Monday, 8 March 2021

International Women's Day and Magickal Women

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day and I'm blogging about women who have made a difference in the world of magick, paganism and witchcraft. To start with, here's a quote from Every Day Magic - A Pagan Book of Days from the entry for today:

International Women’s Day: A time to reflect on femaleness. Women may be half the world’s population, but they are not yet standing as equals in authority, wealth or leadership. Today imagine the Goddess in everywoman showing her strength to the world. Reflect on the progress made, not the gaps and goals. Find your own female Self (men and women) and be unapologetic. Praise her hard work. Honor her perseverance. Celebrate her creativity. Then find a woman important to you and do the same for her. Dorothy Abrams 

Dorothy Abrams, who wrote that entry, is the first magickal woman I'm going to mention. Known as Anemone Webweaver in the magickal community, she's practiced and taught witchcraft, paganism, and core shamanism since 1984. She co-founded the Web PATH Center, a pagan church and teaching organisation in the USA and wrote a brilliant book Identity and the Quartered Circle based on her seminar materials in eclectic Wicca I-IV, healing, tarot and shamanic intensives. 

She believes grounding and ethics are the basis of all magick, encounters with the gods and goddesses, ritual and meditation. Her approach is from an inclusive cultural base and a feminist theology, both of which are her hallmarks. Before founding the Web PATH Center, she was a community activist in Auburn NY, she was co-founder of S.A.V.A.R., a sexual assault crisis centre. She established the area Battered Women's Shelter through the Cayuga County Action Program. Following that she worked for the State of New York as a human rights specialist (investigator). Dorothy now writes full time at her home in central New York.

In Every Day Magic, Dorothy asks us to look at our own female selves and consider our achievements rather than our gaps, and be unapologetic. I think it's a good exercise for each of us to do that - to be proud of what we have done, rather than thinking about what we might think we've failed to do. I'd like you to stop reading this for a moment and just think about things you have done or made progress with. Don't be shy, leave a comment and say what that is. I'll start and say I'm proud of my magickal writing. I've written four books in Moon Books' Pagan Portals series, on candle magic, poppets, guided visualisations and scrying (still going through production), and I edited the community book Every Day Magic. I genuinely think I did good work in producing them, You can find the details here.

Now I'm going to write about Maureen Brown, a magickal woman who was extremely important to me. She wasn't famous and in fact she tried to remain in the shadows. If she ever did any public rituals or teaching, she used the name Dawn Dubois. As far as I know, she only wrote one book The Cauldron Cook Book, which you can still get from The Pagan Federation. However, Maureen was one of the most amazing witches I have ever met. Rumour had it that she was partly the inspiration for Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax. She certainly fitted the physical description - thin, with grey hair and a commanding presence. And, like Granny, I'd can quite believe she was actually more powerful than the supposedly most powerful witches in the world of her day. 

She was the high priestess of a Wiccan coven that I joined back when I knew much less than I thought I did. She ran teaching evenings once a week, and rituals at weekends, tirelessly putting seekers in the craft through rigorous and demanding training that was honestly second to none. Sadly Maureen died in 2004. You can read an obituary for her here. It was written by pagan teacher Mani Navasothy, who is also one of the witches she taught.

Finally, I'm going to talk about an event in the summer that honours many Magickal Women. From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 June, the Magickal Women Conference 2021 offers three days of online talks via Zoom. The talks are by magickal women, about  magickal women and the event is organised by the extremely magickal women Sue Terry, Degard and Erzebet Barthold,. Tickets are £20/£50/£100 and you can find out more here: https://www.magickalwomenconference.com/

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