“THE FIRST TIME I CALLED MYSELF A 'WITCH' WAS THE MOST MAGICAL MOMENT OF MY LIFE.” -MARGOT ADLER
The first Salem witch hanging was on June 10, 1692, before the United States was a country. Back then people (mostly women, though some men too) were accused of being a witch based on their behaviors or interests, but now I believe being a witch is proudly self-proclaimed.
It is baffling to me that hundreds of years later, the word "witch" is often still associated with images of an old woman with warts and a large nose who’s into evil or scaring children. In the Wizard of Oz or other mythology, the witch was either good or bad but never both. These images and stereotypes are outdated and already in the midst of a makeover (think more like the TV show "Bewitched"). To me, she is a modern-day feminist icon of being fierce, independent, and powerful whose identity doesn't depend upon the traditional roles of being a woman such as having a family or orienting to a partner.
The new version of the witch is much different in her intentions and powers than the portrayals of the past. She (though could be a he) works for the light and the dark and oscillates between being a loving mother and a wild lover. She has the beauty/power of the seductress and the brains/wisdom of the crone and knows when to use which. She is both the Earthy warrior goddess and the mysterious cosmic communicator. Often she likes astrology,
herbalism/plant medicine, animal communication, sacred sex--things that connect her to the Earth and sensual desire. She uses ceremony and ritual for uniting the sacredness between matter and spirit.
A witch is a wise and wild woman who is awake and aware of her soul, body and darkness. She knows the deepest parts of herself and knows her strength comes from this depth of knowing. Transformation is her playground as she loves her ever-changing, wild and chaotic nature. Throughout different cultures she has many names as the dark goddess: Kali, Lilith, Ceridwen or Psyche. However, witch seems to sum her up best. Most simply a witch is a wise woman who understands her dual nature of being both above and below, a bridge between Earth and aether.
Psst...Here is a post I wrote for Elephant Journal called "Pay Attention to the Omens: 10 Signs You Might be a Witch."