The Goddess is dead
Thousands of men and women (but mostly women) were burnt at the stake as witches during Europe's dark ages by the officials of the church. The main aim was to wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarianism and vilify women. These so-called witches were mostly healers, midwifes, women who spoke their minds, women who were old or ugly, women who had birth marks, or women who were too pretty. In fact, if the church father was sexualy arroused by a woman, she was denounced as a witch because of her evil powers.
The result was a totalaterian male cultural dominance, a total slump in our cultural heritage, and the obliteration of our memory of pagan rituals and the goddess as mystical figure. The western society still suffers to this day because of it and it is only lately that witchcraft has resurfaced amongst western societies.
The term "witch" comes from "Wicca" a Celtic Pagan religion pre-dating the Christian era. In Wicca, men and women were considered equals, Gods and Goddesses had equal standing, nature was respected and so was learning. In order to gain complete religious and political monopoly, the church accused Pagan rituals and religions to be evil and of the the devil. One should remember that the devil was a creation of Christianity and a term not known to Pagan religions. It is thus amusing that a vast number of Christian saints were actually Pagan Gods and Goddesses, and holy days have Pagan origans.
Long live the Goddess!