by Valerie Love
I come from a long line of witches, a fact that had been hidden from my conscious awareness until remembrance and acceptance of being a witch flowered into full bloom for me.
Reflecting on my witchy path, and especially my lineage, with questions like ‘where did this start? The wand points to mothers of my mother and father.
Now if you ask them, they definitely would have told you they were not Witches, having not fully emerged the broom closet, yet I’ve found startling evidence that my mother and grandmothers were all witches…
Here’s 10 telltale signs:
Grandma had a potion for everything (as a first response, sickness was met with a potion, not a visit to the doctor, unless things got really bad). Grandma’s potions stank to high heaven, tasted like death and absolutely worked wonders. Some of her fave potion elements:
- Castor Oil (so revered for its healing properties that in some cultures it is literally called ‘Palma Christi’ or ‘palm of Christ’)
- Cinnamon (nuff said)
- Tinctures in glass bottles with cork tops (I have no idea what that stuff was)
- Greens (her fave being pot liquor, the liquid left in the pot after making collard greens)
- Golden Seal (and a whole rash of other herbs she adored)
- Wheat germ (sprinkled atop every bowl of hot cereal)
- Father John’s Tonic (the old one featuring cod liver oil, not the new fangled edition)
- Something she pulled out the back yard
Grandma’s house was chock full of spirits… old ones, friendly ones, and at least one nefarious spirit that I saw every so often, clothed completely in black with a black hat.
With all the spirits in grandma’s house, none seemed to concern her one way or the other, almost like the character in the movie Beloved who was accustomed to the spirit of her dead daughter haunting the place.
In the movie, when Danny Glover’s character attempts to cross the threshold, the spirit violently rumbles the house. He backs away from the doorstep in shock asking, “girl what kinda evil you got in there?” Oprah’s character replies nonchalantly: “it ain’t evil, only sad.”
That was grandma’s house. Full of spirits who weren’t evil; they were just being who they were.
There was little that could rattle or shake my grandmother, which came to me in a meditation as a natural outcome of knowing your power.
An infamous story in our family is when my grandfather got drunk (a usual experience for him) and near about lost his mind, evidenced by storming into the kitchen, where my grandmother sat, threatening to do her bodily harm.
Grandma didn’t bat an eye.
I wondered about that story for a long while.
Why would a tiny woman like my grandmother (no taller than 4’ 9”) not move out of harm’s way? My grandfather charged her like a raging bull, and she just sat there, staring at him.
All of a sudden, as the story goes, 2 of my uncles leapt in front of my grandfather and tackled him with a stern warning: “if you ever try to touch our mother, you will die.”
Grandma on the other hand, never moved a muscle, as if she had the power of the whole universe at her command.
After the whole incident, she took the next long drag on her cigarette.
Witches have distinctive hair, I’ve noticed, or hair that doesn’t always do what it’s told or expected to do, or a strand that jumps out at will, or some other sign of willful hair.
My grandmothers NEVER let anyone get ahold of their hair. They cleaned their hairbrushes by pulling out every strand then flushing it all down the toilet. They cautioned us to ‘never let anyone get your hair.’
Both my mother and grandmother were diagnosed with cancer in their later years. Both refused chemo or radiation or the knife. Instead, they turned to what they always knew and lived by, natural healing remedies.
When they left the planet after a good long life, they each went out with a full head of wild gorgeous silver hair.
I read once that Witches don’t age like other people. My grandmothers and mother lived long lives as ageless beauties.
It was hard to tell their age, and when they did let on, people were shocked.
They clearly lived in a time warp, though I’m not completely sure how much they bent it to their will, or if they consciously knew what they were doing. Even so, they were tinkering with time, and I find myself warping it similarly.
My mother and grandmother were enthralled with the color purple, obsessed even.
My mother bought a purple sofa and did the entire living room in purple. The family was outdone. No one ‘got’ my mother’s purple obsession, including me, until…
I discovered purple is a royal color for Witches. It breathes magick, lore, royalty, dignity.
Being the highest vibration color, there are some who only write with purple ink.
In some locales a purple front door is a deliberate sign a Witch lives within. I inherited the love of purple and only sign books I’ve authored with a purple sharpie.
7. Old Wive’s Tales
Like ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and ‘waste not want not’ and ‘eat too much before bed and you’ll invite nightmares’ and ‘eat too much before swimming and you’ll cramp up and drown’ and, and, and…
The wit and wisdom of my grandmothers was not altogether understandable when I was growing up. Sometimes it was downright enigmatic.
Now, their wit and wisdom serves me daily and rings true in more ways than I can shake the proverbial broomstick at.
8. Birthing & Baby Rituals
My paternal grandmother did curious things to babies born in the family, from taping a copper coin over the navel (if it was an ‘outie’ to make it go in), to walking the perimeter of the house with the newest baby swaddled while whispering something in its ear.
We never knew what grandma was saying to the babies, but she took every baby on a ‘walk.’
When we inquired about her ritual, she always answered with a curt “never you mind” (grandmaspeak for ‘mind your damn business’).
An old piece of mother wit in our family is that mothers who just gave birth had to refrain from going out, bathing in a tub or washing their hair for 30 days.
The miracle of birth elicits mystery, which could explain the connection between midwives and witches. Perhaps they are one and the same in many villages.
A dream about fish means someone’s pregnant.
Heartburn means a pregnant woman’s baby has a head full of hair.
If a baby was born ‘under a caul’ it was a sure sign a special being had just entered the planet.
Being born under the caul was such a rare and strange event that word spread fast til everyone knew.
There was an awe/fear/mystery that swirled about people who were born under the caul. No one dared cross them.
My grandmother and mother could predict anything from the weather the next day (by how they felt in their bones) to what a man or woman was going to do in a relationship (my mother read my entire husband’s next moves years before he made them, with startling accuracy).
They were so psychic that when they spoke in that tone we would say ”‘uh oh, the curse of the catwoman strikes again.” It’s a running joke in our family; a joke that hides the deeper meaning that if they said it, it was as good as done.
My grandmothers have, and demonstrated for me, a visceral connection to nature.
One of our family’s matriarchs goes wandering in the woods behind the house and comes back telling us everything that’s back there (I don’t know how she knows all those roots and bushes, but she does).
She fetches wild berries from the woods and makes delicious pies of them (they’re uncommonly good, such that the kids can’t help devouring them). I definitely get the vibe from them that they’d rather be hanging out with the trees.
Their connection to nature and the nature spirits, along with a deep and abiding awareness and knowledge of what it’s for, speaks to the heart and essence of being a witch.
I am honored to be descended from these witchy wonders.
I’m curious, what rituals did your witchy grandmothers observe…
About the Author:
Rev. Valerie Love is a practicing Christian Witch who’s on a soul mission to dispel fear and ignorance around the integration of the Craft and Christ. She has a collection of wiitch hats named after witches she loves (here seen wearing Hermione Granger). Her YouTube is devoted to magick, money & metaphysics and she serves a tribe of thousands of Christian Witches on Facebook. Visit the website at www.ChristianWitches.com
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