time flies

Flies are so annoying too.

The week has been spent – wastefully – in arguments with the reality of my situation followed by defeat (rather than surrender). Reality always wins, no doubt about it. Things are the way they are, and to want them to be any other way right now is the path to insanity.

But I promised I’d write more about the witch archetype and here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, to make good on that (as an aside, today has been a good day – on a quest to change one little thing at a time I went to a different cafe to write my morning pages and had a chance encounter with a man who was my lover a few years back – Jim if you are reading this, seeing you today made me smile, so thanks. Yes, one small change does the trick.)

So – I’m picking up the broom again.

First of all, I want to make the distinction between my use of the word ‘witch’ and the practice of Wicca or any other earth-based (or hearth based – or even kitchen-based) spiritual discipline (yes I know I make jokes about brooms!). They are obviously related, but I make no value judgement on these.

Second, where I use the word shadow, likewise I am not making a value judgement – I’m using it as Jung and the alchemical psychologists do, to point towards some thing’s counterpart. But its not necessarily its opposite – more like a flip side to a coin, part of the whole – but not necessarily comprised of ‘half’ or even ‘equal’. But more about that later.

There are so many aspects to the Witch archetype, I can really only touch the surface of it. Marion Woodman has written a great deal about Her, mostly in relation to eating disorders, through the filter of her training and experience in Jungian analysis. From Woodman’s books the Still Unravished Bride, The Pregnant Virgin, and Addiction to Perfection, I learned a great deal about where the world’s fear and loathing of Mother stems from.

And, although Marion Woodman and I don’t see eye to eye about attaching the word ‘evil’ to Witch, or the ideological argument that Witch is the angry, wronged-by-patriarchy Medusa and must be ‘overcome’ or ‘slain’ by a Hero, she is right about this: Witch energy is the energy of the primal, dark, unknowable annihilating Earth. She is the beginning – the Magna Mater at her scariest. She is scarcity, drought, flood, disaster, dream-crocodiles and spiders. She must be drowned, burned, chased out by Light.

More, Witch is our deepest connection to the Great Mother, the First Mother, the first cell to come into being, the first thing to crawl out of the primordial soup – she is the primordial soup. Mother, Mater, Matter, Mer – the things we can see and touch, the sea, the ground beneath our feet. Witch is the part of Mother that shows us the decay that matter (that is, our flesh and blood) is subject to.

That’s why we are scared – inherent in ‘Mother’ is death. Implied by nurturing and abundance is abandonment and not enough.

In her guise as Medusa, Witch is said to turn us to stone. ‘Immobilised by fear’ is a term we are all familiar with. Unable to move, we small humans are vulnerable to time, nature and death.

Our inner Hero holds up a mirror to Medusa and she is stopped. We cheat time and death with our solar ways – our heroics and Resurrections. Christ is risen – we are immortal because of it. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, we will all live, free from evil. The separation of Spirit and Matter, religious ideal of transcendence from the wicked flesh, Oedipal capitalism (there isn’t enough! We must grab our share! We must do anything to get our share! We must get what we can from the Earth – now!) , Patriarchy and the Problem of Mother (what I call mother-rage) are not separate issues.

OK, its a bit much to take in, and I’m in danger of turning this into a rant. There is so much more to add – but this is what I’d condense it down to, for now; Its not Witch or Mother, its both, and until these split-apart aspects can be recognised as inherent in each other and to each other, we will remain divided as humans and as a planet. Heroically overcoming the Witch is the same as overcoming Mother. Slay her, put away Mama. Cheat death, beat the price rises, and Mother earth – and Mum in the kitchen – will suffer.

If there is still a Mother Earth left for us after our infantile tantrums about how there isn’t enough of Her to go around.

7 thoughts on “time flies

  1. Hi Danae,

    This is one of the aspects of re-enactment I enjoy. Camping out under proper canvas, with the smell of grass in my nose, watching the sparks from the campfire flying up into the dark night, unbemsirched by electric street lights, the sounds of animals scurrying through the undergrowth and the occasional hoot of a nearby owl…

    Michele sent me to you this morning.


  2. I do not pretend to understand any of what you have written about. It is fascinating to read, I must say, but completely foreign to me.

    I have only known one other “Danae” on my life…A Lovely sctress named Danae Torn, who was in a play of mine almost rwenty years ago, and just happens to be the daughter of the actor Rip Torn, with whom I shared an acring class back in 1954!!!

    Se what memories your name evoked? (lol)

  3. Since you first sparked me to think about this on Friday … I’ve been thinking a lot and hanging out for a chance to read the next installment.

    I’ve been thinking a lot of on Eve and Lilith and the two sides of womanhood portrayed in the bible. I’m reading The Witch of Cologne at the moment – and the read fear that the Jews and Kabbalist had of Lilith – actually naming her a demon. She personifies death and it was believed that she stole the souls of babies and took women during childbirth.

    I’m not making an effort to specifically tie in or tag – mainly just having an intellectual download.

    The other thing that I have been thinking about is mother grief … and the fact that very few of us get a chance to opening and healthily grieve for the loss of the lives that we had prior to having children. It’s not something you understand until you’re in it. YOu can intellectually ‘get it’ to some extent but its a lived experience.

    A friend of mine spoke last year about creating and running grief rituals for women so that they could openly acknowledge the grief that they feel and carry with them, as a consequence of becoming a mother – so that there is a social and ‘formalised’means for dealing with that aspect of the mother path.

    Are the Witch and the Crone one and the same? I’m just wondering because in a ritual at the Goddess Conference I kept seeing what I thought was the Crone … but perhaps I was seeing something else?

    We’re just back in from the Spicks and Speck-tacular and it was just fanatastic. I have not laughed so much in a very very long time. And I/we were only five rows away from the front and Adam Hills … It’s a good feeling to go to bed with xxxx

  4. PS: consider writing an article next year for my magazine (though it wont be mine next year) Autumn’s topic is the transition into motherhood and fatherhood … and each transition as a new child is welcomed into the family??

  5. cq – thanks 🙂

    oldoldlady – I don’t always understand it either!
    (and never met another Danae)

    jodi, I appreciate your thoughtful comments…

    I think Witch and Crone are two separate archetypes according to alchemical psychology and mythology. Witch is as I understand it part of the Great Mother archetype, and Crone is a stage of the feminine which is tied up with the ‘triple goddess’ and lunar deity. Crone as Marion Woodman describes her is like the Senex equivelant for a woman (wise old woman) – but I guess she also constellates the passage of time and also death so there is a strong argument toward the two archetypes being one and the same. I just can’t see any rage/anger attached to Crone though.

    I’d love to write for your magazine!

    glad the show was enjoyable 🙂 dxx

  6. I studied Wicca early on in my quest for truths, and still have some dear friends who are solitary practitioners. 🙂 Very nice post.


  7. The wise women: herbalist, midwife, mother are sometimes seen as a witches probably out of fear of their power to bring life and deal with life and death issues. What would Michele think? No flies on you.

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