Traditional Witchcraft… The Beginnings of a Wood Witch

Traditional Witchcraft… The Beginnings of a Wood Witch December 1, 2017

My path into traditional witchcraft wasn’t a straight shot by any means. It was an indication of my true direction, a slightly more crooked path. I started out young, thirteen, already wearing black, and by fifteen doing piercings. Traipsing to the library after school, right to the occult section, reading every book they had, I was simply driven! I’d seen those cool as hell, creepy ass witches that were oozing with evil intent and mayhem, on the old reruns of Night Gallery! They filled me with pure energy; it just resonated within me. It was Sybil Leek that finally caught my eye, a feisty crone, full of piss and vinegar. She spoke her mind, and simply didn’t give a hoot in hell what people thought of her. I loved her fire. I was off! I devoured everything I could find from her. This was the beginning of my interest in astrology, and numerology. The gypsy in me loved her books on palmistry and tasseography (reading of tea leaves). She was my introduction to it all.

I be the witch of the wood!
I be the witch of the wood!

I remember one night, late, as I was reading up in my attic bedroom, just stopping and looking up from the pages of my book. The telling of the “Hand of Glory.” A tale of the severed, shrivelled hand of a hung murderer, used to render all who looked upon it motionless! Smiling to myself in the sheer pleasure of knowing I had found my tribe! The lore and grotesqueness of these wicked spells was epic! I proclaimed an, “Oh yeah!” and put my face right back into that book! My love of magickal folklore, spells, and hexes was born!

By sixteen, I was the only teenager I knew that was doing tarot readings in the park, across the street from my high school at lunchtime, did moon rituals on the roof outside of my attic bedroom window, and had her own herb supplier. No! I don’t mean just pot! (Although it’s a true consort of mine.) I was buying and growing my own herbs at that time, not even knowing why I was doing so, just that I needed to. I loved spending time with those plants. All of my money from babysitting went to buying witchcraft books, crystals, candles, and herbs.

By my twenties, I was working crazy hours in the salon, a hair stylist by trade, and had found witchy shops downtown to hang out in, learning the arts of meadiumship, and herblism, my “sanctum regnums,” per say! I got my first home, not wooded, for a city dweller I still was. Instead, I found a place of second love, by the water’s edge, only a block from the beach. I spent my days on the beach, raising bonfires, and combing the beach for hagstones, calling the winds, and listening to the gulls cry.

I then came to what I call my “earth goddess” phase, the year I grew flowers, fruit trees, herbs, veggies, and a baby. I studied healing, meditation, auras, and chakras, my workings where earthy and light. I loved this time; don’t get me wrong, warm sunny summer days barefoot in my gardens, planting, with my baby playing alongside me. There was something off. Something was missing. That fire! That energy I’d felt from those hags of long ago.

Image from MaxPixel.  CC0 License.
Image from MaxPixel. CC0 License.

So, one day, I made up my mind, sold my home, and moved to the woods. In true gypsy mode, I didn’t even look for a job. I just packed my bags and baby and left. I knew what I wanted now: the woods I’d spent my childhood vacations playing in; those magickal wicked woods, those earthy, musky smells. And I wanted a darker practice.

So, I went online, searched and joined some witchcraft sites. Found a traditional witchcraft group where I met an incredibly gifted, knowledgeable crone named Rowan. A true sage, an avid hedge rider, telling me of her flying ointment made of bear fat, henbane, and soot. She was that Night Gallery witch I was looking for, my Baba Yaga of the day! She ran the site I joined, and we soon spent lots of time talking of our craft, practices, and views. She eventually told me that I was a natural, she loved my darkness, and practice of necromancy. So, she took me under her wing, something she’d never done before. Those deep dark dirt conjurings, with blood, root, and bone… Raven Flight!

She introduced me to the likes of Gemma Gary, Nigel Pearson, Robin Artisson, and Paul Huson. She taught me the riding of the hedge, how to work with the genius loci, and how to use my meads and plants for poisoning, achieving shapeshifting, and hedge flights. I headed straight for that pine grove; pine needles under my bare feet, and pine pitch in my hair. I spent some serious time working and journeying in those woods. I gained knowledge of the plants, hedgerows, and trees of my woods, and how to forage my land. I worked with the sidhe, communed with the dead, and danced with the fae… I had truly found my Zen!

So, listen to the spirit’s whispers, the familiars and the fae. For they’re the one’s that know your path, let them show you the way!

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