I am a witch… what the fuck am I meant to be doing?22 September 2020
Look, I don’t know. Not really. I have been privy to some overtly dropped hints, however. I am sure you have too.
Witches, the enemies of empire. Those who are called beyond the glow of the fire and shift into the dark, hunting, stalking, dissolving, drinking in, and returning… always back on the broomstick and goat, always back to the hearth, always back to the home, the street, the field, the town, the streets. Always returning. Witches, we always return. And then they cast us out again. It’s happened multiple times pre and post Christianity. Many of you know currently we are “in” again, in popular culture. Our magic and our traditions – as varied, wondrous, and strange as they are – are incredibly empowering to those experiencing marginalisation and oppression via the wicked works of imperialist coercion and control. And where it hurts and twists in the gut, sharply slashes the heart, is in the commodification, in the commercial and capitalist appropriation of the Witch.
Witches, our wickedness tends to work against the systems, the deliberations, the authorities who declare: this fire and its light, this is our’s, ignore the darkness out there, it’s evil and the realm of those who serve it. This is why we are wicked. Vilification really only works ultimately if one knows the nature of that which it accuses… Truth, Wisdom, and Love by their nature, return, return, return, emerge, emerge, emerge, deepen, deepen, deepen. Take a firebrand, become a firebrand, wander out into the Darkness and remember –
Have you ever felt the Magic happen through you? Swoop through your muscles, and bring you to your knees, mouth full of saliva lit up from the inside with runes and incantations. Fates and Gods fusing with our tendons, singing through the neural pathways, and shaking the skins, sloughing them, shifting them, opening us up to older power, ancient power… I’ve been called at night to leave my red-red-red home, in the quiet times, when working humans are either asleep and hoping for rest and relief, or scrolling mindlessly-vividly (hoping for rest and relief) on apps, devices, falling into social media-carved ravines despair and disconnection… apprehending the order of “futility” and the very real fear and anxiety that we find ourselves incarnated within.
And yet, of course, herein lies the trick. And we – witch people – we are creatures of tricks, not of deception mind you, but of the kind of truthfulness that unnerves, unsettles, loosens, unbinds, and tricks a sovereign being right into themself! Artful! Creatures of Art! Progeny of that primordial and promethean marriage between those who Fall in Love and those who Break Open with Longing.
What am I meant to be doing?
I have asked my counsel, my court, my Beloved Ones, my Familiars, my Kin, my Family. And they have reminded me of how many times, over and over, I pull the Eight of Pentacles from the Tarot. Head down, do the work… be with it, They have said, you are doing it, no more, just this…
So we “chop wood, carry water, make love, plant seeds, cook meals, tend to children, make fences, feed chickens, nurse those who are ill, offering listening and medicine, take our herbs and tablets, reach out to our friends, send that e-mail, record that song, write that essay, light the candle, take a shower, stop and notice breathing…”
And yet the Great Queen breathes through my dreams in March in Bali… Old Grey-Beard, the Wanderer, the One Who Sacrifices Himself to Himself on the Tree, haunts me, presences the Uncanny, the Otherworldly, in such a way I verbally offer Him exasperation at the crossroads on the way friends. Gods want our – witch people – attention because our magic, our cunning, can be peers to Their’s, can synchronise and synergise with Their mytho-poetic existential mysteries. A wise and earnest friend says to me, from across the ocean – the other side of the Pacific – the Gods are always looking for folk to carry out their Works. Well, I might say to these Gods,
Pull up a chair, here’s a drink, I remember our previous conversation. Let’s talk. I’ll listen. You listen, too.
When a Witch sits down with a God, conspiracy – the sharing of breath – enjoins us into a fateful witnessing. From here we are both ordained into the complexity of the Wyrd, into the finessing of sorcery, into the dare to risk individuality for the greater mystery of who-knows-what… the reprieve is most often silent, most of still. And then there’s the dynamism of working the Craft. And the quickening of life-force that catalyses the rich depth of our magic and brings us to the Sabbat Mountain together.
What am I meant to be doing? In these times of precarity and immense loss of all manner of life… in these times of the violation of essential dignity… in these times of the assault of intelligence and the brutality of the oppressive forces that martial bigotry to their hand…
Each of us is offered the Breath simply because. This is what I believe.
In my genesis, like any of you, I am woven from Wyrd strands of Fatefulness inclined to express forth as Existing, as Being, as Becoming. The Breath which is the same as the Grandfather, the Old God of the Wildwood, seals this Body which is the Book… I then must learn to read this Book which is the Land… and the Land will awaken as the Clan of the Spirits in the Palm of my Hand, so there is the Compass that pulses with the heartbeats of Our Lady who is the Rose Queen of Love, Pleasure, Beauty, Risk, Pain, Sorrow and Wonder. She rises, She descends. And as I twist and turn down the blood-red roads of my ancestral-tracks, I am discovering that essence of primal desire to Exist, to Be, to Become which I know as the Prince of Paradise. And perhaps then, that fable in that Book, of being expelled from the Garden for eating Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is really an echo of something far more confronting. We do not know what you are meant to do, but if you eat of this Existence, if you decide to be Embodied, you will be touched by the powers of transformation and loss in such a way that your courage and your foolishness will be inseparable, and Knowledge will mean the kind of Liberation that ends you, changes you from what you think you were and ought to be.