Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Witch in Me...

I have been a Witch all my life. I remembered when I was younger that I would listen to the voice of the wind and the murmur of the waters in the rivers and streams. When I was younger I experienced a lot of things that children my age would label as weird. I can see "dwendes" when I was in my elementary, feel spirits and even saw a "bulalakaw" or a firebird, a phoenix one night while I was brushing my teeth.

When I entered UP High School my interest in the occult started. I was 11 years old when I entered the walls of the University of the Philippines. The High School library housed the Time Life set on which some books on the occult and paranormal studies are included. I could stay up to four hours in the library and bury self on these books. My "formal" study in the Craft started when I was 13 years old, I was a sophomore going to my junior year in the school. I read the book of Time Life entitled Witches and Witchcraft, where articles on famous founders of the Path are present. It sparked the interest in me and I started look for websites on the Internet since books are very rare in the city. I visited the city and provincial libraries, university and other college libraries but to no avail.

Prior to my formal studies, I had my share of folk magick and lore from my family. Tracing back my roots also was very essential to me as the scarcity and the validity of the information available is a challenge. My maternal line has their own share of Baylans in the family. The first one is the grandfather of my grandmother, we call him Apo. It was said that he found a black libreta between the trunk of a tree he cut in our hometown. This started the tradition that we practice in the family, though unnamed was very potent.

He was a Tigadluman, a person who has the ability to make himself vanish. He displayed this ability when they were on their way to the river to escape the Japanese. He let them sit in a circle with him in the center, waved his staff around and when the Makapili passed he said "tabi-tabi po" coz they saw earth mounds instead of people. He also appears to move very fast and can be at your back in the blink of an eye, one story also was his fight with a neighbor who has also a kinaadman. In the boundary of our lot stood a Bamboo fence a few meters high. They would fight with their bolos or binangon by jumping high in the air and hacked each other, though no woulds can be inflicted. These also showed that out Apo was a Dalagan-gan ( a Babaylan who can run fast and jump high) and a Dalongdongan ( a Baylan who protects himself from harm using a special oil mix).

In our Family, there are women in each generation who are magickally gifted. After our Apo, one of my grandmother is also a healer. She is the one who brought us in the mountain facing our home to introduce us to the spirits of the place so they would not harm us. The next generation has three, I have three aunties who were healers, though the degree of their expertise varies. Sad to say though that two of them who were active were already dead.

I also had a funny experience with this auntie who died. We were at her house because it was the wake of her husband. My lola who was a healer approached her and told her that I am interested in the Practice. Lola then asked her if she would give me their Black Book but my auntie told my lola not yet because I am not yet ready. This auntie died because she was weakening and all the sickness that she healed were thrown back at her. She also had an enemy which took the opportunity to finish her off.

My other aunt who was a healer also died because of a mystical creature. In the Visayas, we have a mystical creature called the Bulalakaw, a firebird who flies in the form of a ball of fire with a tail made up of scattered flame with ever changing hues. It was said that when this phoenix passes over you, you would die. This is what happened to her when she was fetching water in a well in the province. The bulalakaw is fond of flying during noontime and they would land in wells to cool themselves. The firebird passed over her head and immediately blood came out of her nose, ears and mouth. They rushed her to the hospital but she died and the doctors did not know what was the cause of that bizarre sight.

In my generation, fifth counting from our Apo, I also had cousins who were sensitive to the unseen, my sisters are also gifted with the Sight and could see things that are aren't there.

Going to my paternal line, I do not really have a lot of information about them though I have cousins that are healers in my dads mother side. I was told that my father's grandma was an sirohana who uses herbs and charms to heal. According to my cousin Nik-Nik, my lola was offered to get the pamana, but she and her siblings refused so it was passed on to the next generation instead. My cousin was also a healer and we would go to the mountains on Holy Week just to look for "pangalap". Though my lola and her siblings never took interest on the Tradition, I could see my lola lighting candles of different colors during the New Year, murmuring prayers understandable only to her.

My interest in Magick goes very deep. It is a Craft that I am pursuing, a Practice am mastering and a Path that I am walking. This September, I will be celebrating 13 years of Practice and though some may consider it very long, for me it is just the beginning of another hard yet rewarding journey to seek for the Goddess and the Magick She weaves.

"Para sa tanan nga tinuga ang pagtatap sang aton Iloy; para sa binhi, sa tanum, sa mga kasapatan bukidnon man, sa lawod o sa kahawaan, sa mga tawo nga nagpanubli sang iya nawong."

-The care of the Mother is for all, for the seeds, the plants, the animals either from the mountains, seas or air and for the people who inherited Her face.-

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