In the spirit of the Spring and of the seething energy building towards this year’s May Day, we want to tell you about one of our favourite stories, The Witch’s Child.
The Witch’s Child urges us to celebrate the return of Spring. It is about the importance of May Day and what we have to gain by rooting ourselves in the rhythm of the seasons. After a long Winter of darkness and stillness, we’ve been feeling the resurgence of growth and we rise up too, to remember the importance of re-emerging after the cold, inward months. We value the way that these ever-warmer days renew our sense of curiosity, and bring us to an almost anxious feeling of not being able to keep up with just how fast Spring is moving. Some days, it’s enough to make us remember to get up early and see what’s blooming, as we laugh at ourselves for so often spending too much time on the internet…
We first came across The Witch’s Child while browsing the usual alternative news websites, but we almost didn’t read it then. Typically, we tend to go through news sites looking for current events, for new facts and figures in the around the clock, ever-updating flood of information that is the internet. Simple storytelling is, even if we enjoy it, considered a luxury left for moments when types of learning and acting that are seen as more important or productive are done. But for whatever reason, something about The Witch’s Child caught our eye that day — we read it, and were amazed.
This piece tells an old story in a new way. We’ve all heard the one about the collapse of the Roman empire, and how imperial power then moved North into other parts of Europe. What The Witch’s Child offers is not new facts, but rather a new telling, a new perspective — the pieces of a familiar story coming together in a new way to become something truly beautiful and subversive. It challenges us to value different kinds of knowledge and truth.
By retelling the story of the peoples who would later become English, French, German, Spanish and other nationals of Western Europe, The Witch’s Child gives us an example of how settlers can connect with their own history of being colonized. It is the story of how a people lost touch with the rhythms of nature and had their traditions broken, which left them vulnerable to being turned into bullets in the colonizers gun to be used against peoples elsewhere. For many of us, when we reject the sanitized colonial histories we are taught, we have nothing to replace it with. Without a story of how we came to be lost in a shopping mall on stolen land, it can be difficult to do anything more than feel guilty for being that way. But in retelling our history, we settlers can regrow some roots, supporting our healing and reducing our isolation from a history of struggle.
“This is your story, child. This is why it seems you have everything, but you feel you have nothing. Trust your feelings. Do not numb them with the pills they offer you. Because those feelings of anguish and rage are the same itch the seed feels in the last days of Winter, before it bursts open and sends out its buds into the world. It is this growth—uncontrolled, spontaneous—that would deprive them of their soldiers, which is why they fear it above all else.”