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We often judge people by how they look and in doing so, we miss out on some great experiences. I tend to talk to just about everyone who is willing to talk to me. I have discovered some very interesting people that way. I often reach out to Witches of all kinds. New ones, old ones, popular ones, and many unknowns. Every Witch new or seasoned knows other witches of different types. Some are good at being a Witch and others simply like playing Witch. Although all types are awesome, we tend to get a little jaded after a while in our search for the “Authentic Witches”. There are many authentic Witches who walk among us but for whatever reason, they are invisible.
What I mean by invisible is that no one knows what they have to contribute to society, to Witchcraft, to the Witch Community, and to their craft. Many Witches can name famous or well-known Public Figure Witches and these public figures are indeed amazing and wonderful and important. However, with the growth of technology, more Witches are finding amazing ways to contribute to the benefit of our community.
With that said I want to highlight one of those Authentic Witches who walks among us. I am blessed to have met her. This Witch is not only an amazing High Priestess but she has written 9 published poetry books and is working on her 10th.
She is someone I look up to and respect because she does not put herself on a pedestal. She is very kind and tempered. She has a very beautiful way of looking at people. I find that she often looks at things from a place of love. That is a very difficult thing for the majority of humans on this planet to achieve. We see the effects of this human weakness reflected in our Social Issues.
Most of all for me, I can sense her connection with Deity. That is a big deal for me. It isn’t just about how much Knowlege one has about their path or their tradition. It is how well they work with that knowledge and how skilled they are at using their craft. With this particular Witch who walks among us, not only is she skilled in her craft but as a High Priestess, she is expected to also lead with skill and Jennifer fulfills that expectation well.
That doesn’t mean she doesn’t make mistakes or have bad days. She is still human. She just happens to be an authentic Witch. In my humble opinion, Jennifer stands out against the rest because of her authentic way of living and practicing the craft according to her tradition. She completes what she starts. She leads with love and patience. She feels deeply and expresses it through poetry and art. She walks her talk.
Her book covers are also her own beautiful creations. So, not only are her poems her own but the covers are her own original art created by her own hands. She is not only skilled in her craft as a Witch but she is also skilled in the craft of her art.
People who meet her, generally love her. I find her easy to get along with. Although she is kind, she isn’t weak, she is compassionate and she is strong in her convictions.
To highlight this amazing woman I’d like to introduce her to you. Her name is Jennifer Engel. I want to feature a poem or two from her book titled “Ritual” Sacred moments in everyday life. This book is a collection of poems written by her and her friend Tina Brady.
When she finally agreed to let me feature her on Witch Digest, I asked her to tell me her story.
This was her reply.
“I have been practicing WICCA for 27 years. It all started with this guy I was dating and soon married, who was studying WICCA. He continued to teach classes and has been a leader in the community. My progress has been slower. I’ve been busy working full time as well as taking care of our children. It took about twenty years, but I finally reached third degree within our group.
WICCA appealed to me from the start. I liked its tolerance for other religions and its strong connection to nature. In retrospect, I grew up drawing “goddesses” so it was a natural transition from agnosticism to WICCA.
My writing is both Pagan and personal. They can’t be separated. The sacred is in all aspects of this journey we call life. My family is a huge inspiration and often shows up. In practice, I believe in the balance between the masculine and feminine energies. Both the God and Goddess are important, and I believe they are a part of every person on earth. What it means to be a woman, as an expression of Deity within our daily lives, takes center stage, and as such, my poetry has a stronger appeal to women. However, I have known men who were moved upon reading one of my poems.”
The first poem I want to share is a bit of a tale about ritual.
At The Bacchanalia
I looked good in my white toga and purple scarf,
My neck adorned with anniversary sapphires.
You, in your swag of stars and planets on a field
of blue, would make a Roman stare.
Indeed, you were captured and put up for auction.
I scrambled to gather fists of Xeroxed Roman dollars,
but couldn’t beg enough from my countrymen
to purchase you. Alas, the gods took pity
and you were returned to my possession.
At the Bacchanalia, we celebrated the grape.
The bitter pleasures of barley, rye and corn
were honored too. We ate such delicacies
as stuffed grape leaves and potato salad.
The California countryside had grown brittle
beneath the glory of summer.
We drifted through the excess of tied bed sheets
and tipped chalices as night descended
and the sky glittered with scattered suns.
Togas were shed, like so many crumpled leaves.
and we stepped into a churning hot tub
causing waves to crash on the wooden deck.
The fiberglass basin was filled with giggling flesh,
loud conversations and stolen kisses.
You were there, pressed against me,
my tether in this play, the promise of ecstasy
in the private ritual that would come.
Believe me, at the Bacchanalia I was in control,
but later, when the flash of splitting suns
flowed between us, carefully tended walls
were demolished. I praised Bacchus
and all his fellow gods.
This next poem is one of my favorites. In her book, it actually follows a poem about blood written by Tina Brady. As you may realize, the concept of blood is often an important part of witchcraft. It is recognized in the 28-day cycle of the moon that is often the symbol for the feminine divine or the Goddess which is echoed in the symbolism of the earth being the mother. It is about life seen in all of creation.
On the Eve of July fourth
the Mother in me sat on the patio.
Pain brushes and canvases rested
on the round glass table.
I balanced a glass of Merlot
sipping the blood of summer.
Bursting firecrackers and voices
of strangers shook the fences
that section off lives in this tract.
Exploding on my earth, summer
would not be contained.
The blood of the Mother surged
crimson in her chalice, spilling
green along the white fence.
The Crone in me nodded
and smiled at these babies:
Primroses in pink frilly garments,
blushing wombs of tomatoes,
wild grasses poking spiked noses
through billowing mugwort,
and weeds, that lurked along edges,
destined for sacrifice
at the point of my trowel.
Past ripe, the cycles of creation
still coursed in my veins, and I turned
to my canvas, paintbrush balanced between fingertips.
This next poem is written by Tina Brady. With the same title as the book, I feel this one touches on the life of a Witch. I particularly find the opening and closing statements say with clarity how a Witch and her rituals are one.
I am Priestess. My life is the ritual. My breath is the
sacrament. My existence is the sacred circle expressed in
the fallible form of flesh and bone. I acknowledge its
perfection. My will is the aspiration and projection to create
the sacred temple within which I manifest and dare,
without trepidation, to open my eyes so that I may gaze into
the elements of earth, air, fire and water, shining as one
inside my soul. My magick is the evolution of my true
wisdom. My silence holds the knowledge of my connection
to the whole of life. the infinite eternal circle lies within
me. I am IT and IT is me. Its power cannot be torn asunder.
I am Priestess. My life is the ritual. My breath is the sacrament.
You can find Jennifer Engel’s Books on Amazon. I know that we try to buy stuff from small shops but one thing is for sure that if you purchase her books on Amazon, she does get the royalties for the purchase. Payment will benefit a fellow Witch. Here is a link to this book Title, Ritual.
Sometimes it is nice just to read for the pleasure of it.
Here are some of her other books that you may want to check out.
Can you think of a witch or two whom you feel should be recognized for their contribution to our Community? If you have someone you would like to recognize as a Witch Who walks among us unseen, please tell us your story in the comments below.
Blessed are the Witches,