Confessions of a Witch on Fire

Confessions of a Witch on Fire June 27, 2016

Blogs can become a form of “pulpit” for us pagans. Like sermons serve our neighbors in other religions, these articles can inform, inspire, and hopefully motivate us toward some beneficial change in our lives. On a good day, they may open the reader up to a deeper connection to the Divine in some way. I consider that to be important work, not to be taken for granted.

Hermes Altar with Quill - Photo by Heron Michelle
Hermes Altar with Quill – Photo by Heron Michelle

However, the difference between a boring sermon and a riveting one, is when folks tell their personal stories about their lives. They testify! I want to know about their practice, feelings and perceptions, and how that work is changing them. It’s honest and entertaining and I usually take away some nugget of applicable truth.

Confessions or Comedy?

I’ve been teaching Modern Witchcraft classes now for over 6 years, and it is true what they say: you can’t completely understand something until you’ve taught it to someone else. It is a lot harder than you might think, especially when it comes to deep, esoteric concepts and how they play out here in the middle world. They have to be made real through examples. So, I’ve come to teach by telling my stories without shame. This scandalizes some folks. Other people think its refreshing. To each their own, but I’ve always found that the most instructive stories are more like a confession, where I own my own shit, admit what I learned the stupid way and how I got the cosmic smack-down until I corrected my mistakes–my life is kinda like a stand-up routine that way: That which does not kill me, makes great comedy.

Story Morrison

When my friend (and pagan channel editor) Jason Mankey was here leading our circle in The Morrison ritual a couple of years ago, he dubbed me “Story Morrison.” What can I say?  I love the bardic art of spinning a good yarn…. Fairy tales, morality tales, parables, mythologies are important teaching tools, but as a growing, evolving people, with current relationships with Spirit, we are living new stories with modern relevance…I learn from the tales of my fellow witches, because I can see my own life reflected within them, and find validation there. This gives me the confidence I need to keep doing the Work of my own evolution, even when it gets weird, the altar blows up, the cat catches fire, and I want to throw down the pointy hat and go get a safe muggle job. (No kidding, that happened…read that story here…)

The sharing of our stories is why I think that the blogosphere is a relevant and necessary mechanism within our religious movement; it gives us an easily accessible and relatively “free” forum to share our unfolding lives in real time. Then we can dialogue about the applications of Witchcraft to improve our lives with people all over the world.

A Witch on Fire

Witches know that ideas crafted into words, given resonance through some sort of energetic medium, then released to the Universe, carry awesome power. Blogging is a kind of magick that can create some serious change – especially when a blog kicks up a brouhaha.

I’ve always liked Aleister Crowley’s definition of magick as “the art and science of causing change in accordance with will.”  So when I was offered this opportunity to write for Patheos, I asked myself the very serious questions about Will.  What was my will for the project? How about Highest Divine Will?  Helloooo Hermes? You got me this gig, what say you now? What do we call the blog? What should I write for these fine people? 

XIV Art, Queen of Wands, Knight of Disks, from the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley. Photo by Heron Michelle
XIV Art, Queen of Wands, Knight of Disks, from the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley. Photo by Heron Michelle

Meditation and divination happened; XIV Art, Queen of Wands, Knight of disks (1).  The rush of visions and whispers from my guides flooded my dreams, as they do:

  • My christian mother singing the Sunday school song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine”
  • Lighthouses with shining flames cutting through the darkness.
  • Orion Foxwood discussing of the igniting of the Witchflame at Pantheacon.
  • That scene in the Lord of the Rings movie when they light all the signal fires on the mountain tops to call for aid and they spread one to the other…
  • The catalyzing Chinese proverb: ” ‘Tis better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
  • My very first dedication prayer:  Spirit! Great Weaver of all things, I seek to know your nature. Ignite within me your fires; wash me clean of doubt; blow my mind. I dance to your rhythms with earthen shoes and the starry heavens tangled in my hair. Show me the way! As I will, it is so. Blessed be.

In thinking back over the story of my my life along this path of Witchery, it has always been about

Heron by fIre light of the shrine at Sirius Rising 2012 - Photo by Heron Michelle
Heron at Sirius Rising 2012 – Photo by Heron Michelle

this burning, driving pursuit of a connection with Spirit. I’m a watery Pisces, without any fire in my natal chart at all, yet this witchflame drove me from the fearful, lonely darkness of the broom closet, to this out-and-proud, public witch, priestess and shop-keeper that I am today. Its all been about un-shuttering the flame of my own truths, being the lighthouse keeper for Spirit and helping others find their way into safe harbor by illuminating the treacherous rocks of fear and despair. I’ve willingly become a catalyst of change within the Craft, so that it could evolve with the modern world. That’s what I do.

The undeniable guidance was to call this blog Witch on Fire. Lurid, I know; that’s how we roll. Aphrodite and Hermes have never been subtle with me, always bludgeoning the squishy places with blunt-force irony. Plus, I can’t pass up a chance to transmute the horrors of the burning times and reclaim that power from the grip of fear by renaming it.

As for the “confessions” tagline, I think a confessional is far more tantalizing a venue than a pulpit and I like to squeeze a metaphor until it screams in pain. While I hold no concept of sin or penance, I do appreciate shadow work and taking full responsibility for my actions…even the harmful ones. For me, witchery is a state of being that touches every single thing in life, without exception. In coming posts, I intend to share the unfolding tale of my life as a 40-something, public witch and teacher, single parent of two witchlings, owner of a metaphysical shop, and adventurer. My practice of tarot, past-life retrieval, Reiki healing and magick, and service as the High Priestess of a very busy coven, could keep us in head-scratching, belly-laughing stories for years. No holds barred! Stay tuned, my lovelies! We’re in for a wyrd ride!

Bright Blessings,
~Heron Michelle


  1. Tarot Messages, paraphrased from The Mirror of the Soul, by Gerd Ziegler:
    Art:  Alchemy, catalyst, union of fire and water; melting of contradictions. “I surrender to the transforming powers of The divine. I am an open channel of creative energy.”

    Queen of Wands: Watery aspect of Fire, Mastery of self-knowledge, transformation. Time to learn how to share that with others. “I am a radiant being filled with light and love.”
    Knight of Disks: Sacred mission brings in the harvest. Now is the time to set your abilities to service, the tasks are large and demand the full use of your powers. “With every task that needs doing, comes also the energy needed to accomplish the task.”

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