By Caryl Clem:
From the earliest Greek and Roman myths and legends, servants to these gods and goddesses were witches of either gender. For example, Italy’s witch, Aradia, daughter of Diana the moon goddess and Lucifer, is sent to local people to teach magic to improve their lives against tyranny and poverty and crushing authority. She is beautiful and images of her show long hair, youthful facial features and flowing gowns.
Witches were the superwomen and super nannies before Christianity. Every king wanted his military power restored after a defeat, advice on spells to guide his path with competing powers, and a home based safeguard for his children for a few hundred years.
After seeing a picture of the Princess Anne of Denmark, King James of Scotland proposed. King James VI spent time in Denmark with his new wife observing the witch hunts and witchcraft trials during a time when over 1,000 witches were burned. A Lutheran bishop, Peder Palladius, is accusing any woman who acts as a Catholic to be a witch. King James and wife faced life threatening storms traveling home. He blamed his misfortune on witchcraft. He sought counsel and was advised to eliminate any witch who could be a threat to the community His own witch hunting and trials forced confessions by torture. He published James VI and I’s book on the subject of witchcraft, Daemonologie, published in 1597.
Germany and France were purging devil witches by the thousands. According to Suzanne Lipscomb in her book on witches, one town in Germany was left with no woman. According to records, over 40,000 were executed. The hysteria spreads overseas to America in New Salem, Massachusetts. The trials suddenly cease when the name of the wife of a governor is given as a witch.
Since the late 1800’s, witch images are shown flying through the skies on brooms with wide brimmed hats. Again, witches represent mystery and magic. Post cards and nursery tales show old woman with unpredictable powers to change lives. Several male authors have published guides explaining and disclosing spells and witchcraft magic such as Gerald Garner and Aleister Crowley. A new era of witches is born going back to natural and lunar influences. A religion based on harmony and doing no harm by witches is recognized in 1986 as WICCA. Present WICCA is a nature based spiritual movement with both male and female witches spread through several sects.
The boiling cauldron with women in a peaked brimmed hat and a cat in the doorway were beer brewers, another form of liquid magic. To indicate when a brew was ready, broomsticks would be placed in the doorways of alehouses. Images of frothing cauldrons full of ready product and six-sided stars to indicate the quality of the brew also abounded. Lastly, out of manifest necessity, cats would be kept in the brew houses to protect the grains from mice.” Interesting that in Latino and African cultures, the woman made brews. Brew Witches made high spirits available here on earth. A witch can be anybody who practices mind over matter.