Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wicked Witch

The following story depicts my conditioning as to how to view and handle conflict. My childhood grew me into a rebellious adult with an arsenal of misguided anger. You see, I was a 'good' child. I colored in the lines; in fact I was known for being an advanced artist, in kindergarten through third grade. I was at the top of the good old academic bell curve (a system my progressive school would have me dismantle at age 9), and I was well-behaved. I was quiet, a good listener, I was able to be around adults. (I actually preferred adults to some of the kids my own age, in particular my 6-year-old neighborhood peer. When invited to her house to play with Barbies, she greeted me begrudgingly with a hammer in hand. I think she intended to use it on me. I was in disbelief when the adults, my mother included, agreed to leave us alone together after this. The girl and I are probably Facebook friends today.)

I spent a great deal of my early 20's attempting to decode my upbringing. It wasn't so much that I didn't remember, but that I forgot some interesting information. Looking back at my childhood story books, I found a significant clue to my mother's skills for coping with darkness...or evil. There comes a point in my fairy tale books in the story where there are large holes literally cut out from the actual books. Upon further examination, I realized that it was where the Wicked Witch enters the story. This was no doubt a genius idea to my 22-year-old mother, since the scary parts had caused great anguish. She did the logical thing—got rid of it. Poof. No more Wicked Witch.

I couldn't help but ruminate about this after the election. Some of my Facebook friends, most of whom fall on the side of liberal and progressive, were posting pictures of Barack Obama riding a unicorn beneath double rainbows. Simultaneously, I noticed headlines on my computer homepage citing hostile shootings at American drones, possibly due to our provocation by flying in airspace too close for comfort. It occurred to me that we still have this idyllic view of our world. That somehow we will be taken care of. That if the 'good' guys win, the 'bad' guys disappear. That one side is good and must prevail, while the other is bad and must be eradicated.

Because my family life was such a paradox: a juxtaposition of humor, spirituality,and  kindness, alongside  cruelty, immaturity, and even deception, I found myself extremely plugged into the significance of the Wicked Witch. Of course, as a child I could not articulate to my mother that it wasn't that I wanted the witch gone, it was that I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand her. Could I find relationship somehow to this lurking energy? Was she the other woman? Was she in me?

Perhaps more so than eradicating what we recognize as frightening, we want to understand this seeming ugliness. Perhaps it lives, archetypally, in each one of us. Could it be that each energy is contingent upon the eco-system of our own mystical fairy tale? This story that we are weaving must include the dark and light. In fact, maybe we cannot rise and overcome this energy unless we dive in deep and find the antidote from the inside.

I found the below description in Wikipedia. Having remembered reading about the Wicked Witch or Baba Jaga in Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Women Who Run With the Wolves :

Baba Yaga is sometimes shown as an antagonist, and sometimes as a source of guidance; there are stories in which she helps people with their quests, and stories in which she kidnaps children and threatens to eat them. Seeking out her aid is usually portrayed as a dangerous act. An emphasis is placed on the need for proper preparation and purity of spirit, as well as basic politeness. It is said she ages one year every time she is asked a question, which may explain her reluctance to help. This effect, however, can be reversed with a special blend of tea made with blue roses.

I have spent a much of my life skimming the surface and I have covered a lot of territory. Maybe my initiation to the story will repeat. Or maybe I will resolve. Instead of viewing it as bottomless pit, perhaps the emptiness is a black hole that I may enter with curiosity until I ride out the other side, eaten, assimilated, digested...reborn. Perhaps I will make friends with the Wicked Witch, knowing she is my helper. After reading the Wikipedia definition, perhaps my mother could have enlightened me that I must prepare to encounter the Witch. Or that due to my purity of spirit I may be spared, the one thing we may need to work on was my politeness. On another note, we could have made some blue rose tea. Ironically, I have always loved rose tea, but have never treated myself to it until my friend gifted me with some last week. And so it goes....Into the dark. Happily Ever After.

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