As Fall settles in, Halloween approaches, and the supernatural expansion that introduces witches has yet to be incorporated in The Sims 4 (though there is speculation this will be coming in the future), I would like to issue the witch challenge to the Sims community. This series will follow one Sim as she endeavours to become a Coven Master, as well as discuss the historical and social components of what it means to be a witch, from centuries old witch trials and persecutions of women to the modern witches of Instagram and Trump’s appropriation of the term “witch hunt.”
The requirements I selected for this challenge are based on an amalgamation of differing cultural perceptions of witches within the bounds of the Sims universe. Magic, is at times, believed to be an innate gift some are born with while others consider it a choice and a learned practice.
In 15th century Europe, midwives and healing women were thought to be practitioners of magic based on the knowledge their practices required of them. Demonologists of that period defined witches as those who had signed a contract with the Devil and received the ability to practice magic from him in return, so the demonologists saw fit to accuse and execute these alleged witches for the sake of the Christian church. The means officials used to elicit confessions from the accused were suspect, at best. In 1575, a woman named Gesche Meier was accused of performing love magic and divination. She had discovered a thief. Before torture, she said this discovery was made through prayer to the Christian God. During torture, Meier confessed the discovery was made in the Devil’s name.
However, women were also accused of witchcraft for failing to heal another person, as was the case with an accused woman named Kattrine Statlander. She was not able to heal a young man. His condition worsened, and blame was placed on Statlander, her accusers claiming her evil magic was trying to kill her “victim.” Alternatively, successful healing also elicited an accusation of witchcraft. Officials believed that a woman would not be able to heal another person if she was not the one who made them sick in the first place, so only she could remove her own “curse.”
The conditions of the following challenge are a parody of what people have claimed witches are capable of in the past and are not intended to mock modern practitioners who identify as witches. There is a drastic difference between what being a witch meant before and what it means now.
Our witch’s name is Rowan Lockwood, a black young adult woman who left her prior coven to start a new one in Oasis Springs. In order to become a Coven Master, Rowan would have to fulfill 10 requirements:
- Learn how to perform enchanting introductions.
- Brew an elixir of fertility.
- Grow a cowplant.
- Initiate three other witches into the coven.
- Have a familiar, an animal of any kind, and make sure each witch in the household has their own familiar.
- Seduce 10 men.
- Collect 10 different species of insect or frog.
- Brew a cure for vampirism.
- Become the Grim Reaper’s soulmate.
- Learn how to teleport.
Rowan’s pursuit of becoming a Coven Master started with Don Lothario, who came to her house as part of Rio Verde’s neighborhood welcoming committee. He was accompanied by three other women, the Caliente family, but Rowan managed to steal him to herself and invited him to move in with her. Don accepted the invitation. When Rowan wasn’t having sex with Don, she was studying “Herbalism Vol. I: Let’s Get Brewing!”. Soon, she learned how to brew deodorizing cream remedies.
Many of the earliest witch accusations were directed toward peasant women who were healers. They would be charged for teaching other women enchantments to make their husbands stop beating them, as well as other spells like curing a husband’s alcoholism or increasing fertility. Many, if not all, accused of witchcraft were women. Men who claimed they were capable of magical healing, counter-magic, and talking with the dead were not being accused. This is why I decided to play as a female Sim. Some historians argue that there were men accused of witchcraft, but the undeniable majority consists of women.
Rowan’s second love affair began at Oasis Springs’s local bar, Rattlesnake Juice. There, Rowan met Geoffrey Landgraab, who already had a wife and son at home. But this didn’t deter Rowan. He fell quickly under her spell and left his family to live with her, but it wasn’t his fault. The man was a victim of witchcraft. He couldn’t help himself.
Aarav Venkataraman was only Rowan’s maid when they first met, but he would become much more. He invited Rowan to a secret party at The Bluffs, their immediate chemistry escalating quickly. Soon, the pair were having sex just out of sight of the rest of the partygoers. Rowan was enamored. She proposed marriage to Aarav immediately, he accepted, and they eloped at the party. But the marriage would be Aarav’s downfall.
Their love was a curse, and as soon as they returned home after the party, Aarav was watching the comedy channel on TV when he unexpectedly died of laughter. The Grim Reaper appeared, and it was love at first sight. Rowan became soulmates with the Grim Reaper, then received a call from Aarav in the afterlife, asking her out on a date.
Rowan met his ghost at Brindleton Bay’s Club Callico. They were no longer married, but seeing the spirit of Aarav reminded Rowan of what they once had. Her emotions dissolved into deep sadness, the feelings still there even if the two weren’t married anymore.
A witch of the modern era such as Rowan has a vast sense of personal agency witches in the past were never allowed. Witch hunts were a means to put fatal social blame on a single person, a lone woman, whether her intentions were malevolent or benevolent, and this mentality has lead to the senseless deaths of countless women over the centuries.
15th century Europe was a society where romantic relationships were limited to a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, a woman whose sole purpose was to provide children. And learned women capable of taking care of themselves, women who reached out to other women in an attempt to save them from abuse, were a danger to this social system.
Further coverage on Rowan’s journey to becoming a Coven Master, along with more history on witches, can be found in part two of this challenge.
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