“We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn”

Lisa Frideborg of Angelorum yesterday published a fantastic post and new spread about healing the Witch Wound. Witch wounds are the battle scars women inherit, carry and pass down after facing millennia of patriarchal institutions and dogma telling us that our bodies are shameful and that our capacities for power, creation and intuition are wrong, sinful or the delusions of ‘hysteria’. As an out-and-proud feminist, it got me all fired up and excited to share. I highly recommend following the link above and giving the post a read as it provides more context to the spread, and will get you in the mood to face the scars you carry with the courage to confront and heal them.

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1. How the witch wound has crippled me

Knight of Wands – I have spent most of my life with all of the passion and drive, but none of the confidence of this Knight. For much of my 20s I was The Party Girl, I wanted to charm the pants off of everyone, be popular and have a good time – I wasn’t very good at it. What this attempted image was masking was an incredibly low sense of self-esteem and self-hatred. I felt that I wasn’t worth anything beyond what other people – particularly men – thought of me. I felt myself hollow, talentless and pointless, tormented by the fire I carried, believing it brought me nothing but false promises. I had so much passion for learning and so many dreams of things that I wanted to pursue, but they all came to naught because I felt I was destined to fail at anything I tried. All of this unused wildfire morphed into an almost frenzied aggression I directed inwards, I would harm myself quite spectacularly and in so many ways, hoping I could burn so bright I would just burn myself right out of existence.

2. Which area of my life it affected most

The Moon – In short, this wound most affected my mental health. I started displaying signs of disturbance issues at about age 7, which worsened significantly as I entered my teens, culminating in a nervous breakdown when I was 19. Even after the tidal waves of depression, anxiety, insomnia, self-harming, detachment, suicidal ideation and depersonalization subsided, and the haze of being medicated out of my eyeballs lifted, one particular thing remained – my favourite form of self-medication – alcohol abuse. This is more than just my witch-wound, it is the ancestral wound of all of the women in my maternal line. Luckily the pregnancy with my first child was enough to put a swift end to it, and it wasn’t until then that I realised that alcohol itself wasn’t the problem, it was just the band aid of choice that I used as a painkiller for all of the open wounds I still carried inside.

3. How I kept the wound alive through self-destruction

Fortune Fairy (Wheel of Fortune) – It’s interesting that this card should pop up after the Moon as there is one particular quote that is frequently associated with the Wheel of Fortune, the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Which is also an integral part of the Alcoholic’s Anonymous healing process. I’ve never been to AA, largely because deep-down I knew that despite my abuse of alcohol, I was still very much in control of my useage…the problem was that I wouldn’t control it. I was hell bent on destroying myself and put myself into the hands of fate to decide whether I was worth saving or not. For almost 10 years, I refused to take responsibility for my choices and instigate the changes that I knew were necessary for my own wellbeing and health.

4. What I must do to heal

The High Priestess – Bam! Here she is. To heal the wound I need to go back to the source of feminine wisdom. I must return to the Priestess who rules all of those things that we women have been taught to suppress and loathe within ourselves: our capacity for intuition, knowing, healing, silence, darkness, wisdom and spiritual power; those almost alien and unknowable aspects that have throughout history so scared the crap out of the patriarchy in all of its guises. I need to go deep to seek her out, trust her, give myself over to her wisdom and finally offer myself as her initiate.

5. What power and/or possibility will open up to me once I heal

Queen of Wands –  I thought she might make an appearance, my long, long, LONG time stalker card. I’ve spent years ignoring her, mostly because secretly I want to be her: fearless, bold and confident, able to inspire others and lead by example. But I thought that I didn’t have it in me – so I mocked her, derided her fire, loathed her drama, listed all of her awful qualities and pushed her deep into my shadow. Yet still, out she would come to join my personal readings, reminding me that my insecurities still have too much influence over my actions and inaction. Smilingly, she lets me know that she is always there, proud and cheering me on every time I do something brave. She tells me that if I can truly heal, I will no longer fear taking up space, that I can fill any space with her passion and joy, because it is my passion and joy. She still feels a long way off, until then though, I promise to always smile back and embrace her with my heart when she appears.

Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Barbara Moore and Julia Jeffrey, published by Llewellyn, 2013

Title quote from The Witches of BlackBrook, by Tish Thawer.

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