For better or worse, the women I have always admired the most have been, and are, wild women. Women who defy conventions which bind them and dare to express who they are, what they believe in and what they feel is true, often and almost always, in the face of a culture which wants to control them. Over and over again women like this are not given credit for their bravery but are judged and condemned by a society that would laud the same qualities in a man. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that there is a lot of repressed anger in the female population in general due to ongoing double-standards that seem to be accepted as normal. Women who challenge the dominant view of what is acceptable in female behaviour – especially when it comes to expressing anger – are instantaneously a threat to the power balance. Not pretty. Not nice.
Witches are wild women by definition. Any witch worth her wand is by nature powerful and independent. What drew me to witchcraft in the first place was that it made perfect sense to me that it is not a religion so much as a way of being totally myself, without external rules and systems to which i must adhere and conform in order to be deemed acceptable. As a witch, I do as I will according to what feels instinctively right to me; I develop and hone my instinct and intellect so I can decipher what is my truth and what has been programmed into me as truth. In this alone, I become a threat to the dominant culture. Living that personal truth and standing up for it is the next level of development, and one which is often extremely dangerous for women still in many societies around the world.
One of my favourite wild women is Courtney Love. I read her biography recently, the one written by Poppy Z.Brite, and getting a bit more insight into what she survived and went through from a little girl, all the way through, was just inspirational. The sheer will to keep getting up after falling over and over again… wow. To keep doing what you want to do in the face of public condemnation and judgment is so brave, no matter what anyone says. To keep going despite addictions and losing your beloved, having your child taken away, god it just blows my mind to even think how she’s still here. And her music is incredibly powerful. I remember going through a stage when i listened to “Live Through This” constantly, and still play it whenever i feel like I just need to roar. I love her as much for her imperfections as anything else. She has so often been bad and fallen from grace, shattered any image that she’s managed to create - talk about the epitome of the goddess of creation and destruction!
It’s interesting that wild women are usually deemed so in reference to their sexuality. The scarlet woman, the Whore of Babylon, the crazy bitch – the list is endless when it comes to women who do what they want sexually. We all know a man who sleeps around is a stud and the woman who sleeps around is a slut. My two favourite goddesses, Lilith and Aphrodite, both were deemed by patriarchal culture as a demon and a whore respectively. Lilith was Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden but refused to submit to him, to “lie beneath him” and was kicked out for bad behaviour, into the realm of the outer darkness to convort with demons. She was often depicted with clawed feet and is to this day feared by many Jewish parents as a baby killer who needs to be warded off for the first few weeks after the baby’s birth.
Aphrodite was married off to the lame smith god Hephaestus as soon as she hit the ground, not by her own choice but by Zeus’ ordination, but didn’t last long being the good little wife. She had a mad affair with Aries (the god of war) and was publicly exposed and humiliated by her rather offended hubby, before finding her true calling as Goddess of Love. From then on she slept with whoever she wanted whenever the divine calling took her – sharing the love and inspiring artists and musicians and lovers foerever more (and so mote it be!!!) She actually did have an intense and deeply committed love with the god Hermes, from which the male/female androgynous Hermaphrodite was born… interesting in terms of this baby representing the union rather than the divide between the sexes and often associated with the World card in the Tarot as completion and wholeness.
In the World card we are finally free, naked, dancing, celebrating and totally at one with the Universe. There are no petty rules and we are beyond judgment. We have integrated all the lessons of the previous stages and completed the cycle. Chaos and Order are intrinsically balanced, and the wild nature is celebrated as being perfectly natural. The World Dancer is totally naked once more, not ashamed nor shamed into hiding. Past pain and wounding is healed and life energy is expressed magically.
There is a reason why witches ride broomsticks. In fact, there are many reasons why witches ride broomsticks, when i think about it, but one of the main reasons is because it is so much FUN to be free, straddling your stick up in the wild night sky, FLYING! Not stuck, but up with the bats and stars and birds of the night. Laughing, howling, spinning fantastic circles, deciding destinations and destinies, wanton, lascivious, spirit walker extraordinaire! Don’t you get so sick of being sensible sometimes!