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I WANT TO RAISE YOUR DAUGHTERS TO BE WITCHES: A Red Tent Vow and Manifesto

by Ilyssa Silfen

I want to raise your daughters to be witches.

I will have no children of my own, for I will be too busy teaching yours the ways of the wild.

When you tell them their blood is dirty and their first experience of their blood is filled with despair and shame, I will welcome them into the Red Tent.

I will wipe their tears, offer them tea and chocolate, and I will tell them the truth that you desperately wanted to hide from them— I will tell them of the cycle of the moon and how She will cause their blood and their energy to ebb and flow.

I will tell them that they are powerful when they bleed, and their fathers are afraid of them.

I will tell them that their blood is magick, and they will believe this down to their very bones, and your lies will never hurt them again.

When you shame and punish your daughters for developing a woman’s body, when you demand that your daughters apologize every day of their lives for being born women, I will dance deep in the forest under the heavy, star drenched summer night sky and howl unapologetically to the full moon.

With that howl, I will beckon your daughters to come dance with me—to revel in their bodies and honor their birthright of power with every in and outbreath—and they will drink in the elixir of lunar light and the sweet sound of the howling wolf and, like moths to a flame, they will find their way to the forest.

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When you demand that your daughters be demure, silent, and polite, I will tell them stories of wild, misbehaving women who bucked tradition—of scientists, doctors, writers, dancers, artists, lovers, fighters, activists—who changed the course of history and the world itself by screaming, protesting, writing, experimenting, dancing, loving, birthing, crying, and witching it into existence.

I will tell them stories of Witches and Goddesses who demanded respect from men and punished those who failed to give it, and I will tell them that they, too, carry that power within their very selves.

I will teach them how to use it, and I will teach them how to use your fear of them against you.

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I will tear your patriarchal façade to shreds.

I will pack a bag of crystals, herbs, and oils and I will find each of your daughters and tell them all every last detail you wanted kept hidden, and I will tell them all about how you wanted to hide their power from them.

When they have learned the truth, that they are powerful beyond all measure and you wanted to steal that from them, your daughters will turn on you.

I will raise your daughters to be witches, and when they take your torches from your hands and burn you and your institutions at the very stakes you would have happily burned them on, you will have no one to blame but yourselves.

About the Author:

Ilyssa Silfen is an openly Pagan administrative assistant at the College of Staten Island. She earned her Master’s degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center in October 2014.  She enjoys spending her free time ranting on her blog “WTF – What the Feminist”.

 

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