Good day all! Below is a delightful post submitted by one of our bloggers, TY. It’s a great read!
The Year of the Witch
Early last year, with all of the 2012 Mayan Calendar End-of-Days hubbub reaching fever pitch, I thought it best to figure out something to look forward to; after all, the apocalypse can be such a drag, darling. Yes, the world is supposed to end, but what next then? Surely there had to be a light at the end of the voidant tunnel. So several months ago, I proclaimed to my friends and readers that 2013 would be the Year of the Witch — a statement made with equal parts sincerity and salt.
The numerological symbolism was obvious of course: 13 moons in a year, 13 fertility cycles, 13 witches in a coven. It’s a number considered unlucky and unlovely for so long, we’ve seemed to have forgotten why, while still obliterating it from our tallest buildings. And so it’s a number inherently bound up in feminine magic, and thus represents a deification of something persecuted; a profanity resacralized, unsullied and crowned.
The archetype of the witch is long overdue for celebration. Daughters, mothers, queens, virgins, wives, et al. derive meaning from their relation to another person. Witches, on the other hand, have power on their own terms. They have agency. They create. They praise. They commune with nature/ Spirit/God/dess/Choose-your-own-semantics, freely, and free of any mediator. But most importantly: they make things happen. The best definition of magic I’ve been able to come up with is “symbolic action with intent” — “action” being the operative word. Witches are midwives to metamorphosis. They are magical women, and they, quite literally, change the world.
Amazingly, though not surprisingly, as soon as I named 2013 the Year of the Witch, I began to see synchronicities and sympathetic signs all around me. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the 50th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique, two of the past century’s most quake-making reclamations of female power. Obama’s inaugural civil rights incantation of “Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall” (“…and Salem,” a friend of mine half-joked), began with the name of one of the most pivotal women’s rights gatherings in history. This year, four women were sworn into all of the “Live Free or Die” state’s top government seats. And Hillary Clinton, arguably the most powerful woman in American history, ended her tenure as Secretary of State earlier this year with the following words:
“If women and girls everywhere were treated as equal to men in rights, dignity, and opportunity, we would see political and economic progress everywhere. So this is not only a moral issue, which, of course, it is. It is an economic issue and a security issue, and it is the unfinished business of the 21st century.”
A few weeks ago, renovations began to expand the Senate ladies room — for the 113th Congress, no less. And the online world “stood with Wendy” as Ms. Davis attempted her 13-hour filibuster, and succeeded in delaying a vote that would have near-obliterated Texan women’s sovereignty over their own bodies.
In the first half of the year, we’ve seen an unprecedented occurrence of powerful women emanating through our screens. The 70th annual Golden Globes were hosted by two women for the first time; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the respective stars of their decidedly feminist TV shows, and two awards were given to Lena Dunham, the creator and star of her own appropriately enough named show, Girls. Tavi Gevinson (a real “voice of a generation”) publicly declared that she believes in magic on her ever-more popular online teen girl magazine, Rookie. The Super Bowl — the most watched television event in America — had entertainment exclusively by women (and all African American women to boot). And whether or not Beyonce’s half-time hand gesture was or was not an Illuminati sign is less interesting to me than the fact that the triangle is also the symbol of the triple goddess. Do I think that’s what she intended? Almost definitely not. Yet there it was, flashing in front of millions of eyeballs, then self-replicating endlessly in a digi-jungle of tweets and animated gifs. Symbols are tricksters. Sometimes they speak in the subtlest ciphers. And sometimes, they bubble up in the collective cauldron via a black-leather-clad demi-goddess for all the world to see. And witch stories are being told all around us this year. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Beautiful Creatures, Oz the Great and Powerful, American Horror Story: Salem, and Witches of East End are just a few films and TV shows with 2013 releases. It’s not that we haven’t had centuries of these stories preceding us, but it seems we are witnessing a witchly tipping point.
It’s long been considered that one of the primary symbols of feminine magic is the snake. There’s Eve’s serpent of course, but also the Minoan snake goddess, Medusa, Mami Wata, and Ix Chel to name but a few. Snake magic corresponds to the holiest cycle there is: Life, death, resurrection. Like a snake each month, fertile women shed their own inner skins. Symbolic snakes — the ouroboros, caduceus, kundalini, Quetzalcoatl, the naga, the yin-yang — show up in esoteric systems around the world and symbolize the life force (Read Jeremy Narby’s The Cosmic Serpent if you want to trip out about how this all maps onto DNA). They writhe together in the balance of opposites, holding the tension of, well, everything, between their coils. Snakes channel the energies of the Great Mystery. They’re associated with the underworld, the moon, ancient wisdom. And guess what this Chinese New Year ushered in on February 10th: Yup, the Year of the Snake. The Black Water Snake, to be exact. You can bet that when I heard about this, it made my third eye bug out.
I know some of you are thinking: but what about the men? Can’t males be witches? Isn’t matriarchy just as bad as patriarchy?
Well, that’s the beauty of an archetype: it can be embodied by anyone, regardless of age, gender, looks, background. Girls are taught from the time they’re born to empathize with both male and female characters. When I was growing up, I didn’t only want to make out with David Bowie (hello, Labyrinth), I also wanted to be David Bowie. I could relate to the Holdens and Morpheuses and Bernard Mickey Wrangles as much as I could to the Phoebes and Rose Walkers and Princess Leigh-Cheris. And we’re starting to see a new generation of boys who instinctively do the same. Black and silver Easy-Bake Ovens and gender-neutral Harrod’s toys help, but so do parents who take all of their kids to watch Artemisian heroines like Merida and Katniss flinging their arrows. And there are certainly plenty of adult men who have been embracing the way of the witch. On a blatant level, I can’t help but notice that each spell crafting class I teach has more male attendees than the last. But we also have leaders like Al Gore and Nicholas Kristof and Richard Branson and Prince Charles loudly championing environmentalism and women’s rights. We have filmmakers like Joss Whedon — who recently announced his inclusion of the Scarlet Witch character in Avengers 2 — and Paul Feig who have been ardently championing female protagonists in the press of late. These men, and so many more, are helping to usher in an age of higher consciousness and female empowerment, and, though they probably wouldn’t use these words themselves, they’re positively swimming in yin.
And so, as the year progresses I predict we will all more fully channel the spirit of the witch. Honoring the earth and our bodies; shifting away from mass-market medicines and agri-business toward natural healing and whole foods; sharing our resources rather than focusing on mere accumulation of goods; collaborating and communicating more openly; helping to elevate women and girls to equality all over the world: these are all grand workings of feminine magic that we are manifesting together.
So for the rest of 2013 and beyond, I wish you more witching, more opportunities to claim your power, to slough off old skin, to ritualize your life. May your year have you feeling more attuned to the rhythms of nature, more connected to one another, and more plugged into planet and purpose. The apocalypse has happened, my friends, and it’s still happening. Our task at hand is to bring about the end of the old world, but then to create something vital and shining and new. Instead of four horses, we’re riding in on brooms.
Pamela J. Grossman is an independent curator, writer, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the creator of Phantasmaphile.com, Associate Editor of Abraxas esoteric journal, and co-founder of the Brooklyn alternative arts space, Observatory. As a frequent lecturer and guest speaker, she explores the role of magic in contemporary life. Her website is pamgrossman.com
Brawta links and Brawta videos;
Ketch Flora to baxide! Thanks TY!
Woiee Cami yu mek mi laugh yu a warn off the turkey heads nuh fi guh inna di peeprle dem store guh elbow and fight off dem one an nedder.
GUh si how Nunu belly bang yah nung, shi mussa nam Hanna an him calf. Toy how was your Thanksgiving? Unno tell mi wey unno look bout mek mi live vicariously thru unno.
Beg pawden, mawning, how unno duh?
Morning Turkey heads and gravy bellies…lol hope you are ALL feeling refresh today. Keep safe, no elbowing others in the stores (Yazzy and Kia *sideyeye*).
Happy Thanksgiving Obara, Nunu, Mth, Ty/Yw, Sa-Fo, Cami, Kia, Yazzy,Courtney,Amh, and peepers if I havr forgotten anyone forgive me. I am thankful to know all of you each and every day, not just today.
Guys while you enjoy your Thanksgiving meals mek sure unuh tan far from BILLY!!
“WEH BILLY DEH???!!!!”
billy get fu**!!! Him season n cook up from last night! Yazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzy yaz
Billy bredrin cad like yawze, lmaooooooo
Bad not cad
LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOO Obara and Kia unuh a do mi bad!! I hope you guys had a lovely day! 😀
Mi ESP fam… weh Billy deh??? LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOO. ..
lol…it wrong fi a eat one meat did had a name!, dwln
Happy thanksgiving Maniac, Lady T, Donna, Shawnyrob, New Name, 19, Nile and allllllll our sweeties here!! I’m so very thankful our paths have crossed!
Yaz, Mumma yu de yah by yu self lolol Hugs to you and if you celbrate then enjoy.
Me a taw out me roast breadfruit slices fi go fry up with ripe plantine, eat with chicken back and ackee from last night. I don’t have to deal with no cooking today…amen. Me a do Yard wid babes fi Christmas and New Years so me get away with all the holiday cooking fi 2014 YEAH.
Lawd gash Cami, ya gwaan bad wid di real deal dishes man. Beg yuh a finga a fried ripe plantain deh nuh and mi wi tek some a di fried plantain as well!
I’m not celebrating but thanks mami. I had my vegan meal and kept it very simple. My belly get partial! Lolololol. .
Do road xmas and new years wid yuh Beau yes! I love when couples are in love…. bless unuh!
Mi deh ere chica… big hugs and enjoy ya night.
Same here. Including Lalibella and his cuties.
Happy Thanksgiving to Cgoh & his wifey AMH! I’m so very thankful for you guys. ..
Happy Thanksgiving Sago sweetie! I’m so very thankful for you and for you convincing words of love and wisdom to return Obara to her rightful place ….
Happy Thanksgiving sweetie Toy! I’m so very thankful for you…
Happy Thanksgiving my sis Nunu boooo! I’m so very thankful for you…
Happy thanksgiving fam
Happy Thanksgiving Court! I’m so thankful for you chica!
Happy Thanksgivings! i give thanks for yu all♥
Happy Thanksgiving Kia Boooooooo! I’m so very thankful for you chica!
Yawwww!! HAPPY DAY FOR GIVING THANKS!! Thanks for dis great site wid all di beautiful people. Thanks for Obara Meji, Cami, Ty, Nunu, Mth, Toy, Kia B, and hall di rest of people weh I do not figat. Big up an have a great day. Yw out, Peaaccceeeeee!!!
Happy thanksgiving one and all, may oonuh nyamings be very good!
Happy Thanksgiving sweet Obara Meji! I’m so very thankful for you and your amazing blog and for being an intricate part of my life….
Happy Thanksgiving Yw! So thankful for you!
Good day celebrants of the American holiday and all.
Happy thanksgiving to everyone…May you always be able to feast…
Bare nyamings today and Nuff walking likkle later…
Have a wonderful day everyone…
Happy thanksgiving Darling Ty! I’m so thankful for ya…
Happy thanksgiving Cami Cam. So thankful for you chica!
On a point of correction, I do not believe that the 13th is an unlucky number, Teach had discussed it before.
Ty, mi a dey yah wid mi yeye dem peel out a look fi di ancestor story. Lol, duh mine me wid mi fast self.
Lady Sa-Fo, I hope you and yours are doing well. God bless your little heart for getting Obara to start blogging again. That is quite a feat.
Nuff respect to Mr. Chin….
Good afternoon all my family.
Today, most of you will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday and doan ova dweet..Teach, large up yuself.
Ty (and YW), Cami, Nunu, Yazzy, Bubblez, Courtney, Charles enjoy the day.
Happy Thanksgiving M! I’m so thankful for you my chica!
The article seems to focus on female empowerment. I know this site is 99.9% females so offense may be taken…but I strongly believe that such is a label that gets lost in translation and at times taken beyond the limits.
For me such a label means to enhance what was once restricted to us females…free will to now becoming an anthem for women to behave as if they are men.
May his seed bag Neva heng dung, ase!!
Same SUH Cami
“Witches are midwives to metamorphosis. They are magical women, and they, quite literally, change the world.”
I love how white people embrace dem things…as unno know me is an altar and candle junkie…today I went in a popular store and was in heaven ( mi nah mention di name unless dem pay mi fi advertise, lol) …a bare things I see for juju and no ask if di white people dem nah buy up…I stock up on patchouli, candles and other cuchiments …lol…
Obeah massive and crew, grunggggg, lolol, that we are Ty!
Ha lie, she tell yuh altar story, lake and yuh nuh shell, lol ah fast mi fads nuh mine mi
ES CREW, I HEARD FROM SA FO TODAY THROUGH EMAIL, SHE IS PEEPING BUT WILL SOON COME BACK AS SOON AS SHE clear her plate
I so glad Safo peeping…we love u sweetie…love and light to you…May the angels lighten your load and clear your path…Ase!
Ase…we in debt to Safo fi bringing O “home”.
Hi Sa-fo! Much love to you!
Evening family and crew…obeah massive large up…we run dis…lol
The old ways will always be…some transformations are made but they still exist,..our non physicals and guides help us to remember or teach us…just this morning I had an ancestor spirit tell me her story…it was wonderful…I love my DNA, my ancestors…my beautiful rich bloodline that perminates my veins….I honor them daily and those commune with me and my family…
I wish everyone a safe and blessed thanksgiving…we thank God for ALL…Ase!
ASE…the spirit guide reference brought me directly to Yazzy’s post last night.
Ase…me wish onu a nice night tomorrow…Ty drink a glass of red for me cause me ago de a work.
I will Cami…
Did you guys see the story about the NFL star that gave up his $37 milion contract to become a farmer and feed the poor?
I think it was a week ago…he’s farming sweet potato. But this guy (Chinese) has done a deed that I only dream of doing, along with the fact that I always ask WHY people with enough don’t ever do such a deed.
Respect missa chin!
Me too Cami, because when Oprah didnut, it was sponsors who paid for it!
Obara *sitting in the shade drinking hot lemonaide* …Oprah is a billionaire and Missa Chin millionaire…how funny is life.
Thank God for a man like that, he deserves everything good and more, big up Missa Chin!
This is humanitarian to infinity…I wish this man nuff blessings.
May his basket never be empty…May none of his seed beg bread….May God continue to bless him…
We love you missa Chin…
That is awesome. It just reminds you that there are still kind hearted people out there that actually want to make a difference.
Good afternoon…good article (the mention of a certain entertainer spiked my blood pressure though)
Same suh Cam, same suh!
Let me use this opportunity to wish everyone (who celebrates) a happy Thanksgiving.
MTH the number 13 is not unlucky ah lie dem ah tell
You are so right…If my memory serves me correctly it was September 13th when a certain set of men were massacred in Jerusalem so that secrets could be contained. Hence, the stories about the survivors known as Knight Templars.
Teach, as I reach the last link, the Da Vinci code book/movie popped into my head.
I know that there is either a law/rule in Jamaica that states that the dead should not be buried after 6 p.m. I do not know why. Will have to find out the reason.
Toy, I agree. Obara has been teaching us to embrace natural living/eating.
I have always wondered why 13 was unlucky. I was born on the 13th. The Rastas also use their hands to make a symbol. As we become more and more aware, we will be able to notice more of these things.
Mth don’t buy into that crap…be more in awe that the Christians are afraid of the 13 day, don’t have a 13th floor and all other fall e tee.
Mth, I was born on the 13th too…we are lucky people…in Asian cultures they pray for their children to be born on the 13th, especially girls….
Honoring the earth and our bodies; shifting away from mass-market medicines and agri-business toward natural healing and whole foods; sharing our resources rather than focusing on mere accumulation of goods; collaborating and communicating more openly; helping to elevate women and girls to equality all over the world: these are all grand workings of feminine magic that we are manifesting together. <—— this part right here. We are all doing that…. Yay. Morning Obara, Es Fam hope everyone's day is wonderul.
I wish I could understand the significance of symbols and recognize them when I see them. She mentions that the triangle stands for the triple goddess that Beyonce flashed probably unbeknownst to her of course; it’s so interesting how some things seem so random and yet they ‘re not
Right Nunu, but I do think Beyonce and her hubby are more spiritual.
Lucky number 13!
Howdy mi fambo, mi a read an den jine in di convo…
Great read Ty loved it