This Is How We Rise: The Antidote to the Over-Bleached Wild.


Ah, my love! I’m so glad you found my hiding place here in the haunted forest where I can hear my grandmother’s ghost so clearly I am craving her egg custard pie.

The manufactured scent of the over-bleached wild was burning my throat again, and I had to take solace in the late summer mist and cover myself with the warm blankets of ancestral communion and near-rotting leaves.

In my most lustful nightmares, the darkest Goddess among us is licking away the layers of pretense covering the softer sisterhoods and most timid covens with her forked tongue; I came here to appeal to her wickedness, and I’ll be damned if you aren’t the answer to my impassioned prayers!

Let’s leave this place and take to the road. We’re not doing any good here, after all.

Come with me, and let’s paint a majestic mural of sequin-hooded Priestesses with feathers in their hair and pearly white teeth; it will be so glittery and pink, they’ll come from far and wide to see our masterpiece that so brilliantly illustrates the outmoded notions of ineffectual femininity that are so addictively sweet to the taste.

Once they’ve all come, just before the Equinox, I’ll pour a tangy mix of turpentine and moon-blood over our blasted creation, and they’ll mourn for the loss of spoon-fed spells, silky sanctuary, and appropriated deity. That will be your cue, my love.

When they begin to whisper amongst themselves about the diluted sacred and the now well-worn path of the Priestess, when they start to wonder aloud about where they might go and what they might do with the swelling wildfire erupting in their bellies, you will raise your arms high and give them their answer.

Tell them how the clever, manmade, parasitic weeds of patriarchy have infiltrated the landscapes of sisterhood and distracted the most powerful Priestesses with ever-blooming flowers and perennial delights. Tell them the circle is no utopian retreat within the blinding beams of eternal sunshine, for there can be no escape from the still-strong shadows of racism, colonialism, misogyny, and exploitation.

When they begin covering their ears and shaking their heads, when they crush their eyes closed to envision themselves dancing among the open-armed fairies and carefree sprites, tell them that the skies are darkening above them and the warmer waters are rising around their ankles. While they cast their lighthearted spells to manifest their perfect soul-mates, another law condoning rape is passed.

While they take home their store-bought altars and read their gold-embossed oracle cards, another girl is auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Tell them self-empowerment means little if they can’t throw that fem-force against the tight-woven fabric of collective oppression, and tell them to stretch their arms as long as they can to reach into the basement-bowls of institutionalized prejudice and carve out the still-beating hearts of corruption and greed.

Raise your fist and tell them their magick comes from their feminine ire more than it comes from sage smoke and blessed totems. Tell them their will and their wisdom are the most important ingredients in any bitter brew, and then, my love, then tell them they are the change-agents. They are the wild ones who will carve away all the pomp and circumstance weighing down and veiling the raw and the real.

They are the ones who will rally and rage for the world they want the children of the future to live in, and they are the loud-mouthed and heavy-handed Witches we’ve been waiting for.

This is how we rise, together and full of righteous rage. Tell them to keep circling, keep lighting candles for their dead, and keep holding each other while they weep; after all of that, tell them to muster enough energy to strike at the ties that still bind. Tell them they are ready.

Ask them if every spell they cast embodies the values they hope will undergird a more just humanity, and ask them if they truly believe in their bones and in their blood that they have the right to affect change in this world.

Tell them it is the red-hot flames crackling beneath the circle’s foundations that keep it warm despite waning energetic investments of wayward Priestesses, and tell them to move toward a communal truth and shared activism.

Their eyes will get wild, and their hair will come undone. They’ll lift their chins and dig their manicured nails into their palms. Here’s the best part, love: Then, they’ll stop listening to you altogether not because they can’t take it but because they know they have work to do. Covered in grass-stains and chipped crystals, they’ll march to the government buildings and cast a circle right there on the marble steps.

Every one of them will move to the pulse-beat of the Primal Feminine resurgence, and every one of them will harvest a grittier resilience than they have ever known.

Does it sound like a plan, Sister? I’ve just come up with it right now. Your loving face was my muse, and I know where to find some paint.


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Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky

Danielle Dulsky is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. Author of 'Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Journey of Becoming', 'The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman' and 'Woman Most Wild' (New World Library 2020, 2018, 2017), Danielle teaches internationally and has facilitated embodiment trainings, wild circles, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School and the lead teacher for the school’s Flame-Tender Facilitator Training and online coven, The Hag Ways Collective, an E-RYT 500 and YACEP, a Fire-Keeper for Ord Brighideach, and a dedicant to Irish-Celtic spirituality. She believes in the power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists as well as the importance of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting environmental unconsciousness and social injustice. Parent to two beloved wildings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, art-making, poetry, and intentional awe.
Danielle Dulsky