by Katie Alyse
When you hear the word witch, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it an ugly old woman with a heinous nose and wretched pointy black hat who rides on a broomstick? Perhaps it’s the phrase “witch hunt”, which comes up quite often when discussing a public attack on someone or a group of people. The dictionary describes a witch as a woman with magical powers, who practices particularly evil work. However you look at it, a witch isn’t the most prized and precious archetype. Throughout history, we have seen women chastised for their work in religion, politics or medicine.
Take into consideration, the Salem Witch Trials. Many of the women that were tried for witchcraft didn’t even practice. They were tarnished and ridiculed just because they “looked” like witches. What does a witch even look like? Is it a woman who lacks the appearance standards of society’s norms? Is it because these group of women was once deemed unattractive or undesirable? Is it because she falls between the lines of the black clothes stigma? Is it because she looked at you the wrong way, and comes off as an angry woman? These were all the real reasons why women were convicted of Witchcraft – not because they practiced.
In October 2017, I set on a journey to the east coast. With no real sense of direction, only knowing that I needed to visit New York and Salem, I found the answers to questions I didn’t know I had. I set off on my own, allowing myself to face my fears head-on. Purging the very vulnerable parts of me by showing them off in an entirely new arena. I had never been to New York or Salem, so when I felt the fire light under my ass, you can guess I was pretty surprised by it. It felt like I had this innate push to do just do this, completely out of nowhere! I wish I could describe the feeling, so for now, take it as if you’re really hyped up on caffeine and want to conquer the world. That’s pretty close to what it felt like.
The trip was everything I had hoped it would be and then some. It went well beyond my expectations. In a nutshell, I call my New York visit a human experience. I confronted my ego, broke down some walls labeled by my fear and self-doubts as well as taking a major leap of faith. Now, my visit to Salem, that was on a spiritual level that knows no bounds. I still had no clue why I was there, the only thing I knew was that I needed to explore. I had faith that I would be guided and that the story wouldn’t end on my last day in Salem. My two days in Salem was spent with the most inspiring one could soak up in such a short amount of time. My visit started off with a guided tour in which explained the history of Spiritualism and how it was connected with Salem. I explored the historical land, buildings, and experiences. I visited the Burying Point, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in Salem with headstones dating back to the early 1600’s. I attended a séance where we did automatic writing, scrying and table tapping – a personal experience that I will never forget as this is where things truly began to change for me.
The medium who conducted the séance called me out right there in front of everyone and asked me why I wasn’t living my purpose. I completely agreed with her and said that I wasn’t. Long story short, she took the time to connect with me afterward and shared that my time was now. She had also mentioned that there was a long line of women on my Grandpa’s side (my Father’s Father) who were connected through my line of work plus that they were from “here”. The puzzle pieces began to connect and on my last full day in Salem, I walked to The House of Seven Gables, which is another historical site (what isn’t in Salem, honestly?)
These houses that lived on the shore brought me full circle. I sat on the edge of the yard looking out into the ocean and wept. The emotions took over and I felt so much buzzing throughout my entire body. Here I was, 3,000 miles away from home on a journey to search for something. I had no clue what that was or how I would find it, but I knew that this particular chapter had just begun and I was here to show my gratitude.. but to whom? I wasn’t quite sure of that either, but I knew there was a need for sharing my appreciation.
Hours before my flight, I returned to the Burying Point to pay my last respects. The cemetery was a place of solace and peace. Many people would go to a graveyard hoping to see a ghost or perhaps hear a spooky voice. I had made it clear that the graveyard is not a playground, and that those who have come before us lived lives similar to ours.. if not much more difficult. They worked, they played, they took care of their families.. they all deserve respect and love, just like we do today. In that, this is where the lesson began to come to fruition. That my purpose was to shine a light on death and what endures afterward. That it’s not meant to be a terrifying or spooky thing. Death brings many lessons to our spiritual and human evolution, just like the experiences we have here on earth.
When I returned home, I became sick with a sinus infection. This did not shock me in the least, as I knew a major purge was coming. In the days of my healing, I was able to make profound connections to my Salem trip. Thankfully, my Grandpa came through again and guided me to his work on earth. In his physical life, he practiced Mormonism (but besides the religious aspect, he was a very spiritual man). I followed his lead as he took me to an online genealogy site. It was then that I was able to confirm the medium from the séance’s message. My grandfather did come from a long line of women who lived in Salem.
Since the early 1600’s up until the mid-1800’s, I have had grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and all sorts of ancestors who lived and thrived in Salem. Many of them buried at the Burying Point! I even found out I have a direct lineage to three women who were tried during the Salem Witch Trials. Ann Foster, the first woman accused of Witchcraft, is my 13th generation Grandmother. Now, none of these women do what I do as far as connecting with Spirit (conducting séance’s, studying the planets and their transits or pulling tarot cards - at least I don’t know that for sure) but their stories in return have inspired me to live my purposefully. I will no longer hide in the “broom closet”.
You see, we are all witches. Society at one point or another has deemed women as harmful, evil, ugly, horrible and/or threatening. Whether it’s through actual witchcraft/spiritualism or through power in politics, religion or education. Most of the women’s right movements throughout centuries have been guided by some sort of religious/political/education freedom movement. Besides Salem’s falsely accused witches, many women in the colonial area were practicing spiritualism and conducting séances as a way for their voices to be heard. It was the only way they could get a clear message out for the masses in regards to their rights in politics or religion.
As my story continues to evolve and I search for more meaning and power behind the word WITCH, I hope that my work provides a shining light on all which matters. The purpose of finding your freedom whether it’s through creative efforts, spiritual freedom, magick, self-care and healing, gender and/or sexual identity, we all deserve the right to be free. I will keep my promise to my ancestors and honor their hard work. I will acknowledge their sacrifices. I will never apologize for being a woman, and I will NEVER apologize for being a witch. While these are considered labels, these are the foundational building blocks of who I am and I will never turn my back on my history. It is when we begin to explore our past that we truly begin to live in the now. The clarity in the path of which we are on will become brighter and lighter, and in that is where you will truly honor your WITCH – however that may look for you.
Katie the owner of Witch & Co. considers herself a Spiritual Supplier. She brings tools to the masses in support of creating a well-balanced and bountiful life. A jack of all trades thanks to her Gemini Sun, Katie enjoys providing insight on Astrology, Mediumship, Tarot and all things spirituality. Katie conducts in-person and online workshops, one on one consulting and runs an online membership community called The Witches Lair. Her mission is to bring awareness and acknowledgement to the brighter side of the unknown, offering a spotlight to those who are traveling the path of the universal spiritual spectrum.