The Burning Times

Jean d"Arc

CJean d'Arc

This series of videos is a Canadian documentary I saw a long time ago. It is beautifully produced and tells a story that has shaped our world even to this day. It takes about 90 minutes to watch them all.

I was amazed when I lived in London what difficulties I sometimes had with men who saw me, a Tarot reader, as a dangerous threat, and how often a woman was sinisterly labeled a “witch” just for being attractive. These ideas still hang around 300 years later. Ignorance still poses a danger to those of who choose to come out as Witches. There are still large numbers of people who don’t really understand what that really means.

I think one aspect should be considered. In my studies, it seems that the Spanish Inquisition was not for rural witches, or pagans, but for much bigger fish — the heretics with a big H, like Giordano Bruno — learned men whose ideas threatened the dogmas and power base of the Church. I believe it was the job, or whim, of the regional churches to do away with practice of the Old Ways among the people.

The Womens’ Spirituality Movement, represented in this film, may be a bit passe now as younger women seem pretty free of the repression imposed on those of us born before 1970. In my younger days, it was a huge thing for us to feel safe to say what was true for us, let alone forge a meaningful life that did not revolve around child rearing.

I love the music by Loreena McKennitt, who I have always suspected her of being one of us, and the little girl in Part Six who, when asked “What is a witch?” replies, “A witch is something that comes out of the ground on Halloween and gives everyone magical powers.”

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

From Selena who posted the film on YouTube

The Burning Times Documentary

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This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the …

This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake, and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film advances the theory that widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.

REMARKS: I posted this video uncertain of how it would be received, though I suspected there were many others, particularly women, who would find it to be a clarifying link to our history. Even that word history erases the account of women, but such is the power of what happened during the Burning Times. I’ve read every single comment that has been posted, including the 15% or so that I moderate out, and I am glad that it has been so meaningful to Pagans, who have very few serious films to choose from that treat their roots with respect. Whether you are Pagan or not, the important thing to understand as you watch this video is that the Burning Times was a holocaust perpetuated on a culture that regarded women as patently valuable in spiritual and social importance, which seems the most obvious thing in the world to believe from simple observation of both ourselves biologically and nature at large. But that was the problem: a nature-based religion left no room for a centralized metaphysical authority, and no matter how hard Rome tried to coax these cultures into a comparatively nonsensical belief in order to better rule over their resources and land, an independent human’s natural curiosity leads one back to the rhythms of observable nature, and inevitably into questioning the authority of the Church. In order to destroy such a compellingly sensible view of the world — a view that was, in many respects, the ancient precursor of modern science — an act of genocidal terrorism was committed, for it was only that kind of fear that finally subdued people into accepting the counter-intuitive view that humans are separated from nature, and sublimated the recognition of the intrinsic duality between the feminine and male elements that underpins our very existence.

This was one of our darkest periods, one that brought out the very worst in people — our morbid sadistic bloodthirst that thrilled in the power of life and death over others — and it is, I think, fair to say that we still struggle with this now. Perhaps we always did. Even today, almost all women live with a distinct but unarticulated fear and uncertainty of their place in society, but perhaps in understanding what happened to bring that about — that it was a specific series of events that really happened, and her fear is that awful legacy — women may come to feel less isolated and more willing to move past that fear to find their own sense of purpose that they define for themselves. If this video plays any positive part in that, I am very happy for it.

UPDATE: You can buy the entire series here:…
Please consider buying it. Not only is it a fantastic series well worth having, but remember that buying the movies encourages more of these kinds of films to be made.

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach, painter for Martin Luther

Check out my article The Wicked Women of Lucas Cranach by clicking here:

It discusses the interpretation of women by artist living during the height of the Burning Times.

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