Witch. It’s a loaded word. I was happy to see this article this morning in the local newspaper. The author, Erika Mailman, has an ancestor who twice escaped with her life after charges of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts. Erika properly calls this period in time a holocaust, during which many thousands of women were put to death because of bigotry and fear. Modern witches call it the Burning Times. Many of these same modern women are still afraid to call themselves witches for fear of persecution, and they are right to feel so. We might call ourselves eco-feminist wisewomen who honor the Goddess at the full moons and eight solar festivals during the year. We might feel that our spiritual life arises from our love of the earth, and join efforts to preserve the environment (those “tree-hugging dirt worshippers”). We might join in women’s circles to bear witness to each other’s experiences and truths. We might begin finding ancient images that show women as powerful beings who were also divine, and begin to yearn for “feminine” characteristics of compassion, nurturance, and non-hierarchical tolerance, which seem to be so absent in our governments today. Our society is so polarized, and in some ways so very ignorant, that it seems a dangerous time to come out of the broom closet.
Witches are empowered women, and we all know how fearsome they are!
Happy Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, New Year, Dia de Los Muertes, Beginning of Winter to All!