Whether she was addressed as Madame or Ma’am, Señorita or Squaw, a woman needed guts to live out West. The ‘weaker sex’ encountered savage, brutal and obnoxious obstacles (and these were just the men!), not to mention mean ol’ Mother Nature and a plague or two. Or three.
In spite of these barriers, or maybe because of them, the American frontier attracted legions of nonconforming women–mavericks, loners, eccentrics and adventurers. And through it all they kept their sense of humor: ‘I’ve got 350 head of cattle and one son,’ said a widowed ranchwoman. ‘Don’t know which was harder to raise.’
In the case of the ‘boat people’ (immigrants from Europe) who ventured out West, the women were typically cut off from family, friends, their native culture and the ‘protective strictures’ of Eastern society. Some were crushed by the experience, others survived and more than a few thrived.
Of course, many of the so-called wild women were already in the Wild West and lived on the plazas and in the wigwams, hogans and teepees up and down the canyons and across the Great Plains. Among both the natives and newcomers were plenty of feisty women who weren’t afraid to mix it up with anyone, man or beast. As a modern leader put it, ‘No country, no culture, no people will ever rise above the standards of its women’....
Like their male counterparts on the frontier, the early female arrivals were rugged individualists who angled west to gain the cherished privilege of being left alone to do what they pleased. And often as not, ‘doing what they pleased’ was a nice way of saying they were women of easy virtue. A Forty-Niner’s poem sums up the early arrivals to California:
The miners came in ‘49,
The whores in ‘51,
And when they got together
They produced the native son.
Many women who came West were trying to escape their past. Others saw too many restrictions in Eastern society and wanted to create a future in this new land of opportunity. All were hoping against hope, and many had nothing to lose.
Source - HistoryNet.com
Women's History Magazine
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
Without doubt, Aphrodite earned her reputation for frivolity and promiscuity as a result of her very liberated sexuality. However, this reputation was not so much a condemnation of her behavior as it was a fear of her uncontrollable nature.
Aphrodite was one of the most unique of the Greek deities in the freedom of her sexual life. Aphrodite's charms came from her magic cestus, an embroidered girdle that, in both gods and men, aroused passion for the wearer. So great were Aphrodite's seductive abilities that every god, including the great Zeus, desired her as his wife.
However, Aphrodite was too proud for any of her suitors and rejected them all. As a punishment, Zeus made her the wife of Hephaestus, the homely and lame smith-god. This union did nothing to curb Aphrodite's actions, and she discouraged Hephaestus from sharing her bed in additon to being unfaithful to him.
Perhaps the most celebrated of Aphrodite's affairs was her relationship with Ares, the god of war. Although such a union may at first seem incongruous, it is actually a match of two divinities of the same nature. Aphrodite, the beautiful maiden who attracts the attention of the most powerful of the gods only to decline him, refuses to be controlled by her marriage to Hephaestus--she will not be denied freedom in the area of her dominion. Likewise Ares, an alternately rageful and cowardly god, can never be predicted in his actions. Aphrodite's rebellious nature is reinforced by the creation of many children by her liason with Ares. In addition, Phobos and Deimos, Anteros, and Harmonia were even passed off as the offspring of Hephaestus.
Unfortunately, the two were discovered by Helios, the sun, on an occasion when they slept too late. Helios told Hephaestus, who conspired to trap them.
"And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were...So the two went to the couch, and lay them down to sleep, and about them clung the cunning bonds of the wise Hephaestus" (Homer's Odyssey).
Hephaestus' trap did nothing to deter Aphrodite from her extramarital activities, and the goddess had many children by both gods and mortals. Many of these children were associated with different aspects of love and sexuality. By Zeus she became the mother of Eros, the creator of sensual love. Eros often appeared as a winged infant equipped with a bow and a quiver full of love darts which never missed their mark and took effect on both god and man. His half-brother Anteros, son of Ares, punished those who failed to return the love of others. By Hermes she was the mother of Hermaphroditus, who was welded with a nymph into a body with both sexes. By Dionysus she had two sons, Hymen and Priapus. While Hymen was worshipped as the god of marriage, the monstrously ugly Priapus represented human lust.
The most prominent of Aphrodite's mortal children was Aeneas, her son by the shepherd Anchises. Aeneas became the founder of the nation of Italy, and the mythical ancestor of the Roman people.
Aphrodite's offspring show just how total her control over love and other passions truly was. Through her children, she had power over all areas of human emotion. As all people, despite their character or position in life, possessed some capacity for feeling, Aphrodite's influence was perhaps more widespread than that of any other god.
Beliefs about witchcraft varied. Some (but not all) people who believed in witches believed that they held nocturnal meetings called sabbats. At the sabbat they did wicked things like dancing naked, indulging in orgies and carrying out a parody of the Catholic mass. Witches were even supposed to kill babies and eat them!
Most people believed that witches could fly.
According to some authorities when a witch made a pact with the Devil he touched them and left a mark (which was not necessarily visible) on their body. The mark was insensitive to pain. One test for a witch was to prick their body with a blade. If they did not flinch or bleed when pricked in a certain place then it was evidence that they were a witch.
Many people believed that witches could affect the fertility of animals (very important when people relied on flocks and herds for their livelihood). They also believed that witches could make humans or animals ill or even kill them by magic.
Many people believed in 'swimming' witches. If a witch was thrown into water the water would 'reject' them and they would float. If they sank they were innocent. (Although they might accidentally drown!).
Women's History Magazine
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou ~