Witch. The word brings many images; some are evoked from almost a thousand years of hate and suppression, but many are images I feel, buried in our ancestral memory: That of the wise woman, the healer and the wild priestess.
In the turning of the 21st Century, there was a resurgence of what I call “the mass awaking.” People began to dispute and reject the monotheist religious and it’s consuming, self-serving Dogma that were forcibly imbued in the landscape of human spirituality, those belief systems that were the ‘only truth’ and that were forced upon the free world by penalty of persecution and death. The wise women of the forest and heaths began to once again emerge as the necessary intercessory between our physical existence and the spiritual wisdom of Nature with Her myriad of mysterious workings and power.
I find that I must remind myself that we are new to this art of re-membering. Our ancestors are calling to us from the annuls of time, trying to link us once again to that which sustains life and organic living. We via our generations of societal conditioning have bought in to the idea of the ‘greatness’ of the Industrial Revolution, and we humans as a collective whole are on the path of destroying the only home and way of existence possible for us and all other non-human life forms: Earth. We are actually rearing a techno savvy/gadget dependent generation of Aliens on our very planet. That, I feel, is why the call of the Wilderness and Her ancient ways of finding “God” has become so prevalent in today’s modern world; the message is: evolve as we must-but not to the point of annihilation and extinction (of ourselves or the co-inhabitations of this wonderous world.)
Many Witches hold a belief in animism; (from Latin anima, “breath, spirit, life”) which is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive.
Moreover Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous peoples, especially in contrast to the relatively more recent development of organized religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, “animism” is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ “spiritual” or “supernatural” perspectives. The animistic perspective is so widely held and inherent to most indigenous peoples that they often do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to “animism” (or even “religion”).
I am a Witch who started my re-membering being taught by a true Strega descendant in the woodlands of my Adirondack home at the age of 13; I then found my way to the eclectic tradition of Feri, as I also found my way to Shamanism (Sami influenced) and also to the Norse path of the Witch called a Völva.
Upon entering the world of Asatru in the early 90’s I was delighted to discover the ecstatic path of seiðr, as the formal re-claiming process of Nose heathenism at that time was almost a too structured and rule orientated for me, thereby smacking of the dogmatic religion everyone was so desperate to leave behind. Back then, even though Heathenism was Pagan in its reformation efforts, it (as wicca did/does) had many trappings of “must do it like this or you’re not” practices. Again, I am reminded of the process of when we use re-membering as a way to break away from conditioned behavior, we humans like to take what we know and feel confident in to our budding growth by simply expanding on our familiar status quo.
Which brings me to the point of this post. As a Norse Witch of many years now, I am delighted to witness a mass interest in this very obscure and fragmented path of the Northern Wise Woman. I see Nature and the Wilderness is calling out to people en-mass; and this is a very good thing as there might be hope for this world yet. Don’t however, get lost in the fragmented writings of how it was possibly done in leu of accepting(and most importantly) implementing the kennings that are being given and shared to many of us, right here, right now in the time that matters most to us: our lifetime. Today.
Take the guidance of the information left to us by the Lore and EXPAND upon it. Don’t be afraid! All the modern authors you read for knowledge, ancient secrets, and ways of being a Norse Witch have done that very thing: they have taken the gleanings they found in the ancient texts and harkened to their inner knowing’s, trusting they were being guided to re-member those obscure but necessary practices, exercises, and concepts that forms a complete working picture on how we as spiritual beings can re-align our powers with the organic and physical world of nature and of our original potential as mystic mammals.
Know the history, anthropology, customs and traditions of the Witchcraft you choose to practice-this is very important in many ways. However, I am here to tell you that at some stage the time for being scholarly will lessen, and the time for implementation, experimentation and application will then become paramount to your powerful connection with the Wisdom of the Ancients, and you inheriting the legacy of the Wise Women who have gone before you. These Wild Women were taught to KNOW the skills, but they were powerful because they choose to be WILLFUL and DARE to apply their nature given instincts via trusting in guidance that came to them while listening deep into the night to the still SILENCE of their very core.
You have this ability too. Trust it. USE IT.