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 T W O   W I T C H E S 

                                            A Modern Craft Fairy-Tale 
                                                    by Mike Nichols 

          Once upon a  time, there were two  Witches.  One was  a Feminist Witch 
     and the other was a Traditionalist Witch.  And, although both  of them were 
     deeply religious, they had rather different ideas about what their religion 
     meant.  The Feminist Witch tended to believe that Witchcraft was a religion 
     especially suited to  women because the image of the Goddess was empowering 
     and a strong weapon against patriarchal tyranny.  And there was distrust in 
     the heart of the Feminist Witch for  the Traditionalist Witch because, from 
     the Feminist perspective, the Traditionalist Witch seemed subversive and a 
     threat to "the Cause". 

          The  Traditionalist Witch  tended  to believe  that  Witchcraft was  a 
     religion for  both men and women  because anything less would  be divisive. 
     And although  the  Goddess was  worshipped, care  was taken  to give  equal 
     stress to the God-force in nature, the  Horned One.  And there was distrust 
     in  the heart of the  Traditionalist Witch for  the Feminist Witch because, 
     from  the  Traditionalist  viewpoint,  the  Feminist  Witch  seemed  like a 
     late-comer and a threat to "Tradition".      These two Witches lived in the 
     same community  but each belonged  to a  different Coven, so  they did  not 
     often run into  one another.  Strange to say, the  few times they did meet, 
     they felt an odd sort of mutual attraction, at least on the physical level. 
     But both recognized the folly of this attraction, for their ideologies were 
     worlds apart, and nothing, it seemed, could ever bridge them. 

          Then one year the community decided to hold a Grand Coven, and all the 
     Covens in the area were invited to attend.  After the rituals, the singing, 
     the  magicks, the  feasting, the  poetry, and  dancing were  concluded, all 
     retired to  their tents and  sleeping bags.  All  but these two.   For they 
     were troubled by their differences and couldn't sleep.  They alone remained 
     sitting by the  campfire while all others around them  dreamed.  And before 
     long, they began to talk about their differing  views of the Goddess.  And, 
     since they were both  relatively inexperienced Witches, they soon  began to 
     argue about what was the "true" image of the Goddess. 

          "Describe your image of the Goddess to me," challenged the 
     Feminist Witch. The Traditionalist Witch smiled, sighed, and said in a rapt 
     voice, "She  is the  embodiment  of all  loveliness.   The quintessence  of 
     feminine beauty.  I picture her with silver-blond hair like moonlight, rich 
     and thick, falling down around her  soft shoulders.  She has the voluptuous 
     young body  of  a  maiden in  her  prime,  and  her clothes  are  the  most 
     seductive, gossamer thin and clinging to her willowy frame.  I see her 
     dancing like a  young elfin nymph in a moonlit glade, the dance of a temple 
     priestess.  And she  calls to her lover, the Horned One, in a voice that is 
     gentle and soft  and sweet, and  as musical as a  silver bell frosted  with 
     ice.   She is Aphrodite, goddess  of sensual love.  And  her lover comes in 
     answer to  her call, for she is destined to  become the Great Mother.  That 
     is how I see the Goddess." 

          The Feminist Witch hooted  with laughter and said, "Your Goddess  is a 
     Cosmic Barbie  Doll!  The Jungian archetype of a  cheer-leader!  She is all 
     glitter and no substance.   Where is her strength?   Her power?  I  see the 
     Goddess very  differently.  To  me, she is  the embodiment of  strength and 
     courage  and wisdom.   A  living symbol  of the  collective power  of women 
     everywhere.  I picture her with hair as black as a moonless night, cropped 
     short for ease  of care on the field of battle.   She has the muscular body 
     of a woman at the peak of health and fitness.  And her clothes are the most 
     practical  and sensible, not slinky  cocktail dresses.   She does not paint 
     her face or perfume  her hair or shave her  legs to please men's  vanities. 
     Nor does she do  pornographic dances to attract a man to her.  For when she 
     calls to a  male, in a voice that  is strong and defiant, it will  be to do 
     battle with the repressive masculine ego.  She is Artemis the huntress, and 
     it is fatal for  any man to cast a  leering glance in her direction.   For, 
     although she may be the many-breasted Mother, she is also the dark Crone of 
     wisdom, who destroys the old order.  That is how I see the Goddess." 
          Now  the Traditionalist  Witch hooted  with  laughter and  said, "Your 
     Goddess  is the antithesis of  all that is feminine!   She is Yahweh hiding 
     behind a feminine mask!  Don't forget  that it was his followers who burned 
     Witches  at the stake for the "sin" of  having "painted faces".  After all, 
     Witches  with their knowledge of herbs were  the ones who developed the art 
     of cosmetics.  So what of beauty?  What of love and desire?" 

          And so the argument raged, until the sound of their  voices awakened a 
     Coven Elder  who was sleeping nearby.   The Elder looked  from the Feminist 
     Witch to the Traditionalist Witch and back again, saying nothing for a long 
     moment.  Then the Elder suggested that both Witches go into the woods apart 
     from one another and there, by magick and meditation, that each seek a 
     "true" vision of the Goddess.  This they both agreed to do. 

          After  a time of invocations, there was a moment of perfect stillness. 
     Then a glimmer of light could be seen in the forest, a light shaded deepest 
     green  by the  dense foliage.   Both Witches  ran toward the  source of the 
     radiance.  To their  wonder and amazement, they discovered the  Goddess had 
     appeared  in a clearing directly between  them, so that neither Witch could 
     see the other.  And the Traditionalist Witch yelled "What did I tell  you!" 
     at the  same instant the Feminist Witch yelled  "You see, I was right!" and 
     so neither Witch heard the other. 

          To the  Feminist Witch, the Goddess  seemed to be a  shining matrix of 
     power and  strength, with courage and energy  flowing outward.  The   Goddess 
     seemed  to be  holding out  her arms  to embrace  the Feminist Witch,  as a 
     comrade in arms.  To the Traditionalist Witch, the Goddess seemed to be the 
     zenith of feminine beauty, lightly playing a harp and singing a siren song 
     of seduction.   Energy seemed to flow towards her.   And she seemed to hold 
     out her arms to the Traditionalist Witch, invitingly. 

          From opposite sides of the clearing, the Witches ran toward the figure 
     of  the Goddess they both loved so well, desiring to be held in the ecstasy 
     of that divine embrace.   But just before they reached her,  the apparition 
     vanished.      And the two Witches were startled to find themselves 
     embracing each other. 

          And then they both heard the voice of the Goddess.  And, oddly enough, 
     it sounded exactly the same to both of them.  It sounded like laughter.