Witches for Dummies
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on this special week leading up to Samhain! If you're just joining us, we are an Equal Opportunity Praise and Worship site, open to any god or goddess and their supporters. We even admit the big ones sometimes, because we like Bob Marley and the Dalai Lama.
What better week than this to discuss witches?
If you are a witch, or you know one, you can go to the next blog. But you might miss some little tidbits that would enhance your education!
If you're thinking of becoming a witch, or you want to know more about witchcraft, read on!
WITCHES FOR DUMMIES
By Anne Johnson
Author of Goats I Have Known and Loved
1. Sorry, Sabrina. Witches are mortal. They are human beings. They begin as babies, grow up, ask a bunch of questions, get wise, get wiser, get wiser still, pass along some wisdom, and die. (This is also true of druids.) Sorry, Philip Pullman. Witches don't live any longer than anyone else, unless they exercise, eat right, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.
2. Before they became ugly crones with no teeth and green skin, riding in the sky on broomsticks or snuggling up for sex with demons, witches were DOCTORS. Yes, doctors. Witches (male and female) were healers with extensive knowledge of herbal remedies who were called upon to fix whatever was broken in the human body. And to birth babies, of course. Other cultures called them shamans. (I like that word almost as much as druid.)
3. The establishment of the medical profession as a highly-paid, highly-specialized employment opportunity for males only depended upon discrediting witches (male and female). Doctors with fancy degrees couldn't earn big money if the local lady down the lane knew how to ease a headache. Burn the local lady at the stake, and you've got a clear road to wealth.
4. Now it gets tricky, folks. And sticky. And real.
5. With knowledge of herbal remedies comes knowledge of how to make and use poisons. Medieval healers knew all about arsenic, ergot, and opium. In Medieval Venice, arsenic was called "the widowmaker," because so many wealthy women slipped it into their husbands' tiramisu. So it is not entirely accurate to say that NO witch EVER poisoned anyone. It IS accurate to say that no witch ever turned anyone into a newt.
6. Here's the Big One. The one that's been lost to history, now brought back to life by Anne, who knows her tryptamines.
7. As far back as the Dark Ages, some women knew how to distill hallucinogenic substances from mushrooms available throughout Europe......
..... Stop reading if you're squeamish ......
These women delivered the hallucinogenic substances by placing them on a broomstick and slipping the broomstick between .... emmmm .....
8. Now you know why they always show witches flying with a broomstick between their legs!!! THEY REALLY FLEW! At least in the Timothy Leary sense of flying! Out they went on the astral plane, for a trip around the Bay! (Thanks to the Moody Blues for zippy lyrics!)
If you don't believe this last bit of info, look it up:
Gahlinger, Paul M. Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse. Las Vegas, NV: Sagebrush Publications, 2001, pp. 44-46.
Is that enough education for today? Good! See you tomorrow!
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS