Why Have Witches Been Viewed As Evil

Once a fearsome being featured in different fairytale and legends, ‘the witch’ been part of human history for antiquity in nearly every culture across the globe at a particular time. Currently, the term ‘witch’ represents a feared side of the female presence who has powers that may not be controlled by anyone. Nonetheless, these has not been the case throughout time as witches first served the purposes of goddesses and were revered by many in the earliest centuries. For instance in the Middle Eastern region the society worshiped dominant female deities in addition to admiring their practices of the holiest rituals. As narrated by Mallan (2000), witches were trained in the sacred arts and after being ordained, they were known or called by the tag ‘wise women’. These wise women were known to make house visits for their patients such as cases of child delivery. They were also part of rituals such as dealing with infertility a practice they were recognized as the cures of impotence in women. With this in mind, the question that stands prominent is how such benevolent figures then turn to malevolent personalities known today.

Going through history it becomes clear that the introduction of Christianity into the society might have been the beginning of ‘witch hunting’. As explained Greenwood (1996), as Indo-Europeans traveled more into the west of the continent, the brought with them a somewhat warrior culture that was fueled by male aggression an issue that saw the domination and underappreciating of the once-revered female deities. On the other hand, some scholars such as Greenwood (1996), believed that soon after the Hebrews settled in Canada about a century and a half before the ‘common era’, their male dominated perspective of creation was evident. They compelled many to obey the laws of the bible; nonetheless, the also believed in witches and they saw them as dangerous individuals who were controlled by evil spirits from the devil. Centuries later, the increased fear of witches spread throughout and when the plague or Black Death ravaged Europe killing millions of people, it brought a new hysteria on the black magic held by witches. In some quarters of continental Europe, many attributed the misfortune of death on the devil; nevertheless, at this point the Roman Catholic Church had already began seeking for the punishment of witches.

The Catholic Church had changed how witches were perceived showing women who worshiped the devil while performing various social ills such as promiscuous sex, naked dancing, as well as greedy feasting human flesh particularly infants. As indicted by Levack (2015), in some villages in Germany the fear of witches had led entire villages to banish all women. Additionally, in some cases, “suspicious” wart, mole, or birthmark was a sign of witchcraft enough call for a witch-hunt and a death sentence. They suggested that that the peak of the witch’s festivals the devil himself would make his presence. By the beginning of the 1700s, the witch hunting hysteria within continental Europe reached its highest. Witch-hunts were rampant a across the continent, particularly in France and Germany. As explained by Levack (2015), Germany was saw the worst instance of witch hunting where the magistrates passed judgment influenced by the Catholic Church that most of the villages were possessed by the devil thus condemned hundreds of women to death. Over the years, some of these myths have been debunked as more facts have become evident to the public.

 

 

References

Greenwood, S. (1996). The British Occult Subculture: Beyond Good and Evil?. Magical religion and modern witchcraft, 277.

Levack, B. P. (2015). The witch-hunt in early modern Europe. Routledge.

Mallan, K. M. (2000). Witches, bitches and femmes fatales: Viewing the female grotesque in children’s film. Papers: explorations into children’s literature10(1), 26-35.