Malleus In Culture

Beyond the Burning Times

[From an article by Cody Liska, featured in Insight Magazine, that mentions the Malleus Maleficarum]

In a dimly lit cave, a sorority of witches stands around a bubbling cauldron, cackling as they await the witching hour. Their faces are lousy with sores and their breath putrid with death. Behind their abysmally black eyes, the devil can be seen looking back… plotting. The night yields a full moon, magic is aplenty. They’ll need all the help they can get. After all, an unbaptized infant is a delicacy. The midnight bell tolls – time to act. And in devilish accordance, they snatch their broomsticks and vanish into the night.

Although a Medieval foreboding of a witch is a far cry from today’s understanding of one, it’s difficult to skirt the misconception. It has a permanent locale in our collective unconscious. Needless to say, a real witch lacks these stereotypical prerequisites.

Sixty-three-year-old Ellyn Darrah is a witch. In fact, she’s a High Priestess. She writes and orchestrates rituals, dances around campfires and drinks mead. She is not possessed, nor does she eat babies. She’s more like a hip grandmother than a spooky spell-caster. The depth of her quirkiness is immediately obvious as she orders a vegetarian pizza with pepperoni.

Twenty years ago, Darrah began her journey as a witch. It all started in her college years back at the University of Santa Barbara, California, when a poster read “Come Celebrate Mother Goddess” caught her attention.

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