In today’s society, witches are perceived to be hags sitting around a cauldron chanting spells that would turn a woman into a toad or a man into a cat. In my opinion, this connotation seems to be related to popular books and movies such as J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In the dark ages, as well as the post-reformation time period, the traditional belief was that witches who participated in practicing witchcraft entered into a compact with Satan. Essentially, witchcraft is the craft, practice, religion, spell casting and meditation of magic by a witch or pagan. This craft could be worlds spoken, things made or basically anything that seems to be “paranormal” to normal day-to-day activities. Witchcraft did not identify with just spells or philosophies followed, witchcraft was essentially anything unknown and unexplainable. A witch is a practitioner that has a mindset to direct the force of the universe to a degree for a certain outcome. According the European Christian tradition, witches practices magic to only do harm, witches had the ability to fly and were viewed as “old ugly women with warts and big noses” A majority of Europeans that were accused of witchcraft were women.
Women were accused of witchcraft because they were viewed as one...
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...ion about witchcraft, the dominances of the devil, the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants all led to the suspicions and fear of witchcraft during the Reformation period. The Puritans’ authoritarian Protestant life and their terror of Satan made their society a susceptible for the witch panic.
The stereotype of the witch and the stereotype of women have a lot in common, both stereotypes were meant to put women in their place and both stereotypes were ostracized by men. In this age where witch-hunts were normal, all were guilty until proven innocent and religion being the leading drive in ending this witchcraft frenzy, hundreds of thousand innocent people were killed. A “witch” was an old, poor, unprotected woman and men were all-powerful. This mindset was sparked by the Catholic and Protestants beliefs and by the creation of the Malleus Maleficarum.
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