Lithub.com published an interesting piece on how the stereotype of “witch” emerged from traditions of healing:
‘What is a witch? To answer that question, we have to start with another: What is magic, the force witches use? That answer depends on time and place.
‘In early history, magic was considered to be a power innate in healers, shamans, and religious leaders across multiple cultures. It allowed them to go beyond natural abilities, to change the world in inexplicable ways. Communities would have several such magical workers, combining medical and priestly roles.
‘There was no clear line between their magical healing and harming, since good and bad magic were two aspects of the same force. On Monday a user of magic might bless you, on Thursday they might curse you—that was just how things were. If you felt a magically gifted person was using that force to do harm, you might vilify them as a “witch”—a user of evil magic—and you might hold a local trial and mandate repentance. You might banish or kill the witch if their crimes were unacceptable.’
Read the whole piece: