The Witch Myths

501a94c193cd108c975a0b7379e57d3b“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.

 

 

The Light Workers

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Perhaps you have never heard of an HSP.  You may know them as other descriptions such as too sensitive,  anxious, depressed, only has a few friends, doesn’t like school, often sensitive to overhead lighting, loud noise, overstimulation, too many people, often the brunt of bullying, cry baby.  Teenaged HSP’s get diagnosed as bi-polar (particularly females), ADD, ADHD, depressed, or anxious.  Big Pharma makes a fair amount of money “fixing” these beautiful people to make them “normal”.  But all they do is shut off their innate abilities.

I held in my hands a women’s magazine and read the small captioned news bit.  HSP, or Highly Sensitive Person, is a person more in tune with their natural surroundings.  Often sensitive to artificial lighting, loud noise, crowds, overstimulation, and….  I think my mouth must have dropped open.  Never in my life had I read such a perfect description of myself.  I was always told I was “too sensitive”.  An HSP certainly sounded nicer.  I have talked with more plants, trees, and animals in my life than people.

Now, here is the thing about HSP’s, they are also often times very intuitive, clairvoyant, whatever your comfort word for it is.  Some can see spirits, some are our medical intuitives, some are the foreseers, and always, always empaths.  The reason we are so dang sensitive is because we literally feel everything that we see or read about.  I cannot read novels of violence or suspense, I will feel the violence.  Same with movies.  Sadness in other people made ten times more amplified.  News…forget about it.  HSP’s must never read the news.  Happiness is felt more intensely as well.

HSP’s are what many call “old souls”.  Many of us remember past lives even.  Many are wise before they ought to be and just seem….odd.  HSP’s are not considered autistic but may border the autism frequencies, highly intelligent, intuitive, aware of everything.  Our healers.  Our lightworkers.  With an intense desire to become a hermit!  But we cannot hide out.  There is much work to do.

As a child I don’t know if I ever met another HSP but as an adult, as the phrase became more known, I have met more.  My mentor, old roommate, Hopi friend is an HSP.  We talk about it quite a lot.  He is a hospice chaplain and brilliant at his work.  He told me once that there are not very many of us and I, at the time, believed him.  Until I opened my shop.  My shop is a magnet for HSP’s.  Parents bringing in “anxious” young people, young adults coming in on their own that have been classified as one thing or another who just need to know that their abilities and gifts are important and are not a malady, older adults that never could put their finger on it.  Our healers.  Our light workers.

Elbert county is an interesting place.  Part rancher, part cowboy, part home on the range, with an inordinate number of energy healers, artists, right brained society and young people, many more than I ever would have guessed, who are intuitive.  My work morphs from simply making plant medicines to teaching these young people how to filter, how to work with their empathy, their “knowing”, their light.  That they are indeed normal.

If you know or meet someone like this, smile at them.  Know that they are the healers of tomorrow, and that there is an entire society of too sensitive folk out there about to make the world a much better place.

Grammie School

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It used to be referred to as “Mommy School”.  That is what Andy used to call it.  He loved workbooks and extra reading.  We loved to visit museums, art galleries, and book stores.  This was when he was five or six.  He would tell his teacher all about Mommy School.

But time found us getting busier and I with three little ones and Mommy School was limited.  When after a year of high school and Andy struggling out of lack of interest I decided to homeschool all three of them.  We visited the teacher supply store and went crazy buying workbooks and educational toys and various items like stickers. (Gosh, who doesn’t like stickers?)

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Andy was fifteen, Shyanne was twelve, and Emily was eleven so their interests and levels were different so as we made our way through we became more of “unschoolers”.  Unschooling is when each kid devours every topic they love, whether it be cooking or pirates.  In each topic they learn valuable skills such as reading, writing, spelling, history, science, and math.  They also have time to indulge in arts and music.  Because they were home with us they also learned what we deemed important, not the slanted school system’s ideas.  They learned about herbalism, animals, agriculture, our ideas on spirituality and they were left to fill in the blanks for themselves.  They were able to make their own paths with a well rounded base.

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Andy went off to college and the girls felt amiss.  They wanted to try the small high school in town.  Shyanne, my socialite, loved it, thrived in it, and graduated.  Emily went back briefly but found herself unhappy in the school system and then learned she was with child so she reverted back to homeschooling pretty quickly.  I enjoyed homeschooling my children and I believe they are intelligent adults that were more realistic about the world out there then children just graduating from traditional high school.

Now, I have my first grandchild here four days a week while mom and dad work.  It is my greatest honor and profound joy.  In many cultures the grandmother is put in charge of the children’s well being, growth, and education.  These grandmothers hold the wisdom of half a life or more and tend to have more patience.  Maryjane is a special child.  When she was six months old we attended the funeral of Shyanne’s best friend who had committed suicide and the depth of sorrow was intense.  As I would approach people Maryjane would put her hand on their face as if she were trying to comfort.

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She is a bit of a wild child, the child that usually comes last, the one that has so much life bubbling forth that her parents want a nap!  She is also highly intuitive.  She has the same healing gifts that run through my family.  It is obvious even though she is only two years old.  She eats wild herbs and helps me make medicine.  She comforts those that are upset.  But she “knows” things too.  We were to meet Emily and Maryjane at the coffee shop the other day.  Maryjane started to yell, “Pa! Pa!”

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“Grammie and Pa aren’t here yet,” Emily replied.  About a minute later we pulled into the turning lane to get into the parking lot.  Emily was a little shocked.

“If you send her to school they will squash this little girl’s spirit,”  I lamented.

“I wasn’t planning on sending her to school.”

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Oh, happy day.  Emily and I will be homeschooling that amazing child.  Four days a week (depending on the kids’ schedules) we will be having the raucous event called “Grammie School”.

Daydreams of workbooks and drawing pads and finely sharpened pencils danced in my head then I realized that I am already homeschooling.  Learning doesn’t begin at age four and end at eighteen or twenty-two.  We have already begun.

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Here are five ways to teach a little one:

  1. Count- everything I hand the baby I count.  Here are some mullein flowers to put in the pot.  One, two, three, four, five…She now tells people she is five.  She can’t put them in order, but she can randomly sing, “one, five, nine, three, six…”
  2. Spell- Dad, d-a-d, is on his way!  I don’t spell everything we say, I would annoy myself, but she is really in tune to simple words.  Pa, p-a, Mom, m-o-m.  She has no idea what we are talking about yet but the letters stick in her little head.  She sure surprised her mom by writing D-A-D on her arm!
  3. Point out everything.  Birds, trees, flowers, dogs, coffee, books, people, cars, rain, everything.  These babies are sponges and they will remember all of these things in detail.  It is terribly sad to me that so many parents I see just set their kids in a corner and ignore them.  They just “get through” until the next stage.  Babies being lugged around in car seats instead of being held.  Perhaps it is a grandmother’s perspective to see that children grow quickly and time is so precious.  These little ones cannot be all they aspire to without nearly constant attention and guidance.
  4. Teach them about animals.  Teach them not to be afraid of animals.  The kids used to have friends come over to the house that were terrified of our cats!  A child that knows animals, speaks to animals, is gentle with animals, and who is well versed in the various kinds of animals naturally grows to be a more compassionate and gentle child and adult.
  5. Read- read, read, read!  Read labels, books, magazines, signs, and fill the child’s head full of adventures and stories.  Give them a love for reading early.  Visit the library, read to them on your lap, just read.  This is special time for the child and for you and the libraries will forever hold a place in that child’s heart.

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There are many more things, manners, cooking, chores, things that we have Maryjane do as well, but the above five are easy and effective ways to homeschool whether one chooses to send their child to school or not.  There is always the opportunity to reach out to a child and make a difference in their self-esteem and in their learning.

Creating a Medicine Bag

There are different types of medicine bags and all are wise to create.

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The one I am going to describe to you today is a protection of sorts.  It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or Buddhist, I think we all understand that there is a lot out there that we do not fully grasp.  We are a small part of the whole.  Regardless of the believer’s perceived notions on heaven and hell, there is no doubt that there are spirits, some good, some evil, entities of destruction and angels of good.  We can help in the protection of our own being.  You might see some people have a Native medicine bag attached to their belt or used as a purse but those are for show.  A real medicine bag must be hidden.  Worn under the clothes or kept very close in a purse or the like, a medicine bag is a protection device.

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My first teacher, a wise shaman, taught me to fill mine with something from every element and helper.  I used rocks, and feathers, and totems, and herbs, and boy was it heavy!  One could simply use sage, cedar, sweet grass, tobacco, rocks or totems of meaning, feathers, medals, or holy soil.  Listen to yourself find the perfect combination.  One doesn’t divulge what is in their own personal medicine bag.  Having a shaman smudge it makes it stronger and secure. (If you don’t know one, do it yourself with cedar and sage.)

For those that are healers, intuitives, and empaths, these are imperative as good work is often trifled with from the dark side, but even those that do not find themselves in these descriptions can benefit from extra protection from the negative forces of this world.  Be safe out there and do good works!

The Life of a Healer- Part 2 (gifts and fire)

I think you would have liked her.  She was a very nice girl, naïve and not equipped with a lot of common sense, but a very nice girl.  I remember her to be very compassionate.  At six years old Wildflower pointed to a truck load of sheep and asked where they were going.  Her father told her they were going to be dinner.  Wildflower was horrified at the very notion.  When she was twelve years old she read in a teen magazine about a lifestyle called vegetarianism and was so excited to find such a thing that she adopted it immediately.  Being such a lover of and having such a connection to animals seemed so contradictory to eating them.

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This was about the time her intuition began.  A nervous feeling in her stomach wracked her for hours at school one day and she simply could not figure out what was wrong.  She learned that afternoon that her friend’s house had caught fire that morning and had burned.  As she grew older she started having dreams of tragedies before they hit the news.  She was so upset by these things and confided in her grandmother.  A funny thing about intuitive abilities, they remain secret among families.  It turned out that Wildflower’s grandmother had been a medical intuitive.  Her sisters were all highly intuitive.  Her nieces were too.  Wildflower’s sister was finding her own abilities.  A strong gift was evident among the female family members but one would have to search to learn about it.  Wildflower’s grandmother told her how to shut off what she didn’t want to see.  What Wildflower was left with was the ability to know when the phone was about to ring.  She still didn’t know what her gifts were or how they would be used in the future.  A very close family member told Wildflower these things were of the devil and to denounce them.  But the intuition continued though it was weak for there were many other things going on in Wildflower’s life.

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As she held her newborn son, after barely turning nineteen, in a cold hospital room with two beds, another mother holding a screaming infant across from her, she took in the beautiful sight of her new love.  Her son was beautiful and small, a perfect gift from the Creator.  She, of course, had other plans now.  There wasn’t a convent in her future.  Something more pressing and passionate had overcome her, motherhood.

One year before she had met in school a quiet, brooding, mysterious, artistic boy who was both charming and confusing.  A decision turned to an infant and Wildflower felt that she should stay with him even though he showed signs of intense anger and would go for months without even uttering a word to her.  I told you she was naïve.  Very nice though.  You would have liked her.  You just would have felt sorry for her for she was truly a clueless child and felt if she got married, things would work out.  If she had another child, things would work out.

As she sat huddled in the small basement after being locked in there, six months pregnant and holding onto her frightened two year old, she wondered how she had gotten to this place.  She heard the leaves and kindling being shoved around the door and the sound of a match.  The door was being set on fire.