There’s a large and complex cultural history about this. We are at the end of a long process of demonization of witches. Most people have heard of the witch hunts, but most people don’t know what that was about, what it was like, how long it went on.
People tend to get taught witches were devil worshipers, and that’s a demonization of these wise women. But actually what we’re seeing in that description is they are practicing land veneration, veneration of the water, similar to the belief ‘water is life.’
The witch is a counselor. The church didn’t want this because they wanted to have a religion centered around a patriarchal concept of god, and it did not take nature in. Nature-connected ceremonies were threatening, so they demonized the witch.
There’s an idea that everything has to be in the hands of this all-male priesthood, so anything else has to be illegitimate.
To get back to the theme of misogyny, witch persecution became a convenient way of suppressing female power. That’s still with us in the archetype in the witch — the powerful woman is a bad woman, the old woman is a bad woman . . .
Read more at https://www.afterellen.com/general-news/565785-the-season-of-the-witch-max-dashu-on-why-we-sexualize-trivialize-and-fear-the-witch#RkGGbcdmLrgKOQwQ.99