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The Drug of the Dawn: How to Solve the Riddle of t...

The Drug of the Dawn: How to Solve the Riddle of the Witch’s Cackle

Danielle Dulsky the house of twigs THoT witch witchraft

Come sit, heathen. At long last, I’ve solved the most vexing riddle, and I can see by the ache behind your eyes that you wonder about the darkest cosmic jokes, too. Forgive me if you’ve already untied this knot, but I’ve been long burdened by the tangled complexities of a witch’s life. For all my tired pursuits and obsessive learning, I’ve never been able to answer this question:

Why does the witch cackle?

The witch sees much on these longer nights when stubborn ghosts refuse the ground, after all. Her sagging skin thins, unfed by the sweeter dreams and softer memories. Her visions are marked and haunted by shredded angel wings, wailing banshees awash in blood, and those mystic pre-dawn skies that mock our arrogant clocks and call the hooded, knowing ones to bow low to the exquisite unseen.

So why does she cackle?

If you listen, the world hums during that hallowed and violet hour before sunrise. The frozen dirt sings, and the naked trees tell you their most ghastly and grotesque stories. Just when that ginger glow snakes along the horizon, you just can’t help but stretch your arms moonward and be swallowed whole by the eternal infinite. Just then, you feel your bones already underground deep in some not-so-distant salt-riddled earth where your wandering soul is already roaming and whispering love poetry into the ears of the broken-hearted, where the whole of your life was but a single indigo thread in the grand and beauteous tapestry called time.

Just then, just when that beast of a blaze really gets going and strikes the clouds with amber light, you become an old one long gone, an ancient hearth-tender who dreamt you alive, who saw a witch with arms reaching to the sunrise and slow-dancing with majestic awe. You harden and become rock. You melt and become river. You root and become oak. You soften and become wolf, then, just when the blinding orb burns away the mists and casts its unforgiving firelight on all your human aches, just then, you all but dissolve into the widest expanse of your eternal becoming. You are here. You are not here. You are the most monstrous shadow and glimmering, starlit grace. You are a holy paradox split open by that deafening thunderclap moment when the wild dawn meets the dying night.

In that moment, everything and nothing makes sense. All language is pitiful, and your own name falls to bones. You are a preposterous joke. You are the diffused fog of chaos and intricate order. You weep at the absurdity of it all, at the grand concrete boxes built by the human animal to stay warm and the blind devotion to round metal trinkets become fragile paper become god-symbols on a screen. Your eyes spill saltwater-drop prayers for the loss of art, for feigned intimacy, for floating plastic boneyards, and for the rising sea of shattered belonging.

You are an echo, a whimper, a tender song.

Just then, just when the pale moon fades altogether and the somber night takes its final exhale, your grief gives way. Your brokenness gives birth, and you are suddenly an innocent. Whimsy wakes you to an immense creaturely gratitude, to an overflowing swell of sheer gut-born joy, and you lighten into laughter. You burst into a confetti-storm of shrill guffaws. Your cells twitch together in a synchronized moving prayer to hilarity, and, my dear friend, in that moment, the sound that erupts from the hollow of your belly and is hurled from your tongue can only be described as a cackle.

So, you see, I’ve figured it out. I know why, for all her darkness and desperation, the witch still cackles, and I’ll be damned if the dawn isn’t the wildest drug I’ve ever done.

 

  • Author Posts
Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.
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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.

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