Mocking European woman centered witchcraft traditions

I laughed out loud at the comments left on this Jezebel story about a group of women who got together to experiment on safe use of psychedelic drugs (which they administered vaginally because they wanted to try and document the effects). What made me laugh about the comments was the overall derision and contempt the commentariat had for these women: WHO ARE THESE WOMEN?! ARE THEY GROWN UPS?! (hint, the article itself said they were between 24 and 42) and similar mockery. Now, one would expect that a commentariat that praises itself (read: regularly engages in self congratulatory circle jerks about their professed feminism), they would not be oblivious to the long history of a very well documented tradition of witchcraft and the vaginal administration of psychedelics. Two points worth mentioning: 

1) the old representation of the witch riding her broom comes from early depictions of witches (or to be more accurate, midwives and folk medicine practitioners in Europe) using their brooms to insert doses of belladonna up their vaginas. Science Blogs has an account from 1324, by Lady Alice Kyteler, on how this was done (and how, in turn, the practice sprung the old depiction of the witch riding her broom): 

“In rifleing the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin.” And from the fifteenth-century records of Jordanes de Bergamo: ‘But the vulgar believe, and the witches confess, that on certain days or nights they anoint a staff and ride on it to the appointed place or anoint themselves under the arms and in other hairy places.’ It also explains why so many of the pictures of the time depict partially clothed (or naked) witches astride their broomsticks.”

2) The Inquisition specifically targeted these “Akelarres” (as the gathering of “witches” was known) who were precisely getting together for ceremonial use of hallucinogenic plants via vaginal insertion.

White people have been traveling to Mexico for decades (and in turn they have depleted entire regions) to consume hallucinogenics in sacred environments pretty much leading to desertification of areas and to the loss of indigenous traditions that had been practiced for millennia. The women in Jezebel’s story instead, chose to explore a practice that was not only culturally relevant to them but that has been the basis of woman centered spiritualities in their own culture and the reaction from the supposedly feminist commentariat is to laugh at them, mock them and question their maturity. What a short sighted and ahistorical feminism that must be.

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