Dear Cece, you are five. It is not likely you will remember much but about the world before this pandemic.
The speed in which everything changed is remarkable. And it’s no exaggeration to say that one day you were going to school, playing with friends and then next, you weren’t. The virus meant social distancing which meant stay at home, close businesses, schools etc.
When COVID-19 started to spread, I was working on a research project for my masters on witches and enchantment. My premise was that, rather than witches being the ones to enchant, they are the ones that often stand outside of the enchantment, the enchantment is the capitalist, supremacist system. For this reluctance to be enchanted by materialism and subjugation witches were punished or indeed humans were branded witches, and then punished. I had blissfully dived into books and conversations with my mentors, exploring the nature of enchantment, society and witches. In one of my notebooks I wrote of being awake while the world was asleep, caught in the soporific cycle of work and money.
But when this virus came, after a conversation with my mentor it became clear that I had to change course in my work. As everyone keeps saying, these are unprecedented times. What does it mean to be a witch now? While the research was fun, I now see that in intellectualizing the identity of the witch – an identity I hold for myself – I was losing what that meant. The more I dissected it the more distant from it I became, no longer living the life of witch and holding it up as a specimen instead.
Because you see, being a witch is a feeling, a disposition and a lens through which to see the world. Yes, it is an esthetic too and for some an occupation. Witches do certain things and magic – however it is defined – is integral to the life of the witch. For me, it’s not about what would define me as a witch to someone else. It’s what I turn to for solace and guidance. You my daughter, are my compass, but being a witch is the map.
When you are older you may roll your eyes at this post, wanting to rebel because that’s what children do, or scoff at the lack of knowledge of what is to come that you will have retrospectively. We don’t know what’s coming next. People are dying or losing their livelihoods or both because life cannot go on as it did.
This transitional time is where witches are often most at home. Much of our philosophy is built on balance, give and take. We talk often of letting certain things die so that new things can grow; the sacred circle, and here, as the pandemic grows, is spring. Ostara, or the vernal equinox came along as we experienced massive upheaval. Ostara is the time of equal night and day, marking the turn from waning time to waxing time. Growth. In the past, before industrialization this was when we focused on planting crops and Ostara is as much about fertility as it is about leaving the old year behind.
There is also a great deal of good coming out of this. People are slowing down, reassessing our society and what it has done to us all. We may be physically isolated but through social media and creativity, we are finding ways to unify and build community. It is entirely possible that we are on the verge of a collapse, the question is, what will we build in its place?
Research reveals that belief in magic and the occult grows when society is going through upheaval, let’s use that magic to create balance between spiritual and material realms. To be a witch now as far I can see is to do all the things we have proven to excel in: bear witness, create, nurture magic, heal and feed. Tend to the hearth and to be part of our community. Stay home if we must and build spaces that help us do our work. Witches always loved people, the people just didn’t always love us. That’s changing. This truly is the season of the witch.