A Season of Witchcraft: All About the Modern Trend Movement and Who's Practicing It
It was a Wednesday afternoon.
The sky was overcast and the air smelled like that familiar wet stillness that you get right before a big snow storm.
A friend and I decided to have a ceremony.
We needed to release elements of our past that we were holding on to: relationships, old aspects of ourselves and ways of being, and people. These things, we felt, were preventing us from fully moving forward in our loves. These things, they were holding space in our heart, and were holding us back.
We had no tangible relationship with these things. They were memories.
And memories, they attach to objects.
So, we went through our old belongings and we both chose a few items. These were items that we loved, but we knew they represented the eras of our pasts that we needed to lay to rest.
We gathered them. And we talked.
And we planned, as we hiked up the mountain.
As we walked upward, we carried our things and -
We decided that at the top, we'd bury the objects we'd collected into the soil, giving them and the memories they carried, a final resting place - a place where we could chose to return, to go, to reflect and to dig up the old wounds again, if we so chose or so needed.
When something ends - such as a relationship, an era, a job - we rarely have a place to go to mourn it.
Even though, a death of an area of a life, a relationship, a idea that never seemed to pan out, is often just as painful as the death of anything else. And now, because our memories are attached to the things that we accumulate - we thought that if we could give that stuff a place to go, then all of it, attached memories, emotions and all - could actually die now.
Perhaps, we pondered, having a place outside of ourselves to honor these aspects of our lives would be help us release the responsibility of having to hold onto them for forever and ever.
And in turn, we would finally be able to let it die. . . and move on.
In short, we were planning a spell (on ourselves, of course), but a spell nonetheless. A spell, being an action you take with the intention to affect an outcome.
To cast this spell our ours, we didn't follow any books - we simply followed our own knowing of what we knew needed to happen so we both could finally close these chapters of our lives. We used our wisdom of energy, relationships, death and rebirth to create and control our own path for healing.
Innocently enough, we were practicing what is known as witchcraft.
The same craft that her grandmothers and mine, had practiced for generations.
Witchcraft or not - we were taking our power back as women.
Female empowerment is about owning and harnessing your inner wisdom. It's about trust in the self and trust in the knowledge you carry. It's about using your intention to inact and take charge of a change in your life. it's witchcraft.
Coming from Old English, the word Witch, is derived from wit(t), meaning keenness and quickness of perception and the word gewit(t), referring to the mind as the seat of consciousness - the practice of wit-craft means you practice keen wisdom.
Witchcraft then, for women, is owning and harnessing your inner power.
So, we owned our power, and we buried our past -
We sealed the graves, and said our goodbyes -
We shared words of wisdom, love and appreciation for what our past, and the people in it, had taught us -
And it felt better to stand above it.
Standing over our graves, we felt better.
We felt powerful.
There's a deeply appealing sensation you get, when you feel in control of your own destiny and of your life experience.
And standing over our graves, we felt reclaimed, we felt ready to move forward.
As Starhawk once wrote in her book, SpiralDance,
To reclaim the word witch is to reclaim our right, as women, to be powerful -
To be a witch is to be an activist for your life and the lives of others. Many modern women associate with the need to act, the need to take their femininity back into their own hands, and to own their own destiny. Especially after thousands of years of persecution they've experienced and many, still do.
And with today's day and age of internet and technology - witchy information that used to be kept secret is being shared - and it's being shared faster and going much farther. Thus, more and more women have access to the information they need to heal themselves and more women, are embracing their power as self-healers.
Witchcraft is not so much about dark arts as it is about women helping themselves, and it is about women helping other women.
Regardless of how or why, our ceremony worked.
We didn't do it on a day aligned with the moon or at a certain time of year. We didn't burn anything or bind anyone to eternity. We didn't use candles or chants.
We did what we knew was right, when we were ready, and when the energy called us up that mountain. We acted with intention.
In doing so, we let go. And our situations let go of us.
We talked about it a few days later.
Agreeing that it felt better to have a neutral place outside of ourselves where we can go to access the information of the past. Now that that place wasn't within our hearts, revisiting it, felt less emotional and triggering, too.
We did things our way, but that doesn't mean this is the way.
In witchcraft, every woman has her own way. That's part of why it's so popular - witchcraft allows every woman to honor her own wisdom in the way it means to her and the way it is meant to work for her.
When you follow your inner knowing and use your accumulated wisdom to initiate a change, you've practiced it. Simple as that.
The modern witch movement is no longer the archetypal woman outcast that is only friends with her cat, an ugly, vagabond spinster, or the Gypsy, the Jew, the poet who lives a reclusive life.
The modern witch, she is all of us.
Her energy, is in all of us.
And today, as more and more women recognize and embrace their own power, it is only natural for some of us to call it witchdom - because in German, that's all it is.