Showing posts with label Witchcraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Witchcraft. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2018

SORCERY and WITCHCRAFT

Sorcery - animal transformation
Sorcery - animal transformation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sorcery occurs in almost every society in the world. And in my opinion, it is also the oldest and deepest element in the historical concept of witchcraft, which was formed out of pagan religion, folklore, Christian heresy, and theology. Like all magic, sorcery is based on the assumption that the cosmos is a whole and that hidden connections, therefore, exist among all natural phenomena. The sorcerer or sorceress attempts through their knowledge and power to control, or at least influence these connections in order to affect the practical results they desire.

Closely related to sorcery is divination, the determination of facts or prediction of future events on the basis of the secret links between humans on the one side, and herbs, stones, stars, sheep liver, and jackal tracks etc. on the other. In Europe, diviners entered a tradition that brought them close to high magic, while witchcraft took a different path.

The simplest sorcery is the mechanical performance of one physical activity in order to produce another, but the meaning of a given action varies among different societies. More complex sorcery goes beyond mechanical means and invokes the aid of spirits, but mainly the sorcerer or sorceress tries to compel, rather than to implore the powers that be to do their bidding. The thought processes of sorcery are intuitive rather than analytical. For example, they may derive from the individual's observations of single critical incidents. 

A critical incident is an emotionally charged experience. So in a state of anger or rage, you wish the death of someone you dislike immensely, and physically, for example, punch the wall, in imitation of a blow aimed against that person. When you find that this person has died suddenly you will probably feel guilty, even to the extent that it was you that caused their death, especially if you assume a universe of hidden connections and have beliefs in the concept of magic.

Sorcery beliefs may also arise from unconscious thoughts expressed in dreams and visions. In societies where dreams are taken seriously and distinctions between dream and physical reality are blurred, dreams and visions do have great power to persuade. In most societies, detailed sets of beliefs regarding sorcery are handed down by tradition and become part of the social and psychological systems of individuals. Those individuals will then all the more accept critical incidents and dreams as confirmation of these traditions.


Often sorcery has a function in society and in some, it is closely related to religion, say for instance a priest or priestess of a public religion may perform ritual acts to make rain, ripen the crop to harvest, or secure success etc. Then as long as they are public and social in intent then sorcery may be of a religion. But when the acts are performed privately for the benefit of individuals rather than of society, then they are antisocial and therefore do not form part of religion.

Usually, societies distinguish legally between public religious sorcery and private sorcery, approving the one and outlawing the other. And so the effects of sorcery are very real to those of us that truly believe in it.

Do you believe in sorcery and witchcraft? Or maybe you just have a fascination in which you would like to believe.



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Religion, WITCHCRAFT and Sex

Sorcery - Paramour with the devil
Sorcery - Paramour with the devil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The word witch derives from an ancient variant of a Willow tree. The willow was the tree of the triple moon goddess (maiden, women, & hag). Willow worshipers (witches) were said to possess supernatural powers of divination. They were generally associated with venerating the Devil at nocturnal orgies. Witchcraft is a bizarre art that has been prevalent from immemorial times. 

The essence of this craft is an inane desire to possess additional powers to either enhance his youth or life. The epitome of this is the mystique of sex that is closely interwoven with witchcraft. Why sex? As Hegel and Adler have written, sex is a prime ordeal force and the sublime that everybody craves for. It does not die with old age or infirmness though one can crave and not be able to perform. At this stage, sexual fulfillment can only be prolonged by the black arts and its supreme the Devil. This is in sharp contrast to the religious doctrine which generally shuns sex. If God represents this doctrine than its antithesis the Devil represents sensual pleasure of which sex and all its variations are the main body.

The first stage of this art is the initiation and the ceremony involved with it. Initiation ceremonies are held the world over and vary from place to place. In England local initiation meetings were usually held once a week, but the "Sabbath of the Witches" held four times a year and usually on Thursday was the more important of the gatherings when a large no believer would be admitted to the fold. The person or Devil under whose superintendence it functioned was referred to as Beelzebub, Satan or Lucifer. The people who constituted this meeting called it the Coven. And to all such members of the Coven, the presiding person represented the GOD. He was worshiped and the greatest gift a disciple or a person being initiated could give was his or her body to the devil. In other words, the devil would copulate with the person and the person would receive the seed of the devil. This was and remains a major part of the initiation ceremony. So strong indeed was the covens belief in his power and so much was he adored, that the witches (persons attending the coven) dedicated their bodies and also of their daughters if any to the Devil,. The ritual was in early times quite queer, though by modern standards not all that bizarre. The ceremony would start with Devil undressing in front of the gathering and then would wear a long loose robe. A lady who had to be initiated into the cult would be led to the altar in the center of the room and laid on a raised platform. The Devil or the presiding deity would undress the lady in front of the congregation. She would be asked certain questions as to her willingness to be the Devil's disciple and whether she was ready to receive the seed of the devil. On her affirmative reply, the ceremony would proceed further.

The Devil would then begin the final part which was again played before the audience as the 'Devil' would position himself for the "Coup de Main", an entry into the initiator's body. The man would mate with the woman by making loud cries as if simulating the Devil. If the lady conceived the children were considered the Devils progeny and grew up "in the service". After the Devil had partaken of the woman she was kept on the altar and offered to other covens that also had sex with her. In fact, this ceremony is beautifully depicted in Roman Polanski in his film "Rosemary's Baby". In England, such ceremonies are still in existence and serve as a source of extreme sexual gratification.

Even in New Guiana in the Dutch East Indies, it was quite common to make love to the woman being initiated by a strong stud from the gathering, right out in the open air. Once in every 7 years there would be, what was called "Great Sabbath", at which all covens of a wide district would congregate, and tradition has it that on that occasion the Chief Witch or 'Devil" would sacrifice a young virgin after she had been deflowered and had mated with the Devil and his apostles. Thankfully this is now obsolete, but in some primitive cultures in India and Africa is still in vogue.

The actual initiation ceremony into the mysteries of witchcraft must have been an exciting experience. The aspirant to membership, after being duly recommended, would have to be introduced; and the manner of introduction would be kept secret until the actual event. Before the assembled covens there would be a renouncement on the part of the candidate of any former faith and then the person would give his or her body to the Devil. After the reception, the candidate would be baptized with a new name such as "Thief of Heaven" etc. The initiation ceremonies are an important part of the ritual of the black arts. Nothing can be complete until one gives his or her body to the "Devil". Also if there is a betrayal of confidence on the part of the member, then retribution is swift, sometimes with an iron rod.

There are also Demons, fiends and Specters known as Succubus and Incubus. Incubus is supposed to be a lascivious demon who appears to a woman at night and ravishes her body. While Succubus was somewhat similar Demon possessed of the power of assuming the form of a woman. This is itself a worldwide phenomenon and is persisted in modern times. Taylor in his work 'Primitive Culture (1873) says that these male and female nocturnal demons which consort lasciviously with men and women are indeed a fact. In the Islands of West Indies, there are Ghosts of the dead, vanishing when clutched at. In New Zealand ancestral deities form an attachment with females, paying them repeated visits. In the Samoan islands, such intercourse with inferior Gods was believed to bring about supernatural conception. In Hindu Tantra, formal rites are specified which enable a man to obtain a companion nymph by worshiping at night in any burial place. One of the aspects of witchcraft is the continuation of pagan ritual for fertility for barren women. In real terms, it is little more than absolute belief in the divine power of Satan. Many a barren woman has resorted to such rites for herself. But sex is the ultimate path in the Devils armor and leads to him. Like prayer leads to God.

The sexual act is known to release energy and is looked down by all religions, but for the Devil who is the Anti-thesis of God and goodness, it is an essential ritual. Perhaps this energy released in a sexual union does have something to do with black arts.

In Europe nocturnal intercourse with Incubi and Succubi are carried out in full belief by ecclesiastics and lawyers; priests and witches.


Nowadays the part of Incubus is usually played by the chief of witches Coven, in disguise and sometimes in semi-darkness to heighten the power and effect of the occult.

Bram Stoker in his famous work "Count Dracula" has vividly portrayed another facet of witchcraft. In this form a vampire (usually a man who remains alive after death with the help of sorcery) to remain 'alive' needs to have intercourse with a female and a woman vice versa i.e., cohabit with a man, with a peculiar ritual that makes such creatures live on by drinking the blood of their victims.

Like in prayer one gives himself up to God, so in this case, also there is a voluntary personal surrender of ones will and body to the Devil; and then only one can get something in return. The immortal tale of Dr. Faustus and the selling of his soul to the Devil in return for the immortal love of Helen, the most beautiful woman in history is a tragic example of this. Again the fundamental driving force for Dr. Faustus was sex and he craved of it with Helen.

Hence we may conclude that one of the essential ingredients of sorcery, witchcraft and black magic is the sexual act. Mans desire for the sublime pleasure of sex will ensure that the Black arts including witchcraft will survive for all time to come.



Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Inscribe and Anoint Your RITUAL CANDLES

An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The importance of charging and anointing your candles before you use them for spells and rituals cannot be overlooked.

If you wish for your rituals and spells to work to full effect, charging and anointing a candle with a particular oil, or inscribing symbols and words on them, will make the candle and its purpose all that more potent.

For example, if you are performing a love spell or attraction spell to try and find love or to strengthen love you already have, you would use a pink colored candle(pink represents love) and then inscribed love based symbols. After inscribing, you would then anoint that candle with a love based or attraction based oil.

The same could be said to prosperity or wealth based spells and rituals. A green candle would be used(to represent prosperity, wealth, and money) and then inscriptions towards prosperity and wealth would be drawn onto the candle. Afterword, an oil would be anointed that focuses on prosperity.

Inscribing Your Ritual Candle

After cleansing and blessing a spell candle, you should begin to inscribed the candle with symbols or words towards whatever it is your ritual or spell is on.

For example, if you are using a love spell and you wish to obtain the love of someone you know, you can be inscribed your initials and their initials onto the candle, or you can even use the full name of the quarent and yourself. You can add the names alongside with symbols that represent love as well, such as a heart or even ancient symbols of love such as the Reiki love symbol.

You will need something with a fine point to scratch the surface of the candle. It can be a pin, a specialist scribing tool, a cocktail stick or anything else your imagination can dream up. Once you have chosen your tool though, dedicate it properly, then tuck it away in your magical tool chest and reserve it for just this purpose.

As you are inscribing your candle, visualize the outcome. Make it a small ritual in its own right. Once you have inscribed your candle, you may wish to 'Dress' it. This is optional, your choice entirely, but it's easy and again adds to the potency of your spell.

Anointing Your Ritual Candle

Anointing your candle would be the next step to properly charged your ritual candles. As stated above, you should anoint with oils that are specific to your desired outcome. Therefore if you are looking for love and attraction, you would use those types of oils.

The method for anointing your candle is pretty specific. The most general method is to hold the ritual candle in one hand, dip the first two fingers of the other hand in oil and starting at the top (the end with the wick) run your oiled finger down toward the center of the ritual candle. Stop at the center, lift your finger off, turn the candle slightly and repeat the process until all the top half of the candle is covered. Then starting at the base of the candle, run the oiled fingers toward the center. Again stop at the center, lift the fingers off, turn the candle slightly and repeat the process until the entire bottom of the candle has been coated.

The whole time you are anointing the candle, concentrate on the outcome you wish to achieve with your spell. Experienced spell weavers often anoint the candle in a specific direction depending on the type of spell they are performing. For spells to attract something to the spell-weaver, the candle is anointed from top to middle, then from bottom to middle. For banishing or sending something away i.e... getting rid of bad habits, negative energy, breaking jinxes or hexes, the candle is dressed from the center out to the top, and then from the center out to the bottom.


Once the candle is coated in oil, it can be rolled in herbs relevant to the particular spell you are performing. For example, use Agrimony for breaking hexes and returning them to the sender, use Chamomile for attracting friendship, Hyssop for purification and cleansing, Patchouli for wealth and so on. Once you have lit your spell candle and performed your spell, allow the candle to burn itself out completely.




Monday, June 4, 2018

The WHEEL OF THE YEAR

English: Wheel of the Year with Fire Festivals...
Wheel of the Year with Fire Festivals and Quarter Festivals, Neopagan holidays: Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Wheel of the Year is an interpretation of the Earth's seasons created by Neopagans and Wiccans. The wheel itself is formed from eight festivals more or less equally spaced throughout the year. The origins of the eight festivals can be traced back to pre-Christian Germanic and Celtic feasts and the wheel combines both cultures. The eight festivals are not only celebrated by Neopagans and Witches as the most commonly known have been adopted by various religions throughout the world.

The eight festivals of the wheel are known as Sabbats, which is a term of Hebrew origin, and there are four greater and four lesser Sabbats. The greater Sabbats are also known as cross-quarter days or Fire festivals and are of greater importance. The lesser Sabbats are also called quarter days and fall on the solstices and equinoxes. The combining of the Sabbats into the Wheel of the Year is a modern concept as there is not thought to be any such wheel before Wicca Witchcraft created it in the 1950's.

Early forms of Wicca only observed the four cross-quarter festivals and it was not until 1958 that the solstices and equinoxes were added by the Bricket Wood Coven, whose High priest was Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca Witchcraft. They were added to allow for more times of celebration, which brought Wicca more in line with Neo-Druidism, founded by Ross Nicols, a friend of Gerald Gardner.

The festivals on the Wheel of the Year are closely linked to the seasons and lunar cycles, which explains the common celebrations across religious groups, as the seasons play an important part in most systems of belief, be they bathed in ancient history or more recent. The eight festivals have set
days in the modern world but older forms of Paganism and religion follow the more exact dates which change annually depending on the lunar cycle. This cycle can alter the date by a few days which allows some Pagans to conveniently celebrate each on a weekend rather than a working day during the week.


The festivals of the Wheel of the Year are not copied from ancient rituals by Wiccans but they do draw inspiration from them. Common charms or items are still used in modern Paganism as they have been for thousands of years. Samhain, more commonly known to most of us as Halloween and celebrated on October 31st, is the start of the Neopagan year and is, therefore, also the start of the Wheel of the Year.




Saturday, May 5, 2018

Esbats and Sabbats - The Holy Days of WITCHCRAFT

A photograph of a painted Wheel of the Year fr...
A photograph of a painted Wheel of the Year from the Museum of Witchcraft, Boscastle.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every religion has its own days of power, reverence, and celebration. Wicca is no different in this regard. The holidays that Wiccans celebrate are referred to as Sabbats or the Eight High Holy days. They occur approximately every six weeks and denote the changing of the seasons. The sun, as a representation of the God, is revered during a sabbat, and the ceremony for a particular holiday is often performed at high noon. The other type of holy day that is more familiar to most people is the Esbat. The Esbat is a monthly occurrence that generally coincides with the moon being full. It is the night when witches gather to perform a ritual and magickal workings for the coming month.

This article will detail all of these holy days and hopefully shed a little light on what witches do throughout the year to honor their Deities.

The Esbat
As stated above, the Esbat is a ceremony that coincides with the cycles of the moon. Generally, the day that it is done occurs when the moon is full, though this is not necessary. The full moon is significant because witches firmly believe that the power of magickal workings wax and wane with the phases of the moon. When the moon is waxing or becoming fuller, it is good to perform rites that are drawing things to you or increasing positive influences in general. When the moon is waning or diminishing, it is good for banishing influences that are no longer wanted or getting rid of negativity. Yet when the moon is full, the magickal workings are at their peak, and it is good for nearly any rite that a witch may wish to perform. The new moon, or dark moon, occurs when the moon is not visible at all. During this time, the rites that are performed are either for extreme protection rites or negative magicks.

On whatever day the esbat is performed, it is done in the evening or at night. The reason behind this is that these rites are meant to be working with the Goddess, who represented by the moon.

The actual process of performing the esbat can be summed up very concisely. The witch or coven will gather at a designated ritual space. There, they will cast a circle, and perform rites that will raise their magickal and psychic power, and then direct that power at their desired goal. Since there are so many variables as to what a witch or group of witches may wish to direct their energy, it is difficult to offer up an example of what these rites may entail.

However, one of the things that is a common theme among esbats is that it is a time for connecting and communing with Deity. This is often done by the reciting of The Wiccan Rede and The Charge of the Goddess while in a circle. Afterward, time may be spent in either meditation or performing acts of divination with tarot cards, runes or other means. This is followed by a communion of cakes and wine, where the gathered witches will celebrate their coming together and catch up on the previous month and make plans for the coming one. Then the ritual circle is opened, the leftover cakes and wine are offered up to Nature, and the witches will go their separate ways.

The Eight High Holy Days
There are eight major holidays that Wiccans celebrate:


- Samhain (pronounce saw-vin or sow-en

- Yule 

- Candlemas 

- Ostara 

- Beltane 

- Midsummer 

- Lammas 

- and Mabon


Each of the Holy Days represents a different turning of the seasons, and a different phase of life. The common representation of these phases is the God, though many practitioners incorporate an aspect of the Goddess in some fashion as well. They are primarily Sun festivals, and, unlike esbats, the rituals are often performed when the sun is at its highest in the sky.

Sabbats are usually large gatherings where entire families will come together and celebrate with food and drink in addition to the religious rites.

Samhain
Samhain is probably the most recognizable of all of the Wiccan Sabbats. It falls on October 31st and signifies the ending of one cycle of the year. While many view it as the beginning of the next yearly cycle, that does not actually occur until Yule in December.

The main symbolism behind this holiday is death and honoring loved ones that have passed on. It is commonly thought that on this night, the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and witches take advantage of this opportunity to communicate with their family and friends who have passed on.

Samhain is also the last harvest festival of the year, and the last opportunity for the coven and their families to come together to share their resources before digging in for the winter. The period of time between Samhain and Yule is spent contemplating plans for the coming year and remembering the year that has passed.

Yule
Yule is generally thought to coincide with the Christian holiday of Christmas. This is not precisely so. Yule actually falls on the day of the winter solstice, which generally falls on or around December 21st.

The significance of this holiday is that of rebirth. This is the day where the days begin to grow longer, and the sun is making a comeback. The general representation of this is of Holly King, a Dark God, passing and being replaced by the Oak King, or Sun God. Though the sabbat that signifies the beginning of the year may vary from tradition to tradition, this is the one that is most popular in signifying the beginning of the year.

All of the sabbats represent a phase of life, and Yule falls into the fertility category. This is a time of conception, where the beginnings of life begin to stir. When covens and families come together on this holiday, plans begin to be made for the coming year, as well as preparations for the coming spring.



Candlemas
Candlemas is also known by the name of Imbolc. It is well and truly the first fertility festival of springtime. The specific date that this day falls on varies from tradition to tradition, but it can be anywhere from January 31st to February 2nd. At this time, we are beginning to see the very first signs of spring, and the renewal of life.

The festivities for Candlemas all center on clearing out the old and making way for the new. The Maiden aspect of the Goddess is honored at this time, as are any Gods and Goddesses that relate to love and fertility. This holiday is considered an especially auspicious time for a new marriage or relationship.

One of the traditional symbols of Candlemas is the plough. They are often decorated and incorporated into the festivities. Another tradition for the holiday is to create a besom, a simple broom constructed of twigs or straw, and use it to ritually cleanse the home. It is then placed near the front, symbolizing sweeping out the old and welcoming the new.

Ostara
Also called Eostar, this High Holy Day falls on the spring equinox, on or near March 21st. This is the second of the three fertility festivals. Springtime is coming in full force at this time, and planting for the year's crops is well underway. New spring growth can be seen everywhere, and the Gods are petitioned for luck with the crops and the home.

Two of the traditional symbols for this holiday is the egg and the rabbit. The egg is an emblem of new life and new growth, and it is incorporated into many ritual workings and festivities at this time. The rabbit, known for its prolific mating habits, is also a symbol of growth and abundance. Both also symbolize change. The Christian faith has fully adopted both of these symbols into their celebrations that occur at near the same time.

Beltane
Also known as May Day, this Holy Day falls on May first. It is the last of the fertility festivals for the year, and with it comes unabashed sexuality for many traditions. The May Pole is one symbol of this holiday that is found throughout many traditions. It is a tall pole set in the ground, symbolizing the Sun God uniting with Earth. It is decorated with long ribbons and fresh flowers, and, of course, maidens traditionally dance around the pole.

One of the traditional May Day activities for this holiday is to secretly leave baskets of flowers and goodies at the doors of your neighbors.

Generally, this is a holiday that celebrates and revels in the return of the sun.

Midsummer
This Holy Day celebrates the God, represented by the sun in all of his glory. It is celebrated on the summer solstice when the longest day of the year takes place. Midsummer is neither a fertility festival nor a harvest festival. In this way, it is similar to Yule. On this day, rites often center on protection for the home and family for the coming year, rites of divination, and celebrating the abundance of The Oak King in his prime of life.

For those who work with faerie energy in their rites, Midsummer is an ideal time to commune with them. It is a common tradition for witches to go out in the twilight and look for faerie folk in stands of oak, ash and thorn trees.

Lammas
Another name for this holiday is Lughnassadh. It occurs on August 1st, and it is the first of the three harvest sabbats celebrated by witches. Attention turns now to harvest the crops and gardens, and preparations begin for the coming winter. The days are beginning to grow shorter, and the Sun God begins to lose his strength as the days grow shorter.

As this is the time of year when we first begin to reap the bounties of harvest, it is often a holiday accompanied with feasting and celebration. Decorations and dollies are often made from dried ears of corn, and used in rites and to decorate the home.

Mabon
Mabon is the primary harvest festival, the counterpoint to Ostara, and it occurs on the Autumnal Equinox. On this day, witches pay homage to retreat daylight and prepare for the coming winter. This holiday symbolizes the God in old age and readying for his impending death and rebirth.
Though this holiday is a little more somber than the rest of them, it is also one where Wiccans are sure to give thanks for what they have received throughout the past year. It is a popular time of year for witches and pagans to give back to their communities and generally share their bountiful harvests.

With so many holidays to celebrate, Wiccans always have something to look forward to in their faith. As the seasons come and go, witches around the world celebrate the wheel of the year. Though traditions and names may be a little different from place to place, they are all basically the same at heart.




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

So, You Want to Know About the SALEM WITCH TRIALS - Part TWO - How Salem Village Discovers 3 Witches

Reverend Samuel Parris (1653-1720)
Reverend Samuel Parris (1653-1720)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Parris Family- This is where the hysteria started in 9-year-old Betty.

Samuel Parris started his education at Harvard but dropped out to earn his fortune as a merchant in Barbados. He was not successful in the Caribbean and moved his family back to New England in order to find steady pay as a minister. He had a difficult time finding a job because he did not have a degree. He was a talented minister, even his enemies would agree, but he was also resentful and close-minded. Salem Village could find no minister, and Samuel Parris could find no parish, but still, the two couldn't come to terms and negotiated for nearly a year before Parris agreed to take the job.


Samuel believed the village should give him the parsonage forever, but the town would only agree to let his family live there for as long as he was a minister. Because of this, Parris got off to a rough start in Salem and there were many who did not like him. Samuel wanted to be a mover and shaker but lacked the gumption to see it through. Samuel Parris was the type of man who hated when people asked him questions about his own life but loved when they asked him his opinion about life, in general.

Mrs. Parris had it pretty easy compared to her neighbors. The brunt of the housework was done by the two slaves the Parris' brought back from Barbados. Mrs. Parris was frequently ill or away from the home, leaving the children in the care of the slave, Tituba.

There were two younger children that did not become afflicted.

Elizabeth Parris, or "Betty," at only nine years old, was the first to display any symptoms in January. Her body would go completely rigid, or she would zone out and make animal noises. She was a young, confused little girl who lived under the roof of a sanctimonious, rigid, father, who was constantly preaching fire and brimstone. Those who witnessed her behavior, especially her father, became alarmed and wondered how to fix her. Betty was a part of the accusations against the first three "witches," but she sent to live away from the home soon after and was not a part of the ensuing uproar.

Abigail Williams, the 11 1/2-year-old nieces living with the Parris'. (There is no record of what brought her away from her parents.) Like most sad children, Abigail yearned for attention, especially from men, but her quest would have brought her all the wrong notice. Children were expected to be seen and not heard, and Abigail was frequently compared unfavorably to the well-behaved Betty.

Abigail, who had always been a little jealous of her younger cousin, became utterly green with envy when Betty started to have spells. Not only was the girl getting all of the attention from the adults, but she got to say and do whatever she wanted without discipline. Before long, Abigail got in on the act and went on to be one of the most ardent and vocal accusers.

Tituba, a female slave from Barbados, had always been regarded with suspicion. It was not common for Massachusetts families to own slaves, but it was not illegal. The Puritans couldn't figure out whether Tituba was one of those voodoo people from the Caribbean or one of those pagan Indian savages, but either way, they didn't like her. Above all, Tituba loved Betty, and would frequently sit with the child and stroke her hair.

John Indian was also a slave in the Parris household. He and Tituba were a couple (some say they were married, but formalities such as marriage were not necessary for slaves). Fearing he would be accused next, John Indian suddenly became one of the afflicted during Tituba's confession. He would put on "fits" at Ingersoll's Ordinary (the local inn), writhing about on the floor and passing off old scars proof of abuse by the witches. He also testified at examinations.

The Beginning

It is almost impossible for a modern-day American to understand what life would have been like in January 1692. The average Puritan house had a huge fireplace, big enough to roast a whole pig indoors, but unless you were within a few yards of the fire, you were going to be cold. There were few social engagements, and people did not go visit. Men kept occupied with hunting trips and other outdoor activities, but a female could easily spend the entire week between church meetings trapped inside her dismal home. Puritans did not have the merriment of Christmas (they considered it a pagan holiday!?) to take the drudgery out of the long winter, and by January, long into the solitude, every day must have felt like hopeless sorrow, with no end in sight.

There is no clear-cut proof as to what prompted Betty's affliction. Years later, John Alden (an accused witch), wrote the girls were experimenting with a Venus glass to determine the occupation of their future husbands. The method of fortune-telling was harmless enough; an egg white is dropped into a cup of water to see if any images can be discerned in the goo. Alden's version may be accurate, and many authors have run with the idea that the young girls were dabbling in the occult with the same moral trepidation of a young boy peeking at a Hustler, but because it was written five years after the crisis was over, Alden's account of how the scare started cannot be taken as fact.

What is known is Abigail began to display symptoms, too. Mary Sibley, a neighbor, thought the girls were demonically possessed and recommended Tituba bake a "witch cake" according to an old English wives' tale. Tituba mixed Abigail and Betty's urine into the recipe, baked it over the fire, and fed it to the dog. According to legend, the evil spirits were supposed to leave the girls' by way of their pee, and become trapped inside the body of the dog. Samuel Parris was beside himself with anger when he found out about the witch cake. He publicly scolded Mary Sibley from the pulpit, accusing her of "going to the devil for help against the devil." The congregation began to fear they were being invaded by invisible spirits they had no way of fighting.

Parris' next move was to call Dr. Griggs, who consulted his medical books and diagnosed the "evil hand," a perfectly acceptable medical opinion. It was official, the devil was in their midst, and Samuel Parris set about trying to figure out who his accomplices were. He beat the daylights out of Tituba and grilled the girls incessantly about what or who was torturing them. He even called in out of town ministers to pray and fast with the family.

The Putnam's

Thomas Putnam was an outspoken member of the community who always thought he was right. He hated anyone who seemed to have it better and sought revenge by sly maneuvering instead of direct confrontation.

Thomas Putnam was always demanding justice against his supposed wrongs, and his name graces the warrants of more witches than anyone else. Throughout the frenzy, Thomas constantly wrote letters making accusations against anyone he pleased, his allegations growing ever more outlandish each time. He had a dispute with just about everyone: the Nurse family over land, the English family over a failed election; the list of Putnam's enemies who eventually became accused witches goes on and on.

Ann Sr. was a disturbed woman, who carried around a load of anger, and blame. She had come to Salem Village with her dear unlucky sister, who lost every one of her babies before she, too, succumbed to death. Ann Sr. never got over this, especially when her own babies began to die. She would go in and out of affliction, and commonly confused a bad dream with a vision and testified to it as fact.

Ann Jr., at 12, was an uncommon child because her mother had taught her how to read. Around town, she was considered a little prodigy. She had the air of a child who is routinely spoken to about adult matters and treated as if she were an adult. Ann was the leader of the afflicted girls, and also the best witchfinder, testifying against 17 of the 19 "witches" hanged.

Mercy Lewis, Putnam's 17-year-old servant girl, watched as her parents were murdered by Indians. Mercy had been rescued by George Burroughs and placed in the home of the Putnam's.



More girls join the fray.

Ann Putnam, being only 12 years old and unable to resist the temptation of attention, quickly became the leader. It must have felt like Heaven to these young children. All of a sudden, the same grown-ups who were always "shushing" and ignoring were hanging on every word as if the girls knew the meaning of life. It was Ann who took over and began naming names, the other girls nodding in agreement.

On a leap year, February 29, the blame came back to Tituba, but that wasn't all, there were two other witches who haunted the children. Ann named the names, but soon the other girls saw, too.

The accused were rounded up to be examined; a sort of informal pretrial hearing set for March 1. The examination was set to be held in Ingersoll's Ordinary (the local inn), but so many people showed up to watch, the whole affair had to be moved over to the meetinghouse to accommodate the crowd.

Sarah Good was the most obvious choice and the first to be examined.

Her father killed himself in 1672.

She was on her second marriage, but her previous husband had died in huge debt, so Sarah had no money.

She was 39 years old, but most people would have guessed her 70.

She was married with a bunch of children, the youngest one was little Dorcas, was only five years old.

Her husband was a laborer, and though labor was valuable in those days, nobody wanted to hire him because he was attached to Sarah. A neighbor who they stayed with had to kick the Goods out because of Sarah's behavior. She was a mess, she was lazy, and she spoke without thinking. She was crude, and not worth having around, regardless of how much a family needed the extra hands on the farm.

Lately, Sarah had taken to door to door begging. She would show up unexpectedly, and the homeowners would have to watch her go away because she might try to sneak into their sheds. As she walked away she would mutter to herself. Sarah probably had a dash of schizophrenia. The mutterings were taken for curses, and her arrest caused many folks to remember curious incidents that could have been caused by Sarah.

Her favorite pastime was pipe-smoking, and one family had kicked her out because of it. Later, when she was in jail, she would beg tobacco off of the visitors, and even supposedly cursed young Mercy Short, who threw wood shavings at Sarah and told her to smoke them.

She was pregnant when she was arrested, and she had the baby in the Boston jail while awaiting trial. Jailers said she let the baby die. Of course, this is the opinion of a man who thought of Sarah as a foul witch. Sarah's other children were alive, and it is not fair to try to assume what Sarah could have been feeling while holding her dying newborn babe.

Her little daughter, Dorcas, became the youngest accused at 4 and ½ years old. She was thrown in jail like the rest of the "witches," and because she was too young to handle the horrors of being imprisoned in such an awful place, she went insane and was never the same again.

During Sarah's trial one of the afflicted girls screamed out she was being stabbed by Sarah, and the crowd gasped as the girl was even able to produce a broken blade. A young man in the crowd recognized the broken piece and brought out his knife he had broken the day before. The piece fit like a puzzle, and one of the magistrates scolded the girl for lying, though the rest of her testimony was never questioned

Sarah Osburn may have been a less obvious choice for which than Tituba and Sarah good, but she was a woman with a reputation.

She was an older woman in ill health.

After her husband died, Sarah allowed another man to move into her home without the benefit of marriage. This other man, being an Irish immigrant, was under suspicion for nothing more than being different. They eventually did marry, but that didn't change anything in the Puritan mind.

Before the accusation, Sarah had stayed away from church for more than a year.

She died in jail while awaiting trial.





Monday, April 23, 2018

So, You Want to Know About the SALEM WITCH TRIALS - Part ONE - Life As a New England Puritan

"The witch no. 1" lithograph
"The witch no. 1" lithograph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A hint on how to use this: If you are really interested in the subject, read the whole thing and you'll be able to hold your own in a conversation with an expert. If you have a report to do, or otherwise couldn't care less, just scan down and read the first few sentences of every paragraph. I do not always add dates, as timelines are so easy to find on the internet, but I do follow a loose chronology. The main goal is to present the information as it can be best understood. This is designed for you to get a feel for the life, learn little tidbits of information, and become an all-around more knowledgeable person.

What was life like for the New England Puritan?

The people were floundering about, trying to find purpose. Until about 1660, Americans had a common goal; working together to forge a new frontier, but now the colony was well established and attention turned to gain, both materially and spiritually.

Colonists did not care for the English political leaders. Instead, people idolized the founding fathers, like those who came over on the Mayflower. In 1692, the founding fathers were dead and gone.

The majority of the population had always been born in England, but the tide changed, and in the late 1600's, America was filled with people born on her soil.

There was no separation of church and state, and people who did not attend meetings were suspect and could be punished. Many towns had a rule that a man could not vote if he was not a member of a church.

Because lying was considered a sin, it was punishable by law.

Hangings were not common, but when one occurred it was a form of entertainment that young children were encouraged to attend. The most popular part of the hanging was the last words when the person about to be executed would say goodbye to his or her family. Puritans reasoned allowing children to witness hangings would teach them the consequence of immoral behavior.

Life was an exhausting array of chores with little amusement. The average family made their own bread, butter, cider, ale, clothes, candles, and just about everything else they used. Every member of the family could expect to work from morning to night.

Houses were dark, damp, and depressing. A candle was always burning, even in the middle of the day because the tiny windows let in so little light.

The nearest neighbor usually lived a few football fields away.

Most people could not write, and signed their names on legal papers with their "mark." Signing an "X" was unfashionable to young girls (and even grown women), who liked to make curly cue hearts and other inventive designs.

Because people couldn't read, they didn't care (or know) how their name was spelled, and, since the court reporter couldn't very well ask an illiterate person how to spell his or her name, the spelling depended on who was taking the notes. Many of the official documents spell individual names differently. Mary Easty was also Esty, Osborn, Osburn, Cory, Corey, and so on. Even learned and educated men used a loose grammar, and did not worry about proper spelling.

Normal families had 5-10 kids of their own, and it was common to have an extra child living in the home. By the age of 7, children were given their full share of responsibility and expected to perform to adult standards.

New England had one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in America. "Nine out of ten infants born there survived at least until age five, and perhaps three-quarters lived to see adulthood." In more rural areas as many as 25% of children died before the age of 1, and only about half made it to adulthood.

Most marriages ended with the early death of a spouse. A couple was lucky to get seven years out of each other. Second and third marriages were common.

The man was head of the household. A woman might offer her opinion to her husband behind closed doors, and even prove a valuable ally, but she was expected to concede to her husband in all matters. She could not own property without her husband's permission, or vote. It was assumed that woman was the weaker sex in every way, and if she did not follow her husband's rules, he was encouraged to use physical abuse as a form of "correction."

There was a real fear of Indians (Salem was never attacked), and everyone knew at least one orphan from Maine who watched on as their parents were killed by Indians. Ironically, many people who were captured and held captive chose to stay with the tribe rather than go back to their families.

Politics

America was a colony of England, and had to run things according to a set of rules, called a "Charter," handed down from the English king. Just to get word to England would take 10 weeks by ship. In March, when the witch scare first broke out, the previous charter had been long eliminated. This meant there was no leader, no rules, and the nearest thing to a leader was in England negotiating for a new charter. Because of the situation, the accused witches were examined and held in jail, but not tried. In May, Increase Mather, the president of Harvard (the only New Englander with an official title), sailed back from England with a new charter and a new governor. This is when the actual trials began.

Puritan Beliefs

The Bible was law; period, no questions asked, end of a conversation. It was taken literally, and sins like adultery and sodomy could be punished by death.

"The House Where Witchcraft Started, Now ...
"The House Where Witchcraft Started, Now Danvers, Mass." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Puritan faith had been taking some blows, and there were no new people joining the ranks. Ministers were constantly preaching about the falling ranks and the rise of the devil as if they were one.

Ministers commonly spoke of the virtue of being a good wife, which was all a woman could really hope to be. A woman would be frowned upon if she owned her own land, didn't have a lot of children, or was in any way, outspoken or different.

People dabbled in the occult and practiced white magic. Simple wives tales like fortune telling were passed down from generation to generation, though it was considered evil. Ministers were always preaching about the dangers of inviting the devil in through the occult, no matter how harmless it may seem.

There was a general distrust at the time, and if a cow suddenly died, its owner would likely think one of his neighbors had cursed him. A man would not dare to question God's judgment; he just questioned it being aimed at him. If he searched his soul and found he had done nothing to deserve the death of his cow, he would blame the misfortune on the devil acting through a witch.

To deny God was unquestionable, so by the same token, to deny the existence of the devil would be just as blasphemous. The Bible was taken to be complete truth, and men who could read would consult the Bible for personal, as well as legal matters.

Puritan lifestyle was stringent and righteous, and they were not the loving and forgiving type one would expect to meet in such a religious community. According to Marion Starkey, if a man had a toothache the Puritans figured he had in some way sinned with his tooth. This feeling was so strong that some of the accused witches confessed in bewilderment and wracked their brains to find something they had done in the past to allow the devil to use them in such a manner.

The Puritans used fasting as a means to give God a little extra oomph and unite the community in a cause. Meals were very important, and usually the only time during an average day when a person could sit and relax for a moment.

There was little separation between dreams and real life. To the Puritan, there was a reason for everything, and "...dreams contained prophesies, revelations, truths more real than daily life, and there was no clear explanation of what else they were."

Salem Village

All his life, Thomas Putnam had been resentful of rich families, like the Porters. Both families grew up in Salem Town, but the merchant Porters were more worldly and successful than the farming Putnam's. No matter how hard he tried, Thomas Putnam, an influential man in his own right, just couldn't beat those uppity Porters. The Porters had more land and more money, but what really bothered Thomas was that the Porters were considered smarter than the Putnam's because they were better spoken. Thomas set out to break away from Salem Town and from Salem Village, but the township wasn't eager to let the property go.



Salem Village was allowed to build a meetinghouse, but it was to act as a franchise of the Salem Town meetinghouse. Thomas Putnam tried to pull rank by handpicking the ministers, but this only served to divide the community in half; those who supported Putnam and his choice of  theminister and those who hated Putnam and wouldn't support any choice he made. All the unsuspecting ministers would eventually leave Salem Village because of the conflict. Sometimes, Salem Town/Village would refuse to pay, (George Burroughs had to take a suit to the General Court in order to get paid) and sometimes the ministers would bow out, frustrated by all the arguing and infighting.

Salem Village was finally allowed to act on it's own, and Samuel Parris was the first minister to hold the job for the budding community.

The witch, according to the Salem Puritan.

Witches were notorious for killing otherwise healthy infants.

Witches had pets, known as "familiars," to do their evil bidding. The familiars would drink the blood of their witch masters from an extra "teat" located somewhere on his or her body, usually near the genitals. Salem familiars had the particular habit of sucking between the index and middle finger.

Witches could throw curses like Frisbees, aiming at anyone who irritated them.

Witches made a pact with the devil, sometimes for a specified amount of time. The devil was always tempting people into signing his book.

A witch could not say the "Our Father" prayer without making mistakes.

A witch could be in one place while her specter was causing pain and mischief in another.

The devil had no power over those who didn't give him permission. He could not assume the shape of a righteous person, though the Puritans had no valid reason to believe this and many argued over the use of "spectral evidence."

If a person was convicted, or even accused of being a witch, his or her family was automatically suspect.





Thursday, March 15, 2018

WITCHCRAFT SYMBOLS and Their Meaning

Witchcraft symbol
Photo  by quinet 
There are hundreds of different witchcraft symbols and each one has it's own use and meaning. Some of these witchcraft symbols are already well known, and even used in modern Christianity. Here are just a few of the major witchcraft symbols and their meaning.

The Pentagram, or the five-pointed star. Though the exact meaning of this witchcraft symbol differs from one form of paganism to another, the basic meaning remains the same. This symbol represents the five natural elements of nature. Earth, water, fire, wind, and spirit or akasha.

The Pentagram is used for rituals as well as a symbol of protection and balance. It is a physical representation of the spirit being in balance with all of nature and the world around it. Wear a pentagram if you need protection or wish to ward off evil.

The Cross. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the cross is actually one of many witchcraft symbols. It became a Christian symbol when Christ was crucified on it. But we are talking about the pagan and witchcraft meaning. The cross has been used across many cultures throughout history including the Egyptians, the Japanese, the Sumerians, and many others.

The most widely used representation of the cross is to represent the sun and as a sign of life-giving power. It is also a symbol of life and fertility. The horizontal bar represents the physical existence. Our body and our life in essence. The vertical bar represents knowledge and understanding. To hang on the cross is a sign of having overcome the physical and to have entered the realm of understanding.

The triple goddess is another of witchcraft symbols. This symbol is a crescent moon on the left with the points facing to the left, a circle in the middle, and another crescent moon facing to the right on the right side of the circle. As the phases of the moon are very closely followed and used in witchcraft, this symbol represents three of the four phases of the moon. The first quarter, the full moon, and the last quarter.


The triple goddess symbol is a representation of the maiden, the mother, and the crone. The Maiden represents enchantment, inception, expansion, and the promise of new beginnings. The mother represents fertility, sexuality, nurturing, fulfillment, and stability. The Crone represents wisdom, death, and endings. Like the meaning of this witchcraft symbols, you have the maiden which is the waxing moon, the mother which is the full moon, and the crone with is the waning moon.

These are just a few of the many witchcraft symbols. Do some research and you will begin to find many more and their meanings. The key is to learn how to use these symbols in the ritual to your advantage and to understand each key energy that the symbol represents.




Monday, January 29, 2018

The Magic and WITCHCRAFT of Water Spirits

July 7 2009 Extravaganza - Prediction = True
Photo  by Pilottage 
The process of self-transformation in magic and witchcraft is very difficult to understand.  We all have been told over and over how we ought to act and think, what we ought to be like, but somehow the doing of it is not as easy as they make you believe.  We seem to make spiritual progress, but then we always slip back to square one.  Even when we see that we have indeed grown spiritually over our lives, nonetheless we don’t understand how it is that we got here from there.

Self-transformation is a process which cannot be understood intellectually but can only be felt.  The easiest and most effective technique which is employed in witchcraft and magic is the resort to nature spirits, especially tree spirits and water spirits.  Although some nature spirits such as cave and mountain spirits can be strict and difficult to deal with, or else require lots of propitiation, water and tree spirits are mellow and gentle.

Go alone to a creek or river in a wilderness area where there won’t be any people about.  You ought to go alone because if you take a friend with you, then you will be tempted to refer your judgment to your friend to be validated, rather than take responsibility yourself for your own intuitive judgment.

It is best to be alone when you don’t know what you’re doing.  Begin walking upstream, and pay close attention to the sounds and sights.  Water spirits are usually located in places where there are deep pools, springs, bends in the river, rapids, cataracts, etc.  Also, you usually find striking physical formations or features where water spirits live, such as interesting vegetation or unusual rock formations.  There is often a noticeable change in the river’s sound:  if it has been calm, then it suddenly becomes gurgling or vice versa.  In short, you will usually find some sensory clue which indicates that a water spirit is present.

However, you ought to be able to feel the spirit directly:  i.e. feel that this particular spot in the river has a unique personality or feeling to it.  Whenever you receive the feeling that you have arrived at the correct spot, then be assured that you have arrived at the correct spot.  Magic and witchcraft are a matter of learning to trust yourself.

Then sit on the bank of the river and just relax.  You can talk to the water spirit.  That’s another reason to go alone so that you don’t feel silly in front of another person.  Explain to the spirit who you are, and why you have come.  Ask the spirit to help you wash away your self-pity. Then remove your clothes, and jump in.  If the water is shallow, then just splash around.  Do not use soap.  If the river is not polluted, then take a sip.



Then get out, thank the water spirit, dry yourself off, and leave.  It is best to do this witchcraft and magic every day if this is possible; but if it isn’t then just go as frequently as you are able.  If you’re serious about your magic and witchcraft, you should go at least one time a week, even if this entails freezing weather.  You might be surprised to find out that you only feel cold before you jump; while you are in the water the spirit will keep you warm.  It is also a good idea to go whenever someone has put a bad vibe on you; or when you feel self-pitying, desperate, or depressed.  At first, you might not feel much of a difference after visiting a water spirit, but after you’ve been doing it for a while you will feel a definite change after visiting the spirit.  You will be amazed how much the spirit calms and soothes you when you go to it in a mood of upset or turmoil.

You can obtain holy water to be used in purifying and blessing from a water spirit.  This is best done when the moon is dark – warning, before the moon has risen – and with the moon in a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).  As you draw the water, ask the spirit to bless it for you.


    Magic and witchcraft are merely sets of techniques for transforming ourselves by eradicating self-pity. By performing the same act of witchcraft and magic – such as resorting to a water spirit – on a daily basis without fail, the ultimate success is assured. 
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