Our heroine, now and always, is a Woman in her Power, working her magic to protect this planet. She's been called many names over the centuries, from wise woman to earth mother to "wicked" witch. Read on to learn more about the Sorcière and how modern witches are restoring ancient nature-based wisdom traditions.
Sadly, some of our most enduring ideas of the witch are based "entirely on Inquisition trial records of the 16th to the 18th centuries when the European Christian church was mobilized to crush out the remains of Western paganism," writes Monica Sjoo in "The Great Cosmic Mother".
According to Professor Helen A. Berger, a scholar at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center, "Historically, during the witch trials in Europe and in the American colonies, most of those accused of witchcraft were women. The Hammer of Witches (a 1487 publication that shares instructions for persecuting witches) justified this by stating that women were more likely to be the target of the devil because they were weaker, both spiritually and emotionally. Fairy tales reflect this image in their portrayal of witches.
Internationally, men seem to be seen as sorcerers or Shamans, using magical power to help the community, while women are connected to witchcraft in a negative way. Now, particularly in first world nations, there is a positive connection to empowering women, but, historically and still internationally, witches were and at times are viewed as evil doers. Most of this just comes down to sexism," Berger writes.
Before their persecution and execution by the Church "the wiccan or wise women functioned as midwives and healers to the common people and the peasantry. Throughout the European countryside the sage-femme was called in at childbirth, utilizing herbal knowledge to ease a mother's suffering and aid her recovery after giving birth," Sjoo notes.
"Independent of mind, of service to their villages and the Goddess---the native Goddess of neolithic Europe, not a male god imposed by Roman imperialism---these women kept alive the ancient nature-wisdom and cyclic rhythms--dances, songs, beliefs, lore and skills celebrating the sacredness of the earth. The people followed the witches, who always had 'better music and more delight'," Sjoo concludes.
Professor Berger notes that "Wicca is less a religion of belief than of experience and rituals. There are eight major holidays throughout the year, each normally marked by a ritual. They commemorate the beginning and height of each season. Right now what is considered the most important holiday by most Wiccans, Samhain," pronounced saa-wn in English "is about to occur on October 31st, yes, on Halloween.
At Samhain, the veil between the worlds of the living and dead is believed to be the thinnest, making it possible to contact one’s ancestors and deceased loved ones.
The holiday celebrates death as a necessary part of the natural cycle. Rituals celebrating this season encourage people to mourn those who have passed, to reflect on their own ultimate death, and to think of those things they want to “die”, that is, end in their lives, such as bad habits or a bad relationship. In the spring new birth and new beginnings are celebrated in nature and in people’s lives. Each season brings a different set of changes to be commemorated," Berger says.
Our collections are created with care and respect for People, Animals and Planet. For this story, photographer Leanne Sargeant stepped in front of the camera to embody our Sorcière in the old world. She wears the little black T-Neck Shift Dress, cut from an organic cotton, bamboo viscose & spandex Ponte blend. We do not mass produce; each piece is cut on order in Orange County, California.
Wishing you a beautiful Samhain and a Happy Halloween!
Creative direction and photography by Sargeant Creative. Photographed in and around Paris, France.