Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging: Finding Your Power Through the Changing Seasons by Cait Johnson

Book Review
Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging:
Finding Your Power Through the Changing Seasons
by Cait Johnson
Publisher: Destiny Books
167 Pages
Publication date: February 1, 2022

 

 

Bright Blessings, Readers!

I am excited to review a great new book released in 2022 published by Destiny Books titled Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging: Finding Your Power Through the Changing Seasons and it is authored by Cait Johnson. It is 167 pages and can be gotten here.

All who are women, we are in crisis right now. With the overturn of Roe Vs. Wade, our abilities to control our own bodies is at risk, and I need you to protest, vote, or whatever it is that helps give us body autonomy. While you are doing that, read what Caitlin Matthews wrote in the forward to this book, most especially if you are on the fence about women’s reproductive rights,

“From the time when the menarche comes upon us as girls, to the moment that menopause switches off our years of fertility, our bodies change, and our view of ourselves mutates and develops in changes quite as extraordinary as the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It is just that we have not ever heard much about the story of what comes after these changes, mostly because the life expectancy of women was historically a lot shorter than that of men—which is why we hear a lot about the wooing of the princess but not about what goes on after the “happily ever after” part. Multiple childbirths took their toll on women all over the world. For example, my great-grandmother had fourteen children, my grandmother had six children, my parents had two, while I have only one child. The ability to control our bodies, including the number of children we have, has changed everything, allowing us to live into our eighties, nineties, and, like my paternal grandmother, over a hundred years.”

Well, ladies, that time may have come to a close. A ten-year-old girl had to cross over into Indiana from my home state of Ohio to get an abortion recently because of our rights being taken from us, and it is said that soon the doctors in Indiana who performed the procedure will not be allowed to anymore. It is crucial now, most especially, for women to love themselves. Their hearts and souls of course, but also our bodies. In a world that sees us as only baby making machines, we have to care more about ourselves than this world does. When we are young, we are valued, but as we age, we are literally thrown away by society. We are instructed to wear makeup when we are young so men find us more sexually alluring so they can- you guessed it- get turned on by us- and get us pregnant. Then as we age, we are instructed to cover our grey hair, find ways not to wrinkle, stay thin and “youthful” or else our men will dump us for younger ladies, won’t they?

Fuck that shit.

If you want kids, fine, but, why define yourself by one stage of life? Even if you want kids, why define yourself by ONE stage of life and strive all your days to seem youthful and “fertile” to impress the world? Why butcher your gracefully aging body? Why refuse to become the Crone? I say we take full control of our lives, embracing our bodies in their fullness. No longer should we seek to grow up so fast and be a baby maker. Enjoy being a baby first! Then, have all the kids you want- or don’t have any. Then, once we are no longer able to have babies, I say we stop trying to make our bodies look like we could make more babies!

This beautiful book is a testament to the value of us as women beyond our glamorized years and has beautiful suggestions of how to love aging! Read on to see some of her words of wisdom, but first a bit about the author!

Her page says:

Cait Johnson is the author of seven books honoring the seasons and the connections that underlie all life. Now that she’s over 60, aging is on her mind. Her latest book seeks to infuse the aging process with a sense of magic and is part of a movement to transform our culture’s ideas about older women. Cait’s work combines earth-based sensibility, a shamanic worldview, and appreciation of ancient wisdom with poetry and a love for food, celebrating the sacredness in every day. She holds an MFA in theatre design, is certified by the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University), studied with shamanic practitioner Tom Cowan, and is a member emeritus of the Black Earth Institute, a progressive think tank dedicated to the integration of arts, environment, spirit, and social justice. Before the pandemic, she wrote, directed, and performed in collaborative shamanic theatre pieces that explored transformation of consciousness through ritual, song, movement, and the spoken word. She lives with her black cat in a cozy two hundred-year-old house in New York’s Hudson Valley where she has a private practice as a writing mentor, creative coach, and intuitive counselor. Her adored artist son and his partner have recently made her a doting grandmother.

These are words about her, and her book is a testament of her wisdom, understanding of what it means to be a woman in all life stages, and a great teacher who embraces other women, lovingly showing us how to love ourselves. Her book is divided into four sections, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. To begin with her introduction says,

“Several years ago, as I sat with a group of friends comparing our jowls and saggy arms and laughing uproariously, it occurred to me that unless we die young we’re going to get older. It seems like a journey to a strange land that none of us have ever visited before, and we don’t have a map. But wouldn’t it be nice if we did, like everyone else? I hear the perpetual yawp of our culture nattering on about the Land of Aging being an ugly, dangerous place, and how we’d better spend a lot of money pronto so we won’t look like we’re well on the way. But I’m here to tell you: our culture has it all wrong. The Land of Aging can be filled with freedom and beauty, wisdom and pleasure.”

I will examine each section separately, but let me say if you are a woman, you NEED a copy of this book, because it so beautifully sums up the female experience, and guides us through our journey to Cronehood, one step at a time!

Winter

This section implores older women to explore and embrace their aging bodies. She writes,

“Your New Year’s revolution might sound something like, “May I love and accept my body just as it is. And may I care for it as I would a beloved companion animal, so that it will be the healthiest and most vibrant body it can be.”

That is good advice for all of us. Not fighting our aging, pretending to be eternally young should be every woman’s’ top priority. She reminds us that although we were absolutely beautiful as babies and young women, we are still beautiful when we are older, and that our beauty is just different. She says we earned everything and ought to be proud. Grey hairs are called “Moon Hairs” by her, and are not something to be covered, after all! She encourages us to “feed” our hair with such foods as fatty fish and to replenish it with herbs instead of stripping it with chemical dyes. She reminds us that darkened hair with growing out grey roots make us look like skunks! She encourages us to ditch plastic surgery and Botox and instead nourish our skin with scrubs, creams, baths, and good exercise. She reminds us that we are one with our bodies and to pamper ourselves with taking care of our bodies and that includes having good sleep!

At the end of this section, she writes,

“FINAL WORDS FROM THE ROOT WITCH
Making Peace with Yourself

When you make peace with yourself—with your changing body and face, and with all the ways you are different now than when you were young—you open to the possibility of a rich, authentic life in the time you have left on this earth, however long that may be. What a gift to give yourself! And what a gift to the world, which now has a chance to witness the strength and serenity of a woman at ease with herself. Your culture is in dire need of positive role models for elder women. You can be one of them.”

Spring

In this section, she explores ways that young women can discard societal expectations and love themselves. Discard the ways society expects us to look and embrace your own style and unique beauty! Wear the colors YOU want to instead of what is “trendy”. Accept your own body shape and type and dress to flatter yourself instead of dressing the way society decides. Wear clothing that you feel reflects your personal culture, ethnicity, and ancestry instead of wearing what everybody else does. It’s YOUR body and you ought to dress to please yourself instead of other people! She even has suggestions like having clothes swaps with friends to save money and to make your own clothes!

She does bring magic in, suggesting herbs to use and to even throw a fun costume party! Next, she discusses “feathering our nests” or decorating our homes. Everybody knows our homes are our sanctuaries, after all! She eloquently calls it “Feathering Your Soul Nest”. I cannot think of a better way to describe making our home our sanctuary. She acknowledges some older women live alone, some of whom see children off, and grants permission to get rid of other people’s things. It is YOUR home, and you deserve it your way. Children can take their goods along with them and if they don’t, well…those can go! Some of those things are ours we have had for forever, and we need to throw out old cracked lampshades, and even repurpose some things! We get caught up in life and can’t always be bothered with noticing what all we have accumulated in our homes, but as magical people, the energies from “things” directly affect us, and she recommends controlling what is in our homes.

She writes,
“Using your magical imagination, you can begin rearranging things to suit yourself. Why not put your bed in the living room, if that’s what you want? Or move your favorite chair to overlook the garden? Or clear out that old den to make yourself a studio for painting, which you’ve always longed to do? If you listen to your deeper desires, you can transform your home without having to pull up roots and decamp for pastures that may not be greener at all.”

I believe that I have written enough, and it is not MY writings you ought to be reading, but the writings of Cait Johnson. Click the link below and pre-order a copy of this great book. Better yet, get one for your mom, your daughters, and every single woman you know. This is a book for all women and one each of us needs. In closing, before you run off to get copies, Johnson writes,

“Life offers such an abundant cornucopia of delights, if only you slow down enough to savor them. My darling daughter, I urge you to enjoy the feast of life with more zest. We are here for such a short while. Why wait to use the good china, or the special soaps, or the beeswax candles, or the fancy sea salt that you’ve been saving for a special occasion? Why wait to wear the sumptuous dress your loved one gave you? What are you waiting for? Wear it, use them, use them up! Might as well give yourself as many significant, magical, glorious experiences as you can, so that when your death-time comes, you can look back over a life that was well and deeply lived, without regret and with great satisfaction. The life you have is such a miraculous gift. It was meant to be unwrapped and enjoyed.”

Be Blessed, my Sisters. Bless yourselves and each other. We are the human embodiment of the goddess and all we do to care for ourselves venerates Her.

 

Witch Wisdom for Magical Aging on Amazon

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.

A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.

Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!

Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.

All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.

She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.

Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!

On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.

She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.

Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].