Open Minds: Dispelling the Myth of the Witch with Tom Hatsis Video
Dispelling the Myth of the Witch with Tom Hatsis
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Open Minds: Dispelling the Myth of the Witch with Tom Hatsis (April 2016)

Season 6, Episode 20
Available worldwide

Withered old hags cackling before a boiling cauldron is the stereotypical image of the witch which has been passed down through folklore and legend for generations. Tom Hatsis scrutinized medieval documentation of witches and has uncovered a history mired in misogyny and persecution against peaceful practitioners of folk medicine who used entheogens as part of their worship of an ancient fertility goddess. This interview with Regina Meredith was originally webcast April 28, 2016.

Thomas Hatsis, author of The Witches’ Flying Ointment, is a historian of witchcraft, magic, Western religions, contemporary psychedelia, entheogens, and medieval pharmacopeia. He was head historical research assistant at Queens College, taught history at Pioneer Pacific College, and also teaches roller derby all over the world. He hosts the website and has articles published in the psychedelic journals Psypress UK and Psychedelic American.

Regina Meredith
Tom Hatsis


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wm, posted on May 6, 2016

This is one of the best interviews I've witnessed. Pacing, depth, clarity, no wild-eyed claims without evidence, and filling in the gaps. Much of it I've learned before, altho what was new to me were the Pagans and Witches burning each other at the stake and at times the Roman Catholic clergy stepping in to stop the commoners from burning those accused of working for the Devil. What I find interesting is as Tom Hatsis so vividly described the mechanism of a Witch Hunt in Medieval Europe, from a human systems dynamic I see the same thing unfolding today within our institutions and communities. I have a friend who is caught up in the United States within the expanding dragnet of a witch hunt unfolding within an established, prestigious university medical hospital/college over the accusations from someone who doesn't like another. On the surface it appears to be all about rules & laws. But who determines the rules & laws? Who enforces them? Who executes? What are the unspoken rules? People get so caught up in rules, laws, policies, & institutional structures they forget the essence of why such were originally implemented - to facilitate the relationships between individual human beings in a large hierarchal group. The cynical and sarcastic have their retorts on this, of course, and the most important aspect continues to be overlooked thruout human history: the bottom line in everything and thus the most important are human beings and the relationships between them. And they are us.

Thank you.


lisaartistberg, posted on May 4, 2016

Truth feels so freeing...not too long after the pain of knowing has set in..
thank you brilliant author /speakers. Such a well directed interview too!
hopefully more from this author!, posted on May 4, 2016

Thank you for this much needed lost information from our history! Great interview.

m5gogo, posted on May 3, 2016

Very interesting and entertaining interview!

borsello.lmt, posted on May 1, 2016

I enjoyed this fast-paced, on point discussion about a vital topic - or actually, a few of them! Many women of power were only to be reviled by the misogynistic church(es.) This is not a condemnatory statement, just a factual one. Taking their lives meant assimilating their power and wealth as well & these women were likely of land & money as healing is appreciated & remunerated.

Lab drugs are often rejected by the body as their un-natural chemistry cannot be broken down & properly used, tho most drugs used today have origins in the natural world. Every plant on earth is a healer of some condition or another, even the ones considered poison. These can be used in very small doses for conditions not treated otherwise.

As to the books Regina refers to by Deborah Harkness, these are THE ALL SOULS TRILOGY & an excellent trio of well-paced, informative, suspenseful, excellently-told tales. The heroine, Diana, grows into her power with each book & even travels time to unite with earlier wise women who are persecuted. I had to wait a year for the last one to be released & enjoyed all thoroughly; I highly recommend them if this is a topic of interest!

Thanks so much for this wonderful interview. Tom is lively, wildly intelligent, dedicated & knowledgeable about an esoteric topic which needs to be more appreciated in the outward world. We must never allow a witch-hunt (a pogrom by any other name) to happen again!

rmeredith, posted on May 3, 2016

Thank you for your relevant and powerful summary of the interview with Tom Hatsis. I see we both have an appreciation for the meticulous research conducted by Harkness to popularize the understanding of women and healing historically, which Tom addresses in such an engaging manner. Sadly, witch-hunts remain with us through the discrediting of researchers throughout the world who threaten the establishment. May our world grow beyond this control!

sacredmoon1, posted on April 29, 2016

Thanks so much for having this guest Regina and Gaia! This history has got to finally be heard! Many thanks! BB!

rmeredith, posted on May 3, 2016

I'm glad this interview hit a sweet spot of truth for you. Thanks for the comment!

michaelamariejoan, posted on April 29, 2016

Cool interview!

ZackLMiles, posted on April 29, 2016

Loved the show.

gnomecrusher, posted on April 28, 2016

So exciting to see women's history finally being told!

Thank you for giving our ancient sisters a voice and correcting the stereotype that wise , female healers are evil. So much history needs to be rewritten to include herstory too. It's not only interesting but life changing. These stories bring a new found respect to women and our place in society, not to mention creating a whole new era of heroes for young girls. Truly inspiring. Thank you!

rmeredith, posted on May 3, 2016

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, which are to the point: we need to bring forward a new found respect for women and our innate wisdom and the role we can play to mentor our young girls.

Bioedjc, posted on April 28, 2016

I can already tell you I agree...

jbrand1997, posted on April 28, 2016

My great grandfather was a German "healer". When someone was sick, people would come to his house to get him. My grandmother told me that he would pack up specific herbs and go to the house. She followed him on several occasions. She said he would say specific prayers and leave herbs. As much as she wanted to learn the practice, he said it could only be handed down to the oldest son (who, of course, was not interested). So all that information has been lost. This interview gave me so much insight into my heritage - I just ordered the book! Tom - thank you so much for doing this research. Do you have any suggestions of other books to read on the history of witchcraft and healers in Germany? Thank you, Regina, for interviewing Tom!

rmeredith, posted on May 3, 2016

Yes, this must have been a profound interview considering your personal roots in folk healing in Germany. I wish you well on your journey to re-connect with that lineage of wisdom that you will share with others!

tcdb, posted on April 28, 2016

The author's historical research helps us have a rational understanding of how fear and selfish manipulation have such a huge impact on civilization, both in the past and today. These fearful/manipulative tactics are still being used today and I think his book is a clear example of the adage that if you don't learn from history you're doomed to repeat it. Regina does such a wonderful job of bringing these very interesting topics to our attention.

louise.guill, posted on April 28, 2016

Thank you once again Regina for finding a wonderful, relevant topic. And Tom Hatsis, for researching (learning Latin!) and writing this book. You are completely right. There is definitely a gap. I have been searching for information like this!

SuzannaB@Gaia, posted on April 28, 2016

Thank you for your comments on the interview!
You can follow Tom Hatsis's work on his website here:


hlnmarie, posted on April 28, 2016

This guy really made a good interviewee. He answers the asked questions in an interesting way, and any asides he tosses in are to the point and interesting. Easy to listen to. Great interview, Regina.

louise.guill, posted on April 28, 2016


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