Modern-Day Witches: Fewer Brooms, More Self-Determination

modern polish witches ceremony

Maria in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw. Image: Katarzyna Majak Source: Huffington Post

The word “witch” often conjures images of warts and pointy noises; broomsticks and cauldrons, and a woman whose ways should not just be avoided but punished. For a time, photographer Katarzyna Majak had precisely this same vision of what constitutes a witch.

Majak grew up in the primarily Catholic country of Poland, and wanted to explore the lives of those who failed to identify just as Catholic, but instead chose to live their lives as witches, druids and non-traditional healers. “I had realized there was something amiss around,” Majak explaines. “I intuitively felt what the mainstream offers to women does not satisfy their deeper search.”

And so Majak set out to create an alternate vision of the “Polish Mother,” a woman who gives up her own growth and freedom in order to dedicate her entire life to caring for her family. “When I started working on the project I felt some kind of attraction or ‘calling,’ to get deeper and stay open,” Majak explained. “This must have been the witch calling me, and I followed my instinct.”

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Hope Among “The World’s Greatest Heap Of Debris”

Highwire Over Cologne 1946

World War II ravaged Cologne, Germany, destroying infrastructure, dozens of landmarks and–perhaps the hardest to rebuild–a sense of cultural substance.

After the war, sights like the one above–a woman walking a high-wire–were not uncommon, and were meant to offer those living within Cologne a brief reprieve from their quite literally ruined reality.

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Hot Air Balloons Dot The London Skyline For Charity

london air balloons rainbow river

Source: Rex Features

On the morning of June 7th, 2015, 40 hot air balloons ascended into the sleepy skies of London, England as part of the Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta. The regatta was organized by the city of London and marketing agency Exclusive Ballooning, and marked the first time in more than 20 years that a mass of hot air balloons floated above the great city.

In an event lasting just over an hour, the 100-feet tall balloons left from Shoreditch Park in Hackney and moved across the Thames between Tower Bridge, the Shard and Canary Wharf before concluding in Gravesend. The event–as part of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal–raised $120,146 (£78,884) for two disabilities-oriented charities, Mencap and Scope.

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Anne Frank Would Have Been 86 This Month. Celebrate Her Life With These Photos.

Anne Frank scrapbook schoolgirl

© Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/REX Source: MSN

Decades have passed since Anne Frank’s death, and the world could still take a page from her diary. 15-year-old Frank’s life ended at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, just a few weeks shy of the camp’s liberation. Frank’s remarkable spirit would be remembered by and shared with millions through her diary, which was returned to her father by his colleagues Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl and published soon after the end of World War II.

June 12th marked what would have been Anne Frank’s 86th birthday. With that in mind, we look back at her short, yet remarkable life through pictures and excerpts of the famed diary.

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