A Brief History on Witches

A Brief History on Witches

Merry Meet, my Magickal Ones.

While witches may evoke images of aging, ugly, hook-nosed hags covered in warts living in the forest bent over their cauldrons, wreaking havoc on society, the origin of witches is far less menacing.

A magical being of fairy tale and myth, the witch has  carved out a reputation in nearly every culture across the world and time.  Indeed, the witch represents the dark side of the female presence—she has  power that cannot be controlled.

Before all the fear, in the earliest centuries of human culture, witches were the women who served the goddesses as healers and were respected throughout their communities. Ancient civilizations not only worshiped powerful female deities, but it was often women who practiced the holiest of rituals. Trained in the sacred arts, they became known as ‘wise women’, and may have been some of the earliest indications of what we now know as the  witch.

These wise women made house calls, delivered babies, dealt  with infertility, and even cured impotence. They were understood to be positive figures in society—no King would be without their counsel, no army would recover from a defeat without their rituals, and no baby could be born  without their existence.

So, how did the altruistic image of a wise woman transform into the evil figure of the witch we know today?

In the 1300′s, when the plague decimated Europe, it brought with it massive hysteria. Amid  the panic, many attributed their misfortune to the Devil himself—and his  supposed worshipers. At this point, the Catholic Church’s Inquisition expanded its efforts to seek out and punish the non-Catholic causes of the mass deaths—including the supposed Devil doting witches.

These women were believed to worship in large nocturnal assemblies, where various social ills were performed in order to summon the Devil—sex, naked dancing, and feasting on the flesh of infants. In order to save the Church and its  followers, these women had to be tamed; thus the witch hunts began.

These hunts spread like wildfire across Europe, reaching France and Germany and  eventually reaching overseas to the New World where one of the most  anthologized witch hunts took place in Salem, Massachusetts.

Hundreds of  years later, the fearsome image of the witch has faded, and a new spiritual movement is underway. It still remains to be seen whether the most powerful influences of our world will begin seeking a witches council—but as history has shown, the powerful are often the “unruly ones”.

Until next time! 🌙

Photo Credit:
Photographer: Holly Lynn
“Earth Below Me"
March 11, 2018

Reference Used:
The Historical Origins Of The Witch
By All That's Interesting
Published: October 31, 2015

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