A Witching (Alternative) October Visiting Teaching Message

Sticking my head up from a very intense work load, I couldn’t help but offer an alternative message to the October Visiting Teaching Message. As I do not have children, I found this a particularly unfortunate message as it was absent of direction for women as a whole; the message was entirely aimed at mothers- inevitably women, but not all women are comfortable being assigned to mother. (trigger ‘Mothers Who Know’ flashback) So, because this is October, and because women are wonderful- even those of us who aren’t mothers- I offer this based on a previously written post from a few years ago. For different ideas on teaching the October 2011 formal Visiting Teaching message,  please check out the excellent guest posts from Quimby and Heather, both of which are inclusive of non-mothers.

Where do witches come from? The short answer is Christian men.

A couple of hundred years into the Common Era (or AD, if you prefer), the Romans introduced Christianity to the Gauls and Celts and everyone else they conquered in their quest of dominion. The new religion (Christianity) weakened the position of women; the Roman contingents were mostly male, so this new Christianity was assumed to be male dominant (though one might sucessfully argue that real Christianity had divine feminine roles that have since been erased).

In this period, both men and women who had relied on natural remedies for centuries were suddenly taught that militant (masculine) religious authority should be the only remedy for anything. Men and women, but especially the herb-gathering women who retained the practice of natural remedies, could be branded as witches.  After all, it was assumed that if you had worms, only a priest would be able to banish them! The woman who prescribed a vinegar drink (which cured the worms) was obviously in bed with the devil.[1]

Ah, yes. You see, in order to be completely converted to witchery, one had to have sex with the devil (never mind that the devil was thought to only have a body of spirit- he could still do it– and he liked it very kinky!).

Interesting historical analysis associated with the persecution of witches is that by and large, most witches were poor women. I guess that being poor, they might resort to the “world’s oldest profession,” which would entice men to do evil and had to be removed from society (perhaps this why so many women’s Halloween costumes are so sexually explicit? Sexuality has long been associated with witches, after all.)[2] Other witching characteristics that were declared by groups of witch-hunting men included women who were past the age of fertility and unmarried, widows (therefore not under the financial or moral guardianship of a male), as well as or disobedient or infertile wives.[3] Midwives and midwifery traditions were also very suspect.[4]  (Sex is a common theme in witchery)

In consideration of this, is any woman NOT a witch? Witches are those who:

  • are most often female
  • use home remedies or superstitions for midwifery and/or general health
  • make less income than most, or are among the unemployed
  • are widows
  • are single
  • are infertile
  • are wives who sometimes disagree with their husbands
  • are those who go, or appear to go against popular opinion

 

I tick off more than one of those list items, so obviously, I am a witch.

Bru-ha-ha.

But in respect to being branded a witch because one goes against popular opinion… in some circles, I am a witch for being Mormon. In other circles, I am a witch because I am not Mormon enough. The same could be said for feminism: I am a feminist, but perhaps to some, not feminist enough. And cooking: I do the majority of cooking at home, but I am not a Masterchef. But my brownies really are freakishly excellent. So- not enough or too much…Which choice is more “out-of-style”, therefore, more witching? Is a witch a woman who gets a job rather than being a SAHM? Or is a witch a woman who chooses to be a SAHM, regardless of social influence? Is a witch a woman who supports her husband in a calling, or is a witch a woman who says she will not support her husband in a calling? Dear me! So many reason to witch, so little time!

So… are you a witch?

‘Cause if you are NOT, I am scared of you.

 

What is your favourite Halloween recipe? Please share!

Spunky’s Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup white flour
¾ C sugar
1 Tab. Baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. Ginger
Pinch salt
1 C cooked and cooled butternut squash (pumpkin)
½ cup grapeseed oil (can also use macadamia oil)
2 eggs
1 C sweetened, dried cranberries
½ C chopped macadamia nuts
Heat oven to 400F (200C, 180C fan-forced). Prepare 12 muffin tins with paper baking cases (same size as cupcakes).Combine pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs by hand. Add dry ingredients, stir till just moistened. Add cranberries and nuts. Divide into muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and serve warm. Store in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.

[1]Maryse Simon, Les Affaires De Sorcellerie Dans Le Val De Liepvre, XVIe Et XVIIe Siecles (Businesses Of Sorcery In the Valley De Liepvre, XVIe And XVIIe Centuries)
[2] “World’s Oldest Profession” is a colloquial phrase used to describe prostitution. See here.
[3] Julian Goodare, “Women and the Witch-Hunt in Scotland”, Social History, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Oct., 1998).Winny Koster-Oyekan, “Infertility among Yoruba Women: Perceptions on Causes, Treatments and Consequences” African Journal of Reproductive Health / La Revue Africaine de la Santé Reproductive, Vol. 3, No. 1 (May, 1999).
[4] Claire Noall, “Superstitions, Customs, and Prescriptions of Mormon Midwives” California Folklore Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Apr., 1944).

Spunky

Spunky lives in Queensland, Australia. She loves travel and aims to visit as many church branches and wards in the world as possible.

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24 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    Dang, just ran to the bathroom to check if I saw any signs of wart with obligatory single hair strand. Found a hair strand, but no wart, maybe I’m half witch, or just you know the other rhyming word which goes with witch

  2. Deborah says:

    Oh, that recipe looks good. Though I’ve never seen coconut flour for sale. I might try using an almond blend, here in this gluten-free house. Do I mix it in a cauldron?

    • spunky says:

      I reckon that almond meal would work! I did a quick search and found Azukar Organics Natural and Organic Coconut Flour for sale on Amazon; it looks very similar to the coconut flour that I use- and is gluten free… I do suggest trying out coconut flour if you can get some– it adds a real depth and flavor to everything from muffins to curry sauce. And I always use my cauldron. 🙂

  3. Corktree says:

    Awesome post Spunky! Just awesome. I love the tie-ins at the end – never considered how I might seem a witch to some groups in a very different way, though I’m fairly positive I would have been burned at the stake had I been born in Europe in the 16th century.

    I’m working on perfecting a Gluten Free (and nourishing with honey) Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe for halloween this year (with spiced coconut and butter cream frosting!) to replace the cinnamon rolls that I can no longer have. I’ll post it once I have the amounts finalized, but so far the results are pretty freakin good.

    Deborah, Bob’s Red Mill makes a good coconut flour too, or you can make your own oat flour from their gluten free oats which is a non complicated substitute in most recipes as well.

    • Spunky says:

      You and me would have been burned at the stake together… well, if we survived the drowning test to see if we were real witches or not. Love those tests. I really know a bit too much about this….

    • shelly says:

      just saw you were trying to make a healthy good version of pumpkin whoopies pies do you have a recipe I would love it if you have one

      • Corktree says:

        Here it is. I’m terrible at measuring, so if anything doesn’t seem right, adjust accordingly, especially flour amounts for the wet. It should be firm batter so that it doesn’t fall flat when the coconut oil melts) I tried different flours (sorghum, millet, almond…but oat holds together best so that they can be held)

        Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

        Oven at 350 degrees

        3 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour (can be made by dry blending oats)
        1 tsp salt
        1 tsp baking powder (fresh, non aluminum)
        1 tsp baking soda (also fresh, non aluminum)
        2 tbsp cinnamon
        1 tbsp ginger
        1 tbsp cloves
        (mix and set aside)

        In new bowl combine,
        2 cups honey
        1 cup coconut oil
        2 small cans organic pumpkin (or 3 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin homemade)
        2 pastured eggs
        1 tsp vanilla (or one bean pod)
        (add to dry)

        Use a measured scoop (ice cream with a release works well) and plop down “pies” on parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. Assemble with filling when cool and chill for 30 minutes before serving.

        Filling (whipped)

        2 cups honey
        1/2 cup pastured butter (soft)
        8 ounces organic cream cheese
        1 tsp vanilla (or bean pod)

  4. Quimby says:

    I rather resent the implication that I might be a witch, and as soon as I remember where I left my Eye of Newt I’ll curse you. I have some Salamander Toe which will do in a pinch, butI find the curse doesn’t quite have the same ooomph as it does with Eye of Newt. Now if only I could remember where I put it . . .

    • Spunky says:

      But do you have frog’s wort? if not, then you ARE a witch!

      • Quimby says:

        Darn it, I used the last of my frog’s wort yesterday at dinner. The kids just love frog’s wort stew. I knew I forgot to pick something up at Witchingworth’s today . . . .

  5. Squashy says:

    I just came to the conclusion I am definitely witchy 🙂 your post made me smile. I will be trying that muffin recipe to shock all the sisters at Relief Society. It says they will store for two weeks…..really they probably won’t last two seconds in my clutches.

    • Spunky says:

      Squashy, why do I have the feeling that you have some fabulous recipes involving squash? I am speaking as a squash junkie– please don’t hold out! (and yes, I have hidden the muffins from DH to keep them to myself, the unfortunate thing is that the dog knows and has started to give up the muffin hiding spots…eat them as fast as you can!) 😉

    • Squashy says:

      Ha ha! Spunky my nickname Squashy Mossy is what everyone calls me in work. It is more to do with my build and my nature than what I cook. I work in a mental health unit with some very disturbed individuals (that includes staff lol!) and when they are upset they come to me for “big squashy hugs”. My YouTube is thesquashyone, my flickr is squashy1 and so is my facebook 🙂 I will attempt to cook and eat pretty much anything provided it is already dead. Just don’t stay still for too long 🙂

  6. CatherineWO says:

    Thank you for starting my day in such a fabulous (and witchy) way. And I will definitely try out your recipe. I am gluten free too and it looks quite easy to adapt. And Corktree, please post your pumpkin whoopie pie recipe. My mouth is watering at the thought of it.

    • Spunky says:

      I second the pumpie whoopie pie request!

      And to be honest, I usually substitute white flour with oat or corn flour, though I usually use a touch of whole wheat or white flour, just for the binding properties of gluten (I am gluten intolerant, so can take it is small amounts, I use white flour for potlucks… might even make these for my VTees this month). That being said, these muffins are really chunky and crumbly anyway, so I don’t think that going 100% gluten-free would have that much effect.

  7. April says:

    This post is the friendliest way I have ever been accused of being a witch. This is a perfect VT message for Oct., especially when one considers how many people do their visits on the last day of the month.

  8. G says:

    I couldn’t figure out why I am such an outsider. I am the witch in my ward! Single mom, feminist-y, going to school, and speaks up when I hear bunk doctrine in RS and SS. I’m obviously a seductress trying to lure good husbands away from their wives. It all makes sense now…. I’m a witch.

  9. G says:

    Thanks Squashy! ((Hugs))

    • G says:

      Apologies to the original G on here! Didn’t realize the “G” was already taken until I looked after I posted.

    • G says:

      Apologies to the original G on here! Didn’t realize the “G” was already taken until I looked after I posted. G was my nickname is college, but I’ll use something else!

  10. Marjorie Conder says:

    At Plimouth Plantation one of the “residents” said to me, “Madam, thou art a witch!” After which she had nothing more to do with me, even when I asked a question. So I guess I am official. Loved it.

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