My Musing Space: November 2006

My Musing Space

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Witches in the 21st century

Withcraft across the world is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. While the average educated Westerner chuckles goodnaturedly when watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sabrina, there is also a revival of pagan religions, like the Wiccans who believe in a central Great Mother goddess figure and "practice witchcraft". To me personally they are harmless history buffs who like to revel in retro theatrical play-acting like others do at the Renaissance Fairs. The problem starts only when they start meddling. But this is exactly what they are doing right now in India.

In underdeveloped countries people lack scientific knowledge and so they explain away things any which way (pun intended :) they can. In Africa for instance people think that it is witches who call down lightnings during storms, or cause HIV/AIDS. Therefor it is common practise to exorcise their houses when they get infected, hoping that the sickness will go away, or in more extreme cases they "go after" the witch who they think placed on them this curse, sometimes actually killing her.

Similarly, witches are still being killed in India, according to this report hundreds of them each year. We would think that the only way to fight such practices is by stepped up educational programs. After all, if a person understands why a phenomenon occurs, he or she will not try to find an explanation in the occult. Not so the Wiccans. They think that the best way "to protect Indian witches" is by spreading Wiccanism, so that people will understand that witches are "not always bad".. That way they feel that they can plead for the women who are accused of witchcraft and are persecuted. Do you think it will work?