The Witches’ Brew

“Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn and cauldron bubble”
William Shakespeare – Witches in Macbeth.

This week celebrates two events: Halloween on October 31st and All Saints’ Day on November 1st.

Halloween is actually a contraction for All Hallows Evening, which signifies the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows. There is some debate about Halloween’s shrouded beginnings – harvest festivals, festivals of the dead, pagan Celtic traditions etc. – but no one pays any attention to origins when you’re out trick-or-treating. It’s a community event that promises lots of fun, chocolates and candy, goblins and scary movies.

My favourite witches’ brew comes from William Shakespeare in Macbeth. Imagine a castle and the mists coming over the Scottish Highlands.  If you look very closely, you will see the three witches stirring up trouble…

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”
William Shakespeare  – Witches in Macbeth.

 

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