Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Men's Fantasies and How They Affect Women. Is The Witch's genesis in Man?

How the person being projected onto responds to this projection? An example from the 2021 film Coven of Sisters

How much of an individual's behavior is directly influenced by one's fantasy of that person?

A complex question worthy of multiple responses, perhaps best answered by drawing an example from the 2021 film Coven of Sisters (currently accessible on Netflix). Before getting into the synopsis of this film, allow for an introduction and definition of a psychological process known as projective identification.

Projective identification is when an individual is unable to identify and own an aspect of themselves, and thus, they unconsciously project that aspect of themselves onto others. Hopefully this last sentence was not too cerebral to digest, because that is only the first half of the definition.

The second half of this definition, and perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing part of this process, is how the person being projected onto responds to this projection.

Here is a hypothetical example: Rick is unhappily married to his wife. He notices every time he approaches his secretary Cindy, she parts her lips seductively. At first it was inconspicuous, though lately he senses her upping her antics. The other day she wore new high heels for the first time, purposely on a day when the two of them were going to have their biweekly one-on-one meeting. Cindy does not realize how her femininity and expression is being interpreted by Rick. She has zero attraction to him. What is happening here? Rick is projecting his sexual needs and fantasies onto Cindy, and Cindy is unconsciously wearing these projections. She unconsciously identifies with them and responds with slippier and slippier sensuality.

Are women who have no attraction to specific men, but drip their sensuality around those men, actually doing so because of the attraction being projected onto them?

A witch flying across a full moon is an enduring symbol of Halloween

What about the more tangible example of politicians who are renowned for their political incorrectness? Could politicians who so flagrantly spew bigoted remarks be doing so because they are wearing the projections of the masses who scapegoat them?

Hopefully the aforementioned examples help with elucidating the psychological phenomenon of projective identification. If not, let this one of Coven of Sisters (2021) explicate this process:

Taking place in the 17th century Basque region of Spain, five innocent women are thrown in prison with an immediate death sentence- to be burned at the stake. Why? For accusations of witchcraft. None of the women were witches. However, through the questioning by the religious judge, it becomes clear he holds powerful fantasies of consorting with witches. Crafty and sharp, these women catch on to the psychological complexity of their judge. Pleading the truth of their innocence gets them nowhere. As a last resort for escape, the ring leader Ana begins concocting a story of being a witch, a story which she so obviously pulls from the fantasies of the ones accusing her and her friends. She must identify with the projection being cast onto her in order to survive. As she tells her made up story, the judge's arousal practically bursts from the screen. It is through Ana inviting the judge to partake in the "witches sabbath" that she and her friends are able to escape their sentence.

Could all the hysteria of women being witches (which took hundreds of thousands of lives) during the inquisition have actually all had its roots in the fear men had of women? Are men's fantasies the culprit for the genesis of the witch? Because before it was witch, women were priestesses. Stuff, shove, and demonize the priestess out from women, and toss the ugly witch to fill its place. Make women afraid of the power they hold. Engineer societal law in such a way that they not only fear it, they run from it.

Witch has been a powerful marketing tool wielded by patriarchy. Its immortal message? Woman, don't you dare come to realize your power, or you will be burned at the stake. While most nations of today no longer give such nefarious sentencing to women, the legacy (and memory) of this still lives in the bones and cells of women today.

Projections come from fantasies as well as one's own disowned aspects and attributes within themselves. In a reality which is becoming more and more synthetic as days roll forward, it may be worthwhile to inquire how much of one's behavior is coming from sovereignty, and how much is coming from projective identification.

Actualizing one's essence does not come without shedding and breaking free. Free from what? Cultural spells, identifications with projections from others, and conditioning. What also may be of assistance is either a little bit or a whole lot of holy disobedience.

Alita Alison Lauren, PhD is a therapeutic consultant, founder of Sacred Rose Ministry Project and author of Cultural Psychology of Women's Sexuality: The Priestess, Patriarchy & The Prostitute. For more info:


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