Most people, if they know anything at all about the Middle Ages, know it because of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In addition to making a mockery of Arthurian times, the crusades, and history itself, “Holy Grail” lays into the habit our ancestors had of assuming skilled female healers were in league with Satan.
It’s hilarious, but it’s also a fair representation of what used to happen to women who were too loud, too smart, or too good at their jobs back in the day.
So how did we get this way? Why were our ancestors so quick to pull the witch card?
The answer is (sort of) obvious. In the days before germ theory, women were in a strange spot. On the one hand, they were tasked with the most important job of any civilization: creating life. On the other hand, the fact that doctors didn’t feel the need to wash their hands between deliveries up until, oh, 1870, meant that childbirth was a death sentence for millions of women even before they reached the ripe old age of 30. There was also the Red Tent, where women would be exiled to have their periods, and the confusing, only half-guessed-at relationship between women’s periods and the cycles of the moon.
What’s more confusing than an all-powerful giver of life who’s destined to die after performing her “function” on this earth? And what’s more, why do these women instinctively know which herbs and berries to eat when you’re sick?
Since Freud didn’t know a lot about female sexuality, he viewed women as mysterious creatures, puzzles that simply couldn’t be solved.
Once Freud comes along, of course, things get even kookier. Since Freud didn’t know a lot about female sexuality, he viewed women as mysterious creatures, puzzles that simply couldn’t be solved. It was easier, one assumes, than simply talking to the women in his life.
The simple, horrible truth is that women are viewed as witches, bitches, and skanks because men don’t want to admit that they don’t understand them. But do you really need to have total insight into another person’s experience in order to empathize with and support it?
We think not.
In these dark times, all good witches need a talisman to hold onto. Check out some of ours here.
Happy binding, fellow witches of L.A.