Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Finding the Hag Energy: When Madness is Good Sense

In the wake of recent events I wanted to share a few of the pieces I have read, written by wise women, that have helped to ameliorate my feelings of fear and dejection about what is now happening in our world. Things were bad enough already, but now the way forward is going to be even harder for women, for refugees, for indigenous peoples and other minorities, and for those of us who truly care about the Earth.

Yet, horrible as this state of affairs is, it may well be just what we need to stimulate real change and transformation. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new era, and we—the artists, dreamers and wild ones, the humble folk in humble houses—are the people who will make it come about.

For women in particular, we need to face our fears and tap into the energy that comes from our anger (an emotion that is usually, often wrongly, characterised as negative, and that we therefore tend to suppress), and let out the hag, the witch, the madwoman. For it is from the deep, dark and potent place of our anger—the place that knows this is wrong, and says enough is enough!—that the alchemical fires of transformation will originate.

As Emily Dickinson wrote: 

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –

We must learn to see with a discerning eye. That the ‘Sense’ that we are often presented with—that production is more important than people, that economic growth is more important than a living Earth—from businessmen, politicians and the like, is utter madness; while what they see as our ‘Madness’—our love of what is wild and natural and filled with life’s poetry, our kindness for people and living beings—is in fact good sense, and utterly right.

We must find the hags within us, wake the witches, let our goodly anger rise so that we can make things right. We must grow in confidence, ready our voices, write our stories, make our art, shout our protests. Because enough is enough. 

Here is much inspiration:

and so in the darkness we fight on by Sarah Elwell 

The Wild Woman in Irish Myth and Re-membering Women’s Stories by Sharon Blackie

This Fear is Old by Lucy H. Pearce

Alice Walker Tells Readers: Don’t Despair

Meeting the Times by Deena Metzger

And lastly, this stunning tale of drought and immigration in California, and a mythic renewing of the world: 

The Last Harvest of the World by Sylvia Linsteadt


  1. So true.
    (What a good time it is to read If Women Rose Rooted. I´ve been finding so much inspiration and encouragement from reading it. To remember that you know what is important in the world and that you must keep fighting for it.)

    1. Oh yes! As soon as I get the chance I will read it again. I found it so inspiring, rousing even. It made me want to act, to speak out—so here I am, blogging. Thank you, Hilja.


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