Do you suppose Sensible Ladies have been Witches?

Do you suppose Sensible Ladies have been Witches?

It is a bizarre query and possibly an enormous oversimplification, however typically after we hear the historical past of witchcraft it begins with Sensible Ladies, who had information of herbs that handled illness and practices that helped in childbirth. They have been typically midwives.

These qualities appear witchy, however that might imply all historical practitioners of drugs have been witches. And actually not simply historical. For instance, the lively ingredient in candy wormwood was lately found because the therapy for malaria. Earlier than the mid 1900s, anybody utilizing candy wormwood could be going off of established observe of conventional drugs.

I suppose I am asking the way you’d outline a witch. Had been Sensible Ladies witches as a result of they believed the herbs had vitality/magick that cured, or have been they abnormal ladies who have been finally known as witches as a result of patriarchal buildings disliked ladies having benefit over males? Am I mistaken in my understanding of the Sensible Ladies?

9 thoughts on “Do you suppose Sensible Ladies have been Witches?”

  1. Witch has always been a term to denote otherness, as in “the establishment doesn’t like you”. Romans had official magic practicioners and then there’d be witches, and the witches would be burnt.
    I don’t think wise women are witches in the sense that they’re not outsiders. Wise women would be healers (curanderas for us spanish speakers) but not necessarily witches (brujas/bruxas/meigas); their position in society is different from that of a witch.

    Not that there wouldn’t be wise women who could also perform the role of a witch, but they’re different roles that may be performed by the same person

  2. In traditional witchcraft there is percent for cunningmen and cunningwomen, cutwives, midwives all being connected to witchcraft.

  3. I think that calling historical witches “wise women” is engaging in [presentism](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentism_(literary_and_historical_analysis). The idea that female healers were targeted due to their gender and profession is a modern idea that was promoted by published feminist authors – not historians – in the 60s and later. But professional historians tell a different story. Not many cunning folk or healers were accused of witchcraft during the “burning times.” The mania over witchcraft was regional. In some areas, hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft. And they weren’t all wise women. Sometimes they were children, sometimes they were men, sometimes they were female members of a different profession.

  4. I think that if they considered themselves witches, sure. But we can’t go pinning modern concepts on people who may have been devout Christians and thought witchcraft was wrong, even if they were herbalists or midwives. Some might have been witches, sure, and identified as such.

  5. I’m going to riff on your post a bit…

    So a wise women is a colloquial term for a ley-healer, or midwife…. That is to say someone (a women) who learned and practiced medicine through what me might today call ‘on the job training’ rather than through academics. Wise women have knowledge of herbs and disease, but obtained this knowledge though oral traditions, practice and experience, and this form of teaching is what makes them distinct in comparison to other medicinal practices (which have academic training).

    Lay-medicine (and lay-healing) were in ancient times, as well as in the modern day, integral to communities that did not have access to formalized medical institutions. Wise women are women who had knowledge to treat the sick, to preform midwifery, to be spiritual councilers and match-makers, and are known to implement folk magic practices.

    During the ancient period, and throughout the medieval and modern day formalized institutions such developed which taught medicine and midwifery as a profession, and slowly the idea of a village wise women be came less common, and around the 12th century is when the idea that a wise woman was a witch developed (a lot of this has to do with politics and the patriarchy, but I am talking in general terms).

    >Were Wise Women witches because they believed the herbs had energy/magick that cured, or were they ordinary women who were eventually called witches because patriarchal structures disliked women having advantage over men?

    I would say both are true… many thought that the knowledge these women possessed was magical, and of course when
    something went wrong their magic was also blamed. Some of the early European witch trails singled out laywomen/midwives in instances when a baby was lost or something else went awry, look up Ursula Kemp.

    In the modern day (in the developed west anyway), that wise women are more spiritual leaders and advisers than medical practitioners. As ‘professional’ medical practitioners are readily available (and we have a greater understanding of medical science) their need in the community tends to fall more on spiritual healing (fyi, I am say professional in terms of belonging to a professional body such as the college of nurses or college of midwives). So, practitioners of VooDoo and Gypsy magic are often held highly in their cultural communities and can be seen as ‘wise women’.

    Wise women have played such a large role in society that even Jung talked about the wise old woman archetype… anyway this got long fast (if you can tell this idea is central one in my personal practice)… feel free to ask questions.

  6. Yes and no.
    Witch was a word with negative connotations, like a sub group of the other magic practitioners in the world. But now the word witch is commonly used to say what many would call just a magician. Wise women and cunning men, they’re connected to the otherworld but they just use that connection in different ways then “witches” would.
    I use the word witch broadly like the word magician, so in that way they’re witches. But a witches practices and morals back in the day were different from a wise woman’s or a cunning mans.

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