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Bitch or Witch? Fears That Keep Us From Owning Our Power

December 11, 2015


Power is often an uncomfortable topic for spiritual seekers, especially women. We are much more comfortable talking about compassion, lovingkindness, and even wisdom. But power is central to the spiritual path; in fact, one could even say power is what it’s all about – allowing the ultimate power of the universe, the essence of which we are all composed, to flow through us naturally, unhindered, so that our unique expression of it may be known and felt in the world.

If we look at all of recorded human history, it’s clear that the rise of feminine power in all forms (and this includes the breakdown of gender stereotypes that limit anyone’s self-expression or gender identity) is one of the hallmarks of our current age. It’s a gestalt, a theme of our times. Never has it been more important that the old ways of thinking about male and female power, and about gender overall, fall away. Never has it been more important for individuals of both genders to break through cultural conditioning, religious and social limitations, and own their full power. On some level, the struggles related to this are part of every conflict going on in the world today (think about each one, and see if you agree.)

So owning your power is not a small thing. It’s also not an egotistical thing, because it’s about much more than just you. What then, are the ways we as women block our own power?

If we look at both history and the current cultural portrayals of women, it’s easy to see we have a real ‘bitch or witch’ problem. Women with communication styles or opinions that are deemed too aggressive or angry are often labeled bitchy. Women who explore religious beliefs or healing modalities deemed outside of the mainstream are often labeled witchy. Women in this day and age with spiritual proclivities, or who are drawn to energy or intuitive studies (you! I’m talking about you reading a blog called Mommy Mystic!) are prone to fear both.

Throughout much of history, either label could have gotten you killed (and in parts of the world, this is still true today.) Not just disliked or ostracized, but killed – hung, burned at the stake, stoned, drowned, thrown to the lions. We are all impacted by the cultural residue of that history, by ancestral memory, and, if you believe in past lives, by those as well. As I explored in my post on neuroplasticity and epigenetics, traumatic historical events may even impact genetic expression. Is it any wonder then that exploring your power in this day and age – particularly spiritual or occult power – can feel dangerous? That it feels safer to toe the line, do what’s expected of you, stick to mainstream beliefs, blend in, cover your light?

Really coming to own your power, and to feel comfortable expressing and manifesting it in the world, is a part of most contemporary women’s personal growth trajectory. It is an underlying theme of almost all my private session women energetic’s work. And through that work I have also come to believe that in particular there is a karmic return occurring amongst women interested in spiritual and healing themes (again, I’m talking about you, reading this blog!) – a mass surfacing and clearing of energies and patterns directly linked to witch hunts in Europe and the colonies during the 12th through 18th centuries (and actually in many other lesser known cultures and countries as well, throughout history – it’s a recurring theme.) I don’t mean that every women who is working through power issues was persecuted as a witch in a past life (although sometimes this is the case.) But I do feel that the karmas, in the form of fears, that were generated energetically at that time and that became a part of our cultural psyche, are now rising to the surface to be seen, healed, released, and transformed. This clearing is an important part of the rise of feminine power, and the rebalancing of masculine and feminine energies, that is occurring right now, and that is so central to the positive evolution of our world.

To begin to work with these energies yourself, first think about your own childhood conditioning around power. What were girls allowed to express or not express as compared to boys? How were you expected to voice your opinions (if you were encouraged to?) What messages did you receive about anger? Did you develop habits of people-pleasing and not rocking the boat in order to calm things around you? What role did women play (or not) in the religion you were raised in? What value was intuition or the unseen given?

Of course a lot of your answers at this level have nothing to do with past life, or even present day, persecution. But they do help surface the underlying beliefs about feminine and spiritual power that may be influencing your own ability to own your power.

One emotional pattern that can be linked to this fear is engaging in people-pleasing to such an extent that you alter your personality to fit what you think others’ want you to be. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get along with people, and we all adapt our personas according to roles and relationships, and to make people comfortable. But when it crosses the line, energetically it becomes something else – we aren’t drawing any power from the core of our being, the seat of our authenticity, and emanating it out. All our energy is being directed into our surface persona, in trying to fit in and thus ‘be safe’, so our power cannot flow naturally and unimpeded. Instead we are left drained from the effort of interacting. Ultimately, it is actually more draining to stay small in this way than to let our power flow, because when our power flows naturally it is just energy coming forth from our inner being. From an energetics perspective, we become a conduit for this power, as it flows from the inner doorway of our chakras.

Another emotional pattern that can arise from fears of being labeled ‘bitch or witch’ is a debilitating fear of conflict and our own anger – shying away from them to the point where we cannot stick up for ourselves or others in the face of injustice. Keeping things calm and unthreatening becomes our first priority, to our own detriment. Often this backfires, as we repress anger to such an extent that it erupts erratically and destructively.

Here are some other ways that these fears may manifest as blocks to owning your own (spiritual) power:

  • Keeping your spiritual/alternative interests hidden to such a degree that you divide your life, making yourself into 2 people.
  • Feeling as if there is no one in your life to which you express your authentic self, or can be yourself.
  • Not being able to take your healing or intuitive abilities to another level, or to speak about them in front of people.
  • Special fears around speaking in front of others about any topic, or about being in front of people, the center of their focus, for any reason.
  • Paranoia or hyper-sensitivity about being betrayed, to the point that you see betrayal even in every day disagreements with friends or partners.
  • A deep sense of being ‘bad’ – a sense that you have done something ‘wrong’ – an ‘original sin’ feeling.
  • Deep-seated isolation and/or inability to trust anyone.

Of course many other experiences or conditioning factors can contribute to these kinds of emotional patterns. I am not trying to say that feeling any of these is a sign you were burnt at the stake as a witch in a past life. I mentioned the possibility of karmic roots only as a way of indicating how deep-seated many of these patterns are in our energy beings and psyches. Knowing your karmic history is not that important to your healing and empowerment, and in fact sometimes can even serve as a distraction. What is relevant is contemplating how these patterns might be present and functioning within you, and how they might be preventing you from owning your power.

Because being powerful is a good thing! It is not bad – power is not inherently good or bad. How you choose to use your power is what determines your impact on the world. This is true of all kinds of power – personal, social, political, occult (all of which are reflections of your personal power, your energetic power.) Holding back on owning yours, and on using it, hurts yourself and everyone who might otherwise benefit from what you have to offer the world. The world needs you now more than ever at  your most powerful, radiant, loving, and wise.




15 Comments leave one →
  1. Marcella Kollmann permalink
    December 11, 2015 7:10 am

    Thank you, great idea

  2. December 11, 2015 8:41 am

    The page will not let me register. Please sign me up.

  3. Pam permalink
    December 11, 2015 1:35 pm

    Loved this post…exactly what I needed to hear right now. I tried to sign up on the site but I’m not sure if it worked or not. Please sign me up.

  4. December 11, 2015 5:05 pm

    Magdalene Mama, I signed you up, thank you. I’ll send out call-in info later next week.

  5. December 11, 2015 5:05 pm

    Hi Pam, you are signed up, details to follow.

  6. December 12, 2015 3:36 am

    Wow, what you are sharing here speaks right to my heart. It’s interesting to me because a close friend recently shared similar insights in a conversation and here you are diving deeper into it.

    As I feel into it a bit for myself, I think I get around this ‘power’ dynamic by defining it as flow – I love being fully connected with and tapped into universal energy and will gladly share that love with anyone who is interested in listening. I am fine with owning “I am a powerful co-creator with source” because I have learned to be…. *but* if someone said ‘are you powerful’ or ’empowered’, in general or in life, I would shy away from claiming that. In part, because I am still healing internally from childhood abuse around being joyful and light-filled in an exuberant way. But, the newness for me is that at this stage of life, I won’t dim my light or disconnect from flow, even if others disagree (I just might not speak about it out loud as I center and create).

    A while back there was a meme going around social media that said something like ‘we are the grand-daughters of the witches you didn’t burn’. Some of the ‘elders’ in a spiritual group I am in were saying they were ordering the shirt and would proudly wear it anywhere. I said (because it’s true for me currently) that I personally wouldn’t just wear it as I was moving through my day in my community because I would be judged. That opened the door for me to explore this further for myself.

    I used to experience these blocks you have listed and it was exhausting! After doing lots of inner work to understand and open them up, it’s so refreshing and wonderful to no longer have that heaviness in my life!

    Thank you so much for this specific message, your solstice call and the work you share!

  7. December 13, 2015 6:57 pm

    Joy, thanks so much for sharing your growth trajectory around this theme, it really speaks to me and I’m sure will to others too. It is so draining and limiting to be caught in a lot of these patterns. And I do think being powerful in the way I mean it is being joy-filled as well. Part of why I decided I did want to post this is that I think with the shifting energies in the world it’s important for anyone striving to live consciously and heart-filled to really own their power fully so that it is emanating and expanding outward, helping to counter all the fear-based constriction that is occurring. Thank you for contributing to that expansion with all you do. – Lisa

  8. December 15, 2015 5:36 pm

    What a potent and timely post. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    December 19, 2015 1:41 am

    Sounds like good timing

  10. Christine permalink
    February 15, 2016 9:15 pm

    It’s my experience that people today will still be hostile to a mystic’s perceptions to the extent that they are operating at a distance from their own truth/reality, or, in other words, to the extent that they have something to hide either from themselves or others. People are capable of conducting modern day witch hunts with gossip, slander, smear campaigns, and more, if they have something to hide and someone with insight attempts to reveal it. I have found that the most criminally minded people are extraordinarily gifted in shifting-shame to those who can see through them, and using every dirty trick in the book to turn those with insight into their criminality into outcasts. I think it’s good to own your own power, and to live in it, but also know that there are still times, places and situations, including in the west (US/Europe, and so forth) where the dangers of speaking your truth in an unskillful way remain very real. Sometimes speaking your truth will get you burned at the stake, in a social sense or otherwise, and it starts when you speak too soon, or without skill. The bitch-witch label is a very accurate way of how the process begins, and it can grow worse from there for the one who would carries knowledge or insight that others want to suppress.

  11. Christine permalink
    February 15, 2016 9:18 pm

    *who carries insight

  12. February 22, 2020 12:14 am

    Reblogged this on Mommy Mystic and commented:

    Felt called to reblog this post at this time. May you know your power!

  13. Brenda Phillips permalink
    February 22, 2020 5:19 am

    Hi Lisa. Just yesterday I was listening to Maja D’Aoust talk about the Catholic church’s eradication of the divine feminine between 380 AD and 600 AD. All the ancient goddesses, priestesses, and prophetesses were systematically removed from the sacred sphere and relegated to myth. Later, the Earth mothers of Europe were deemed evil and burned or hanged as witches. Christianity has not been kind to women. The patriarchy persists.

  14. February 24, 2020 3:59 am

    Hi Brenda, yes this was a big piece of the puzzle, and other religions were not much better. Even those with female deities didn’t necessarily translate that into better treatment of actual human women! Reclaiming this power in every sphere is so essential – and I believe not giving up on spirituality entirely in the process.


  1. Healing the Masculine – As a Woman | Mommy Mystic

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