Should you be afraid of witches, or just the opposite: should you turn to them when you need some supernatural help? Did real witches even exist? In this episode, I’d like to take you back to the true origins of the witches and how they came to existence . I won’t go into the details of witchcraft here, but you can watch my other episodes titled “Does magic really work?” and “The truth about blessings and curses”.

The word witch comes from the word wicca, which means wise one. Before Christianity labeled them witches, these women were indeed very wise and knowledgeable herbalists and natural therapists. In those early days, not much was known about medicine and healing, and even mild diseases could easily lead to death.

So the work of the witches was very much appreciated, because they could effectively help many people, even during childbirth. They had a wide knowledge about the medicinal effects of various plants, and they kept the long list of recipes in huge books, which were the precursors of books of spells. Some think that magic spells were actually recipes spoken out loud serving as a reminder so that they didn’t leave out any ingredient from the brew.

During their research into the effects of plants, they not only discovered medicinal ones, but also various hallucinogens. These included henbane, mandrake, daturas and belladonna. However, the most famous substance associated today with witches is ergot, which acts as a potent hallucinogen. Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye grain in damp weather conditions, and this type of grain was commonly used for making bread.

As bread was one of the most important parts of diet in the middle ages, it must have occurred quite frequently that people got ergot poisoning en masse. Subsequently, records from the 14th to the 17th century show much evidence that this indeed was the case. These records tell about a dancing mania, with crowds of people dancing on the streets hysterically until they collapsed from exhaustion.

Violent muscle spasms, shaking, vomiting, delusions, hallucinations, and itchy feeling on the skin are all signs of ergot poisoning. Interestingly, all these toxic effects were well documented during the Salem witch trials, and weather conditions the year before were also favorable to the growth of ergot. I can even imagine that the phenomenon of the so-called Dance Macabre is also due to fungus poisoning.

While the general population only occasionally and involuntarily consumed this substance, some of the herbalists took it regularly and deliberately. However, when consumed orally, these hallucinogens have some nasty side-effects like nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes. But soon enough, through trial and error, early witches found a solution to continue to entertain themselves with interesting visions but without the side-effects.

They discovered that by letting ergot absorb into the skin, mainly through the sweat glands in the armpits and genitals, they could use this hallucinogen quite safely. From here, it’s not a big stretch to imagine that to apply this oilment easily into their lower parts, they used the most common household item at the time: the broomstick. That’s where the image of a witch flying – in other words tripping – naked on a broom most probably comes from.

According to another well-documented theory, the stereotype of the witch comes from another profession: beer-making. You see, up until the 14th century, this craft was mostly reserved for women. Commonly known as Alewives, these women used a number of tools and equipment like a bubbling cauldron full of hot brown liquid and a broom for tidying up.

The association of the broom can also come from the so-called ale-stake. This was a broom-like stick that brewers placed outside the brewery signalling to potential customers that the beer was ready. In the marketplace, they wore high pointed hats to be more visible and distinguish themselves from other sellers, and eventually this hat became the symbol of the trade.

Another symbol associated with witches is the black cat. It is supposedly black, as witches were often said to dabble in black magic. But the image of the cat stems from a more practical application. They helped brewers get rid of mice and other rodents, who would frequently eat the stored grains necessary for beer-making.

As you might know, nowadays beer-making is a male dominated industry, and this is not a coincidence. As beer got more popular, so increased the success and profit of women brewers. Ultimately, men, especially the men of the Church, wanted a slice from the pie, and with time took over the whole industry, along with its profits.

They did this with the easiest but also the most evil tool at hand: by labeling women brewers as witches, supposedly working with the Devil. Subsequently, people became afraid of drinking beer made by women, as they thought they may become possessed by it. Not only that, but women also had to fear for their lives, so they must have become quite demotivated to choose this profession.

While at first mostly brewers were attacked, soon enough anyone could be labeled as a witch without any evidence whatsoever. This was a great method for the Church to get rid of its enemies, but also for the common folk who wanted a revenge, or was envious of the neighbours’ assets. Witch hunting became a mass hysteria, and ended with ugly accusations and thousands of innocents dead.

The majority of the fantastic tales and negative qualities associated with witches today were of course fabrications of the Catholic Church. However, the general population at the time also took its fair share from dreaming up these supernatural stories. You see, the image of the witch was the antithesis of everything the Church stood for.

First of all, religion was very much against free knowledge and independent thinking. Even Adam & Eve were repelled from the Garden of Eden because they ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Critical thinking was supressed and replaced by religious dogma.

Individuality itself was repressed, and being an accepted member of society, being a true believer was encouraged. Individuals on the fringes of society were often looked down, ostracized or even killed, so individuals and free thinkers risked their survival by not following the norms.

Thirdly, sexuality was repressed like never before. Nudity, sex, lust and really anything connected to sexuality was labeled as a sin. So, during the middle ages, peoples’ individuality and independency, their thirst for knowledge, and their sexual desires were all repressed very deeply.

But denial and repression almost always lead to projection. Thus, it’s not a coincidence that witches were seen as wise women keeping some kind of secret esoteric knowledge. As free souls living alone in the woods, throbbing with sexuality and seducing husbands. The concept of the witch was in fact the collective imagination of a psychologically repressed society.

But they fought against their repressions, just like they fought against witches. They believed that if they could kill the witches, they could also put an end to their own inherent urges. Ultimately, witch hunting was a collective struggle to symbolically defeat their own nature. However, your true nature can never be defeated permanently, at most it can be repressed for a while.

In this free report, I’ll reveal my number one secret to spiritual enlightenment that almost nobody else speaks about. Download it now below, to find out what it is! I can guarantee you, you’ll be surprised!

Memento Mori!

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