by Joanne Becker
So you’re a new bad witch. The sequins are still drying on your satin romper as you contemplate your most recent persecution-cum-social ostracism.
Before the hunting and burning, you were fine, though a bit tight-lipped—basic. You were ensconced in your Gerbera-decorated, small but safe world. Your social circle: stifling, but passable. Your magic: suppressed at will.
But now you have been irreversibly outed.
You have been actively shunned, gossiped about, and widely-rumored to be a dangerous, not-to-be-trusted slut.
If it’s your first persecution, you may find yourself in shock and despair. Everyone’s upset and it’s your fault. You feel guilty and to blame. At the very same time, you play the victim: why me? you ask as you hide from former ‘friends’ in your neighborhood coffeeshop.
Never fear, dear witch! Here’s the secret no one has told you: this is your initiation, and you asked for it.
Witchhunts continue to be so common around the world that they’re considered by anthropologists culturally universal.
They’re a downright rite of passage. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of witches (mostly women) have been persecuted since the dawn of the patriarchy.
You yourself probably have memories of being guillotined or hung in previous incarnations, so consider yourself lucky this time around: witchhunts are still legal and fatal in many parts of the world.
Magic, practiced by those of any gender, but especially practiced by feminine witches, is a serious threat to the rigid Muggle order of Right vs. Wrong, Good vs. Evil, Us vs. Them, Indoors vs. Outdoors.
Ironically, in this day and age, basic witches are often the ones doing the persecuting.
You see, the only difference between a basic witch and a bad witch is that the latter refuses to victimize herself.
A basic witch has not yet claimed herself in all her terrible fullness: all of her desires, fears, emotions, power.
This leads her to gossip, slander, and put others down to feel better about herself. She may attract ‘friends’ whom she judges internally and talks about behind closed doors. She has habits like: qi-vampiring, passive-aggression, chaos-addiction, scarcity-mindset.
She may think of herself as bad, but she’s fixated on being good and respectable, because she has not yet learned to validate herself.
Threatened and afraid that she is not good enough, she will unconsciously create situations where she can come out looking good, nice, right. She plays the victim—and in doing so, gives her power away.
I say this without judgment.
Every bad witch was basic once, myself included. A bad witch is defined by her rare, delicious self-authority. And she’s only learned this self-love after being hated for it. She has learned to seek inside for acceptance.
She knows she is worthy of love simply because she is alive, not by virtue of anything she “does.” She is utterly shameless. She is no longer thirsty.
Basic witches see this self-satisfaction and want it desperately for themselves. But they deny themselves the power (and responsibility), and seek it externally by slamming others instead.
They haven’t realized that we reject in others what we reject in ourselves. These parts of ourselves are begging for appreciation.
This witchhunt is your initiation from basic to bad—because you wanted to accept the parts of yourself you’d been shaming: irresponsible, slutty, loose, magic, loud, fragile, outspoken, powerful, too-much. You wanted to recognize just how sexy you are in your fullness.
And now you want to take responsibility for your desires so that you don’t manifest this ferocious of a persecution again. Here are three steps to thriving during your witchhunt with grace and gratitude:
1. Accept your choices.
The truth is, witches get exactly what they want. If you’re being hunted, a very still and secret part of you was sick of playing with basic witches, social niceties, pretending to like people and caring whether or not they approved of you.
This part of you knew that you would not be aligned with your uniquely magical destiny until you had let go of being catty and playing it safe. That you would not really be living until you were fully yourself. That you had to risk purity, and you had to go alone. This part of you does whatever it takes to wake you up. In the words of Herman Hesse,
“You can’t be a vagabond and an artist and still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man…You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea.
Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain…Say yes to everything, shirk nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are not a Greek. You are not harmonious, or the master of yourself.
You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you! How much have you lied! A thousand times, even in your poems and books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man.
In the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched.”
It also knew that you had a role to play, however bad, in liberating those around you. (…kind of an intense version of the Ram Dass line, “we’re all just walking each other home.”)
2. Allow the freedom.
You desired freedom, and freedom you received. In the wreckage, allow yourself to feel the sheer liberation of not being responsible for anyone else’s feelings. No matter how you live your life, there will be casualties. Choose instead to take it as confirmation that when a certain sort of person dislikes you, it’s proof you’re on the right path.
Deeply forgive yourself for creating the whole messy drama and deeply forgive those you view as your enemies. You will even have to forgive God/the Universe/The Divine Cosmic Lemonade–however you relate to it.
Metta cultivation is extremely useful in this time: it can be easy to forget that what you deeply desire, at a soul level, is for the entire world (including your persecutors) to be blissfully happy. Imagine with vivid and specific scenarios, yourself, then a friend, then a neutral person, and then your ‘enemy’ giddily and deliriously happy.
Burning away any energetic attachment cords with fiery love is also useful (and much less traumatic than cutting them), as is our trusted old friend, the fear inventory. You can also call on the Archangels to clear your energy.
3. Revel in your erotic power.
It’s hot to be hunted.
What a bad idea. But it’s what you wanted, isn’t it? What are your fantasies? Do you dream of being chased, pinned-down, commanded? Do you dream of being that irresistible? Or do you dream of commanding others—with your bold moves, strong qi, direct language?
Consensual power-play is super taboo in our culture (because nonconsensual power-play is how the Muggle world aka the white heterosexual capitalist patriarchy keeps us from our own power).
So accept that you, you mega-manifester, achingly desired to be desired. You created this situation because you wanted to feel just how hot the parts of you you’ve rejected are, and just how hot it is to acknowledge your desires.
Feel how hot it is to be seen, even at your ‘worst.’
As hard as it is to accept, those who persecute you also want to see you happy at a soul level—they hate seeing you pretend. They want to see you come out of hiding. So thank them for triggering your growth.
Allow yourself to feel flattered. After all, you are the next gold-dripping initiate in a long line of high priestesses, wild women, and sacred sluts.
Revel in the freedom you gave yourself, as only you can: the sweet relief that finally, you no longer have to hide.
If this essay resonates with you, please join our WITCH email list by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.
About the Author:
Jo Becker was named for the stars. She’s here for the Venus Revelution, deeply desiring a planet humming with juicy inspiration, radical acceptance, pleasure, laughter, synchronicity, & art. She’s an instructor of kundalini yoga (the original bad witch tantra practice), reiki master, amateur astrologer, occasional actor, 12th house poet, & enthusiast of all things green n’ granola. She offers Now Age psychic readings & distance reiki healing—connect with her on Facebook.
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