Monday, February 12, 2007

About the Burning Times

By Gia Dawn

During medieval times, fear of devilry and witchcraft ran rampant. If a cow sickened and refused to give milk…obviously it had been cursed by the local hag. Too much rain? Not enough? Crop failure was also laid at the women’s doorsteps.

Not that the local populace needed any encouragement. Priests urged neighbor to turn against neighbor. If the accused was convicted of witchcraft, their lands were forfeit with half going to the church, and half going to their accuser. It was a most profitable business for all concerned—except for those that were put on trial.

The determination was simple in many cases. The accused was bound and tied and thrown into the nearest river. If they somehow managed not to drown, the river did not accept them—a sure sign they were true witches—and then they were burned at the stake. Not much of a choice, if you ask me.

Entire towns were nearly wiped out, with women being far more likely to die than their male counterparts. And it wasn’t just the old who were accused. Any young girl who had the audacity to refuse to sleep with the local clergy or nobility was threatened to be charged with heresy and put on trial before the town.

But were there really witches who rode brooms and danced with the devil beneath a full moon’s light? Was magic alive and well and thriving? And why are we so fascinated with magic today? What calls us to write and read stories of charms and spells and whispered incantations?

On some basic level, we need the power of myth. We need to believe there are still things out there that cannot be explained, that urge us to delve into the mystery of the past and explore the dark and forgotten realms. We need to wonder. We need to dream. We need to imagine.

So on the next full moon night, spend a few moments calling on the magic—the magic of your creativity, the magic of your life. Speak your deepest desires aloud. There is power in the telling, and you never know, someone might still be listening.

Gia Dawn
Lord Demon's Delight, Samhain Publishing--January, 2007

Disclaimer, cause we have to: The opinions of guest bloggers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mandy M Roth and Michelle M Pillow. (Want to be a guest blogger?)

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4 comment(s):

Great post, Gia! Thank you for stopping by today. :)

Reading this, I can't help but think of all the things I do that would get me burned for witchcraft back in the day. I feel so bad for those poor people!


By Blogger Michelle Pillow, at 2:13 PM  

Yep, nothing like vampires and werewolves, and things that go bump in the night to get the authorities upset. I think I like living in the modern world. :)

By Blogger Gia Dawn, at 2:30 PM  

From the church's point of view, witchcraft, satanism, and the like fulfills a more basic need. Just as Native Americans judge a warrior by the stature of his enemies, the church must struggle successfully against a titanic foe to gain status. Enriching the coffers along the way was a very human bonus.
Stand under the night sky in the desert, or watch the serried greybeards march from horizon to horizon and it all seems a little irrelevant.

By Blogger Amy Gallow, at 3:15 PM  

You are right, Amy. when you look for spirit in the proper places, life reveals amazing truths. May you always find yours. Gia

By Blogger Gia Dawn, at 4:33 PM  

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