Nie-ludzka kondycja czarownicy: związki z naturą a zjawisko dehumanizacji

Joanna Klisz


In this article I will present the issue of the cultural and historical development of the image of witches as presented at two phantasmatic levels of its description: (1) the “magical” relationship with the nature; and (2) the practices of dehumanization. Women accused of witchcraft in the European trials since the late Middle Ages until the end of Early Modern Period, had been seen by dint of two (often interwoven) extremities, creating a complex and multi-elementary image of the witch. One of them was the phantasm of the sorceress-herbalist playing a big role especially in the initial period of the witch trials, and was based on their relationships with the nature and their having ‘supernatural’ knowledge. The second – the phantasm of the degenerated witch, built on the basis of their alleged criminal actions. The crimes of witches, especially during the escalation of witch hunts, dehumanized them to the extent they began to be placed on the border of the worlds, as being similar to the predatory monsters. Both phantasms allow to present witches’ construct in the context of the non-human condition.

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