Are You A Witch, Mom?
This is the Letter from the Editor for the October 2021 Issue of Kindred. Read the issue here.
“Until we understand and act as if we are the earth, each of us will experience the pain of separation from sacred knowledge, from ourselves.”~ Joy Harjo, Poet Warrior, US Poet Laureate
“Are you a witch, Mom?” my son looked up at me earnestly while a small pack of giggling fourth-graders circled behind him in our kitchen. “Uh, no?” I sputtered and launched into a monologue on women’s history and the term witch. But the confused look in his eyes prompted me to save the history lesson for later, after the peer-pressure to out Mom as an official witch, with who knows what sort of juice-box fueled trial, had been redirected to more interesting pursuits, like who can belch the alphabet the loudest.
That evening, when I asked my son why he wanted to know if I was a witch, he said his friends were sure my skills in gardening, being a naturalist, using herbal medicine, and becoming a Reiki master teacher meant I was a witch. Although it was my autoimmune illness that directed the investigation of, and found comfort in, natural medicines, whole foods, and alternative healing modalities, these interests were “weird” to his friends, and he wondered aloud again if I was a witch? When I told him no, he looked disappointed.
Ten years later, in 2017, a friend who also viewed my avocational interests as “curiosities” gave me a book called The Green Witch. I sighed when I read “green witch” characteristics included being a naturalist, herbalist, healer, and gardener. I don’t mind being called a green witch, but I do mind being made to feel unnatural. My parents and grandparents, and their grandparents, grew up monitoring the moon cycles and stars for planting, foraging from the land, and taking seriously the stewardship of the Earth as farmers. Being connected to Nature is our ancestral tradition. While it’s natural for us, according to social scientists, interest in becoming Nature-connected has been growing worldwide since the 1980s.
As Darcia Narvaez, and many others, have revealed (see this post), our Western disconnect from Nature resulting in our cultural Cycle of Competitive Detachment, reveals itself in our individual and cultural shadow-projections onto people and cultures (see Indigenous Worldview) who ARE Nature connected. The centuries-long history of prosecuting Nature-connection, an aspect of the sacred feminine and our psyche’s values of nurturing and stewardship, is chronicled in Riane Eisler’s seminal work, The Chalice and the Blade (listen to my interview with Riane here). But the contempt and suspicion of Nature-connection is changing, according to social science. In our current time period, more people are reconciling their relationship with Nature, and according to the Cultural Creatives research by Paul H, Ray and Sherry Anderson, a quarter of the world population is interested in holistic, Nature-connected, sustainable living, but they often view themselves as “odd” as counter culturalists. The Cultural Creatives research is one of the contributing factors to Kindred World’s creation a quarter century ago: to support this emerging worldview, especially for families pursuing a Whole Child Wellness Model.
We are Nature. When did we begin to believe and act otherwise?
This past week, on October 23, Genevieve Vaughan, the founder of the Maternal Gift Economy, brought together in her international, online salon a scientist and a priestess to speak to the unnatural state of our human disconnection from Nature. The presenters included our very own Kindred World president and Evolved Nest founder, Darcia Narvaez, PhD, an award-winning researcher, and Kathy Jones, a Priestess of Avalon who has lived in Glastonbury, England, for the past 40 years and is currently bringing together the MotherWorld political party. (You can listen to my interview with Genevieve here from this past spring to learn more about the Maternal Gift Economy.)
In the salon video, Darcia shows, from a scientific worldview, how our disconnect from Nature makes us an atypical species creating a degraded, unsustainable culture that perpetuates itself through Undercare for babies and children. Kathy advocates for breaking our current Cycle of Competitive Detachment by centering our cultural focus on mothers. This cultural shift, to value mothers and mothering, would require reclaiming our Sacred Feminine, she contends.
“MotherWorld is the society which places Mother Earth, mothers, and the values of mothering and caring in the center of our lives rather than leaving them out on the periphery,” Kathy states in the video. If you forward to the last few minutes (1:53) of the video, you can enjoy Kathy’s guided visualization of walking out your front door and into a MotherWorld, a world created on the values of nurturing and loving relationship. It is a wonderful experience.
After the discussion, I asked Darcia to help me help you see the bridge more clearly between our disconnected worldview and Kathy’s integrated awareness with the Sacred Feminine. Darcia graciously answers my questions in her response entitled, The Reason for the Absence of the Feminine Principle in the Western World.
In this issue of Kindred, you will also read Kathy’s story of her path to reconciliation as a “descendent of the race of oppressors,” and how the “mists” are rising at Avalon, where thousands of visitors are seeking a new way of being in the world.
We also welcome to Kindred, Isa Gucciardi, PhD, who shares with us the chapter, Reclaiming the Initiation of Childbirth, from her book, The New Return to the Great Mother. The book shares many women’s experiences of being attended in childbirth by the light presence of the Great Mother.
If you are looking for baby steps to restore your connection to Nature, nature therapist Jan Cafearo shares her practice with clients of Forest Bathing. “I have come to believe that finding our connection with Nature is not only very beneficial for our personal health and wellbeing, it is also a powerful step towards social and environmental justice. What we love, we protect,” writes Jan.
The chronic inflammation that led me to explore alternative healing and medicines over twenty years ago is, as the book Inflammation reveals, the “root of disease in humans and the Earth” and the result of the “colonization worldview that separates individual bodies from their social and historical context, often ignoring the health of the web of life supporting the individual.” Read the book review here.
There is more in this issue, carefully cultivated for your nourishing reading and viewing pleasure. Don’t miss Pam Leo’s two-minute reading of her new children’s book, Please Read To Me, as it is a gem, and we are very proud to call the children’s book our first Kindred World Publishing House project!
And finally, if your child, or any child, asks you if you are a witch, say yes. I asked my now 23 year-old son this evening if he wanted me to say, all those years ago, “Yes, I am a witch.” He replied happily, “Oh, yeah!” Let’s courageously embrace our sacred feminine in all its forms, in our Nature connection, our Great Mother’s love for all children, and our Mother Earth’s stewardship of all life. After all, according to both science and spirituality, this is who we really are, relational beings who thrive on connection and create magic, naturally.
Lisa Reagan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindred Media, EditorKindred World, Co-Founder