One of the most feared, mysterious and, according to me, fascinating figures of history is the witch, a woman considered to be the repository of incredible “dark” powers.
According to the tradition, witches gather in the night between Saturday and Sunday in a predefined place , where they are greeted by the devil. He welcomes the new followers and forces them to practice the apostacy (the denial of the Christian religion) and to do sacrilegious acts. When this ceremony finishes the devil distributes new potions and powers and makes the witches able to cast bad spells.
The idea of the woman as a dangerous creature serving evil degenerated in the phenomenon of the witch hunt, the persecution of innocent women, that started in the 15th century and continued until the 18th century.
A woman considered to be a “witch” was often disabled, mentally ill or had slight physical defects. When arrested, these women suffered violent and inhumane tortures, and, at the end, they convinced themselves to be guilty or, to interrupt the suffering, admitted their guilt, lying.
We consider the witch only as a fictitious element and sceptically represent it with the traditional clothes and physical characteristics imposed by tradition (for example the typical pointed hat derived from the “coroca”, the headgear worn by the heretics who abjured; the broom, which was an element taken from the pagan religion…), but often we aren’t able to understand that history continues to repeat itself whenever we materialize our fear, anger or dissatisfaction in the scapegoat of the moment.
I want to end this post with a thought by the French philosopher Voltaire which, according to me, is still true:
“Les sorcières ont cessé d’exister quand nous avons cessé de les brûler”
(“the witches have stopped to exist when we have stopped to burn them”)