Listen in to conversations on feminine magic with Seren Bertrand
* Enchantress Lineage
Welcome to Enchantress School
Hello, I’m Seren Bertand, welcome to my Enchantress School Podcast where I explore the path of feminine magic, and how we can embody it in our everyday modern life. It’s an informal chat where I share some of the ideas I’ve been musing on, and offer them to you over a cup of tea.
On this first episode we explore, what exactly is an Enchantress?
Nowadays the word Enchantress conjures up visions of a wicked Queen in a Disney movie, or a beautiful and dastardly villainess who is using her beauty and magic to do evil things. It’s no coincidence that this is how we’ve been taught to view the archetype of the feminine Enchantress. The reality is, that the Enchantress archetype was once a very sacred and revered role, and comes from a very real lineage of magical women, spanning from the temples of the Near East, all the way to the wild and remote stone circles of the Celtic isles, who studied and practiced feminine magic in order to become oracles, healers and shamanic shapeshifters of reality (the female word for a witch in northern Europe is wicce, meaning ‘to bend or shape’.) These feminine magicians studied and practiced their art in goddess temples, mystery schools, alchemy colleges, and hedge schools.
Over time, the cultural landscape for women who practiced magic (or sorcery as feminine magic was often called) become a lot less welcoming. By medieval times, this type of feminine magic was practiced by women and magical lineages in secret from their home, or sacred nature spots, working with gramarye from their ancestral dynasties of magic women in their family and community lineages, who encoded the wisdom and practice of feminine magic and passed it on. Often mothers, grandmothers and aunties would be the tutors of this gramarye and the teachings they elaborated on were oral. Passed from silver tongue to silver tongue.
The Alchemists, scientists and artists of the middle- ages often studied in secret with these dynastic lineages of wise women, known as enchantresses, chantresses, encantrices, or incantrix, and secretly encoded their wisdom into their alchemical manuscripts and art.
Famous alchemists and physicians, who founded what we would now call ‘medicine’ or ‘science’ clearly stated that they had studied with wise women and learned their feminine arts (from herbalism to sorcery), although over time this memory would be almost stripped out of the record books. It also led to some epic mistakes by male medical doctors hundreds of years later who had forgotten the magical feminine source of their knowledge. Those tales I will save for another podcast.
Although we often imagine the witch or wicce as an herbalist, healer or midwife (which she may have been), looking back at the records what really got the Church’s knickers in a froth was not the local village healer, but the Incantrix who used words, incantations, songs, spells and prayers to shape reality. This kind of magical power and authority to command the elements or the body by the power of their word was too close to the role of the priest, and in their communities, these women acted as unofficial priestesses of the old religion, who knew the scripture and songs of natural magic.
Now that’s all well and good – but how does this apply to us now, in our everyday lives?
In this podcast I dive into a little bit of the history and lineage of the Enchantresses, and then explore what we can learn from their feminine magic traditions, and share how it is the perfect medicine for these times, and can shape our lives into vessels of magic where life become art.
What is an Enchantress? The dictionary defines her either as a woman who uses magic or sorcery and casts spells, or as a beautiful, fascinating and beguiling woman. But what is she really? She is a woman who practices feminine magic, an empowered woman whose energy weaves spells of beauty and manifestation. She is a woman of the moon, a lady who walks with the wolves, a creatrix and weaver of words, who knows who to birth and shape worlds, both her own and other people’s. Enchantress comes from the root word of chant or cant/incant.The path of the incantrice is a time-honored and forbidden magical art of notorious women. The Latin incantation means “singing into,” shaping energy with words, chants or songs, from canto, “song, chant.” In old times, witches were often known by the Latin title of incantatrix, which gave rise to French enchanteresse and, in turn, to English enchantress. These magical women presided over conception, birth, death, grief, love, sex, home, fertility and abundance.
For most of human history, 'literature,' both fiction and poetry, has been narrated, not written — heard, not read. So fairy tales, folk tales, stories from the oral tradition, are all of them the most vital connection we have with the imaginations of the ordinary men and women whose labor created our world.