Fall is my favorite time of the year and an opportunity for me to share three unusual witch facts with you. Why? Well, of course, because I write about witches. But since my witches live primarily at the beach, and since that might seem peculiar to you, I thought I’d share a few other things you might find different, unusual or just plain funky about my favorite subject—witches!
Many practitioners of witchcraft were originally respected as healers, providing helpful healing aids to their villages. Using plant based remedies they created tinctures, oils and healing potions which they shared freely throughout their communities for the purpose of curing everyday maladies. Many were known for having vast gardens, where they harvested plants and flowers for medicinal uses. The popularity of using natural plants and flowers as healing tools is on the rise again today. Herbal Medicine, Natural Remedies by Anne Kennedy is a great resource for info on this.
(My book, The Witch of Bergen shares a witch who is one hunky healer)
People who practiced witchcraft experimented with herbs and potions in rituals that may have used the Mandrake plant. Mandrake contains scopolamine and atropine, two alkaloids that cause feelings of euphoria in low doses and hallucinations in higher doses. The rituals—performed in the nude—called for the participants to rub an herbal ointment containing the mandrake on their foreheads, wrists, hands, and feet as well as on a broomstick that they would ride. The ointment would be absorbed into their system, causing a floating sensation—and their description of that feeling is what perpetuated the image of a witch flying on a broomstick. Adapted from an article in https://mentalfloss.com
Others believed that brooms were never “flown”, but rather used to sweep rooms clean to allow for a sterile environment for creating powerful potions.
There is and it’s not Salem, Massachusetts! It is Vardo, Norway. It’s dark, cold and hard to get to, but what else would you expect from a place that honors witches? Called the Steilneset Memorial it recognizes the ninety one victims of the witch persecution that started in Norway in the early 1600’s and ended in 1692. 135 people were prosecuted for the crime of being a witch with 91 of them actually dying at the stake for their crime. The structure itself is a bit haunting, but none the less memorable. When I was in Bergen, Norway, I attempted to go there. But the train trip required was far too long and I had to put my trip off for the next time I’m in Bergen. I hear visiting there at midnight will set your teeth to chatter!
Just a few thoughts on witches to warm a cold October day.
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