October 22 nd


Remembering the witches & embodying our sacred selves


Kwan Yin Shining by Gail Baker

Witches. The Burning Times. Intuitive wisdom. Magic. Women. Finding our voices. Speaking our truth. Claiming our full potential. Embodying our sacred powers. Embodying our sacred selves. Curious?

With Halloween around the corner, it is time, once again, to remember the witches. It’s a time to honor the dead and all who died during the Burning Times.

This post picks up where last year’s left off. It is part of a provocative act of collaboration and co-creation by five kindred spirits: “Remembering the Witches – Embodying Your Sacred Powers”, a blogging series and Samhain event to take place online on November 7.

* * *

If someone had told me a year ago I would still be thinking about witches or calling myself a “modern day witch” or a “sorceress of the sacred self” I would not have believed it.

If you skim my website or scan the titles of my blog posts, a post about witches would be the answer to the question: “Which one of these is not like the rest?”

Listening to the whispers of your heart and following the signs—however irrational they might seem—has been a challenge and a theme for me throughout my life, and especially over the last year.

* * *

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post that “chose me”—it was completely unlike anything I had written to date. It was not on an editorial calendar and it was not part of a blogging or business strategy. I had watched a 20-year old documentary film that, to my amazement, I had never seen before, and it was one of those experiences that turned my being upside down. I was so shaken that I decided to write about it. It was transformative because this film, and all that ensued after I wrote that post, alchemically changed me.

Losing My Fertility by Gail Baker

The film is called The Burning Times and it examines the witch hunts that occurred between 1560 and 1650 and the legacy they left. Watching this film and, perhaps even more importantly, staying connected with and embracing what came up for me in the process, was a wake-up call.

It was an unusual call though. It was the kind of “call” that is only apparent looking back. And it was not a call that required any proactive action or efforting on my part. At the time, I knew that this film and my reactions to it had rearranged me but had no inkling what I was to “do” with it.

My only “knowing” was that I had to write about it. And the terror I felt pulse through my body when I hit “publish” was palpable.

Without offering a play-by-play of my life over the last year, I would like to share several pivotal experiences that flowed from that post. I share these because I think, in hindsight, it shows what happens when we act in the world from our sacred self and follow our calls.

When we do that, mystery seems poised to greet us where we are. When we open to that, we make space for our intuitive wisdom and for magic.

* I deepened connections with readers, colleagues and kindred spirits who read and commented on that post, and who were also changed by the film. Their comments and offline conversations were heartening and I felt less alone.

* One reader had a dream that she was supposed to connect me with an intuitive. She did and the session I had brought profound relief and knitted together scattered aspects of my life. It also nudged me ever closer to my Sacred Self.

* This past summer, an author who was writing a book on the witch trials stumbled upon my blog. She contacted me and asked if I would be willing to submit an essay for her book. Humbled and nervous, writing the essay came with a heap of resistance and ultimately culminated in new insights and a whole new level of integration for me.

I clearly saw the connection between the burning times and my own fear.

I realized that my work and that of my clients is quite literally about claiming our full potential, finding our voices and speaking our truth.

The witch burnings left us with a legacy of persecution, humiliation and betrayal—who wouldn’t be afraid of stepping out with that fear enveloping our collective unconscious?

Mother knows by Gail Baker

“Six generations of children watched as their mothers burned at the stake,” the narrator tells us toward the end of the film. I felt chills throughout my body as I imagined all of those children who learned to hold back their voices. And that fear of really showing up fully— is still with us.

At least it’s still with me.

So here is my confession: this is the first blog post I have written since last Halloween.

I could tell you it’s because I undertook some intensive work with a brand strategist; I could tell you that I was working on creating a lifestyle business and blogging strategy that lights me up; I could tell you that I used the time to work with my clients. And all of that is true. But what is even more true is this: I have been afraid.

The post I wrote last year took me to a whole other place and I felt I needed—or wanted—to do more of that. And the more time that elapsed, the more significant it felt (in my own mind) to write something really worth reading. And so I put all of this pressure on myself to produce something worthy.

But the truth is, it’s not really about having it all figured out. It’s about writing and figuring it out as I go.

What happened when I wrote the essay for the book was that I got a better sense of my own point of view as well as the kind of writing I want to be doing. And in doing it, I moved one step closer to claiming my voice, speaking my truth and leaning into the fullest expression of my potential.

What I learned is that we do this not so much by taking large, grand steps. We do this one small step at a time.

The term “witch” took on a whole new meaning when I realized that witches are intuitives and healers committed to their communities and to shaping consciousness. My executive coaching and work with the Enneagram puts me squarely in this realm. And I have had more conversations about witches over the last 6 months than I ever thought possible. I am grateful to have heard stories that would never have been shared with me if I had not leaned into this.

 *  *  *

Moon for Evan by Gail Baker

Last month my friend and colleague Kathleen Prophet conceived of a blogging series and culminating call/webinar to mark this time:

Remembering the Witches: Embodying our Sacred Powers.

She invited me to join a stellar group of women and I am honored to do so. (And so, I have Kathleen to thank for my return to blogging.)

As I wrap up this long post, I invite you to take action now:

1. If you feel moved, I invite you to join us for this blogging series and ritual call/webinar on November 13. Do so by subscribing here (in the box at the bottom of the page).

2. Watch the film The Burning Times before November 7. What comes up for you? Where do you see connections in your own life?

3. Where do you have an opportunity to express yourself more fully? Where might you be holding back? Let your intuition guide you.

4. What is one next step you will take before November 13 to speak your truth and claim your full potential? Remember, tiny steps matter.

5. Share this post, the blogging series, and the film with anyone you think might benefit. 

6. Leave a comment below and tell us what steps you’re planning to take.


Deep gratitude to artist Gail Baker for lending images of her exquisite artwork for this blog post.




  1. Paula Jessop says:

    I offer you a deep respect and gratitude. I found your original remembering the witches post a few months after you had written it. Of course at the time where I was most open and able to “hear”.

    As an aside; it feels as if it was years ago when I read it and I was surprised to learn this was just last year.

    Your bringing this topic up and delving into our collective fear, has been for me cathartic. That “aha” moment, when suddenly the light goes on and pieces of the puzzle start to align themselves. Having somewhere to explain away and understand part of the terror which revolved around having a voice, exposing who I am and stepping publicly into my power. This piece has been a game changer for me.

    The months which have past since I read your post till today have been years, they have been centuries and lifetimes upon lifetimes. Literally my entire world has changed. It has been one of the most significant and difficult changes for me, ever. Through all of this I have found courage to step into the truth of who I am. I am not yet at the final destination and there are many discoveries yet to make. It is a baby step, baby step giant leap, fall backwards, give up, stand up, baby step yet again, process of stepping into this truth. One which I doubt I would have had the courage for if not for your reminder of the witches.

    I have come out of the “broom closet”. I am publicly telling everyone that I am a Witch, a Sorceress, a Wild Woman and that I make magic. And that we all of us are magic.

    I so feel you, when you say you did nothing for a year because of the fear. That fear of showing up fully. But wise woman take a look around at what happens when you do. You change lives with that. No wonder they feared us.

    Deep gratitude to you for shining the light for me to see.

    • Paula, I can’t thank you enough for reading, commenting and sharing how this impacted you. I am so touched to hear how this changed you and to hear that you are stepping even more fully into the truth of who you are. This is such a gift you have given me.

      You are right when you say the process of stepping into our truth is “baby step, baby step giant leap, fall backwards, give up, stand up, baby step yet again” and so on. The fear is always there.

      The challenge, I think, is to see it and also be sufficiently surrounded by people who support you, people who reflect back your light. For me, the support, from people like you and others, has been an essential part of my ability to lean into this. When other people say “I got chills” or “that resonated” or “I feel that too” or “this shifted something for me” it makes the risk of stepping out worth it.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and taking the time to comment. Keep carrying on … and let your light shine! Love to you …

  2. Jim Grant says:

    Hi Laurie,

    I’ve already shared with many like minded folks, 150 years ago we would have been put to death for what we do and share in the world today. In fact many of us were…

    Feel and enjoy the chills of your remembering and step boldly into a very new world. One where we are accepted as being who we are and what we offer as our truth. It’s not magic – it’s being who we truly are… we’re all capable of and have these gifts within us.

    Sit quietly and remember that morning at The Barn we shared. You’ll have further insight as to its significance and our connection.In fact many of us there and that shared connection…



    • Hi Jim, thanks so much for this honoring and for your witnessing. You’re right that it’s a different world today and sometimes my cellular memory has a hard time catching up. 🙂

      Some powerful integration came through for me during and after my HT breathwork, and I am so grateful for our work together that morning. I do believe that we’re all connected and I will sit quietly and remember and see what bubbles to the surface.

      I am deeply grateful for your presence, energy and wisdom and humbled that you stopped by to read and comment here. Hugs…

  3. Gail Baker says:

    I’m honored to have my artwork included with this blog. I am aware of the Burning Times. Rumors of the Big Wave did a song in the early 1990’s about it. You can check it out on YouTube. I will watch the film again. For me, as a woman and a human being, I know that life if full of those who want to end suffering and those who do not. However, the word “witch” and the derogatory representation of the women who knew the gift and magic of the earth, the plants, and our bodies is a yearly conflict for me. Maybe we can renew our ties to the earth, the moon, and each other on Hallowe’en. Thanks for sharing openly and honestly, Laurie.

    • Gail, thanks again for allowing me to use your artwork. It’s truly an honor. And thank you for the YouTube tip. I can’t wait to check it out.

      I know the term “witch” is incredibly uncomfortable for a lot of people, and for as many reasons. I almost left it out of the title … but I decided that my discomfort with it was a reason to leave it in. It’s also a catch-all term for the women who “bend and shape consciousness” (as Starhawk tells us in the film). If it is not clear in my post, I hold the term as something sacred and as representative of women connected with the earth, women as healers and intuitives, and as women who build and foster healthy families and communities. I think and hope the derogatory connotation changes when we talk about it.

      And, yes, I am all for renewing our ties with the earth, the moon and each other this Halloween. Love and blessings and gratitude for the work you do in the world…

  4. I see the fear in so many women I work with Laurie and Kathleen and I know it in myself. I really respect what you are doing.

    • Martine, thank you so much for reading, honoring and witnessing. This is how we move through it and support one another — we see the fear and we lean into it. Comments like this help so much. Deep gratitude…

  5. Laura says:

    ” Nobody knows the exact figure b/c records were not kept, but in seems certain that during a 300 yr period b/w 3 and 5 million women were tortured and killed by the “Holy Inquisition,” an institution founded by the Roman Catholic Church to suppress heresy. This surely ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history. It was enough for a woman to show a love for animals, walk alone in the fields or woods, or gather medicinal plants to be branded a witch, then tortured and burned at the stake. The sacred feminine was declared demonic, and an entire dimension largely disappeared from human experience. Other cultures and religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, also suppressed the female dimension, although in a less violent way. Women’s status was reduced to being child bearers and men’s property. Males who denied the feminine even within themselves were now running the world, a world that was totally out of balance. The rest is history or rather a case history of insanity.”

    Eckhart Tolle in ‘A New Earth’

    • Thanks Laura. This is on pp.155-156 of A New Earth, in the chapter on The Pain-Body (section titled “The Collective Female Pain-Body.”) Although the exact numbers of women who were tortured and killed during the burning times is in question, what Tolle writes is spot on.

      Tolle goes on to say that it was the evolving ego in men that caused them to become fearful of the feminine and ultimately of females, in what “could only be described as acute collective paranoia.” (p. 156)

      Tolle writes (pp. 156-157): “[The ego] knew it could gain full control of our planet only through the male form, and to do so, it had to render the female powerless.

      In time, the ego also took over most women, although it could never become as deeply entrenched in them as in men.

      We now have a situation in which the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women. The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain. In fact, it has become part of their pain-body, together with the accumulated pain suffered by women over millennia through childbirth, rape, slavery, torture, and violent death.

      But things are changing rapidly now. With many people becoming more conscious, the ego is losing its hold on the human mind. Because the ego was never as deeply rooted in woman, it is losing its hold on women more quickly than on men.”

      So, one way to facilitate healing is in working with the ego self, in seeing our fear for what it is, and in practicing presence. This has certainly been part of my own process over the last year. Thanks for sharing this here and for your comments elsewhere.

      Indeed, we are all connected…

  6. […] of some friends taking a course with me – the original blog post by Laurie Rosenfeld, is here, well worth a read.  The film discusses the witch hunts in Europe and the long-term impact on […]

    • Julie, thanks for reading, watching the film and blogging about it. I loved reading your take on this:

      “This is a time of sweeping reawakening, of ignition within the heart and Soul intent of millions of people (men and women both) of the power of the Divine Feminine within everyone.”

      “It re-calls to you (re-membering your power within the sun of Light within each atom of your being) the power of the Divinity within all.”

      “Your fear is the trigger to remember, the ignition point. The recollection of your power after having it shattered and dislodged during pain is the point now – the pains and old fears can be released in the instant, all at once, that you ignite the bonfire burst within you. This is why these images and stories return. They are the inception point for the re-ignition as many points of Light along the grids, connected to the Mother and heralding to the cosmos: we have returned, we are ready, we re-unite, we re-ignite the flame, that power of purpose.”

      I love the invitation to step away from the fear and step into the Light!

  7. Sheridan kennedy says:

    I remember when I first heard about the witch burnings and the Mallus Maleficarum and all that other completely crazed stuff that came out of the inquisition and that culture of fear of the female energy that pervaded that era – i can’t even remember now where I first learnt of it – perhaps it was a book called The Devil by Colin Wilson or another eye-opening text called Witchcraft (can’t remember who wrote it) which revealed a whole other world of the Wicca and the old nature religions that then completely transformed my relationship to what it was to be a woman. That was over 20 years ago now. But it was only recently that I learnt that the witch burnings in England which began much later where not spurred by religious zealots but by ‘natural philosopher’ zealots – specifically the founders of the Royal Society (of scientists) who in the 1660’s were burning the midwives (under trumped up charges of witchcraft) in order to gain control over childbirth. To learn that was even more of a shock for me because we’d been encouraged to believe that the foundations of science are built on rationality and reason – for me it was kinda like discovering a secret weapon against all those righteous scientists! Looking forward to the webinar!

    • Sheridan, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, it’s pretty amazing what humans have done to one another — to women especially — driven by feelings of fear and scarcity. I was a lawyer before I became a coach and if I learned anything there, I learned that an argument can be made for most anything. We see what we want to see and then we find the evidence we need to support our beliefs. Thanks so much for popping over here and so glad you’ll be joining us for the webinar!