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Anyone got a match?

I didn't sleep much last night, because of a low-grade panic attack which is still ongoing, so I'm going to take it out on my journal.  Some pissy content ahead.

I plan to go dancing at Orpheus Friday night, after helping hand out candy to trick-or-treaters at pinkleader</lj> 's home.  I'm planning on taking pinkleader</lj>  and lisettelaroux</lj> .  If you want to meet up with us at Orpheus, we'll be there between 9:30-10pm.  I'm going dancing, dammit.

So, it's the week of Halloween.  Good time to talk about things that go bump in the night, eh?  I plan to talk about "monster" archetypes this week, and give them my own personal spin.  If you think I'm full of it, write something snitty in your own journal and link me.  I'm feeling contraversial.  :)

So, let's talk about witches.  The archetype, not the modern wicca-type people (though, for the love of God/ess, if you're following the celtic model of paganism, can we stop talking about the burning times?  Witches in Britain and Ireland were drowned or hanged; burning was reserved for religious martyrs, who would have been horrified to be considered pagans, seeing as they were willing to die for their religion.  In the US, the poor benighted souls who ended up on the receiving end of witchcraft accusations were also drowned, hung, or, in one case, crushed to death with a large rock.  No burning.  Suck it, Salem).

The archetype of the "witch" is definitely a metaphor for a strong feminine force that does not conform with the mores of society; a loner who never gets married, has an advanced education, and controls large numbers of people?  Please - what else could it be?  Even in the Grimm's fairy tales, the "witch" is a powerful female force.  I, personally, really dig the feminine force, and given the choice, I'd rather be an educated loner with massive powers than a meek submissive wife.  I imagine many women did - hence the need for societal misapprobation of women who spoke too much, stood up for themselves, and tried to wrestle some of the work (such as midwifery, a common occupation for women accused of witchcraft) from men.

We're competition, and we must be stopped.  What better way of doing that than painting women with power as ugly green wrinkled creatures who are always evil?

(Yoda is actually a crone witch in disguise.  I'm just sayin'.)

Mind you, the all-black wardrobe rocks.  I'm ditching the pointy hat in preference for something more modern, but otherwise, I'm in.  At 38, I'm getting the wrinkles, and I'm so pale I often look slightly greenish, especially after a migraine.

Witches get lumped in with the other Halloween monsters all the time, and each of our monsters is really a metaphor for various phases of the human condition traditionally considered negative by society.  I'll cover the others this week.  Thankfully, society is becoming more accepting of difference, and so we now actually embrace the witch idea - yes, she's bad, but think of the things you could do with an army of flying monkeys.

I dig the witch, is all I'm saying, and mostly because I'm an educated loner with massive powers for evil, and I could have been on the bad end of a ducking stool without too much trouble.  Fortunately, I live in an age when women are allowed some power. Not all of it - we're not considered equals yet, and there's some fierce resistance - "feminazi" has replaced "witch" as the accusation du jour, but it all boils down to the same thing. 

Fear the power.  It's there, and we don't have to hit you with a broom to prove it these days.

...This rant brought to you by way too much medication.


( 39 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Oct. 27th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
*sporfle* Thank you for this. I especially loved the bit about Yoda.

Have you ever read any of Terry Pratchett's books? You'd love the Witches series (start with Equal Rites or Wyrd Sisters). Great books for this time of year.
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
I second this very strongly. As a bonus- his witches are those you really don't want to get mad at you.
(no subject) - the_gersemi - Oct. 27th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - popelizbet - Oct. 27th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
Patriarchal men really hate menopausal women. Probably because by then the crones have heard it all and don't buy the BS.

I enjoyed this. Thanks.
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Strong women...
Part of the reason that I chose to go early period (like, prior to 700 A.D.) is how very interesting I found the Merovingian Queens to be. Okay, some of them were slightly psychotic and violent, but they had _Power_ with a capital "P", and weren't afraid to use it. Political, economic, and yes, in some cases, sexual power. (Which, if you get down to it, is what I think the "establishment" was really afraid of...)
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Strong women...
Fun article on Merovingian ladies (if you haven't read it already) found on Jstor:

Gradowicz-Pancer, Nira “De-gendering female violence: Merovingian female honor as an ‘exchange of violence’” Early Medieval Europe 2002 II (I) 1-18 Blackwell Publishers Ltd. Oxford, UK 2002.
Re: Strong women... - evil_fionn - Oct. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
I love it. I totally have an image stuck in my head of yoda in a pointy hat. :)

I started collecting beautiful witches a few years ago. The ugly green wrinkled and warty version is much more common, but when ever I see one that is clearly meant to be a witch, but is still portrayed as a real woman, beautiful, if sometimes not in the peak of freshness, I snap it up. :)

There's a kitchen witch series of artwork that I'm particularly fond of.
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'm going to now have to look up some of the Salem stuff; A friend claims (heh) that there was one or two occasions of burning during that time. Possibly as a last resort (the victim survived the previously used forms of proving witchy-ness).

But other than that, right on!

(and I'm still waiting for the wrinkles and the gray, at 34)
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
There may have been other burnings, I don't know, but attack laurel has the info on Salem down pat. The answer to "How many witches were burned in Salem Mass?" is ZERO! Historically, most of the actual burning of witches was done in France and the southern and western portions of Germany. England and Scotland were big on drowning and hanging of witches, mostly.

The confusion element is the inquisition which was very fond of burning, but they mostly were going for Moslems, Jews and heretics posing as good Catholics just to stay alive. Of course throwing in an additional charge of consorting with the devil here and there never hurt! But was not the main point.

Edited at 2008-10-27 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Bored me rigid. Couldn't get into any of the characters. Stopped reading partway through. YMMV. De gustibus, etc.

But witches in general rock.
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
"The archetype of the "witch" is definitely a metaphor for a strong feminine force that does not conform with the mores of society; a loner who never gets married, has an advanced education, and controls large numbers of people?"

Hmmmm so "The Virgin" Queen Elizabeth is a Witch. Awesome!
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, so I'm 41, never married, management position and a PhD - ergo a witch. This is starting to explain why people are afraid of me, particularly subordinate men. I even have a set of black robes to go with the job. Problem is the witchcraft is not being particularly successful - perhaps I should take swimming lessons?

BTW, St Margaret Clitheroe was pressed to death as a religious martyr - I wonder whether she was thought of as a witch?
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
BTW, St Margaret Clitheroe was pressed to death as a religious martyr - I wonder whether she was thought of as a witch?

Not according to the trial transcripts. From most accounts, she was quite beloved of her neighbors and even the trail magistrates 'regretted the necessity' and begged her to recant her heresy so she could avoid death. She was very admired for her steadfast protection of her family.
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
The conformity of women to the acceptable roles of wife/mother is a common vertebra in the spine of ‘civil society’: Especially after the Reformation of the Church *freed* women from the evil of nunneries and the limited route to self-government, education and personal determination that they offered (at least for some – there were always those sisters who didn’t care for being “put away in a nunnery” and would probably kiss Martin L’s feet given the chance).

When people say, “Wouldn’t you love to go back and live in the 16th C?” my answer is generally, “HELL NO!” Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely place to visit – but I doubt that I would survive the experience long with my modern ideals and my post-feminist mentality.

Then again, I also doubt I would have those same societal behaviors if I had been born in that period…

So anyway, what does this ramble mean?

Thanks for the Reformation, Martin (*heavy on the sarcasm*). I know the Church was a bit raunchy in your day, but at least women’s rights were on a bit of an upswing until you came along and “helped” them back into the kitchen.

What a charmer you are…

It’s only take about 400 years to start getting back on the right track.
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
I am so in agreement! I would never willingly go back in time and am fairly certain I would be at least drive from town in short order for speaking my mind.

You know what really pisses me off? I love men as a general rule, but in general I don't find them particularly capable with financial matters. I have know many wonderful men who needed a swift kick in the bookkeeping. And yet I have known many women who could feed a family of four on the amount I was wasting from each paycheck. In my personal experience, the spendthrift "I don't know where it all goes" women are a myth. I don't know anyone like that. But I know a lot of women whose families would crumble if they were not the ones balancing the checkbook.

I generally don't do the "The World Would Be Peaceful if Women Ran It" because I think that's bunk. But I really do think the books would balance. =)
Fascinating - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Fascinating - tradarcher - Oct. 27th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gwacie - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thornbury - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hsifeng - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 27th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 27th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
I am sorry to hear that you are having a panic attack. Here is some computer chocolate. I hope it makes you feel better.
Oct. 27th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
I wrote a long rambly reply, but it was eaten by LJ. I concur with your sentiment. Powerful women have long been feared (but secretly relied upon) from the earliest times. Look at what happened to the legacy of Mary Magdalene.
(no subject) - mistressarafina - Oct. 27th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 27th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistressarafina - Oct. 27th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 28th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistressarafina - Oct. 28th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Oct. 28th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 28th, 2008 10:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - splagxna - Oct. 29th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - standgale - Oct. 30th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 27th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oct. 28th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
It's interesting that you should post this. I just read this piece on the BBC News site
about Albanian women of yesteryear who became "men" in order to lead all-female (mother and sisters) households or to avoid marraiges that they didn't want.

How sad that this bizarre construct survived into the 20th century.
( 39 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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