(re-)awakening your inner witch

there are lots of books and articles out there for new ‘witchlings,’ as it were.

if you’re young and delving into the exploration of the craft or associated beliefs and practices, then welcome! i hope that your witchy journey is everything you want to get out of it.

but what about the stories or ‘guides’ for those of us who are older, who already knew this was our calling, but for one reason or another, drifted away from it, forgot it, suppressed it, or just didn’t nurture it for a while.

what about those of us who re-awakened after many years away?

i guess there doesn’t really need to be a ‘how-to guide’ so much as there should be a ‘while you were away’ guide. my lapse was over 12 years, in which a LOT changed.

for starters, social media didn’t exist when i was a very young witch, not even remotely in the form we’re used to now. if you wanted to look up info on witchery, you could probably find some really poorly designed websites from a Geocities template with alternating neon broomsticks and cat faces flashing at you as you tried to ignore them, scrolling through badly formatted walls of text and blurry images (*shudders*)

but coming back into this a number of years ago, i think i was struck most by how well-connected the entire community is in order to create a strength in numbers. i was also glad to see the outpouring of new books and resources for new witches.

everyone was welcoming, supportive, and there is clearly a push within most circles to provide education and personal growth, while dispelling myths and harmful generalizations.

i don’t want to pull a ‘when i was your age,’ but when i was your age, there were not many good books or ‘how to be a new witch’ guides you could just get your hands on (the internet wasn’t much of a thing back then, but certainly shopping on the internet didn’t exist yet).

so you had to learn from someone else, who often had very strong opinions and dogmatic beliefs about the ‘right way to be a witch’, but those were often incongruent with how you wanted to be a witch.

or, like me, you struck out on your own, learned, experimented, and took note of what you liked, wanted, needed, and enjoyed, even if that made you not quite fit in perfectly with other witches around you.

i started out in witchy endeavors much like a lot new witches: as a teenager, a friend of mine who was really into Wicca gave me deck of tarot cards and it was like a gateway to self-exploration and coming to terms with the feelings, urges, and tug of what i had always known was inside me.

i cannot remember a time when i was young, in childhood or adolescence, that i didn’t feel drawn to the craft, or pagan rituals or traditions. it just clicked and felt right, even despite the years that i fell away from it as an adult who tried desperately to conform to what i thought was ‘acceptable’ in my first marriage, or professional colleagues, or my (fake) social circle at the time.

re-awakening my inner witch took many years after that early adulthood of self-oppression and emptiness. as i slowly let that energy burn brighter in me and accepted myself once again, i began to ask myself what kind of witch i was at this point.

certainly, as a young witch, it had been all exciting with cards, candles, poppets that looked like that girl i hated at school, ‘love’ potions, and all the things that are important to you when your life is no more complicated than high school, after school jobs, and getting high on the weekends with your friends.

but now, in my late 30s, my perspective and experience is astoundingly different, as it should be. i’ve seen some shit. i know the true nature of things and people. and myself, more importantly.

i find myself drawn to many different forms of practice. one day i may be more interested in green magic and the next i may feel that crystals or psychic meditation are going to be best for my purposes.

but, in the midst of all of this, i find that i have always always always been drawn to scent and smell. a well-crafted perfume, body oil, or soap can literally transport your mind, body, and soul somewhere else if you are open to it.

because of that, i started creating ‘spell oils’ for lack of a better term, that are geared toward creating the setting in which i wanted my spell or craft to function. they create the setting for me, as a powerful visualization tool that amplified my intent and i find they are quite potent at getting me the results i want from my spells.

and then i began bwitch. it started out as a creative project, something to let my inner artwitch out to play, but it morphed into something much more powerful: a movement, an ideology, a purpose. and so, there is my abbreviated story of witch > self-oppression > witch again.

if you’re like me, and have experienced a re-awakening for any reason, you may be returning to practice your craft from a totally different perspective than you did at an earlier time in your life. and i think that’s cool. we should all be evolving.

if you have a re-awakening story, i would love to hear it (or even feature it)!

all the women in my life were witches

Everyone has their own kind of magic. I don’t mean like Harry Potter and wingardium leviosa. I mean like the kind of inner magic that other people can just feel. They can tell that there’s something really exceptional and amazing about you, but can’t always put it into words.

This isn’t charisma and it isn’t charm or beauty. It’s just…magic. It’s your inner energy and will, making itself known and establishing itself in, on, and around you.

My grandmother on my dad’s side had magic that made you feel comforted and loved and cared for. She ran a farmhouse full of kids, cooked for everyone, and kept things tidy. There were always fresh muffins or bread or lemonade in her kitchen. And she had a way of making you feel special, even if you were helping her do chores.

My grandmother on my mom’s side had magic that broke social barriers. She was a microbiologist in the 60s and 70s when women just didn’t do those things. She got her PhD and traveled the world. Grandma’s apartment was full of curiosities and information and science. She inspired you to learn things and never told you that your idea would never work or that you couldn’t be whatever it was you wanted to be that week. She inspired at least one little girl to be strong, passionately pursue her goals, and never care what others thought.

My mom’s magic was togetherness. She managed to bring the family together around the dinner table at the end of every single day. Even if we didn’t want to eat the canned spinach she put on our plate, we were still a family and we learned about each other’s days. We did things together and we learned the value of that contact and family connection.

Plenty of other women in my life had their own magics, as well.

And none of these women considered themselves witches. Indeed, my grandmothers would have panicked at being referred to as such, one being devoutly Catholic and the other a staunch atheist. My mom, tattooed and neon spiky hair in her 70s, would likely smile and embrace it, honestly.

But, to my point, magic is not always flash and spells. Its not a grimoire of incantations or a ritual practiced in secret. Its energy and how we use that energy with our will and intention. And some of us do so without even realizing it.

I have been a healer in one way or another all of my adult life. That is my magic. I have helped people stay physically fit, overcome physical barriers or limitations, and finally, as a clinician, heal from chronic diseases they had given up hope of finding answers.

I rarely take new patients these days, but I believe that its still my duty to contribute to the greater good and health of the people around me.

My own practice is kind of all over the place, really. I can’t call myself only one or two types of witch. I love herbs for their potent healing properties; I love energy concentration; I love divination; I love using my will to concentrate on bringing about the change I want to see; And so many more ways my craft has evolved.

So, here’s to the women in all our lives who were witches, even if they didn’t know it. And to their magic, be it emotional, physical, metaphysical, or any other kind.

it’s finally ok to be a witch

Throughout history, the witch was often a symbol for a woman who lives by her own terms, and embraces or embodies the traits, thoughts, or behaviors that the rest of the social group or society want to embrace, but do not, for fear of stepping outside the normative established culture.

Witches were often very independent women. Witches were women who marched to their own beat. Witches were women who didn’t need men to run their lives. They made their own way.

And they were a threat to a heavily patriarchal society systematically created, built, implemented, and maintained by organized religions, all of which promoted the concept of the one (male) god.

No more divine feminine for you guys. And while we’re at it, let’s burn anyone who disagrees.

Estimates of the number of (mostly) women (but some men and children) who were persecuted and murdered during the witch hunts of history across the world put the total number of deaths between 100,000 and 1 million people.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the UK even formally and officially de-criminalized witchcraft.

But despite these advances in religious freedoms in the Western world, there are still many societies where the practice of witchcraft remains outlawed. And what constitutes witchcraft can vary widely from place to place.

In the United States, there has been a resurgence of interest and embrace of the Old Ways since the 1940s, with everything from Wicca, to Paganism, to Satanism, to Druidry and beyond finding its way back into the milieu of belief systems and personal practices.

With this explosion of self-expression through religious or spiritual beliefs, we now find ourselves in an era where its totally okay to be a witch (at least, that’s what you want to believe). Some friends of mine that live in certain parts of the US still experience social ostracism, harassment, and even threats for openly practicing their religious beliefs that do not jive with the majority Christian system that persists here.

If you fall into that category, just know that you’re not alone. The beautiful thing ab0ut the Internet these days is that where we lack physical community and fellowship, we can find loads of it virtually.

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