Monday, November 11, 2013

Witches Get A Bad Rap

They do, you know.  

Witches really do get a bad rap.  Think of the poor Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. You would be pissed off too, if a house fell on your sister. Or what about the witch from the Grimm fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? You might shove children in the oven too if you caught them nibbling on your pretty house of gingerbread.  

Thousands of years ago, and aside from the fairy tales, the history of women and witches has been a series of unfortunate events; from the 1400's - 1700's in Europe where execution of women took place for practicing "witch craft." It continued even into our own continent of colonial Salem, MA. 

Many moons ago, modern medicine was a luxury and wise women learned the value of healing herbs and other types of homeopathic treatments. Many families depended on these women in their villages to aid them through their illnesses and even assist in the delivery of babies. The mass hysteria of accusations started when religious zealots and new male chemists, still uneducated about human physiology, became suspicious of these women who prescribed herbs.  

Can you imagine that for every woman who ever experienced cramps, PMS, and menopause, that it was a symptom to be burnt at the stake? 

Many of us can share a story about our own grandmothers, great-grandmothers and even old aunties who were known for their homeopathic treatments. One of my great-grandmothers, Annie McDonald, was a local mid-wife and known for her remedies in a hollar of West Virginia. My maternal grandmother kept a very large aloe vera plant near her kitchen for burns and cuts. She knew its medicinal healing before aloe was ever commercialized.  

There is also a common bond that many women share - our intuitions, that sixth sense. It is that inner voice that often breaks through that gives us guidance on whether or not something is right or wrong about a situation or even a person. Ask any mother, and she will tell you the importance of the inner voice when there is concerns about her child. 

Women's periods and mood swings are often affected by the tides and the moon. Women don't have to discuss it with each other, we just know. Many moons ago, all of these symptoms would be reason for tossing a woman into the fire, drowning her or stoning her to death. 

Unfortunately, there are still underdeveloped countries who keep these heinous practices. 

When I was a little girl during Halloween, I always wanted to be a princess or a witch. As an adult, when it came to costume parties, I either dressed as a witch or a vampire. Perhaps one of the two outfits came easy for me, especially since I was either living above or beside a funeral home. And for the record, not all witches have to be ugly in appearance ...

There is an unspoken sisterhood among women when it comes to witches. Just ask several women friends if they would like to dress up as a witch for an afternoon and have a cuppa tea! These gatherings have a tendency to bring back giggles that we use to share as young girls when playing dress-up and today the strongest potion we share is a glass of bubbly.