Of witches and wise women

At this time of witches, wizards, goblins and ghosties, I was reflecting on what I would dress up as. I always dress up as a witch. You know the rigmarole: black dress, pointy hat, big nose, ugly facial warts and a broomstick.

And this year I thought, actually, NO! No, I am not going to perpetuate this misogynistic myth.

I am not a witch, though it occurs to me every so often, that in a different time or place, I would probably be condemned as one. Let’s consider the evidence:
I do not go to church nor follow any religious dogma
I dance in the moon light
When I moved into the Pink House the first thing I did was plant a herb patch
I use said herbs for healing
I perform many rituals and ceremonies
And have a healthy respect and curiousity for the unknown realms of life
I wear what I want, say what I want and have little respect for authority
I counsel women in natural ways of managing their fertility and birthing
I dedicate my life’s work to empowering other women
I run a women’s circle which a (male) friend refers to as the coven

The myth of the witch actually bothers me. It is a demonisation of an empowered, empowering woman, of woman’s power to commune with the unseen, to use her healing powers, her visioning skills, her connection to the natural world and her ability to co-create with the universe.

For the record may I state that I am not a witch, and there is much of it which doesn’t chime with me. But I know many witches, Wiccans and pagans in the online sphere, and at drama school shared a house with one and classes with two others..

When I told my children that I used to live with a witch, their eyes went round with excitement. Did she wear black? They wanted to know. Well, no. Did she have a broomstick? No, but she was a dab hand with a mop. So she didn’t fly? Nope she went by bike. Did she have a cauldron, a black cat? No and no. Well then she’s not a witch, they said.

But she was. Both by name and by nature. With a woman it’s not what she wears or carries that makes her a wise woman or a witch, it is the power she carries inside, the power to transform herself and her world. This, this is what I own. And so for our halloween party I dressed as a rainbow gipsy – alluring, mystical, empowered and colourful… all woman!