Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen a woman
Taken by the wind.
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen a woman
Taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?
— Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac

(Note:  I have gotten horribly out of practice.  Hang in there, y’all.)

Two nights ago, in a twilight sleep dream of feasting and laughing, the sound of a telephone ringing shook me out of my fairytale into a groggy frustration.  Except:  the house phone was not ringing.  I answered anyway.

Grandma: Baby, can you hear me?  Why, I’ve tried everything to get through!  Can you hear me?

*Dropping the hypothetical phone  in dream shock.

Me: Yes, yes!  I can hear you!  What is it?

Grandma:  You are in danger . . . get outa that bed and . . .  sizzle, crack, pop.  Dead line.  Dogs howling outside, chickens squawking . . . 3:30 a.m.

Do you every think we’ve all gotten so PC that we no longer talk about *real* magic?  That everything has gotten so political and theological that even we no longer truly have faith?

I fear the lost art of tapping into the magical root.  I fear that we forget that we are old, that we are born this way, that our bones vibrate with an ancient code.  Let me tell you a story.

When I was young, the public school district placed me into a gifted class.  Now.  There were two kinds of younguns in there: highly read, booky children from academic sires and naturally gifted, intuitive shimmers of souls.  When given standardized tests, the former had the edge–‘ary time.  But in the long run?  Those of us, shimmering all native in the corners, took down our peers.  We went on to actualize our potential, published more, lived fuller, more rich lives.

Some of us were witches.  Some of us were muggles.  Some of us were muggles attempting to garner the shimmer of witches.  Some of us laughed at their naiveté.

Regardless of political correct hoohah, I contend the following: witches are born.  Not made.  Witches are organic receptors of the night, the stars, the howl on the wind.

“All your life, you’ve never seen a woman taken by the wind.”

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We are, in essence, willing to be taken over . . . willing, able, to speak the cosmos through fleshly lips.  We prefer the company of frogs, the comfort of fireflies, the warmth of fire..  We are risk takers– and nothing can be as antithetical to the confines of regimated study.    It saddens my soul to see us now regulated to cold, calculated confines of curriculum, although I have succumbed to the argument for education.  It’s just that:

How do you teach the Craft to a muggle?

The result, as I have witnessed, is egomania.  Paranoia.  God complexes.  Chaos.  And little real magic.  We have, in essence, paved paradise and put up a witches yard sale.  This, Batchildren, is the real difference between Paganism and Witchcraft: one is a livable theology.  The other is an incapturable potion, an heretofore illusive/allusive designation of DNA.  Both are possible; neither depends on the other.  I fully realize that my words are inflammatory, but this is why:

Not everyone is a witch.  (Oh, snap.)  You can’t buy this at Walmart.  You cannot lie your way into the gate.  This theory teases my memory of A Witches’ Bible, which states that:

Witches know in theory, and have satisfied themselves in practice, that there are points and areas of interaction between the levels; situations in which the mental plane acts powerfully on the astral plan and affects its phenomena–or the spiritual on the physical, and so on.  Each plane is affecting the others all the time; but there seem to be what may be called points of inter-resonance where this effect is particularly striking and clearly enough defined to be made use of in practice. [1]

It is this “inter-resonance” that becomes the deal-breaker between “natural” witch and “book” witch.  And, because the real witch is often bored by too much pretentious, hyper-intellectual mental masturbation, allow my Southern voice a shot at this:

My grandma made the most delectable, tender biscuits in the free world.  Took all of Sunday afternoon: sifting, singing, laughing.  Cutting flour into Crisco, or butter, kneading and redesigning and recutting.  Painting in butter, timing.  And ‘nary once did I see her break out a recipe book.  These delightful, fluffy, soul-satisfying spheres were only served once per week on account of DAMN.


I had this friend years ago who attempted to cut all sugar, butter and meat products out of her kitchen.  (Note:  she was NOT Southern, ahem.)  Her cakes, and everything else that came out of her oven, were extraordinarily well measured and weighed.  Every culinary move was lockstep, by the book.  The result?  Well.  One night leaving her house, my baby boy asked incredulously from the back of the van:  “Momma?  How does she take the flavor out of food?”

Like that.  Mad scientists that she was, there was no room allotted for the Divine.  (Back to God-complexes and unholy chaos.)  See, *magical* chaos occurs when you have the background and the touch.  From these moments, we achieve the perfect fried okra, the sanctity of Southern Sweet Tea and the like.  The alternative is *controlled* chaos:  I’ve read the book.  Followed the recipe.  And this shit came out.  (Nothing like a neatly carved slice of shit chaos, hold the happy.)

Ah.  But I’m still not truly hitting the joy stick, am I?

Let’s try sex.

So.  Two scenarios.  Two couples have both read The Kama Sutra.  One couple was married decades ago in a desperate attempt to escape their families and holds secrets against each other.  The other couple was whipped up like heavy cream in a hot summer against all odds in a desperate attempt to be in love.  Now then, Couple One:

Enacts position number 42, exquisitely.  Both climax a little and high-five each other for their performance and  fall asleep, back to back.  Both brag the next day on the phone.

Couple Two:

Begins to enact position number 42, fall off the bed laughing, invent position number 1,098, nearly shake down the walls in climax, have ice cream, then a shot of whisky and drift off to sleep in a sweat-pretzel whispering childhood secrets to each other.  Neither ever tell another living soul.

I dare you to be Couple Two.  That, Batchildren, is where the magic is.  Earth-sounding, mind-numbing, life-affirming magic.  Number One?  Well.  Ten points for replicating Image number 23 of the book.  But that aint’ cooking with butter, y’all.  


Still not making my point?  Sokay.  One last try.

Remember that little rich girl in school who was poked and jabbed at the poor girl?  Set her up with passed notes, tripped her in the halls?  She was jealous, but of what?  The poor girl didn’t have the same clothes, the same car, the same attention.  What could it have been?  And if the poor girl ever got her druthers, ever dared to surpass her economic/social lot: the rich girl slung accusations of harlotry? Or worse?  Why, all her charisma must be an indicator of a psychiatric flaw.  Or, she was evil and had *charmed* everyone around her.  Right?

Hmmm.  Or was it this?

That the poor little witch baby had grown up hard, accepted the dirt between her toes, made friends with the trees that mourned her childhood, danced with the fairies when no one else would have her, knelt at the Moon and was fed by her solitude.  That baby spun in the wind under no hand but the Great Mother.  That baby?  She’s magic.  The one tripping her in the halls?  One Green Cheerleader.

It’s the price we pay.  In retrospect: I wouldn’t have it any other way.  In this technologically enabled world, there is still ancient magic.  An echo that refuses dictation.  And, most of all, there are still natural witches . . . the olden ones with moss on their toes, wings on their tongues and crystals in their eyes.  So Mote We Be.

So.  The phone rang.  Grandma was hollerin’.  The dogs were howling.  The sky was wild.  I let it take me.

No fear.  For I am It’s child.  (Research that.  Good luck.)


1. Farrar, Janet and Stewart, A Witches’ Bible, (Washington: Phoenix Publishing), 1981.

Seba O'KileyComment