We have found a witch...may we burn her?
(burn her burn her burn her)
How do you know she is a witch?
She looks like one
(yeah, yeah, yeah)
bring her forward
i'm not a witch, im NOT a witch
but you are dressed as one
THEY dressed me up like this
(bah, no we didnt, no we didnt)
this isnt my nose, its a false one
well, we did do the nose
and the hat...but SHE'S A WITCH
(yeah, burn her, burn her)
did you dress her up like this?
NO, NO, No, yes, yes, a bit...she has got a wart
what makes you think she is a witch
whuh, she turned me into a newt
(pause) i got better
(BURN HER ANYWAYS, BURN HER BURN HER)
quiet, quiet, QUIET...there are ways of telling if she is a witch...
are there? what are they? tell us, tell us
tell me, what do you do with witches?
BURN BURN BURN BURN
and what do you burn apart from witches?
Wood. so, why do witches burn?
(long, lengthy pause) uh...because they're made of wood
gooooood...so how do we tell if she is made of wood?
build a bridge out of her!!
ahhh...but can you not also make bridges out of stone?
oh yeah, yeah sure
does wood sink in water?
no, no, no, it floats, it floats!! throw her into the pond!!
what also floats in water?
bread. apples. very small rocks. cider. great gravy. cherries. mud. churches. lead...
if she...weighs the same...as a duck...she's made of wood.
(pause..) A WITCH!!!!
-Monty Python & the Holy Grail
The other day as I was visiting with a friend and she mentioned to me that she'd made a tincture of juniper from her yard combined with vodka for the purpose of banishing mold from her home, it struck me: a few hundred years ago most of my friends and I would very well be considered witches. Except of course, that none of us weighs the same as a duck.
The word witch has the same linguistic roots as the words "wisdom" "wit" "wise" etc. Originally, a witch was a wise woman. This was considered a threat to the security of the Vatican and male dominated offshoot religions that had subjugated women as seductresses & sinners who inherited their evil nature from Mother Eve. (As opposed to primitive Christianity which revered Mother Eve and her choice to embrace mortality as a purposeful and wise choice.) So, along with slavery and various other movements to oppress that have enforced their control by enforced ignorance, women were strongly encouraged (under penalty of death) to be submissive, silent, and less-than intelligent.
As a disclaimer this is not intended to be inflammatory toward the Catholic or Protestant sects, certainly no one would argue that the Vatican has not always been under the control of righteous men and there were mistakes and misconceptions made throughout the history of churches in the middle ages-this being one of them; without doubt hundreds of innocent women were slaughtered in the name of religion.
Fast forward to today. I am surrounded by animals as my familiars. My home smells of "potions" or as I call them essential oils diffused into the air for their healing properties. I practice kinesiology to diagnose and treat my family's ailments. I'm starting to consider my houseplants as beings with personality and as part of my devout faith in God, I sense a deep spiritual and physical connection to the earth, the moon and its cycles, and I can sometimes sense when things are going to happen. I don't consider myself psychic. I certainly don't practice Wicca or define myself as a witch. Most certainly though 300-600 years ago I would have been considered one.
With all my peculiarities and my beliefs in Karma (which I define as something controlled by God with traditional scriptural references to back up my belief), I can walk down the street or even talk about these things without the bat of a passerby's eye. Nearly everyone has experimented with alternative medicines, accupuncture, homeopathy, midwifery to some degree, its not unusual. I have friends who have studied under Reiki masters to learn energy healing. They talk about it openly and its not shocking or shunned as Eastern ideas about energy and health become more widespread.
I see this as an indicator that we as women are on the right track. Yes things often seem far-gone, with the American Psychological Association issuing a severe warning about the over-sexualization of girls in our culture and the harmful effects, we certainly still have work to do. But, that feminine concepts such as intangible energies are being widely accepted is a sign that things are getting better. So, while I continue to explore the power of God, (or nature, or energy--whatever you choose to call it) I hope my explorations will lead to more empowerment and greater freedom to birth our ideas from within rather than from the framework of a male-oriented power model. After all, our true power is the power we hold within ourselves: an inheritance if you will.