Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hodder & Stoughton

Today The Witch's Trinity launches in England from the publisher Hodder & Stoughton--perfect timing, being the 13th of the month!

Welcome to any of you coming to this blog from across the big pond. My intent here is to continue to post witchcraft-related content for those who are interested in learning more. It's tough, though, during the holiday season, which for us stateside began in November with Thanksgiving.

During readings, people often ask me how the witch craze finally drew to a close. After all, why stop after four hundred years of persecution? That's got a lot of momentum.

There are many, interconnected and complex reasons for the witch craze coming to an end. One, that I'll quickly explore here, is the fact that they simply ran out of women. Literally, in a few cases: there were two German towns that were left with one woman each.

Can you imagine being that one woman?

In a more general sense, though, the villages and cities ran out of women who were stereotypically able to fulfill the role of witch. These would be women outside of society somehow: whether poverty-stricken, displaying mental health issues, or perhaps just outside the bounds of what was "normal" for a woman at this time--marrying and producing offspring. These women were easy to capture, interrogate and execute.

But when all those women are gone and the roving accusatorial eye then rested on women who were not the typical witchlike woman... women important to their society, who were married, linked with upright men of the community... well, then it became a little more unsettling. Instead of a self-righteous certainty that your village has executed a witch, you begin to be a little worried that she was actually innocent.

In Salem, Massachusetts, the witch hunts came to a fairly abrupt halt when the governor's own wife was accused.

There were of course many other facets to the closure of witchcraft (which actually is not a solidly-closed door--please see my previous post about the agonizing tragedy of young children in Africa facing accusations of witchcraft today) and I will touch on those in later posts.

Thanks for checking in!

No comments: