Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In My Bones, I Am a Witch

Maybe it won't be helpful at all, but on the off chance that someone who has to talk to the press ever needs to actually explain "what Witchcraft is," here's (a bit of) what it is, to me.

It's a religion that honors that part of women that is also divine, that helped me to finally heal the wound caused by Catholicism's solitary emphasis on male images and versions of divinity and priesthood. Finally, in one blinding moment, I too, was (really) created in the image and likeness of the divine. I, too, was a priest(ess). And, as the poet said, that has made all the difference. Catholicism denied me the word: Priestess. That was the word that I needed all of my life to explain to myself who I am. Witchcraft gave that word to me. It has touched me; I have grown. That one word was the most important key to unlocking for myself who I really am.

Witchcraft is a history that explained to me why female power was always shown as evil and problematic, why all that the nuns could offer me was sacrifice, why the men in the church/medical profession/government were so terrified of my raw power.

Witchcraft centers me within the Wheel of the Year, teaches me how to live in deep connection with the cycles of the Earth, Moon, constellations. It gifts me with a relationship with Hecate, Columbia, Baba Yaga, Quan Yin. It grants my own life a place at the harvest, the winter freeze, the Imbolc shift, the warming of the Spring. It centers me within a history of old women stretching all the way back to a frozen old crone in a cave in Sweden, holding off the wolves from the scent of warm afterbirth near the fire, inside the cave, between her body and her power.

It's a theology and a philosophy that honors all of life, that honors the connection between the light and the dark, between my bloody, messy, life-giving, milk-spurting, orgasming, food-tasting, flower-smelling, cancer-getting, strong, out-of-control, fantastic female body and my quick mind, my ability to produce prose, my ability to think in thea-ology, my urge to win, and my deep longing for the poetic.

It's a way of living that allows me to exist in the natural world, that provides me with lessons in how to exercise my power, that respects the deep intuition that has guided and undergirded (when I ignored the guidance) most of what I have done for most of my life.

Witchcraft has made me whole, taught me who I am, gotten me through some insurmountable odds.

Witchcraft is how I wake up in the morning, connect my dreams to the "real" world, travel to work, and connect to the plants, animals, waterways, and humans that I meet on that journey. Witchcraft is how I move myself into the Druidic dancer of the law, the Priestess who uses power with skill, the woman who can play the glass bead game to help her clients and friends.

Witchcraft is how I cast a web of protection across a street that Obama's motorcade is about to cross, how I light incense for a friend's beloved dead, how I pluck strands of the web to influence an election, to protect an activist, and to bless Elizabeth Warren or revolutionaries across the globe.

Witchcraft is how I garden on THIS bit of Earth, how I drive every morning along the Potomac River, how I knit warm sweaters for G/Son, or cowls for all the men in my family, or caps for DiL and her mom. Witchcraft is how I buy vegetables at the farmers' market, pick and dry herbs in my garden, pull the levers when I vote at my local community arts center, and deal with the guy behind the counter at the place that services my hybrid car or the guy behind the counter at the place where I buy my morning coffee.

Witchcraft is me, living and growing within a circle of women, bumping up against them, adoring them, living my own life within a circle that includes them. Witchcraft is a blue new Moon painted on my forehead, me calling a direction surrounded by my Sisters, the cone of power we raise to protect activists, the magic we do to turn retrograde Mercury against those who would harm us, the delightful ability to help a Sister achieve her own magical goals as we stand, skyclad, inside a circle of power.

Witchcraft is how I teach G/Son who the Goddess is, allow him to use my athame, do Reiki on his bones that grow so fast that he has growing pains. It was how I did the same for Son's growing pains, drew pentagrams on the door to my DiL's labor room, circled protection around their home, and how I cast Tarot to see the best solution to a legal knot.

What Witchcraft Is, is a pretty big topic. It's way too big to waste time explaining that it's not about [insert noxious practice here].

What is it about for you?


Makarios said...


Superlative post! May I have your permission to post a link to it on

Hecate said...

Makarios, I'd be flattered. Thank you.

Marya said...

Loved this -- we need so to focus on the exciting radical body-centred, political and revolutionary rather than the demonised when we talk about witchcraft.

Teacats said...

((standing and clapping))

Outstanding post! Truly A Gift! Please, may I print this and keep it in my own Book of Shadows?

I find Witchcraft -- The Weaving or the Working -- when I make a pot of soup, work in my garden, find a wonderful book, tackle a diffcult task, turn a recipe into my own, brush a grunting old fat cat, comfort a small cat during a storm, hear cats purring on the bed, help a friend decorate a room, take flowers to a host, visit a local farmers' market and delight in the fire's hiss and spit and a candle's glow. There's that glorious moment when Magic soars when I get a chance to stand by the ocean -- and that same feeling when the right music plays or a movie is "just right" That moment of True Magic in a kiss. Or the moment when a champagne cork pops! Or that feeling when Kindness and Community are Present in the Space and I Understand that All are indeed Connected.

Or when I open your blog. Really.

There Be Magic Here.

Hecate said...

Many thanks, all! Everyone is free to share my work, with attribution, or to print it out for their use. We are so much more than what we are not.

Anne Johnson said...


MasterAmazon said...

Very nicely written, thank you so much! Proud to be a DykeAmazon Witch/Amazon Warrior, and Amazon Priestess! Yes, we DO need to take back our Female Priestessly powers, and without being introduced to Witchcraft by the Dyke Witches, I would still be shamed by my menses, my large female body(which looks like Venus of Willendorf) and many other things as well as our female multi-orgasmic capabilities and sexualities, and our powerful, magical connection with Mother Earth and our Sisters.

There is no deeper Sisterhood for me, than being in a Circle of Women making magic together!
-Blessed Be!

Whytefeather said...

Thank you for the sharing and thoughts. Wonderfully put :)

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