A Rad Venus Retro Reading Suggestion

I was late to this book but am now pressing it on practically everyone I speak to. How often can you say that about something? In Defence Of WitchesWhy Women Are Still On Trial has hefty subject matter but is so smoothly written and widely referenced that it’s easy to roar through on a kind of biblio-adrenal high.

Written by Franco-Swiss journalist Mona Chollet – chief editor of Le Monde Diplomatique and a triple Taurus – the book covers the current ‘cool witch’ culture, hideous history of the gendercide that is even now often minimized as “the witch panic” or “witch craze” and the ways in which Chollet asserts the same sensibility is still at work today.

This is just from the first chapter:

In 2016, Bruges’ Sint-Janshospitaal museum devoted an exhibition to ‘Bruegel’s Witches’, the Flemish master being among the first painters to take up this theme. On one panel, he listed the names of dozens of the city’s women who were burned as witches in the public square. ‘

Many of Bruges’ inhabitants still bear these surnames and, before visiting the exhibition, they had no idea they could have an ancestor accused of witchcraft,’ the museum’s director commented in the documentary Dans le sillage des sorcières de Bruegel.

This was said with a smile, as if the fact of finding in your family tree an innocent woman murdered on grounds of delusional allegations were a cute little anecdote for dinner-party gossip. And it begs the question: which other mass crime, even one long-past, is it possible to speak of like this – with a smile?

…By wiping out entire families, by inducing a reign of terror and by pitilessly repressing certain behaviours and practices that had come to be seen as unacceptable, the witch-hunts contributed to shaping the world we live in now.

Had they not occurred, we would probably be living in very different societies. They tell us much about choices that were made, about paths that were preferred and those that were condemned. Yet we refuse to confront them directly.

Even when we do accept the truth about this period of history, we go on finding ways to keep our distance from it. For example, we often make the mistake of considering the witch-hunts part of the Middle Ages, which is generally considered a regressive and obscurantist period, nothing to do with us now – yet the most extensive witch-hunts occurred during the Renaissance: they began around 1400 and had become a major phenomenon by 1560.

Executions were still taking place at the end of the eighteenth century – for example, that of Anna Göldi, who was beheaded at Glarus, in Switzerland, in 1782. As Guy Bechtel writes, the witch ‘was a victim of the Moderns, not the Ancients’.

Venus Retrograde is classically a good time to research female history and particularly so when Venus is retrograding back to align with Eris-Persephone plus Lilith over August and Hekate is in Leo till Halloween.


55 thoughts on “A Rad Venus Retro Reading Suggestion”

  1. Lux Interior Is My Co-Pilot

    We need witches and powerful women more than ever.
    Why isn’t the crime of witch burning taken seriously? Because it was perpetuated against women.

  2. Wish Upon a Star

    I was watching Good Omens last night and came across Agnes Nutter, a witch burned or hung? in the 1600’s. I thought it was just fantasy but she does exist. She wrote: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter. Prophecies for her family and descendants.

  3. Thank you for the book recommendation Mystic! I absolutely LOVE ‘Making Magic’ by Briana Saussy. A reminder to appreciate the magic that is all around us and brought an amulet into my life, which was necessary for my journey! 
    I’m waking up everyday to the ways in which we have been stripped of our intrinsic powers. The witch trials largely wasn’t even about the supernatural, but a quest by a desperate man who became the mouthpiece of the Church to rule by fear a theme we still are seeing in mainstream media. The dark ages it was….. however the themes of female genercide I believe still echo today. So much of our evolutionary traits are used against us and if we are to step into our power we are ridiculed for being ‘witchy’ or ‘too crazy.’ And if I hear one more American politician say they are the victim of a political ‘witch hunt’ I’m honestly going to scream lol. Leave the witches out of it, they’ve been through enough. 
    Side note – Hekate in Leo is bringing a more showman vibe to her power. Imagine if all the powerful women showed out and refused to stay in the sidelines??? I dream…….

    1. Love “Making Magic” too, another hit MM recomendation. I honour the doorway, every new and full moon to acknowledge Heka and love the memory exercise, making my own altar etc…all suggested by Brianna. I have a suspicion that this book will become a personal favourite too.

      1. I agreeeeee! I’m ready to dive into a new book and this seems on time for the powerful feminine moment we find ourselves in. This super full moon is energizing my Lilith and Ceres, and Ceres is in a Grand Air Trine with the full moon in Aqua & Vesta in Gemini. Feels very powerful…….I’ve been up since 5am lol.

    2. Ok my kindred Cecemesee, thank you for your out of sight book recommendations and insights. I adore your brain and the experience you have flowing through in your writing.

      You know one of these days I might kindle a book, however that’s not today. I love books in hardcover and the whole tactile experience.

      1. Lovely S! Thank you for saying….. and I’m VERY happy my preaching is landing, I have learned so many lessons in the past few years and if I can assist anyone with the knowledge I’ve cultivated it makes my spirit grateful ✨…. I’m with you, I need hardcover books still because there’s a different sensory experience when you’re holding knowledge with your hands 📖 vs a screen.

      2. We all have our unique values. It’s difficult to accept compliments and I try to be sincere and appropriate in my interactions with people.

        I loathe the sound of my own recorded voice. Guess that’s why I appreciate performers so much.

      3. You come across as very authentic and unique to me, it’s something I value in the people I have in my inner orbit (which is extremely small!) and actively seek out! I was in the same boat hearing my own voice recorded but the experience of you to others is different than we experience ourselves! Now I’ve reached a level of comfort within myself and the way I perceive and appreciate myself has changed too…..

      4. And it’s the sound resonance from the shape of our skull that changes how we experience our own voice. That’s why many ancient cultures use skulls as a form of healing because of the incredible unique energetic properties! 💀 🤍

  4. Sign into Amazon and no need to buy the book! All the important info is in ‘look inside’.
    What catch my eye was ‘they are usually single, live in a little house with an animal and often a type an artist or scientist (magic being a type of science) with a poise and sense of style.’ YUP!

    The other lines were ‘shorthand for women of power and potential’.

    Funny thing about Bruges – resided there for a year – it was, apart from intricate and beautiful lace making the most boring place i have been to, now i know why.
    The most interesting characters were obliterated and so their rellies didn’t received their passed down knowledge.
    Every witch way but loose?

    1. Hello Pegasus,
      When this post arrived, I thought of you and was awaiting your reply.

      Thank you for your intel about Amazon.

      Last week I developed my own loo cleaner. First attempt was a fizzy bottle. I went back to my notes and still required confirmation from an interstate company about their MDS, failed to not address a vital waste management question. After the legality was resolved Loo 2 was successfully formulated. I have thumbed through that book by the Australian women from ABC radio (surname: Lush) and I didn’t need it own it.

      Alchemy is the hallmark, after all.

  5. Powerful women continue to strike fear, unless they cloake their power in a garb of masculinity and masculine values. Instead of beheading, they are marginalised, maligned, underpaid. I will look this book up, MM. Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. Wish Upon a Star

    Thoughts: many, feelings: uncomfortable.

    A while ago I felt compelled to look into my feminine planets as they are not that well represented in modern astrology.

    I discovered: All in Aries 2nd house:

    Par Fortuna 10
    Saturn 10 opp Mars in Libra (via Combusta)
    Eris 12
    Peresphone all 13
    Lilith 18
    Herodias 21

    I also have Hekate right on my Taurus Moon conjunct my North Node Taurus 3rd house.

    I always thought I didn’t have much Aries in my chart so I always pushed down the fire. Now I will let it breathe. This was actually a watershed moment for me.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Do what you wanna dooo, be what you wanna beee yeeaahh

      .. and to hell with the rest of those losers.

      That is my (1) thoughts and (2) suggestions.


    2. Also (pt. 2), especially with that Saturn opposite mars configuration, how do you feel about swords? Specifically, wielding one. Or its witchy counterpart perhaps

      1. Wish Upon a Star

        I like swords. I used to draw arrows pointing up alot as a child.
        I also like wands.

    3. That’s incredible Wish! I would say if you haven’t realized your feminine power this is because you have been stripped of it in previous lives or ridiculed in this life….
      Normally our chart does show sections in our chart that we have repressed, rejected and these are the qualities that need the most focus! Hekate on your Taurus moon gives incredible power to your elemental force, but this would be more in the liminal spaces as in to say it exists under the surface…… I’ve found anything that isn’t physical takes a lot longer to realize as we can take longer to actualize this into own own reality. I can relate with my own journey! I would learn more about applying an Aries flavor into your second house confidence and start learning more about how these individual placements have manifested in your life 🔱✨

      1. Wish Upon a Star

        Thanks Cc. Alot of food for thought there. An Aries flavour to my 2nd house sounds good.

      2. Anytimes Wish! I can very much relate to not realizing any Aries power and that manifested in having only Aries sun sign friends & boyfriends which was a disaster, since I’d lost my voice and self worth they would basically walk all over me lol. Learning more about our astrology really is the key to unlocking patterns in our life 🔑

      3. Hello Wish and Cecemesee,

        I adore your reply to this question. The questions you ask I can really relate to, my self confidence and strength in this life time have been put to the test.

        Perhaps while looking at the feminine placements, what are the opposite gender placements too?

        Is there a particular one of these listed placements that struck a chord with you?

        I sense there was a particular reason for this search and interest in how do I achieve…

        What I found very interesting was MM’s Side Report, sorry wrong name but I was going to call it the Astro DNA Side Piece (hahahaha). This gave me an insight into my personal development in this life, a base line for unpacking any conflicts I might encounter. Happy Moon Day!

      4. Hello there S! LOL Astral DNA sidepiece 😂😂
        Life wouldn’t be a journey without the struggle, it’s really how we react to the adversity and process this that shapes our whole evolution! Trauma unresolved can be a slow drip of poison to our spirit…..

      5. Thank you for your reply. So glad you got my sense of humour. My brain likes to keep me guessing and then trauma can add a hellscape to the scene.

      6. Oh I got it and loved it!! I’m tryna call my next love thing an Astral DNA side piece 😂😂
        I’ve meant to reply to your posts many times before S! I know this is a blog and we are all somewhat familiar kindred spirits but I can tell you have been through a hellish ride, and I can relate…. anyone that is meant for the healers path has extreme adversity that’s just the way to ascension. We connect more deeply to the pain of others because we feel through ‘other’ senses and this keeps us trapped in trauma cycles… You also seem to have obvious gifts that you’re waking up to with the ‘Claires’ …. Clairailence etc etc, definitely with hearing and smell, visions too. The past year I’ve developed my Clairsentience and it’s explained so much of my past, toxic relationship patterns and how to disconnect to stay balanced and in a loving space. Nature will be your best friend as a reset 🌲

      7. Can I just suggest a new MM tshirt “Astro DNA Side Piece.”

        New side hustle topic: How to avoid the abyss in others: The relationship of self, cosmo and navigating the disconnect a modern discourse.

      8. I LOVEEEEEE! I would deff be seen this summer with that tee …..
        You packaged that topic up perfectly S 🎁

      9. I love it! I am also into the idea of a fresh Latin t-shirt/coffee mug:Fortitudinem Per Stercoris Tempestas – Strength Through Shitstorms

      10. Thank you MM.
        Love it in Latin, now that’s top shelf indeed.

        2nd Idea:
        “Excuse me while I Carpe Diem this” (The caffeine cup to survive anything). A black and white mug with caution ⚠️ tape on it. Could also be a tshirt too.

      11. Wish Upon a Star

        I was reading a good article about how the feminine planets are underrepresented in astrology. It struck a chord with me so I plucked out the feminine planets and put them into astro.com and saw the cluster in Aries.
        My first comment appears in What makes a Stellium post. If you read my comment you will understand why it was an aha moment.

        What do you mean by opposite gender placements? I find the Aries placements empowering. Lilith feels important. The Hekate placement feels like finding comfort in my cave. That sounds weird but it is the only way I can describe it.
        I also have Magdelena on my Moon. Sounds like a contradiction but not with me as I have a strong connection with Jesus. Not in an organised religion sense. More in a compassion sense.

      12. Gday Wish,
        Thank you for your reply. I love how you found that investigative astrology platform to dive into. Weird I understand, I’ve got an Aqua Ascendent 😉

        Opposite gender placement I was referring to the traditional male and female aspects. For example: Romeo and Juliet.

        I’ll have to read your other post. I was drawn to your style of writing and I must say Magdalena on your Moon, sure sounds dreamy.

        I have been encountering internet and system issues all day. Pluto in Cap and this lovely full moon are tweaking with my own electromagnetic waves.

      13. Wish Upon a Star

        Mmmm, I wrote an extensive reply to you but it has disappeared? Maybe there is a delay. Damn because your questions were good and I worked out some things for myself in the reply.

  7. I stopped in my tracks a few years ago in Bratislava, Slovakia, when I noticed a plaque set into the the cobblestones of the Old Town square.
    This memorial was in commemoration of the first witch ‘Agatha’ to be burned to death in Bratislava on 24 May 1602.
    Looking around that medieval old square, it was too easy to imagine the horror and chaos of those times, and it was utterly moving.

  8. “We would probably be living in very different societies” – I wholeheartedly agree. I have heard many times from healers over the years lamenting the lack of “teachers” . And then one said, “It is because they burnt them all at the stake.” I personally don’t believe all were “removed ” especially those who knew how to cloak but I do suspect much was lost and those that remained are very careful with whom they share their secrets. What is in the wiccan books is probably just Wiccan 101 that the Italian witches shared with Gardener if I remember his name correctly. Would an Italian Nonna or any Grandmother witch give up her secrets just for the asking. I doubt it. I am glad a book such as this is out however and will look into it.

  9. Penelope Darling

    Yes, an important and much maligned topic!!! I highly recommend the following on the witch hunts:
    Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici (2004) for a historical / political analysis of the witch hunts contextualised within the development of the capitalist (patriarchal, white supremacist) overculture.
    Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby (2003) for an exploration of the beliefs regarding familiar spirits found among magical practitioners reflecting evidence fof a pre-Christian visionary tradition.
    Heal & Harrow album, podcast and accompanying book (We are all witches by Mairi Kidd) and stage performances which tell the stories of those killed during the Scottish witchhunts.

  10. Yes the persecution of women in the imposition of patriarchy & the father god religions to destroy goddess & nature worship has been a long project & continues today, I’ll look for this book, thank you Mystic.

    I recently read The Pleiadian Agenda by Barbara Hand Clow, also not new & quite a read … it has lead me on a reading bender following several threads, astrological knowledge of the ancients & evolutioary impetus of galactic alignments, presence on Gaia of beings from other parts of the galaxy, the annunaki of planet Nibiru forcibly cross breeding with human women in the towers at Ur in Sumer … so much we don’t know or reject because it’s so out there 😁

  11. This extract sits within my current research projects and lived experiences. How gossip becomes a toxic environment and the impact for the person and the community.

    This Venus Retrograde has given me a renewed appreciation for the wisdom I have ancestrally and the women I admire today. I release my deep wounds having been carried for so long. A visibility only seen and felt through other timelines and historical bloodties. For in this season is the knowing, that, cannot be stolen.

    Thank you MM for gathering this information and sharing your thoughts and providing this conversation space.

  12. Natal Venus retrograde Scorpio 8th house and Scorpio stellium (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Neptune). The witch hunts are still occurring even if the burning isn’t. I’ve been excommunicated from my husban’s parents from the family for being “too much.” Really, the only offense I can identify is attacking their ridiculous born again Christian values while they treat people like sh*t. I think the trick is to reach deep inside and find pity. At lest that works for me. I know I was burned at the stake, and so were my two adult daughters. Scorpios as well. I guess in our family natal charts don’t fall far from the tree.

    1. Yes, we can’t change people’s minds by force. Otherwise the tactics eventually become a mirror image of burning witches etc. It’s still an ideology one way or another.. Whether liberal or conservative, or something else.

      1. (there are other cultural tools though, to at least reduce their influence over time. Kind of a um positive readjustment )

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