Witchcraft: Can We Separate the Spiritual from the Political?

Tara Bell explores modern spirituality and how we can be in touch with the divine feminine within ourselves and others, and how the feminist community can help us achieve a sense of our true selves.

We are all parts of the universe experiencing each other.

It was in lockdown that I started learning about spirituality, and it really transformed how I learned to care for myself and everyone around me. The spiritual belief that we are all connected, as parts of the universe experiencing itself, and that the body is just a vessel, alignswith intersectional feminism. The idea that we should liberate all women from the multiple systems of oppression that affect us is shared with ideas prominent in witchcraft as, ultimately, we are all one, and we should care for and uplift each other. 

In practising witchcraft, we can learn to see the beauty in the world around us, and see our own ability to love before anything else. I see our minds as canvases, absorbing everything we experience (good and bad), but behind this canvas is a peaceful spot of love that we can all sink back into. Through meditation, yoga, and journalling, we can connect to our feminine intuition and feel more connected to our body and soul, and in doing so, we can develop the capacity to connect to those around us. We can think of The High Priestess of the tarot deck; she sits behind a veil, surrounded by pomegranates, a symbol of sacred knowledge and the divine feminine. She is tuned into her subconscious mind and her inner illumination and calls for us to tune into our intuition and ability to know and create balance between our emotions. 

To me, ‘the divine feminine’ is not a gendered term. It is about sharpening our ability to be intuitive and interconnected to the people around us. Once we create a balance in our inner worlds, we can imagine how we want to see the society surrounding us. This ability to love surpasses the gender binary, and ideas of the divine feminine should never be used as an outline of values of what it means to be a ‘real woman’, as right-wing radical feminists may claim. Ideas of femininity are not static, biological, or exclusive to people who happen to be assigned female at birth. I think that by connecting with ourselves and giving loving energy out into the world, we can be in touch with our feminine intuition, and we can move towards liberating each other.

Artwork by Susie Long

I think that, like The High Priestess, the most spiritual state we can be in is to listen to our emotions and allow them to flow freely. I love to think of our toddler selves, who will unleash moments of rage in tantrums, before returning to a calm state two minutes later. Practising witchcraft can help us to let our emotions pass us by like a cloud, and only identify with the thoughts that truly serve us. And we can give others this same empathy as we can wonder what is going through their minds, and not think that they are defined by a specific act. By becoming in touch with our intuition and our capacity to love before anything else, we can accept all parts of ourselves as complete and whole, and appreciate everyone around us in the same way. We can love others for exactly what they are, not what they don’t have, or what they may give us. We can relate to The Star card of the tarot deck: she is connected to all parts of herself and appreciates everything around her, as well as her own loving energy. External things don’t give us loving emotions, they just bring them out of us. This is especially relevant now as in our capitalist society we are being conditioned to embrace individualism and turn away from each other, away from systems of support and community. There has been a recent girlbossification of feminism: Florence Given tells us that we don’t need anyone else to succeed, and we must ‘imagine the person [we] would become if [we] stopped trying to fix others and put that energy into [ourselves]’. Whilst it’s true that we should reject one-sided relationships and distance ourselves from people that are making us unhappy, this does not mean we can simply cease to support those around us. Feminism is about caring for each other and liberating each other from systems of oppression – it is not about striving for individual success at the expense of others. If your leftism does not come from a place of pure love, it is not real leftism, and I think this compassion and togetherness is what being a modern witch should truly be about.

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