Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

This has been a topic that I have wanted to talk about for a while.  Many people have a misconception on the topic of witchcraft, paganism, Wicca etc. People assume that it is a form of “Satanism” and is filled with devil worshiping.  The question at hand is what is the history of Witchcraft? Truthfully, Witchcraft is one of the oldest religions in our world.  It pre-dates Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.  What Witchcraft has as a philosophy is the teachings of nature.  These include the sun, moon, trees, stars, animals etc. 
Anthropologist Dr. Margaret Murray discovered information that she has traced the beginning roots of witchcraft which took place about 25,000 years ago.  It was shown that both men and women practiced the art of showing gifts and praise to Deities.  This practice involved the giving of food and use of symbols which further evolved into ritualism.  This developed in the thanking of Mother Nature since most early tribes hunted for their survival.  They would thank Mother Nature for her sacrifice, and honor nature. 
            There have been many uncovered stone carvings of a Goddess and a God as a symbol.  There were also moon phases, the sun, and instructions for seeding. 
            When Christianity was first introduced, these two religions viewed each other as very similar.  Both priests and priestesses of both religions would help out each other for celebrations of seasonal rites.  As centuries passed, temples were being built for the Goddess “Mary.”  Pope Gregory the Great wanted to make the majority of people convert to Christianity, and he was able to by building churches on pagan temple grounds.  Many of the churches in these regions to this day still have statues of the “Horned God” and pictures of Pentacles. 
            The rivalry between the two religions started forming. It was difficult to have people fully convert to Christianity because of their restrictions in their beliefs.  Many covens started being persecuted.  The crusades started along with events like the plague. Joan of Arc was one historical figure that was burned at the stake because of an accusation of heresy. 
            The Medieval Church went forward with their witch hunts.  Misogyny was popular in these times where because women gave birth they were associated with sexuality.  Sexuality at this time was viewed as evil and women were nothing but full of lust.  A book was written called Malleus Maleficarum translated as “The Hammer of the Witches.”  About 9 million men, women and children were tortured and killed during these times. 
            By the 17th century most people who still practiced of the Old Religion went underground.  Because of these secret gatherers, the Church at this time was able to alter the idea of what their view of Witchcraft was.  Demonology was big during this time as well.  The Salem Witchcraft trials also took place during this century.
            In 1921, Dr. Margaret Murray wrote a book on her research on the Western European Old Religion.  In 1949, a man named Gerald Gardner produced a book where he combined witchcraft and ceremonial magick.  This was the start of Wicca. 
            Many people today want to reconnect with the Old Religion and show its true meaning and beliefs.  The purpose of Witchcraft is the belief in nature and fertility. It follows the laws of thermodynamics in which something cannot be created out of nothing.  Another basic law would be the three fold law.  Where whatever you do, good or bad will come back to three fold. This is a form of Karma.  One of the biggest rules in Witchcraft is the Wiccan Rede which stated “Ye harm none.”  One must not harm other people or nature.

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