So here it is, another Halloween, when ghosts and goblins, witches and vampires, superheros and villains come out of the woodwork.
We all grew up with stories that most witches were old, bent-over, wart-ridden women cackling over a big, black cauldron, dressed head-to-toe in black, whispering incantations and in general being the rotten egg. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of witchcraft and when I was little, I really, really wanted to be a witch – sans the warts. Through the years the mystique of witchcraft has always drawn me in, but due to my life’s path, never much got into learning more. Just recently, though, I discovered quite by accident that there exists a group who practices a way of life that I could totally get behind.
Like many people, I believed witchcraft meant spells and manipulation of the darker sides of nature, but last week, I was officially schooled in the ways of a Wiccan coven.
One of my friends, an incredible woman with a made-for-movie life, herself once part of a coven, set me straight. She confirmed what I thought, but also added another dimension.
So not like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz, the women who make up a Wiccan coven are strong, independent, and powerful, both by nature and by way of the Wiccan practice. Powerful in their knowledge, powerful in their confidence.
Wicca, to those of you who are not familiar with this peaceful and harmonious way of life, is not actually witchcraft, though it draws from the tradition of witchcraft. It is a religion in and of itself that promotes balance and harmony with all that exists. It is a practice of free will and the appreciation of the elements of earth, fire, air, and water, and encourages the understanding and responsibility of ourselves. The members of the coven are healers and the potions that Wiccans create are tonics for headaches or other ailments, not for turning people into toads.
Yeah, I said. But what about dark magic? What about that?
There is that, she told me, as we cannot have light without dark, love without hate, a beginning without an end. Picture a triangle. One side represents light (positive), one side represents dark (negative), while within the coven, the High Priest or High Priestess occupies the vertex, the spot that encompasses both. Some members ride the positive side, embracing the earth’s energy, while others delve in the other side with rituals, blood sacrifices and the like. Most stand on either side of the line, finding balance between both sides.
My friend had found her coven, or rather it found her, and was a member of the group for eight years. She was going through a rough spot in her life, trying to find purpose, trying to find something to help her make sense of her life, when she was introduced to a coven where she lived. She found what she was looking for. Through her studies and years with the coven, she learned to find her core and stay centered under the most trying of circumstances. She learned how to read palms and auras, how to have out of body experiences, and how to use herbs to clear negative energy from her space.
Though she is no longer a member of a coven, she is still integrates what she learned into her own life. She is a healer and spiritual teacher. It is all about balance and maintaining equilibrium with nature. It’s all about light.
So on Halloween, if you see a witch, remember this…they are real, but it’s not all about cauldrons and broomsticks (although my friend said that upon becoming a member, they do make small brooms to place over their door in their home). It’s so much more than that.