October 8, 2018
“When change cometh, she will bring peace at her back. She will not bend to your will; you must bend to hers.” ― Adriana Mather, How to Hang a Witch
There’s a rumor in my neighborhood that I’m a witch. At first, I laughed. And then, for a few days, I got scared and paranoid. I wanted to hide. I wanted to move away. I wanted to feel safe in unsafe times. For many of us, these are unsafe times. Yet hiding and moving won’t solve anything nor will it protect me. I wonder, is this how our burned-at-the-stake ancestors felt? That their very lives were on the line simply because they were spiritual women living outside the box of Christianity?
Women who never married nor entered the convent?
Women who walked outside at night without an escort?
Women who gathered under the full moon to share and commune?
Women who could take away the pain of childbirth?
Women who were midwives to the newly living and recently departed?
Women who had cats or warts on their noses?
Women who were just being women living under the pressure of patriarchy?
A dozen years ago, in late October, a group of friends and I put together a ritual theatre performance titled “They Called Them Witches.” The intention was to help heal the witches’ holocaust. All involved, mostly women and a few men, were dramatically changed by the experience, as was the audience. The research was stunning and sobering. So many were put to death for ignorant reasons. The creative pieces expressing the angst of real witch hunts inspired us to carry on our vision of a world that is safe for all women, including those who identify as witches. Wise women who know, embrace and express both the Light and the Dark, free of labels and senseless accusations. Are we currently in danger of another witches’ holocaust?
According to the dictionary a holocaust is, “… a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire.”
Use of the word in reference to innocent women being burned at the stake–or drowned or tortured–in no way diminishes what we know as The Holocaust in Nazi Germany. Yet it applies to the Burning Times. How did this all come about? According to one source, “Historians believe the accused witches were victims of mob mentality, mass hysteria and scapegoating.” I add – women who were/are victims of idle gossip and speculation.
I propose that we are again living in a Burning Time—of distrust, paranoia and judgment. Does anyone really feel safe anymore? Safe to be who you are, at home and in public. To state our opinions, whether reflecting the Left or the Right, or the Light or the Dark. To have governance over our bodies. To have a say if we want to be touched or not. To have equal pay for equal work in a safe workplace. To live without fear of condemnation for just being a woman. Ultimately, to live without fear that someone could take your life because they think you are something they don’t understand.
From the King James Bible, Exodus 22:18: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”
Check out these alternate versions:
Do not allow a Sorceress to live.
Death is the punishment for witchcraft.
Put to death any woman who practices magic.
Never let a witch live.
A witch thou dost not keep alive.
Can you see why I actually felt fear when I heard two separate comments referring to me as a witch? I’m glad to say that the fear has passed. If we are living in another time of burning, then let’s burn away ignorance, distrust and separation. Let’s burn away accusations, judgments and persecution. Stop the gossip and idle conversation that diminishes rather than uplifts our spirits. Instead, let’s burn with excitement over our personal freedom and the future of our beloved United States of America. We the People. All people. Even witches. Let it be so.
Stay tuned for news of a Witchy Flash Mob coming to a corner near you!!! For inspiration, check out this video that makes the rounds every October. Doesn’t it make you want to dress up and dance?!
Wolfshäger Hexenbrut Walpurgis Wolfshagen im Harz