“Where there is woman, there is magic” - Ntozake Shange
What do you think of when you hear the word witch? Are you picturing an old, green-faced woman with warts on her nose with a bone-chilling cackle? Do you see a group of four teenage girls skipping class and doing seances behind the school? Maybe you are envisioning someone flying through the air on a broomstick with a wand in their hand.
When I think of a witch I picture a woman, just like you or me, alone in the forest. She is attuned to herself and one with her surroundings. She is taking a moment to go back to her essence. Nothing can shake her focus. Her strength is unwavering.
This may not be your typical view of a witch but really, witches were women just like you and me.
Witches have been around for hundreds of years. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were executed in the witch trials of Salem Massachusetts in the late 1600s. But that's nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands that were put to death all over Europe and the United States from the 16th to the 18th century. The tales of witches in European folklore aren’t entirely fictional. They are real women.
In those days, a witch was a woman who held a position of spiritual power in her community. She could make natural remedies to help the sick, she could deliver babies, she even understood things like how the phases of the moon were connected to her menstrual cycle. Often she would be clairvoyant and could call on her ancestors for guidance. She was connected to the spirits above and the earth below. Above all, she believed in herself and this magic of hers.
And so what has happened since then?
Centuries later and we as women no longer believe that we are very powerful anymore. The word witch has been used to demonize us, to frighten us and extinguish our power. We’ve been tamed, suppressed and silenced. No longer are we the wild women that bathed naked in the moonlight. No longer do we connect with our ancestors. No longer do we trust our intuition. No longer do we disappear from the material world to reconnect with ourselves. This is something we all used to do all the time.
I believe that every woman has a witch within her. And it is our duty to find her. To remember her. Because she has always been there.
“I didn’t decide to become a witch. I remembered I was one” - Lisa Lister, author of Witch
When I hear the term witch I think of a woman in touch with her feminine power. A woman who stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. She is independent and fearless. She is nurturing and healing. She questions and challenges archaic traditions and beliefs. She paves the way for new women to go forth without the struggles that she went through. She raises a new generation.
You may feel as though you already know a witch, or two. We are reawakening.
Let’s get something straight. Being a witch doesn’t mean that you must cast spells and curses and conjure potions. You don’t need to grow your hair long and dress in all black. There are no rules that you must own a black cat or howl at the full moon. Though some of us may be into this, these are mostly images that the media has created for us. There is no right or wrong way to identify as a witch.
So then what is witchcraft?
Witchcraft is a spiritual practice that uses the manipulation of energy to bring about change. Women have used it for hundreds of years to harness our strength and intuition.
There are many different variations of witchcraft but they all share some common values: Witchcraft practitioners share a deep connection to nature and strive to remain harmonious with it. They value all life and believe that all living things are equal. They have a strong connection to themselves and have the ability to communicate with the spirits of their ancestors. Witchcraft practitioners also trust in the ways of karma. They understand that any good or harm that we do is returned to us.
Witchcraft is used for things like protection, inner peace, physical health and mental clarity.
It is a practice of self care and used to affect positive change in our lives. We can apply the common witchcraft values listed above to our lives in simple ways every day.
We must start by enhancing our relationship with ourselves. This is the only way that we can stand tall during this adverse time for women. Here are a few ways to conjure our feminine power and connect to our wild selves:
- Taking a walk in the forest where you can be alone with nature is a simple way to help you reconnect with yourself.
- Writing in a journal can help us to sort out the stressful thoughts in our mind and help us think more clearly. As well, writing is a great way to observe our emotions which is helpful in understanding them.
- Movement is another great way to get out of your head and connect with your physical body. Dance allows you to feel free and express your wild self.
- Taking a moment to reflect on your ancestors, the brave and wild women who came before you, that are a part of you, can remind you of your strength.
Witchcraft is a way of reconnecting to your true and natural self. It is a tool to remind you of the power that you wield. Have you reconnected with your natural power yet? Have you heard the call of the witch...?
P.S. I have something extra special to share with you all. This month I decided to include a video on the topic of witches.