On Becoming Wild

emma kathryn obeah woman whispers the house of twigs THoT becoming wild witchcraft

My fingers slip on the wheel of the lighter as I light the second and last candle and it feels like sandpaper to my already sore fingertips. A gentle breeze threatens the flickering flames but then dies down and the flames grow stronger, illuminating the small circle in which I sit, surrounded by elder, hawthorn, oak and sycamore, brambles and the bare sticks of rambling rose.

I am alone in the woods, the Devils woods no less, for that is what this place is called, or at least by the locals and has been for as long as I can remember and I have known these woods for as long as I can remember. We would come here as children and play beneath the boughs, but now I come as an adult, as a witch and I worship this land in all weathers, all seasons, in both day and night, for there is a magic to this  place, as there is in all wild places, and it changes with the seasons as the year progresses from spring to summer, through autumn and winter. Now though, the leaves have mostly fallen from the trees and cover the floor and my candle light may well be visible from the path that cuts through the woods but it doesn’t matter. There are no human eyes to take notice this night, for it is cold and dark; my fingers feel numb and the cold air pinches my face but it doesn’t matter, this minor discomfort a small price to pay for being outside on this night, in fact is no price to pay at all. The cold breeze blow through my loose hair that hangs down past my waist. We must loosen our hair in these woods that belong to the Devil, for we come here to become wild, why else bother? It would be just as easy to stay home, in the comfort of my home, surrounded by my family watching TV I’ve seen before, easier in fact, but the call of the wild, once in our blood cannot be ignored.

Candles lit and going strong, I sit on the ground and watch the flames flicker and dance as they catch on the chill night air and I lose myself in their movements, the play of light against the black of the woods. I close my eyes and breathe deeply, listening to the sound of the woods, for they are alive and the woods at night feel so very different to the woods in the day. It’s easy to imagine that someone creeps close, and on those first forays into the woods after nightfall it is all too easy to let your imagination run away with you, but you soon learn to recognise the sounds of the woods; the crackle of the night critters as they go about their business, or the noise of a pigeon as it beats its wings in the boughs, finding a better place to perch for the night. The screech of the hunting owl.

Sometimes I come to the woods to hold ritual, but not tonight. This is one of those times when I come to recharge, to find myself. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the everyday, in the acts of living this man-made life; of going to work or school; of looking after our loved ones; of just getting caught up in the mundane, the drab. I come to realign myself to the cycles of nature. And it is at this time of year when, taking our cues from nature, that we must travel inside of ourselves; that we must conserve our energy and slow down and take stock of the year that is coming to an end and prepare for the next. We do not need to enter the woods to do so, and it will not be for all though I would urge anyone and all to find those still wild spaces close to you and connect with them, for we are as much a part of nature as anything else, though at times this simple truth is easy to lose sight of. As an animist, I see all of nature imbued with spirit and as such, we do not exist in a vacuum but instead are connected to the land and those other beings we share that space with.

Witchcraft is a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me, this is the essence. The realisation that we are a part of the wider whole, and the efforts we make in the inner realm have an effect on the outer. As hermeticism teaches, as above so below; everything vibrates. Those vibrations cause change and it is the witch who manipulates those vibrations to affect the change they seek. But to do this, we must find our place within that whole. We must become as the whole. We must take our cues from nature.

This is where I come to do that.

And when it is done, when I am ready, I extinguish the flame and leave my offering for this wild wood before picking my way through the woods and finding the track that leads back home. The waning moon hides beneath clouds and the cold air pinches my face and my fingers are numb and beginning to ache, but this is a small price to pay for becoming wild once more.

 

  • Author Posts
My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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My name is Emma Kathryn, my path a mixture of non-Wiccan Traditional British Witchcraft and Obeah, a blend that represents my heritage. A Devotee of Hekate, my witchcraft is what is needed when needed. I live in the middle of England with my partner, two teenage sons and two crazy dogs.
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