By Meg Crawford
Tucked away in a tiny house on an quarter-acre property surrounded by her extensive fur and feather family, Tanya is literally living our dream green-witch life. Ahead of her eminently practical workshops (she can rehabilitate a life-long black thumb), Tanya talks us through the journey to her green witch idyll.
I understand that the die was cast early in terms of some of your practices – can you talk us through the first inklings that you may have been a green witch?
I wouldn’t say that at a young age I went, “oh, I must be a witch”, but I did always heavily identify with the witches in fairy tales as a kid. Like the story of Hansel and Gretel – I just used to think, “oh, those awful children”. Plus, I knew I was very different as a kid – I always had pets and amazing connections with all my animals and they always seemed to do whatever I wanted them to.
I also vividly remember when I was in grade one or two having arguments with both my teachers and parents, saying that I didn’t need to learn maths and all this bullshit at school. I told them I just needed to learn how to grow my own food and be self sufficient. I wanted to know how take care of myself, instead of learning skills that I didn’t want to use and would never use to get a job.
I guess that I was never going to enjoy buying food from other people – it didn’t make sense to me, even as a kid. All I ever wanted to do was learn how to grow food and farm animals.
How did your path continue to unfold as an adult?
I studied permaculture as a single subject at Woodley, majoring in whole-farm planning. That gave me more knowledge about connecting back to the earth and taught me all of the things I wanted to learn when I was a kid.
Since that time, it’s always been in the back of my mind. If I was ever in an op shop and I saw a good book on home gardening or self sufficiency, I’d nab it. I’ve now got a huge collection of books on gardening, herbalism, self sufficiency, tiny homes and how to leave modern culture, go bush and disconnect from society, basically.
The next big leap was when mum and I found my tiny home and we bought it together. That allowed me to put into practice everything I’d learned. From a permaculture perspective, you look at the whole of the land and you work with the soil and the way the sun travels over it and the amount of rainfall you get – you really work with what you’ve got. It doesn’t happen over night though. I’ve got notebook drawings from when I first moved in of how I wanted to lay everything out, and I’ve finally gotten it to that point. It’s taken me nearly 20 years.
What does being a green witch mean to you?
I’m a green witch because I literally live it as my daily life. To me, it means that if I was put in the situation where I needed herbal tea, or to make a tincture for say a mild headache or cough, I have the knowledge at hand and can go into the garden and pluck a bit of this and that and mix things together. It’s both the know-how and the ability to walk out the door and do it. There’s no point having the knowledge without having the access to the garden and there’s no point having the garden if you don’t use it.
To what extent are green witchcraft and sustainability linked for you?
For me, that’s truly the “green” in green witchcraft. I think every witch should have “green” tucked away in her identification, because we are of the earth – we’re not separate from it. We walk on her skin and we need to do that with as little impact as possible.
At the same time, we’re human and we have to function in this massive society we’ve created and in which we’ve made mistakes, but I think as a society where recognising it and we’re trying to change.
To me, there’s no point in saying you’re a green witch when all you’re doing is throwing plastic in the waste so that it goes to landfill and you’re not recycling properly. You need to be as green as you possibly can, although within what’s functional for you. It’s not going to be financially viable for everybody to just go out and spend hundred of dollars buying beeswax wraps, for instance. You’ve got to do what you can do within reason.
Tanya will be a guest teacher at Muses of Mystery and leading the following workshops..
Note: Green Witch Grimoire workshop is currently sold out. Tickets are still available for Green Witch – Get Growing ! for this Saturday. This workshop is highly recommended!