Soon it is Halloween, the second important holiday in the US after Christmas. For me as a Dutch person it is a tradition that I am not familiar with, but I do find this interest in skeletons and things that go eeeeek in the night, intriguing. In order to explore it I use now for the third day in a row the Halloween Tarot, and today I ask a question about a archetype that belongs to this festival: “the witch”. I investigate this archetype in relation to my own life.
But first, why do Witches belong to Halloween? The ancient Celts, from whom this holiday supposedly comes, saw Samhain (their term for Halloween) as a spiritual time. The leaves are almost all fallen from the trees at this day and the earth will be closed for the next half year. In addition to this, October 31 lies exactly between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. They thought the ‘veil between the worlds’ of the living and the dead was the thinnest on this day. On that one day, the dead could be communicated with. Maybe everybody did this, but it could also be that it was especially a task of witches. In any case, in later times as the church came into power, it was thought as a task of witches and communication with the dead was seen as a bad thing. Witches were healers and wise women, but they were more and more viewed as a threat to society and mass-murdered.
Nowadays things are different. There are no witch-hunts anymore in the western world (sadly there still are in other parts). Still the archetype of the witch is one of an old woman for whom one ought to be frightened.
I wonder, which ‘witch’ quality I have, which ‘witchy-trait’, and I wonder also how I view this quality. Would it be a quality that I am scared of?
I have pulled Death. On the card is a skeleton pictured that is watering pumpkins. This means that (as in RWS), death is in the service of life, because water gives life. (See the symbol on the watering-can? That is the same as on the flag in the RWS.) In my tarot-work ‘watering as Death’ is one of my tasks. I am writing down all sorts of nasty questions to be answered by students with the help of cards, and many of them are meant to give them the opportunity to transform, so that they can live (more) fulfilling lives. In addition to that, most people who come for a reading are in a transformation-process. I must add to this that I myself answer the nasty questions meant for my students as well (I must try them out!). Also, the processes of my clients who come for a reading, reflect often my own. Thus, the theme of transformation is prevalent in my life.
Still, I do not like to transform, I am afraid of it, I like to keep things as they are. I am not someone who thinks lightly about death, not as a card and not in my own life. I am scared of change, of eating away the old and of transformation. So yes, I am afraid of my witch-quality.
Painting: Alexandre-Marie Colin, Three Witches of MacBeth, 1827