Those were awful times for being a woman, for being a healer, for being different, for being a person who loved God but not as the Church dictated we were supposed to love God, Life. Many of these stories were included in the history books; even more of the stories were not.
The thing we could never explain, even though we tried for years and years afterward, is why we let it happen. But anyone who tried to stop those atrocities was assumed to be guilty, too. What a choice! Try to stop them from killing your beloved and be killed….or not try to stop them and let the guilt and the dreams of what could have been kill us all in the end anyway?
But it was just one man, one man and his obsequious, oafish, dim-witted, stunted servant—a toad-swallower as you heard me refer to him earlier. In my day, at least in my days in that particular life several centuries ago, sometimes a charlatan would swallow a toad so that some professed master, a street magician, could then “save” him. You know the word as toady now. This young wretched man was the epitome of a toady.
We all saw the toad-swallower that way, except for Catriona. We all hated the witch hunter, except for Catriona. The whole town could have risen up again them, after all it was just two men—well, one and a half. That other strange being could hardly be called a full man. But we knew, even if these two disappeared into a nearby loch, more would come. And more after that. And....
He was the true weaver of the spell, not she, and he put us under it. The witch hunters were the ones with the real black magic. Meanwhile, witches heal. They don’t kill people.
He came with the fortress of the Church right behind him. In our gentle town in the valley, far from the men who formed the church, he came with some kind of authority that we could not—well, did not—question…. for reasons that still, even when regarded from the other side of life where things oftentimes make more sense, did not make sense. Being dead doesn’t mean we agree on it, over here in the afterlife—oh, no. To tell you the truth, we argue over here as much as we did over there. It’s just that here we laugh about it so much more, but I can’t really laugh as I’m relaying this story to you.
From this side of the veil—the other side of life from where you are—we see how fleeting and temporary life on Earth is. So taking a life isn’t such an enormous deal, not in the wide spectrum of things. But it should be on your side. You cannot speak a word of hate without damning your own self. You cannot even think disparagingly of others without condemning yourself to what you’re thinking about them. You certainly cannot take a life without darkening your soul. It’s like life is a web, where everything is connected, all is one. And it’s like life is a small pool of water: if you think of a brilliant aquamarine, the pool turns that color; if you think of dark grey, the pool turns that color, too.
During those times the witch hunters were among those with the darkest souls of all. And the darkest souls were looking for one thing and one thing only: the ones with the light.
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