The Witch-Bride wears bright red and stands shaking with anticipation, surrounded by her wild sisters. In this lost tribe of Wolf Women, it is forbidden to marry another until one marries her sacred self, so they meet now at the stone circle’s center to witness this Witch’s wedding. The moon is full against the still-pink sky, the red hoods have been raised, and the distant howls are signaling the pending nuptials.
On this night, the Bride weds her own divinity, takes the She-Wolf to bed, and affirms the 13 Vows of the Succulent Soul. A wise woman paints the tribal marks on the Bride’s face, ancient symbols of the Great Mother, and tears pool into the aged cracks around the old one’s eyes. This woman is not her daughter by blood, but she is of her soul-line. In this tribe all women are connected, and your last name means very little. The old one remembers the night so long ago when she took these vows, when her world was smaller and her breasts were higher, and she smirks at how little she knew then.
A tiny wild one then skips over to them, tossing her small red hood to the ground and giggling: Mama, I want to be painted too! She tugs on the garnet bridal robes, and the Witch answers: You must wait, little one! It is not your time. The girl runs away, undefeated and unfazed, distracted by the beasts’ arrival. Snorts and playful snarls surround the Witches’ tribe, and they greet their familiars with all the passion of a woman to her twin-flame lover. The wise woman nods sharply to the Bride and straightens her veil, affirming that the time has come, and a single black wolf struts to stand with them. The drums begin to beat in time with the Bride’s wild heart, and the women begin to sing softly and sensually.
The wolves begin to howl just as the torches are lit, and the lost pack of wild women march somberly through and out of the monoliths toward the water. Small waves crash against the stony beach in this sacred place, and seals rest on the rocks, unbothered by the two and four-legged ones. Taking position on the high rock, the Witch-Bride looks to the maternal moon, a white beacon of the Holy Feminine hung perfectly in a darkening, alchemical sky. She crushes her eyes shut, and the echoes of voices from her grandmothers and their grandmothers ring in her ears.
The black wolf takes her place at the bride’s side, sitting regally like the Queen of the Wild Beasts, a symbol of the Bride’s sacred self and a reminder of the primal Dark Goddess nature. The drums cease. The voices fall silent, and all that remains is the sound of Mother Ocean. The Witch takes a breath, readying herself, and the She-Wolf nuzzles the hip of her Mistress. No Priest will guide this union, for the vows must be spoken only in the Bride’s own voice. There are no words of introduction, for the wild ones all know why they are here.
It is time, and the first vow rolls off the Bride’s tongue like blessed water over pebbles — clean, strong, and purposed: I am Woman, and I will forever stand for my sisters when they cannot stand for themselves, until death do us part. She swallows and continues, heartened: I am Maiden, and I will honor the succulence of my body, the sensuality of my nature, and the sacred sexuality of partnership. Glancing at her daughter, small face mesmerized into silence by the weight of her mother’s words, the Witch goes on: I am Mother, and I will nourish the Feminine Fertile in my sacred work and holy womb.
She looks to the wise elderwoman who has been her guide through countless moon lodges, betrayals, and heartaches: I am Crone, and I will wield my woman’s intuition like a war-goddess’ weapon. The Witch crushes her eyes shut again, for these next vows will be the most difficult ones to take. The tribe knows this well, and they raise their fists in solidarity when she speaks: I am the battered woman, and I will feel my own face ache like her bruises. I am the child bride, and I will feel the malicious hands on my own body when they touch her. I am the mother who sobs when her children are stolen, and I will wail with her. I am the victim of rape, and I will bleed like she bleeds.
Some of the women cry out then in a rage most righteous. The drums sound, but not loudly enough to drown out the gut-born voice of the fierce Warrior Bride: I am a She-Wolf, and I will bite the head off of injustice and dig my claws into the ropes that bind the wrists of my sisters. I am a Witch-Warrior, and I will use my magick to burn inequality at the stake. I am the ghost of the Hunted Witch, and I have returned to claim what is mine. The drum beats so slowly now, and the Bride is near breathless. There are only two vows remaining, and she silently bids farewell to her smaller life. Her inner She-Wolf stirs inside her ribcage, and her familiar’s ears perk up in a knowing response. There is no turning back now, and she tosses her red veil to the ground.
I am the Goddess of the Dark Moon, and I bring death, darkness, and destruction of all that does not belong. I am the Goddess of the Full Moon, and I bring birth, light, and manifestation of all that serves. She turns to face her tribe just as her wolf begins to howl, and she pounds a closed fist on her chest: By the power vested in me by the Feminine Divine, I take my red, raw soul to love, honor, and cherish from this night forward. So mote it be! The Wolf Women echo the Bride’s final affirmation, and the night continues with much sacred swimming, sultry song, and beasts’ howling. At midnight, the Witch-Bride enters the red tent to consummate her marriage with wild solitude, and she wakes in the morning a woman reborn, whole unto herself, a bare-breasted soul emerged from its holy cocoon.....
By: Danielle Dulsky is a longtime activist for wild woman spirituality and the divine feminine’s return. She is the author of the soon-to-be published Woman Most Wild: Liberating the Witch Within (coming May 2017, publisher New World Library) and is on a mission to inspire women to be fearless creators of their sacred work. She holds the highest designation from Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500, is the founder of the fully accredited Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs, and believes in holistic healing for the sensual, creative, and spiritual self. Her work is grounded in holding space for women to harvest their inner Priestess through personally relevant movement alchemy, intuitive artistic practice, and divine feminine spirituality. Danielle leads women circles, Witchcraft workshops, energy healing trainings, and basic (200-hour) and advanced (300-hour) Yoga teacher trainings in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. She believes that all women alive today are meant to be instrumental in supporting positive social transformation through wild woman spirituality, reclamation of the name Witch, and the magick of sisterhood.
Living and working on theunceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.