What’s the real reason witches were murdered?
The Year of the Body: Week 20
in which the sacred feminine and sacred masculine give birth to a big and holy child
Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,
This is a most sacred and pregnant moment. And I think it’s not an accident that it is happening during the 20th week of this year of the body.
20 is a 2, a very special 2 that is logarithmically amplified by the zero beside it. The zero holds exponential divine power.
So what is 2?
Two is the second number, the sign of the sacred feminine. Together with 1, the number of the sacred masculine, these two powers come together to create the 3, the divine child.
As a unit, these three numbers are the mystical source of the river of trinities that appear in all spiritual traditions. The trinity is the power of creation that comes through the feminine.
Right now, I’m standing in that two-ness. I am most definitely pregnant. And pregnant with quite the divine child.
Not bad for 72!
My divine child is the largest, deepest, most mystical, magical, and yet, at the same time, most terrifying offering I have ever created.
Of course, as the numbers demonstrate, the woman, the 2, does not and cannot create a new life, a new child, a new offering on her own. It is a sacred partnership, a union of two beloveds to create a child they adore.
If you’ve been reading these Notes from the Field for a while, you’ve been my witness as I said yes three years ago to the radical call to be a prayer artist.
That was, I now see, a divine pregnancy. It began with a loving whisper in the night in my left ear: prayer artist.
I woke slightly startled, but I rolled over and wrote it on the pad beside me. My stomach quivered: what is this, what does it mean, how can I possibly be a prayer artist (whatever that is), and if I say yes, everything is going to change.
See what I mean? Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like discovering you’re pregnant: You’re scared and excited and worried. And you know that everything is about to change.
Well, prayer artist did change everything, and I’ve loved every minute—even though there have been moments when I was terrified and thought “I can’t do this.”
- Like saying goodbye to my successful radio show so I could open Praying at the Speed of Love.
- Or ending my courses to offer prayer intensives.
- Or saying yes to redefining prayer. (No one has done that in a thousand years.)
- Or writing The Queen’s Love, the prayer that upends the dogma-driven Apostles Creed.
It’s been quite the wild ride, but the baby has grown magnificently and I adore being prayer artist’s mother. It’s been so delightful that I thought I was finished with divine insemination. Ha! It was only just beginning.
Last August, witch landed in my lap as a giant compliment from a mystic I adore, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone.
When I received it, my whole body shook in recognition of something—I didn’t know what. But something. Something ancient. Something sacred. Something holy. Something that wanted to be born through me.
Still, come on, it’s much scarier to say yes to witch than to prayer artist.
But I said yes anyway. And in the last nine months, that baby has grown and grown. Don’t you find it amusing that it’s been exactly 9 months.
The Feminine Divine does have a sense of humor.
And proportion. She knew it would take me every bit of 272 days—the period of gestation in the mother’s womb and the exact number of stones in the Chartres labyrinth, which is the womb of the Goddess—to be ready to bring my sacred witch baby into the world.
It’s also not an accident that witch came to me during quarantine. Like pregnant women of old, I needed to be home, quiet, resting, and prayerfully preparing for my baby.
Quarantine gave me a nice long incubation period to focus on nothing but the mystical meaning of witch.
In the last nine months, I've read dozens of books on witches. And slowly realized that being called a witch is something to cherish not fear. It means a holy woman cherished by her community because she is full of sacramental gifts of prayer, healing, and divination.
But under patriarchal religion, this title of respect and honor became the personification of evil. So evil that church and state used it to conspire to murder woman and children—and men. (25% of people executed were men.)
Some of those were sacred witches, but most were women and children on the margins of society. Many were elderly. Or outspoken. I heard the story repeatedly, particularly in Scotland, that women who stood up for themselves were branded witches and destroyed.
What a convenient way to get rid of strong women.
As I watched how patriarchal power twisted witch into a means to murder, I began to “follow the money.”
Sure, enough you can see powers of church and state taking whatever money or land the witch or her family had. And not just individuals, consider the mass slaughter of the Cathars in Montsegur France. Under the guise of saving the church from heresy, the church stole a lot of land and treasure. A lot.
Following that money trail, I realized that although the word witch wasn’t applied to native peoples or enslaved peoples or other large groups like the Cathars, the church and state conspired to amass massive land and wealth by demonizing people.
First Nations in the Americas, for example, weren’t called witches, but they were labeled savages and their spiritual practices were demeaned and they were forced to become Christians.
Witch by another name.
Once I expanded my understanding of the word, I clearly saw a 3,000-year pattern of violence and theft.
Other places. Other times. Other words. Same result. Demonize people until everyone shuns them, and you are free to abuse their bodies and steal all they have.
The Jewish Holocaust.
The Vietnam War.
Slavery in America.
The pattern is always the same. The first thing you have to do is call people a scary, ugly name.
And don’t think for one moment that just because you aren’t one of those groups, that the terror of what happened to them doesn’t affect you.
The purpose of terror is to control everyone watching and frighten them so badly that they will do anything to not be brutalized in the same way.
In Roman times they called it decimate. They knew if they killed 10% of the people in the most terrifying way possible, they could take over the country. That was the purpose of crucifixion.
The fear people felt then has been passed down body to body until every one of us now carries unconscious memories of terror in our bodies.
These tendrils surface today as pervasive anxiety, body shame, perfectionism, self-doubt, relationships fraught with misunderstanding and distrust, and the gnawing sense that no matter what we do, we’re not enough.
These are witch wounds.
And they prevent us from loving the body we’re in, saying what needs to be said, being fully present in our relationships, expressing our true wild creativity, and asking for and receiving our most sacred desires.
I realized that witch came to me for a holy reason.
The time has come to heal our witch wounds and restore this word to its original meaning.
But how can we do that? The task seems just too great.
Joan of Arc, the greatest mystic witch of all time, a brilliant brave woman brutally destroyed by church and state is showing us how.
Under Joan's guidance, I have gathered the most exciting women of prayer I know to help me create an event unlike anything I’ve ever offered—or anyone has ever offered.
It is an unprecedented mystical exchange with 13 women condemned by patriarchy over a 3,000-year arc of time and half the globe.
We invite them to return to us, tell their stories, and help us find the strength and courage to heal the witch wounds in ourselves and in everyone so we can create a world filled with reverence for all.
It’s called The Return of the Witches Jeanne d’Arc Listening Pilgrimage. And it is opening the first week of June.
Next Sunday I will invite everyone reading these letters to join the pilgrimage.
But first, starting Monday, I am sending special invitations to everyone who has been in a prayer intensive with me in the last two years.
I increased my zoom room size, so I promise there will be room for you even if you haven’t been in a previous intensive.
Joan would have it no other way. Everyone is needed in this sacred pilgrimage.
Until next Sunday when the doors open, I invite you to listen to this radical conversation with Perdita Finn on who Joan of Arc really was.
What you hear will curl your hair. And make you want to follow her wherever she wants to lead us!
Praying at the Speed of Love/32
If you wish to know Joan better, you can still join her prayer intensive, The 15 Mysteries of Joan of Arc. We open today. There’s still time to register before 2pm eastern. Or if it’s after 2, I will send you the first recording later today.
The 15 Mysteries of Joan of Arc
to finding the courage to heal ourselves, our words, our bodies, and create a world that is safe for all