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Friday, December 24, 2021


by Lynn White

From allegations of cursing the king’s ships, to shape-shifting into animals and birds, or dancing with the devil, a satanic panic in early modern Scotland meant that thousands of women were accused of witchcraft in the 16th-18th centuries with many executed. Now, three centuries after the Witchcraft Act was repealed, campaigners are on course to win pardons and official apologies for the estimated 3,837 people–84% of whom were women–tried as witches, of which two-thirds were executed and burned. After a two-year campaign by the Witches of Scotland group, a member’s bill in the Scottish parliament has secured the support of Nicola Sturgeon’s administration to clear the names of those accused, the Sunday Times reported. The move follows a precedent by the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the US that proclaimed victims of the Salem witch trials innocent in 2001. —The Guardian, December 19, 2021

Scotland was not the place to be a witch,
it really wasn’t.
There were more than four thousand witch trials
in Scotland
putting Salem to shame,
the Witch-Finders boasted.

One would suppose that 
wise women did not become witches,
but it seems,
many did
and paid a hot and heavy price.

So not many would be dancing,
even at Christmas,
even in spirit 
few would rise
for the occasion
only the bravest
would celebrate.

But this Christmas in Scotland
there is something more
a vindication,
a recognition of innocence
that does not require bravery to celebrate.
Even though it’s three hundred years late.

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality and writes hoping to find an audience for her musings. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal, and So It Goes.