Thursday 25 August 2022

Book Excerpt: Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging

Here's an extract from a new book, Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging: Finding Your Power through the Changing Seasons, by Cait Johnson:

Introduction: A Magical Invitation 

Several years ago, as I sat with a group of friends comparing our jowls and saggy arms and laughing uproariously, it occurred to me that unless we die young we’re going to get older. It’s seems like a journey to a strange land that none of us have ever visited before, and we don’t have a map. But wouldn’t it be nice if we did? 

Like everyone else, I hear the perpetual yawp of our culture nattering on about the Land of Aging being an ugly, dangerous place, and how we’d better spend a lot of money pronto so we won’t look like we’re well on the way. But I’m here to tell you: our culture has it all wrong. The Land of Aging can be filled with freedom and beauty, wisdom and pleasure. 

If you look at our language around aging women, you’ll notice the strangest phenomenon: the word crone actually comes from “crown,” not referring to any temporal hierarchy of power, but to the deep wisdom emanating from the head. And hag comes from the Greek word hagio, meaning “holy.” How the meanings have changed! 

Witch Wisdom celebrates the Wise Woman in all of us who knows how to turn inward, who hears the voice of her deep self, who tunes out the cruel messages of our culture and ignores the siren song of advertising that promises us youthful skin and hair (for a price) because she knows that wrinkles and gray hair can be beautiful, and that connection to her own vibrant spirit is what makes her fully alive. As novelist Ursula LeGuin writes, “For old people, beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young . . . It has to do with who the person is.” 

Old women are closer to the wild. We have learned so much, dreamed so much, done so much—just having weathered life past the age of 50 is an accomplishment! As we draw nearer to the mystery that is death, we become closer to Source. And having gone beyond so many of the other-pleasing concerns of younger women, we are free to embrace our magical uniqueness in a new way, living out our Crone Queen years with verve. Of course, the experience of magical aging is different at 55 than it is at 95; there are many phases of the journey, and they aren’t all easy. But they are all part of coming to terms with life, and we can embrace and celebrate this challenging and ultimately liberating time. 

And now a word about witches. Our culture is finally changing to embrace what witches really are: Wise Ones, healers, makers, connectors, transformers, lovers. We come in all ages, shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, although other cultures may call us bruja or mchawi or strega. Our English witch comes from the Old English “craft of the wise.”  

There is a place deep in our hearts where we are conscious and strong in our aging. In fact, we can imagine an entire generation of women sailing on magical brooms into our elder years with open curiosity and verve, celebrating our magic, our wisdom, and our connection to All That Is, embracing our queenly, croning selves and enjoying the hell out of the ride. Imagine how much happier you would be. Imagine how much kinder the world would be. I invite you to be a part of this revolution. I invite you to be an old witch.

Author Cait Johnson is a counselor, teacher, playwright, performer, and witch as well as having written six books. She trained with the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and has a private practice as an editor and intuitive counselor in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging is published by Destiny Books/Inner Traditions. You can view it on Amazon.

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