Every year for Halloween, I am a witch. It’s the one time a year I allow myself to be public with this innate part of me. I can claim my witchy-ness without concern or fear, and have some fun with it.
No, I am not part of a coven. I’ve never been to witchcraft school. And I don’t cast spells. Yet, I feel very strongly that I am a witch.
The New York Times recently ran a feature piece on the host of the popular “Witch Wave” podcast, Pam Grossman, who is also the author of the recently published book, Waking the Witch. In the article, Pam spoke about how witches are having a resurgence amongst feminists who want authority over their own lives.
The witch is “the perfect symbol for anyone who wants to subvert the status quo and who wants to proclaim they belong to themselves,” said Pam Grossman.
In addition to being an author and podcast host, Ms. Grossman is a movie consultant, most recently for the reboot of “The Craft,” the 90s witch cult classic.
I was excited to see the New York Times covering Pam, a self-proclaimed witch, not in the Style section — as would be typical — but in the front news section.
Times are a changin’.
For years, women were persecuted for identifying as a witch, and persecuted even if they didn’t. Hundreds of thousands of women killed throughout Europe and the U.S. during the witch burnings, not to mention women killed daily around the world just for being women.
To me, the witch represents my feminine power.
She is strong, independent, playful and powerful. She is also wise, determined and a bit magical.
Laura Holson, the writer of the profile piece on Pam Grossman, says: “Today’s witches — those who identify more with feminism than burnings at the stake — are a part of the collective consciousness.”
While I very much identify with the feminist aspect of the witch, I also identify with the burnings at the stake. And I know many other modern feminists who do, too.
We hold a memory of those burnings in our collective consciousness and cellular history (a.k.a. her-story). I have seen this up close and personal through my own journey of becoming visible as a writer and speaker with opinions and viewpoints that challenge the patriarchal order of things. I have also seen this through the many women I work with to support them to use their voice as writers, artists and entrepreneurs, and take the stage as public speakers, bringing their feminine wisdom and opinions to the fore.
This history is not long forgotten. It still lives in women and is one of the most challenging barriers for women to step into leadership at the level they know they are meant to be leading. You think the current cesspool of trolls is an impediment. Well, add to that the inner demons of the past.
It takes courage to stand up front as a female leader. I think when women claim themselves as witches today, the past persecution in our collective consciousness has less power over us.
Witches are a symbol of female independence. A woman unto herself.
I relate strongly to this powerful aspect of feminine power within me.
While Halloween has been my “safe zone” to claim myself as a witch, I’d like to be brave and extend that self-ownership to the other 364 days of the year. I hope in doing so, I will make it easier for other women to do the same.
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed. is a women’s leadership coach, strategist, writer and consultant. Her life’s work is devoted to elevating women’s voices. To learn more about using your voice, making an impact, and being a leader of change in this world, visit tabbybiddle.com.