Τhe Virago Book of Witches

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Title: The Virago Book of Witches

Writer: Edited by Shahrukh Husain

Publishing House: Virago

Date of Publication: September 1st 2020 (first published 1993)

Rating: 5 stars

‘’When have I last looked on

The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies

Of the dark leopards of the moon?

All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,

For all their broom-sticks and their tears,

Their angry tears, are gone. 

The holy centaurs of the hills are vanished;

I have nothing but the embittered sun;

Banished heroic mother moon and vanished,

And now that I have come to fifty years

I must endure the timid sun.’’

       W.B.Yeats, Lines Written In Dejection Minutes

Temptress. Lover. Wise Woman. Healer. Seductive. Frightening. Fearless. Fearsome. Satan’s Bride. Daughter of Nature. Brave. Elusive. Menacing. Threatening. Lethal. Determined. Persecuted. Murdered. Immortal.

The Witch, the personification of fears and desires, the voice that stands against any attempt to silence the Woman’s Mind, the one who heals and kills. All through the ages, through the changes of our societies, the Witch has remained there for us to admire, to hate, to fear, to understand, to exorcise. The archetypal figure of the women who refuse to yield and obey to the ignorant mob. The ‘’monster’’ who takes and gives according to her will, the one who ignores the consequences and leads her own way.

From Greece to Ireland, from Haiti to Kongo, from Iceland to Italy, from Russia to Portugal, from Australia to America, these are myths of cunning tricks and dark spells. Of divine children, wronged princesses, nightmarish hags, misled men, cruel stepmothers, beautiful seductresses. Stories about the Providence lighting the world, stories about the evil awaiting in its lair. From Lilith to Hecate, Biddy Early and Baba Yaga, the Witch is always here…

‘’I love you with all my heart, but at the same time I always freeze if you are near me, and you nearly die of heat if I approach you! How shall we travel about together without being odious the one to the other?’’     

 The Snow-Daughter and the Fire-Son (Iceland)