When we look at one of the early modern period's key pieces of witch-hunting propoganda: The Malleus Maleficarum, we see how a deep fear of female sexuality shaped the witch hunts.
"All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable," the Malleus reads.
The Malleus was a best-seller. Full of depicitions of pornographic woodcuts, it was known as a "one-handed" read. it spread like wildfire. Helped along by the recently-invented printing press, it was only eclipsed in sales by the King James Bible.
The Malleus's author, Dominican friar, Heinrich Kramer, proposed that women's "caranlity" (ie their deep relationship to the body and its functions) made them more susceptible to witchcraft than men.
But hold the phone... where are all these ideas of witch-devil orgies coming from? Where did the novel ideas to torture and abuse women accused of witchcraft come from?
These ideas were cooked up by the sexually repressed religious fundamental festishists of the period who were – nearly always – men.
In this talk, we speak about how the witch hunts were an attack on the erotic power of woman; we reclaim the word 'slut'; we look at the ways that the torture methods used during the witch hunts gave birth to BDSM culture; and we celebrate the undeniable power of embodied, female sexuality.
It's gonna be a wild ride.
You need a comfortable space to enjoy this talk in, with a notebook for some journalling questions, your favourite hot drink and – if you have one to hand – a herbal smudge to smoke out the sexually-repressed monsters we're going to mention during this talk.