Sailko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for concrete answers – regarding the invisible chains that women are struggling against today, you must view their origins. Consider the Papal Bull, the “Vox In Rama”, put forth by Pope Gregory IX on June 13th, 1233, it is really something we should all be familiar with, along with 3 others. Please bear with me, if you do not immediately see the correlations here.  All will become clear in the end.

Papal Bulls, in case you don’t know, are the laws that the Pope puts in place.  Pope Gregory IX wanted to see some big changes in the institution that the church had become, and this, his first Bull, certainly does that!

It is based on the reports of a clergyman who supposedly infiltrated a coven.  Here the man claims he witnessed a statue of a black cat come to life, and the disciples in the room, kiss the butthole of the cat, swearing their allegiance.  He then reports that the entire group proceeds to pleasure themselves in all manner of un-condoned sexual ways (obviously the work of the devil). Faced with this report, our good Pope Gregory IX, has to proclaim all cats can potentially be agents of Satin.

“Thou shalt not suffer a cat…”  This Bull, reshaped the view of the cat in European society in general, morphing it from a pagan sacred animal into an agent of hell. This demonization led to the widespread, violent persecution of cats.  Black cats in particular.

Because a learned Pope, chosen by God (or however they are elected) said these things were true, and made a law declaring the dangerous nature of cats, it meant that a huge number of people jumped on the bandwagon, and a whole lot of cats got tortured and murdered in a hurry.

Alas, the sudden drop in the cat population, allowed for an explosion in the rat and mouse populations of these areas.  The Black Death (also known as the Bubonic Plague) exploded right along with them, following on their tiny little heels.

Looking at the times, it could be a safe to say, that this Bull was not so much about cats, as it was a way to gain control of people who opposed the church, (and the next couple of Bulls clearly illustrate how church laws were being written with the idea of spreading the churches control – not winning people over to Jesus.)
Think about it… this Bull gave almost immediate unfettered access to anyone the church authorities (or their minions) did not approve of.  

If the authorities wanted your land, or your body… or they hated what you stood for… all they had to do was say you were seen talking to a black cat, and they had reason enough to bring you in and question you…  make you disappear… or burn you at the stake… but not before, (of course) having you sign a confession… And you would pretty much sign any confession. 

Why is that?

Because by the late 1400s, a Catholic clergyman named Henricus Insititoris had published a book that goes into great detail describing how to recognize, and more importantly – how to torture a witch -and ultimately to produce a confession. It is called “The Hammer of Witches”.

According to scholar Rosemary Ellen Guiley, “this book was a best seller for 200 years, second only to the Bible.”  Yikes! (I bet that has got Jesus rolling over in his grave…) – Oh wait… “He has risen” … so no worries there!

The scary part here is that in the time between when the Vox in Rama was written, and when the Malleus Maleficarum, Maleficas (Hammer of Witches) was written… women have now become the sole focus of these witch hunts.

Yes guys, if you are jealous of the fact that sorcerers have now been relegated to the status of lesser power, then you (guys) will have to take it up with the church.

The distinction, in the minds of the men who wrote it, is a distinction between learning something and being born with the ability to access knowledge.  Sorcery can be learned, and anything that can be taught is… what? “of man”, and therefore less dangerous – less powerful – less of a threat… than an innate knowledge?  Even if the truth is we are all born with this innate knowledge?  And we only learn to disregard it because teachings from this same source encouraged us to.  I am not referring to God as the source of these teachings, but simply men of the church looking to control!  

According to this doctrine, only women are powerful enough to be of interest to the devil… except that’s not the reason that men came up with it, is it?

Oh no. Actually, women were seen as the weaker of the sexes – especially morally, when it comes to drives and being led astray… and therefore more easily corrupted than a man.  This theory is illustrated by the tale of Eve succumbing to a snake in the Garden of Eden.

Incidentally, did you know that in Hebrew (the original language of Genesis, the first bookof the Bible), the “serpent” who beguiled Eve was referred to as “nachash”, which is not the word for snake.  Nachash can be translated as an “angel of light” or the “shining one” – Isn’t that interesting? 

But we don’t want to paint Eve in a reasonable light – and being seduced by God’s most beautiful angel … might be reasonable… we might not feel so badly towards Eve for that, but being seduced by a snake, not many will sympathize with that!

The church directed its focus on women.  Women that were born with archaic knowledge inherently available to them.  If you were aware of energy, could talk to fellow inhabitants on this planet (not human), could heal, had premonitions, or just couldn’t wrap your head around all the restrictions put on women at that time (and so made other women jealous or angry who were not brave enough to not follow stifling doctrines…), these “gifts” made you a good target.

Other powers to watch for were the ability to make a man interested in you – or perhaps even obsessed with you – this would be the work of a witch. Consequently, women are the ones who are labeled as “morally weaker, and therefore more susceptible to demonic temptation” (Brian P. Levack 2008). 

Oh and let’s not forget the documented ability of some witches to remove a man’s penis!  Without these men losing a drop of blood! And if you think that isn’t a current fear that men have. Guess again.

Bizzare really, because men seem to have a universal, deep-seated fear of women doing this to them… despite that there are no factual recordings of this happening to men, by women – (well except for Lorena Bobbitt…), but certainly not en masse.
Yet, millions of women have been, and are still being sexually mutilated by having their clitoris removed. An article from the World Health Organization on female genital mutilation reports that “more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries.

The irony here is mind boggling.

Men accuse women of stealing their penises, and literally heads roll. But women actually have their clitoris stolen and … nothing happens… Very strange….

But wait, I haven’t finished with witches documented abilities… there are MORE!

These witches who could magically remove a man’s penis, were known to “keep the severed penises in nests, in trees, feeding them milky oats”.  Wow! Now I AM impressed!!!

Not only can these witches remove your penis magically – without blood loss or killing you (wish they could do that for the clitorectomies’ too!), but they are able to install a set of tiny lungs, tiny teeth as well (cause oats need chewing…), and a stomach to digest the food with! And that is how you keep a magically severed penis alive, like a pet!! 

And for these well documented, horrible crimes that I just listed, thousands of women were tortured and burned alive. 

Or, if you somehow managed to cling to your plea of innocence throughout your long incarceration and torture, then your innocence was left to God to determine.  You were bound head to toe with rope and then rocks were secured to your body with more rope.  And then they threw you in deep water.  If you did not drown, then God (because if God really loved you, and you were innocent, you would not sink when you were thrown bound head to toe in a lake with rocks tied to you.

History has recorded it over and over again, the majority of crimes, have been perpetuated by men. Currently, we have a crisis of mass violence committed with guns. Virtually none of these acts are carried out by women. Yet, women continue to persecuted, discriminated against, marginalized and abused, in the name of God.

Viewing things this way, It makes so much sense that the Bible says a woman shouldn’t hold power, should not teach, can’t cut her hair, should remain silent in church, and wait to ask any questions they might have of their obviously enlightened husbands.

But all of this aside, what I want to ask you is … did you know all of these occurrences in history?

I did not before I sat down and researched it.

Why do we still carry the superstition that a black cat crossing your path, is bad luck?
There is no scientific or spiritual evidence for this “wive’s” tale to persist…
However this sentiment persists to this day. My point being that awareness of cats being somehow dangerous, has persisted, through all these centuries…

We don’t remember why…   So we don’t ask questions…  Right?

I want to propose to you that the same thing has been done to women.

That our perception of women has been falsely tainted… and that tainting persists in our speech, in our thoughts and in our reaction to, and treatment of, women today.

You must understand the past to truly free yourself and your culture from it.

Lia Russ Copyright 2022

If you would like to learn more about women’s issues and how they connect to current matters facing women today, please follow this link for my book, Connecting the Dots: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science.

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