Friday, October 21, 2005

Things Found While Looking For Other Things

Looking for a site with etymology of medical terms, I found PandoraWordBox.  They have a post about Halloween and witches, with the following tidbits:
Before exploring the past, it is noteworthy to note a "new" "informal" "earth religion" called WICCA. This "movement" was energized by the publications of Mr. Gerald Gardner who in the 1940's stimulated beliefs in "Wicca" or "the Craft of the Wise" and WITCHCRAFT. The current penchant for "spiritualism" and "magic" is reflected in bookstores prominently displaying manuals like a "Complete Idiot's Guide to Wiccan Witchcraft" by D. Zimmermann and K. A. Gleason and other publications that explain this neo-pagan religion as having roots in ancient Celtic and Native American beliefs.

Before Christianity, ancient witches were portrayed as CHARming CHARismatic CHARacters. Clearly, Circe, Calypso and Medea represent CHARismatic women.


Charismatic Calypso captivated Odysseus until Zeus ordered her to free him from her charms.

As humanistic values upheld by the Roman civilization were replaced by religious fanaticisms, the status of women deteriorated. Worse yet, those who had CHARM and CHARISMA became emblems of temptation, and as with Eve, feminine CHARM came to be seen by many as diabolical in nature. In England, Germany and France, at one point, "hunting" for witches became a craze. During this pandemic of mass hysteria, any old woman who was ugly, difficult or vociferous, particularly if she had a wart on the nose, could be declared to be a WITCH.
Now I don't know if it is fair to attribute the demonization of feminine charm to Christianity, but it does appear that our society has a tendency to do this.  

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