Witchcraft-Questioned

Witchcraft-Questioned

Witchcraft-Questioned

The question of how much truth there is in this belief in witchcraft, held by so many nations, and persevered in during so many centuries, has never yet been fully answered.

It is hardly to be presumed that during this long period all men, even the wisest and subtlest, should have been completely blinded or utterly demented.

Many historians as well as philosophers have looked upon witchcraft as a mere creation of the Inquisition. Rome, they argue, was in great danger, she had no new dogma to proclaim which would give food to inquiring minds, and increase the prestige of her power; she was growing unpopular in many countries heretofore considered most faithful and submissive, and she was engaged in various dangerous conflicts with the secular powers.
In this embarrassment, her Inquisitors looked around for some means of escape, and thought a remedy might be found in this new combination of the two traditional crimes of heresy and enchantment. Witchcraft, as a crime, because of the deeds of violence with which it was almost invariably associated, belonged before the tribunal of the secular judge; as a sin, it was to be punished by the bishop, but as heresy it fell, according to the custom of the day, to the share of neither judge nor bishop, but into the hands of the Inquisition.

The extreme uniformity of witchcraft from the Tagus to the Vistula, and in New England as in Old England, is adduced as an additional evidence of its having been “manufactured” by the Inquisition. Nothing is gained, however, by looking upon it as a mere invention; nor would such an explanation apply to the wizards and witches who are repeatedly mentioned and condemned in Holy Writ. Witchcraft was neither purely artificial, a mere delusion, nor can it be accounted for upon a purely natural basis.

The essential part in it is the magic force, which does not belong to the natural but to the spiritual part of man. Hence it is not so very surprising, as many authors have thought it, that thousands of poor women should have done their best to obtain visions which only led to imprisonment, torture, and death by fire, while they procured for them apparently neither comfort nor wealth, but only pain, horror, and disgrace. For there was mixed up with all this a sensation of pleasure, vague and wild, though it was in conformity with the rude and coarse habits of the age.

It is the same with the opium eater and hasheesh smoker, only in a more moderate manner; the delight these pernicious drugs afford is not seen, but the disease, the suffering, and the wretched death they produce, are visible enough.

The stories of witches’ sabbaths taking place on certain days of the year, arose no doubt from the fact that the prevailing superstition of the times regarded some seasons as peculiarly favourable for the ceremony of anointing one’s self with narcotic salves, and this led to a kind of spiritual community on such nights, which to the poor deluded people appeared as a real meeting at appointed places. In like manner, there was nothing absolutely absurd or impossible in the idea of a compact with the Devil.

Satan presented himself to the minds of men in those ages as the bodily incarnation of all that is evil and sinful, and hence when they fancied they made a league with him, they only aroused the evil principle within themselves to its fullest energy and activity. It was in fact the selfish, covetous nature of man, ever in arms against moral laws and the commandments of God, which in these cases became distinctly visible and presented itself in the form of a vision. This evil principle, now relieved from all constraint and able to develop its power against a feebly resisting soul, would naturally destroy the poor deluded victim, in body and in spirit. Hence the trials of witchcraft had at least some justification, however unwise their form and however atrocious their abuses.

The majority of the crimes with which the so-called witches were charged, were no doubt imaginary; but many of the accused also had taken real delight in their evil practices and in the grievous injury they had done to those they hated or envied. Nor must it be forgotten that the age in which these trials mainly occurred was emphatically an age of superstition; from the prince on his throne to the clown in his hut, everybody learnt and practiced some kind of magic; the ablest statesmen and the subtlest philosophers, the wisest divines and the most learned physicians, all were more or less adepts of the Black Art, and many among them became eminently dangerous to their fellow-beings. Others, ceaselessly meditating and brooding over charms and demoniac influences, finally came to believe in their own powers of enchantment, and confessed their guilt, although they had sinned only by volition, without ever being able really to call forth and command magic powers.

Still others laboured under a regular panic and saw witchcraft in the simplest events as well as in all more unusual phenomena in nature. A violent tempest, a sudden hailstorm, or an unusual rise in rivers, all were at once attributed to magic influences, and the authorities urged and importuned to prevent a recurrence with all its disastrous consequences by punishing the guilty authors. Has not the same insane fury been frequently shown in contagious diseases, when the common people believed their fountains poisoned and their daily bread infected by Jews or other suspected classes, and promptly took justice into their own hands? It ought also to be borne in mind, as an apology for the horrible crimes committed by judges and priests in condemning witches, that in their eyes the crime was too enormous and the danger too pressing and universal to admit of delay in investigation, or mercy in judgment.

The severe laws of those semi-barbarous times were immediately applied and all means considered fair in eliciting the truth. Torture was by no means limited to trials of witches, for some of the greatest statesmen and the most exalted divines had alike to endure its terrors.

Moreover, no age has been entirely free from similar delusions, although the form under which they appear and the power by which they may be supported, differ naturally according to the spirit of the times.

Science alone cannot protect us against fanaticism, if the heart is once led astray, and fearful crimes have been committed not only in the name of Liberty but even under the sanction of the Cross. Basil the Great already restored a slave _ad integrum, who said he had made a pact with the Devil, but the first authentic account of such a transaction occurs in connection with an Imperial officer, Theophilus of Adana, in the days of Justinian. His bishop had undeservedly humiliated him and thus aroused in the heart of the naturally meek man intense wrath and a boundless desire of revenge. While he was in this state of uncontrollable excitement, a Jew appeared and offered to procure for him all he wanted, if he would pledge his soul to Satan. The unhappy man consented, and was at once led to the circus where he saw a great number of torch-bearers in white robes, the costume of servants of the church, and Satan seated in the midst of the assembly. He obeyed the order to renounce Christ and certified his apostacy in a written document.

The next day already the bishop repented of his injustice and restored Theophilus in his office, whereupon the Jew pointed out to him how promptly his master had come to his assistance. Still, repentance comes to Theophilus also, and in a new revelation the Virgin appears to the despairing man after incessant prayer of forty days and nights–a fit preparation for such a vision. She directs him to perform certain atoning ceremonies and promises him restoration to his Christian privileges, which he finally obtains by finding the certificate of his apostasy lying on his breast, and then dies in a state of happy relief.

After that similar cases of a league being made with Satan occur quite frequently in the history of saints and eminent men, till the belief in its efficacy gradually died out and recent efforts like those recorded by Goerres have proved utterly fruitless.


Thought-for-the-day

Thought for the day

A person who injures another, injures himself, for each man constitutes a power which acts upon humanity, and the good or evil he does will return to himself.


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Poppet Magick Explained

Poppet Magick Explained

Poppet Magick Explained

Poppet Magick Explained. A Poppet is a small handmade (usually) figurines that can be used as a talisman or in spellwork

Poppets in the popular press tend to be linked with “bad” Witchcraft the Voodoo doll for instance.

And of course there are undoubtedly some who will ignore the Rede’s instructions to “harm none, do what ye will”. But poppets are extremely useful to all Witches and the good aspects far outweigh the bad. No Witch should be without one!

Poppets come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. As always, there is no one right way or wrong way to make a poppet. Nowadays most common poppets are filled with herbs and incense. But pure Witchcraft practitioners will still use the practice of urine, blood, fingernails and hair.

CLAY: The clay should be moulded into poppet shape making sure there is a hollow in which to place hair, herbs, nails etc. before being sealed. Features or symbols can be added at this stage by carving with a sharp object. There is nothing wrong with painting instead if you so wish.

CLOTH: Make a suitable template and use this to cut out two pieces of cloth. Stitch the two pieces together until almost sealed and then stuff with herbs or whatever is required for the spell or talisman. Again the poppet can be adorned with symbols or the name of the recipient.

PAPER: Undoubtedly the quickest way of making a poppet! Simply cut the paper into a figure shape and decorate as you desire. A photograph of the intended recipient can be stuck on if desired. Obviously being made of paper it will not be very hardy and will need to be handles carefully.

ROOT: Several roots such as potato, ginseng, carrot (or almost any suitable vegetable) can be carved into the required shape. This is obviously a poppet that is only suitable for short term use as it will rot quite quickly. Once finished it can be used as required but do not do any additional carving or work on it once you have started to use it.

WAX: wax can be carved into shape but it is probably easier (and certainly less messy) to soften it first and mould it into shape in the same way as clay. Do make sure it’s not too hot to handle first though. Again, leave a hollow for some personal token before adorning.
soften candles and shape them into poppet figurine. Rub lavender oil, or similar onto your hands first for ease, and ensure the wax is not too hot. Use small pieces of coal or gems to adorn the poppet. For a more powerful effect use hair, fingernails, or some token or possession of the recipient.

WOOD: Makes for a very durable poppet. Simply carve the wood into a figure shape and glue on something from the recipient. Woodcarving is not as difficult as it sounds provided you take it slow and be careful. The poppet can be adorned as you see fit using paint, pens, crayons etc.


Thought-for-the-day

Thought for the day

A creative individual develops spiritually because his conscious self is open to the influence of and fed by an endless number of unconscious phenomena.


A-Spiritual-Life

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The boline

The boline

The boline

The boline (also spelled “bolline” or “bolleen”)

The boline is a white-handled ritual knife, one of several magical tools used in Wicca and other practices of ritual magic.

Unlike the athame, which in most traditions is never used for actual physical cutting, the boline is used for cutting cords, wands and herbs, carving candles, etc, and is the practical knife of the craft.
Sometimes, a knife called a kirfane or kerfan is used for roughly the same purposes.

A boline has a small blade, often straight but sometimes (and increasingly commonly) crescent-shaped, and a handle which is traditionally white in colour.
Many of the bolines sold today have a characteristic crescent shape, and are described as being for harvesting herbs.

This crescent shape is reminiscent of the sickle described in the “Key of Solomon”,a medieval grimoire which is one of the sources for modern Wicca.

In the practice of Kitchen Witchcraft (a form of witchcraft where the substitution of mundane items for magical items is encouraged), there is little or no need for a boline as a separate tool from the athame, and some traditions, such as that of Robert Cochrane, specifically prescribe the use of a single knife for both ritual and practical purposes.
In the Eclectic Wicca tradition, opinions vary as to whether the boline is truly a magical tool or is merely of utilitarian use.

The Boline is still a magical tool.

It’s energy is just as important as one’s Athame.
Most people who work with them still consecrate them like any other altar tool and keep them away from the hands of strangers.
The Boline is the knife that you can carry with you out to the garden to cut herbs,
it’s the tool to get down and dirty with. It’s a very practical sort of magical tool.
While one probably only uses one’s Athame (in traditional Wicca at least) during ritual and as a symbolic tool, the Boline is often carried about and used in much more of a practical manner for ritual or spell work.

The Bolines is sold in most stores these days are shaped like a scythe. While a scythe shaped Boline is traditional.

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Thought-for-the-dayThought for the day

What would be a world without the magic power of love of beauty and harmony ?


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Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 3

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 3

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 3

When witches were brought to trial, one of the first measures was to search for special marks which were believed to betray their true character.

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 3

These were especially the so-called witches‘ moles, spots of the size of a pea, on which for some reason or other the nerves had lost their sensibility, and where, in consequence, no pain was felt.

These were supposed to have been formed by being punctured, the Evil One performing the operation with a pin of false gold, with his claws or his horns.

Other evidences were found in the peculiar colouring of the eyes, which was said to represent the feet of toads; in the absence of tears when the little gland had been injured, and, above all, in the specific lightness of the body. In order to ascertain the latter, the accused were bound hand and foot crosswise, tied loosely to a rope, and then, three times, dropped into the water. If they remained floating their guilt was established; for either they had been endowed by their Master with safety from drowning, or the water refused to receive them because they had abjured their baptism! It need not be added that the executioners soon found out ways to let their prisoners float or sink as they chose–for a consideration.

Witches’ trials began in the earliest days of Christianity, for the Emperor Valens ordered, as we learn from Ammianus Marcellinus, all the wizards and enchanters to be held to account who had endeavoured by magic art to ascertain his successor.

Several thousands were accused of witchcraft, but the charge was then, as in almost every later age, in most cases nothing more than a pretext for proceedings against obnoxious persons. The next monster process, as it began to be called already in those early days, was the persecution of witches in France under the Merovingians. The child of Chilperic’s wife had died suddenly and under suspicious circumstances, which led to the imprisonment of a prefect, Mummolus, whom the queen had long pursued with her hatred. He was accused of having caused her son’s death by his charms, and was subjected to fearful tortures in company with a number of old women.
Still, he confessed nothing but that the latter had furnished him with certain drugs and ointments which were to secure to him the favour of the king and the queen.

A later trial of this kind, in which for a time calm reason made a firm stand against superstition, but finally succumbed ingloriously, is known as the _Vaudoisie_, and took place in Arras in 1459. It was begun by a Count d’Estampes, but was mainly conducted by a bishop and some eminent divines of his acquaintance, whose inordinate zeal and merciless cruelty have secured to the proceedings a peculiarly painful memory in the annals of the church.

A large number of perfectly innocent men and women were tortured and disgracefully executed, but fortunately the death of the main persecutor, DuBlois, made a sudden end to the existence of witchcraft in that province. One of the most remarkable trials of this kind was caused by a number of little children, and led to most bloody proceedings. It seems that in the year 1669 several boys and girls in the parish of Mora, one of the most beautiful parts of the Swedish province of Dalarne, and famous through the memory of Gustavus Vasa and Gustavus III., were affected by a nervous fever which left them, after their partial recovery, in a state of extreme irritability and sensitiveness. They fell into fainting fits and had convulsions–symptoms which the simple but superstitious mountaineers gradually began to think inexplicable, and hence to ascribe to magic influences. The report spread that the poor children were bewitched, and soon all the usual details of satanic possession were current.

The mountain called Blakulla, in bad repute from of old, was pointed out as the meeting-place of the witches, where the annual sabbath was celebrated, and these children were devoted to Satan.

Church and State combined to bring their great power to bear upon the poor little ones, an enormous number of women, mostly the mothers of the young people, were involved in the charges, and finally fifty-two of the latter with fifteen children were publicly executed as witches, while fifty of the younger were condemned to severe punishment! More than three hundred unfortunate children under fourteen had made detailed confessions of the witches’ sabbath and the ceremonies attending their initiation into its mysteries.

A similar fearful delusion took hold of German children in Würtemberg, when towards the end of the seventeenth century a large number of little boys and girls, none of whom were older than ten years, began to state that they were every night fetched away and carried to the witches’ sabbath. Many were all the time fast asleep and could easily be roused, but a few among them fell regularly into a trance, during which their little bodies became cold and rigid. A commission of great judges and experienced divines was sent to the village to investigate the matter, and found at last that there was no imposture attempted, but that the poor children firmly believed what they stated. It became, however, evident that a few among them had listened to old women’s tales about witches, with eager ears, and, with inflamed imaginations, retailed the account to others, till a deep and painful nervous excitement took hold of their minds and rapidly spread through the community. Many of the children were, as was natural at their age, led by vanity to say that they also had been at the sabbath, while others were afraid to deny what was so positively stated by their companions. Fortunately, the commission consisted, for once, of sensible men who took the right view of the matter, ordered a good whipping here and there, and thus saved the land from the crime of another witches’trial.

Our own experiences in New England, at the time when Sir William Phipps was governor of the colonies, have been forcibly reported by the great Cotton Mather.

Nearly every community had its young men and women who were addicted to the practices of magic; they loved to perform enchantments, to consult sieves and turning keys, and thus were gradually led to attempt more serious and more dangerous practices. In Salem, men and women of high standing and unimpeached integrity, even pious members of the church, were suddenly plagued and tortured by unknown agencies, and at last a little black and yellow demon appeared to them, accompanied by a number of companions with human faces. These apparitions presented to them a book which they were summoned to sign or at least to touch, and if they refused they were fearfully twisted and turned about, pricked with pins, burnt as if with hot irons, bound hand and foot with invisible fetters, and carried away to great distances. Some were left unable to touch food or drink for many days; others, attempting to defend themselves against the demons, snatched a distaff or tore a piece of cloth from them, and immediately these proofs of the real existence of the evil spirits became visible to the eyes of the bystanders.

The magic phenomena attending the disease were of the most extraordinary character. Several men stated that they had received poison because they declined to worship Satan, and immediately all the usual sequences of such treatment appeared, from simple vomiting to most fearful suffering, till counteracting remedies were employed and began to take effect. In other cases, the sufferers complained of burning rags being stuffed into their mouths, and although nothing was seen, burnt places and blisters appeared, and the odour and smoke of smouldering rags began to fill the room. When they reported that they were branded with hot irons, the marks showed themselves, suppuration took place, and scars were formed which never again disappeared during life–and all these phenomena were watched by the eager eyes of hundreds. The authorities, of course, took hold of the matter, and many persons of both sexes and all ages were brought to trial. While they were tortured they continued to have visions of demoniac beings and possessed men and women; when they were standing, blindfolded, in court, felt the approach of those by whom they pretended to be bewitched and plagued, and urgently prayed to be delivered of their presence.

Finally, many were executed, not a few undoubtedly against all justice, but the better sense of the authorities soon saw the futility, if not the wickedness of such proceedings, and an end was made promptly, witchcraft disappearing as soon as persecution relaxed and the sensation subsided.


Thought-for-the-day

Thought for the day

To break the law is identical with breaking the God within ourselves, and the only way to obtain forgiveness after He is broken is to restore the law and to create a new God within ourselves.


A-Spiritual-Life

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Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 1

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 1

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 1

Perhaps in no direction has the human mind ever shown greater weakness than in the opinions entertained of witchcraft.

Witch Gothandra – On Witchcraft page 1

If Hecate, the oldest patroness of witches, wandered about at night with a gruesome following, and frightened lovers at their stealthy meeting, or lonely wanderers on open heaths and in dark forests, her appearance was at least in keeping with the whole system of Greek mythology.

Tacitus does not frighten us by telling us that witches used to meet at salt springs, nor the Edda when speaking of the “bearers of witches’ kettles,” against whom even the Salic Law warns all good Christians.

But when the Council of Ancyra, in the fifth century, fulminates its edicts against women riding at night upon weird animals in company with Diana and Herodias, the strange combination of names and the dread penalties threatened, make us almost think of witches as of real and most marvellous beings. When wise councillors of French Parliaments and grey dignitaries of the Holy German Empire sit in judgment over a handful of poor old women, when great English bishops and zealous New England divines condemn little children to death, because they have made pacts with the Devil, attended his sabbaths, and bewitched their peaceful neighbours–then we stand amazed at the delusions, to which the wisest and best among us are liable.

Christianity, it is true, shed for a time such a bright light over the earth, that the works of darkness were abhorred and the power of the Evil One seemed to be broken.

According to the sacred promises that the seed of woman should bruise the serpent’s head. Thus Charlemagne, in his fierce edict issued after the defeat of the Saxons, ordered that death should be inflicted on all who after pagan manner gave way to devilish delusions, and believed that men or women could be witches, persecuted and killed them; or, even went so far as to consume their flesh and give it to others for like purposes! But almost at the same time the belief in the Devil, distinctly maintained in Holy Writ, spread far and wide, and as early as the fourth century diseases were ascribed not to organic causes, but to demoniac influences, and the Devil was once more seen bodily walking to and fro on the earth, accompanied by a host of smaller demons.

It was but rarely that a truly enlightened man dared to combat the universal superstition.

Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, shines like a bright star on the dark sky of the ninth century by his open denunciation of all belief in possession, in the control of the weather or the decision of difficulties by ordeal. For like reasons, we ought to revere the memory of John of Salisbury, who in the twelfth century declared the stories of nightly assemblies of witches, with all their attending circumstances, to be mere delusions of poor women and simple men, who fancied they saw bodily what existed only in their imagination.

The Church hesitated, now requiring her children to believe in a Devil and demons, and now denouncing all faith in supernatural beings. The thirteenth century, by Leibnitz called the darkest of all, developed the worship of the Evil One to its fullest perfection; the writings of St. Augustine were quoted as confirming the fact that demons and men could and did intermarry, and the Djinns of the East were mentioned as spirits who “sought the daughters of men for wives.” The witches’ dance is found in the records of a fearful Auto-da-fè held in Toulouse in the year 1353, and about a century later the Dominican monk, Jaquier, published the first complete work on witches and witchcraft. He represented them as organised–after the prevailing fashion of the day–in a regular guild, with apprentices, companions, and masters, who practised a special art for a definite purpose. It is certainly most remarkable that the same opinion, in all its details, has been entertained in this century even, and by one of the most famous German philosophers, Eschenmayer.

While the zeal and madness of devil-worshippers were growing on one side, persecution became more violent and cruel on the other side, till the trials of witches assumed gigantic proportions and the proceedings were carried on according to a regular method. These trials originated, invariably, with theologians, and although the system was not begun by the Papal government it obtained soon the Pope’s legal sanction by the famous bull of Innocent VIII., _Summis desiderantes_, dated December 4, 1484, and decreeing the relentless persecution of all heretical witches. The far-famed _Malleus maleficatum_ (Cologne, 1489), written by the two celebrated judges of witches, Sprenger and Gremper, and full of the most extraordinary views and statements, reduced the whole to a regular method, and obtained a vast influence over the minds of that age. The rules and forms it prescribed were not only observed in almost all parts of Christendom, but actually retained their force and legality till the end of the seventeenth century.

These views and practices confined to Catholic countries; a hundred and fifty years after the Reformation, a great German jurist and a Protestant, Carpzon, published his _Praxis Criminalis_, in which precisely the same opinions were taught and the same measures were prescribed. The Puritans, it is well-known, pursued a similar plan, and the New World has not been more fortunate in avoiding these errors than the Old World. A curious feature in the above-mentioned works is the fact that both abound in expressions of hatred against the female sex, and still more curious, though disgraceful in the extreme, that the special animosity shown by judges of witchcraft against women is solely based upon the weight which they attached to the purport of the Mosaic inhibition: “Thou shalt not suffer a _witch_ to live” (Exodus xii. 18).

These are dark pages in the history of Christendom, blackened by the smoke of funeral piles and stained with the blood of countless victims of cruel superstition.

For here the peculiarity was that in the majority of cases not the humble sufferers whose lives were sacrificed, but the haughty judges were the true criminals. The madness seems to have been contagious, for Protestant authorities were as bloodthirsty as Catholics; the Inquisition waged for generations unceasing war against this new class of heretics among the nations of the Romanic race.

Germany saw great numbers sacrificed in a short space of time, and in sober England, even, three thousand lost their lives during the Long Parliament alone, while, according to Barrington, the whole number who perished amounted to not less than thirty thousand! If only few were sacrificed in New England, the exception was due more to the sparse population than to moderation; in South America, on the contrary, the persecution was carried on with relentless cruelty. And all this happened while fierce war was raging almost everywhere, so that, while the sword destroyed the men, the fire consumed the women!

Occasionally most startling contrasts would be exhibited by different governments. In the North, James I., claiming to be as wise as Solomon, and more learned than any man in Christendom, imagined that he was persecuted by the Evil One on account of his great religious zeal, and saw in every Catholic an instrument of his adversary. His wild fancy was cunningly encouraged by those who profited by his tyranny, and Catholics were represented as being, one and all, given up to the Devil, the mass and witchcraft, the three unholy allies opposed to the Trinity! In the South, the Republic of Venice, with all its petty tyranny and proverbial political cruelty, stood almost alone in all Christendom as opposed to persecutions of wizards and witches, and fought the battle manfully on the side of enlightenment and Christian charity. The horrors of witch-trials soon reached a height which makes us blush for humanity.


Thought-for-the-day

Thought for the day

Elementals live in the soul-realm of man as long as he lives, and grow strong and fat, for they live on his life-principle, and are fed by the substance of his thoughts.


A-Spiritual-Life

Thank you for visiting our website may your God or Goddess be with you.