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Some time ago, I was playing with some sculpy clay and ended up making a set of little skulls. Each was lovely and creepy and could sit on top of a quarter. Nine skulls were plain, and a tenth had a witch hat. I never knew what to do with these little lovelies- they remained unpainted, and would occasionally come out on an altar, but never with much more purpose than just to represent ancestors. One of my trad teachers told me I’d need to ask the ancestors on how I’d like to use them. I can’t remember if I ever did consciously. But after a few years, I’ve finally had it pop into my head on how I should use these little creations- I’m going to use them to represent 9 archetypes of spiritual ancestors. The tenth skull, with the witch hat, will be something I keep to represent myself, a product of the spiritual heritage of these archetypes.

When I say archetypes, I don’t necessarily mean just them as archetypes. I may connect with specific ancestors of that role, but I just haven’t yet. These archetypes aren’t just about being a witch either, but also intrinsic, at least for me, to being woman.

Priestess- women who have devoted themselves to the Gods, who carry on worship and perform works in their names

Seer/Diviner- the oracles, the bone readers, the vision seers, the women who have insight to the future, through the gods, spirits or themselves

Cunningwoman/Poisoner- the classic idea of a witch, the women who use plants and animal parts and anything else needed to heal or harm, for their own benefit or those around them, and who know and communicate with the spirits of the plants and animals and surroundings involved in the workings

Enchantress/Sorceress- the women who embrace both magic and their own sexuality, to benefit themselves or others, to manipulate the natures of men, not always for evil but not always for good

Hearthtender/Weaver- the women who weave magic through tending the home, cooking, weaving and other domains long considered part of domestic life

Shaman- the spirit walker, she who crosses realms, to heal and mend wounds, who acts as the voice for the spirits, allying themselves, walking the path between worlds, often acting to benefit the greater community

Lorekeeper/storyteller- those who write down the knowledge and lore passed down through ages, the women who weave magic with words written and spoken, who hold the stories and secrets in their hearts

Wildwoman/shapeshifter- the woman who uses wild magics, who lives away from civilization and has allied with the spirits of flora, fauna and place to transcend her own skin, shifting to animal and back again, protecting wild spaces from those who threaten them

Magician- she who learns magic from arcane tradition, who uses the elements and conducts rites through ceremony, who creates and destroys with careful precision

These are archetypes I’ve found that, in different ways, resonate with the path that I follow. I’d like to eventually incorporate honoring and working with them into my practice. For now though, I must get a few hours of sleep then get back up to study for a quiz!

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