Cafe Hitch-hike


The Coven

About a year ago, my sis Princ discovered an online group of women who were sensitives, intuitives, empaths, and otherwise differently wired, and she invited me to join the group. I half-jokingly call it the coven. It's pretty cool in that we can talk about these things. We also do a lot of dumping and processing. Every so often, we are also able to talk about the expressions of these attributes and try them out.

To practice our sensing, we had a vague pic to read. It had the shadows of 4 people standing near a tree that was bare of leaves. They stood on the side of a country road and in front of them was a flat field with fading grass, and dried, browned leaves gathered on the edge of the road. I noticed the people wore long jackets, and the sun was not bright. I sensed they were at a funeral or cemetery, but I dismissed it because I thought I was projecting with Uncle Joe's recent death... it turned out, the person who posted it said it was at a cemetery. I looked again, and its landscape looked very similar to the cemetery where my birth father was buried. The last time I went to it was March of last year, when I went back to the river valley hometown for my step-father's funeral. A huge buck ran in an open field towards the road while I drove, and I had to slow down so it could cross. The picture made me remember that my birth father died this time of the year back in 1990. Although the pic had muted sunlight, it looked just as frigid as the day of the burial.

After a priest read some verses, sporadic drops fell on us towards the end of my birth father's burial. A representative from the regional boxing league for which he fought was there, and the rep. hit a boxing bell 10 times right around the time his silver casket was lowered into the cold ground. The vibrations of each ding felt more pronounced as the sound traveled through the chilly air. I felt sad and a sense of shame, and the finality of it all shook me out of the sense that it wasn't real.

Great memory, bah. It was November of 1990, and that was... 28 years ago? I can't believe it will be 30 years in 2020. I almost forgot about my father's death until I saw the pic.

Going back to the coven, I find it interesting that many of the women in it share attributes. Most of them had incredibly difficult pasts, and many post messages about troubled families of origin. Most of the intuitive readers I've known away from the coven, whether they were astrologers, card readers, or something similar, did not have particularly happy beginnings. My sister and I can agree with this description for ours.

I then thought about how my intuition emerged. I've had it for a very long time because it protected me. When I told another woman about this, I said I learned to do this so I could move before a chair or something else was about to get thrown my way. There's nothing like necessity for developing skills, right?

The other part about this is my paternal grandmother had a remarkably strong intuition. I never met her because she died a few years before I was born, but I heard a lot of stories. My father's family was a little taken aback when they met me because I was reading palms as a hobby at that time, so they could see I had some of what she had. It was definitely another explanation for where this intuition and sensitivity to energy originated.

The women in the coven definitely have these abilities in various stages of development and levels of strength, and they share having a life with unusual difficulty. A part of me almost wonders and thinks... women will do what they can to survive if they are not well-protected, subjected to violence or various forms of abuse or difficulty, and are in positions where leaving is not an option. They formed their their intuition and sensitivity to protect themselves, just as my sister and I had. The coven came about because it was where intuitive women came together for mutual aid and support. The more genteel forms of women groups were sewing circles and book clubs. Men had fraternities, the Moose Lodge, and similar groups. The coven is another example of same-sex bonding and fellowship, with the commonality being intuition and whatever it was that led us to that skill.

I then think about what biblical verses had to say about this. Fortune tellers, ambitious women, and those who stood up for themselves were lumped in the category of being sinful, wayward women. Adulterous women and prostitutes were also in that mix, along with women who were curious, engaged, and adventurous. I ran across the blog of a fundamentalist pastor who described all of this, giving warning about these unvirtuous women and their spreading of sin. As I digested it, I felt a sense of shame, but something larger rose in me.

Ok, so we have women who have less power in various situations, and they turn to things that help them manage and sometimes get out of those circumstances. They use what they can and what they've got, and find that it works. They are able to develop something inside of themselves that can be used to protect and empower themselves and usually those around them. They are developing inner resources that are quite basic, never mind the more complex, external resources like having the right to an education, voting, and holding office! Somewhere along the line, what they did for empowerment was considered sinful!

I then think about what the pastor said about women who possessed curiosity and engagement with life. I refused to apologize for my brain being a certain way. I couldn't shut it down if I tried! And denying the intuition and sensitivity that helped me for so long? Why the hell would I want to give those up? If I did that, I'd be more loony than I already am! I know because I tried, and it just does not work! Why should anyone, man or woman, have to self-deny? Wouldn't these things be gifts to others? Doesn't the sense of curiosity and engagement make things happen, and for the better?

Once I thought it over, I wanted to drop-kick that pastor. I tried to find his blog to show his appalling words, but maybe he took it down because enough people were disgusted (haha, or so I'd like to think). If that blog showed me anything, it was how much the scriptures were used to deny, repress, and punish to keep a pecking order intact. All of this was probably where the witch folklore originated: intuitive, sensitive women came together for support and empowerment during tough times only to be vilified and brutally punished. Mistreatment wasn't the only problem back in the day! Life was harder and people were more vulnerable to the forces of nature and abrupt change, and sometimes bad things just plain happened and no one was to blame!

I've been thinking about all of this in pieces lately and this is the first time I put it all together. It does make me think differently about this coven, and how much each of us in it probably need it. We were able to find a space where we can open up parts of us we usually stash away, whether it's also for protection or so others don't think we're completely stark raving mad. We need to be with others who help each other find our way through this thicket called life. In a world that can be cruel, we need others who can keep us going, affirm that we are okay, and are in this together.

downwind | upstream