Were witches really witches or just Herbalists and Healers.
There were thousands of witches killed between 1500 and 1700. What often happened was a lot of those accused were often midwives or involved in herbal medicine. We didn't have a witch licensing board to control their medical practice. So the quality of care was questionable. So most were accused of witchcraft out of revenge, jealousy or possibly witch malpractice.
Many accused witches involved were into herbal healing and their lack of success to solve the persons problem or failure to solve a lovers problem as in Love Magic often led to accusations. Was this an early form of Medical Malpractice. Maybe!
So yes witches tended to be herbalist, healers and midwives.
Witches in Britain were often accused of failure to identify a thief and failed in their powers of divination. If they did succeed in using divination to identify a thief they to were accused of witchcraft.
The Protestants didn't approve of divination or magic and also tried to put a stop to the practice. They even accused Catholic Priest of turning wine and bread into the body and blood of Christ. A practice of divination.
During the period called "The Burning Times" when witches were being burnt at the stake. People were accused and burnt. Not that they were even practicing witchcraft.
Consider the Salem witch trials. There were 200 people accused. Nineteen were hung and one was evened crushed to death. The man crushed was a lawyer, he failed to enter a plea for a accused witch. There was no evidence in any of these cases of actually practicing divination. It seems the best way to avoid death was to admit to witchcraft. Then you could repent of your sins name some others as witches and live. From the accounts I've read all who pleaded innocent were executed. None who pleaded guilty were executed.
I might go with the idea of a " Witch Panic". The moral ideals of Salem and social anxiety of life living so close together often led to accusations. Maybe mob rule led to these executions. In the case of Salem you have two distinct family groups all maneuvering for power in the community. But like in statistics you have outliers. The first two people accused and executed were social outcast. It wasn't until things heated up did all social classes begin to be accused and two distinct family units emerge. When the elite begin to be accused things shut done rapidly in Salem an the trials end.
When you look at Britain fewer accusations of witchcraft an most were hanged. As in Salem most were hanged and a shorter mob mentality. Most likely from the British influence. We all know Germany burned and executed many more witches and lasted much longer in their quest to execute witches.
Not to be forgotten is the economic impact of witch hunts. People who identified witches could claim fees and confiscate property. I believe this intensified witch hunters to obtain convictions.
"Herbals Tips for the week"
Herbalalism in Magic
Herbs have enormous magical power because they hold healing effects that are from they earth and not man made. Each herb has benefits unique to itself. No wonder people of long ago felt it was magic.
It was used in dream pillows, or pillows lined with lavender to aid in sleep. We use it today for incense and oils often for relieve of stress and anxiety. Lavender is associated with happiness, love , sleep and psychic knowledge.
Harvest lavender herb in the morning after the sun has dried the morning dew. Ty with twine into a bundle and let dry on counter top until slightly brittle. This bundle can be put in your pillow case in which you can enjoy the relaxing aroma.
Finally a POEM.
By Lyall Watson- Supernature, 1973.
There is life on earth- one life, which embraces every animal and plant on the planet. Time has divided it up into several million parts, but each is an integral part of the whole. A rose is a rose, but it is also a robin and a rabbit. We are all of one flesh, drawn from the same crucible.
Do one act of kindness this week.
Source: Lecture Dr. Lucas
Salem witch trials and the Putnam family.
Numbers of family members listed or involved in trials: Ann Putnam Jr., Ann Carr Putnam, Sr. Edward Putnam, Hannah Cutler Putnam, John Putnam. Jr., John Putnam. Sr., Jonathan Putnam, Nathaniel Putnam, Thomas Putnam. Jr., Captain Jonathan Walcott, Mary Walcott.
The Putnam house was originally built around 1648 on a hundred acres farm. The first owner was Lieutenant Thomas Putnam. There were twelve generations of Putnam who have lived in this home. It was donated to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991. Danvers being the name for the old Salem Village.
The Putnam family was from Buckinghamshire England, the family came to America in around 1634. They were part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Being farmers they quickly found the land at Salem village much more fertile for crops and moved there. Salem village is approximately five miles from Salem town. The Putnam controlled most of this good crop land.
In 1660's Salem village began to want independence from Salem town. They desired to have their own church. Remember they are all Puritans and as such not really used to showing independent thought between church members. Everything is a sin and so they prayed and fasted together always fearful of not making it to heaven. Creating a schism between Salem Village and Salem town. Those loyal to Salem town disliked this new found independence. Those in Salem town didn't like the potential loss of tax revenue.
So Salem village gained the right to have their own church and minister in 1672. The villagers were allowed to appoint a group of five to collect taxes from the villagers. But we have a problem. What is that problem? Having two groups of villagers with separate loyalties would be the beginning of a perfect storm. Two families emerged to become quarreling adversaries. The Putnam's and the Porters. This weeks focus is on the Putnam's.
The Putnam's are simple farmers and followed Puritan lifestyles . They along with other villagers believed Puritan traditions must be kept. The Putnam family believed the thriving farm community was because of living the Puritan life. But as villagers became more wealthy so does pride and self interest. This again will lead to conflict with the Porters who thrive from being merchants who trade with Salem town. The Porters must keep close relationships with Salem town and don't like cutting ties with them.
The Putnam family's wealth stagnated as farmers while Porters merchant opportunities increased.
The Porter family dam that powered their sawmill flooded the Putnam farm which resulted in a lawsuit for damages against the Porters. This happened in 1672 and made frictions worse between families. That is the same year when Salem village was granted the right to build a church and hire a minister. The Porter family opposed the new church and separation from Salem town.
Having gained approval to build a church and minister Salem village brought its first minister Rev. James Bayley in Oct. 1672. The village would quarrel even after obtaining a church and minister. The following minister Rev. George Burroughs came next and would find himself embroiled in the witch trials some years later. The stage is set for these two family's and their roles in the Salem village witch trials that are still yet to come.
Stay tuned the best is yet to come!!!! More on the Porter family and start of witch trials next week!!!!
Incense in Magic
Incense long has been associated with magic and witchcraft. The use of incense in witchcraft has three areas. Stimulating one's sense of smell, connection with spells, and when a spell is done the incense smoke carries the spell.
From Southern Hemisphere Pagan
More on herbs and how it relates to today's world. Next week.
Porter Family And Salem Witch Trials Background
The Salem witch trials were mostly between two families, the Putmans and Porters. John Putman Sr. was the patriarch of the Putman's. John Porter Sr. was the patriarch of the Porter's. These two families had battled for dominance in Salem village economically for some time an it was just a matter of time before they collided in a battle of jealousy and revenge.
The Putman's were farmers an led a simple life. (See blog last week for more detail) The Porter's had many business interest in trade an commerce. The Porter's were entrepreneurs an considered more worldly than Putman family. The Porter's business interest allowed their family wealth to increase all the while the Putman's wealth was stagnant.
When the Porter dam flooded the Putman's farm as mentioned last week the subsequent lawsuit fueled the rivalry and the Salem witch accusations were just around the corner.
The arrival of Rev. Parris and support of the new minister by the Putman's was another reason for division. Since the Porter family hadn't wished to separate from Salem town or the church there. Rev. Parris was seen as another adversary. The accusations against Rev. Parris will soon come as accusations of witchcraft in his home and the hysteria begins.
The hysteria in Salem village was not about the devil but about competition and greed between two family's. The disagreement over separating from the Church and town of Salem Town. Lastly, the constant fear of death prevalent in a society built on Puritan values.
Interesting how a once close knit community can divide and split into two different kinds of people an developed behaviors an habits that result in witch accusations that lead to the death of so many of their own neighbors and friends.
Salem Witch Trials Background
In 1692 the panic began in Salem village. By the end of the trials nineteen will be hanged and several more will die in prison. One man will be crushed by a mass of stone piled on him trying to gain a confession.
Many lives an families will be destroyed and the Salem witch trials will remain a legacy for this area of Massachusetts forever.
The first trial occurred because the daughter of Rev. Parris (Betty) and his niece (Abigail Williams became ill. The girls were having epileptic like fits. The girls screamed and throw their bodies around the room.
The village doctor examines the girls and diagnosed them as being bewitched. The hunt for the witch who caused their affliction begins.
The first three women accused of witchcraft were all people looked down upon by the community. They were all of lower status. One lived as a beggar on the streets. One failed to attend the Puritan church as required by their faith. One was a black slave.
The fact of the matter is anyone accused of causing illness or death to anyone were accused of witchcraft. They were said to have a unlawful covenant with the devil.
Most people didn't have any evidence that these women had used witchcraft. Often spectral evidence was used. They could simply say the saw a ghost at their home.
There were many ways in which people were tested for witchcraft. One method was a witch cake. The cake used urine from the ill girls. The cake was then fed to a dog. When the dog ate the cake the witch would cry out in pain as if the dog had bitten them.
The touch test was another method of testing for witchcraft. It was believed that if the accused witch touched their victim, and their victims symptoms stopped then they were the witch who caused the affliction.
Some people believed that witchcraft could be proved due to the appearance of 'witch teats' on victim's bodies. These were often just moles or blemishes on the body.
Summary of Salem Witch trials
Over 150 men and women were imprisoned because they were accused of witchcraft.
19 men and women were hanged , 1 man crushed and 7 people died in prison.
The place at Salem village where all the witches were hanged became known as Gallows Hill. People gathered to see the hangings there.
The witch trials finally ended when Salem's minister and his father urged people to consider the evidence they were presenting. The spectral evidence was declared insufficient to convict someone of witchcraft an put them to death.
In the end those still alive or imprisoned who had been accused or suspected of witchcraft were released.
Dr. Wendy Lucas Power-point Lectures Spring 2017 History of Witchcraft , University of Central Arkansas.
Next week the trials of some accused will be discussed.
Herb Tip Of The Week
The role Dr. Griggs played in the Salem Trials.
The beginning of the witch hysteria could be blamed on male roles models of Puritan Salem. Puritan men played a dominant role in society and often took the lead in parenting and religious matters. They were considered head of households and held authority over wives and children. Although, Puritan women had a larger role an equality than other women not of the Puritan faith.
Since Puritans believed in hard work and simple labor, many lived off the land raising crops an cattle. Additionally men performed every job an task necessary for life and betterment of the Puritan community, including blacksmith, store clerk, and doctor.
According to the Puritan mind, Puritan men were pious and in charge of the spiritual well being of their families. They led their families in religious devotions and prayers. They ensured their families attended church services on Sunday.
The failings and sins of the family reflected poorly on the Puritan man and his ability to successfully lead his family along a righteous path, in the case of Salem village in 1692. We'll see that Puritan men and their role in society played an important role in the witch hysteria. The role of Dr. William Griggs and his powerful decision that three young girls are bewitched might be the match that lit the flames of hysteria that caused the death of nineteen men and women in addition, one man crushed to death.
In January of 1692, Samuel Parris, Pastor of the Salem village, had a daughter of nine, and a niece of about eleven years of age, that became ill with fits. As the story goes the girls rolled on the floor, screaming in pain, and shouting aloud. The first instinct of Pastor Parris was to pray for his daughter and niece. When this didn't work, Parris began to pray and fast as was the puritan way in their religion.
When this didn't work, physicians were called to the Parris home. Several physicians were called to the home of Rev. Parris. Only one ultimately diagnosed the three girls as bewitched. This doctor was named Dr. William Griggs.
Dr. William Griggs was in his late 70's in 1692. Nothing is really known or mentioned of his medical training. Dr. Griggs was most likely self=taught and he worked to establish his practice in Salem village where he would ultimately diagnose the afflicted girls Betty Parris and Abigail Williams.
The two girls seemed to get worse after the diagnosis. In the book by Enders A. Robinson there are claims that the witch trials were a conspiracy led by Thomas Putman and Dr. Griggs. There is some evidence that Griggs would benefit from the bewitchment diagnoses and later accusations against Elizabeth Proctor a midwife and competitor against his practice. This could be evidence of the male figure of Dr. Griggs feeling slighted by a female in a male dominated Puritan society.
portrayal of Abigail Parris
Dr. Griggs niece also provided testimony in the Proctors trial. Could Dr. Griggs niece have been pushed by the good doctor to give false testimony? Dr. Griggs would have benefitted from the loss of a competitor.
Although, we have very little to go on. Information on Griggs and who he really was, yet he does appear in the narratives as the man who lit the flames of witch hysteria in Salem village in 1692.
There is nothing tidy about Salem village and its legacy. It appears likely that Dr. William Griggs diagnosed the girls, but regardless of who said witchcraft was the problem. There were many people who had personal motivations to create havoc for monetary or personal revenge.
Sources: Enders A Robinson, The Devil Discovered, Long Grove Ill. Waveland Press(1991)
Next week, last blog and summary
Summary of The End of Salem Witch trials
Many people in the town of Salem Village started feeling that the trials were getting out of control. Many innocent lives had been taken by October 1692. Governor Phipps issued an order to protect the accused witches who were still in prison. This order suspended more arrest and current prisoners couldn't be harmed. Governor Phipps only issued the order to protect his own wife who was accused of witchcraft. Although, this was likely true many Salem residents had grown tired of the hysteria also.
Governor Phipps created the court of Oyer and Terminer to hear the rest of the witch trial cases. The court of Oyer and Terminer didn't allow spectral evidence, so nobody else was condemed. The last trial was held on January of 1693. The final count put to death was 19 hanged and one crushed by rocks.
copy of Oyer/Terminer court proceddings
The resulting aftermath of the Salem trials was terrible. Many Salem citizens were still stuck in prison. Many couldn't pay their debt owed to the court to get out of prison. Some had their land confiscated and were left homeless.
During the Salem trials many farms were unattended and crops weren't produced. This meant food shortage's caused starvation and sickness. Crop failure was a new hysteria to worry about.
Salem's Politics were also affected. The Parris loyalist were replaced by a anti-Parris committee. Reverend Parris knowing his job was in jeopardy made a sermon trying to make his involvement appear better. Admitting that he had put to much belief in spectral evidence. Reverend Parris wasn't forgiven and eventually agreed to leave Salem Village.
With Reverend Parris gone a new minister arrived Reverend Joseph Green. Green tried to bring the congregation back together. Reverend Green had a little success an the congregation was damaged for many years to come.
Many Salem residents after the witch trials couldn't get along. Many divisions were along family lines. Putman's against Porter's for example. Often the same division's as the accused and the accusers, forgiveness was not enough.
The Salem witch trials were over, there are no more deaths because of witchcraft or any more accusations of being one. The Salem trials had caused so much damage to the Salem name that Salem Village residents renamed the town Danvers and this is the named today.
Herbal Tips Conclusions
Herbal medicines are increasingly becoming the choice of most patients nowadays. The promise of preserving the natural qualities that promote a healthier method of healing our bodies will contribute to the popularity of herbal cures. Moreover, as these types of medicines are grown by individuals in our own home backyards. The cost of health care could be reduced. My challenge to any one who has read my herbal tips is too stay informed and take a active role in your health. Living is about quality of the life you live not the length. Although, people who have quality lives seem to live long lives as well.
Good source on herbal medicine