Sunday Blog: Who Really Were The Witches?


Last night they came out with their pointy hats, jagged teeth, and all the kids got to run around screaming and eating candy. Any house that tried to get away with handing out apples got egged. (I hope the kids are still doing that.) It was the night when out-of control badness and wildness were unloosed. Bad things could happen. It was the night of the witches.

I have always believed that witches were gardeners. From the earliest accounts, women were the ones out there in the dirt, doing the lowly work, and from that they gained a special kind of knowledge. The witches in Macbeth used hemlock and mushrooms; the Salem witches knew which plants caused abortions. More recently, beautiful dildos made of whalebone were discovered around sailing towns of New England that had traces of hallucinogenics on them. You used one of those and it would really make you fly.

The witchy energy is intuitive, sometimes dark. It cannot be pinned down, analyzed, measured. It is the same in the garden, the work is intuitive. It is about listening closely, paying attention, and hoping that you’re flying with the greater spirits who are always in charge.

Any woman or man who possesses this energy knows it can frighten people: that ability to see too much, know more than they are suppose to. It is also looked down upon and dismissed because it is not clear and checkable—it is not something that can be controlled. The patriarchs didn’t like it then—and they still don’t.

—Cynthia Kling


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