Thursday, March 05, 2015

Esbat Musings on Motherhood & Witchcraft

My mother told me a story once. Her baby sister was a small baby, a little sickly, and not growing very well.  My grandmother was worried, and told her mother about it.

My great-grandmother told her that they needed to take my Aunt's "measure".

My mother doesn't remember much of the story after that, only that her sister did indeed start to grow. "But Mom," I said, "you know that was witchcraft, right?"

My mother was shocked and rather dismissive of the idea. But taking one's measure is pretty common in modern witchcraft, and is a very old custom.

You measure certain parts of the body, which then become a physical representation of that person. My guess would be that my great-grandmother would have taken my aunt's measure and then buried it at the new moon, so that as the moon grew, so would the baby.

And, you know, that's witchcraft.

Now, she probably would have said some prayers to Jesus, because they were Christian. And she may have been completely unaware of it's old Pagan roots, being passed down as just a folk remedy.

But it's still witchcraft. And I can't help but wonder if my great-grandmother was secretly a witch. I doubt it, as family stories are interesting, but rarely that interesting.

But still, I wonder.

I mean, clearly people had kept these traditions. Why not?

Think about it. When your kids are sick, do you sit back and hope they're cured? Well, not most of us. We want things we can do. We find the right medicines. We cook. We take them to the doctor if we need to. But whatever we do, we do something.

Really, what is harder to do than nothing? So people kept their old ways, slapping a new God on the front of them. Because, whether it worked or not, it made them feel like they were doing something. Like they had some power. And for women who have been raised for centuries with very little power, I don't think the value of that can be underestimated.

Personally, I'm not just a believer in my faith. I'm a doer. My tools are simple, because the power to do the work I do, doesn't lie in my tools. It lies in me, in my intention. In my own innate power to affect change in the universe, and within myself.

Mothers (and fathers, too) are magical in ways we don't even realise. From defeating monsters beneath the bed, to curing a hurt with the power of a kiss, we have the incredible power of changing an entire life, with our love.

So, get out there, and know that you are every bit as special as the little people you care for. And hey, if your little one is a slow grower, maybe you just need to take their measure, and bury it beneath the new moon, offering up prayers to whatever Gods and Goddesses you follow. It can't hurt.

Blessed Be! And enjoy the Full Moon...

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