THE VVITCH IS BACK
The evolution of vvitches in history and popular media is emblematic of women’s place in society; from a wizened hag whose primary maleficium was to undermine social order, to a powerful symbol of feminine empowerment. And you may be wondering…
“Why is vvitch spelled with two v‘s?”
My bias for this moniker is twofold; firstly as a qualifier for my own long-held personal aesthetics, and secondly for its rich history in linguistics.
I present to you the humble “w.”
English, as we know it today, was born from fuþorc (or futhorc/ᚠᚢᚦᚩᚱ). Most know it as the runic alphabet from heathens (the people of the heaths). In brief, Latin letters ultimately replaced this alphabet and as the alphabet evolved, so too did its symbols. Specifically, the Old English character, “wynn,” (ƿ). Representing the same phonetic value as the modern “w,” wynn was eventually replaced by the letters “uu.”
Moreover, a double form was implemented to distinguish its sound of “v” and the singular “u” in the midst of phonetic exchange of the Germanic languages and Classical Latin. It was written as “uu” and sometimes “vv.” As such, “witch” was originally spelled as “vvitch” or “uuitch.”
In conclusion, the “w” as we know it today did not exist until the 14th century. But you will still find materials regarding witches with either of these variations in spelling well into the 17th century.
The conclusion of this small history lesson brings me to my closing statement; I believe in the powers of reclamation. Witch, no matter how you choose to spell it, is a title I wear proudly.