change · community · faith · fear · growth · prayer · trauma · vulnerability

Witchy Woman

I’ve been back to reading through that Louise Hay You Can
Heal Your Life
book before bed. Just
reading through some of the affirmations, saying some of them out loud.
I’ve also begun more consistently reading my Tarot cards,
pulling one daily.
And, it should come as no surprise to you that I have variously: burned sage,
taken a bath in a blend of “protection” salts, participated in a sweat lodge,
buried letters to G-d, dissolved some in the ocean, carried rose quartz in my
jacket pocket, and burned a blend of incense powder mixed for me by a man in a
dress.
When I was in college, I took a class on Witchcraft in Literature. I don’t remember much from it, except what the classroom looked
like, and probably that most of the classmates were women. I know it’s not
gender specific, but I feel like in the teenage years, many women (or those
that I’ve come into contact with) delve in the occult for a little while. I
mean, with the proliferation of movies at the time we grew up that embellished
witchcraft as both hot and powerful, like The Craft, Teen Witch, Practical Magic, and Hocus Pocus (for a humorous bent!). Plus, the 80’s show, Out of This World, where the main teenage girl could freeze time
(though, she was half-alien, not a witch), or
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (a far worse show).
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(both the movie and the t.v. show) can also be seen as a teenage girl “coming
into her power,” the development and surge that happens in the teens. And I
think there’s something about the occult that offers girls a channel for that
energy; something that offers safe guidelines and something a little special
and weird and creepy and, perhaps, powerful.
I’m not saying I believe in witchcraft; I’m saying I believe
that we all want to believe that we have the power to change ourselves and our
circumstances, whether that’s through spells or prayers or good karma or electro-shock
therapy.
And I want to believe that I can divine some information
about the world and myself through things like shamanic journeys, meditation
circles, and, yes, Tarot cards.
Recently, I’ve been pulling this one card consistently. The
8 of swords depicts a woman bound with ropes, blindfolded, and surrounded by a
barricade of swords. In the distance, there is a castle on a hill. At least in
my book of interpretations, the meaning of this card is restriction, hopelessness,
accepting inaction. The last paragraph of the description says, however, the ropes are not that tight around the woman; she
could ostensibly wriggle free out of them, knock over the swords, and head
home. She, the figure, waits for someone to save her, instead of acting to save
herself.
The words “accepting inaction” have been echoing for me
these few days and weeks.
I met, post-cancer, with a therapist who works with PTSD. I
described to her the vision/metaphor I currently have of myself:
There is a birdcage. I (forgive me) am the bird. The door to
the cage is open. Has been open for some time. I walk out of the cage into the
freedom, but the freedom is too big, too unknown, too scary, and so I walk back
into the cage.
I know I am not alone in describing self-made prisons. I
know I am not alone in cleaving myself to the devil I know rather than the
devil I don’t. I know I’m not alone in fearing that there’s a devil at all out
there in the wide scary world. (Not like THE Devil. Pretty sure I don’t believe
in that!)
But I have become restless in this self-made prison. In the
looking at things that interest me, and backing away. In the participating in
things I love for a little while, and quitting. In exploring what kind of work
I want to do, and procrastinating indefinitely.
And, I do know that countering fears with affirmations is one of the only tools I have in my belt
right now to help me wriggle out of those self-made, and self-maintained,
bonds; to bend a crowbar behind myself and shove/encourage me back out of the cage, where, underneath all the doubt, I know it is not only safe, but inviting, enlivening, and waiting for me to play/lead/inhabit.
So, if I have to meditate to a drum that “mimics an alpha state” for 20 minutes, tack the Sh’ma AND a cross
to my wall, or pull a card from a deck to help me feel like I have support and
protection as I try, so very falteringly, to enter this wide scary world, so be
it. 

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