your own fiery spirit or to the moon, if you dance to the beat of your own drum, you risked being called a witch (the archetypal witch, not to be confused with those who follow the Wiccan religion.)
But the feminine archetype of the witch is simply one chapter in the story of women, power and the divine feminine; just one facet of God. And as I studied the story of Hestia, I was also drawn to read about the Holy Mother, to listen to the story of the Dark Feminine, and to delve into the chart of my birth and be surprised and yet not surprised how much it was ME. I could feel my cells shifting as I thought about how it is all the same. It’s all energy. It’s all love. It’s all God.
But I was left with the lingering question of whether it was okay – if it was safe – to think this way. Is it okay to embrace the powerful feminine side of the Divine? To use the archetypes of goddesses and witches and healers and the moon and the stars to better understand God? (Because the God I was told about in church didn’t like this sort of thinking.)
And then, I found her. In the very front of Salisbury Cathedral. It wasn’t a Catholic Church, so I wasn’t looking for her, but I found her anyway. She and her baby have been through a lot. Their heads have been bashed and chewed, chipped and bruised. Her feet are discoloured from all of the attention.
Everything around her was stone and marble and glass and gold, but not her. Everything else had a plaque telling its story, but not her. She didn’t make any sense in the gilded, shining building. But I knew her story, deep in my bones.
She was the answer to my question.
It’s all love. It’s all God.
Though I may stumble and fall, I know that this universe mothers me, that I am held on the lap of infinite compassion, infinite patience, infinite unconditional love. – Michael Bernard Beckwith
So, in answer to your question, yes, I am a witch: if by ‘witch’ you mean that I am a woman who has power on my own terms. It is one facet of who I am; one facet of the sacred. And before you ask: yes, I am also deeply spiritual, a writer and a creative, a teacher, a seeker, and a woman. I feel as deep a connection to the natural world as I did to the church I attended growing up. I am also currently healing my ignored instincts, regularly talking to God, and finding inspiration wherever I can.
I also occasionally howl at the moon.
It’s all love. It’s all good. It’s all God.
She told me so. 😉
(This is the first of three ‘coming out’ posts that will be coming out this week. I’m making some changes around here. Stay tuned!)