Poor Bessie Dunlop the Witch of Dalry. Burned for seeing a Greenman in 1576


In Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft to J.G. Lockhart esq.’, Letter 5, we find an extract from the ‘Confession of Bessie Dunlop the famous Witch of Dalry burned at the stake in 1576’ which gives us a clue as to how woodland spirits were viewed by many in the Christian World of the Sixteenth Century:‘ She further confessed that one day while she passed through Grange Muir she lay down in a fit of sickness, and that a green man came to her, and said if she would be faithful he would do her good. In reply she charged him, in the name of God and by the law he lived upon, if he came for her soul’s good to tell her his errand. On this the green man departed. But he afterwards appeared to her with many men and women with him, and against her will she was obliged to pass with them farther than she could tell, with piping, mirth and good cheer; also that she accompanied them into Lothian, where she saw puncheons of wine with tasses or drinking-cups. She declared that when she told of these things she was sorely tormented, and received a blow that took away the power of her left side, and left on it an ugly mark which had no feeling.’

Poor Olde Bessie did no more than walk the woods, she cured the sick and made potions and lotions to heal and help.. Before the invasion of the Romans this was seen as a vital, as most of natures ailments can be cured with natures aide, no more do we talk of Esus the woodcutter or Herne as gods, they have become just myth and legend sadly. 600 yrs on and not much has changed for hedge witches,, luckily they no longer burn us,, but even in 2018 it is seen as something weird to be shunned and only “certain types of people” partake.  To walk the woods and fields is a joy to some, and the bounty she provides is given freely.. I see this as the norm, its the people plugged into devices I have trouble understanding.  So whatever you call them The Fae, Green men or Woodland Spirits, some people see them and some people search for them, and some people are given no choice.

In the Realm of the Green Man

Until Next Time, Deborah.

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