by Danielle Dulsky,
author of Woman Most Wild: Three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within
We live in an age of unprecedented technological growth and consequent interconnectivity. Our time-impoverished lives are very much shaped by social media, a variety of brightly lit screen-based distractions, and an increasingly conditioned desire to run from stillness and silence. As the wounded planet continues to be scarred and polluted, as the burdens of future generations to contend with the short-sightedness of our current political landscape increase annually, the need to mend our human relationship with nature is absolutely critical. Witchcraft is a spiritual practice of wild communion, of acknowledging the kinship human beings have always had with the cyclical ways of the world, and, for many of us, it is the precise medicine we need brew to remedy the ailing parts of ourselves, our environment, and our global community.
Witchcraft is a way of being in the world, a regular practice of seeing magick in the mundane, a felt union with the elements, and an embodied activism that supports a sustainable future for all creatures. Every spell cast by a Witch is a conversation with the Mystery, that is with the divine cosmic force that surrounds and permeates all, about the kind of world in which she hopes to live. A Witch’s craft cannot be divorced from her deepest values and felt experiences, and it is therefore an inherently personal spiritual practice that will inevitably wax and wane.
Witchcraft is not a static practice; it is a continual surrender to the solar and lunar rhythms in nature, an in-the-bones knowing that these rhythms affect the human body and psyche, and an acknowledgment that the natural world will share its wild wisdom with us if we only listen. To live cyclically is to live as nature lives, and Witches grant themselves permission to change in the absence of guilt or shame, to become bright and vibrant in Summer and to go into their caves in Winter, to dance with an unbridled grace one moment and then sink into silent stillness the next. All ways are true, and a feminist spiritual system that is inherently against oppression should never make any practitioner feel choiceless.
Spell-casting and ritual are integral to Witchcraft, but even these core practices will transition in time with the seasons and according to the needs of the practitioner. Spell-casting is an art, a “craft” in its own right, and every Witch is tasked to tune into the signs shown her by the Mystery. She must be student to nature, and she must know herself so well she can stand firm on her path and use her will to direct energy toward a particular outcome. Witches enact their agency to define an intention, be it to heal, to protect, to manifest, or to banish, and raise energy to be moved toward fulfilling that intention; all the while, they ensure that even the most personal spell embodies the values the hope will inform the world in which the children of the future will live.
The practice of circling with others need not be contained within a traditional coven environment, as many Witches choose to circle more informally and non-hierarchically. Like any organisation, covens can be vital contexts for belonging bound by a common vision that truly nourishes all members or they can be disempowering environments where the few follow the many. The practice of circling together to work magick, to discuss the everyday alongside the mystical, and to speak and be heard is another non-necessary but wholly validating layer of Witchcraft to which many women are increasingly called. You can be fully Witch and completely solitary in your practice, but many Witches work their craft together in order to gain a particular sort of sustenance, and indeed to raise more energy for spell-work, than they could achieve from a solitary practice.
Women often reach a point in their lives where they feel a sort of spiritual hunger, a craving for a felt sense of the sacred. They will begin to acknowledge this need as unmet by most existing religious traditions and seek out what is too wild to be contained within any single system. They will get the smallest tastes of what they seek from being still in nature, from considering magick as very real and potentially part of their lives since girlhood, and from recognising kindred spirits in the eyes of like-minded seekers. These women are being called toward wild spirituality, toward Witchcraft, and in my experience, this call only grows louder until it is answered.
About the author: Danielle Dulsky is the author of Woman Most Wild: Three
Keys to Liberating the Witch Within available now from New World Library. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, Witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Pennsylvania USA. Visit her website for further information.