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Witch ward-off? Archaeology find from national geographic

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Oct. 29th, 2009 | 08:31 pm
posted by: lucy_chronicles in druidry

http://feeds.nationalgeographic.com/click.phdo?i=6b9276be3de00d7d56ff50050a29c51e

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/rss/article_id.pl?id=57403373
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In time for Halloween, archaeologists have unearthed a witch bottle—a stone jug that may have contained toenails, hair, and other bodily bits to deter witches and other evildoers.
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how do they know it was a 'witch' and why is it 'evil' instead of a shaman, doctors or other healers? geesh...


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Comments {10}

Pirate Jenny

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from: piratejenny
date: Oct. 30th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Doctors didn't have better medicine back in the 17th century though. Not at all. You probably had a better chance of surviving going to a wise woman than a doctor at that point. At least equal.

But witch bottles are a specific artifact and usually contained similar things--bits of body like hair and fingernails (and sometimes stuff a bit ickier), nails, pins. Traditional methods for warding against witches at that point in history.

Shamans: technically they exist only in Siberia (which is part of Europe actually. The word shaman applies to a specific tribe in a specific area, though it's been co-opted for a more general use. But they did exist in the 17th century, though the rest of the world didn't know about it (except maybe a few hardy travelers).

The 17th century was the tail end of the witch craze. Accused or suspected witches at that time were considered to be in league with the devil. They were not pagans, though they may have held onto some folk practices. It has nothing to do with modern witchcraft.

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bohemianbanshee

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from: bohemianbanshee
date: Oct. 30th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
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"The 17th century was the tail end of the witch craze. Accused or suspected witches at that time were considered to be in league with the devil. They were not pagans, though they may have held onto some folk practices. It has nothing to do with modern witchcraft."

It certainly has very much to do with "modern witchcraft". It has little to do with Wicca, if that's what you're referring to. Wicca does not encompass the whole of modern witchcraft by far, nor are all modern practitioners Wiccan.

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Pirate Jenny

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from: piratejenny
date: Oct. 31st, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
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It certainly has very much to do with "modern witchcraft". It has little to do with Wicca, if that's what you're referring to. Wicca does not encompass the whole of modern witchcraft by far, nor are all modern practitioners Wiccan.

What I meant was that the accused were not witches in the modern sense. They may have known some folk remedies, but that wasn't a necessary facet of an accusation. They were Christian, the same as their accusers, not followers of any "old religion." They were scapegoats for various reasons.

And I know all witches aren't Wiccans quite well, believe me. I know plenty of witches, and offhand I can't think of any who are Wiccan.

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bohemianbanshee

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from: bohemianbanshee
date: Oct. 31st, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
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"What I meant was that the accused were not witches in the modern sense. They may have known some folk remedies, but that wasn't a necessary facet of an accusation. They were Christian, the same as their accusers, not followers of any 'old religion.' They were scapegoats for various reasons."

Yes, I agree with that.

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trip_tych

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from: trip_tych
date: Oct. 30th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
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Ok, Western Europe.

The 17th century was when they began better understanding human anatomy, the way blood circulates through the body, experimenting with vitamins, and discovered that meat does not spontaneously generate flies. Granted, they still used leeches, relied on the ideas of the 4 humours and other really useless ideas but I disagree that witch bottles were the best medicine at the time.

Either way, there are plenty of good reasons for people to link such bottles with warding off the evil of witches.

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Pirate Jenny

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from: piratejenny
date: Oct. 31st, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
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Witch bottles weren't used as medicine though. They were used to avert supposed spells and such--though I suppose if someone thought they or their cattle were sick because of a witch it would count as such. I admit to not having read the article yet, but I've read a bit about witch bottles and other supposed cures to being cursed.

I was talking about medicine in general--I knew that schools started dissecting sometime around this but I didn't remember if it was further into the 18th century.

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trip_tych

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from: trip_tych
date: Oct. 30th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
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Nevermind, I read through the convo again and I get what you're saying regarding doctors, medicine and wise women. I responded to a point that I interpreted but was not stated, sorry.

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Pirate Jenny

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from: piratejenny
date: Oct. 31st, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
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No problem.

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