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Images, 'Look and Feel'
T W O
W I T C H E S
A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale
by Mike Nichols
Once upon a time, there were two Witches. One was
a Feminist Witch
and the other was a
Traditionalist Witch. And, although both of them were
deeply religious, they
had rather different ideas about what their religion
meant. The Feminist
Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion
especially suited to
women because the image of the Goddess was empowering
and a strong weapon
against patriarchal tyranny. And there was distrust in
the heart of the Feminist
Witch for the Traditionalist Witch because, from
the Feminist perspective,
the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a
threat to "the Cause".
The Traditionalist Witch tended to believe that
Witchcraft was a
religion for both
men and women because anything less would be divisive.
And although the
Goddess was worshipped, care was taken to give
stress to the God-force
in nature, the Horned One. And there was distrust
in the heart of
the Traditionalist Witch for the Feminist Witch because,
Traditionalist viewpoint, the Feminist Witch
seemed like a
late-comer and a threat
to "Tradition". These two Witches lived in
but each belonged to a different Coven, so they did
often run into
one another. Strange to say, the few times they did meet,
they felt an odd sort
of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level.
But both recognized
the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were
worlds apart, and nothing,
it seemed, could ever bridge them.
Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the
Covens in the area were
invited to attend. After the rituals, the singing,
the magicks, the
feasting, the poetry, and dancing were concluded, all
retired to their
tents and sleeping bags. All but these two.
were troubled by their
differences and couldn't sleep. They alone remained
sitting by the
campfire while all others around them dreamed. And before
long, they began to
talk about their differing views of the Goddess. And,
since they were both
relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon began to
argue about what was
the "true" image of the Goddess.
"Describe your image of the Goddess to me," challenged the
Feminist Witch. The
Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt
voice, "She is
the embodiment of all loveliness. The quintessence
I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich
and thick, falling down
around her soft shoulders. She has the voluptuous
young body of
a maiden in her prime, and her clothes
are the most
thin and clinging to her willowy frame. I see her
dancing like a
young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple
she calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is
gentle and soft
and sweet, and as musical as a silver bell frosted with
is Aphrodite, goddess of sensual love. And her lover
answer to her
call, for she is destined to become the Great Mother. That
is how I see the Goddess."
The Feminist Witch hooted with laughter and said, "Your Goddess
Doll! The Jungian archetype of a cheer-leader! She is
glitter and no substance.
Where is her strength? Her power? I see the
Goddess very differently.
To me, she is the embodiment of strength and
courage and wisdom.
A living symbol of the collective power of women
picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped
short for ease
of care on the field of battle. She has the muscular body
of a woman at the peak
of health and fitness. And her clothes are the most
sensible, not slinky cocktail dresses. She does not paint
her face or perfume
her hair or shave her legs to please men's vanities.
Nor does she do
pornographic dances to attract a man to her. For when she
calls to a male,
in a voice that is strong and defiant, it will be to do
battle with the repressive
masculine ego. She is Artemis the huntress, and
it is fatal for
any man to cast a leering glance in her direction. For,
although she may be
the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of
wisdom, who destroys
the old order. That is how I see the Goddess."
Now the Traditionalist Witch hooted with laughter
and said, "Your
Goddess is the
antithesis of all that is feminine! She is Yahweh hiding
behind a feminine mask!
Don't forget that it was his followers who burned
Witches at the
stake for the "sin" of having "painted faces". After all,
Witches with their
knowledge of herbs were the ones who developed the art
So what of beauty? What of love and desire?"
And so the argument raged, until the sound of their voices awakened
Coven Elder who
was sleeping nearby. The Elder looked from the Feminist
Witch to the Traditionalist
Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long
moment. Then the
Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart
from one another and
there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a
"true" vision of the
Goddess. This they both agreed to do.
After a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness.
Then a glimmer of light
could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest
green by the
dense foliage. Both Witches ran toward the source
radiance. To their
wonder and amazement, they discovered the Goddess had
appeared in a
clearing directly between them, so that neither Witch could
see the other.
And the Traditionalist Witch yelled "What did I tell you!"
at the same instant
the Feminist Witch yelled "You see, I was right!" and
so neither Witch heard
To the Feminist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be a shining
power and strength,
with courage and energy flowing outward. The Goddess
seemed to be
holding out her arms to embrace the Feminist Witch,
comrade in arms.
To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the
zenith of feminine beauty,
lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song
Energy seemed to flow towards her. And she seemed to hold
out her arms to the
Traditionalist Witch, invitingly.
From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure
of the Goddess
they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy
of that divine embrace.
But just before they reached her, the apparition
And the two Witches were startled to find themselves
embracing each other.
And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess. And, oddly enough,
it sounded exactly the
same to both of them. It sounded like laughter.