“I was born a wild girl…

cradled tight in mountain arms…

snow melt swaddling my skin…

bare feet kissing moss and rocks…

Blessed Be the Crones exclaimed,

‘That child’s a witch!’” 

 


 

I seem to have been born that way. It is in my DNA, apparently from all lines.  It comes from my maternal grandmother and her journey into and back from death as a young woman, and her precognitive dreams.  It comes from my maternal grandfather and his line populated with names in Colonial American witch trials and early American politicians advocating freedom of speech and worship, and the rights of the individual rather than the divine right of kings.*  It comes from my paternal grandmother and her wild cackle and remedies.  It comes from my father’s father’s line, folk who knew the Earth and Her ecosystems and spirits, intimately as friends and allies.  

 

Like most children I experienced the living sentient being of all things around me:  Clear Creek who flowed through town, the Moon in all Her magical phases, the Oak Tree who shaded my grandparent’s shack, the lizards who came and went heralding regeneration, the Earth Herself.  I was blessed that no adults ever tried to dissuade me from the understanding that these beings were as living and sentient as I was, and that we lived in familial intradependence.

 

I was a voracious reader, fond of ancient folk and fairy tales with scary but powerful old women who lived in the woods, and drawn to more contemporary stories ranging from the cartoon Wendy “the good little witch,” to Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which in Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time.”  By the time I was a middle schooler I had sympathy for The Wicked Witch of The West (long before “Wicked”) and raised my eyebrows at her sister-witch Glinda’s assertion that good witches are beautiful and bad witches are ugly.  On some core level I knew being a witch was more nuanced than that.

 

I went to college in San Francisco in the confluence of the Goddess movement, rising Queer culture, and Nuclear Freeze activism.  The Christian Campus Ministry where I hung out and worked sponsored women’s retreats with folk like Vicki Nobel, one of the creators of the Motherpeace Tarot, and Carol P. Christ, a founding mother in the study of women and religion.  While I was in seminary preparing to be a United Church of Christ minister, one of my most formative classes was “Creating Ritual” taught by Starhawk, a visiting adjunct faculty and prominent Witch in the Reclaiming Tradition.  Her book, “The Spiral Dance,” was a text for the class.  By the end of seminary I had began to understand  that I may have been born a Witch, but that there were many different kinds of Witches, and I was most comfortable calling myself a Reclaiming Tradition Witch.  

 

One way (and most certainly not the only way) to describe Reclaiming Tradition Witchcraft is that it draws from Science, Jungian Psychology, Feminism, the Goddess movement, Social Justice and Eco Activism, Feri Tradition (an ecstatic form of Witchcraft), and Anarchist theory and practice, among other things.  Reclaiming Witches are folk of all genders. The first paragraph of the Reclaiming “Principles of Unity” reads:

 

“The values of the Reclaiming tradition stem from our understanding that the earth is alive and all of life is sacred and interconnected. We see the Goddess as immanent in the earth's cycles of birth, growth, death, decay and regeneration. Our practice arises from a deep, spiritual commitment to the earth, to healing and to the linking of magic with political action.” (read the entire text at http://reclaiming.org/about/directions/unity.html)

 

Back in September my dear friend Gwion Raven, another Reclaiming Tradition Witch, wrote a beautiful column for Patheos entitled “Witch? - Yes I Am A Witch” in which he says:

 

“There’s a great deal of history and made up history and baggage surrounding the word “witch”. One notion I particularly like is that of the empowered wise person living on the outskirts of the village. Folks didn’t want to know much about the work the witch did, but they certainly appreciated the knowledge the witch had, especially when they were in need of the witch’s services.”  

 

He continues:

“As we journey around the world, through time and through culture, we find witches practically everywhere. The names might change and so may the circumstances of how one enters into the work, but the basic functions are present. Witches are healers. Witches are attuned to the forces of nature. Witches weave together the strands of the past, the present and the potential of the futures. Witches travel to unseen places. Witches work with allies, human and otherwise. In subtle and not so subtle ways, witches facilitate change.”

(read his entire post at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thewitchesnextdoor/2015/09/witch-yes-i-am-a-witch/)

 

I am a Witch.

 

“I was born a wild girl…

cradled tight in mountain arms…

snow melt swaddling my skin…

bare feet kissing moss and rocks…

Blessed Be the Crones exclaimed,

‘That child’s a witch!’”

 

I seem to have been born a Witch. It is in my DNA, apparently from all lines.  But I am also a Reclaiming Tradition Witch by choice and practice. 

 

I am a Witch.

 

 

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* My ancestors Mary Lovett Tyler and her daughter, Hannah, were eventually released from prison after being accused of witchcraft.  My ancestor, Samuel Adams, and his cousin, John Quincy Adams, were both associated with the "Dragon" cult, at least according to Andrew E. Rothovius in "The Adams Family and the Grail Tradition: The Untold Story of the Dragon Persecution" and "The Dragon Tradition in the New World."

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Blog image: my 2nd birthday party