Lyme and the Witches’ Mark

Image from Sexy Witch
Image from Sexy Witch

“The fables of Witchcraft have taken so fast hold and deepe root in the heart of man, that fewe or none can (nowadaies) with patience indure the hand and correction of God. For if any adversitie, greefe, sicknesse, losse of children, corne, cattell, or libertie happen unto them; by & by they exclaime uppon witches. As though there were no God in Israel that ordereth all things according to his will.”

~ REGINALD SCOT, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584

As I lay in bed the other night a livid scratch magically drew itself along my chest. It was angry and bright, and took a few days to fade completely. It’s not the first scratch mark to spontaneously appear upon my skin. I’ve suffered them for years, most recently on my face, scalp and torso.

It makes me glad that I live in twenty-first century Australia. If this had happened in the Middle Ages I would have been marked as a witch, and most likely drowned, hanged or burned at the stake. The witches’ mark was used to put many women (and some men too) to death during the witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries. It was well documented during the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. Apparently the Devil marked his charges (the witches) with his scratch marks. A witch or wizard could then use magic to mark their victims with the same scratches.

Of course, many of the other things in my life are the hallmarks of witchcraft too. I follow the cycles of the moon, including planting my crops by the moon cycles. I make and use herbal remedies, talk to familiars (animals – my pets, the birds, our cows, my neighbour’s horses and chickens) and I suffer deformities – arthritis, gait problems, disorientation, loss of balance and co-ordination, and rashes. I also use crystals, see auras, have prophetic dreams and hear voices.

Goodness, my lovelies, I’m sure many of you may have experienced some of those things too!

But these witches’ marks are among the most telling.

The scratch on my face that came up after a shower and lasted for seven days.
The scratches on my face that came up after a shower and lasted for seven days. This bad selfie picture was taken on the fourth day, and although the marks have faded you can still see them clearly.
The scratch mark on my chest, from just over a week ago, taken about ten minutes after it first appeared.
The scratch mark on my chest, from just over a week ago, taken about ten minutes after it first appeared. It looks a little like a stretchmark here from the over-exposure. Taking selfies in bed when you’re sick is an artform I haven’t yet mastered…

Luckily I have science on my side here – a wisdom that the poor accused souls during the witch hunts were not afforded. These witches’ marks are actually a classic symptom of the bacterial infection Bartonella.

Bartonella is often a co-infection for people suffering Lyme disease. It’s something I’m being treated for right now, with high dose antibiotics. Some of the other choice symptoms of this infection I’m enduring are pain in the soles of my feet (as if someone has beaten them with a truncheon), eye problems and pain, seizures, heart problems and chest pain, awful deep bone pain, and vestibular migraines.

Anyway, back to witches…

I’ve never considered myself a witch. I don’t identify with spells, pentacles, robes, covens and that sort of thing. White magic? I’m told that’s what I practice. Black magic? Dark energies have never been my thing. Witchcraft is not a name I would give to my spiritual beliefs, even though I may joke with my friends who call what I do ‘witchy stuff’. In fact, I have a remnant of fear about being called a witch or having my work known as such.

But can I tick lots of the boxes that would identify me as a witch? Yes. Resoundingly.

And besides, I have the mark!

Which makes me think of those throughout history who have been judged based on limited information, superstition and fear. How many people have been ostracized, punished or condemned because they are different, or ill, or believe and practice things that are different to our own beliefs and habits?

Woman accused of being a witch, strapped to a dunking stool. If she sank or drowned she wasn't a witch. How fortunate!
Woman accused of being a witch, strapped to a dunking stool. If she sank or drowned when lowered into the river she wasn’t a witch. How fortunate!

I think about all the people with stealth pathogens like Lyme Disease and its con-infections: Borellia, Bartonella, Babesia, Mycoplasmas, Ricketsia, Tularemia, Erlichia, Brucella, Morganella, Q Fever, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Tick Fever…..

All of those people who are truly ill, but who battle to be believed; who often feel that they might be going mad when there seems to be no pattern to their ills or a diagnosis for their fatigue and health woes – who aren’t supported, recognised or heard by health professionals, friends or family.

All of the people with ‘invisible conditions’ like depression, anxiety, crohns and autoimmune diseases, mental illness and those suffering from grief, post traumatic stress and other problems.

When I think about these people I feel that they too have a witches’ mark upon them. That they are judged and  endure suffering because of lack of science, and ignorance.

My fervent hope is that with time, more and more will be understood about these conditions, and help will be there for those who need it.

All of us are flesh and blood, and vulnerable to infection and illness. All of us want to belong, to be well, to be heard, accepted and understood.

If there be magic in me, let it be the kind that spreads compassion and wisdom and goodness, and that helps to alleviate and end suffering. That’s the only magic I’m interested in. Aren’t you?

The Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz
The Good Witch of the North from the Wizard of Oz
Hi! I'm Nicole Cody. I am a writer, psychic, metaphysical teacher and organic farmer. I love to read, cook, walk on the beach, dance in the rain and grow things. Sometimes, to entertain my cows, I dance in my gumboots. Gumboot dancing is very under-rated.
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24 thoughts on “Lyme and the Witches’ Mark

  1. Yes!! Thank you so much for this <3 I get random little scratches on and off, and it's been happening for years. Recently, though, I'm getting them a lot. 2 just appeared on my face today, which is odd considering I usually only get them on my hands (associated with severe itching/burning right after) and I'm sick and tired of trying to find answers online only to be met with "It's demons!! Burn some sage! Pray to God!". It's so discouraging only finding paranormal websites when trying to find the source of my random, itchy, annoying cat-scratch-like marks. I can say for certain I now think it's bartonella, which also explains a lot of my other symptoms. Thanks for the reassurance 🙂

  2. About fifty percent of my body is covered in scars from these Bartonella “cat scratch” marks (the rest is covered in another lyme related scarring dermatitis). Boy did I hate them when I was in high school. Kids can be cruel, but in all fairness, it’s hard to miss someone covered in a spiderweb of those deep pink marks.

    I didn’t know they were considered the mark of a witch. At least they’re more interesting to me now :).

    P.S. I’m about to order an ozone jojoba oil that another Bartonella sufferer had great success with for scar removal. I don’t know if yours are scarring (I really hope they aren’t), but if it does work for me too, and if you’d like, I’ll post a link.

  3. Thank you for making me feel human , if you are a white witch bring on all white witches. You speak words of wisdom . Words I hear…love this post . Cherry x

    1. But have hope – if people like Reginald Scot was questioning current thinking about witches way back in 1584, then we can be certain there will always be humans who question, look for new ways of doing things and put energy into creating a positive future. I have great faith in humanity! It only takes one or two bright people with good ideas and determination…

    2. I have faith in CONSCIOUS humanity… unfortunately, humanity as a whole is rarely ‘conscious’, because we are all to busy with the mundane to look at the whole picture… if we were, we would have abolished our monetary system centuries ago… but we’re so involved in the process of obtaining financial means, we can’t see the big picture that money isn’t even necessary, especially in this day and time. It’s only kept because there are those that HAVE, and want to continue to HAVE and rule over the HAVE NOTs… but we don’t need money, because we have more than enough resources on the earth to go around to everyone. (I wrote a post on this sometime recently, found here: if you’re interested and haven’t already read it)

      Sheesh… sorry for using your comment section as a pulpit!

  4. It truly is so nurturing and supportive reading your words…it explains a lot about my life…and blessed am I to be born in this time on earth for sure…much Love on this glorious day…XO

  5. Yes! That is certainly the only magic I’m interested in… spreading compassion, wisdom, and goodness… I would love to be more consistently heard, accepted, loved, understood, and healthy.
    I have so many random symptoms (one being memory gaps… sort of frightening for a 27 year old… or anyone, I’m sure) and no matter which symptom is happening currently, doctors begin with ‘well it sounds like anxiety, let me prescribe…’ which I’m so sick of hearing.
    I had a somewhat precognitive dream last night. Some of it has already happened. Though I really truly hope it wasn’t all predictive. Or, maybe I have to look at it again and see if there is meaning there in the remaining portion.
    Blessings and well wishes.

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