Healing from the Trauma of the Witch Hunts

Throughout time and most especially in our recent human history of the past few thousand years, people who were not the norm and who did not fit in with the ruling ideologies and ways have been persecuted: especially women, people of color and those of different sexual orientations.  We have a particularly brutal and largely undocumented period where this happened in Europe from 1450 to 1750 where the Church who wanted to cement their power along with the ruling forces in towns and communities used the Witch Hunts to subjugate others (mainly women), take their land, silence their voice and undermine their ability to heal and connect the community. 

These unfortunate people were branded as Witches and then tortured, raped, and killed.

Witch at its heart meant someone empowered, often using herbs, working with Land, rituals tied to the cycles of nature and life, doing the feminine work of welcoming souls in and comforting souls going out.

Sure there was evil mixed in along the way; just as with Christianity, nothing escapes the foibles and folly of our human covering.

But I would make the guess that the large majority were those swept up in the tide of the times.

Like Rebecca Lemp killed in 1590 along with 31 other women convicted of witchcraft following a witch hunt in Nördlingen, Germany.

Not only those killed were affected but every other person who learned to close their mouth and blindly follow the masses.

This continues today in a myriad of ways, some subtle and some not so. From the innocence of not singing out loud or dancing because you’re not Tik Tok worthy to the horror in other parts of the world, such as in Africa and India, where women are still labeled Witches and killed. 

I woke up with the above on my mind.  I just moved into a new home, and the internet provider was coming to hook up my internet. The two pictures on this post are of what is right next to where the router goes.

I briefly thought of moving everything and hiding it.

‘He’s going to think I’m odd,’ I thought to myself.

Especially in Alabama, where almost every person tells you to have a Blessed day, where most every yard has a ‘God, Country and Guns’ sign or other signs saying ‘Trust in Jesus.  Come to Jesus.  Believe in Jesus.’

Well, I do.  But I do it my way.

And I get that my way may not be your way.  But it is a lot of other people’s way.  And part of ‘God, Country and Guns’ means having the freedom to do it my way. 

Most all of the items surrounding me have meaning to me.  Many of them tie me to an Indra’s net of women doing powerful work all over the world like Molly of Brigids Grove who does statues, classes, Circles and writes.

Or like The Book of Shadows by my friend Phyllis Curott and her beautiful new Tarot deck The Witches Wisdom Tarot.  Phyllis was one of the first Witches to come out of the broom closet in the late 90’s with her best selling book.  When you read and listen to her, you see that it is really Nature and Energy that she speaks of.

Or Lucy H. Pearce, owner of Womancraft Publishing. Lucy publishes and supports women’s voices that might not other be heard in the publishing world as well as being an author herself. She has written ten life-changing non-fiction books for women, including her best-selling Burning Women– an incendiary exploration of women and power – written for every woman who burns with passion, has been burned with shame, and in another time or place would be burned at the stake.

Lucy Pearce is coming out with her next book She of Sea which can be pre-ordered here. 

I open up my email this morning and the first one I read is from her saying:

“This has been a project that has been five years in the making. It is a ‘big book’ for me, psychologically, on a par with Burning Woman, and its deep soul process.

It is coming out early to hopefully alleviate the migraines I have been having almost daily since I finished it, and the nightmares of confrontation with the guards of patriarchy which haunt my nights. Like with Burning Woman, I have a deep rooted fear of local folks reading it.

It starts as a beautiful walk along the shore, with some of my best writing yet. I really love nature writing…in small rich doses…it seems. As the book progresses it offers a deep dive for those willing to take it.”

Old habits and old ways die hard.   And that is where we are today.  And powerful, life-changing women like Lucy Pearce still suffer from this trauma and fear of being authentic.

It is time to take that back.

I have had the privilege during the past seven years that I have birthed and nurtured the divine feminine app (a women’s spirituality app to inspire and connect) to meet women the world over doing this work. 

And I am always amazed that the large majority of them do not have a local Circle; that they connect across the world but not down their street.

I believe this is the lasting trauma of the Witch Hunts in our cells.  And we heal it by acknowledging it.

Last night three friends came over for a Blessing Circle for my new home.  We laughed.  We cried.  We sang.  We planted a tree.  We ate together.  Ritual.  Acknowledgement. Support. 

Essential.  And something that we have lost in the Modern World.

Take it back.

Find a local Women’s Circle.

And you don’t need to be trained to do that. You don’t need a certificate or an online course. You need a couple of friends, somewhere to meet, some items of beauty and meaning and the willingness to be authentic, to be vulnerable and to be open to new ways.

The willingness to help heal the world.

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