Today is International Women’s Day. A day celebrating the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women across the world. I started the day with a Facebook post tag from one of my best friends and one of the founder members of this site celebrating the amazing women in her life. It made me cry a little. Why? Because someone sees me, understands me, honours me even and seeing words like that written about me moves me beyond words. You can bet your ass I raised her up right back because its what we’ve got to do for each other as women, sisters and fellow witches.
As achievements go, I have done pretty well in my life despite facing some of the toughest situations a person can face in a lifetime. As I write this, I am the President of a national organisation who has also run her own business for over 15 years at the same time as being a wife and mother to four. I’ve achieved it all in no small part because of the strong women and girls in my life cheering me on, helping me up when I fell, keeping it real and generally being the awesome and amazing beings that they are. I couldn’t have done it without them and nor would I have wanted to. Yes, there have been a handful of amazing men there too, but not one of them has lifted me, protected me and held me like all those women did and still do. Those women and girls gave me strength and belief in myself and without those I wouldn’t have achieved any of those things.
As a Witch as well as a woman, I am keenly aware of the ways women have been undermined, sexualised, demeaned, harmed and hated through the years – I’ve felt and been subject to all of those things throughout my life. I also have first-hand knowledge of how the world can change when that doesn’t happen, when they are respected, honoured and allowed to be the powerful beings that they are. That has been evident across the world during the last year as the pandemic has taken hold. Those led by women have largely done better in many ways than those led mainly by men. Women have been at the forefront of every vital aspect from healthcare to science to food provision. Yet they are still paid less than their male counterparts, still get less respect and still don’t have as many positions in top tier responsible jobs.
I said NO to those things a long time ago now. I started standing up and reclaiming my power as a woman and a Witch in my late teens when I decided I wasn’t putting up with it anymore. That urge only grows stronger with time and wisdom gained.
There is nothing I have ever read, nor any words I could write, that says it better than Fleassy Mallay’s powerful poem “Witches” so I shall leave my thoughts here with these words……
In the past they burned us alive
because they knew that we are witches.
So now we cast spells with our mouths
pieces of our hearts spill out.
It is incredible, the power of a woman
who is not afraid to say ‘no’.
No we won’t sit any longer while you ponder on our rights.
On our rights to give or not give life.
On our rights to make another woman our wife.
On our rights to be safe, to get paid an equal wage.
To have a voice, in a place where we might make a change.
It is incredible, the amount of ways they have slayed just to keep us small.
If they could’ve they probably would’ve burned us all.
But they couldn’t with fire so they did it with words.
Laid down laws to determine the amount of our worth.
They kept us in contracts.
They separated our circles.
Erased us from pages
and made labour saving devices our saviors.
It is incredible how quickly knowledge can fade.
How much effort was invested to lead us astray.
But we will not come quietly.
Well, there’s another thing they tried to take away.
Our rights to exclaim our orgasms ecstatically.
We will not come quietly.
We will open our mouths and let our spells spill out.
Cast poetic prayers into the night so that every woman
can hear the howl of her sister’s delight,
reminding her that her voice deserves to be heard.
Let her jaw drop. Let her shame stop.
Let her body scream under the self pleasure of
what it means to be a woman who can speak freely.
You see words, they carry meaning.
They have fooled us for so long that ‘no’ means ‘yes’.
So much so that I’m almost impressed.
Except I finally discovered they’re right.
So I’ve claimed back that ‘no’ as mine.
Because every ‘no’ I throw against their forces
is another ‘yes’ I retain for my own self-worth.
It is a spell cast for my own protection.
It is incredible, the power of a woman
who is not afraid to say NO.
And this old witch?
I’m done with broomsticks.
I’m done with ‘know your place’.
This witch knows that some knowledge
just won’t fade.
That every woman is my sister.
Through the hubble and the bubble
and the toil and the trouble
we grow stronger
when we cast our spells together.
We entered the fire.
Now we rise from the ashes
and we are holding our candles
and lighting our matches
until the night becomes lighter
and our voices can grow
because we have remembered
we are witches
and we have learned to say ‘NO’.
~ Fleassy Malay
Here’s to all the women in the world but especially big love to my Mum, my Sister, my Daughter, My Aunts, My Grandmothers and every one of my Amazing Friends
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