"Come here, my bird! I will give you the dangerous black night to stretch your wings in, and poisonous berries to feed on, and a nest made of bones and thorns, perched high up in danger where no one can climb to it."
That's why we become witches: to show our scorn of pretending life's a safe business, to satisfy our passion for adventure. It's not malice, or wickedness - well perhaps it is wickedness, for most women love that - but certainly not malice, not wanting to plague cattle and make horrid children spout up pins and - what is it? - "blight the genial bed." Of course, given the power, one may go in for that sort of thing, either in self-defence, or just out of playfulness. But it's a poor twopenny housewifely kind of witchcraft, black magic is, and white magic is no better. One doesn't become a witch to run round being harmful, or to run round being helpful either, a district visitor on a broomstick. It's to escape all that - to have a life of one's own, not an existence doled out to you by others...
Excerpt from Lolly Willowes, by Syliva Townsend Warner
I think a great deal about my existence at the end of each calendar year. Whether my presence has helped or hindered others. How I might have added to the joy of the world, or where I might have washed entire universes away with my tears. I used to be very hard on myself. As the last days of December slipped away I would replay a list of my faults and failures. All the things I could have done better. The ways I should have been wealthier, healthier, wiser, or more loving. Though the unkind voice might still slither in at times, I'm done with tearing myself apart. It serves no good purpose. I'd rather take a look at what I've done well, and how I might slip into the current of those successes and swim toward the things that bring me more satisfaction and a sweeter life.
There were times this year, in moments of pain or fear, I spoke curses and blights that made me ashamed and I did my best to take them back as soon as possible. Curses can be useful but carry a weight with them that can bear down even the lightest spirit if used haphazardly, and I've learned that my own agony is not lessened by inviting pain on others.
I've come to a uneasy truce with a brain that is changing as it ages. No more multitasking, or trying to balance several spinning dishes in the air at once. I work better these days when I focus on one task at a time. I have discovered that jumping and wiggling makes my body really happy. Not running, or swimming, or biking. Jumping. I have learned that there is, sadly, such a thing as too much coffee. I know now that sunrises and sunsets - as many as I can glimpse - are an absolute necessity and not something I'm willing to go too long without seeing. We get too used to living indoors, I think. The woods miss us.
I have discovered that I'm not willing to be still. To be obedient or nice. I have very little interest in what others want for me or from me (though for those I love, there is little I wouldn't do). There are places I want to go, places I've waited to see, and I'm not content to wait for the right time to go, or the right person to go with me anymore. I've had my heart torn apart a hundred times and it always grows back in some funny sort of way, so there no longer seems to be much to lose. I am planning adventures that I will actually take this coming year, one way or another.
Life is not a safe business. And it's not long lasting. Even my beloved grandfather would have happily kicked around many years more than the 99.9 he was allotted if he'd had the lungs to let him keep going. I imagine my year ahead and it is all about how I will create a life of my own - one I can be proud of, blush at, and cackle loudly while recalling my journeys. I will satisfy my passions and my thirst for adventure. I will make magic and grow wicked things and revel in the roses as well as their thorns.
I'm wishing you a fierce 2019. Wild in all the ways you want it to be. Kind and soft as you like. Brilliant, love-filled, and so full of laughter that you have sore cheeks most days. May it be magic.
Happy New Year
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