A Witch Herstory

Ten years after I awoke to the Divine Feminine within, I came out of the Broom Closet with The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual and Lore (2000). Effervescent as my light will always be, I was like a butterfly flitting into the darkness with the belief that my good intentions would keep harm away. That was not the case.

Perhaps we Witches are like migrating birds, each taking a turn at the point of the V-formation in beautiful flight. Over the next nine years, I came out with several books on Witches and Wiccan lifestyle during the post 9-11 Christian Coalition fear mongering environment. I was a Dirt-Worshipping, Tree-Hugging, Faerie Green Witch poked and prodded back into the closet after many years of the good fight. I held my wisdom for my family and a tight community I could trust.

Now, I am back. This Witch is Back IN. All in.

The Book of Spells: The Magick of Witchcraft will be on sale on October 1, 2019. I will stand beside this work that passed through me at booksignings, festivals, wherever I go, because I believe in the Goddess. She will be with me. I am with Her. And as such, I must pay homage to my early teachers who took society’s hits as they stood up for the Goddess: Starhawk, SARK, Shakti Gawain, Jean Houston, Vicki Noble, Sandra Ingermann, Connie deMasters, Sybil Leek, and Doreen Valiente, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Julia Cameron, Edain McCoy, Stephanie Taylor, Z Budapest, Phyllis Curott, Patricia Telesco, Dorothy Morrison, Margot Adler, Gerina Dunwich, Laurie Cabot, Janet Farrer, Anodea Judith, Melody, Jamie Samms, Selena Fox, Jeanette Reynolds, Anne Niven, Lunaea Weatherstone, Susun Weed, Robin Rose Bennett, Marianne Williamson, and many others. I will never know your pain, but I know that I benefited because of your courage.

I am so grateful that women in their teens, 20s and 30s have more Goddess Gatherings, Red Tents and will not know the prejudice of the generations preceding them, comforted by the cloak of so many other segments of our population coming out. I want to take a moment to remind Witchlings of our heritage, so that we all still guard our collective sovereignty.

I posted this blog on October 30, 2006, which I am sharing now as part of a process of letting go of what I do not want in favor of what I do want. As Mercury begins its chaotic focus on “Re” – return, reintegration, revisit, release, I hope to empower and inflame the Magick within us all.

I attended a ritual hosted at Points of Light in Long Beach, my favorite witch shop. We were all dressed in black and awaiting the start of ritual when I felt I really needed to visit the ladies’ parlor. The shop was closed, so I ran into a local bar to use their facilities.

As I scampered passed four or five old men sitting at the bar, one of them grumbled, “What are you doing in here?”

“You don’t belong here,” another sneered.

I beelined for the back, thinking I must have missed a sign that read a men’s only bar. I found the barkeep where I thought the restroom would have been. When she turned around, I realized I couldn’t be in a Stag bar. She told me curtly that the restroom was only for customers. Something about her demeanor stopped me from arguing. I walked back through the bar, passed the old men in their plaid shirts and grubby jeans, with their worn baseball caps perched atop their bald heads. “Yeah, get out of here,” they jeered.

I pushed through the black curtain separating the smoky bar from the open doorway and heard them laughing about scaring the witch. Like a thunderclap I understood. I had just passed through a place as potentially dangerous as the tense diner scene in Easy Rider as the rednecks cracked comment after derogatory comment at the free-wheeling hippies Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper and the owner refused to wait on them?

I whipped back the curtain and glared pointedly at the dumbstruck rednecks and their bartender. The entire bar became silent. Finally, after I hoped I had put a good scare in them, I dropped the
curtain and walked away to calls of “Get the crosses!” 

Perhaps it makes me privileged to have my first experience of public, verbal assaults of prejudice at age 33. Months prior to this bar scene, a woman in Barnes & Noble scoffed that she didn’t know you could cook witches as she walked by me sitting at a booth with a stack of The Wicca Cookbook. That was a cake walk compared to the feeling of having just walked in and out of the lion’s den unscathed.

Since the publication of The Wicca Cookbook, I have feared a showdown just like that. I must remember to focus on what I want, not what I want to avoid. If a ball runs out into the street and you tell a kid, “Don’t run into the street,” all they will hear is “Run in the street.” You need to tell the child what you want, “Stay on the sidewalk.” The same is true with the Universe. I am so grateful for those bigots, because now that I faced them, I don’t have to fear the possibility of them.

Until last Saturday night, I thought I could hide my magick in certain circles, and “they” wouldn’t notice. Like when a two-year-old hides underneath a blanket and thinks you can’t see her. My friends tell me, I’m not hiding anything – never have been the invisible type, so there’s no point in pretending any longer. Imagine yourself as a star wearing sunglasses, thinking that because you cannot see your brightness, neither can anybody else. If you have put on extra pounds, thinking that is going to hide your sex appeal, guess what? It comes out in your walk and others think you’re even hotter because you can strut like that with a full figure – forgetting what society says is sexy. If you sing to yourself, hum to tunes and try to tell the world that you really prefer extra hours at your cubicle job over taking singing lessons, who do you think you’re fooling and why?

We’re all freaky for something. Be passionate and follow your bliss. You have everything to gain. Believe in the reality of what you want to see. Believe in the reality of what you want to be. You are creating your reality with everything thought and feeling. Believe it.

Let’s hold onto each other sisters. We’re our own best medicine.

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