Something was triggered in me recently. Not in a good way.
I was listening to a podcast about a modern day (and absolutely awful-sounding) cult. At one point, the leader turned horribly nasty on a woman who began questioning the cult’s practices. He called her “a nasty little witch.”
There was something about the words and the way in which he said them that really sliced into my heart and my stomach. My ex-partner had, on numerous occasions, uttered those very same words to me, with exactly the same level of vitriol. It felt so hurtful and ugly. Yet it also reflects deeply on the person whose lips uttered them.
I played those same words over and over, trying to understand the deep emotions they evoked. And then they preyed on me for days afterwards. And that’s when I began looking further into the world of witches — the dark and gruesome side of the supposed rise — and fall — of witches when many women were tortured and murdered under the guise of being found guilty of practising evil magic, but also the beautiful and magical side of what is considered modern day witchcraft.
In light of which, those words felt horribly divisive. Not just a hurtful gesture directed from one person to another — though they may have been intended that way — but divisive words spoken to every woman on this planet.
Generational hurt that has embedded itself into our cellular memory, that will only ever be forgiven when the prejudice and taunting is replaced by love.
It is a word that was dangled as a potentially deadly threat, a murder weapon, over the heads of women back in the horrific times of the witch trials. And it still holds that power for those who wish to drive the knife in, to call in a resurgence of the means by which women were accused and “proven” to be casting evil spells, and to repeat the very same levels of mass-misogyny that ruled in those times gone by.