Friday, October 26, 2007

Dark history of Witchcraft

After a long time I am back with a post on witch craft, today the image of a witch or a wizard or the whole of the witchcraft is highly distorted.
Lets see what happened to once popular and highly respected covens….

Witches and wizards are as old as civilization itself… no this is no exaggeration, they were there but their names have been different.
There were the witch doctors of the African countries and the druids of England and Ireland and Ancient Gauls.

The main purpose of these sorcerers were to create harmony between nature and human and give a blissful life to the humans. They all worked for this particular cause.

With the advent of Christianity,
witchcraft was doomed. After 300 AD Christianity started to flourish and by 1000 AD it was the dominant religion in the west. Christianity highly condemned worshipping of nature power like sun, moon, the elementals and other forces and witchcraft is based on the powers of the nature. So anyone who was found worshipping these gods were accused of blasphemy and devil worship and many of the symbols of the witches and pagans were devilized. So this the reason why pentacle once a sacred symbol(still is for many pagans around the world) was portrayed as symbol of the devil.

Many books have been written to how to identify witches and what things they do. Some stories were pure imagination of the author, one such concept which was later universally accepted was that the Satan tortures people and forces them to sign an agreement, according to which the person signing the agreement gets immense magical power which they can use to torture public in turn the Satan will help the person mostly in material aspect. And 1000 yrs back people of the west strongly believed in satans and his powers so they strongly condemned the witches as well not knowing the reality of their craft.

Clearly fraudulent and aberrant, the witch trials were sanctioned during a period of about three centuries. Witch burning occurred sporadically since 1450's. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued an edict, Summis desiderantes affectibus, where he alleged that many men and women were in collusion with the Devil. All Christians were to extend their help to two Dominican monks the Pope placed in charge of fighting people who, in association with Satan, caused diseases, pestilence, harmed harvest and cattle, and perpetrated other heinous crimes. The names of these monks were Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, also known as Institoris. Sprenger and Kramer wrote Malleus Maleficarum, published in 1486, which codified the charges, interrogation procedures and the means of judicial resolutions for the witchcraft trials. After, in 1517, Luther posted his theses, launching the Protestant-Catholic controversy, the frequency of the trials increased.

The most infamous of the trials was that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Between February 1692 and May 1693, over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused who were not formally pursued by the authorities. The two courts convicted 29 people of the capital felony of witchcraft, 19 of whom (fourteen women, five men) were hanged. One other man, having refused to enter a plea, died under judicial torture to extract one from him, and at least five more of the accused died in prison.

The incident started in Salem Village in 1692, Betty Parris, age 9, and her cousin Abigail Williams, age 11, the daughter and niece (respectively) of Reverend Samuel Parris, began to have fits described as "beyond the power of Epileptic Fits or natural disease to effect," by John Hale, minister in nearby Beverly. The girls screamed, threw things about the room, uttered strange sounds, crawled under furniture, and contorted themselves into peculiar positions, according to the eyewitness accounts. The girls complained of being pinched and pricked with pins. A doctor, could find no physical evidence of any ailment. Other young women in the village began to exhibit similar behaviors.

The first three people accused and arrested for allegedly afflicting Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, 12-year-old Ann Putnam, Jr., and Elizabeth Hubbard were Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba. Tituba, as a slave of a different ethnicity than the Puritans, was an obvious target for accusations. Sarah Good was poor and known to beg for food or shelter from neighbours. Sarah Osburne had married her indentured servant and rarely attended church meetings. All of these women fit the description of the "usual suspects" for witchcraft accusations, and no one stood up for them. These women were brought before the local magistrates on the complaint of witchcraft and interrogated for several days, starting on March 1, 1692, then sent to jail.
Other accusations followed in March: Martha Corey, Dorothy Good (mistakenly called Dorcas Good in her arrest warrant) and Rebecca Nurse in Salem Village, and Rachel Clinton in nearby Ipswich. Martha Corey had voiced scepticism about the credibility of the girls' accusations, drawing attention to herself. The charges against her and Rebecca Nurse greatly concerned the community because Martha Corey was a full covenanted member of the Church in Salem Village, as was Rebecca Nurse in the Church in Salem Town. If such upstanding people could be witches, then anybody could be a witch, and church membership was no protection from accusation. Dorothy Good, the daughter of Sarah Good, was only 4 years old, and when questioned by the magistrates her answers were construed as a confession, implicating her mother.

This led to further accusations and trials and thus the most infamous salem witch trials started. However it is now universally accepted that the girls were not possessed and it has no connection to witchcraft. Then comes the alternate theories, some say that the rev.Paris was not accepted in his community, so he sought the help of his daughter and niece get his position strengthened in the community. Some also say that the girls did this to gain attention. Some medical theories do exist like these girls’ food could have been infected by the fungus “Claviceps purpurea” this fungus couldbe easily found in the bread of those days. This fungus causes the plant disease “Ergot of Rye” and contains precursor used to synthesize the powerful psychedelic drug LSD. However none of them could be proved.
Witch burning stopped around the time of the American (1776) and the French Revolution (1789).

Since now the people of Salem has understood the mistake, they have transformed their city as the witch’s paradise… yes it has the “Salem witch museum”, coffee shops named witches’ Brew, streets names dedicated to witches and their craft. You will also find witch tours and witch landmarks.

If you plan to visit Salem, Massachusetts you can plan your trip 2 day before Halloween and you will find lots of people visiting the city to see the witches’ paradise, you can also watch the theatrical play recreating the Salem trial.

i know that my posts are really long, but that is the scope of the subject.. ill try to reduce the size of the posts..

Blessed be…..

1 comment:

Buy cialis said...

Thanks for your insight for this method great story; this is the kind of feature that continues me though out the day.I’ve long been seeking around for your webpage following I learned about them from a companion and was pleased when I was able to come across it just after browsing for a while.