Monday, August 10, 2015

Witches: Past Hysteria and Modern Trend

     I think that it is safe to say that most people today know about the Salem Witch Trials.  There have been so many movies, documentaries, and books both fiction and nonfiction about them that it is hard to ignore.  Even at a young age we are introduced to the idea of witches through Halloween and scary stories, and it is cool to think about people with the ability to cast spells and create magic potions and fly around on a broomstick.  But we don't lean about the gruesome history until later in life.  The truth about the history of witchcraft is not a pretty one.  Of course it has been practiced for hundreds of years however in more civilized society it was seen as blasphemy, evil and wrong to participate in these practices.  In early 1691 America in Salem Massachusetts a great uproar of mass hysteria began as people threw around accusations of others being witches.  Those accused were tried and found guilty, they did not have much defense.  Many people, women, children and even animals were tortured, hung, burned or even drowned because a court found them guilty of witchcraft.  It all started because a group girls began to act very odd, claiming to see and hear things that others didn't among other things.
     Eventually of course they craziness dies down but not without leaving a mark on America's history.  That mark along with passed down Wicca and other traditions is what created today's perception of witches.  I think that it has even become a pseudoscience itself actually.  I have met people who claim to be witches through their practices.  I don't think I would be wrong to see it as another religion that is considered pagan.  But practices that have been described to me involve certain rituals at specific times of the month that rely on aromatherapy as well as the properties of crystals and plants to bring about a peace or calm to a household.  These individuals also dabble in seeing spirits/entities and the psychic arts such as using tarot cards to  read a persons future or past.  One day one of them did a reading for me with her cards.  I had never experienced any kind of reading before but I found that everything she interpreted from the cards was actually pretty accurate.  She even mentioned things that I had never told anyone.  It was weird but still pretty interesting to experience

     Going off of this experience it seems to me that being a witch or at least having an affinity to witchcraft and paganism is becoming more popular recently.  It could of course just be me but in some ways I have seen it come up more often as being more in touch with the earth and nature become more and more popular.  Now I personally have never felt any connection with religion, in no way am I saying its not ok to believe in your personal religion, I'm just saying that I have never felt strongly enough about any particular one to invest in it.  However I have always felt that if I were to pick one it would be one that is close with nature and maybe one that supports polytheism just because I like the idea of having specific deities for different parts of life.  And this one combines multiple areas of pseudoscience so at the very least it would be cool to learn more about.

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