From witch hunting to 'my grandmother’s story'...

Although information transferred among midwives and women healers were targeted by witch hunters, they still exist. The story of my grandmother is actually hidden in the stories of many wise women. She treated women and dealt with pregnancy and childbirth


News Center- Throughout the ages, women have been the artists of the healing art, which consists of magical rituals and herbal treatments. In Western societies, women healers were started to be prevented by witch hunters. Despite all kinds of pressures such as witch-hunts and legal/religious prohibitions that lasted for centuries, women healers have managed to bring their knowledge to the present day.

 Women used to clean streets while having conversation

My grandmother was also a midwife and healer. Here is my grandmother’s story: When I was a child, I think I was around three and six years old. Between the 80’s and 90’s… My grandmother had seven children, one of them is my father. We lived in the Alipaşa neighborhood of Diyarbakır’s Sur district. At that time, the neighborhood was not destroyed yet and the people living in the neighborhood had good neighbor relations. Women wake up every morning at about 6 a.m. Each woman cleaned the front of her house by using brooms, pouring water and washing it. I used to sleep on the roof and hear their voices. Those moments were so peaceful moments that I always dream of. When water joined the soil, the soil smelled so good.

The smell of fresh basil in the neighborhood

Flowers all over the courtyard…The smell of fresh basil surrounded the whole neighborhood, there were grape vines, pink flowers that opened during the day and slept at night, and many flowers whose names I do not know. Every morning, my grandmother used to water them while singing songs. The flowers liked her voices so much that they refreshed and grew immediately. There were wooden stairs leading up to the roof and there was a small room on the roof. She had about four or five chickens and I do not know how but the chickens understood what my grandmother told them.

She made you feel safe and encouraged you

My grandmother got angry with her daughters-in-law very often; however, she always stood by women when women were subjected to male violence. If someone had said something to her grandchildren, she would have gone out on the street and raised hell. At that time, I felt safe the most; I got a lot of strength from my grandmother. She was fearless, and bore all household chores on her shoulders. When I was with her, I felt safe that I did not feel with my parents.

She treated women

My grandmother had a house with four courtyards. There were iron windows in the courtyards and she kept the cheese and pickles she made in the basement. In the first light of the day, you heard the voices of children and breakfast was prepared. Every day, women used to come to her home. I did not understand what had happened but as I got older, I understood. My grandmother used to put her hands on women's bellies and then listen to their wombs. Then, she said what she thought. Later, I understood that all women were pregnant women. Once, she spent hours with the belly of a woman. The baby was turned upside down in her womb and my grandmother spent hours to put the baby in the right direction. The woman had a smile on her face and thanked my grandmother. In the past, there was no cesarean section and women gave birth at home.

‘There were good neighbor relations in our time’

Before my grandmother passed away, she always said, “I had one dress and grape vines in the courtyard. When your grandfather took the animals to graze, he wouldn't come back for four or five days and I would wash my only dress and wait for it to dry before I put it on. For a week, I ate only grapes and bread because there was nothing else. Once, I found money on the street and for the first time I saw what money was like. But I didn't know what to buy. Then, I bought soap. In our time, we did not have so many things but there were good neighbor relations. The women used to have conversations and shared their experiences with each other. Now, everyone lives behind concrete walls, where they live are actually graves.”

 We lost her years ago. Now, our duty is to preserve her legacy. There are many wise women whose stories should be written. We should write their stories. We should write about how women are wise and healers.