One of my students is taking a psych class. Tonight she decided to try one of her classes’ psychological tests on us, to somewhat hilarious results.
Proving perhaps that when you ask witches these type of questions, our inner mythology comes to the forefront and can’t be ignored.
You are walking in the woods:
1.Who are you walking with?
My answer – By myself.
My partner’s answer – With a bear… and Lauren (me).
2. You come to a clearing in the woods and there is an animal. What animal do you see?
My answer – A deer.
My partner’s answer – An elk.
3. How do you interact with that animal?
My answer – I observe and nothing else.
My partner’s answer – Lauren and I watch with glee as the bear eats the elk.
4. You see a dream house in front of you, how big is the house?
My answer – A witches’ cottage
My partner’s answer – A one story house made of candy
5. What do you see around the house? Is there a fence?
My answer – The house is on chicken legs and there is a fence of flaming skulls.
My partner’s answer – There are candy canes and a fence of ginger bread men
6. You walk inside the house and you see a dining table. What’s on the table?
My answer – Nothing
My partner’s answer – Pie
7. You walk outside, there is a cup on the ground. What is the cup made of?
My answer – A golden, jeweled chalice
My partner’s answer – Wood
8. What do you do with the cup?
My answer – I leave it alone.
My partner’s answer – Give it to the bear.
9. You walk further away from the house and you come to a body of water. What body of water do you see?
My answer – A clogged (with vegetation) pond
My partner’s answer – The Western Ocean
10. How do you get across the body of water to get to the other side.
My answer – A rowboat
My partner’s answer – A magical, white horse
The explanation for all of these are:
The answer to question number 1 is the most important person in your life. The size of the animal is representative of the size of your problems. How aggressively you interact with the animal is how you deal with your problems. How large the house is, is how big your ambition is to solve your problems. How enclosed your house is shows how protective of yourself you are and how welcoming you are of others. The amount of things on the table is proportionate to how happy you are. The durability of the material that makes up the cup you see is your perceived durability of your relationship with the person from question number 1. Who you give the cup to is how you treat the person from question number 1. The size of the body of water shows how passionate your desires are and how wet you get while you cross the body of water shows how engulfed you are in those desires.
So for a normal person, my answers would reflect that I am the most important person in my life (selfish bitch that I am!), my problems are normal sized and I have no desire to solve them. According to the size of my house, I have few problems, but am super protective of myself. The clear table symbolizes that I am not happy and with the cup, I am very invested in the durability of myself and obviously care only for myself. My body of water is a clogged pond (my student is now very worried about my clogged pond!) means that I am not passionate and I didn’t get wet, so obviously I am not engulfed in any desires. In normal society, I am a weird, unkind, freak of nature, devoid of desire.
My partner on the other hand loves the bear more than he loves me (though he did include me and while we can get into who I think the bear represents, I will leave that to your imagination). His problems are a little larger than mine, but he attacks them viciously with another person (again, that bear!). His candy cottage is one story, so again, fewer problems (HAHAHA) and his table has a pie on it, showing that he is welcoming and willing to share his bounty. My partner’s cup was made of wood, a natural and organic material that is warm and inviting. He gave his cup to the bear, showing that he cares for the bear’s role in his life (oh that bear!). He approached an ocean, showing that he is vastly passionate, though he didn’t get wet either, riding his magical horse across the waves, so obviously, from the normal perspective, is not engulfed in those desires.
But for me, these questions were more of a walk through my astral temple. The same for my partner. We are both active, practicing, witches.
As soon as you tell me that I am walking through a forest, I enter a ritual mindset. This is immediately no random mental exercise.
My astral temple is a forest path, I walk that path alone until I meet deity (in my case, usually my patron god who appears to me as a deer). The house is obviously the house of the witch and when I think about the witches’ house in the woods, I am always happy when I think of Baba Yaga’s house on chicken legs. And if the house belongs to Baba Yaga, obviously there is a fence of flaming skulls around it! The table is clear, because the witch doesn’t want to scare away her visitors and you are never sure what you might find there. Obviously the cup, just left carelessly outside of the witches’ house is magical in nature and should be left alone. A clogged pond is something that you might find in the forest and is the type of pond I grew up in (full of turtles and muskrats and other small creatures). Rowboats are again, something I grew up with.
I won’t take you through my partner’s magical thinking, it might make your head hurt. (But Oh the Bear…!)
The Bear Wife by my partner, acrylic on canvas…Oh the Bear! (Once again a painting based on Sami folklore. In the mythology of the Sami and other members of their language group, such as the Mansi and Khanty peoples of Russia, there is a creation myth of a human woman who marries a bear. The bear is usually a cosmic creature, or is born of the Goddess Mielikki as the earth is created. This union of human and cosmic bear creates a specific tribe, or in some tellings, all people. )
For those of us who have been in Circle and who have done astral temple work, the answers to these become very different. To many “normal” people, the forest is a scary place. For me, as a witch, the forest is liminal space where initiation and other magical moments happen. The witch lives in the cottage in the woods and mythology comes alive. When I walk through the forest and interact with animals and objects, fairy tales and the lessons they teach take precedence. I don’t think tests like these are meant for people like me. I view the world very differently.
Being a witch is more than simply cackling and potions and spells…it is a completely different world view from everyone around you. There is an old Witch saying: “Witches may live among people, but they are never one of them.”
Personally I’ll take my weird, twisted world view. My clogged pond is very comforting and not representative of my desires and passions. I have immense passion and I dearly love both my partner and other people in my life (including, perhaps, the bear). I have huge problems, but I will always take a practical approach and won’t let them overwhelm me. The witch lurks in the woods and she might eat you, but she might also invite you in and help you. The gods walk with me and I commune with them. The woods are the Underworld and I feel comfortable there. In my astral temple, things appear with purpose and sometimes need to be left alone. I know my lore and mythology and, unlike many others, I know better than to touch and taste.
And while you contemplate these heavy issues, eat some delicious Cuban White Chili (which my student made for us!)
Cuban White Chili
1 package, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
few pinches of salt
4 cloves of garlic
2 pablano peppers
3 cans Northern White Beans
lots of cilantro
2 cans Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
1 Bag of Shredded Mild Cheddar
Dice garlic finely and dust lightly with salt. Dice onions. Add onions and salted garlic to skillet with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown onions and garlic.
While onions and garlic are cooking, cube chicken and brown in a large pot, also in olive oil.
To onions and garlic, add all cans of rotel. Dice tomatillos and jalapenos, add to onion and rotel mixture.
To chicken, add chicken stock (as much as you like, though definitely enough for it to be a soup).
Once onion mixture is bubbling, add to chicken. Add all cans of beans to pot. Toast pablano peppers directly on flame of stove and then peel (to properly roast and peel pablanos, see this video). Dice, add to pot. Add handful of cilantro and enough cumin to taste, simmer for 30 minutes. Add another handful of cilantro and add more cumin if desired.
Simmer for at least another hour, serve on top of shredded cheese, with sour cream, uncooked cilantro, sliced avocado and lime juice as desired.
Peppers roasting merrily on my stove top!