Mackenzie Dineen – Features Editor
Brisk air and crunching leaves usher in October. Newton homes decorate their front yards with pumpkins and skeletons. I live for fall in Massachusetts — particularly Salem — a spooky hub.
Like the witches in pop culture, I have a black cat who follows me everywhere I go. Her name is Scarlett, she’s very cuddly and she hasthumbs. I, however, cannot fly on brooms or hex your ex. I do not practice the neopagan religion Wicca, or identify with any religion for that matter. I consider ‘witchcraft’ a spirituality and identify most with the term green witch.
Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s book, “The Green Witch” defines these individuals by their relationship with the world around them, their ethics and affinity with the natural world. They live the green path. To me, this means using herbs, crystals, elements and their correspondences in the lunar cycle, to channel energy.
Energy flows through the natural world, connecting humans, animals and the Earth. Practicing meditation and mindfulness allows people to access and manipulate this energy, to change our experiences and perception.
This philosophy can be applied in many ways. Spellcasting is the combination of crystals, herbs and colored candles carved with glyphs to correspond a specific will or desire, manifested by their energy under the moonlight, or mirror spells, charm bags, and potions. That’s not all! When I practice yoga and control my breathing, I am able to harness that energy.
I can tell the inner emotions of a person or animal when I touch them through energy, which I often perceive through color. I feel deeply connected to the Moon and its rotation. I am an avid environmentalist, and live sustainably and naturally in every way I can.
I also study astrology and try to dispel the popular misconception that one’s sun-sign, determined solely by the day of one’s birth, arbitrates one’s entire personality. There are, in fact, twelve planets and twelve astral quadrants that produce a full chart of 48 signs, which can be interpreted in a number of different ways.
Others may keep a more refined practice of spellcasting, divination or tarot. Besides green witches, there are kitchen witches — family oriented people focusing on their home and use kitchen ingredients as magical tools. The hedge witch, a term used more commonly in the U.K., is a solitary neopagan who lives close to nature and uses spellcraft.
I’m not the only Lasell witch. Myself and three fellow students meet outside under the moon, on significant evenings in the Lunar cycle. Bundled up in blankets, we burn candles and sage. Sometimes we set intentions, or burn lists of things we would like to cleanse from our lives for the upcoming month. Our next meeting is scheduled for the Hunter’s moon.
Part of me is frustrated by the appropriation of witchcraft, and its cultural portrayal. This lifestyle is marked by a history of persecution and martyrdom, it is not a costume. If you choose to represent witchcraft this Halloween, please be sure to do your research and be respectful.