I once had an intense crisis that caused me to seriously consider the question: what was the point to my being incarnated at all, especially if it was all going to end far sooner than I'd been led to believe? (As SheWho notes, we can ask for teachers, but we can't control the nature of the teacher that we get. It can be an experience. Sometimes, it can be an experience that we hate. Teachers come in so many shapes and colors. Often, they're long gone and ill-lamented before we go, "Oh. That was a teacher. Shit. Was it necessary to fuck me over like that?" Answer: apparently, yes.) And the answer that I got, resoundingly, was the answer that it's easy to give to SheWho's question: you were incarnated because deity wanted to find out what it would be like to be you.
But that answer's too easy to give to SheWho's question. It answers the question: why is any one of us here, but it doesn't explain what witches are for. My general answer is that witches are here to help to turn the wheel. I've long since forgotten where I first read that "a witch's job is to turn the wheel and round and round the wheel must turn," but it made immediate, instinctive sense to me. Gael Baudino's fiction often captures this concept. So does Terry Prachett's. So, I was oddly reminded tonight, does Zena Henderson's.
But, again, that's too easy. What does it mean to turn the wheel? The wheel of the year turns of its own accord, it can seem, and certainly it would go on turning with or without the aid of any individual witch. There are, as SheWho's post notes, different ways to help to turn the wheel. The wheel has so many spokes. They can all use a shove. Some witches teach. Some care for animals. Some do magic to heal the land. Some care for women or children or ancient herbs. Some pray unceasingly. Some sing. Some inspire others. Some create beauty, which always stands as a bulwark against the breaking of the wheel. Some work directly for social justice.
What matters, I think, here, just before Mabon in 2007 CE, is to figure out which spoke of the wheel feels most comfortable against your shoulder. Where can you provide the greatest torque? Are you providing that torque? If not, why not? If not now, in the words of the saying, then, when?
I had an amazing weekend, this past Labor Day. Deep dreams and deep insights into where to go next. One moment I was running errands and the next moment I was surrounded by green vines and branches and experiencing a vision of what the next ten years or so of my life are about. From that point on, I have been filled with such a deep, underlying joy. Not that anything's likely to be easy. Only that it's likely to be right. The longer that I practice as a witch, the longer that I do the boring, difficult daily practice, the more that I come to depend upon and expect these experiences.
What are witches for? Witches are for manifesting the Goddess here on earth, for turning the wheel of the year, for performing the amazing act of appreciation, an act which nature requires, an act upon which the gods and goddesses depend. And witches are for whatever your are for, for putting the shoulder up against that particular spoke of the wheel that calls to you, that sings your name, that cries out for your particular shoulder. You know it when you are about to fall asleep, when you are in deep meditation, when you let your Better Self roam free.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."