Witches to Watch out For
One of the first experiences I had as a professional clergyperson was with a group of (almost entirely) male colleagues. One of them told me that I need to keep an eye out, because “women* in their forties” tend to be drawn to witchcraft. He was absolutely serious. Afterward, I told my friends about it, which led to much eye rolling and gnashing of teeth. To this day we still often refer to ourselves as “the coven”.
Patriarchal societies in general and Christian communities in particular have a long, painful history with witches. Women of antiquity, and some today, have been banished, tortured, or murdered for accusations of witchcraft. Men who killed women during the witch hunts in Europe and America through the 15th to 17th centuries did so because women had the audacity to be healers, midwives, military leaders. They were killed for being slaves, or social outcasts. Some women were accused of witchcraft because they were sick of putting up with anymore bullshit. People who don’t fit social attitudes of their time breed fear. How many women’s lives and contributions were cut short because of the fear and insecurity of men in power?
After the wave of #metoo in social media, and continuing the wave of increasingly anti-women legislation being brought forward on the state and national level, I find myself keenly aware of the deep need for magic in my life. Magic to guard my soul against despair. Magic to share with my coven, and all people who are in deep need of healing in this broken world. Magic to be a brave and competent ally with immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and other folks who are also feeling the sustained pain of injustice. Magic to let go of my own ego in places where I need to grow. Magic to be strong in the places where I need to stand up. Magic to remind me of my power. Magic to embody that power in the world. Because each of us has the capacity to be powerful beyond measure. To live bravely. To practice authenticity. To not be cowed by cowards.
Watch out for witchcraft. To Hell with that. I am the witch to watch out for.
*PSA: In my writing, the term “women” includes folks who identify as female, and those who have been socialized as female, including but not limited to trans women, and whomever else identifies with the term “women” in their history or body or spirit. There are lots of ways to be women in the world.