BY WENDY KONZELMANN
I was 45 years old before I began applying the title of witch to myself. Not because I didn’t feel it in my soul from my earliest recollections, but because I’d had to suppress so much about myself for so long.
As a child, I was a weirdo, an oddball, a misfit. I was old for my age from the time I was young. I checked out every book about the paranormal, supernatural, occult, and magical worlds in my elementary school and public libraries. I poured over them each and every time I checked them out, which was often and repeatedly. I secretly repeated spells and crafted ‘magical’ recipes from things I found outdoors.
I collected rocks, plant specimens, leaves, pine cones, and innumerable other things from yards, fields, woods, and secret locations. My spells, secret rituals, and collections had to remain hidden, for fear of being discovered and misunderstood. I felt alone.
And so it remained for decades. I continued to feed my hunger for arcane knowledge through books, later through TV shows, and much later, the internet. Though putting that knowledge into practice was impossible. I had married too young and to a man who abused and brainwashed me into being who I wasn’t. I had a child. I worked. I went to college. My mundane life drowned out the part of me that had been magical and connected to the trees, skies, animals, and earth.
Without explanation, I made sure my son paid attention to the moon, the constellations, and meteor showers. Even if it meant lying in the cold on a blanket in our yard to see them. It was my last connection to the things that I’d loved so much as a kid.
Magic did not exist in my life for so long. And I felt alone.
The Universe wasn’t done with me yet. Eventually, I found the strength to leave. A dim light shone through the cracks of the heavy door to the dusty library that was my witchy mind. For the first time in years, I bought and read occult books again. I collected rocks, grew herbs, and gathered bits and pieces of the natural world. Something in me began to stir. Witchy people started showing up in my life. Still, I kept that part of me hidden from most of the outside world. And I still felt alone.
But my own voice was returning. What started as a low moan built to a bellow and then a howl. And I raged. I grieved the decades forever lost. I keened for all the years I had to disguise my true self and deny the parts of me that are seer, healer, diviner, and witch.
My howl, it still rises. No longer for myself alone, but for the brothers and sisters still kept silent by the people in their lives. I shriek as the harpy for our sisters held down by those in power. Like the Banshee, I join my voice with others to wail in grief at the loss of our freedoms and to demand change.
And now at 50, I’m growing comfortable with my witchy-ness. I’m happy to wear the mantle of Crone, Wise-Woman, Cunningfolk, Granny-Witch. I still study and collect and conjure. My tiny shelf of books has grown to a small library, and my arcane collections now fill several cabinets.
And I am no longer alone.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
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