“What exactly do you mean when you say you are a witch?” my cousin asked honestly.
True, when one thinks of witches they often think of skyclad or ornately draped women, perhaps on acid, chanting at the moon. Or of satan worshipers killing bats and tagging walls. Or perhaps the old Disney witch pops into mind. Is there even such a thing as a witch? And if you are a witch, does that mean you are Wiccan? Pull up a chair and a cup of coffee and let’s go back a few years to start this story.
One of my favorite farm memoir authors is Jenna Woginrich. In her books she speaks of agricultural holidays. She never said the “W” word because that would bring up images of the above. In fact, until her last book she never said the “P” word…pagan, another word that brings up images. I was enthralled with the traditional Celtic calendar. As a farmer the holidays and festivals made so much sense. Everything centered around the earth’s cycles and community. It was beautiful.
I was a good Christian girl, now, and looked down on any little witchy girls, ’cause who knows what they are up to. It wasn’t until I began to see in history how all of the Christian holidays were in fact pagan that I starting delving deeper into history.
I have been a flower child since the start. Planting dandelion seeds in the neighbor’s grass when I was eight, spending vast amounts of time as a teenager alone in nature. Becoming an herbalist and spending time walking through woods. I am in love with the plants, the creatures that share this planet, and the cycles of the earth. I realize how small we are in the whole scheme of things and that we are intricately connected to all things.
I spent a lot of time mentoring with Native American elders and the American Indian religions are the same as the Celtic. Earth and nature based. As I continued to research I found that all over the world the ways of thinking and connecting with Great Spirit was the same until organized religion came about (not just Christianity).
Enter the “W” word. The word “Witch” means wise woman. Okay, hold onto your coffee cups, we’re about to get real here. Lighting candles to send prayers to heaven, sending intentions to the Universe in hopes that they come true, all of these things are essentially a part of our genetic heritage and inner knowing. We do them in church, but they are not religious practices. We are interconnected with everything in the Universe and we can manifest and imagine whatever we want into being. We are not hopeless little creatures running around hoping God will save us. We have been given great power to do good and make changes and be instruments of healing.
So a working witch might help you put together a mantra, a spell, may help you dispel negative energy in your house (like a priest would), may help guide you, may make you some amazing tea that helps with arthritis. She/he may go out and look at the intensity of the stars and may follow biodynamic farming (by the moon), they may be a vegetarian because they love animals. None of these things make someone a witch. And being a witch doesn’t mean that you aren’t Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist. Being a witch does not mean you are Wiccan. Wicca is an organized religion and not all of us want to jump back into that boat! Being a witch might just be seeing the Great Spirit in waterfalls and sparrows, in all of creation. A witch sees through people. They don’t need to be in organizations that are based on power and fear.
Pagan means “rustic villager”. It was a moniker given by the warriors that came to convert the villagers. The spirituality of our indigenous ancestors was not taught. It was known. In your spirit, it is still known. It is the most natural spirituality there is. It is universal. A Witch is someone who helps people. They often have intuitive abilities, they can help heal, they can help guide, they can teach you how to manifest, they see the glory in all of creation, and live their lives by it. They help create a better planet, a more compassionate community, and they see magic all around them, every day. That is the world of the Witch. It’s a beautiful place to be.
That’s what I mean.