The Witch’s Bedtable


The subversive, utopian dimension of the witches’ Sabbat is also stressed, from a different angle, by Luciano Parinetto who, in Strophe e Potere (1998), has insisted on the need to give a modern interpretation of this gathering, reading its transgressive features from the viewpoint of the developing capitalist discipline of work.  Parinetto points out that the nocturnal dimension of the Sabbat was a violation of the contemporary capitalist regularization of work-time, and a challenge to private property and sexual orthodoxy, as the night shadows blurred the distinctions between the sexes and between “mine and thine.”  Parinetto also argues that the flight, the travel, an important element in the charges against the witches, should be interpreted as an attack on the mobility of immigrant and itinerant workers, a new phenomenon, reflected in the fear of vagabonds, that much preoccupied the authorities in this period.  Parinetto concludes that, viewed in its historical specificity, the nocturnal Sabbat appears as a demonization of the utopia embodied in the rebellion against the masters and the break-down of sexual roles, and it also represents a use of space and time contrary to the new capitalist work-discipline.

~ Caliban and the Witch:  Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici

Rosemary blooms.  It seems a miracle that this Mediterranean native is so at home in the soggy north.  Perhaps it is sort of a reverse vacation, with so many British heading to points south for the winter.  The Sawrey soil conditions are just right, quickly drying out after each rain.

Shakespeare wrote, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”  In her twenties, Beatrix [Potter] could recite so many of Shakespeare’s plays by heart.  She remains a person of solitary pursuits:  painting, reading, writing, gardening.  Close up, the rosemary has tiny purple-blue flowers that look like orchids, needles free with a stripe of gray — contrast and complement for an artist to appreciate, lovely in design and even lovelier to smell.  Brushing a hand against a branch releases the fragrance.  Sharp.  A cue, or perhaps a memento.

~ Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life:  the Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales by Marta McDowell

Picture found here.




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