Must be the Season of the Witch

Must be the season of the witch~ Donovan

Two things that I value highly in my life are traditions and rituals.

When my kids were little, we practiced all of the standard traditions and rituals like tooth fairy visits, birthday candles and bedtime stories. My kids are young adults now and I find that I value traditions, rituals, and the sense of connection they create, more than ever. I’m getting a kick out of creating new ones for this stage of our lives.

When my friend Sandra mentioned her annual family tradition of burning a chair (long story!) it really resonated with me. Not the chair itself, but the idea of an annual fiery tradition. My mind started working in overdrive. What to burn? What to burn? I spent days trying to come up with just the right thing. Then it hit me, in the most divine, complete and wonderful way: an annual witch burning!

Here’s a little history. My great, great, several more great grandmother was Mary Estey. Mary was the last woman killed as a witch in Salem. She is famous mostly because she wrote a powerful and moving letter to the Governor of Massachusetts, begging him have the senseless killing end with her, and it did.

You might see an annual witch burning as disrespectful to my ancestor, but I see it as embracing and celebrating her instead. So, I found a witch (piñata) to burn. I created an awesome witch burning playlist. I prepared a batch of witch hat cookies. I packed it all up for a family trip to the Smoky Mountains, excited about setting my witch ablaze underneath a sky full of stars. The spell was broken when we discovered the only place for a fire was a gas fireplace on the screened-in porch. Though deeply disappointed, I thought it prudent to postpone the plan.

The following weekend I headed to Michigan for a visit with three dear girlfriends. I told them about my witch burning plans and how I pictured it turning into an epic annual party for my family. Full of enthusiasm, I think I threw out a reference to “kinda like Burning Man. “ Yes, they teased me mercilessly. But the next evening, they surprised me with a witch burning. Under the stars. With my play list. Just like I imagined it. I’ll never forget it. Thanks to my newly formed coven of witches, a tradition- and ritual- was born.

Happy Halloween!

 

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