by Amy Marienblaume | Instagram
Hello witches! Although you won’t read this until after the sabbat, I wish you all a blessed Samhain. I hope that wherever you are in the world, you are safe and healthy.
When I first began writing this series, it was a place for me to share my journey as a new witch. If you’ve followed along with me, you know that beginning with Chapter 4, I shared my story of secondary infertility and the magick I’ve been creating in an effort to overcome the hurdles my husband and I have faced on our path to completing our family. Thus far, it has been my most powerful magickal working as my second son is growing strong in my womb after multiple losses last year (yup – it’s a boy! And as I type, he is having a dance party of 1 in my belly). Lately, my life has been centered around battling nausea, fatigue and trying to keep my head above water while I felt so terrible. With a heavy heart, I pressed pause on my practice. Finally, at nearly 22 weeks, I am beginning to feel like a human being again. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and as Samhain approaches, I’m finally feeling a familiar tug from deep inside to reawaken my inner witch and to return to this series.
I’m angry… I think.
My Little Leo is in Senior Kindergarten this year. He is attending in-person school. My husband and I both have busy full-time muggle jobs, and COVID-19, while still a big worry, is relatively controlled in our city. Working from home is not a viable long-term solution for either of us, so we made the difficult decision to send our son to in-person school. Thankfully he is thriving and (mumbling a quick protection spell under my breath) healthy. He is truly so happy to be back at school with his friends and teachers, despite the mask he wears every day.
For the last week and bit school crafts and activities have had a Halloween theme. He first began bringing home pages with bats they had glued onto paper as they identified small, medium, and large sizes. The next day it was the story of Five Little Pumpkins as they practiced printing numbers. But then it was a scary witch puppet on a popsicle stick. She had the stereotypical green skin, warts, scraggly hair, knobby knees… the works. Last night when I came home from work I was presented with the bottom half of a witch – legs coloured into one in sections in a blue, blue, purple pattern.
I’m angry because my impressionable 5-year-old is indirectly being taught (or at least impressed upon) by his teachers, whom he adores (and I genuinely like), that witches are scary, ugly creatures. This I am not ok with. But as my husband rightly pointed out, Hocus Pocus is one of my favourite movies and the Sanderson Sisters aren’t exactly portrayed as loving, community healing, witches. So how can I be angry that my son is participating in Halloween crafts with a similar portrayal of witches when I willingly watch (and admittedly love) Hocus Pocus and many of the other witch-themed movies that float around at Halloween? I’m struggling to reconcile this contradiction inside myself this year.
Yes, I’m a Witch. But I’m Still Not Ready to go Public.
As Samhain approaches, all I want is to stand on my roof and scream “I’m a witch” to anyone who will listen. But I still don’t feel safe to do that. My Instagram account that I use for posting witchy content is not something I’ve shared with family or friends, outside of my husband. My son knows about my practice, and loves to help me plant and collect herbs, pull tarot and oracle cards, bake sabbat goodies, etc., but I’ve been hesitant to use the word “witch” with him. Mainly because I fear for his own level of acceptance from his peers should he head into school and proudly proclaim that mommy is a witch. I’m not ready for him to face rejection because of who his mother is.
A very dear friend of mine has held me up and supported me during the very darkest times in my life. I’m certain that she has an inclination that I am a witch, but neither of us have actually used the word. This beautiful woman had a bracelet of crystals made for me by a Reiki healer to support intuitive development, and in hearing my story, the Reiki practitioner crafted a second bracelet of crystals to support pregnancy. I was so touched. So why can’t I actually use the word “witch” with her? After all, in my core I know she will accept me and continue to love me for who I am.
Until 2018, there were still laws in Canada that criminalized witches. Seriously. While this law didn’t criminalize the actual practice of witchcraft, it did criminalize those pretending to be witches for the purposes of defrauding others. I want to make it clear that I absolutely do not support or endorse those who take advantage of people under the guise of being a witch, psychic or medium, however this law made it a very real possibility for those who are authentically one of the above to be accused of fraudulent behaviour simply because someone who willingly paid for their services didn’t like the outcome, or because their family discovered what they had engaged in and were horrified. While I currently have no intention of monetizing my practice, it makes it that much more daunting to step out of the broom closet.
Honouring the Halloween Witch
I feel as if I’ve mostly spent this Chapter rambling and trying to sort out my internal struggles. But if you’re anything like me, getting it out is how you can make sense of it all and find your answers. I am certain that I am not the only witch who has these battles with themselves.
And so, dear witch, I will wrap up here, and leave you with these timely words from an unknown author.
Each year they parade her about, The traditional Halloween witch. Misshapen green face, stringy scraps of hair, A toothless mouth beneath her disfigured nose. Gnarled knobby fingers twisted into a claw protracting form. A bent and twisted torso that lurches about on wobbly legs.
Most think this is an abject image to be the creation of a prejudiced mind or merely a Halloween caricature, I disagree, I believe this to be how witches were really seen.
Consider that most witches were women, were abducted in the night and smuggled into dungeons or prisons under secrecy of darkness and presented by the light of day as a confessed witch.
Few, if any saw a frightened normal looking woman being dragged into a secret room filled with instruments of torture, to be questioned until she confessed to anything that was suggested to her, and to give names or say whatever would stop the questions.
Crowds saw the aberration denounced to the world as a self-proclaimed witch. As the witch was paraded through the town, en route to be burned, hanged, drowned, stoned, or disposed of in various, horrible ways, all created to free and save her soul from her depraved body.
The jeering crowds viewed the result of hours of torture. The face, bruised and broken by countless blows, bore a hue of sickly green. The once warm and loving smile gone, replaced by a grimace of broken teeth, and torn gums that leer beneath a battered disfigured nose.
The disheveled hair conceals bleeding gaps of torn scalp from whence cruel hands had torn away the lovely tresses. Broken, twisted hands clutched the wagon for support. Fractured fingers locked like cropping claws to steady her broken body.
All semblance of humanity gone. This was truly a demon, a bride of Satan, a witch.
I revere this Halloween Witch and hold her sacred. I honor her courage and listen to her warnings of the dark side of humanity.
Each year I shed tears of respect.”
I wish you all a blessed Samhain. I hope that whatever you’re doing to celebrate feeds your soul as you welcome in the darker season. 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.