Thursday, December 27, 2012

Witches: Good, Bad, and Otherwise

Here is a very gently annotated list of links from this blog on the nature of "Witches" and "Witchcraft". Special attention is paid to the false claim that "Good Witches" are a modern, romantic notion with no historical foundations.

Some, prominent among them being Ronald Hutton, claim that "traditionally" the word "Witch" always and unambiguously denoted practitioners of harmful magic, and, moreover, that it always and unambiguously denoted persons who were hated and feared by the communities they lived in -- indeed, that those "traditionally" denoted as Witches were viewed as "inherently evil".

I believe that the materials linked to below (both primary sources and contemporary scholarship) taken together form an overwhelming historical case proving that for as long as English speaking peoples have used the word "Witch", it has been used to refer to practitioners of beneficial magic, and, moreover, that it has denoted persons who were greatly valued and sought after by other members of the communities in which they lived.