The Witch as Archetype

She’s not what you think . . .

David Paul Kirkpatrick
2 min readOct 19, 2022

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The witch is not a horror symbol but a symbol of liberation. Arthur Miller, as brilliant as he was, got it wrong about the Salem Witch Trails. What was really going on in those Salem woods? American girls like Sarah Good were dancing naked in the forest, smearing menstrual blood as warpaint on their faces, in an inarticulated rage against patriarchal Protestant oppression.

Driven by a blossoming womanhood they could not even understand, these teenagers left society and went into the wood not to worship “Satan”, but to relish in their burgeoning femininity.

What a world we had created for them–to be clad in black dresses and white bonnets, covering themselves and their beauty! As far back as Roman Emperor Constantine, our human tribe has been brainwashed in dogmas to believe that sex was necessary for procreation but otherwise filthy and secret. Is it any wonder women danced naked in the wood? Is it any wonder the myth grew about flying around on broomsticks? The broom, long a symbol of domestic tyranny, became the symbol of empowerment and escape for women i.e. witches (aka “bitches”).

Let’s utilize the tragedy of the past to awaken the balance in our future. We were born not into sin. We were born into love.

In my view, there’s not a more beautiful passage in American literature than the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne from his great American novel, The Scarlet Letter —

“The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite relief! She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom! By another impulse, she took off the formal cap that confined her hair, and down it fell upon her shoulders, dark and rich, with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance, and imparting the charm of softness to her features. There played around her mouth, and beamed out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale. Her sex, her youth, and the whole richness of her beauty, came back from what men call the irrevocable past, and clustered themselves with her maiden hope, and a happiness before unknown, within the magic circle of this hour.”

If you’re going to be a witch this Halloween, be a beautiful one. This Roevember, be sure to vote. We need to liberate ourselves from old and toxic worldviews that have enslaved us for 2000 years. That wasn’t Jesus’s doing. That was the work of Rome.

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David Paul Kirkpatrick

Founder of Story Summit & MIT Center for Future Storytelling, Pres of Paramount Film Group, Production Chief of Disney Studios, optimist, author and teacher.