Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued
Now, you may wonder what this has to do with women’s lib, witchcraft, and sex. The answer is that few of us are likely to undergo the transforming power of psychoanalysis, so we have to find some other way to get in touch with the archetypal energies of the Goddess within; and witchcraft is one possible option. You may recall that in Greek mythology Zeus was king of the gods. He was married to Hera, and they had a son by the name of Ares who was the cruel and bloody god of war. When Ares went into battle, his sons Phobos (or fear) and Deimos (terror) prepared his chariot. There were also times, however, when Ares made love and not war; at least he managed to find time between battles to get together with Aphrodite (whom Botticelli reminds us rose from the sea foam on a scallop shell) for long enough to produce a son by the name of Eros, whom the Romans knew as Cupid. The love between Cupid and Psyche is one of the great love stories of all time, but it is more than just a love story. Psyche is the Greek word for “soul,” and the deeper meaning of the story of Cupid and Psyche is that, while the soul may be condemned for a period of time to undergo misery and hardship, still, if it is faithful and true, it will eventually return to heaven and be reunited with love. However, this is not a love story, and I digress.
Although Zeus was married to Hera, he was as immoral as he was immortal, and he had many children by many different mates. The twins, Apollo and Artemis, he fathered on Latona, daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. Apollo was considered to be the god of the sun, and he later came to be associated with Lucifer because of a reference in Isaiah to Lucifer, son of the morning. Artemis was goddess of the moon, and she came to be associated with the Roman goddess Diana, and it is as Diana that she is most familiar to us today. Lucifer and Diana had an incestuous affair, and Diana gave birth to Aradia who eventually came down to earth and taught men and women the secrets of witchcraft. This, according to the legend, was because the church and the aristocracy were treating the poor with such cruelty that Diana felt they needed to be provided with some means of self-defense. In fact, the Church of the Middle Ages was truly becoming the Church Militant, flexing its muscles in the battle to suppress all non‑Christian and non‑patriarchal expressions of religion. In particular, it wanted to suppress the Old Religion and the sexuality that was associated with it. The witch trials and the documents which supported them were, at one and the same time, like neurosis, both an expression of and a defense against the demonic in man and, in particular, against sexuality. But witchcraft was not easy to suppress. The persecution of witches lasted for almost 600 years and only came to an end when science began to supplant religion as the major guiding force in men’s lives. And even then, witchcraft continued to be suppressed, only becoming legal again in England, for example, in the 1950’s, probably in response to the increasing dissatisfaction with science as saviour in human affairs.