Raised by Witches
by Jo Carbonell
The regular writer of this column, Pat, has taken some time off for personal reasons. In her place, we are pleased to present her daughter, Jo Carbonell.
Raised by Witches
by Jo Carbonell
I was born in Rutland, Vermont to young hippy parents. My mom, you all know her as Pat, had to raise me as a single mother (Dad split after 6 months). Thankfully she had the support of our family and her friends who also helped in raising me.
The upbringing I had was much different than what I've learned other children go through. As I've aged and matured into a woman I've discovered that my upbringing was more structured than most kids my age. I am an only child, so the attention I was given was never divided. My mother raised me to become an adult, but she also taught me to never grow up. My mom didn't teach me to ride a bike, the neighbor did. While most of you will see this as being "bad parenting", I don't. She was teaching me to learn comfortably from people other than herself. She was teaching me to be independent. I've learned through experience that while other children were being brainwashed to adhere to certain words, bells and warnings, I was being forced to think for myself. As I grew older and became curious about the woman in charge of my life, I learned that my mother had been dubbed "The Rebel" by my grandfather when she was my age. I now understood why she raised me as she did. I was the Rebel's daughter. (A few years ago I turned into "The Minister's Daughter, which just threw me for a loop!)
It didn't occur to me until I had become an adult that the little things that my mother taught me as a child, weren't normal things children learned from their folks. My mother taught me such things as how to recognize a bat from a bird in a dark forest at night, how to read someone's body language so well that you can figure out whats really bothering them usually before they know, and how to sooth any wound with a hug and kind words. You look at these things and say "Well, anyone can know that.", its true. You could, but did you know these things before the age of 7 years? I also never seemed to outgrow the wonder of looking at rainbows and wondering where that pot of gold landed, dancing in the rain barefoot, and seeing fairies dancing on flowertops in people's gardens.
As a preteen I became curious about being the daughter of a witch and what "magical powers" I might have. My mother put me through some tests at home. If you recall Ghostbusters the movie, you'll remember a scene where Bill Murray has two students trying to read cards with symbols on them without looking at the symbols.
They are called Zener Cards. If you don't have the cards (which we didn't) then you can do what we did, which was use a normal pack of playing cards. My mother started by holding the card up with the back facing me from across a table. I was to try to "see" if the card had a red suit or black suit. After that I tried to see what suit it was. After that I tried for numbers. We kept going until I could tell her exactly what card it was. And can you guess what this little test proved? In ESP circles it would prove that I have Telepathy, whichs means I read the mind of the person holding the card and saw what they saw - a clear image of the card they held.
To this day I can still do it. It makes playing cards really frustrating. Its difficult to NOT cheat because you can't turn it off easily. I stick to board games.
As I grew into a teenager more wonderfully confusing "powers" developed as Puberty took over my life. Hormones, gotta love 'em. At the age of 13 I began to see people who weren't ....solid. It took some research for me to figure out that what I was seeing were ghosts. I quickly learned, after waking to find 5 ghosts standing over my bed when we moved into a different home, that if you don't anger them, they leave you alone. I began to have conversations with my dead grandfather on the rides to school everyday as I passed a graveyard. It didn't seem to matter that I was in Florida and my grandfather is buried in Vermont. The freakt part is when I told my mother he was wearing a brown suit, she began to cry. My grandfather died before I was born. I never got to meet him and no one ever told me what he was buried in. My mother told me he was buried in a brown suit with a tie. I told her he never wore shoes and she laughed and told me that they take people's shoes off before they bury them.
At age 15 Empathy struck. Empathy is the ability to "feel" the same thing as someone close to you. Its the psychic equivalent to "sympathy pains". My problem with this newfound power is that I was in High School and a key member of my High School's theatre troupe. Can you say "DRAMA!!!!"? Yeah, I picked the worst possible place to have Empathy. I turned into the biggest pain in the pa-toot because I was picking up EVERYONE'S emotions and I didn't know how to block it out of my head.
This is where I started to learn Control. I went to my wonderfully understanding mother and asked for help. She explained to me "Walls, Barriers and Wards". She explained to me that it was using my Visualization to build and enforce mental walls so that I could block out anything that does not belong to me, thus protecting me from acting out on someone else's emotions. Before I learned this trick I was plagued by migraines with such forceful pain that I took my anger out on everyone. Tot his day I'm surprised I had friends in High School.
Doing this exercise I learned how to protect myself mentally and by my senior year in high school I was in charge of my own head again. It took me until college to realize what a b*tch I'd been to everyone in H.S.
Until I'd become an adult myself, I never realised just how much my mother went through to raise me to be a good person. Yeah, I'm not a church-goer, I've broken some commandments in my time, my morals are my own- not something mandated to me, and I don't spend my life on my knees asking for forgiveness for being born, --BUT I've been told by many people that because of my actions and the person I am that my wings are already waiting for me in Heaven. I blame my mother for that. She taught me how to care and be responsable for someone other than myself. She taught me to be good. She raised me to be a White witch, just like herself. "Do no harm." I live by it. I also live by the Golden Rule (do you remember it?).
But through it all there has always been my mother, the witch. She brought me into this life, put her dreams on hold to raise me, teach me, care for me, love me, comfort me, support me, learn with me and in time she became my best friend.
Being raised by a witch didn't make me a bad person. It taught me about my heritage, the power I possess and the potential for good that I have within me. I wasn't raised to follow everyone else down the cement highway of life. I was raised to follow the dirt path in the dark forest while whistling to the bats flying overhead as I skip through the leaves barefoot.
So, I'm not one of the bright lights of society, but I think being the happy lil' heathen I am makes me a pretty lucky person because I was raised by a wonderful woman, who just happens to be a witch.
(love you MOM!)