ABOUT WINGED AND BROOMED WOMEN

Halloween is traditionally set aside for excitement about tricks and treats, plus scary and dramatic costumes in some countries. Last two weekends was Halloween, so thanks to global villageizing by new media someone at the bar brought it up on Saturday. It led to a discussion my lazy self wasn’t interested in. More accurately, I wasn’t interested till someone asked why Halloween wasn’t celebrated in Africa; and someone else replied: “witches would abuse the celebration as an opportunity to misbehave. That’s why”. My interest piqued, I interrupted their discourse and asked “so, who is a witch?”

Now that I think about it, a study should be done to study perceptions and definitions of witches. What I however found out from the bar is that the major criteria for witchhood are being:

1) female

2) childless

3) unmarried

4) widowed

5) old and poor

6) young and rich

Basically, a witch is a female who has no one to defend her or who goes against the stereotypical life expected of her. The really interesting witch is the one who causes her parents economic mishaps and disables her mother’s womb either from conceiving, or from successfully birthing another child. I am pretty sure you must already know but just in case you did not know, there are no male witches. No, there are only wizards. And wizards’ purpose is to pinpoint witches and save the world from the mischief and evils of witches.

In the ages of the witch-hunts, any free-thinking woman unfortunate enough to have offended her neighbours was a witch. Her case was worsened if she was guilty of any of the above listed criteria and her neighbours could pull enough scary tales together or prove that the woman wasn’t devoted to the Christian God. Interesting enough, witches with all the acclaimed diabolical powers granted them by the devil and his hordes were killed most popularly by drowning (and evil spirits, we all know, “own” the waters), frying (being burnt alive) and planting (being buried alive). Fortunately (or maybe not so much fortunately, depending on how you think about it) that was a long time ago. Not so fortunately, a lot of cultures do pretty much the same thing in many different ways and for many different reasons.

As I have heard, witches are women who fly at night and drop unpleasant gifts in people’s dreams as nightmares… or in their lives. Witches also ride the world on long handled brooms and do mischief. Seems to me some people are just jealous of women who can “roam” the world free as birds like we all really wish we could. Who would not want a chance to feel as birds do with the wind in their face and the stars adorning their hair? They are said to have an added bonus of powers with which they spice destiny or the course of events… ah yes, that’s where the fear of them steps in.

Why am I bothering with all this though? Because I am tired of the ‘witchilization’ of the seeming helpless. And because, like it or not, witches probably have existed since the beginning of time; and time has not stopped! Like it or not too, what we say they are is not what they really are. Most unfortunately, it is an excuse that’s being taught our generations unborn to fuel oppression, infringement on the rights of others, and the irresponsibility for our own fates and lives.

Is it then not a good idea to stop persecuting people in the name of what is at best, if at all, vaguely understood?

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