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Witches, The Original Feminists

Changing the story of the Witches

Witches, The Original Feminists

Witch. What a powerful word. When I used to think of a witch, my mind would run to Glenda the “Good Witch”, the wicked with of the west, and the classic ladies of “Hocus Pocus.” Spells, black cats, culdrens, and black magic weren’t far behind.

"Wicked witches" are often a popular halloween costume for many girls and women. In fact, one of my first memories as a child was trick or treating when I was four years old dressed as the cutest little witch you've ever seen; pointy hat, huge wart on the chin, stripped stockings, and a cute little broom.

Witches in pop media ranged from the cute housewife, with what looked like allergies when she twitched her nose. Then there was the teenage witch, who was just learning she had magical powers. And who could forget the sisters who came together to battle the evils of the world?

However, the history of "Witches" is not one that portrays "good witches" or something that you'd turn on every Halloween season to watch. Witches were deemed as evil women who cast spells and are allies with the devil. Such women were often women who were "natural healers," "wise women," or "medicine women." Women who openly spoke their mind or claimed themselves as sexual beings were proclaimed witches.

These women were seen as sinful, vile, and wicked. There became books, documentation, and proclamations from religious leaders that stated that these women must be killed. They were sought after, often threatening them and their families to find these women. The most bawfullying reason is being sought after simply for having “too much” or “not enough" water in the well.

Once found, women were "put through the test" to determine if they were in fact a witch. Some had their hands tied and pushed into a body of water. If they floated when put in water, they were a witch. If they didn’t, they would drown and die. Can we side note that last time I checked, everyone should float?!

Women were persecuted for owning their voices, their sexuality, and anything else that pushed against men or the church. At that point women had a choice....shut their mouths or be hung. For centuries women have had an invisible rope around their neck.

Finally, enough was enough for women. Starting in the uprise of the first wave in 1848, women began to speak up. No longer would they keep their mouths shut. In the early 1840s, women were not given SEATS (yes CHAIRS) to sit in when attending a world wide convention. They stood up and said no more. From there, three of "waves" of feminism has come forward. Women have been demanding to be heard.

We are rising up as feminists is the voices of the past; the women who were hung in the gallows for speaking out. Women are owning their voices and their bodies. We are tapping into our beautiful gifts and not afraid to show the world who we are.

Based on women's history and witch trials, ironic sayings such as a "witch hunt" has become a household saying; meaning to look for something that is not there. Sadly there are still "witch hunts" happening around the world. The unfortunate thing, is majority of "witch craft" is now practiced in Wiccan tradition. Their belief system is "bringing harm to none." Their "potions" are often natural herbs for healing. They use mother earth and the universe to bring healing. Yet, they are still looked down on as "evil" even though they have beautiful gifts of healing.

All women have been given beautiful gifts of natural healing, being empathic, as well as having a beautiful female figure. We have the right to use our gifts, speak up, own are sexuality, and not be afraid to have a noose around our necks. You see beautiful women? There is a little “witch” in all of us. Stand up. Let’s help them change their story.

Read next: The State
Lauren Shipley
See all posts by Lauren Shipley