Friday, April 1, 2016

The Nature of Witches

A while back, you may have read a piece I wrote entitled "Magic Confusion, LOTR, and Shining". There I spoke about why the true nature of magic is evil. The funny thing is, when O started writing that essay, I intended to primarily write about witches and how the term has been confused. This is because I occasionally find the oxymoron of a "good witch" in books or games. Again, here I will write based on what I have determined to be the original definition of "witch" and the ideology behind it. This definition is simple: a witch is the antithesis of what it means to be a woman (who generally practices magic). If you prefer define a witch as just a woman who practices magic, I can understand, but I'll get to that later.

Finding the Original Meaning

So how did I determine the "original" definition? In my other essay, I believe I at least hinted that different authors focus on different elements. When we accept the old idea that witches are evil, then we simply look at all of the different ideas and piece together the evil aspects.

First, let's examine Lilith, who is probably the archetype witch. Now since Lilith is probably the personification of an idea, the accounts vary quite a bit as many different ideologies use her for different aims. The part that we want to pay attention is the aspect of Lust, which is probably the best known association. Another is how she kills babies (or somehow prevents conception). These ideas likely stem from her being the antithesis to Eve, who was the "Mother of All the Living". There was an idea of Lilith preceding Eve to be Adam's first wife, but she was evil, so God created Eve. So to be the antithesis of Eve, Lilith must be the source of Death or Inability to conceive.

Secondly, there is the common example of witches practicing magic. Since I already argued why magic in its original understanding is evil, I do not need to reiterate that those who practice magic become evil.

Another example of a witch is in the many variations of Snow White. In the recent movie Snow White and the Huntsman (which I did not see but read the plot summary), the witch steals the youth of the young maidens in order to retain her beauty. In the Grimm fairy tale, she eats the lungs and liver of what she believes to be Snow White, and she attempts murder several times. In the recent movie Tangled, Gothel pretends to be a mother, but is really selfishly stealing Rapunzel's power to maintain her youth as well. The audience knows that there is no love for Rapunzel in Gothel's heart, as she only cares for herself. These portrayals show how witches are the opposite of motherly, as they steal life rather than give it. They are selfish rather than truly loving.

Does this mean that the defining characteristic of a woman is if she is motherly? Yes and no. The no is that our understanding of motherly is likely flawed and it has nothing to do with being able to procreate. If we examine the ideals of motherhood, then we can see how a witch is truly the foil for teaching girls how to become strong and virtuous women.

The interesting thing about Eve is that we only have her motherhood and original status to compare her with Lilith and witches, so we cannot learn anything more about the ideals. Instead, we must examine Mary, the mother of Jesus, who is claimed to be the "new Eve". When we examine Mary, we find a few things of interest. If you consider the development of the idea of witchcraft to be mostly in the Christian world, then it makes sense that Mary is the complete opposite of a witch.

How Mary is the Strong and Virtuous Role Model

Mary is by far more interesting to examine than Eve as we know much more about her. Eve speaks very, very little, but Mary is seen in quite a few places and speaks far more often. Biblical scholars comment that Mary is well-studied based on her Magnificat speech in the Gospel of Luke. She is also humble and accepting of Divine will rather than grasping for power, which is seen in her words "Let it be done to me according to thy word."

Mary is said to only have given birth to one child, but tradition states that she loves everyone in the world and wishes them the best, beseeching them to drop their wicked ways and turn to the light.  It is said that she prays to God on behalf of everyone all the time. So rather than trying to steal any life for herself, she works to give everyone eternal happiness and life.

Something that needs to be clarified is that crying is actually a source of strength, not a sign of weakness. Some people think that crying is weak, but women who cry are able to regain their strength to move on and continue their good deeds. Who is the stronger woman? The one who kills her children when things get difficult, or the one who cries when spoken words of hatred by her children but continues to love them through it all? Let me share a few lines from my wedding pamphlet (which N. D. Moharo shared previously).

Consider this chain of logic. God is Good. God is Love. God created Man in His Image.  God called Man very good.  If God is Good and Love, then Man’s perfection and Happiness lies in being Good and to Love

Is there any better common example of being Good and Loving than a Mother who endures all pains, and continues to do acts of service out of love? Beyond the examples of Jesus and Mary according to Christian tradition, there isn't.

So why do I object to the simple definition of a witch as a woman who practices witchcraft/magic? It's because women don't have to practice to be called a witch. However, the term is used for women who have done something evil. A witch, I claim, could simply be a woman who has only hatred for others. A witch has hatred for life and works to prevent all human life and to kill what exists. This means that witches can actually take many different forms, but that is the common thread to explaining why witches are evil by nature. The perfection of women is to be life-giving in all ways and to love while the antithesis would be to steal life and to hate. Witches should not be emulated. Good mothers are perhaps the strongest people in the world and should be thanked every day because our society depends on them.

J. D. Nyle

P.S. A note as to why I did not publish my own wedding pamphlet here. It's simply because I didn't see it as to tying into the production of Neostriker. This essay, on the other hand, helps establish the fantasy realm I am trying to create. It is a theme I intend to cover again in my stories as it will help the development of my two primary female protagonists (as well as a villain).

P.S.S. When I looked at Wikipedia to research about Lilith, there is a story that Adam and Lilith quarreled about equality. However, this doesn't make sense in the Biblical narrative since Adam and Eve were created as equals. Otherwise God's punishment of making Eve submissive to Adam because of her sin would have been meaningless.

P.S.S.S. While I object to the classic definition of a witch as a woman who practices magic, perhaps that was the original definition. Perhaps the sole reason why witches are evil is simply because they practice magic, which is, by the old definition, evil. Maybe what I have described was the first evolution in the definition. Either way, I hope I made a solid case for not idolizing witches.

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