"Stacey, are you a witch?!"
The meeting had just ended and everyone was getting up to go back to their desks. This was in Utah, and he was my Mormon coworker. He seemed to focus an extra amount of unwanted, and often aggressive attention on me at the office. (He was also one of the reasons I posted that "I, too" had dealt with sexual harassment when it was trending on Facebook a few weeks ago.)
It caught me off guard. The way he demanded an answer seemed to imply that I had been discovered, It was a challenge, a "really?" as in, you've been identified and it's time for you to explain yourself. I was wearing a necklace that had a pendant of a pentagram, one that I had recently purchased after studying and identifying with Wiccanism. At this time of my life, I was in the midst of going through the process of getting my name removed from the church roles. I felt like I needed an replacement, something to fill the hole that Mormon theology was leaving in my universe, so I was exploring alternative schools of thought. The patriarchy of Mormonism had left me thoroughly exhausted with the masculine and I was finding that everything related to the Goddess fed me. Pentagrams and their symbolic meaning appealed to my sensibilities, so my much younger self was experimenting with wearing a badge of my new beliefs. I had no idea I would be confronted so aggressively. In my minds' eye I envisioned just wearing it in peace, or perhaps being asked about it's meaning in private where I could relay all that I was learning about it and what it meant to me. The challenge he put down was just too big. It was still too new at playing Wiccan, and I was too uncomfortable with myself as an individual at that young stage. As the whole team shifted their attention to me to await my response, I shrank in the social pressure.
"No." I said quietly. I was not a witch. Sufficiently shamed, I got up and went back to my desk and wept.
I never wore my pendant again.
In his book, Alphabet Vs The Goddess, neurosurgeon Leonard Shlain writes of humanity's prehistory where masculine and feminine values were regarded as having equal merit. He proposes that we began placing more value on the masculine when we developed an alphabet, and that the process of reading and writing rewired our brains so that the linear, and abstract left brain become more predominant. This caused a collectively loss of connection with the qualities of the right hemisphere. Because this placed a focus on what is traditionally locate in the left hemisphere, the feminine half of our brains were neglected out of necessity. The goddess, who was experienced holistically and among other things represented art, plants and intuition was gradually and ultimately degraded. As a result, women lost their political status in society and mysoginy became commonplace.
He points out that the brain is a whole organ, and that it is nonsensical to treat one hemisphere as being more legitimate than the other. He argues that while literacy has advanced our species, the necessity of utilizing the masculine, left hemisphere at the expense of the other has produced dysfunction. This imbalance has produced episodes in our history that were quite literally neurotic, citing the mass executions of women that the church burned as witches.
Witches, who are really just natural healers, have been maligned as ugly, insidious beings. Typically women, though sometimes men, witches are people that rely on their experience, They are independent and self-reliant. and do not seek approval from those in authority. This non-conformance equates to a threat to the political power structure, so they are labeled as crazy, and their arts are construed as dark and evil.
Their methods of treating illness and disease are by natural means. They use herbal remedies, and deep spiritual work. They listen to their intuition, stick to the truth of what they know; whether it is condoned by society or not. Even under the threat of losing their lives, women did not abandon their healing arts. But they did go underground.
By imposing prohibition, those in authority placed a plant that has been recognized for its healing properties in the shadows. The current dogma is that marijuana has only negative effects, and has no medical benefit. Anyone who has dared to speak out about the lie was systematically ignored, or construed as being degenerate or criminal.
Cannabis has always been used to heal. It is only within the last 60 decades that we have collectively turned to insanity. We've inherited the lie that those who dared to grow a plant recognized for it's useful properties for millenia are bad people and are committing a crime. This is dysfunction. The irony is, even the masculine qualities of logic and scientifically evaluated facts seem to have no place in this fight. Those in power simply want to stick their heads in the sand.
We live in an age now where our brain is being balanced with imagery through our technology, and our collective view of the feminine is once again shifting toward equilibrium. I believe that this is one of the reasons we are seeing the ground swell in changing attitudes toward marijuana. Our brains are finally capable of understanding, and we are beginning to perceive the holistic and iconic. The feminine is regaining credibility.
We've started to understand that the conventional methods are only part of the picture when it comes to healing. Many are turning taking an integrated approach.
Is weed mainstream yet? This was a question posed to me by a sponsored message that arrived in my LinkedIN inbox. My answer is no.
This is because I've been getting contacted. By former teachers, colleagues, and even by people I have never met. They have been reaching out and asking me about cannabis. Questions like, "where do I start?", "what products do you recommend?". Even, "what should I do, I'm in pain and my doctor won't listen to me". As long as everyday people who need this plant remain at a loss about how to gain access to it, it is not mainstream.
In starting my company, I've had to employ a conscious "tuning out" of what people think. I know that many disapprove. The thought of being an object of derision and scorn by colleagues, family members and friends has given me pause many, many times. It's made me hesitate, and wonder if I'm being too bold.
And yet, people are turning to someone like me. So they are turning to a person like myself. A person with no medical background. A mere Pilates teacher that used cannabis and mindful movement to heal herself and is speaking out about the healing benefits of yoga and CBD. Someone who is sick of the truth being hidden in the shadows.
I swallow hard at the role I find myself in. I did not set out to be a warrior, nor a leader. I just needed to start living in alignment with what I knew to be true because it was getting too loud to ignore. In answering, and getting solicited by people for advice has made me realize that this is worth it. Directing them to information and resources about cannabis, will impact their lives for the better. I know, and those in the cannabis community know, bringing the healing and industrial potential of cannabis out of the shadows and into the light will benefit humanity. So while we may be on the fringes, we've identified the discrepancy in prohibition's logic. We've educated ourselves on what's really going on. Let us never forget, in the eyes of those who are still adjusting to the light, what we in the cannabis community are working with, is magic.
I've come full circle with being called a witch. It felt derogatory 20 years ago, when it was leveled at me in front of my peers. I didn't know myself. I don't identify with being a healer so much as being a teacher. And my message is that we have been misled about cannabis. I am holding the space for what I believe can benefit humanity.
I've gotten more comfortable with who I am, and I'll own being a witch of weed. I know, not only from experience, but from the studies and data that are coming in. I'm honored that I am being consulted by others about this knowledge. And I know that this movement has lasting power because the truth on our side. The mainstream isn't here, but its not far off, as long as we remain authentic and stay vigilant about advocating for education and awareness of the benefits of cannabis .
I got 99 problems, and being a witch ain't one. Hit me.
Author's note, if you know of a group or network where I can send the people that have been approaching me, please send me a note. These people need help, and while I am doing my best, I know there are others that are better qualified than I am.