I was considering using this as a book cover for a new book. Instead, I decided to use it for another October blog post. Since it's the time of year when stigmas are reinforced through lack of knowledge and of course the popularization of a certain image that is portrayed by Hollywood. We are going to venture into a discussion about Witches.
I would like to preface this post by saying I am not doing this to inherently call out anyone for their use of the term witch, or those who choose to dress your kids up as a witch for Halloween. I am using this platform as an outlet to help people better understand what a 'Witch' is and how the premise has changed from ancient times to now.
The definition found in the Oxford Dictionary reads: a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick.
The Urban Dictionary reads: 1. One who practices witchcraft (not necessarily connected with Wicca).
2. A bitter or hateful woman. Used in a derogatory sense. A hag, if you will.
3. A less insulting (if there is such a thing) form of calling someone a bitch.
The first idea of an English dictionary came about in 1604 by Robert Cawdrey called Table Alphabeticall. It listed 2543 English words but no words starting with W. The Oxford Dictionary's first print was in 1884 which is only 84 years after the Witch Trials of England had ended (or at least that is what is logged in history). No doubt at that time the definitions were biased based on the dominant religion in the country.
***As a note, we don't know when the word Witch was entered into the dictionary so we can't be certain exactly who entered it however, literature has always been influenced by outside sources such as the church, other beliefs, and the opinion of the writer.***
Aaron Peckham started the Urban Dictionary in 1999 when he was a freshman at California Polytechnic State University. The Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases and developed as a parody of Dictionary.com and Vocabulary.com however, it has become as popular as the Oxford Dictionary in terms of searches for definitions.
With all that information let's pose the big question. What is a Witch? Historically a witch is a person, usually a woman, who was knowledgeable in herbs, and nature, and connected with spirit. Often times the village 'witch' or wise woman, lived on the outskirts where they were able to tend a garden and gather supplies for their medicines and spells.
They were asked to use their skills for divination for many reasons. Crop growth, births and deaths, and often to help the elders with decisions that influenced the village. They were connected to the ancestors and to spirit through meditations and divination. A 'witch' was once an intricate part of the village community.
If we flash forward to 2022 the understanding of what a 'witch' is has changed even though a lot of the stigma is still attached to the word itself. The Urban Dictionary's definition of the term 'witch' is closer to the actual understanding of what a 'witch' is.
***Side note: A witch is not evil, nor are they good. The idea that there is a dark (evil) and a light (good) is understood as a balance to all things. A person is both good and evil and there is a balance that needs to be held in order to be a well-rounded spiritual person. So Witches are not good, or evil, they are grey. They understand there needs to be that balance, keeping in mind that they are also human. As Above, So Below.***
The days are gone when a village depends on us for healing and knowledge. The purpose of the 'witch' in today's day is to remind those who are lost in the super highway of the digital world, dependent on instant gratification, and separated from the primal knowledge of the ancestors that to survive we must reach back into what we were taught, what is bound genetically to us, and begin to reconnect with ancient times in order to physically, mentally, and spiritually be fulfilled in our lives. Also, the term 'witch' has expanded to include both sexes and all genders. It is no longer a term used for just women.
As the writer of this blog, I identify as one who uses magick to influence the energy around me to better myself as a human being, as a being of light, and as a student of nature. Does that make me a witch, yes.
If you have any questions or are looking for more information on this subject you can venture in to see us and have the conversation.