We often like to say "Welcome Home to the Missing Witches Coven" or "Welcome Home to the Missing Witches Podcast." It feels especially good to welcome new people in this way. I feel a glowing sense of an idea of home reaching out to welcome folks who find their way to this strange project. Sometimes the idea of home has a mind of its own.
For Amy and me, the Missing Witches project has been like accidentally building our dream house. We tricked ourselves into writing books by telling these stories to each other, and now we've done a remodel by moving from Wordpress to Ghost.io, and it's like we're learning how everything works again and slowly moving in. As our weird side project keeps taking on more life, and we find all these people and ideas we've been missing, we feel the foundations settling, roof rising to keep off the snow, and a sense of protection, maybe even some stability settling in around this strange, frail, all-powerful thing: a new idea shared between friends. (Missing Witches isn't sustainable enough for us to make it our full-time job yet, to be clear! But we're still astonished at how far we've come just moving brick by brick.)
Sometimes the idea of home has a mind of its own.
In a recent coven meeting, we talked about the spirits of houses. One Witch told a story of their family home burning down, and after mourning that trauma they told us about building their dream home on the old foundations. Another Witch — storyteller, systems disrupter Sonia Fernandez Le Blanc — asked if those two homes still live like spirits in her mind. Sonia said that for her, places become like deities, they are present in dreams, she talks with them.
I was knocked back by this idea. When I dream of houses the quality of the dream is so different from other dreams. Dreams where I'm swimming, flying, or solving some caper just have a different sense of dreamtime or dreamfocus than when I walk the uncanny, familiar halls of spirit houses.
One dream comes back to me all the time, it is at the epicentre of my dream house, spirit house. I'm in a home that I feel comfortable in and familiar with in the dream, and which I recognize in waking life as being built in part from an ancient room in my two-hundred-year-old high school, a room of stone foundation and wood frame windows lit as though it's underwater by the bleary leaded glass. In my dream this bright, cool room is the kitchen, halls stretch off into the distance, and I am sitting at a table with my grandfather who, in waking life, had recently died. He's smiling and happy and animated and telling me something, but I don't speak the language. He doesn't mind and neither do I. The house breathes sunlight around us.
I didn't say all this in our coven meeting, anyway I think I've told this story before, but I did thank my coven mates for the insight that sank right into my bones about the spirit life of houses. And funnily enough, she told me she had been thinking of something I wrote in our book when she asked the question. I thanked her for teaching me what I had meant.
Being in circle — no matter how Brady Bunch Zoom-weird it can be — passing ideas and insights around with permission to lay down our masks, our shame, our judgment and just try to tell the truth about the world as we experience it — no matter how unacceptably magical THAT might be — actually does feel like a homecoming. Kick off your shoes, grab a beverage or smoke, get your cozies on (or bust out that velvet cloak you've been looking for an opportunity to wear) and let's be REAL about things both material and surreal... and all the veins and mycelia that move between.
And that, of course, is the idea behind this new Missing Witches Web Zine. Let's extend the spaces of our conversation. If you have an idea for a submission, we'd be honoured and thrilled to hear from you. Welcome home!
Risa (she/they) is the co-founder of Missing Witches and co-author of Missing Witches: Reclaiming True Histories of Feminist Magic and New Moon Magic: 13 Anti-Capitalist Tools for Resistance and Re-Enchantment.