A year or so ago, Courtney Luck contributed a beautiful story about her Hair Journey through Grief to HTHG and inspired me to dig even deeper into hair and it’s importance in our lives. Through working with her on the story, I came to see her as a very thoughtful and insightful woman who knows first hand about walking through shadows in search of the light, and creating her life as she wants it to be.
She is a healer and manifester. Courtney embodies the Witch. Today, I offer her deep gratitude for her contribution to Witches I Love, Interviews with Modern Witches.
What does the term Witch mean to you?
To me, I associate the term “Witch” with a woman who is intuitive, passionate, and deeply connected to her senses. One who is in alignment with herself, her surroundings, and to nature.
How would one know that one was a witch? 🙂
I honestly believe that every woman has an inner Witch that can be cultivated. Historically, as women, we have always been the care givers, the healers, the ones with a connection to our natural environment; attuned with the cycles of seasons, the cycles of the moon, aware of which plants can heal, which can hurt, which can nourish our bodies… Because of this long lineage of woman before us, it is in our DNA. As modern women, we may have lost connection to this innate wisdom and so, because it is still there, we can coax it out with practice. So, yes, any woman can be a Witch if she so chooses.
Standing in alignment with the full moon, July 2015″ Photo by Alison Beman
Talk about intention and manifestation…..How do they work together, Can you recall the first time you experienced their power in action?
I am a healer so my response is in healers terms. Intention and Manifestation are like Yin and Yang. Yin equaling stillness and Yang equaling activation. Intention is Yin. It is the thought or belief that we have within us. The thought or belief we may have over and over again. There is no action to intention. We believe it and it lives within us. In Chinese medicine, utmost Yin (stillness) always gives way to Yang (action). Manifestation is action! We hold our intentions with patience and trust. Manifestation is our intention made into reality. (By the Divine, by the Universe, by our Higher Self- whatever name you want to give to this force) One cannot exist without the other. Intentions and Manifestations will always work together. And as our intentions are made manifest, one by one the cycle will repeat. We manifest what we desire, and we move onto the next intention. A perfect circle.
At my holistic med school, one of the first things we ever heard was this: “Intention is everything”. Every time I sit with a patient, I have an intention for them, an intention for my treatment, an intention even for the placement of the needles. The first time I experienced the power of intention was in my treatment room. Depending on the state of my patient, I may or may not share my intention with them. What amazes me is when I choose not to share my intention. On their next visit, everything that I had intended with the treatment has been made manifest. It is so incredibly profound to witness. And for those patients which I choose to share my intention, when they return, they report the intention has emerged and then some! They have taken my intention, made it their own, and how it manifests for them exceeds my wildest dreams.
I have also experienced my own cycle of intentions and manifestations. Every New Moon I create a list of intentions. I write about what I want to invite into my life and then I write a corresponding list of what those intentions could look like when they are manifested. On one of my most recent lists, for example, I wrote that I intended to grow my practice and that would manifest as starting 5 new patients that month. Within two weeks I had 6 new patients booked and within the month, I had begun working with them all. Because intentions and manifestations are so deeply linked (think Yin and Yang), I love working with them in this way. I believe it is not enough to simply have the intention. You must give that stillness of intention a vehicle of action to make it manifest.
How do you think that a collection of witches is magnified in power to an individual witch?
Summer Solstice Full Moon Drumming, June 2015 Photo by Irene Glasse
I believe that all women need the support of other women. Witches are deeply intuitive, loving, and supportive. I am a part of a Goddess tribe and also have been adopted by a tribe of Witches. In these tribes, there are healers, shamaness’, herbalists, conjurers and all sorts of other beautiful titles that light us on fire. We walk the Labyrinth every full moon. We walk in silence, brushing hands and offering smiles or giggles as we pass each other. We drum. We have teaching meetings, each time a new topic by a new facilitator. I have many rituals that I perform alone. Many different practices I cultivate. And then, when I gather with those powerful, passionate, wild-women I cry. I cry because I am so grateful to have their influence and more so to be welcomed into the Sisterhood. I am so grateful to learn, to be in a community where we share knowledge with one another for the good of all. We lend support, laughter, and lessons. All women need this. We need to know that we are valued, appreciated, and that we are powerful beyond measure. Before a life changing experience 6 years ago, I didn’t have many close women friends. I felt like I related to my male friends better than to women. I learned young that there can be competition between women- for that hot guy in gym class, for class president, for that part in the play… It took the experience of watching my husband die 6 years ago to learn how powerful I am. And that it is my life’s mission to remind all women how powerful they are. I believe that witches are the first ever feminists, bringing back to light the matriarchal Goddess powers that never should have been cast aside. When women gather, mountains move.
Where would you direct a woman who is interested in exploring her inner witch for the first time? (books? Plants? etc.)
Foraging to make smudge bundles, photo by me
I think that the quickest way to get in touch with ones inner Witch is to get your hands dirty. Go out into nature! Touch everything as if you didn’t know what it was. Smell everything. Taste everything (I’ve eaten dirt, licked leaves and stones…) Listen to the sounds around you. Use your eyes to learn how nature moves and thrives. We are nature. When I feel lost, I look at what is happening outside. The trees don’t fight against the wind, they bow to it yet it does not break them. Water flows in and around all things. The leaves do not fight against the seasons, they let go when it is time to let go. As we awaken nature within us, we become more intuitive, more trusting of our gut instincts; this is our inner Witch awakening. She tells us that we already know what to do. All of the answers are inside us. This makes us magical.
How do the facets of our souls (shadow side, sun-lit side, good, evil) effect the process of owning our power?
I’m back to Yin and Yang again. The symbol of Yin and Yang shows that small bits of each exist in the other. The white with the small spot of black, the black with the small spot of white. We need to see both our shadow sides and our sun-lit sides in order to live completely and wholly. For me, it was losing my husband that plunged me deep into my shadow self. All of my insecurities emerged. Fearful, terrified, utterly lost without him. My entire identity and future felt like it died with him. And I allowed myself to remain there, in my shadow side. And praise to Goddess that I did! Because when you are in the darkness long enough, you will inevitably see a spot of light. Facing my shadow-self, my fears, my inner critic, I was able to learn so much about who I am. The more I learned about myself, the more peace I made with my shadows. The light grew and grew. And now I am deeply content with the woman that I am. I will never stop learning and growing. I am grateful to the darkness, because without it I would not be able to appreciate the light that I live in now. It is because of those shadows that I have power. It takes great courage to face our fears, our imperfections, our doubts. By acknowledging that our shadows exist, we come closer and closer to integrating them with the light and becoming whole again. And when we are whole, we are unstoppable.
Why do you think it is so hard for some of us to own our power, speak to the woman who knows she has it but is afraid to use it.
Gathering for Henna Instruction, photo by Irene Glasse
The feminist in me is screaming. So I will speak from my own personal experience (which I know will resonate with most women in this day and age). When I was very little, I felt like a super-hero. I felt like I could do anything. I was the best, most wonderful little person. Yet, as I grew up, I felt less and less so. I was taught by society to smile at everyone, to be agreeable, to be quiet, to stay out of the way, to do whatever was necessary to reduce conflict. I was taught that Prince Charming was going to come and save me. That true loves kiss conquered all. Even into adulthood, if I were complimented, I would brush it off or even give reasons why that compliment was unfounded. If I were praised, I’d give praise right back to lessen the attention on myself. My mentor, Bob Duggan, taught us that if we were acknowledged to take a deep breath and then ask them to repeat it- to ensure we actually took in that acknowledgement. I feel it is difficult for some of us to own our power because of what we have been taught in this society. And the remedy for this “shrinking violet” all comes back to nature. A rose cannot choose not to bloom for fear of making the other flowers jealous of its fragrance and beauty. The rose blooms because that’s what roses do. We are roses- dears. Roses, Dandelions, Chrysanthemums… whatever flower you want to be. Dimming your light to spare another is unnecessary. There is no competition. We are each unique in all the world! Everyone on this earth needs you to shine your you-ness. I know this is easier said than done. It takes practice. Daily, even each minute there is a practice of remembering that we are special. My mentor also told us “Give your gifts away! You can’t take them with you anyway”. Your power is a gift. Own it, acknowledge it, and then teach others to own their power by being a living example. The “gift” you are giving away is not your power, the “gift” is showing others how to be powerful. It is our duty, as women, to empower other women.
“We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terribly loyalty” -GK Chesterton .
Tell us a little bit about your personal witch journey.
Meditation room alter, photo by me
I will say that I’m so happy to be a Witch and to be owning the title. My very first favorite movie as a little girl was Teen Witch (top that!) I wanted to be a witch so badly! I’d write spells and talk to the wind, light candles and murmur into the flames. My Mother taught me how to smudge with sage and to use a pendulum to help me make decisions (my Mama is a total plant witch- she can bring anything back to life) I’m thrilled to see many women embracing the term as empowering, because that is exactly what it is. My witch journey began as a sassy and always-the-center-of-attention little girl and then re-emerged 6 years ago after my husband left this plane. This part of me was clearly there all along, and it took a great shift in consciousness to remember it. I know now that this is my authentic self, this witch that I have embraced. She is the healer in me, the chantress, the tarot reading, sage burning, intention making, manifesting badass babe; this is me.
Courtney Luck is an acupuncturist, reiki healer, writer, artisan, cat mom and doting auntie… A lover of live music, meditation, shamanism, dancing, singing, and playing in nature. Courtney is the owner of Soul Garden Acupuncture and lives in historic downtown Frederick, MD. For more information visit: www.soulgardenacupuncture.com