Some of you probably think that the witchcraft trials are a thing of the past…
...some of you even think that the witchcraft trials happened only in Salem, Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, there are still women (and some men) in other parts of the world who are persecuted for practicing witchcraft.
And in keeping with the theme of the trials, most of them are falsely accused.
The Witchcraft trials are alive and well in Ghana, a country in West Africa.
Ghana’s citizens practice their religions religiously. All throughout the country, you’ll find churches, mosques and pagan altars.
Just like in 17th century Massachusetts, a lot of Ghanaians still suspect witchcraft to be behind negative events:
The Gambaga witch camp is one of the most famous in northern Ghana. And you can guess, most of its residents are females, those who:
Ghanaian women who are suspected of practicing witchcraft are banished to live in segregated camps.
But how do they even prove this?
Well, the chief determines whether a woman is a witch or not…
...he does this by throwing a chicken up in the air.
The contortions of the chicken determine whether the person is a witch or not:
If the chicken falls with its head down and its feet in the air, the person is guilty of witchcraft and must spend the rest of her days in the camp.
If the chicken collapses feet down and she's declared innocent of witchcraft, she must still spend her remaining years in the camp, because… you never know.
But just like in Salem before, a lot of witchcraft accusations stem from women who simply don't get along...
...so they accuse each other of witchcraft.
Some also stem from false accusations...
...like someone who got sick accuses someone of making him or her sick through dark magic or hexes.
Can You Leave? Why Yes!
According to the oldest witch in the village, who is also the leader, they are actually free to go whenever they like, but they choose not to because they are scared of how they will be treated by the community.
If there are actual witches in Ghana - I am sure there are. It is sad that the country doesn’t have the same law that we enjoy - which is the freedom to practice any religion.
And if you are in a similar situation where you cannot practice freely because you still haven’t come out, then be thankful that coming out won’t involve getting abandoned by your family or banished by your community.
If you are casting a spell today, please do include your brothers and sisters in Ghana and send them some love and light, the love of the Mother Goddess, the help of the Faeries, plus the strength of the dragons!