Agnes Waterhouse, age 64 in the year 1566, was an impoverished woman who had a white cat named Sathan that spoke in a strange hollow voice and would do anything for a drop of blood. She had him kill her pig to prove what he could do, and then had him kill the cows and geese of her neighbors, with whom she had quarreled; neighbors themselves, with whom she had quarreled; her husband, with whom she had quarreled.
Hildengard von Bingen knew all the plant medicines, all the minerals, all the tender words you could whisper over a body in pain. In ecstatic trances she saw the face of the divine spread over the world. Despite the obvious similarities and the fact she was summoned to an inquisition, Hildegaard von Bingen was not a witch, she was a canonized saint.
Dorothea of Cappadocia was a brilliant philosopher who proved difficult to execute and nearly impossible to shut up.
A first-rate bard, Isobel Gowdie’s power came from storytelling and flyting (the fine Scottish art of flinging curses.) Her “crime” was being too mouthy in the direction of the landlord. It’s day 9 on the Advent Calendar of Witches, we’re in a global pandemic, and the rent is still too damn high.
Angela de la Barthe was wealthy. She owned her own property and thus wielded some degree of influence in the city of Toulouse, which was a stronghold of those who would resist the authority of the Church. To the inquisitors a woman in authority was confusing and created a sense of disorder – you might call it a feeling of bedevilment.
Nevermind what you may have heard, Theseus was a villainous monster. Medusa, on the other hand, brought corals, the Pegasus, and many other marvels into this world. It’s day 6 on the Advent Calendar of Witches and I want to celebrate Medusa.
I didn’t know Jason and the Argonauts is really The Witch Medea Gets Your Golden Fleece for You, You Fucking Incompetent. But that’s the story in a nutshell.
Marjory Jourdemayne, also known as the Witch of Eye, was punished for wishing to see a pathetic, ineffectual child-king dethroned. I can certainly relate to this.
Lisbet Nypan was a healer who used blessed salts to ease her patients’ pains. A wise, aged, and financially independent woman. Under no circumstances would she give those uppity little priest men who thought they knew so much the confession they wanted. Under no circumstances would she apologize for herself…
Day 3 on my Advent Calendar of Witches is devoted to Maria Barbosa, who survived more than anyone should have to bear. I hope it’s true that she cursed many men, and sunk their slave-trading ships too…