Friday, March 31, 2006

Witches as Wise Women: Power of Storytelling

As a teller of stories, I now find myself choosing more stories with witches in them. This is related to a fresher understanding that characters like Baba Yaga of Russian fairytales and the witch in Hansel and Gretel surprisingly point to the culmination of a lifetime of feminine knowledge and wisdom.

In many traditions, wise women and witches were healers -- equally wise and dangerous -- who were burnt at the stake not for their wickedness, but for their power, and for daring to use the gifts of know-ledge and wisdom.

Baba Yaga is often represented in images as comic as they are scary, which is why children both yell with laughter and shudder at her description. When we read between the lines we find that she is not evil, but certainly is frightening.

The witch in Hansel and Gretel dies, right? Well, she does and doesn't. Most versions of the story -- except for some sanitized ones that have little sense of the symbolic -- don't say 'she died'. Full Story

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:25 PM  

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