Witches - What is a witch?
What would Halloween be without the legends and stories of a creepy and cruel witch, often imagined with a black cat on the shoulder and accompanied by black ravens in the air? But how did the myth arise around the flying on brooms and many warts on the face of witches? Do these creepy, evil creations really exist?!
To make all our younger visitors feel the first shock, it is said that there is no evidence that such witches have ever lived, and that there will likely never exist.
But why is it that so many people believe in such horrible witch characters? The superstition about all witches finds its origin in the pre-Christian times. Then, in post-celtic cultures, one believed, for example, in the legendary fairies, which could be good, or on the other hand, were portrayed as evil. Often, in the Germanic area, the concept of the fairy was used. The fairy was similar to the elf, considered a mystical being, and was therefore not part of the witch persecution.
The legendary myth of the witch on a broom, accompanied by a black cat on the shoulder, riding through the night, is more likely that, long ago, not all of the population could afford medical care. The function of a pharmacist, a doctor, or nurse was often assumed by only one person. These people who cared for the sick people in their surrounding area were, for the most part, women. These services, which are only one today and really clear on closer examination, were not nearly as highly valued. Imagine being content with what "primitive" treatments such a doctor, who was also a nurse and pharmacist at the same time, had to offer. Using the simplest of means, such as roots and herbs, such persons treated sprains, bruises, deep wounds, internal diseases and pain of all kinds. Even during births, such persons were present and helped as best they could. All herbs and roots were collected in the nearby woods, in gardens, and sometimes even near the patient, in order to create a the healing extract from fresh ingredients.
Since, at the time, hospitals were not available everywhere (if you can even refer to those institutions as such), these healing people were partly assigned to a special position. Such healing women have been repeatedly rumored that they can simply cure or erase various complaints. The status of a mystical and mysterious creature was therefore not far off. Through such knowledge, the translation of the German word "hexe" ("the woman living in the forest") and the English word "witch" ("wise woman") make sense!
The famous stories of witch hunts began due to the fact that the above-mentioned "cure" was no longer rationally understood. This thinking about the different treatments began with the spread of Christianity in Europe. It was not long before the healing and nurturing women were often said to be not more than evil and mysterious. Especially thanks to priests and bishops, caring and healing women were called witches and their reputations were tarnished. Especially in sermons, almost every opportunity was taken to socially marginalize such women.
The climax of such witch-hunting took place at the end of the 15th Century; witch trials were held over most of Europe. These processes consisted of forcing captured women to various abstruse statements. Tragically, all this happened under the threat, or the practice, of torture and the like. So it was not unusual for innocent women to admit that they are witches with magical powers. When the "process" was completed these witches were often not brought to the stake and burned alive before the eyes of the public.
The witch trials came to an end, thanks to Empress Maria Theresa, in 1776. First, by the prohibition of the many processes, and then subsequent burns, a cruel and very dark period was finally over.