a witch in every woman

November 4, 2016 - Daily Notes

(675 words)

It wasn't until late in the evening that we realized who we were. Trading stories across the table about aging parents, romantic partners, children, and creative lives, we stumbled on the fact of how our star signs align: Amanda is air, Cicely is earth, Sarah is fire, and I am water. We were the four elements.

Months ago, I invited these three Lucia contributors and friends to an autumn potluck dinner here. The date on my calendar had an enchanted quality long before it rolled around.

I’m in the mood for a circle. Bring something from nature to add, and let’s make a potion.
— I said

There is a witch in every woman, you see, and whether she is honored or feared depends solely on your perspective. Your choice reveals everything about how much you really know.

In the morning, I bought four small amber vials, prepared a stew, and made apple crisp. By afternoon it was time to rake slick leaves and moss from walkways, then come inside to set four cushions around a small brass bowl. I had no precise plan for this potion I proposed, but magic reveals itself as ritual unfolds. So I set the table, lit the candles, and waited for the women to arrive.

Soon enough we settled onto the floor pillows, smiling at one another as the light outside deepened into evening blue. I held a small mason jar of water, asking each of them to imbue it with a word--some quality they wished this elixir to hold.

I started the circle by whispering "peace" in my watery way, imagining it flowing into all of the cracks and crevices of our lives.

Amanda, our airy muse of movement, clasped the jar lightly in her palms and closed her eyes to inhale. Slowly opening them, the word "wonder" rolled from her tongue and she seemed childlike and ancient at the same time.

Cicely, our earthy healer, took hold of the water steadily. She paused for a moment, holding it above her rounding belly and unborn daughter. Calm prevailed and the word "potency" dropped from her lips into the jar.

Sarah, our fiery doer and driver of all things good, held the vessel last and as the word "courage" came from her throat, her voice sounded brave and vulnerable with the very thing this quality requires of us: a willingness to stand in the flame.

The water back in my hands now, I repeated the offerings aloud for emphasis, "Wonder, potency, courage, peace."

We poured these qualities into the brass bowl at the center of our circle, and giggled. When levity leaks out the edges of a ritual you know it is going to be good. Perhaps this is why witches cackle.

Orange peel was added for good health, along with a small white stone found on Cicely's Port Townsend morning beach walk, and bit of sea glass and shell Sarah's daughter collected from another nearby shore. We added rose water for love and took turns stirring it all together with the wand-branch Amanda found that morning on her woods walk, complete with a tuft of lichen puffing from the end like a burst of Pacific Northwest fairy dust.

Pouring the potion into our four brown vials, I spilled just enough on the rug to bless the room with wonder, potency, courage and peace for days to come.

Later, over the kind of nourishing meal that happens when women gather for a potluck, we discovered the truth about our star signs. Laughing through goosebumps, we made eye contact. Perhaps we are the unknown great-great-great-granddaughters of the witches they could not burn. We somehow managed to find each other and gather on the eve of the eve of All Hallows Eve.

There is indeed a witch in every woman. Whether she is honored or feared depends solely on your perspective, and your choice reveals everything about how much you really know.

May this November bring you wonder, potency, courage, and peace. And may these qualities be stirred by the force that is true magic: love.


Laura Lowery is the founder, editor and publisher of Lucia. She does her best to lead a creative life. Whether triumphant or stumbling, Laura shares daily notes (that are often weekly) here on luciajournal, including stories, behind-the-scenes happenings, little doses of inspiration, and large quantities of curiosity and heart. She is pleased to meet you.