Like so many traditions and roles that are commercialized around Halloween, the presence of witches is more visible on this day. Why?
The other day, while discussing Halloween-related events and traditions, my five-year-old son asked me, “Mama, what’s a witch?”
What a great question!
I was delighted by the opportunity that his curiosity provided. But rather than buy into the hype and commercialism of the season, I wanted to offer a response that was grounded in truth and historical perspective.
“Witches have traditionally been healers, midwives, and wise women”, I told him. “But to some people, the knowledge and wisdom of witches is intimidating or scary. Witches have been made out to be evil or dangerous, when actually they’re quite important.”
My son’s curiosity quickly changed to other topics, but the idea of witches stuck with me.
In so many ways, New Dreamers are like witches. The work we all do in critiquing and challenging the norms around our behaviors as consumers is incredibly disruptive. Questioning consumption undermines the powerful systems that have been carefully constructed to demand our dollars, our attention, and our commitment to keeping the whole unsustainable apparatus functioning.
Like witches, New Dreamers are creative and inventive, devising new systems—and new ways of living and being—that more closely align with the forces that make life joyful and possible.
A colleague shared an exchange she had with her neighbor, herself a wise woman, about witches. “A witch has a glint in her eye and tricks up her sleeve.”
Indeed, whether it’s finding creative ways to reuse items that would otherwise be tossed, or organizing in our communities to demand changes to business as usual, we’re not afraid to be a little subversive. Challenging consumption necessarily means acting in defiance of dominant paradigms and finding new approaches to living and meeting needs that align with core values.
"Challenging consumption necessarily means acting in defiance of dominant paradigms and finding new approaches to living and meeting needs that align with core values. "
There are tricks for sure, and also delight, as we recognize the glint in the eye of another who is also up to acting in ways that challenge the status quo. So this Halloween, go ahead and embrace your inner witchiness. Put on your pointy hat and speak your truth, as you spread your wisdom and subversion out into the world.
With a glint in your eye, of course.
"This is how a witch looks in Roald Dahl’s book, The Witches. Witches put on wigs, pointy shoes, and gloves to cover up their real bodies: bald heads, toeless feet, and loooong nails." – New Dreamer Elsa C., age 9