We live in a global era characterized by PTSD. Maybe in your own life you’re familiar with how post-traumatic stress disorder works. Traumatic violence distorts memories, and the way we experience time, making violence repeat on a loop like a record skipping. Changing how we see and talk about ourselves.
The witch hunts were a trauma against women and against the earth, and against a worldview that saw holiness and spirituality as the birthright of every being. They were also a weapon in the global violence of colonialism. As we work to disrupt androcentrism – the mind frame that sees masculinity as normal and all else as Other – with feminist history... and to heal from the violence of colonialism… and to resist the worst of earth-eating capitalism however the fuck we can... it’s useful to go looking for places outside of Europe and the americas where women were and are called witches.
One of the many places this happened is in the Philippines and investigating this branch of witch history draws us back, back before the colonial trauma, to honour the women folk therapists, priestesses, warriors, healers, storytellers called Babaylan, and forward, to honour the badass feminists who carry the Babaylan spirit today.
Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous Editor: Leny Mendoza Strobel 2010 Ateneo de Davao University Research and Publications Office.
The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine by Barbara Tedlock Ph.D. 2005 Bantam Books.
Centennial Crossing: Readings on Babaylan Feminism in the Philippines 2006
by FE B. Mangahas (Editor), JennyR. Llaguno (Editor)