What is a Witch? How do You Know You are a Witch?

Many people question what it means to be a witch, so it is important for me to define what a witch is from my own perspective, for none have been so maligned or misunderstood as we.A witch has historically been defined as a person who gains psychic powers through the medium of a contract with the Devil. These powers are used for evil, to blight crops, turn healthy people ill, kill children, and various other horrors. But this is old propaganda spun in the time when the Catholic Church sought to consolidate its power among the ruling classes thus routing out the Rites of Sacred Kingship, Rites of Misrule, Alchemy, etc.
During the Reformation, when the Catholic and Protestant Churches waged war with each other for the souls of the populace, the propaganda mills worked overtime, whipping up a frenzy of prejudice in attempts to grab converts in outlying areas. Ordinary peasants practicing fertility rites, midwives, healers, and practitioners of Pagan celebrations were forced to adhere to the dogmas of the churches that moved into their villages and took over their civic life. The literate, city educated clergy had powerful manipulative weapons at their disposal, among them the ability to turn people against each other, demonizing the old ways, and  sowing confusion and distrust. For if a person has the power to heal, might they not also have the power to kill? And if a person can make the crops thrive, can he not also blight them? One who consorts with Faeries suffers from delusions, for are they not really demons, thrown out of heaven in the War of the Angels?

We know better.
As a witch, (and it has taken most of my life to ‘come out’ as one), I am in deep empathy with life. Strong empathy grants conscience. It is difficult to inflict pain when you feel it yourself. Also, ties with nature, attunement to the lunar influences, the ability to converse with trees and animals, can only happen when the heart is open and the heart is the organ of love.

Not only did I almost die at birth, and thus have always been betwixt and between the worlds of the living and the dead, but was born with a caul, or Veil. The caul  is rare and it grants certain abilities, among them psychic visionary and healing powers, shape shifting, the ability to see the unseen…I leave my body in Spirit Flight, and enter the Faery Realm at will.

I  grew up in the woods in Leicester, Massachusetts in a place called Peter Salem Village. Prior to the building of our 1960′s ‘housing development’, this had been farmland originally owned by Peter Salem, a free black man who had fought in the Revolutionary War. The woods in Leicester were, and still are, magical. By that I mean there is an enchanted quality in the land that I have not found elsewhere. For example, when the sun was low in the sky shining through the tiger lilies and irises that bordered the stream in a grassy clearing, the spirits in the light, and in the land were highly visible. I wasn’t alone in seeing them. They informed our play. There were lots of children in the village, and most of us ‘saw’ them. Sometimes the colors in the land were so bright and pure, it was as if the world was washed in a kind of divinity.
There was a special time I never shall forget. It was winter and I was alone walking in the woods along the top of an old stone wall that had been built when that land was clear pasture. I came to a sunken area among the trees and ‘saw’ a circle of white robed figures. When they became aware I was seeing them, they vanished with the snowfall.
At that point, I knew had seen something more than usual…
Maybe it wasn’t really the woods being enchanted, but the steady diet of fairy tales we were all raised on. Children didn’t have rationalism imposed on them in those days. Our minds and imaginations were free. And fairy tales have the uncanny ability to wake up the deep mind.
Fairy tales taught me compassion for wild tings. We used to catch frogs and toads all summer long. Because of stories like the Frog King, I became the protector of frogs and toads and prevented many from being tortured by boys, and sprung many out of jars and boxes and other prisons. Witches, frogs and toads…hmm.
When I grew a bit older, I wanted to be artist. This desire was fueled by the need I had to make my increasingly fascinating inner visions tangible, and visible for others. I spent long periods of time alone in certain ‘power spots’ where I would get telepathic impression from the trees. I was deeply moved by certain configurations in the landscape, for instance the tall arbor vitae the circled the resevoir, a rush of green grass up slope between young spruces, and the moon shining over all.  The land ‘spoke’ to me and my drawings spoke of ghosts, spirits, ladies in long windblown cloaks under oak trees, wise old men coming up from under the earth, wolves surrounding a witch in her circle of candles…
I must retrieve those old drawings of mine and post them in here….

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9 thoughts on “What is a Witch? How do You Know You are a Witch?

  1. Chandley
    (mossbuds@yahoo.com)

    Sat, 27 Dec 2008 15:41:58

    Arlene, I love this latest entry to your blog.
    I believe the woods there actually are enchanted, because,
    separately , during the same years just north in Southern Vt
    I experienced many of the same things you did – without the
    visual clairvoyant images. Except for tree spirits – I did see those.
    And I knew I was never alone in those woods. I could feel it.
    I have never been in woods other than that area, where it felt like that.
    Im sure there are other spots, but I have not found any in the NW
    so far.
    So why are we living here ? !
    I have to say, to me, the feeling is not as strong anymore, there,
    but its still there , and that could be due to my being an adult, and not
    nurturing that connection as much as I should.
    Great job,
    C

  2. (13dancers@gmail.com)

    Sun, 11 Jan 2009 10:05:06

    Thank you Chandley. Though, you know I have always had my suspicions about you! If you any topic suggestions let me know. Since we are on the same wavelength….

  3. Helen Landalf
    (hlandalf@msn.com)

    Sat, 10 Jan 2009 10:23:32

    This is a beautiful site! Just being here feels like journeying to a sacred place where I can connect with parts of myself that are usually hidden.

  4. Arlene deWinter
    (13dancers@gmail.com)

    Sun, 11 Jan 2009 10:07:31

    Thank you Helen, What a beautiful comment. You had exactly the response I was hoping for. I think creative people share many of the same deep feelings and rarely get to connect at that level.

  5. Daria
    (dakia@optonline.net)

    Thu, 22 Jan 2009 07:22:59

    Your site is unbelieveable! I’m a friend of Ms. Katy Hapgood’s, and she’s had the most wonderful things to say about you! I look forward to reading your work, and perhaps (one day) getting a reading! :)

  6. Arlene deWinter
    (13dancers@gmail.com)

    Thu, 22 Jan 2009 09:10:08

    Thank you Daria. I have heard a lot about you too. I would be happy to do a reading. Katy told me you wanted one. I can call UK free on a land line.
    Thanks for visiting.
    [

  7. I am enjoying reading your work Arlene. It has done my much good to read things that were written by someone with a well rounded/knowledgeable scope on such topics.

    Quite interesting your story of the woods and the White Robed figures, quite entrancing as well. As I read is, I yearned for it myself; to see it, experience it, understand it.

    I recently moved out of my old friends house where we had been in the woods a long time. He told me recently that ever since I left, the woods began to feel odd and unwelcoming to him.

    I have many feelings/seeings that I can recall from that place, I miss it.. How I love the woods, the land. Anyways, excellent post.

    Thank you so much for appearing in my life at this time.
    A time where learning for me is a must.

    ~Rig

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