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Dangerous Compassions

witch

A friend asked what it means that I’m a witch.  Thanks for asking!  I’ve described myself as a trikewitch, garden witch, pagan, pantheist Earth-worshiper, and goddess worshiper.  All are true.

I was pagan as a teenager and young adult, happy to find a religion that made sense to me.  I’d been worshiping the moon for years, before I knew that was something other people did.  Finding paganism was like coming home, a name for what I already experienced and knew.

Then the Hindu sect I did for 20 years influenced me: singing in Sanskrit, worshiping my ishtadeva, and spiritual practices with people 40 years older than me.  The goddesses were the reason I was there.  I’m deeply familiar with beautiful Hindu ritual.

Doing interfaith peace work with Nevada Desert Experience for almost ten years, I’ve been part of the ritual and prayer of other faiths also.  I’m happy to bring that in and use what makes sense to me.

Trikewitch is about ecstatic experiences.  Getting on my trike, I’m praying immediately.  Like ecstatic dance, my trike riding is usually ecstatic.  Being in that slightly altered state, embodied, and in motion is meaningful and soul-nourishing.  It’s what I need for my well-being.

I enjoy creating and performing rituals.  Ritual is a way I process reality, help myself emotionally through life changes, honor someone or something, get all of me on the same page.  I like objects as symbols and speaking with my subconscious self.  Rituals can be planned in advance with thought to the materials and words, or can be everyday.

misogynist

“Witch” is an insult in US English–a way of calling someone a bitch, with a different connotation.  The insult is misogynist.  In high school, something was published in the school newspaper that said I was “most likely to be burned at the stake.”  I took that as a compliment–my ideas and my very person are so offensive to a few people that they would like to kill me.

Some people find my liberation offensive–queer, fat, sexual, religious, or otherwise.  They don’t want me to happily enjoy who I am.  They’d prefer I become straight, get a job, have kids, shave my legs, wear makeup, lose 150 pounds, abandon anarchy, and be a regular person.  My refusal to do all of that hurts them, because they want a woman to be a set thing they value as safe.

But their opinion means nothing to me.  Challenging the status quo of patriarchy is what my life is for.  I won’t be the person my dad or pastors wanted me to be–praise God, I’m exactly who I am.  To me, safety is in honesty, change, and being real.

If someone sees me as a cartoon hag with a nose wart, stirring a potion in my cauldron, that’s fine.  I don’t exist to be pretty or easy.  If I’m considered ugly, that’s ok–I’d rather be powerful than acceptable.

Being comprehensible, bland, and expected is important to many people, and I’m not doing that for anyone.  Having personal power related to Earth mystery comes naturally to me; it’s obvious.  It’s something I do whether I want to or not.

wheel of the year

I love the seasons and celebrating them.  My favorite holiday is Imbolc.  The stirrings of spring and the baby lamb quickening in the sheep mama amaze me, life itself.

Christian mythology is familiar to me, as I was a pious kid, went to church with my mom, and attended to Christian school for five years.  I spent hours as a child, staring at the statue of a man in a loincloth, dead or almost dead, with a crown of thorns, bloody, just tortured, nailed to a cross.  Violence was central.  A death cult made no sense to me, worshiping a man for being killed.  Once I could get free of that, I did.  I don’t worship men anymore.

Christianity taught me to serve white men, ignore my body as sinful and untrustworthy, obey, keep my head down, and sacrifice my well-being on earth with the goal of happiness in heaven.  The repression hurt me, and it’s still something I’m climbing out of; I learned it so early, it became part of me.  It was part of my family life, as my mom lived it.  I watched her sacrifice herself for my dad and serve him until he died.

Being a witch is part of me also.  Eating a fresh orange off the neighbor’s tree in my homeland was a religious experience.  To really feel the pleasure of life, and to stay open to all the animal, bodily joys is what my life is for, along with love, service, community.

This video tells a little about my witchness through the lens of magic and music.

belief

I don’t necessarily believe that deities are real–if Mother God and Shakti are metaphors, that’s ok.  Or if they’re a simple way to conceptualize the power of Mother Earth and sunlight.  I pray all day, and I don’t need a literal deity to be listening.  I’m listening to myself, at the least.

I don’t need a heaven and hell concept to be moral–my love is way larger than an ethical framework of fear.  DIY is important to me–I’m not going to base my values and choices on the words of a priest, book, youtube video, or even a zine.  My own life experience is the guide.

Mother Earth provides for us, and you can worship her or not.  If that’s not what you need, no problem.  My inner life is devotion, all day.

I hope you have a religion or world view that nourishes you.  Being a witch helps me make sense of the world, my place in it, and the challenge of being an animal who thinks and uses language.

witch

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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