The fable of the “village witch” is immensely appealing to many Witches and Pagans. Whether it’s historically accurate or not, we relish the idea of the lone magick worker whose gifts are supported by their local community. Yet the popularity of alternative spirituality has led to a classic supply-and-demand problem, in which spiritual services are oversupplied and undervalued. It’s time to drag the village witch out of her cottage, and introduce her to the modern marketplace.
The myth of the village witch
The story goes something like this: In the distant (or not-so-distant) past, each village had its witch. (Or shaman or cunningman or rune-singer or herbwife.) The witch lived at the edge of town in a little shack, probably alone except for a familiar animal or two. While the townspeople sometimes looked askance at the strange old woman, they were quick to turn to her in times of need. She was skilled in herbal medicine and earth lore. She interpreted dreams and omens, issued predictions for babies and crops. She cast love charms (and reversed them when things went wrong). She was universally feared and respected.
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