Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A Greek witches' brew for Halloween

In Kerkyra, the holidaymakers have packed up and have gone home. Direct flights will, for the winter months at least, be a thing of the past and we will need to go via Athens if we want to get back to the Enchanted Village.

Tavernas are closed, tables and chairs are stacked up in the corners. In Corfu Town, gift shop prices have been slashed in the old town. Novelty olivewood products, ancient Greek erotic calendars and evil eyes try to charm the visitors from the cruise ships as the tourists wander around, idly, not sure if they will, not sure if they won't, thank you very much.

The pace is much slower. Even the boy racers have stopped racing.

The smell of woodsmoke replaces the sweet and sour smell of old drains. The nets are out beneath the olive trees, in case any olives should drop before the harvest in a few months' time.

Like the UK, the clocks have gone back. We are still two hours ahead but it gets darker much earlier.

But the sea is still warm. Beautiful and warm.

At Halloween, as the winter approaches, the ancient lands stir. Greece was the home of two of the oldest female sorcerers in the world: Circe and Medea. They flourished in myth and in Greek and Latin literature.

Medea could control the elements, landscape, moon and stars. She was an expert in plant magic, knew just what to do when it came to the evocation of ghosts and was the one who cast the evil eye over the giant bronze Talos, as he patrolled the island of Crete.

Circe, Greek literature's first witch, transformed men into pigs by getting them to drink a drugged potion. She rejuvenated them back again, could render herself invisible or send her soul flying through the air. She was capable of erotic magic and was an expert in necromancy. And for all we know, she still is.

And don't get me started on those cruel Thessalian witches. If you ever get the chance, take a look at the reanimation of Thelyphrons in Apulieus' Metamorphoses. Far more entertaining than any zombie film or £2 trick or treat outfit from Tesco.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. A very different Halloween post. I'd expect nothing less from you. That water looks SO inviting.

  2. "Real" witches and scorceress are far more interesting than the ones who go around on October 31st. Trick or Treat began as bribery, trying to get the vandels of Hell Night (so)called here in the midwest)not to vandelize.


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