Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sinistral wiccaphobia

The witch is a central figure in European folklore. Or rather the medieval characterisation of the wise woman as evil is a feature of folklore.

Away, away, you ugly witch
Go far away and let me be
I never would kiss your ugly mouth
For all of the gifts that you could give

Temptation is placed before us - an apple, a gingerbread house or the array of gifts Alison Gross offered her victim - a shirt, a mantle and a golden cup. Sometimes we are sucked into the witches spell despite the witches ugliness. Maybe her glamour blinded us to the truth of her face. Or perhaps our greed led us into the spell.

But this is just a fairy story. A mischaracterisation of the witch. For that witch is more like to be simply someone who tells us the uncomfortable truth, who sits us down to say that we can't have all the glories of the world and that good things are the consequence of effort or good fortune never entitlement.

Some though persist with the image of the witch as an evil hag - more from their own doubts about female achievement than anything else. These sorry sinistral folk persist in hating witches, in painting them as the devil's servants and as monsters better dead.

The rest of us know different. The witch, they say, is dead. But her spirit lives on, the thought and wisdom still guides and advises. And new witches, inspired by that dead witch's achievement, will arrive, ready to spread the wisdom.

And to curse that sad sinistral wiccaphobia.