Reclaiming of the Witch

Published February 26, 2015 by Lunapo

Thanks to Elfkat, I came across this great article about the rise in women who refer to themselves at Witch. <raises hand>

A few of my favorite tidbits:

It was the strangest thing: simply by calling herself a witch in public, [Azealia] Banks had managed to evoke real fear. Rightwingers treated her as if she were actually planning to blight crops and hex her enemies, all the while claiming that they didn’t believe in witchcraft.

Azealia, a rapper, tweeted about being a Witch because her ancestors (African slaves) were magic and had magic before they were converted. She challenged folks to think about where their belief system comes from. At some point in their lives, African Americans who were brought to this country against their will were converted, perhaps forcibly, into a new faith. That faith was then passed down from parents (blood or foster as children were often sold away) and is embedded into much of the Black community today. Azealia’s whole point is she is reclaiming the traditions of her ancestors, which has a strong link to magick. What made me giggle was the Right wing knee-jerk fear reaction in conjunction with the claim that witches aren’t real. So they are afraid of something they simultaneously deny? Hehe

There’s also the pull of the taboo, of being a woman who does what she’s not supposed to: “It feels incredible to use all the aspects of being a woman which the dominant culture considers to be signs of weakness, like emotional sensitivity or a menstrual cycle, as tools when you are giving a reading or doing a spell,” says Marty Windahl, proprietor of Tarotscopes. “This is really the heart of being a witch for me, turning everything on its head. That, and making treasure of trash.”

I will never forget, one year at my second high school, and my first strong Pagan year, I was relishing in the power of being female. Namely, the power of menstruation. I was relishing in what menstruation really meant- the fact that I could create life, and carry life and nourish life. I started to get offended by menstruation product commercials advertising it as a sign of weakness, as something to be ashamed of. Of something that isn’t innately powerful and beautiful for what it means. I’m still unnerved when I hear women, especially young women, complain about her period and how awful it is and how much they hate to be a female because they have to deal with their periods. They don’t understand the power and the beauty that this means, that being a woman means.

It’s tempting to write all this off as fluffy woo-woo stuff (a trivialization of which Starhawk is well aware: “We’re no more nutty than most religions,” she says, “and probably a lot less nutty than some”). But the politics are there, and they hold up; mixed in with the spells and rituals of The Spiral Dance, you will find meditations on sexual violence, ecology and anarchist group building, and thoughts on how men can overcome patriarchal conditioning in order to participate effectively in leftwing activism.

Woman = power. Woman = Witch = POWER. And in our patriarchal society, that power is something to be feared.

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