Wicked or Wise

needlefelt old lady with raven and apple
wicked or Wise?
Whos is she?
Through ages the status of women and particularly old women has taken a battering.
Old women who held knowledge of herbs, life cycles and the folk history became suspect and vilified as a patriarchal order became firmly entrenched.
So this nice old lady who might be caring for the wildlife and sharing nature’s bounty became tagged as a wicked old witch,  jealous of youth and beauty, object of ridicule, superstition and vengeance.
Thousands of innocent, helpless keepers of wisdom were tortured and killed in the Burning Days instigated by the Inquistion.
 It has always been difficult for me to understand how religion that speaks of love and justice and charity can promote war and cruelty, can twist  minds and hearts to turn innocent old ladies  into wicked witches.
Strangely the term witch, so loosley and negatively implied,  is misunderstood. Witch means wise as does hag- wise in knowing the arts of healing ,  herbs and nature. These old women were the healers and midwives, keepers of the  traditions and history, tellers of the tales. They were the Custodians, Spinners and  Weavers, who held and wove the threads that link us to our ancestors. They worked with nature to understand and to care for others and the planet. They once held respect and were honoured.
Some societies still respect age, but in this rapidly westernized, global world of separation and consumerism we tend to see age as a burden that has become something to fear and deny, to hide away when it needs too much of our time and care. We complain about the burden of this care, cost it and use it to spread fear and resentment  to indicate that the aged are a huge negative drain on upkeep, jobs and national economy. Rather,  it seems ageing has become a lucrative course of revenue to insurance companies and opened up a whole new industry.
We have become that brave new world that hides away it’s aged.  We terrify our children from early on in such tales as Hansel and Gretel and Baba Yaga. We turn to plastic surgery, chemicals, dyes and props in an attempt to  try to distort the reality of who we are. What was once a badge of character is now and impediment to be erased. This is rather disconnection with the very essence of self being seen as as a flaw and ugliness.
A huge media  monster enables this artificialty promoting makeups, makeovers, reality shows and constantly focusing on appearance  and perfection to someone else’s norm. Change is seen as an outer edifice. For real change we have to go deep within and accept who we are and see  that beauty.
Maybe  this little needlfelt character will help to change some perceptions and stand in her own beauty.

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