Today I’m psyched to have a guest blog post from writer Rayne Hall, whose anthology Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft is home to my short story, “Love Magick”
Perhaps your mind conjures up a memory of fairytale book illustrations. My childhood books always showed the witch as a hunchbacked hag with long-nailed gnarled fingers and warts on her big nose. Even as a child I wondered why the witches didn’t simply magick those warts away.
However, the image stuck with me. There was an old woman in the neighbourhood, her back crooked with age, her fingers knobby with arthritis. We children were sure that she was a witch.
Perhaps your mental image of a witch is more inspired by a Halloween fancy dress character with a black pointed hat, swathed in layers of purple chiffon? Or the sexy siren with the wicked cleavage?
The image changed throughout history. To superstitious folk in the middle ages, great beauty as well as great ugliness indicated witchcraft. During the years of the inquisition, the presence of a large mole, or a physical deformity such as an extra finger practically proved that a person was a witch.
In Nazi Germany, illustrators depicted evil witches with distinct Jewish features – dark hair, dark eyes and hooked Semitic noses. My mother grew up “knowing
Beltane is such a fun collection of stories, because no two have the same version of what a witch is. Nice job, Rayne!
Each witch was very different – I loved the collection!