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Witches, witches, witches . . . Paganism and Ren Fairs

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Maybe Because Of Their Jobs

Women's occupations put them in a uniquely risky position when it came to being suspected of magical malfeasance.

Image credit: Wellcome Collection (public domain)

Between plagues, wars, and freakishly cold weather, the early modern period was not the best time to be a human in England. For women in particular, there was another ever-present threat to contend with: allegations of witchcraft. But why were so many more women than men accused of practicing the dark arts? A new study has looked back into the annals of history and suggests that one major factor could have been their jobs.

Explore five factors that fueled unease and panic over accusations of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials.

Though the Salem witch trials were far from the only persecutions over witchcraft in 17th-century colonial America, they loom the largest in public consciousness and popular culture today. Over the course of several months in 1692, a total of between 144 and 185 women, children and men were accused of witchcraft, and 19 were executed after local courts found them guilty.

Andrey Kiselev - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

People dress up as many things for Halloween–dinosaurs, pirates, cheerleaders–but the most popular getup by far are witch costumes. For years, witch costumes have remained in the top spot more than any other costume. And it’s easy to understand why. You can never go wrong with a classic.

If you’re dressing up as a witch, of course, you have to carry around a broomstick as part of your ensemble. But have you ever wondered why the household object is associated with witches in the first place?

It's time to get into the spirit!

With the fall equinox upon us and spooky season soon to follow, Michigan's first and only (that I'm aware of) witchcraft-themed cocktail bar is the perfect place to shed the past and cheers to the future as we transition to a new season.

What to Expect:

From the lighting to the décor to the drinks-- let me just say the vibe in this place is right! The moment you walk in you're greeted by fun little vending machines except these machines don't give you candy, they give you spells!

Many of us have altars and physical spaces that either are, or we create them to be, sacred space for us. Spaces that allow us to step away from the physical world, and step into a place of magic and spirit. They are spaces that create a trigger for our mind and our soul so we can experience beyond the tangible world...

Although I feel these physical spaces are important, at least for me, there is another kind of sacred space, one that we carry everywhere. That needs no money, materials, or items to create. That can be anything we need it to be. – Our Internal Temple.

There has been something on my mind of late – the unwritten rules of how to behave when in group settings.

This is in person, although it could apply to online groups as well.

I have been ruminating on it because I only have my opinion on the matter, and well, I was brought up by a Welsh Nana, who taught us that manners were of paramount importance.

She instilled in us that it was polite and correct to always thank bus-drivers, servers in restaurants or shops, and never to interrupt in open conversations.

So it might be my upbringing, or something about the cultural norms on the British Isles that influences what I am about to suggest.

In certain pagan circles, people can quite often come off as a bit rude.

I recently saw a social media post where an atheist showed a picture of someone wearing a cross and said:

I don’t advertise my non-belief on my body. Why do Christians feel the need to advertise their belief?

I’m not going to attempt to speak for Christians. Some of their reasons overlap with mine and some are their own. But I want to respond to the question from my perspective as a religious Pagan.

Ivy Johnson does not subscribe to the entertainment industry’s portrayal.

“Witchcraft has been demonized in pop culture,” Johnson said. “Witches are not something to be scared of.”

In an effort to break the stigma, two years ago, Johnson, who has been a practicing pagan since she was about 14 years old, opened Blessed Bee Apothecary in South Hadley’s The Village Commons at 21 College St.

Photo Marv Lyons / © Red Barn Productions (RBP) 2023

The first of these festivals debuted in the early 1960s, serving as a prime example of the United States’ burgeoning counterculture

Every year, the roughly 200 Renaissance fairs and festivals held across the United States and abroad attract several million visitors. United by their raucous entertainment, elaborate costumes and setting in the distant past, these outdoor events boast a surprising backstory.

The country’s first Renaissance Pleasure Faire, staged in Los Angeles in May 1963, was inextricably linked to the Red Scare, a Cold War-era mass hysteria prompted by the specter of communism.

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