by Amy Marienblaume | Instagram
Anyone actively involved in the witch community right now will tell you one thing: THE WITCHES ARE WAKING. And we are standing up to be counted in exponential numbers. We are finding our voice, a place in the community, and reclaiming our power. A long-time witch and seer with whom I’ve started building a connection saw this coming years ago, and she was right. A census conducted in the United States in 2009 found that in nearly two decades, the amount of people identifying as Wiccan, Pagan, or Spiritualist had grown by over 13,700 percent (note that I’ve added the three categories together as I, personally, don’t believe that Wiccan and Pagan are broad enough categories to capture witches who identify as neither). Factor in another 10-plus years, add in countries world-wide to that number, and, well, we are definitely making ourselves known.
So, What Kind of Witch am I?
The experience of claiming my power was exhilarating. And then it was overwhelming. I bought the books, but figuring out how to put it all into practice was daunting, to say the least. As I wrote in Chapter 2, I built a daily practice for myself starting with what I already knew how to do. In getting to know myself as a witch, I envied those who immediately know what aspects of the craft they are called to. I felt like I needed to give myself a label and clarify what kind of witch I am in order to feel authentic. Was I an elemental witch? A water witch? Hedge witch, Wiccan, Pagan, Druid, Celtic witch, traditional witch, kitchen witch, green witch? And on, and on. Do I want to practice as part of a coven, or am I solitary? Or is a mix of both the right thing for me? There were far more questions than I had answers for. As a water sun, moon, and rising sign, I have felt both strongly pulled to, and respectful of the power of water my entire life, but the label didn’t mesh with me. I enjoy working with the other elements and invoking their energies, but elemental witch didn’t feel right either. My mother taught me how to bring some magic into the kitchen, but I know that I am not a kitchen witch. Finally, in knowing what I was not, I had my answer. Like many of you, I do not practice only one kind of witchcraft, so I chose to identify as an eclectic witch, and with that I finally felt authentic. For me, an eclectic witch is someone who is a little bit of everything all at the same time. Which, ironically, is very much the opposite of how I traditionally live my neatly organized and typically well-defined existence.
WitchSwap package, photographed by Amy Marienblaume
Finding Community in the Middle of a Global Pandemic
I seem to have a knack for doing everything the hard way in life, so naturally I decided to get serious about my craft just as the first cases of the COVID-19 pandemic were appearing in North America. As I write, Ontario’s state of emergency has been extended again and we are reporting between 250 to 400 new cases a day. Gatherings of more than 5 people are still prohibited. As a person who likes to build relationships and who thrives on connection, I wondered how I was now supposed to find other witches. I am grateful to live in a (relatively) open-minded and forward-thinking city, but most of us don’t exactly have a flashing sign that screams “witch” on the rooftops of our homes. Unless you are a truly solitary witch who wants to practice completely alone without any sort of outside guidance or influence, you are probably going to want to find your people.
In my search for community, I was fortunate to already know Meg Rosenbriar through another online group. After connecting with her, I began to find and follow other witches with whom I wanted to engage. On Instagram, I happened upon Witch Swap and I recently participated in my first exchanges – a letter swap and a package swap. Universally, I’m quite certain that everyone loves getting personalized mail, and receiving witchy mail is even better! Sharing a ritual I crafted in a letter, and curating a package of goodies for another (relatively) new witch was such a fun experience! The package I received from the partner that Witch Swap hilariously titled my “Altar ego,” had many homemade things lovingly crafted with so much energy and intention, along with a few locally sourced items. I was truly touched by the effort that went into it.
As amazing and eye-opening as those experiences were, I wanted to find local community too. To date, I have not immersed myself into Reddit culture, and meetup is not something widely used in my neck of the woods. I took to searching Facebook for local groups by using the name of my city and witches/pagans, etc. I found and joined two fairly active groups where I live, although all of our activity is Zoom-based right now. When I was still very much in my initial researching stage of discovering witchcraft mind you, (I don’t think I’ll ever be done researching and learning my craft), I found several independent metaphysical stores close by that I previously had no idea even existed (including my favourite one within a few minutes drive of where I work – it has a pickup window which is a wonderful and financially dangerous thing!). As I have happily discovered, metaphysical stores often have events, meetups, and moon rituals where you can practice together and meet other witches. I am very much looking forward to the day that it is safe to attend an event at the store owned by the seer witch I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Opening My Eyes
When Maia Toll wrote “when I started saying ‘witch,’ women started whispering back ‘me too,’” she was so very right. As I’ve built my community, I’ve discovered people in my personal and professional circles who are also witches. I’ve met some truly lovely and amazing people who have helped open my eyes to different parts of the craft to which I was not originally drawn, but that I have found hold great power and meaning for me. When I’ve felt stuck while crafting a ritual or spell, or needed some reassurance as I selected herbs or crystals for my work, I’ve reached out to some of the witches that inspire me. It felt very vulnerable to put myself out there at first, but I’ve received so much loving and supportive energy in return. For this, I am immensely thankful. So to you, new witch, I offer this; find your community, find the people who will open your eyes, who will inspire you, and who will lift you up. And then pay it forward. We all succeed as a community when a new witch flourishes. Blessed be.
About the Author: Amy is a newly re-awakened witch living in South-Western Ontario. As a Scorpio sun, Pisces moon, and Scorpio rising, she can be found reading and recharging in the bath when she’s not chasing after her almost-five-year-old Leo son she is raising with her Sagittarius husband. Professionally, as a Human Resources Business Partner, Amy brings her magic into the office by guiding the rest of the team to build self-awareness, compassion, and empathy with the goal of creating a more harmonious and enchanted workplace. You can find her on Instagram at @thewakenedwitch, where she shares her journey into owning the identity of Witch.