Much of the history we have been taught has had a Christian influence to it. Some of the history we are going to discuss is based on speculation of how it may have been, based on finding and historical writings. The prehistory information is very speculative. But again, it has basis on what we now know and different things found in diggings.
It is thought that early man was a matriarchal society. The reason for this is that man was a hunter, woman did everything else. Your earliest Shaman were women. The chief deity was the Goddess. The God at this time was only in charge of the hunt, where the Goddess was in charge of fertility, which was very important to early man. If the animals were not fertile there would be nothing to hunt. Women would go out and gather berries and vegetables while the men hunted. To preserve any extra they would bury them, in doing this the plants would grow, so farming was started.
Women were Magickal to the early man. They could produce children and they could bleed without dying. They could make plants grow where they wanted them. Working with the plants they learned of herbs and this could cure some of the ills. They learned Magick.
As times change and man learns to raise his own animals -
In most history books we are told of the large Pantheons that were worshipped by
the pagans. What happened when a city states were formed? The people who formed
them all had different gods and goddesses and when the pantheons were formed they
all became part of the whole. The more important Gods and Goddesses becoming the
“royalty”. But on the farms they stilled worshipped the Mother Goddess and the Horned
God (whose horns now looked more like a bulls, than a stag). Most people only worshipped
one Goddess and one God. Everyone would pay homage to the state Gods and Goddess,
but these were not the ones they worked with day to day. The Goddess, because of
her nature, had more days of worship than the God. She was the one they felt they
could talk to . The days of worship to the God were great celebrations. And they
were held at important times of the year. The celebrations marked when the seasons
changed, when crops needed planting, and when they needed harvesting. Most of these
celebrations were held at night -
In the cities were the temples to the Gods and Goddesses. And the Priest and Priestess.
Most of the science was done by the priesthood. They were the wise ones, the ones
who would study for years to become part of the Priesthood. They would learn Magick.
Even with the Pantheons you would not find temples to all the Gods of the the pantheon
in the same temple -
In the city like on the farm, people had their God and Goddess that they worshipped, but because of the different services provided by the different Priesthood’s offering were given to many of the Gods and Goddesses. Also in time of specific need you would turn to the God and Goddess that controlled that need.
(This can be seen today in Wicca with the use of different Gods and Goddess names used with the rituals and Sabbats. You may have your won God and Goddess, but will use others when needed.)
THE CHRISTIAN INVASION:
The people of Israel had taken the God and Goddess and made one deity of them that was both Male and Female, who name was YHWH (pronounced as Yahweh). But as male domination became more important to them, their deity became male and the name unspeakable. Names like Jehovah were used in place of YHWH. His followers could only worship him. Because of this his Priesthood became very strong, as it was the only club in town.
There came a group who were following the teaching of Jesus, who ware in the process
of going back to some of the old ways. Women would be equals, the ever strong priesthood
was to be replaced by teachers, and Magick would become part of the religion. Then
after the death of Jesus, a man called Paul, changed much of the good of Jesus,and
made him into the Son of God (YHWH). And we got a religion that allowed you to what
ever you wanted as long as you confessed it to God through his son Jesus and said
that you believed in him. (Note: there were other sects of early Christians that
followed the teaching of Jesus, but they were destroyed by the early church -
The major problem with this religion is that it needed followers who were uneducated. By this time the people of Europe under Rome had become educated. Science had been borne thanks to the early priesthood's and with the Greeks came teachers who taught the common man and woman.
The Christians invaded Rome. The whole concept of their religion was so hard to understand all Rome could do was try to kill them. (The norm would have been to incorporate their religion into the Roman pantheons, but the Christians were like the Jews, followers of YHWH, who said he was the only one they cold worship). This put Rome in a spot of having internal upheaval by spreading themselves too thin in spots and the Empire started falling. Finally it was completely taken over by the Christian church and has remained so to this day. One of the first things done was schools were done away with. All learning had to be done through the church. The next thing was that all religions other than Christianity had to be destroyed. This was done in several ways. 1. Making the horn God into Satan (Yes this is when Satan got his horns). 2. Destroying the temples and building Christian Churches on top of them. 3. Taking pagan symbols and making them Christian (the cross) or making them the sign of the Devil (Pentagram) 4. Changing the names of Pagan holidays so that they were Christian holidays.
Even with all they did, people still worshipped and worked with the old Gods and Goddess, and have done so to this day.
The priest and Priestess of the old religions banded together in small groups usually
consisting of 13 people. This was to keep the old religion alive and to fight Christianity.
Because of the ban on education usually only one person in the group could read
or write. This person would be called by many as the man in black. He would take
care of writing the Grimoire or book of spells and rituals (much like our Book Of
Shadows today). The other had to learn by memory. Because of this it would take
years of study to become a Witch. The Witches became the midwifes, the doctors,
herbalists, advisors etc. In the villages. Results was much faster, worked better,
and cost less from the local Witch than it did form the local Priest. This would
upset the Church.... In many places the old religion was raising it’s head. People
were following what worked for them. The Church made it a crime to be a Witch. At
first it was jail or banishment, but latter became torture and death. (It was thought
that most of the people but to death as Witches were in fact good Christians who
either had an enemy or had a lot of land -
At this same time many of the “Men In Black” had become wizards for the Kings and Nobles. For some reason wizards were thought to be good Christians, and escaped the inquisition. (most likely the Kings protected them because of the usefulness of their Magick to them).
When King James of Scotland became James I of the United Kingdoms, he had the Bible translated from Latin to English. In doing so he had Witches added to the Bible as evil and being such should be killed.(You will notice that when someone reads about Witches in the Bible they are using a KJV or one of the modern updates of the KJV.)
Witchcraft and the old religions managed to survive the inquisition but even today many stay hidden.
In part two of the history we will cover the 1950’s till today and people who helped form Witchcraft to what it is today. Now in this history much was left out that you will find in the required reading.
DISCUSSION: The history of Witchcraft. The old religions. Go to the forum for this discussion. If a thread has not been started start one if it has just jump in.
Further Reading: Origins of Witchcraft -
1. Who is Dr. Margaret Murray?
2. When were the origins of the religion that became Witchcraft?
3. What is Sympathetic Magick?
4. Wicca Means?
5. Who was Pope Gregory the Great?
6. Who was Pope Innocent VIII?
7. Who was Hemrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger?
8. What was the Malleus Maleficarum?
9. Who was King James I?
10. Who was Dr. Gerald Gardner?
These questions should be put into your book of shadow or a notebook for the class. All the answers can be found in the reading for this week, as will the general question for all week unless noted other wise. If for some reason you have questions on the questions email either the yahoogroup or directly to us.
Read pages 283 -
Write why the history of Witchcraft is important.
Check Class Outline to get the correct pages for your version of “To Ride A Silver Broom”.