Imbolc Special 2020!! Decolonizing Love with Chelsea A. Hamlet

To me, Imbolc is about questioning old patterns before we take new steps or make new plans.  It’s about examining the status quo to make sure we don’t bring old unnecessary baggage with us into spring.  So since Imbolc falls just a couple weeks before Valentine’s Day, I thought we’d take today to deconstruct some of the things we’ve been taught about Love and sex and relationships.  I think what we experience, largely, in this society is what’s been termed Colonial Love.  The number one thing about colonialism is it says:  You have to be and do things this ONE way that it has been decided is how we are and do things.  It’s racist and sexist – ableist  and heteronormative..  Colonial love will endanger another person for its own gain.  It’s possessive, jealous, enforces unbalanced rules.  It’s the idea of relationships as staking claim to the ownership of another person.  Controlling, strict, transactional, it decides what is acceptable and what is not.  Who is worthy of love and who is not.

Colonial love says you can’t be queer, you can’t be polyamorous, you can’t wear THAT, you can’t express your needs, you can’t be a slut, you can’t be a prude.  But don’t worry because some statistics show that more than half of adults surveyed admitted to cheating on a partner.  So you CAN have multiple partners, you just can’t be honest about it.  Under colonialism, Deceit is key.  Keeping up appearances is essential.  Sex education is blasphemy.  Capitalist and colonialist mentalities have created and normalized broken, toxic ideas about love.

Colonial Love breeds shame and seeks control over bodies and behaviours.  Pleasure is shameful.  Kink-shaming, body-shaming, slut-shaming shame shame shame, because keeping you ashamed of being difffferenttttt is a great way to make sure you’re always dimming your light.  Keeping hidden your shiny disco ball of multiplicity and otherness.  It’s easier that way.  Easier for them.  They can just pretend you don’t exist.  And easier for you too… keep your head down, don’t rock the boat, don’t draw attention, don’t make eye contact, don’t incite violence by existing.  Be desirable, but not too desirable.  Be socially acceptable.  Blend in.  Be likeable.  Be loveable.  But be careful.  Or… say fuck it, and be a Witch.  Change the rules.  

So let’s Decolonize Love today.  Our love for ourselves and our love for each other.  Let’s not try to buy Love or control Love.  Let’s Make Love free and honest and non-judgemental and without prejudice.  Make love a journey, not a product.  Make it malleable, not rigid.  Let it exist in a multitude of ways. Witches, let’s write our own rules!


It’s a full time job fuckin loving yourself.

“…the only kind of love that could liberate them from that horrible legacy of colonial violence. I am speaking about decolonial love.” JUNOT DIAZ


Intimacy is, without a doubt in my mind, the opposite of Imperialism. It’s easy to dehumanize and judge someone else, but it takes so much more to love them. While we don’t have to hide who we are, we recognize in one another as partners in dismantling systems that keep us divided and broken. To decolonize love, we have to begin with loving ourselves enough to demand respect, dignity, and space – and to have the courage to allow others to love us back. M.B. Dallocchio

Gwendolywn (Mitikomis) Benaway – Decolonial Love: A How-To Guide