I came up with the idea recently of writing a story featuring my niece as the main character that explains some of the basic tenets of witchcraft. The reason being is that she started to ask questions of my sister and I about our faith. And I understand that explaining religion to a 7 year old can be kind of confusing.
So, this is my way of explaining to her what it is and what we believe.
I want to make this a series that will grow with her. So as Savannah ages, so will her character. This way, as she gets older, I can explain more in depth about the beliefs and why is that we do what we do. I would like to have my sister draw pictures to go along with the stories. But for right now it’s just a story.
So if you will indulge me for a little while, this is the rough draft of the first installment of her story.
There once was a little girl named Savannah. She lived with her mom in an old house on the edge of town. Savannah loved to read and play with her friends. She liked to visit her grandmother and her aunt and play with her aunt’s to silly kitties.
Savannah had long curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She was tall for her age and likes to remind her mom and her aunt how soon she will be 10 – 3 years! Savannah, will being tall, was thin and she can get into small places that others couldn’t.
One sunny afternoon, Savannah was exploring her mom’s sewing room upstairs. She was flipping through some of her mom’s books when she found a big book it looked old and smells like leather and dust.
Savannah picked up the book and carried it with her arms wrapped tightly around it to the kitchen downstairs where her mom was making lunch. Savannah sit down at the kitchen table and flips the book open.
The writing was Curly – what her mother told her was cursive – and Savannah found that she could not read it. But there were hand drawn pictures of flowers, leaves, and stems as well as some actual pressed flowers and herbs for the garden. There were lists and sometimes charts. Some of the writing looks like little pictures made up of only straight lines. There were strange symbols on one chart and a red ribbon tied in knots.
“Mama, what’s this?” Savannah asked. She held up the knotted ribbon.
Amber looked up from chopping lettuce and tomatoes. “Where did you get that?” she asked.
“From this book upstairs,” Savannah said. “Is it yours?”
Amber sat down next to Savannah and put the knoted ribbon back in the book.
“Do you know what a witch is?” Amber asked. Savannah nodded. “What is it?”
“A witch is an ugly woman with green skin and warts. She wears all black and eats kids that are bad. She casts spells on people,” Savannah said.
“Not quite,” Amber replied. “What would you say if I told you that Mommy and Aunt Nicole are witches?”
Savannah’s mouth fell open . “No way! You and Aunt Nicole aren’t green! And you don’t eat kids.”
“You’re right. We don’t. But we are witches. Being a witch doesn’t make a person bad or ugly. But you are right about one thing. Witches do cast spells,” Amber said. “They just don’t cast spells to hurt people.”
“Do you cast spells?” Savannah asked, looking at her mom with wide eyes.
“I do. And I keep a journal of my spells in here,” Amber said. She pointed to the book Savannah found. “This is called My Book of Shadows. Every which has a book of shadows that she keeps her spells in. I write in mine almost every day.”
“Wow,” Savannah said. “It sounds like a lot of work.”
Amber smiled. “Sometimes it is. Being a witch takes a lot of effort and it is something to be taken very serious”
“Can I be a witch?” Savannah asked.
“If you want to, yes,” Amber said. “But remember it is a lot of work. Being a witch isn’t a game. It takes a lot of reading and studying. If you really want to be witch, you have to be serious about it.”
So then Savannah thought about it for a moment. She really did like to read and she thought it would be cool to be a witch. But her mom never joked about serious things, so Savannah knew her mom really meant it when she said it took a lot of effort.
“What else does a witch do?” Savannah asked.
“Witches do lots of things besides cast spells. We celebrate the Sabbaths, which are holidays, And we worship the gods and goddesses,” Amber said.
“Do we go to church?” Savannah asked.
“Witches don’t have a church building they go to. We can pray and talk to our gods and goddesses anywhere. They are all around us in nature,” Amber said.
“What else?”Savannah asked.
“We also make gardens and try to live as naturally as possible. We tried to take care of the earth and we tried to be kind to others. But we are also kind to ourselves too. We work with herbs, candles, the elements, and crystals,” Amber said.
“That sounds like fun. But I think you are right. That sounds like witches do alot,” Savannah said.
“They do,” Amber said. “So, why don’t you think about it and we can decide later if you want to be a witch.”
Savannah nodded and give her mom a hug. They eat lunch together and then Savannah went outside to play.
In the garden Savannah found her tabby cat Ragnall. He found her between the tomato plants and through the strawberry and pumpkin patches. As they walked, Savannah told Ragnall all about her mom and aunt being witches and about how she wanted to be one too. Ragnall listened intently, his ears flickering every so often. After everything Savannah told him, Ragnall pounced on a beetle digging in the dirt.
Savannah crouched down next to him and started to also dig in the dirt. She really wanted to be a witch, but she was worried about not knowing all the things at which new. Like how is she supposed to be kind to the Earth? Savannah stop digging in the dirt and try to step as lightly as possible over to her trampoline. If she were the Earth, Savannah didn’t think she would like people stepping on her or digging in her.
Savannah bounced for a little while on her trampoline until she was out of breath and then she laid back on the warm black surface and let the trampoline support her weight. Savannah closed her eyes. There was a light breeze blowing through the yard and with the warm sun shining down on her, Savannah found herself drifting off to sleep.
It felt like only a moment that Savannah had closed her eyes. When she opened them, it looked like her trampoline had been moved to a big field filled with flowers and birds. Savannah sat up and threw her legs over the side of the trampoline.
The grass of the field was soft under her bare feet. Savannah knelt to smell a big purple flower and when she did she saw a pair of toes peeking out from beneath a pale blue dress. Savannah look up into the face of a smiling woman with long dark wavy hair that frames her face. Even though Savannah didn’t know the woman she knew the woman would not hurt her.
“Hello, Savannah,” the woman said. “Do you like my flowers?”
Savannah nodded, but did not say anything. Sometimes, Savannah was shy.
The Lady knelt so she was eye level with Savannah. “Do you have questions for me?”
Again, Savannah nodded. “Where is my house?” She asked. “Where am I?”
“You are dreaming on your trampoline in your backyard,” The Lady said. “This is my meadow. You can come here in your dreams to visit me if you like.”
“And then I can go home?” Savannah asked. The Lady nodded and smiled. Savannah took a deep breath. She had another very important question. “Do you know about witches?”
The Lady laughed, but Savannah knew she wasn’t laughing to make fun of her. She seemed happy that Savannah had asked.
“Yea. I know a lot about witches,” The Lady said.
“My mom says that being a witch takes a lot of work. I want to be a witch like her and Aunt Colie, but I don’t know that I can be one,” Savannah said. She could feel her eyes tearing up and her heart hurt.
The Lady wiped away the first tear as it fell from Savannah’s eye and down her trembling chin. “When your mom and your aunt first became witches, they didn’t know any of the things that witches are supposed to know. They had to learn about the moon and the seasons and how to make a spell work.” The Lady wrapped Savannah in a hug.
Savannah felt better knowing that she didn’t have to know everything before she became a witch.
“How do we be kind to the earth?” Savannah asked.
“We don’t litter, we replant trees and make gardens. We recycle as much as we can and we try to take care of one another. We also try to protect the animals of the earth,” The Lady said. “You don’t have to tiptoe across your yard. The Earth shares energy with you when you walk barefoot.”
“Oh,” Savannah said. “I thought digging in the dirt hurt the earth.” Savannah was quiet for a moment. “Can you make me a witch?”
The Lady shook her head. “I cannot make you do or be anything you do not want to do or be. Only you can decide if you are witch or not.” The Lady brushed a piece if hair behind Savannah’s ear. “But I promise that I will be here to walk beside you.”
Savannah nodded. “Okay. I would like that.”
“Then it shall be so,” The Lady said. “Are you ready to go home, little witch?”
“Yes!” Savannah replied. She wanted to tell Ragnall and her mom that she was a witch now. She took the Lady’s hand and followed her back through the meadow to the trampoline.
“Before you go, I have a gift for you,” The Lady said. She turned to a tall black cauldron sitting by a stump and reached into the cauldron. She pulled out a floppy witch’s hat. “Every witch needs a hat. This one is yours.”
Savannah grinned at the Goddess Cerrdiwen as she carefully placed the black hat on her head. The brim was wide and the hat had a big crook in it. Immediately, Savannah loved it.
“When you wake up in your yard, find Ragnall and he will have your hat,” The Lady said. “Until next time, Savannah.”
Savannah stretched out on the trampoline and closed her eyes. She breathed in deeply, the scent of flowers heavy in the twilight air.
A moment later, a light breeze tugged at her hair. Savannah woke up. It was no longer twilight, but late afternoon. Savannah stayed for a while on the warm trampoline, remembering her dream of the meadow. Then, she suddenly remembered what The Lady said about her hat.
Savannah leapt off the trampoline and went in search of Ragnall. She found him in the strawberry patch, fast asleep inside a floppy, crooked hat.