Witchy Wednesday: Spy of the Dawn
I welcome you to what I have dubbed Witchy Wednesday, Sinners! Witchy Wednesdays celebrate a sexy/sexualized date in History/Herstory.
Mata Hari- a temptress dancer and courtesan (often nearly nude or in just a revealing veil) formerly known as Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” Zelle MacLeod - was convicted of spying for Germany during the first world war on this day, July 25, in 1917.
Mata Hari was her stage name, meaning “Eye of the Dawn.” She claimed to have been given her moniker from a high Indian priestess who allegedly taught her ancient Indian dances after claiming she had been born in a sacred Indian temple. Truthfully, she was born in the Netherlands on August 7, 1876. At the age of 18, she married a Dutch Colonial Army Officer, Rudolf John MacLeod. They relocated to Dutch Indonesia, had two children, but were very unhappy. He was an alcoholic so she escaped their abusive relationship and discreetly shacked up with another Dutch Officer and took an interest in dance - even joining a local dance company. She returned to her husband in 1902 and ultimately ended the marriage in 1906.
Her first exotic performances were in Paris where she won over large audiences with her promiscuity and flirtatious flaunting and dancing. Her veil became her trademark. She would use it as her dance partner and always drop it just so to reveal her jeweled bra and careful to not show her navel or genitals without them being jeweled as well. This is when she took on the story of being born in the temple and taught by the priestess. During WWI as a Dutch subject, she was free to cross international borders, hence her performing in France. She was noted as traveling between France and Netherlands, but also through an odd route between Spain and Britain, avoiding battlefields in France. When her travels drew attention of military Officers, she was approached and agreed to work as a secret agent of the French Military Intelligence (this, however, has never confirmed nor denied). Perhaps some of the French officers didn’t want to be known for hopping into her bed? However, in January 1917 she was implicated in giving Berlin classified information through radio transmission by the German military attache, which was intercepted by the French Intelligence. The next month, she was arrested in her Paris hotel and subsequently tried and accused of spying for Germany, ultimately causing death tolls of at least 50,000 soldiers.
The Eye of the Dawn was executed by a firing squad October 15, 1917, she was just 41 years young. Mata Hari became a sexual icon after it was argued that she was both not an agent, nor a double agent. Rather, she was used as a scapegoat when the French were embarrassed by their foolishness in the War and falsely charged her to cover up their own mistakes. She may have slept her way through the ranks, but her sexy subtlety and exotic dances died with her. May we remember this alluring and impactful figure for her creativity passion and proclivity for the exotic.
~Original Sindy 🍎🐍👄