This is the new moon of the Jewish month of Cheshvan, also called Marcheshvan or “Bitter Cheshvan.” In our Chodesh Chai YouTube video, we discuss our choice blends of herbs and spices for this month, Jewish customs around death and memorial, and we read the story of Skeleton Woman from Women Who Run with the Wolves. What’s your relationship to the old bones of your past? Chodesh Chai YouTube Video for this new moon: https://youtu.be/7CaFEaJ0fes
On this night as we approach Oct 31 this week, I would like to share a few words about women and the moon and my relationship to the word “WITCH”
Women are especially tied to the moon, and in times where women’s powers and mysteries were feared and vilified, women were called “lunatics” from the world luna for moon. Womens’ menstrual cycles are largely in sync with the moon’s tides, waxing and waning. But how did we end up with images of wild women, cauldrons, broomsticks, and the full moon? People feared the heightened psychic powers of women and their cycles and herbs, and thus created taboos about these people they called “witches.” A great resource, Witches, Midwives, & Nurses, is an essential book about the corruption of the medical establishment and its historic roots in witch hunters.
Who Were The Witches? Song by Bonnie Lockhart
Who were the witches?
Where did they come from?
Maybe your great, great grandmother was one.
Witches were wise, wise women they say.
And there’s a little witch in every woman today!
Witches knew all about flowers and weeds.
How to use all their roots and their leaves and
their seeds. When people grew weary from hard-workin’ days, They made ’em feel better in so many ways.
When women had babies the witches were there
To hold them and help them and give them care.
Witches knew stories of how life began.
Don’t you wish you could be one? Well, maybe
Some people thought that the witches were bad.
Some people were scared of the power they had.
But power to help and to heal and to care
Isn’t something to fear, it’s a pleasure to share.
13 reasons why I am witchy:
- I have a wild at heart witchy nature.
- I love walking the streets in my black velvet cloak with masses of people on Halloween night. I love the children’s glee and glow, I love the night.
- I love preparing treats and setting a table for the ancestors on our day of the dead altar at home.
- My son told his preschool teacher that his mom is a witch, she was concerned, he was proud. I was proud too.
- I hold regular new moon women’s circles. I cherish the support, healing, and sisterhood these circles have generated for me over the course of the 10 years I have held them.
- I feel the power of each new moon and full moon and love tracking their names, their cultural and seasonal significance.
- I love the 300+ village of women and children I spend time with every year at the Women’s Herbal Symposium, our marketplace, workshops, and ceremonies, under the guidance of the wise old crones.
- I believe in magic. Magic as defined by the possibility of transformation from one state or perceived reality into another. Every day I engage in casting spells of gratitude, shifting believed states of strife or stress into counting my blessings and calling in the beneficial spirit of the day.
- I create elixirs full of the medicinal properties of herbs and spices, sumptuous salves for rubbing over the skin, massaging into muscles, and moving bones.
- I am a Birthkeeper. I tend the sacred portals of pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum care. I have been there at the portals of life and death. Some women lose babies during pregnancy and birth, women need grief ceremonies and healing just as much as lactation support and healthy bone broths.
- I have and endless fascination in studying the mystics, religions, healing modalities, and traditions of old; Judaism, Kabbalah, Chinese Medicine, wisdom from ancient and modern Yogis and Tantrikas, Aztecas & Mayas.
- I grow grey somewhat gracefully, with streaks of purple and crimson from time to time. Astrologer Chani Nichols reminds me: “To grow older is to deepen. To grow is to say goodbye to who I was if it was getting in the way of becoming more myself. Nothing in this realm gets to live a full life without being marked by it. Nothing in this world gets to be any good without the ripening only years, tears, and effort can bring. It is a privilege to be stamped by time. With this New Moon, I remember who I am and who I won’t care about being come my last breath. I refocus my energy on the most honest version of me and let myself be reborn from this place.” Check out your Scorpio new moon horoscopes here: https://mailchi.mp/chaninicholas/full-moon-aquarius-908009?e=c9fc3af4c6
- I follow the sun, moon, and stars as they dance through the cosmos with us. I have heard that we arouse the cosmos and the cosmos arouse us. At a time in Jewish history when people acted and felt ruled by these celestial bodies and so worshiped them as rulers, we were guided to refrain from worship and instead turn to stewardship. In these times, their radiance they can serve to gift us inner luminosity, As we chart our own paths in the world, they serve as reminders that we are all walking stars in a giant star.
“To reclaim the word witch is to reclaim our right, as women, to be powerful,” wrote Starhawk, in her seminal 1979 book The Spiral Dance. “To be a witch is to identify with 9 million victims of bigotry and hatred and to take responsibility for shaping spirituality.” Even women who weren’t explicitly Wiccan are drawn to “witchy” ways of processing the world. http://www.reclaimingquarterly.org/web/history/RQ71-17-WitchWords.pdf