Witches Brew

 Twists of apples, yeast and hops,
 bubbles simmered in big pots. 
 Rosemary and hibiscus flowers, 
 lavender and spice empowered.

 Wild honey, leaves of sage,
 is how a witch 'fable' was made. 
 Brooms and black pointy hats, 
 froths, fermenting in ale vats.

 Storing luscious brews in cellar,
 cats resided as vigilant dwellers.
 On market day, selling this potion.
 became a trendy, publicity notion. 

 As brew ha’s go, good women knew,
 what was healthy and best for you.
 In ancient days, a fave culture was,
 to sip a grail of holy mead from Gods.

 Six sided stars noted a brew of quality,
 but men defamed all women’s morality. 
 On inquisitions in days of old, it’s told;
 anti brewster slanders were grown.

 The old boys club wouldn’t allow,
 land ladies earnings to be endowed.
 Branded still with cackles, as witches, 
 Ale Wives, were tossed in hells abysses.
 Victoria Healing 5.2.2021

Image: The Witch’s Brew — Artist unknown

How Alewives became stereotypical witches


Does this sound familiar?

To stand out in a crowd on market day, these women wore tall, pointed, black hats. There, they stood at their cauldrons and sold their goods. While in their shops, brewsters signalled their shop as open by hanging a broomstick outside above the door. In addition, cats were regularly employed by brewsters and alewives to keep rodents out of the storehouses.

An independent woman was a dangerous woman.

Locals — particularly men — that these women were using charms or spells to trick people into buying their beer and drinking too much.

it is believed that the modern perception of “witches” was influenced by the actions and tools of the alewives.


Women, witches  and beer

“In a culture where beer defines part of the national character, the question of who controls the brew is paramount. He who has his hand on the levers of power, also has his thumb in the people’s beer mug”. 


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