There has been an idea plaguing my mind. I say "plaguing" because I cannot stop the questions about this idea.
I've been reading the history of witches. Not witchcraft or the modern idea of witches, but the history and about the archetype. I've been reading the witch trials; what happened to those (mostly) women who didn't follow the rules; who thought for themselves; didn't rely on conventional ideas; made their own herbal remedies - these are the women that have my mind captivated.
What has me thinking about witches as being in our mind and our society (just under the surface of course) is the term Soap Witch.
Some seem to relish the idea of being a witch of any kind and absorb the term "soap witch" with ease. It makes sense. We know what happens in our little soap workshops. Some days it appears magical, beyond what was imagined. I have often stepped back from a new soap and exclaimed, "what is this sorcery!" I'm not even kidding.
After all, many female ancestors stood in front of boiling cauldrons stirring a slurry-paste of soap. That's how it was done, outside over an open fire. (You can see how that idea, that image has lend itself to our common view of witches.) Some of these ancestral mothers, sisters, and aunts were labeled witches. They were simply doing their work, getting on with it. Doing what they were meant to do, but it didn't look like what others do. Some of these women came to very bad ends. Much of their trials and tribulations where not because of bad acts, but because of a society that could not accept them for their unusualness, their cleverness, their unique thinking.
Many of us in the soap world are crafty by nature, and in part, why we've taken up crafting our own soaps for kith and kin. Some of us offer soaps to those who are kith, but not yet known so we call this a "business." At least, that's how I like to see it.
This thought of "soap witch" goes much deeper. There are those of us who can conjure. Conjure an idea from the ethers into manifest reality. Conjure a good feeling when sharing something. Conjure a useful product. It's our nature.
In our modern world it wouldn't be exactly acceptable to walk around with a cape and a large pointy hat, so many of us appear like "normal" or some equivalent of today's standard. Not that anyone but the Puritans had such garment, most old world witches wore homespun contemporary dress.
I loved the clothes from Harry Potter and would corset myself in a minute to show on the outside what I know on the inside. The people at the post office would be impressed the first or second time, but the third time they might consider me a bit off. I suppose that's not a bad thing, and yet, I love my invisibility.
These archetypes of creator, magican, sage (see below) are not foreign to us, either. These are the components I believe go into over all "witch" archetype. Or maybe sub-archetype. We simply do not have clear honorable examples of witches in our world.
We do have clear examples for those archetypes like "hero." That is clear. A soldier goes to war, does an act above and beyond the call of duty and we now consider him/her a hero. A firefighter goes into a burning building... A child is innocent... A puppy is innocent... Caregiver, Lover, Rebel... These are all easily seen.
I suppose it makes sense that a Magician and Sage are not so easily seen. A Creator is even clear. Our world has many artists.
These are some of my ponderings... I have not drawn any clear proclamations, but things I'm thinking about.
For all you Soap Witches, those who are public and not so public, keep on conjuring. The world needs you. It doesn't know it does, mostly, but the world needs crafty, clever soap witches in such a desperate way it feels as if there is a shortage.
READ THIS FAR
If you care to, let's create a group of soap witches. When you post an image of your soaps, particularly on Instagram, use #soapwitch.
If you'd like to read an ideal world where witches are not just acknowledged, but respected, here you go.
Here is a quick version (link to the fuller descriptions).
Motto: Free to be you and me
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Motto: Where there's a will, there's a way
Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
Motto: Don't fence me in
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Motto: You're the only one
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Motto: You only live once
Motto: The truth will set you free
Motto: I make things happen.
Motto: Power isn't everything, it's the only thing.