What does the word “witch” conjure for you? Images of women casting spells for good or ill? Broomsticks, black cats and superstitions? The opening scene in Macbeth? Darkness and fear. Even after hundreds of years we still associate witches with evil, hunts and burnings.

Witches were also healers, the wisewomen who passed along knowledge about moon cycles, childbirth, and remedies.

Thousands of women over the centuries were murdered because people were afraid of what they couldn’t understand or explain.

Several years ago I was accused of being a witch – yes, in this lifetime. I was hurt, confused and didn’t understand my accuser’s anger or the contempt in his voice. I shrunk and retreated, afraid to allow myself to grow into my witchiness and to be visible as someone who might be perceived as weird or crazy (sometimes you feel crazy on this journey! Trust me, you’re not!). Since then I’ve done a lot of healing work and now understand why I reacted in fear to this situation; in countless past lifetimes I’ve been a witch during times when it was dangerous to be different, to be a woman. To heal my soul from its trauma, I’ve seen, relived some of those experiences and healed them, so that I can embrace my witch, my authentic self in this lifetime. (For info about past lives, check out this awesome Facebook video).

It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I’m comfortable using the word witch about myself. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this witch journey. And so have lots of other women as they reclaim their personal power through movements, calling for equality in all facets of life, and for many of us it’s about embracing, sharing and becoming visible with our intuitive gifts.

This video, called Witches by Fleassy Malay, inspired this blog post. She removes the shame and empowers women to embrace their femaleness, to be witchy, to be authentic. I encourage you to spend 3:35 minutes to watch it.

To me, being a witch means giving myself the permission to be my most authentic self in this life. I am an empath, a healer, a lightworker. I practice full and new moon ceremonies to cleanse the old and bring in new; I use crystals and believe in the support of angels and spirit guides. The universe does have my back. I also find my power in my yoga practice, while hiking rugged terrain and throwing weights around with other women who inspire me. I am many things and multi-facetted.

“Go into the woods alone and look at the earth crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silent, live ground.” Emily Carr. We’re all bursting forth and coming out of hiding, out of silence to find our voice and our powers to find our authentic selves.

I mentor and coach others who are uncertain about the gifts they bring into this world so they can open up and unfold who they truly are at their core.

Discover your inner witch and embrace her. Everyone brings something unique to the world — why not share it!?

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