Double, Double, Toil and Trouble.
Fire burn and Cauldron Bubble!
It’s that time of year.
Ghosts, vampires, witches.
We envision her in a flowing black dress, wearing a pointy hat and carrying a staff or a broom. She has a black cat called her familiar circling around her feet. She cackles as she hovers around a bubbling caldron.
But what do we really know about witches? Have they been with us throughout all time? How has society treated them?
The earliest records of the concept and practice of witchcraft can be traced to the early days of humankind when witchcraft was seen as magical a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons. It wasn't until 1000 AD that the practice of witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and members of the society. Witchcraft, seen as a religion of the ancient and traditional pagan religion which worships the feminine, earthly, and masculine aspects of God, was considered as anti-Christian and a heresy.
Thus, for many centuries, witchcraft and witches have survived by secrecy. The degree of secrecy varied a little with time and place. During the terrors of the “burning time”, the persecution which reached its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, it had to be absolute. In the slightly less fanatical 19th century, a “wise woman”could practice their Craft more or less openly in the turbulent waters between clerical harassment and popular support. But this was only for individuals, not covens. Individual psychic ability was one thing – a thorn in the Establishment's flesh that could be lived with – but practicing in open with others would have been quite another. In fact, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland there has historically been a succession of Witchcraft Acts governing witchcraft and providing penalties for its practice (or -- in later years -- rather for pretending to practice it). In 1951, Britain's Witchcraft Laws were repealed and replaced by the carefully worded Fraudulent Mediums Act, of which any serious witch or occultist can only approve.
These days witchcraft has come more into the open, and the public image of the witch is at last changing and escaping from the stereotype which has lingered since the persecution days. You've likely seen witches or occultists on TV, heard them on the radio, or read one of their books (or even consulted one!).
Amanda Perretti is a descendant of Josette Delacore; an eighteenth century woman who was much more than an aristocrat. She had powerful blood which called to vampires. As a child she was forced to read Tarot cards in her mother’s salon. Little did anyone know that her predictions were accurate and not a cheap parlor trick.
She was young, beautiful and gentile; the antithesis of how we envision a witch. She kept her powers secret, exposing them only to the vampires she met, who in turn, had many secrets of their own. They were a perfect fit.
Amanda shares many of Josette’s gifts, including psychometry. The ability to discern images and history by touching an object serves her well in her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her ability to read people and objects gives her an understanding of people that the average person cannot fathom.