Witchcraft In the Past What can we learn from ancient sources as to our beliefs today

This is the beginning of a journey in "witch" documents will be read and discussed to try and determine why we believe as we do in regards to witchcraft and the practice of magic. Can we determine a set of events that are typical when people are accused? Has good and evil always played a role in witchcraft? The term witchcraft has a negative ring to it and is that fair? So as we take this journey of reviewing documents lets see if we can put ourselves in the shoes of those involved always remembering the who? what? where?why? in order to seek truth in a snapshot in time.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1-27-2017.......My thoughts on Apuleius: The power of witches. We see a young man is attending Olympian games in Miletus and is confronted and hired to watch over a corpse and must stay awake in order to keep witches from doing evil to said corpse. Things such as witches gnawing on the dead and using these bits of flesh in there concoctions was thought to have occurred at night before the burial of a corpse. The family would then hire someone to stay up all night with the body. This is written in (c.115-200ce.) What grabbed my attention about this story is this. The superstition of staying up with the dead continued with American Folklore into modern day. Example: My mother told me of her grandmother passing away and her body being displayed in their parlor in the 1940's. Someone would have to stay up with the body at night in order to keep rodents from gnawing at the corpse. This sounds the same as the witch of Apuleius story but with a modern day explanation. Story of Apuleius from: Levack Brian P. The Witchcraft Sourcebook (p.16-21). Herbal Tip for the week: Bad breath chew some parsley.-Mother Earth News (Oct/Nov, 2010)

CURE FOR BAD BREATH- PARSLEY LEAFS
TASTE LIKE CHICKEN!!!

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More from Brian Levack's book The Witchcraft Sourcebook.

St. Augustine: Demonic Power in Early Christianity (pg 27-29) St, Augustine was the Bishop of Hippo in northern Africa and Levack writes he fathered Christianity in this region. The church afforded him great power and he was recognized as a writer of christian beliefs that many Protestant as well as Catholics adhered to. This has always bothered me when writers lay Christianity at the feet of a man Like St. Augustine or any organized religion. People read your Bible! Yes! That includes the Old Testament. The Old Testament for tells the coming of Christ. The New Testament talks of Christ short life and teachings. No where in the Hebrew or Greek transcripts does the Church exist as we know organized religion today. The very idea of the Catholic Church being the mother church is a blatant fabrication. Think people where does Catholic Church foundation come from. The Roman Empire! The first Pope was a Roman Emperor. The Romans an Jewish religious leaders are the ones who crucified Christ. I believe leaving out these details is part of our PC world and damages the credibility of Christianity. Another is that all Protestant religions came out of the Catholic church. I don't claim to be the greatest scholar an you don't have to accept my views but you do owe yourself to pursue truth based on true facts. I only make these points to challenge you to not accept the PC accounts written in today's world. Ok! Why do I harp on this point. Doctrines of people and Church's often are dangerous and lead to mass hysteria. The following Doctrine taught by St. Augustine directly or indirectly caused the persecution of a group of people because they didn't accept his teachings. These people were Pagans in the view of the so call Church.

So what were some of these doctrines: From Saint Augustine (The City of God), trans M. Dods (New York, 1950), pp. 312-16.

St. Augustine

BOOK 10

Chapter 9. Prohibits the worship of other gods. "Moreover , they wrought by simple faith and godly confidence, not by incantations and charms composed under the influence of a criminal tampering with the unseen world"

Chapter 10. Talks about Satan deceiving the wretched souls of people by "Satan transforming himself into a angel of light" and that this deception causes many people to believe in false gods and turn away from true worship of the true God.

Chapter 11. The difference of Demons. St. Augustine describes demons as foolish and attracted to vapors. The have the ability to open closed doors and things. St. Augustine describes demons as a race of deceitful forms that make wickedness. Lastly, " We should sympathize with this great philosopher in the difficulty he experienced in acquainting himself with and confidently assailing the whole fraternity of devils, which any Christian old women would unhesitatingly describe and most unreservedly detest...."

As we see with the above quotes that St. Augustine couldn't even describe what he or others were dealing with. A very large disclaimer wouldn't we all say.

So again we see people labeled as pagan, anti-god, practicing devil magic using herbs. Which brings up the topic of herbs. I gave a herbal tip in an earlier blog without explanation to why. I did this to point out the simple fact that herbs have been used for centuries for healing purposes and are still used today for healing and the soothing of ailments. So here is my herbal tip.

Herbal Tip: Aloe Vera for burns. Most of us have heard this our whole lives. Yet recently I've talked to young people who have never heard of this. Simply, take a Aloe Vera Leaf break it in half and squeeze the aloe salve from leaf and apply to burn. Mother/Earth News (October/November 2010).

ALOE VERA PLANT FOR BURNS

People don't believe every blog, tweet, or any other kind of social media without facts. We just came through a awful election period which both sides used misinformation to sway people to vote in a way that was unhealthy for this country.

The witch trials of the past were not so different. Division and accusations was used to persecute groups of people. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent be truly informed. Don't be guilty of being part of your own witch-hunt.

Question everything someone writes and be slow to anger! Including my writings. I always accept criticism if you can show me a new path of enlightenment. May the Great Spirit! always show us the way. Yes! I'm part Native American from the Lumbee Tribe from N. Carolina.

If you have read this far I provoked you to think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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A little housekeeping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People! People! People! Think outside the box. Anyone can replay information and copy photos. My intentions are to provoke free thought and provide a twist on the facts. No! not make them up but try and make you realize there are many different perspectives. If I provoke you to dig deep and think harder about a topic I've done what I set out to accomplish.

HEALING POWER OF HERBS

Once again the Herbal Tip at the end is to remind you that natural medicine has been around since the beginning of mankind. Cunningfolk used it and so called witches too. Natural medicine is a lost skill and has great value even today if you have the knowledge of such things.

More from the Witchcraft Sourcebook by Brian P. Leveck. pg 117-171.

The trial and punishment of witches in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries were described in these sources and give accounts of the activities of these trials.

The very act of identifying a witch was a difficult task by the written court records and dialogue. The courts didn't have authority to prosecute a witch until the church gave it to local magistrates. Prior to this authority being given to local courts the power to convict and punish witches was solely the job of Bishops and church leaders. There was a constant power struggle as to whose authority to listen too. The local magistrate or church.

How can you prosecute someone if the crime in question happened at night with no witnesses. Well you create laws that fit the circumstances or people you wish to put on trial. Call it church heresy and you can get the church to do your dirty work.

Let's look at a couple examples of trial procedure and punishments.

SARAH WAS HANGED FOR BEING A WITCH IN SALEM MASS.

Levack pg. 119-122.

Pope Innocent VIII issues a edict called summis desiderantes. This edict gives authority to two inquisitors to hold courts. The first was Heinrich Kramer and the second was Jacob Sprenger. They will hold the jurisdictional authority to prosecute witches directly from Pope innocent VIII that causes some discourse among local Bishops.

Quickly, these two inquisitors will see resistance and will need cooperation from secular courts in order to be successful in prosecutions. The church feels witchcraft impedes its advance into new regions and for the church to be successful it must aggressively stamp out the practice.

Witchcraft Sourcebook, Brian P. Levack. pg. 123-127.

Heirich Kramer: The Torture of Accused Witches, 1486.

Remember that Kramer is the author of Maleus maleficarum. This book of laws in modern terms is the witch trial law manuel or how to book. In this book of laws Kramer allows just about anything. If you need it to apply to the prosecution of a witch use this book.

Malleus maleficarum allows torture to obtain a confession. All sorts of witnesses can be used enemies, children of all ages, etc. The following are sourcebook examples of torture and how it can be applied.

Must have confession to get a conviction. But guess what? It's OK to torture your accused to get that conviction. Types of torture performed.

SWIMMING OR DUNKING

The Swimming Test: Accused witches were dragged to the nearest body of water, stripped to their underwear, bound by their hands and feet and tossed into the water to sink or float. Since witches spurned the sacrament of baptism, it was thought that the water would prevent them from sinking or reject them. Only, a innocent person would sink to the bottom, but a witch would float.

Prayer Test: This test was done because it was thought that witches couldn't recite holy scriptures. Usually the LORDS PRAYER was the scripture of choice. You had to recite without mistakes or any omission of text. Although, this simply showed a person was possibly illiterate or didn't know scripture.

Touch Test: The touch test worked like this. The victims would have a special reaction to being touched by the accused witch. So the accuser would have a motive to react like the trial magistrates wished them to in order to get a conviction.

WITCH MARKS

Witch Marks: The accused were often stripped of their clothes and examined for signs of a blemish that witches were said to have place on them. Such things as a common skin tag could be said to be a "Witches Tit" used to suckle the witches animals.

TORTURE RACK

More severe torture: Things such as burning with fire and the rack or stretching the limbs of the accused are more commonly known. These were the final stages before most admitted to witchcraft.

So we see that most people who were accused were destined to be tortured and executed in the end. Such acts all sanctioned by the church.

CHURCH SANCTIONS WITCH TRIALS

Church sanctions or edicts gave the power to enforce and execute trials and punishment. Without church sponsored witch hunts and trials I believe there couldn't and wouldn't have been so many executions.

IN THE HANDS OF THE CHURCH

A very sad history for people accused of being a witch.

SAD HISTORY

Herbal Tip: Menstrual cramps raspberries or raspberry tea.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS (OCT/NOV 2010)

COMING SOON MORE HERBAL TIPS AND A HISTORY OF HERBAL MEDICINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Male roles in witchcraft were often overlooked in the historical records. The Witchcraft source Book by Brian P. Levack contains two witch trials that I wish to examine. The first is "The Confession of Niclas Fiedler". The second is "The Confession of Johannes Junius at Bramburg".

In the late sixteenth century brutal and severe witch hunts occurred in German territories. They were held by the German electorate of Trier

The German electorate of Trier were appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor.

TYPICAL CASTLE OF A PRINCE-BISHOP THIS ONE IS LOCATED IN TRIER GERMANY

The rise of accusations and the fervor of this new electorate to get accused witches to name other people as accomplices increased the numbers of trials and most likely caused a increase in accused men.

Niclas Fiedler a former mayor of the city of Trier was accused of witchcraft even though he was a once prominent political figure. The use of torture will play a critical role in Fiedler's trial.

CONFESSION OF NICLAS FIEDLER

TORTURE AND CONFESSION

On a late afternoon in October of 1591 a man named Niclas Fiedler was brought into a courtroom accused of witchcraft.

No sooner had he been brought into the court room his confession is read to the court. Fiedler confesses wrong doing and admits he is guilty as charged. Fiedler admits he has wronged his fellow man. No! No! No! This is not what he admits to. The paper they read says so, but Fiedler begins to recant.

Fiedler actually tells the court if it was not for torture. The confession they have on paper would not exist. Fiedler persist that he is not guilty of the charges of witchcraft even though the court warns Fiedler on numerous occassion to stop saying he is not guilty.

Since Fiedler will not stop. The court orders his removal to the gallows to be hung by the neck. He is hoisted by the neck in the air by the hangmen. The rope that Fiedler is hanging by is hit with a stick until he submits.

JUST HANGING OUT

Fiedler was hung and beat in the above manner for a half hour until he submits to the torture and begins to confess his sin of witchcraft.

Fiedler's confession includes the following as it is written in the: (The Witchcraft Source Book by Brian P. Levack.)

Niclas Fiedler starts by saying the witchcraft all started twelve years ago when his wife was sick. Fiedler admits sadness and depression from his wife's long illness.

At this point he admits consorting with the devil on the Devils sabbath and that the evil devil tricks him into denouncing Christ etc. etc.

The devil comes to him again and again tricking him to worship and vow allegiance. Fiedler is delusional most likely by this time. Making claims of flying off on a billy-goat with the devil to a mountain top over looking Trier.

FLYING BILLY GOAT LOL!

The whole time the mayor of the town is listening to Fiedler confessing his pact with the devil. Remember Fiedler was hanging by the neck choking and beaten with a stick. The pain was horrible I'm sure.

FACE OF PAIN

The mayor knowing that this confession is worthless stops the torture. The mayor does however begin to instruct Fiedler on what to say and how to say it.

This will continue until Fiedler states the right confession the court wants to hear. Men and women are named as willing particapants with the devil by Fiedler just as Keston the mayor tells him to.

Niclas Fiedler will be executed for the crime of witchcraft.The pain and torture was the reason for his confession. Nothing more was written as to the fates of the other people named by Fiedler but most likely they would have been accused of witchcraft and put on trial also.

The second trial of a man I wish to mention is that of Johannes Junius at Bramberg. This source is also from (The Witchcraft Sourcebook) By Brian P. Levack.

BRAMBERG GERMANY

In the German city of Bramberg some of the worst witch trials happened between 1626 and 1630. There are estimates as many as 630 people are accused of witchcraft. No exact number of executions are mentioned but we could assume that there were many since Germany has a ruthless reputation with witches and their persecution.

HAD TO STAY AWAKE OR PIERCE YOURSELF AND BLEED TO DEATH

The trial and execution of Johannes Junius was one of those trials. What makes it unique is that it is a prominent citizen and that it is a man. The males put on trial for witchcraft numbered somewhere around twenty-five percent of the witches put on trial.

USED TO SQUEEZE FINGER OR OTHER PARTS OF BODY

Again! We see with the Bramberg trials that torture is widespread and the use of it to obtain confessions and the names of others to accuse of witchcraft was a common practice and possibly used more often than other areas of Europe.

SATAN OR THE DEVIL

We see with the use of torture more prominent people are named as witches. The stereotype of the old widow women as a witch has evolved into a new creature that includes the wealthy. Johannes Junius was one of those unlucky accused.

The following is Junius acount from The Witchcraft Sourcebook by Brian P. Levack.

THE WITCHCRAFT SOURCE BOOK

In June, 1628 Johannes Junius is brought before the court accused of practicing witchcraft. Junius is fifty-five years old and has never ever been accused of such wrong doing.

Junius enters his plea to the court. He pleads his innocence. Junius tells the court that he has never renounced God and boldly proclaims for the court to find one person that has seen him perform witchcraft or has seen him at a witch gathering.

MEN AND WITCHCRAFT

The court presents two witnesses. The first was Dr. Haan who states he saw Junious at a gathering of witches a year and a half before. The second witness Hoffens Elsse saw Junius at a witch dance. Junius was given a chance to recant his plea of being innocent. Junius does not.

ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT YOUR GUILTY

A couple of days later Junius is given another chance to recant and again he doesn't recant his original plea. The court orders the torture to begin.

THUMB SCREWS

Thumb screws are applied to Junius. Doesn't recant.

Leg screws are applied to Junius. Doesn't recant.

The torture is increased to the Strappado. Junius still doesn't recant and claims to know nothing of witchcraft.

The start of the torture began on June 30 and continued thru July 5 before Junius recanted his testimony. And admitted to witchcraft.

With the torture and exhortations Junuis finally confesses to the court. Junius admitted to being involved in witchcraft. Junius described a women or grass-maid who he submitted to and that she was a witch.

JUNIUS GRABBED BY THROAT BY GRASS-MAID

This women who he described as a witch transformed his spirit. Junius claimed she grabbed him by the throat and forced him to denounce God. From that moment Junius claimed to worship the Devil and recognized him as his new God. Junius admits to other things like breaking sacraments etc. all of which are forced and guided by his inquisitors. Junius fate is sealed and he is now destined to be executed for witchcraft.

The source continues with how Junius is forced to go to and fro in the town pointing out other possible witches. On one street he states he knows no one but is forced to name eight people as witches by his inquisitors.

OMG! IT'S A WITCH

The source ends with the description of Johannes Junius writing to his children begging for forgiveness. Not for being a witch but for not enduring the torture that caused him to name innocent people as witches.

Johannes Junius pleads for his children to keep his letter, a secret or he will receive more torture before his execution. Junius states his accusers were forced to say the things they said about him, just as he was forced to admit to witchcraft. Johannes Junius was executed sometime after he wrote this letter on July 24 almost a month after the start of his trial and torture.

HERBAL TIP FOR NATURAL PAINKILLERS

STAY TUNED!!!!!

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