Written for Coven Life
4th June 2018
Thessaly was a region in antiquity that was mentioned in Homers Odyssey. There he described the already infamous witches of Thessaly that were active from the 1st to the 3rd Century BCE. Before him both Plato and Socrates spoke of them. These women were both feared and revered.
So who were the Thessalian Witches?
In the centre of it all was the Goddess Hecate. Servants and priestesses of Hecate were already famous for their witchcraft. Thessaly was located in the northern region of Greece that bordered Macedonia. It was considered to be the home of witchcraft and magic, a place where the first known historical Witch-Cult was recorded.
The Thessalian Witches had incredible Magickal abilities, sayings, prayers and incantations mentioned in Homers Odyssey that are still till this day used by modern practitioners of Magick to draw down the moon.
“If I command the Moon it will come down: and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head: and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight”.
Wow, it looks like witches have been flying through the air since the 2nd century BC according to this extract from a Greek text.
The red headed women of Thessaly would use the magical powers of the moon. The Magickal concept of the moon was that it had the ability to perspire Magickal sweat, which in the hand of a witch revealed truly wondrous powers. There was a Magick called virus lunare, through which the moon could be invoked and a liquid secreted from it and then dropped on the herbs. This was the ambrosia that was acquired during the waxing period of the moon and was part of some of the most famous potions ever created throughout history.
The Thessalian Witches were mainly women, however there is also indication of male members as well.
These servants and priestesses of the Goddess were attributed for their all-powerful Love Potions and their aphrodisiacs, ones that rarely come without consequence. Some of these preparations could “make someone crazy” and even impotent, so as legend has it .
Some of the less desirable traits of the Witches of Thessaly included, cannibalism and traits of scatological nature. I can see similarities where the trickling down of descriptive and I believe deceptive characteristics that were adopted for the persecution of witches in European “Christendom” held steadfast from the ancient times.
One of the famous Witches of Thessaly included Aglaonike, a natural philosopher in c 200 BC. She was a master of the arts predicting Lunar cycles that included lunar eclipses. Armed with this knowledge, she was able to, what others believed to control the moon. This power gained her both respect and fear from not only the everyday person but heads of state and country. Now that’s wisdom in all it’s glory!! It’s no wonder these women and men were so feared.
Throughout history the Witches of Thessaly have endured much literary criticism that was written from a range of perspectives, interpretations and even theoretical structures. Either way their stories that were once fact adorning the temples of Hecate, soon became history, then legend and finally mythology. The Priestesses and servants of the Great Goddess have left us with their incredible legacy, one that till this day connects the feminine aspect of humanity with the moon and spans globally throughout generations. Take what you may from the historical interpretations and stories of the Thessalian Witches, they were and are legendary. They were Priestesses and servants of the Great Goddess, a Goddess that was venerated and worshiped throughout the world in many different aspects . Remnants of their legacy is evident in our modern understanding of the historical concepts of earth based religions. Ones that are clearly still needed and yearned from humanity till this day.