“Ma, I want to be a witch!” I squealed.
“A what?” my mom asked.
“A witch,” I said in a squeaky but cheerful voice.
“You don’t want to be an angel, Chelsea? Or a Princess?”
“Nope! I want to be a witch for Halloween!” I yelled in excitement.
My mother stood silent for a few moments and then finally said, “So, we’re going to church this Sunday, okay?”
“Okay”, I said and smiled. Not knowing that I freaked out my mom. Lol.
This had to be when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I might have just seen Hocus Pocus for the first time and was enchanted by the fact that women were powerful and could do anything their hearts desired.
Alas, I wasn’t a witch for Halloween. BUT I was Janet Jackson so my little heart was excited.
However, I got so into magic, I bought my first Tarot card deck in the 4th or 5th grade with my allowance. I even brought them to my Catholic elementary school not knowing that was a BIG no-no. When my after-school teachers saw me with the cards, they gently but firmly told me that I couldn’t bring them back on the premises because it was against the school’s values.
After I was reprimanded, got more involved in church and my tarot deck disappeared (aka my mom probably threw them away), I slowly moved away from magic… only indulging in Harry Potter books and movies because, duh, they’re fantastic!
Now, don’t get me wrong, magical people and things happened to find me here and there, but we were associates, never fully getting know each other or investing time into one other. But now as I’m growing into my adulthood, I find myself getting curious about magic all over again.
Let me be crystal clear, I AM NOT A WITCH!
To call oneself a witch, lightworker or healer is an honor, a privilege and a HUGE undertaking, especially when you’re doing work for other people.
I am merely a spiritual enthusiast who is fascinated by different religions but hasn’t fully committed to any specific one yet, although I lean towards some more than others.
Since it’s October, my favorite Fall month, and today is Halloween, I wanted to dedicate this post to my personal interest in magic from a women’s empowerment point of view.
See, I’ve been blessed to encounter women with supernatural gifts. These gifts include having visions, spot-on intuition, quick manifestations, and communicating with spirits/spirit guides.
However, a lot of these women are so afraid of these gifts that they choose not to develop them. It’s a little frustrating at times because, for me, this goes back to women being disempowered, only this time it’s by choice.
I’ve been contemplating why magical abilities make so many women I’ve connected with so fearful, specifically women of color. Does it go back to the Salem Witch trials when women were persecuted for being witches even if they weren’t or is the fear deep in our bloodlines passed down from our ancestors who were forced to convert to Christianity to survive?
Either way though, I’m happy that magic and the archetype of the witch is having a renaissance. Women (and members of the LGBTQ community) are using magic and alternative spiritual traditions to take back their agency and spread empowerment. You can see this in the resurgence of different magical TV reboots like Charmed and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina along with Beyoncé paid homage to Oshun in her ‘Hold Up’ music video, according to the Season of the Witch article via The Guardian.
You can also see this surge of empowerment in women entrepreneurs who are public about their spiritual practices such as Bri Luna of The Hoodwitch, Jessyka Winston of Haus of Hoodoo, Omiwali of The Omiwali Center, Danielle Ayoka of Mystic Lipstick, Mecca Woods of My Life Created, and Tatianna Tarot of My Urban Illumination.
Now, supernatural abilities and gifts transcend religious affiliation. You don’t have to be Wiccan, Santeria, Atheist or Agnostic to possess spiritual abilities. I know Christian women who have the gift of sight.
Most Christians would call ‘the gift of sight’ the ability to prophesize, which is deemed ‘acceptable’; however, it’s dismissed when non-Christians possess the same gift. This form of bias is briefly discussed in the book, Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham.
Like many black kids who grew up in the church, I was told at an early age that spiritual practices such as Voodoo and Santeria were forms of witchcraft used to harm others. These spiritual practices (among many others) are considered taboo and evil.
But as I did my own research, I realized that Voodoo, Santeria and other indigenous based religions can be used to either uplift or harm (just like Christianity). It mainly depends on the intention of the practitioner.
I will say the same for women who have spiritual gifts. How you use your gifts, whether to uplift or to harm, is key if you are interested in developing your abilities.
My point is that it’s time for women (including trans-women), specifically women of color, to stop being afraid of their gifts and interests in alternative spiritual practices that connect us to our roots. Even if you choose not to practice, stop dehumanizing those who do.
If you’re not getting spiritually fed from what you’re practicing now, I encourage you to do your research to find what works for you. And who knows, after you do your research you might come back to the practice you identify with now. But I think we owe it to ourselves and our ancestors to explore something different that could help us develop a deeper connection with them and ourselves.
If you’re interested in books and podcasts related to African diasporic spiritual practices, magic and/or mysticism, here are some I recommend:
- Enchantments: A Modern Witch’s Guide to Self-Possession by Mya Spalter
- The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts by Baba Ifa Karade
- Voodoo and Afro Caribbean Paganism by Lilith Dorsey
- Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa: A West African Spiritual Tradition by Tobe Melora Correal
- Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish.
- Astrology for Happiness and Success: From Aries to Pisces, Create the Life You Want – Based on Your Astrological Sign by Mecca Woods
- Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money, and Success by Tayannah Lee McQuillar
- Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham.
If you’re interested in paying homage or honoring your ancestors, this is the perfect time to do it, since Halloween is the day where the veil between the spiritual world and the natural world is thinnest.
However, you can honor your ancestors all year round so don’t feel like there’s a small window of opportunity. You can read more about the roots of Halloween and its relationship with the church on thehoodwitch.com.
Now to be transparent, I was really scared to write this piece. I’ve written at least eight or nine other versions of this post and I started writing the last week of September. I thought I couldn’t share this side of me publicly because I come from a Christian background and feared judgment.
I was also afraid of the criticism because if you couple my spiritual interests with me being a sex coach, people can think I’m a “freak” and turn their nose up at me. However, when I listened to Letters from a Hopeful Creative podcast, I remembered how important vulnerability is to me and how this post may inspire others.
So, if this post resonates with you, I hope you find the courage to follow your interests, be authentically you and develop your spiritual gifts. As women, we are powerful entities and the world needs more of our magic.
Do you have any interest in magic or spirituality outside of Judeo-Christian practices? I’d love to hear your stories and experiences.