Women would prevent illness by gathering plants, herbs and roots from the land and cook it up in their nourishing meals for their families. Hot herbal teas were drank long before we give it a name of "Herbal Tea." All of this knowledge was a given and was handed down from family to family.
Our History tells us that much of that knowledge was intentionally forgotten and stopped from being practiced in homes all thanks to the unforgetable accusing of people being a witch both is Europe at the "Witch Burning" and in the United States which was related to the "Salem Witch Trials." Women were in fear of taking care of their families like they could of because they didn't wan't to be named a witch.
It's interesting that in our History it was the Christians who were responsible for many of the accusing of innocent people and caused the death of those who were actually the one's who helped other. A real Christian act.
Many of the sick and dying could of been helped it it weren't for the so called Christians and town leaders who forbid the use of healing practices. It was considered the work of evil because it created healing miracles that many expressed no one could do but God himself. The miracles were in the healing herbs and plants that were made up into the healing potions( remember... the definition of a potion is a liquid or mixture that is medicinal /drinkable) or healing meals and healing teas.
Much of the spooky stories of healers and "wise women" evolved after the witch burning and witch trials. Why? Because it caused them to have to move deep in the forest in secret where no one else lived. This became the beginning of all the spooky stories of people sneaking through the woods to visit a witch and get the latest potions from her.
The visual of a old haggard long haired women, dressed in a long dress and shall, brewing up a potion in a big black cauldron outside was an actual fact. The long thick dress kept them warm and also kept their legs from getting cut and scraped when they were forging through the woods for herbs. Shall's worn around the shoulders were the best way to keep warm because it was extremely hard to fashion a thick coat in those days. The cooking in big black cauldrons were usually done outside due to the fact that the blaze of the fire had to be so hot that many times it would be to hot to cook inside. Another important thing to note is: cooking inside a cabin was a real fire hazard and many kitchens were outside and not inside like they are today. These women were not evil even though it did seem scary. They simply had the knowledge of plants and the desire to help others but in secret from then on.
The very first definition of the word "Witch" was "WISE ONE."
Our ancestors had all the knowledge of how to use herbs, edible flowers and things from the earth to heal and take care of their families. In the olden days the wise ones were usually the women of the family. They were the one who took care of the birthing of new babies, the nurturing of the sick and the tending to the dying. It was natural that they be the one's who knew the most about healing because they had to. They became "Wise Women."
Witch - One particularly skilled or competent at one's craft - A woman claiming or popularly believed to possess magical powers and practice sorcery - A believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan.
Green Witch - A GreenWitch has the knowledge and herb cunning to grow her own herbs and/or knows where to find them in the wild. A "Green Witch" uses that what mother earth has already provided for her in her own "backyard" and uses her knowledge of it to make medicine and potions. A Horticulturist and herbalist all rolled up in one.
Kitchen Witch - Kitchen Witches get their name from their concern for the home, and from their tendency to find spell components in their kitchen. Spells crafted by them tend to be a little less focused on ritual and more focused on practicality. They also tend to focus their magick on regular household tasks, especially cooking with a large focus on herbs and spices. They can be from any religion or creed, including some that don't accept the reality of magick. They often use herbal magick, including (but of course not limited to) making teas, brews, potions see meaning of potions here) and food. Food is everywhere in the circle of life, and by preparing food, a "kitchen witch" is working rituals through the use of cooked foods and herbs that is given to others to eat and even bubbeling brews that they themselves eat. Kitchen witches usually keep a pot of basil herbs growing in the kitchen area to keep it safe from negative spirits. Quartz crystal placed on or near the stove when cooking makes food taste better. Kitchen Witchery isn't really a religion; it's a way of living.
Cottage Witch - also known as a Kitchen Witch is one who's magickal works are mainly centered on hearth and home. Most of the Witch's work is done quite literally in the kitchen and/or other areas of the home. The entire dwelling is seen as sacred space, not just a particular room where ritual is held. Cooking IMHO is a must for kitchen witchery- one would add culinary useful herbs into their cooking to bring protection, prosperity and healing to their kith and kin through meals and beverages shared. Teas are brewed to sooth the body and soul and elixirs to clear the mind are steeped in magick. Cottage Witches are very crafty and use charms in the forms of wreaths, sachets, dream pillows and dried herbs and flowers such as Potpourri or herbal Bouquets. They are also usually good with incense, oils, bath salts and soap making as well. All these items are likely to be found throughout the household where magick is an entire way of life, not just occasionally. Cottage Witches and Kitchen witches are also known for making healing ointments, salves and tinctures. Kitchen witchery and Cottage witchery can be used as ones sole practice or in conjuntion with other paths. read more here.
White Witch - White witch is a title occasionally given to cunning folk. These were workers of folk magic who charged money for removing the supposed effects of witchcraft. A white witch was not a subtype of witch, but a completely different class of person. While there is no evidence for the existence of witches, white witches were a matter of record.
White witch or good witch are qualifying terms in English used to distinguish those helpful witches who do not use magic to harm others from normal witches. It can refer to either fictional characters with such characteristics or to actual practitioners of folk magic called cunning folk or witch doctors; individuals who charged money for removing the supposed effects of witchcraft.
Black Witch -The term black witch is a relatively modern creation generally used to distinguish between "good" and "bad" witches. The phrase appeared in common usage as an antonym to "white witch"; since the word "witch" itself has long had connotations of evil-doing and connections to Satanism, the phrase would until recently have been considered redundant.
These terms are used subjectively, but in general, good or "white" witches use magic in a helpful, constructive manner (see also: Wiccan Rede), black witches use it in a harmful and/or destructive manner. Many modern Neopagans consider magic itself to be neither good nor evil, and thus this distinction describes the way in which a given witch uses magic, rather than the kind of magic used.
Hedgewitches - who work on their own and practise 'low' magic - using spells, crystals and natural potions to help and heal.
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Definitions of the word Witch
The very first definition of the word
"Witch" was "WISE ONE." Under the influence of the Church and the newly formed male-dominated medical establishment, the word “witch,” which originally meant “wise one,” became a term of scorn.