Pagan Blog Project 2012 - W is for Witch

W is for Witch

Noun:   A woman thought to have evil magic powers.
Verb:     (of a witch) Cast an evil spell on.

noun.  hag - sorceress - harridan - hex - beldam - enchantress
verb.  bewitch - spellbind - enchant - fascinate – charm

Many of my friends have embraced the word Witch.  Even the title of my blog shows that I too identify as the word.  However what does it really mean to be a witch?  And what do we say about ourselves when we use it?

Over my lifetime I've been in many minority categories.  I've been called a Dyke, White Trash and Witch.  As many in these groups I took these words (reappropriation) and tried to embrace them as some form of empowerment.  Recently in a discussion group I belong to we talked about reclaiming these words as a way to take away the oppression that usually goes along with them and “take back” the power that is lost when a minority is singled out and ridiculed for a particular attribute.

Even though I sit and claim to be a proud witch, one of the most hurtful times in my life was just this past year when family members used it against me.  Posting on Facebook the words, you crazy WITCH still sting like fist to the gut.  Being called names is never a good thing but when someone so close to you takes something so near and dear and stabs you with it, the pain is unbearable.

So have we really taken the word back?  Are we really better off by calling ourselves witches.  No one can really say for sure, it’s a very individual process.  I do feel good about using “Witch” as a descriptive word for myself.  I think that even though it is empowering, there is still that little one inside of us that is hurt when people attack and words that we've chosen to make us stronger can still cut deep.

So what do you think, have you claimed a derogatory word as your own and then had it come back to bite you?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Until next time my pretties –

Namaste and Blessed Be


Buddhagan said...

I think of the n-word and black folk. Some of us has used it as an endearing slang term. Like all slang, you can't use it around everyone and I do feel that if you aren't black, you don't have a right to reappropriate this word.

There's also "bitch" which some of us women gladly endear. "Witch" is often used as a substitute for "bitch" and so is derogatory for the general public. No issues with referring to myself as a witch. Yet.

ela said...

I usualy don't comment on blogs, but I think this might be an useful idea or at least entertaining one.

Next time, someone calls you that (crazy witch), you can answer them by saying "thank you for the compliment". They will shut up (trust me on this one), because:
1- they won't get it (and feel stupid for saying that) or
2- will see that by calling you that, you have sense of humor AND you don't take them seriously. If you say that with a smile, you are the winner and they are not.

When people call other people names? when they feel insecurities about themself or plain angry cause they can't get you to think as they do or disagree with you and can't delvier their arguments

AND they did give you a compliment:
W -witty, wonderful, ...
I - inteligent,
T-tallented, ...
C - charming, creative...
H - human, honest... (be my guest to fill with other words).


Sosanna said...

This is wonderful I <3 IT!!!

Anonymous said...

I know this entry is a bit old (I'm way behind on my blog reader), but I still wanted to comment because I've decided to tackle this term on my own blog (post still in draft at the moment) as it applies to myself.

I have called myself a Witch privately for years, but not embraced the term publicly because of the negative associations with the word. I have also been called a witch in a very negative way and handled it very similarly to the way Ela suggested. While it did take the wind out of the sails of the person who said it, and hid my true feelings from them not giving them the hurtful satisfaction they were after, it still hurt.

I do consider myself a Witch and use the term on my blog, but in real life, I'm just not certain I'm ready to deal with the reactions the term is bound to bring out in some people.

I hope that one day we can reclaim that word, along with a few others, but I don't know how close we really are to that day.