by Danielle Dulsky
Enough with the still-bodied, so somber rituals.
Enough with heady theologies that surgically remove the spirit from the flesh, cleverly employing the same sharp scalpel of toxic intellect that has sliced away the red, raw soul from otherwise beauteous philosophies, that has amputated that pulsing blood-drum that enlivens a visceral and embodied spiritual quest.
Give me a lived-out-loud Craft that pinks and stiffens these aging nipples of mine. Give me bone-thumping dance, candy-striped indulgence, and belly-wobbling joy.
Give me a Craft of anguished worms-in-the-skull verses, unfiltered and unmasked desire, unsolved mysteries, promised bliss, and mighty spine-deep longing.
This Witch is through with those dry-lipped incantations that barely warm the throat when they are spoken, that descend from a distant sky like a half-hearted and feathery gift tossed down by a nonchalant god who cares little for our Pagan poetry.
Give me words so primal and potent they must have ripped their way up from hallowed and unmapped ground, planted below on a crystalline ley line by some ancient, horned Heathen and waiting for just the right moment to claw their way moonward and climb these creaking bones of mine.
Give me a from-the-guts growl spit in circle by a woman who stayed silent so long she is startled by the sound of her true voice.
Give me that maiden’s hopeful wisdom offered up by Priestess with brighter eyes radiating that infinite possibility sourced straight from a rare and unwounded youth, and give me that lone and stalwart word spoken by a hag that becomes the very short-and-sour medicine I need, a Crone’s poignant and age-born antidote to the poison of my midlife, spiritual boredom.
I want charmed words that awaken the forgotten parts of my psyche that have been asleep these last, over-grey days, and I want a lengthy and unfettered stay on that ever-enchanted edge between joy and meaning.
Find me there from now on.
If you need me, I’ll be swimming naked in the nectar of a home-brewed Craft I can lick with my fingertips.
I’ll be howl-singing the praises of flame-tending women and wild hunters who cast spells with their wicked and blasphemous tongues. I’ll be dipping my unpainted toes into the indigo glitter of intuitive shamelessness, and I’ll be showing my on-the-ass stretch-marks to the world.
I’ll be communing with the twitchy creatures in these haunted woods, and I’ll be stripping away the pomp and circumstance from my Craft layer by layer until I strike the mother-loving, elemental gold of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.
I’m spring-cleaning my Witchcraft by pruning away the dusty ceremonies that served me well in Winter but have withered away underneath this Quickening Moon.
Blessed be the she-Heathen who lives on uncultivated land, who grows weary of the parched doldrums of supposed-tos and should-bes, who craves color and vibrancy, who animates her world with the sheer power of her will, and who would rather be sure-footed in the quiet warmth of her own humble Craft than dither within the walls of the most dazzling temple.
Our robes are stained with mud, and our hymns are living songs that change every time they’re sung.
Ours has never been a wealth-backed and rigid religion of collection plates and commandments, after all.
Ours is a flesh-and-bone Craft. A nature-nourishing, blood-on-the-thighs Craft. A coming-home-to-the-wilds, church-in-the-grove Craft. A danced-hard-and-breathless Craft. A tearful-cackle, raucous and rambunctious Craft.
We weave the sharp and thorny vines of teeth-bared conviction with the fragile petals of beauty and grace, and we do it well.
We steep tinctures of social activism in the same cauldrons where we hand-brew healing magick for our kin, and we cast spells with our tongues as much as with our willow-and-gem wands.
The Witch lives on the fringes of the permissible so she might best affect change in her world, so find me there in that liminal space between the anarchist’s rebellion and the most radical art.
Blessed be those wicked words of yours, those heathen verses of ancestral sorcery tattooed on the soft, wet walls of your sparking cells.
Witchcraft has always been a religion of poetry, not theology.”
-Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (1979)
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