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Among the groups labeled witches, most practitioners were women, and women were the primary leaders.

To Contents: In the earliest European societies, dating back prior to four thousand B. It was primarily the women who tended to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of their people.

in Williams 38); "There are more women than men found infected with the heresy of witchcraft . in Williams 38); "A woman is by her nature more quicker to waver in her faith and consequently quicker to abjure the faith, which is the root of witchcraft" (qtd. As time progressed, any women who held leadership roles in religion were persecuted, and the settlers of early New England continued this process.

These colonial settlers carried over much of Europe's witch lore, instilling it into the emerging Puritan culture.

To keep pure a patriarchal blood line, women had to be controlled by their husbands in order to prevent extramarital sex, thereby inventing the concept of sexual monogamy.

A wife's infidelity would threaten the legitimacy of a son's paternity, now so important to a society increasingly focused on war, wealth, and inheritance (Stone 161). the [biblical] scriptures have much that is evil to say about women, and this is because of the first temptress; Eve, and her imitators" (qtd. The serpent was certainly a powerful symbol in stories about the fall, and in some of the paintings of this event, including Michelangelo's within the Sistine Chapel, the face of the serpent is female (Cavendish 3057).

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