An estimated nine million women were victims of genocide in Europe and the United States during the sixteenth and seventeenth SIGOS, accused of witchcraft. However, the witches have not passed into history for their courage, independence and wisdom but as an icon of evil and terror, part of stories for children, movies, literature and legends still passed from generation to generation.
Feminism, especially since the 70s, has rescued until today the real story lies behind the witch hunt: the birth of a new economic system in the Middle Ages in which church and state combined to impose a moral and a regime of ownership of land and property in which any resistance was paid with isolation and death.
What then happened to women studying natural remedies and healing properties of herbs? And those who were responsible for the birth and perform abortions?
Healers, prophets, artisans, … the activity of these women who supported humble and peasant communities he became suspicious to challenge the patriarchal order and, as recounted in the book ‘The witch hunts in Europe. 200 years of misogynistic terror “, Anne Llewellyn, were persecuted, tortured and victims of sexual violence. Many exercised the role of spiritual leaders and were executed in public as one more way to intimidate society. And the best victims were widows very old, already weakened and dependent on the state, as well as “women without husbands, brothers or sons who were accused of witchcraft most frequently to seize their properties”, as indicated in the investigation of Carol Karlsen about witch trials in New England.
With these exemplary killings, all women were under suspicion if questioned obedience. Many of them were victims of male violence in a context “supremacy of male social relations.” “The patriarchal system also explains why many ‘witches’ alleged were accused by other women: If a dislike or threatened the men of the community, was also considered dangerous for women who depended on these men or who identified with them. internalization of “unacceptability is very deep,” Llewellyn said.
The witch hunt was more or less intense in different states and countries. In Europe, in Germany and neighboring countries they occurred between half and three quarters of executions in Scotland many cases but instead occurred are not known in Ireland. In francophone countries witchcraft with the “demonic possession” he was associated. And in Italy and Spain, although there were many investigations, only women were executed.
Clearly, despite everything that has already been written and claimed from feminism, the true story of the witch hunt must continue to be inquired into as directly linked to the origin of feminism and spirituality and how to lead specific of those groups of women. As noted by the members of W.I.T.C.H, “the hidden history of the liberation of women began with witches and gypsies, because they are the oldest guerrilla and resistance fighters.”
(Sources: ‘Caliban and the Witch’ by Silvia Federici, ‘The witch hunts in Europe 200 years of misogynistic terror.’ Editorial Tikal, ‘W.I, T.C.H Press and spells.’ Editorial La Felguera..).