Since the beginning of the year, I have been meditating on the word “Witch”. Being raised in a strong Catholic Latin American background the word “bruja” or “witch” was used as an insult, or worse a way to get someone examined and killed for being a little odd, or different.
I have been called a witch all my life, mostly as a joke but especially after becoming a yoga teacher and leaning into the use of herbs, plant medicine and physical activity to get rid of headaches, or emotional grief manifesting itself into physical pain, as well as meditation to heal and change our unhealthy narratives by diving into the subconscious which handles 95% of our brain function and conscious action.
To me, healing, magic, and science are all the same words. To me “witch”, “healer”, “intellectual”, “teacher”, “midwife”, “doula”, and “wellness leader” are also all the same words as well.
In the book “Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers” by Barbara Ehrenreich she speaks about how women-led healing was de stigmatised and crushed to make way for greed, patriarchy, misogyny, and abusive practices that are still being supported in our westernised medicine to this day.
And don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of western medicine. But I am not a fan of women’s health being controlled by an old, and let's face it outdated, colonial, and one-sided fear-based perspective.
When it comes to women’s rights over their bodies and women healers making space for those rights, we have seen over and over throughout history how patriarchal energy has tried to control and manipulate that right.
These women who have protected these rights, or fought for these rights were called witches. Rape and abuse victims were said to have bewitched their abusers into making them act out their abuse or obsession.
I look to all the inspirational women and people of this 21st century and ask myself how many of them would have been burned at the stake for having an opinion, being a healer, looking to the stars, and simply knowing how to read.
This is still happening to this day, and though I cannot dictate how one’s politics, religion, or country should be run, I can say that giving women a choice has been a scary theme for the male powers in play for a long time; when they are here because of a woman.
Being a rape survivor, a survivor of family lineage domestic abuse, healer, and teacher I take the word witch back.
I take the word witch back for all the young men who called me “bitch”, “tease” “slut”, or “picky” because they swore I sent them “signals that I was interested in them” when I wasn’t.
I take the word witch back for all the individuals, especially women, who were thrown into an unhealthy medication system and scared of looking at meditation, yoga, and other healing tools to supplement their pain, due to their controlling fear-based and possibly abusive dogmatic religious upbringing.
I take the word witch back for survivors of sexual violence, so that we may remain strong in knowing that our bodies and our power always remain in our hands.
I take the word witch back for my family and ancestors that have come before me and had to suffer for the freedom I have now to say this word openly with no fear.
I take the word witch back for all the women who have been treated like a number or an experiment at a gynaecological visit, and to all the women who are still afraid to go.
I take the word witch back for all the odd and different individuals, who were judged because someone deemed them “other.”
I take the word witch back for my ancestors, and the healers that came before me, who know what that word means.
That word means to me, and may I use this quote from the Bruja's of Brooklyn, “a powerful woman who cannot be F**ked with”.
A woman who holds knowledge, healing growth, and untouchable beauty within the palm of her hand.
We are all witches, and our power that we were born with does not make us evil, victims, or unworthy. It makes us the embodiment of the divine female universe encapsulated within muscle and bone.
So, yes, I am a witch, and most likely there is a woman you respect and know who is a witch too.
I take this word back, for me, for you and for her, and all the individuals who come after us.
I am a witch.
This blog is written by Liza Copla - Liza is a qualified 500 hour yoga teacher with more than 1000 hours of teaching under her belt. She explores meditations for healing, transformation and deep relaxation. During Liza’s classes, you’ll get the tools you need to take yoga off the mat and into your everyday life.