By Jess Cable | Instagram
From the time I was little, I found myself drawn to nature. I would make treehouses in the woods, calling out to the woodland creatures both real and imagined to come and visit. I would make potions from berries and creek water, and run barefoot through tall grass, mud, and in the rain. My favorite place – the one that I probably return to more than anywhere in my dreams – is my Mamaw and Pappy Joe’s cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. I have countless memories of wading through the river, riding quads and horses up and down the mountains. I have always felt more at home outside.
As a teen, I voraciously read “Harry Potter” and “Witch Child,” sat enthralled and watched “Practical Magic,” “Charmed,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I found myself jealous of Hermoine’s boldness, felt Mary’s Fear, and wished I could glide down from the roof with Gillian, Sally, and the aunts. I loved the honesty of Prue and vulnerability of Phoebe. The power of both Buffy and the intelligence and magic of Willow inspired me to want to be comfortable being bold and brave. My first tattoo was a modified Triquetra; my fourth was script on my wrist that reads, “It’s all magick,” and my fifth, an Ankh with the wings of Isis. I drafted my own Book of Shadows. Then, somewhere in all of the growing-up, I got lost. I felt like I had to hide my interest – so I did, and for years I was as far from a witch as ever.
Then, suddenly, nearly 15 years after that first tattoo, and almost 10 after I left behind my Book of Shadows, I found myself quite literally called out. I was sitting at a local brewery, with a new friend, when she suddenly looked at me with a knowing smile and said, “A witch knows a witch.” In an instant, my whole world clicked right back into place.
After that initial, shocking call-out, it was like a rope that had been tethered to my past love of witchery was suddenly pulled taut. Still, I’m stubborn; I tried to laugh it off, ignore it, and pretend that she hadn’t really meant what she had said. “A witch knows a witch”… what did that mean? It took me months to sort it out, but on the eve of Samhain, I knew. A witch definitely knows a witch.
What is a Witch?
The word “Witch” means so many different things to so many people (myself included), and while I feel a sense of freedom and liberation now that I have embraced it, I know that I have to be mindful of who is aware of this part of me. Its history is deep, dark, and haunted; therefore, it is not a word I use lightly, or without fully accepting the possible consequences.
Being a witch means that I am finally me: a self-proclaimed feminist, a person who believes in, encourages, and celebrates freedom for all people, a person who finds incredible value in curiosity and intuition, a person who believes that you and your unique story are important. Being a witch means that I’ve accepted the deepest and most vulnerable parts of myself, that I am working to seek out my inner wild, and trying my best to connect with myself on every level.
Being a witch also means that I believe that nature is my goddess – the planet is sacred, and I celebrate the shifting and changing of the seasons just as I acknowledge and celebrate the shifting seasons of my life.
My reclaimed title has led me to embrace the fact that I am a woman who is different, speaks her mind, doesn’t back down, and is driven by her emotions. This, coupled with the fact that I am a witch, means that I know that I will often be met by a society who judges me or thinks of me as “too much.”
The Witches’ Journey
Every witch (and person) has their own journey, but from what I’ve learned in my zig-zagging magical journey is that it really is about being a genuinely good human. It is about owning both the good and bad – putting out good energy and pulling in good energy. It’s about living a life that you’re proud of, and not casting judgement on everyone who isn’t like you.
My path both as a woman and as a witch has always been predominantly solitary. I’ve always been the girl who has just a few friends, and while I would be lying if I said that was okay, I think I’ve started to accept that the women who choose to be my friends are usually the ones I need in that season of my life. I have had the best work friends, the best mom friends, and I nowI realize that the people I need will be there when I am ready for them – and when I need them. I have gotten better at cutting out the negative energy and not being sorry for telling someone when their path isn’t the one I will be walking anymore.
This has helped me to understand that my witchy-ness is also just mine. There is no book I can read that tells me the “right” way to be a witch, just as there’s no book to tell me the “right” way to be who I am. There is no black-and-white definition of what makes me a witch.
While I am a woman, mother, daughter, wife, and witch, the last of these labels is personal, individual, and my own. What I know is this – calling myself a witch is incredibly intimate and a huge step. It takes on many forms and shows itself in many ways, just like all parts of me. I am someone who is confident, humble, and who finally trusts myself enough to acknowledge my own deep rooted magicks. I find my magick within me…not from anyone or anything else.
About the Author: Jess is a 30-something mother of two boys, teacher of middle schoolers, and reclaimed witchy woman. Jess lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her high school sweetheart and two wild moon boys, aged 5 and 2. She believes in seeking your inner wild and living a purposeful life by embracing both the chaos and magick. Jess believes strongly in the magick of words and can often be found lost in a book or telling stories. Professionally, she brings her magick into the classroom by empowering her students to take ownership and pride in their own stories and to tell them with a strong voice. You can find her on Instagram at @WildMoonMother where she shares her journey as a mother and woman seeking her inner wild.