Something is Happening to my Witchcraft
The place I live now has a history of burning. People who were not here during the fire wake anyway, at night, to the ghostly smell of flames. These are not the memories of those who live here. They are the memories of the house itself.
The city where I live now has a sentience even the most closed-minded sense, and mislabel as “atmosphere”. Each house – themselves the colors of faded cemetery bouquets – might as well have a bronze plaque instead of a door, limning out the long list of those who have lived there. Whose memories haunt the floors where they walked as surely as bones haunt the crypts where they crumble.
Something is happening to my witchcraft, in this place where everything is alive. Not that everything hasn’t always been alive, but this is the place where I am finally coming to know it. And something is happening to my witchcraft. The names and forms are dropping away as, more and more, I don’t reach out and up to pull and shape energy. As, more and more, I reach down and in.
I don’t call the gods of other cultures and times, words for forces in a language that is not mine. Less and less do these forces need faces, for me. More and more it is the forces themselves I call, gradations of the great twins, Creation and Destruction, mistaken for so long and by so many as being separate. And I don’t reach far to call them. They live in me and around me in micro and in macro in every moment.
All of history lives in my body. Not only the history of this body – not everything is sacrificed every seven years – but also the history of the bodies in my blood lineage. And the history of the times (and all the other bodies) that shaped them. All possible futures live in my body, regardless of how or if I choose to actualize them. My body has been host to cells that could become new beings, and sparks that could become new ideas, and it has only ever been beings and ideas that shape the future – the concept of ‘future’ itself being an idea of beings after all. There are no ancestors or descendants who are not always and already here, inside me. I need only reach in to call them.
The more I eat, from this land, the more my body becomes of this land. Built by the nutrients in this soil, growing out of it in molecular kinship to the trees and herbs that grow alongside me. There are no spirits of place that are not growing, too, inside me. I need only reach in to call them.
Similarly, a grimoire lives inside me, in the confluence of training and intuition that I have unskillfully walled off from “life” under the label of “aesthetic”. As though reaction to expression is not communication. As though expression itself is not magic(k). These words are a spell, as are fingers flashing shapes with string, as are smears of colored powder in dirt, as is the forlorn, found pebble nestled purposefully in the eye socket of a bird’s skull. There is no willed change I cannot translate, through the tools of expression that are mine, flavored by need or want, anger or practicality. What is magic(k) but the reaction of all that is to an intentional expression of desire?
My work looks less and less like witchcraft, every day, and feels more and more like the work of a witch – one who is wise in the ways and uses of what is local and natural. Which has never not included the natural locality of the whole self – flesh and mind and spirit.
Earth-based religion, based on the earth where I stand. Body-positive morality, rooted in the body I inhabit. Ecstatic praxis (Greek ek – out, histanai – place, existanai – to displace, drive out of one’s mind, ekstatis – entrancement, astonishment) welling up from the very place I find myself, from trust in the astonishment of my own mind.
Something is happening to my witchcraft. It is collapsing and expanding into the simplest, most pervasive current in my life.
May your witchcraft – whatever that means to you – do the same.
This post was written by Laurie Dietrich