Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Macbeth Act 4, scene 1, 10-11, etc.
There’s nothing that can formulate the ambiance of something forbidden, secretive, or the occult like the image of a toothless, disheveled old crone, wearing dark tattered clothing and a black pointed hat, bending over a steaming pot!
Iron pots or cauldrons immigrated to Great Britain, and then to the new world, with the Irish, who were master iron workers. These huge iron pots could retain heat over an open fire, which was a tremendous contribution to all cultures.
During the Elizabethan Era, affluent women wore hats which were pointed and adorned with flowing silk trains. As these treasured hats became out of fashion, or aged, they were discarded, at which time the indigent retrieved them; dirty, tattered and misshapen.
The aging process combined with years of hard manual labor, and the absence of dentistry or healthcare attributed to the stereotypical low cracked voice, toothless mouth, and stooped posture.
Also, due to the lack of dentistry, the word Witch originated from, and sounded like, the word “Witha,” which in old English meant “wise one.” Rural communities revered their village Herbalist, i.e., Witha, who was also their physician, dentist, and veterinarian.
Life was hard, but, it got harder when the Catholic Church hierarchy discovered that rural Herbalists were often paid for their services with land, valuable land that the Church wanted. So, they contrived a way to obtain it with the aid of unscrupulous men they labeled, “Warlocks.” Their job was to befriend the Herbalists, learn their “secrets,” accuse them of devil worship, and Witchcraft! Both of which were punishable by torture and death. The inquisition was manufactured solely for power, wealth and land seizure, nothing trivial.
Ironically, since Warlocks learned the ancient secrets so well from their rural teachers, it was naturally assumed that a male Witch is a Warlock, when nothing could be further from historical facts and truth! Sadly, irrational and sadistic Witch hunts continued. Practitioners adopted magickal names as a safe method to recognize and communicate with each other.