WITCH A History of Spiritual Liberation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Spirit Space

Beyond the limitations of male centric religion, women of spirit endure despite a long history of persecution.

WE ARE THE GRAND DAUGHTERS OF WITCHES YOU WEREN'T ABLE TO BURN.

The phrase is from author Tish Thawer's novel 'The Witches of Blackbrook.' It is a statement of women finding their own unique strength within the conceptual realm of the witch. This positive reformation is of embracing the resilent nature of the feminine aspect based on its own merits.

Rooted in the past where she was vilified, the meaning of 'witch' has been redefined by modern European and American culture. Despite a dark history, ( or perhaps because of it) the witch has endured for centuries. Her meaning has taken on a new resonance, both spiritually and symbolically among activists seeking change within politic, environmental cause and gender rights and equality. Here the witch is used as a statement of positive empowerment free of religious and male centric dogma. 

Scholars believe that the concept of the witch began thousands of years ago. In Greek myth she was the first witch Hecate, goddess of magic and astrology. Found through out the ancient world in other traditions and cultures she was known as the 'wise woman' of the village. In some she was said to practice 'spiritual' ritual, but most were active in the art of healing, acting as mid-wives or women elders with knowledge of early forms of natural medicine.

In 1400 Europe society had stopped viewing these women as good. The rise of the male centric religion Christianity  along with the growth of capitalism had seen to it that powerful women would become demonized.

The Malleus Maleficarum, a German publication which had accused women of being morally corrupt and of evil intention became widely accepted as fact throughout certain established governing bodies of Europe. This resulted in the heyday of the witch hunt which occured between 1500 and 1660, when local governments had allowed the murder of up to 80,000 women accused of being witches.

Beyond what the Maleficarum had put forth, notions found within religious works such as the Bible also supported the subjurgation of  women, where strong and opposing feminine perspective was surpressed. Also, as part of Christian teaching, persecution became a religious 'truth' connected to the redeeming way of the crucified Christ who did not 'suffer the witch upon the cross.' This statement being used to foster and fuel the witch hunts.

Modern women of western societies have embraced the witch, viewing her as something met within themselves. The truth is the witch of the past was always an independantly wise woman, seeking to be free of dominant ignorance. Her mind and her skills were for her to find  and keep. These women who suffered for their strength have become symbolic of a cunning and intelligent endurance that will not be cowed.

There is a spiritual context, one of a flexablitiy of the mind of an individual that the witch also represents. Wise, strong and enduring in her independant nature, when sought, the spirit of the witch can appeal to every woman some way. 

 

Source material: Feminist Witchcraft,Susan Greenwood

The Resurgence of the Witch,Sofia Quaglia


Submitted: April 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 LE. Berry. All rights reserved.

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