This week, I want to talk about something that has been on my heart for a while.
The Witch is once again in the spotlight, as the "trendy" title to have. Personally, I think it's about time to reclaim and rewire the meaning, fears, and misunderstanding around being a witch. First, we need to dive into a little history to see how we got here.
Early witches were known as wise women, because most who followed the path were in tune with the energies of nature, had a knowledge of medicinal herbs and plants, gave council, and were valuable parts of the village or community as healers and leaders. They understood that humans are not superior to Earth and her creatures but are parts of the whole. These wise people understood that what we take or use, we must return to maintain balance.
The pre-Christian traditions originated in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, yet there were wise woman and men in many cultures around the world. Due to the efforts of the medieval church, a lot of the information of how our witchy ancestors lived, worshiped, and believed has been lost.
It’s unclear exactly when witches entered history. Some archaeologists believe that witches could date back to Paleolithic peoples who worshiped a Hunter God and a Fertility Goddess. One of the earliest records of a witch is in the Bible, Book of Samuel.
For the past several hundred years, the image of the Witch has been mistakenly associated with evil and heathenism. The medieval church of the 15th through 18th centuries created these myths to convert followers of the old religions. By making the Witch into a evil, conniving character and turning the old religious deities into devils and demons, the missionaries were able to create a fear around these beliefs, which aided in the conversion process. Some historians believe that in a strange way, witchcraft is responsible for the great plagues. When the witches and their feline familiars were put to death, the rat populations exploded causing an plague outbreaks.
It fairly easy to accuse someone of witchcraft. For those who were superstitious or malicious, gossip or rumor were the only things needed to create hysteria. However, it was much harder to be cleared of the accusations.
Witch accusations really took hold in Europe during the mid-1400s. When Malleus Maleficarum was published in 14