The closeness of history

Molly Halpern
2 min readMay 11, 2021


A time in history came to my attention several times recently. The witch hunts of North America and Europe.

They were referred to by a woman who was “cancelled,” and in a book I’m reading.

Something about these recent references spoke to me loudly, and made me curious about their connection to my fears.

I think there’s something to this, and I’m starting to look within and without.

One of the surprises has been a strong visceral reaction that’s arisen just at thought of the words: witch hunt.

Today, a strange realization came to mind.

Could this be part of it?

Here are two facts about me.

  1. I am a strong advocate for the healing power of plants and nature. It’s something I know a lot about, and a topic I want to write and teach about with courage and honesty.
  2. I’ve chosen not to have children.

It wasn’t long ago that making such choices made one an outsider. Suspect.

Choosing to speak up about “controversial” topics wasn’t even possible without the support of a publisher, an expected audience, etc.

And this phrase… witch hunt… reminds me… that up until recently, these two facts about my life… would have been enough to warrant my being shamed, shunned, and even threatened.

The fear that came with these choices would have been real, not imagined.

And just a few hundred years ago… for these two choices…

I could have been called a witch.

I could have been burnt at the stake.

There it is again. The visceral feeling. The lump in my throat.

The need to take a very deep breath.

The wondering and the knowing.