1. I used to have terrible nightmares while growing up. I’m almost sure some of the bad dreams were fueled by the fact that I saw death (really ugly death) when I was still too young. Before bed, my grandma used to brush me from head to toe with a hand-broom made of sage, fern, rosemary, skullcap and lavender to sweep the nightmares away and invite calm sleep.
2. My mother used to cry a lot when I was little. I never knew why; not then. I couldn’t understand why she would sob and sob when she heard certain love songs. I thought the songs were pretty. She didn’t mind crying in front of her children—we were used to it—but if anyone was coming over to visit, she would fill a glass with water, sprinkle a bit of salt in it, and set it under her bed as an offering to water spirits. She would ask them to quench their thirst with saltwater, and to keep her from humiliating herself in front of company.
3. During harvest season, we used to sing and dance to thank the fields for the crops. The first meal (especially if we were harvesting rice) was cooked under the sky, and the first serving went to the soil. Whenever my grandma or any other adult opened a bottle of wine or rum, some of it was spilled on the ground for the thirsty souls who no longer walked our land in the flesh.
The first three paragraphs might seem to have sprouted out of nowhere, but I have a point. I needed them in order to point out that to me Witchcraft is not a religion; it is a word that describes many of the things I’ve done ever since I can remember. I could call myself something else (an earthy woman?) or choose not to label myself at all. But language needs specific symbols in order to be effective. And I’ve learned that the clearest the codes, the more enjoyable (and intelligible) the conversations.
Also, I embrace the label Witch, because as such, I can choose to believe in gods (or not). I dance to revere the moon, to celebrate the sun, to send healing energies to the old sick fellow who lives down the street… I do this without having to kneel in front of anyone or anything to beg for miracles. As a Witch, I own my failures and successes. I refused to be ashamed of my human urges. I thank the glorious energy that creates all living things, and I understand that my flesh is not more special than wood, water, stone…
I’m suspicious of those who count their witchery by degrees, and who must list all of their witchy relatives before sharing a spell or their own name. Magic is something that flows through my blood, not because someone gave it to me—like the eye-crinkling smile I got from my dad or the curls from my grandmother—but because I welcome it into my life and feed it bits of my own spirit. Like Debora Geary said when asked if she was a Witch, “I delight in the possibility of magic that exists in all of us.”
I love living in witchery… rejoice dancing in magic circles with Wiccan friends… take pride in discussing the philosophy and psychology of religion with other scholars… and I’m happiest when doing all of the former with anyone who loves celebrating the wicked good things in life, while focusing on the bits that make our Earth Mother precious.
Being a Witch is not about doing spells or rituals; it is about living each second of each day in magic.
Magic just is.
Being a Witch is just Being.
3 is a magical number, so here is a 3rd line ;-)