Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Season of the Witch

Followers of the ancient earth practices are used to dealing with prejudice. The frequency of how often we’re misunderstood and judged makes you familiar with the blows and the smell of burning hair, but it’s never comfortable. You get used someone deciding they know all about you and your religion when they’ve never cracked open a book on the subject or been to a solstice ritual. They might see a band of witches hugging trees, picking up trash, tending a community garden, weeding in a nature preserve and never realize that what we’re doing is sacred and part of our spiritual practice. For some it’s just that a spiritual practice and not even a religion per se. There can be Catholic witches, Buddhist witches, even Christian witches. And yet despite the fact that Wicca is a government-protected religion, we still run the risk of losing jobs and being ostracized. Someone told me yesterday, “It’s not an issue of religious persecution or discrimination to them, but an issue of morality.” When did taking care of nature become immoral? Just because we aspire to the Sun God doesn't mean we should ignore Mother Earth.

Let me give it to your straight.

Witches Heal. Witches Love. Witches are often the most kind-hearted, patient, courageous, responsible, accountable, accepting, open-minded, consciously aware people you’ll find. Bang. That’s the truth.

We work with nature as the most obvious connection to God and the loving spirit that lives and breathes in each one of us. Our most powerful potions are herbal remedies for healing the physical body, sometimes the emotional and spiritual body as well. But if we’ve been hurt and come out to protect ourselves against discrimination that prohibits employment or obstructs our ability to be with our children, we will only confirm the horrific, demonic vision they have of witches. Like “Savage Indians.” Only now, we understand how peaceful native people are – so much in fact that scores of white people sit at the knees of indigenous elders to learn their wisdom. But we witches must be patient. Our time has not come – yet. It’s like Orson Wells’ radio broadcast War of the Worlds and everybody believes the propaganda. We know that if we threw balls of fury we will only confirm their fears – even if we gathered those fire balls from the stake where they set us on fire.

I must say that I tire of pandering to their fears and ignorance. I wonder that if I keep at this public forum of education and take the hits, am I really helping anyone? When the local school district says I can’t come to the school and talk to students about being a writer (not a Wiccan but a writer) because I’m a witch and I’ve written books on Wicca and that would be too controversial, I can’t help but get exhausted from standing firm while the obtuse but powerful Goliath tries to knock me down. Before they even met me, they know me. And I don’t get to be an example of success, power, self-confidence or light to the kids who love to write, who yearn for a life that follows their dreams, who would relate to my story of self-esteem or belonging, or even the ostracized young witches hiding in their midst. Do I continue to stand because I can? Or can I retreat into the darkness of winter? Is it not smarter to leave a popcorn trail for the curious and trust they’ll find me when they have the courage to fight the tide of the prejudice moral right? Perhaps. To be a witch is to know and respect your limits.

We witches know when it’s time to go inside. And that time is now. It’s winter. Hallows is here. Witches know to tap into the reservoir of strength and endurance of Mother Earth. By our example we cannot help but teach, if only because we hold the secrets of healing and the connection to Mother Earth that we all need. It is our love for Her and Her love for us, that sustains us. It is those midnight dances with like-minded friends, the celebrations of harvest, the sharing tales of serendipity as evidence of magick that nourish and support us. We ride the seasons and as long as we spend more time enjoying the ride than focusing on others’ fear of our power and ability to trust nature, we will feel the bliss of connection to All That Is.

To be a witch in the season of Hallows – a very sacred time of year – is to feel the electricity in the air. It is the twilight of the year, a time when the vibrant, growing season of summer and light gives way to quiet of winter dark and rest. It is a time of transition, a time of intense energy and illimitable possibilities. It is the time of year when spirits visit to show us the realm of deep magick that points to a profound relationship with all things, people and situations, while drawing out the purest, best, and biggest in you. It is the time of year to be quiet and enjoy your own company. It is a time of year to face your fears, to dance with them, to invite them into tea, hear them speak, then firmly release them like compost in the garden, to become something new and more life-giving next spring.

To be in tuned with the season of the dark times, means you ask for help and find the answers within. It means you know we have come to the time of year to shed old habits and face fears, to dance with them, to invite them into tea, hear them speak, then firmly release them like compost in the garden, so they can become something new and more life-giving next spring. It means to not be afraid of other powerful or peaceful people but to see your sisters and brothers in their eyes and embrace them. It means you know how powerful you are and don’t care who sees it.

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