Meet Priestess Renée Borkum
“Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” It’s seldom that you get to meet a practicing witch — a full priestess, in fact. Well, come shake the enchanted hand of Renée Borkum. Or Runa. Either is fine. She loves the color black and is hardly afraid of snakes. She knows about spells and can whip up some pretty potent potions. Wool of bat and tongue of dog. Eye of newt and toe of frog. Thirsting to learn some secrets from the other side? Contact Runa. Just be careful with your bottled water. “Look what you’ve done! I’m melting, melting !” Smiling …
- I was born with my abilities. As with anything, the more you use them, the stronger they become. Many of us have some level of abilities that can be enhanced with practice.
- At age 3, I noticed that I had different abilities. I could hear others’ thoughts, sense others’ feelings and see the dead. For a while, I could move objects. Over time, I started to understand what was happening, and with practice I got my talents under control … to refine and direct them.
- I was raised Irish Catholic, so there was no discussing witches, witchcraft or psychic abilities in my family. This made life tough to understand as my siblings all have some sort of ability as well.
- Being a witch is not gender specific. A male can easily be a witch as well. “Witch” means “of the earth” and “warlock” means “betrayer of witches.”
- Most covens meet in secret, and these are not public events. Witches will get together for moon circles and the eight holidays called the Wheel of the Year. There are also new moons and full moons, which we observe as well.
- Wicca is the religion and witchcraft is the practice.
- Wicca is a legal religion. In 1986, Wicca was recognized as an official religion in the United States through the court case Dettmer v. Landon.
- Potions are not spells. Any herbal tonic or tea can be called a potion. Potions are a combination of herbs and liquids, which become medicinal preparations, etc.
- Witches and their magic are not really black or white, but more like dark and light. Witches live by a law that says whatever you put out comes back to you. There are consequences for any action.
- We do, however, view “black magic” as anything against one’s free will.
- A core belief of Wicca is the acceptance and practice of magic: the art of causing change in conformance with will. Wiccans also believe that everything has a spirit.
- This spirituality enables us to connect to nature and its energies, allowing us to be aware of all aspects of life, and respect the existence of every being.
- It is very difficult to find eye of newt these days. When I can find them, I always stock up.
Witchcraft in History: A Long Spell of Suffering
Witches have lived on the fringes of public acceptability since Biblical times. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in Colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, 19 of whom were executed by hanging (14 women and five men). The hysteria began to lose steam when the governor of the colony, upon hearing that his own wife was accused of witchcraft, ordered an end to the trials, but too late to save those unfortunates (and even two dogs) that were executed for the crime of witchcraft in Salem.
Credits: Big thanks to Erika Cook for the introduction, Doug Cummings for his fearless photo assistance, and Michael Borkum, Runa’s husband, for the added help and for lighting himself on fire.
Note: Runa can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.