How local wise-women who carried on ancient traditions were exterminated by Christianity

By Barbara G. Walker | October 2008
Freethought Today

During the last 50 years, scholars have established a very different view of our Stone Age ancestors from the one we used to imagine. It seems there weren’t all those women dragged off to caves by their hair by boorish male savages with clubs. Quite the contrary. Neolithic villages tended to describe themselves as motherhoods, to be organized primarily around the needs and activities of women and their offspring, to practice matrilineal property ownership, and to recognize males as sons, brothers, lovers, helpers, and maternal uncles, but not as husbands or fathers. “Woman,” says Briffault, “was the founder of the home, the originator of the arts, and the creator of the primordial elements of civilization.”[1]

Women’s power to create life, apparently out of their own substance, and to respond with fearful and mystical blood cycles to the phases of the moon, made them creatures of magic in the eyes of primitive men, who knew themselves unable to match such powers. Thus women took on the roles of intermediaries between humanity and spiritual powers. They became seers, priestesses, healers, oracles, lawmakers, judges, and agents of the Great Mother Goddess who gave birth to the universe.

Even after fatherhood was recognized, and hierarchies of kingships began to appear in the Bronze Age, women’s connections with the Goddess were given paramount importance. Early kings in Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, Phoenicia and other ancient lands couldn’t rule unless they had a hieros gamos (“holy marriage”) with the Goddess incarnated in the queen.[2] Similarly, when patriarchal gods first appeared, they and their priests were required to have female counterparts. The Mahanirvanatantra says gods can “avail nothing” unless they have their Shaktis, female soul mates. Brahmin priests could not perform ceremonies unless they were married.[3]

Similarly, early Israelites mated their god with the Goddess Asherah, a Canaanite version of Astarte, and believed that a priest’s invocations would be useless unless he was married. The high priest of Rome, the Flamen Dialis, was considered effective only as long as he was married to the Flaminia, the high priestess of Juno.[4]

Through the centuries, even during the growth of patriarchy, women were thought to keep intimate connections with the spiritual realm. The famous oracles at Delphi and Eleusis were always female, as were the Sybils of Rome. Even after the priests of Apollo took the Delphic shrine away from the Goddess and rededicated it to their god, they dared not revise the gender of the Pythian priestesses. No man could serve as the true oracle.[5]

The Greeks’ principal Goddess of oracular powers, magic, and midwifery was Hecate, derived from the Egyptian pre-dynastic term for a tribal matriarch, hek, which meant a wise-woman versed in the hekau or “words of power.”[6] This was a woman having the authority of the logos, the creative word. She could make things happen just by speaking—as witches, centuries later, were supposed to make things happen by speaking their curses or spells. Logos power was later usurped by male gods such as Yahweh, who claimed to bring things into being by saying them. But long before the Bible, hekau were the material of all creative word magic, spells, charms, prayers, invocations, exorcisms, chants, liturgies, and every other mystic verbal practice of our ever-verbalizing species.

Hecate was one of the female trinities, often depicted with three faces, as the Moon Goddess in heaven, the Earth Goddess ruling earthly nature, and the Underworld Queen of the Dead, identified with Persephone.[7] The trinitarian Goddesses were models for the Christian trinity, which early church fathers like St. Augustine condemned as blasphemous because it was a pagan concept of long standing. However, people favored triple deities, so the trinitarians won out and the Christian god became a somehow unified trio. Hecate, meanwhile, evolved into the medieval “Queen of Witches,” much feared by Christian clergymen, who were convinced that women continued to worship her in secret. Certainly women did continue to make use of the herbal lore, charms, potions, gynecological techniques, and many magical procedures devised long ago by pagan priestesses. Shakespeare’s three Weird Sisters in Macbeth are late versions of the northern Hecate, Wyrd, the Triple Goddess of Fate, whose name also meant “word” because she had the creative power of the logos. Like the Roman Fata Scribunda, the Goddess Wyrd wrote the fate of every person in her Book of Life; just as Kali Ma (another trinity) in India wrote every destiny in her holy Sanskrit Letters.[8] The Weird Sisters chanted charms around their sacred cauldron, northern Europe’s chief symbol of the Primal Womb, in which all life forms were mingled.

The religious symbolism here was indeed opposed to the Christian notion of one life ending in heaven or hell. It meant that all lives return to the primordial molecular soup and become dissolved and reorganized into new life forms. This idea also underlay various theories of reincarnation, which the Catholic Church declared a virulent heresy.

However, the Catholic Church didn’t begin to view women’s folk remedies or magic charms as heretical witchcraft until the 14th century. Through the Middle Ages, the village witches or wise-women were the only healers available to ordinary people. Physicians usually treated only the rich, and clergymen were forbidden to learn anything about medicine, being taught that sickness is the work of demons and must be treated only with holy water and exorcisms.[9] Medical knowledge, however crude, was to be found chiefly in the local witches who carried on the ancient traditions. Paracelsus wrote that everything he knew about medicine was taught to him by witches.[10]

In 500 C.E. the Salic Law recognized witches’ right to practice, and in 643 an edict declared it illegal to persecute witches.[11] In 785, the Synod of Paderborn said anyone who killed a witch must be executed.[12] Scriptures available at that time apparently did not contain what is possibly the bible’s bloodiest passage, Exodus 22:18: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” We are not sure just when that passage was written, but it seems not to have been regarded as God’s law until 1390 in France, when witchcraft was first declared a crime.[13] The Hebrew word translated “witch,” kasaph, actually meant any seer or diviner.[14]

Up to the 14th century, European nobility and clergy alike employed the services of witches. Churchmen said witches could control the weather “with God’s permission,” and God didn’t turn against his earthly weathermakers until the beginning of the Renaissance.[15] English law tolerated witches up to the reign of James I, the Renaissance equivalent of a “born again” national leader. The infamous Witchcraft Act was instituted in his time.

We have all heard of Europe’s 400 years of witch persecutions, from the 14th to the 18th centuries, but few are aware of the enormous extent of the holocaust. The church likes to pretend that “only a few hundred thousand” innocents were murdered, but secular sources estimate as many as nine million. (Four centuries of killing can dispose of a good many people.) Over 85% of them were female: grandmothers, mothers, maidens, even children, mostly illiterate peasants who couldn’t even understand the questions their torturers asked, and in their agony begged to be told what to confess to. Local chroniclers spoke of stakes set up as thick as a forest, and hundreds slaughtered in a single day. At the height of the frenzy, we read of villages in Germany and France where only one or two women were left alive. In some places, whole villages were destroyed altogether.[16]

Joaquin Pinto - The Inquisition.
Joaquin Pinto – The Inquisition.

The Inquisition was empowered by Pope John XXII to prosecute anyone who worked magic, as opposed to the heretics who had been largely exterminated by the Albigensian, Waldensian, and other crusades. In 1375, a French inquisitor lamented that all the rich heretics had been eliminated, their wealth having been appropriated by the church, and now it was “a pity that so salutary an institution” as the Inquisition should not have a future.[17] The solution was found in declaring witchcraft a demonic heresy. The persecution became a major industry, resulting in great profits from seizure of the victims’ possessions. Each procedure of torture carried a fee. Victims were charged for their food and lodging in prison, for the ropes that bound them and the wood that burned them. After the execution of any comparatively affluent witch, officials would treat themselves to a banquet at the expense of the victim’s estate.[18]

A history of the Inquisition, written by a Catholic scholar in 1909, said the church “invented the crime of witchcraft and relied on torture as the means of proving it.”[19] The official handbook of the Inquisition was the Malleus Maleficarum, “A Hammer for Witches,” written by two monks, minutely detailing the techniques of torture. I have read this book, and it is truly vile. In my opinion, no organization that ever produced such a book—and its consequences—deserves to call itself a religion.

Among the rules for inquisitorial trial were the following: All proceedings were kept secret. The accused was not allowed legal counsel or told of the nature of the charges. Hearsay evidence, called “common report,” was accepted as proof of guilt; this also included evidence taken from other victims during torture. Children as young as two years could give such evidence, because, as one inquisitor wrote, “those of tender age could easily be persuaded or forced to inform.” Torture was used without limit of duration of severity. Even after confession, more torture was applied to “validate” the confession. If the accused died under torture, the record stated that the devil broke her neck in prison. Every victim was forced to supply the names of so-called accomplices, and no one was ever declared innocent.[20]

Again and again, victims confessed to impossible crimes such as bringing storms or droughts, spoiling crops, copulating with devils, flying on broomsticks, wrecking ships, eating babies, causing impotence or sickness in their neighbors, transforming their demon lovers into cats and dogs, and such absurdities. Inquisitors from Spain also worked their evil among pagan peoples in the New World, and instituted deadly witch hunts among Native Americans.

Throughout the centuries, men have usually practiced magic without much disapproval. The church distinguished between witchcraft, perpetrated by women, and sorcery, a legitimate pursuit of men. Von Nettesheim’s books of sorcery were published under church auspices, with a statement of ecclesiastical approval.[21] But female witches became the scapegoats for every disaster. Pope Innocent VIII “infallibly” declared in his bull Summis desiderantes that witches magically injure crops, domestic animals, and people, and in general “outrage the Divine Majesty.”[22] Since the Divine Majesty seemed either unable or disinclined to do anything about it, churchmen took it upon themselves to decimate Europe’s female population. “The more women there are, the more witchcraft there will be,” one authority remarked.[23]

The Inquisition never took root in Scandinavia or the British Isles, though England and Scotland had their own style of witchhunting. Victims were usually hanged, not burned. The oncoming Age of Enlightenment eventually caused the persecutions to peter out, although the Catholic Church still retains its official Office of the Inquisition to this day.

In North America, there was one final twitch of witchcraft mania in Salem, Mass., in 1692. Some teenage girls began to prophesy and fall into fits under the influence of a West Indian slave devoted to obeah, the old African form of sorcery. The girls accused over a hundred of their neighbors of causing demonic possession, until the whole village was involved in the hysteria, and the famous Rev. Cotton Mather came to lend his credulity to the show. In the end, though, only 19 victims were hanged, and a year later the state governor pardoned the remaining accused. One of the girls finally admitted that they did the whole thing for “sport.”

Witchhunting didn’t become an obsession in North America as it had in Europe because many of the people who colonized the New World had fled from religious intolerance in the first place, and rightly feared its recurrence in their new country more than they feared superstitious witch tales.

Early in the 20th century, anthropologists began investigating the folk customs that grew out of Europe’s pagan religions, and realized that some of their “old wives’ tales” really did date back to antiquity. Sir James Frazer, Andrew D. White, and Robert Briffault demonstrated some fairly direct connections. Dr. Margaret Murray’s classic book, The Witch Cult in Western Europe, showed that what she called the Dianic religion had survived in the form of charms and rituals that their practitioners didn’t even recognize. Murray believed that the “fairy faith” preserved an attenuated form of worship of the Great Goddess and the Horned God, humanity’s primitive nature deities.

The English legislature finally officially repealed the Witchcraft Act in 1951—yes, as late as that! Three years later, Gerald Gardner, an English male witch, published a book claiming that many covens existed throughout the country, involving such practices as ritual nudity and sex orgies. Predictably, these details stimulated popular interest and Gardner suddenly found himself a celebrity at the age of 70.[24] He died ten years later. Today there are still groups, both men and women, who call themselves “Gardnerian” witches, and practice similar rites. But much of modern witchcraft has moved on and applied the new learning to become a nature-oriented, life-affirming, female-centered faith.

Like medieval churchmen, modern journalists often confuse the term “witchcraft” with Satanism, claiming that witches worship the devil. But modern witches could hardly do that, since they say the devil doesn’t exist, and only Christians can be devil worshipers because only Christians believe in him. There are people who call themselves Satanists, such as the well-known Anton La Vey, who established his “First Church of Satan” in San Francisco in 1966. His book, The Satanic Bible, became a bestseller on college campuses.[25] But La Vey doesn’t claim to be a witch, and those who do say that their Horned God is nothing like a devil, but rather a nature deity like Pan, Faunus, Dianus, or the Green Man of Celtic tradition.

Most modern witches call their religion Neo-paganism or Wicca, after the Anglo-Saxon wicce, a wise-woman or seer. The verb witan meant to see, to know; “Wit” and “wisdom” come from the same root. Modern research has given the Wiccans a rich background of pagan theology from which to draw their rites and customs. Among their many authors are Alex Sanders and Sybil Leek in England, and Starhawk and Margot Adler in the United States. Louise Huebner has been declared the Official Witch of Los Angeles, and Lori Cabot is regarded as the modern Witch of Salem.

The Wiccan version of the Golden Rule is “Do as you will, as long as you harm none.” Practitioners tend to be tree-huggers, vegetarians, and political liberals. Their so-called “charms and spells” are mostly serenity chants, formulae for focusing the mind, and private rituals of heightened awareness and self-improvement.

Witchcraft, and all its real or imaginary connections with prepatriarchal religion, actually constitutes a huge subject, with branches in every aspect of human culture. There are hundreds of different types of magic, divination, spiritualism, alternative healing, herbal and crystal lore, scrying, fortune-telling, spell casting, and all the other functions of witches prevalent among us still. Witchcraft has never gone away, even though the witch hunters have, to the considerable improvement of western society. It could even be said that witchcraft, with its connections to paganism, is an integral part of religion as a whole in western civilization. Wicca is now regarded as a “faith.” Pope Innocent VIII probably isn’t looking down from heaven, but if he were, wouldn’t he be peeved!

Barbara G. Walker is author of the monumental feminist/freethought sourcebook The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983). Her many other books, published by Harper & Row, include The Skeptical Feminist. An atheist, she has also specialized in debunking New Age assertions.

1. Briffault, Robert. The Mothers (3 vols.) New York: Macmillan, 1927, v. 1, p. 432
2. Walker, Barbara G. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. HarperSanFrancisco, 1983, p. 501
3. Mahanirvanatantra, Sir John Woodroffe, trans. New York: Dover, 1972. p. xxiv. Bullough, Vein L. The Subordinate Sex. University of Illinois Press, 1973. p. 234
4. Briffault, op. cit., v. 3, p. 20
5. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths (2 vols.) New York: Penguin Books, v.1, p. 80
6. Budge, Sir E.A. Wallis. Egyptian Magic. New York: Dover, 1971 p. 196; Gods of the Egyptians (2 vols.) New York Dover, 1969, v. 2, p. 300
7. Graves, op. cit., v. 2, p. 393
8. Goodrich, Norma Lorre. Medieval Myths. New York: New American Library, 1977, pp. 18, 32
9. White, Andrew D. A History .of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. (2 vols.) New York: George Braziller, 1955, v. 2, p. 36
10. Lederer, Wolfgang. The Fear of Women. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968, p. 150
11. Tannahill, Reay. Flesh and Blood. New York: Stein & Day, 1975, pp. 96-97
12. Castiglioni, Arturo. Adventures of the Mind. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946, p. 233
13. Robbins, Rossell Hope. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959, p. 209
14. Russell, J.B. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. New York: Cornell University Press, 1972, p. 54
15. Knight, Richard Payne. The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology. New York: J.W. Bouton, 1892, p. 207
16. Robbins, op. cit., p. 219
17. Ibid., p. 8
18. Ibid., pp. 111, 113
19. Ibid., pp. 9, 271
20. Ibid., pp. 13014, 229, 554
21. Walker, op. cit., p. 1084
22. Masters, R.E.L. Eros and Evil. New York: Julian Press, 1962, p. Xxvi
23. Baroja, Julio Caro. The World of Witches. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965, p. 80
24. Kingston, Jeremy. Witches and Witchcraft. London: Aldus Books Ltd., 1976, p. 12
25. Ibid., p. 111

Secret Files of the Inquisition – part 1 – Root Out Heretics

Power of the Church in the Middle Ages

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  1. Wonderful work! We must get back to the consciousness of the land as wise women no matter what embedded institutions and religious/state programming we have endured!

  2. As someone who had no real idea as to the extent of the persecution of witchcraft (and pagan beliefs in general) in our collective past, this was a really important read for me.

    Despite being an atheist myself (at least functionally), I’ve found that in spite of this, I’m inexorably drawn towards the stories, myths and practices which have shaped our past (and the ways these continue to influence our present and future, even if often beyond the realm of consciousness).

    It’s impossible to really gauge how fundamentally damaging such injustices of our immediate history have been, and how they’ve reshaped relations between people, families and institutions ever since.

    In my recent journeys I’ve been recognising that much of our present way of thinking—our almost instinctive attachment to forms of institutional power, or authoritative voice—is linked to a drive to control our past narrative, resulting in automatic repressions of voices and modes of existence lying outside the common (accepted) moulds. Tied up in this struggle is our ongoing war on our bodily existence (and perhaps our sexual nature?) as well as our personal relationships to ‘the divine’ (or existence/reality/the universe, or however one might choose to define it).

    The drive towards ‘One God’, it seems, becomes synonymous with a drive towards an objective truth and its—confusingly—myriad forms and institutions. And while we’ve learned to recognise and appreciate the good that can come from an objective stance (the many amazing accomplishments of the scientific and economic models), I feel we’re also beginning to recognise the need for ‘faith’ in our subjective natures. We’ve seen the power of empire but we’ve forgotten family somewhere along the way, and in forgetting this perhaps we’ve also lost our ‘soul’.

    It may be insincere (or at least naive) to think (or hope) that we can simply will ourselves back to some past state that was more equal, or at least more dynamic. But I think with conscious recognition of such past injustices, we can begin to direct our energies towards a society/world in which the balance of many voices is favoured in lieu of a hierarchical, authoritative power. Until we recognise the full spectrum of our collective experience, ‘spirituality’ will continue to be an empty husk, unable to evolve and incapable of inspiring true healing.

    I also wonder: with the recent recognition of various gender types in (some sections of) Western societies (and which have always been recognised in many other cultures throughout the world) is there room for developing modes of society which are neither patriarchal nor matriarchal?

    I’m glad I found your name Barbara and I’m looking forward to exploring more of your works.

    • Wonderful to read this! Thank you. I have been asked to speak in a public forum on the subiect of women and would like to explore and present something of this aspect.
      As this talk is to take place in a Polish Consulate I have looked at the word ‘ wiedzma’ which is always used as a seriously derogatory expression for a woman ….akin to hag or witch …however when I examine its component parts it consists of 2 words viz. wides which means knowledge and ma which is the mother or the feminine.

  3. Should have mentioned early christianity having women priests, and married priests, and the obvious but still worth saying reasons why the church decided this should not continue.

    • Simple….
      Church saw men having sons who inherited but didn't wanna be priests so were losing money and property. So they said "We need you to focus on God" when the true story was "we need more money for our forced conversions"

  4. I don't know about the rest of Europe, but in the UK the monasteries and the catholic church provided a lot of hospitals in the mediaeval period. "The greatest development of hospitals occurred in the 12th century….Almost one half of the built hospitals was directly affiliated with monasteries, priories, and churches." says…. I've read many accounts bemoaning the loss of hospitals and expertise which went with the dissolution of the onasteries in the 16th century too. I am sure that there were many women acting as midwives and as healers who were persecuted, but that doesn't mean it's OK to erase the good things which were done by the church too.

    • Yes and the church would of had to do a hell of a lot of 'good things' to erase or even come close to levelling out the 9 million tortured and killed women during the witchtrials (plus the millions upon millions more people killed during the crusades!) The Christian church has probably killed more lives then any other religious head.

      And its not like we can't credit the church for pretty much developing hospitals- as places of healing have existed since the dawn of man…everywhere… it would of been up to who ever had the money and resources in a society to develop hospitals…. Which happened to be the church due to…well all the people it killed and money it stole!

    • Cardinals in charge of Mission Funds at the Vatican hoards 28 Million dollars, caught trying to get them from Switzerland banks only some years ago. The Church builds hospitals, and orphanages so that it can ask for donations. 5% or less of the donations reach their supposed destination. I only found one Missionary priest who tried his best to deliver the donations given to him. His honesty caused him his life for the Ayacucho Spanish Bishop of the 2000 was not happy not getting his 80%. The latest new saint….. Teresa: It is estimated that worldwide they collected at least $100 million per year — and that has been going on for many many years. The Poor line up with plastic bags to get some rice! Where are all the billions, sisters? I was in the church for most of my life, deep inside, and I can say that the only good things that this RC church gave us were the Music and art in paintings and statues. At the same time it has regressed science by 300 years. If it wasn't for this church we would have a colony on Mars by now! It kept society from evolving, love, good natural sexual development, family and so many things. The RC will definitely die in few years as all other so called religions. Overpowering the church will be the biggest freedom cry of liberation of the World! But not of Anti…..anti is negative. It would be PRO, pro freedom, pro humans and not robots, pro individuality and not zombies……

      • The Catholic church is so powerful that it is above the Law? You comments so true – one wants to shout it to the world – its power is so great, its corruption so deep, its lies and deception unfathomable. Have to trust that humanity will awaken from its fear and sense of guilt and with a cry of freedom break the shackles.

    • The good church's did ? The crusades ? The inquisition ? Th Christianizing of other cultures using kidnap, torture and abuse to wipe out any memory of that culture ? The sale of Native American children for 10.00 to be adopted out to white parents ? The current scandal in the church of pedophilia ?

      Yeah, by all means, let's not forget the "good" the church has done.

      Awa wit ye, Jimmy.

  5. 1.The Catolic church was not folowing the teachins of the only REAL LORD JESUS, they are NOT true Christians at All. The Lord Jesus is the only and true saviour, and cristians and jews have been presecuted, behaded, gased, tortured, starved, humillated all along, even today. I dont agree with this post as the real Truth is in the holy bible wich is the word of God. And the catolic church is not folowing it at all, they just use the bible incorrectly plus are idolatras, etc etc etc. Many sins are store in the catolic church warehouse ( masonery, pedophiles, murders, etc)
    2. Genesis 3: 4-5:” you will not certainly die”, the serpent said to the woman. For GOD knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like GOD, knowing good and evil”
    God made Adan and Eve at his image, First Adan and then Eve, they were perfect without SIN and sickness. If Eve havent sinned and made Adan sin we would lack sickness.
    The same lie that “we are gods” is goin on nowdays within False Religions, wich are All of them except the ones who folow the true God from the bible Jehova and Jesus, Amen. Beautiful and holly is my Lord, the only True Lord, and the one who deserves all the Praises, Amen.
    3. If someone has doubts about the existende of demos And fallen Angels, wich head is Lucifer, I advice to Research deeply and Well: black magic, iluminaty, masonery, etc etc. In wich whistleblowers record to Have Seen the Manifestation of these entities, some satanist who turned Christians as they Knew was the only true religion, record to have even been in hell and having conversations face to face with Satan or Lucifer. Moreover these same entities are Ruling our World. Satan himself temted Jesus to bow in front of him in interchange for all the earth kingdoms. Of course my Lord didnt as he is Without Sin and Almigthy, Amen Amen praise the Lord.
    4. Witchcraft, wise women sins wich is consulting sources of wisdon who are NOT from the Real God plus neglecting and denial of him, have the chance thanks to the Same Lord Jesus to be forgive if they repent and accept his sacrifice for our sins crearly stated in the bible, of course then they have to Stop sining against him and be ” born again”
    5. There are many Credible referencial souces who confirm what I said, but above all, the bible and my Lord Jesus, Amen.
    6. Everyone in this world is virtually under sin, but thanks to the grace and sacrifice of the Only Lord Jesus, we have the chance to be saved. Is a Pity that humans can not see it.

    • Dear "Me": I agree with much of what you taken the time to share out of love. That said, Eve did not "make Adam sin". Adam was directed by God to "to dress (care for) and to keep (protect)" the garden and all in it including the first woman. In addition the fact that after God makes Adam and all creation the condition of things suddenly shifts from being "very good" to being "not good for man to be alone" and God creates the first woman from the plank (side) of Adam to be Adam's partner. While we don't yet know why Adam chose to be disobedient to God's direction "to dress (care for) and to keep (protect)" his wife as Adam was present at the time the serpent spoke to the first woman. Also when the first woman corrected the serpent she added to and spoke God's command about the trees in the garden in error and Adam chose not to correct her. Moreover, after eating the fruit is the fact that in response to God's question to him about what he had done, Adam chose to answer God's question by not taking responsibility and blaming God & his wife but NOT Satan, who also was present, including at the time Adam blamed both God and the first woman! One question is why Adam chose to fail to protect the first woman, his wife and then blame both her and God, especially in front of the adversary? What we also learn from all this is how powerful Satan is, that he could deceive and persuade/unduly influence two perfect beings, beings who could not possibly be any better than they were, being whole and perfect in the image of God! If only BOTH Adam and the first woman had said to the enemy of our souls in response to his question starting with "did God tell you…" , "umm, why don't you ask our Father?"! Lastly we do know from scripture that "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned." Romans 5:12. The good news as you have so carefully shared is that there we have been provided an answer, there is a hope to the grotesqueness, the vileness that is sin, and that is Jesus Christ.

    • I want to atone for my own sins…..BTW The miracles The Christ performed, were in my humble opinion, the MAGIC that is our birthright as vessels for the holy spirit. That can only be naturally expressed through the highest chemical emotive function an Earthling can obtain… the Harmonizing Magic & Power of LOVE. When KJ banned the bible, then just re-vised… literally leaving out all the cannons of The Christs' detailed descriptions of the meta-physical and the fact that He claimed that each and all are no different than He. KJ really just took spirit out of spiritual and put the fear of God as the controller. While simultaneously easing the concerns of the Christians that the Roman Catholic Church was the ANTI-CHRIST. Catholics DO NOT honor or implement ANYTHING the Christ felt passionately for or against. In fact its diametrically opposed. Just as the Jews who crucified Him, were actual Jews. Christ held NO "punches" upturning the Rabbi's money tables. While adamantly declaring them as the Synagogue of Satan masquerading as Jews. Would not the same hold more truth when comparing the Roman Catholic Church on the same merits…I Digress Love to ALL

    • I follow mu celestial mother goddess orginator..not followers of el…I am a green witch..u would have to be Cristian or a son of saturn to follow satanism..look up true mason..not free mason

    • Again, lucifer is a construct of th church, ergo, only a Christian could worship lucifer. It's a pity you use a story book to lend credence to your outlandish claims.

    • Totally agree. Peoples eyes/minds are blinded (by sin/separation from God) until they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, ask forgiveness, repent and be "born again" they cannot "see" it. Perception can be a marvelous thing (or hold a person in bondage). Call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

    • While you suggest people research well and deeply, which is precisely what we have done, and certainly what Ms. Walker is reknown for doing, you seem to not read or follow the findings. Unfortunately there are those for whom no amount of research and facts will alter their belief in unsubstantiated or deliberately censored “gospels”.

  6. Wiccans worship the god Pan who has many names but known mostly as a god of nature. Pan is also a god of the underworld that is the darker side of pan. Pan is mostly drawn as male but he is both male and female because of the angelic/daemonic being that he is. His dual sex nature is manifested as the baphomet who is often drawn as male and female entity with breasts and a penis (androgynous).

    The feminine side shakti is electrical energy. The masculine side is a controller empowered by electrical energy. The marriage of the two is the relationship between power source and device (controller).

    • This is not true at all. Most Wiccans worship The Triple Goddess and The Horned God. We do not worship a male god solely and Pan is a male god. Many Wiccans actually primarily worship the Triple Goddess and see the Horned God as primarily her consort.

  7. There was witch-hunting in Scandinavia. I am not sure about Norway, Denmark or Sweden at the moment (though, one could look at the persecution of the Sami Noadi in the 1700's) but it definitely occurred in Iceland, though slightly later than on the continent, and also, interestingly, it primarily targeted men there. The Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery, at Holmavik, has some fairly extensive documentation, though I am sure here are several sources in Reykjavik as well.

    • Yes, in Denmark they still have a 'celebration' every year where they burn the effigy of a witch. I was there (by accident) a few years ago. Totally creepy.

  8. Although I would consider myself pagan, there is no evidence that neolithic people, in Britain at any rate, were matriarchal or particularly woman centric, or that they worshipped a 'goddess' at all. (Or a god, they were more likely animistic and had a cult of the dead/ancestors.) Even less so in the Iron Age (read a lot of 'Celtic' fiction where the protagonists exclusively worship the Great Mother over all…completely ignoring the myriad numbers of Celtic deities, male and female.)
    The witch persecutions of the Middle Ages and later were a terrible thing but most of them weren't witches, just hapless women who had fallen afoul of their neighbours; most of them were Christian or would have described themselves as such, even if they practiced the occasion art we would recognise.

    • The article explicitly states that the charge of witchcraft was entirely knowingly fabricated by the Catholic church and that the church didn't actually believe the charges they levied against women. The term "witch" functionally just means "woman i need to control/kill for my own benefit". the church knew this, and does know this. if they didn't they wouldn't have called male-magic "sorcery". they felt a need to specifically differentiate between male and female magic so that they could still practice magic and persecute women without seeming like hypocrites.

  9. What a b.s. filled pack of lies. Monks were among the first healers in The Church and grew their own healing herbs AND documented them in botanical art.

    • And where do you suppose the monks learned these arts? Healing arts have been around for tens of thousands of years before monks ever showed up.

    • you should really research the actual history of the church. originally women had more power in it than they do today. the idea that men were the first at literally anything is a huge reversal.

  10. This is highly exaggerated, cherry-picked and false. Although goddesses were worshiped, the idea of goddess religion being replaced with a patriarchal form is controversial and unproven. The Medieval Catholic Church officially disbelieved witchcraft existed. Even when the witch hunts did occur later, the Inquisition took little part in them. The idea nine million died is totally unsubstantiated. Murray, Frazer and White have been long debunked. There is no good evidence for an underground sect which worshiped a goddess in the Middle Ages. Lastly, the Witchcraft Act that was repealed isn't the same as that passed under King James (though he was hardly the first to do this, another error). It was rather the act of 1735. This outlawed claiming to have supernatural powers, rather than witchcraft-it had been discredited by then. All in all, this was a travesty.

      • I wish to clarify. In the Holy Roman Inquisitions, all religions other than Christianity, and even rival Christian religions to the Roman Catholic Church, were the targets during the Crusades. Patriarchy was in full swing, the matriarchal religions of the neolithic era had been forced out. Christianity would tolerate no diviners and healers, which were practically exclusively the women before patriarchy became prevalent, which is still the case today. Your comment that "Although goddesses were worshiped, the idea of goddess religion being replaced with a patriarchal form is controversial and unproven. The Medieval Catholic Church officially disbelieved witchcraft existed. Even when the witch hunts did occur later, the Inquisition took little part in them." I think you are only arguing that the word itself–"witchcraft"–didn't exist.

        Are you aware of the Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses of Greco-Roman culture, coming out of Neolithic religions of Europe, were based on divining and healing, in which women were the majority of members, which is being proved today with the thousands of women figurines being brought to the public's attention from archeological digs all over the world? Where are the women diviners and healers today? They were exterminated by a male Christian patriarchy during the Holy Roman Catholic, i.e., the Medieval Catholic Church. Those males who were executed, were trying to protect their wives, sisters and daughters from torture and death.

        I also wish to bring to the attention of readers here, the very good research of the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials which were a carry-over from Europe into the New England states, to get an idea of how politics and religion work together to abuse the weakest members of society–women and slaves–or women slaves, as the case may be. The truth finally comes out; myths are dispelled. Go to 9:45 minutes to begin the actual lecture.

  11. Interesting article until it moves to North America and Salem. Fact is that the first witch hanging in North America took place at Hartford, part of Connecticut Colony. Alse Young of Windsor, CT was hanged on May 26, 1647. Ten more people were hanged in Connecticut until the hangings stopped in 1663. Like minded people are planning a bronze memorial plaque for these eleven victims. Donations are welcome at:
    CT WITCH Memorial
    PO Box 185001
    Hamden, CT 06518
    More info on Facebook at CT WITCH Memorial Thank you.

    • Actually it has been proven that the so called witches of Salem were victims of Ergot poisoning from fungal infection of grain grown on the marshy area of the town.

  12. So we can see here that seince the beginning of human history quite possibility when man first became aware that divine beings exist that women have made bad choices spiritually. This is due to the fact that based on this article alone, women priestesses have engaged in evil acts. From the worshiping of evil Gods and Goddesses (with the exception of the LORD God) and master demons imitating Gods and Goddesses to the praticing of witchcraft in the form of Magik, which was invented by an evil God named Galmeth who wanted to alter the natrual order that the LORD God formed by using the blessings of the Gods and Goddesses by introducing a personal power that manipulated the fabric of our dimension to get what they want but of course this isnt true, magik doesnt exist, it harms creation by allowing demons to use the suggestive power that the witch used in casting a spell and tears fissures into the fabric of our dimension and brings more demons in. Also the witch worships the creation as well but the earth isnt a God nor Goddess and if they really had respect for the Earth then Magik wouldnt be practiced. Now the using or Herbs such a bad thing but if its considered Magikal or a spell is put on it then of course it would be evil.

    This is why I can get behind the idea that faith is now masculine because when it was femine the women priestesses and witches were doing evil. Worshiping evil makes a priestess evil, using magik makes a priestess evil and so on. BTW when was the witch outspoken against the idea of the devil, need I mention the rise of Satanic Witches? It wasnt true than but of course its true now. Also The LORD God wasnt the one who was given a wife, it was the Evil God BAAL who had a wife (though the actually deities didnt take wifes or any form of human relationship, its not why they exist) and which was why the Prophet Elijah was present to show both were evil and false as they have been exiled for doing evil.

  13. The witch trials and persecutions throughout Europe are the most lamentable history, in every form, in every place. There is enough shock and shame in this article to turn anyone’s stomach. And yet, I wish Ms. Walker had written more, as I’m afraid Protestant Europe is let off altogether too easily here. King James I of England (he of the King James version) wrote and published Daemonologie in 1597, a primer on all facets of witchcraft and sorcery, to be used as the Protestant version of Malleus Maleficarum in the persecution of witches. This was after he oversaw the infamous North Berwick witch trials (1590) in Scotland while King of that land. Daemonologie became a “best-seller” in Protestant Europe and each copy included an account of the trial of Dr. John Fian of Scotland, who during the North Berwick trials only confessed to being a sorcerer after having his feet crushed in an iron boot and his fingernails torn out.

    The English Civil War inflamed the witch mania, and Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins blazed like an avenging fury throughout the Puritan-held lands of East Anglia. In 14 months alone the witch-hunting crusade he ignited sent more people to their deaths for witchcraft than had been killed in the prior 160 years. He personally sent 300 women to the gallows for witchcraft. Using Daemonologie as his handbook he is responsible for such infamous witch tests as dunking, in which a suspect was tied to a chair and thrown into water, if she wrested herself free and swam to safety she was considered guilty. He also invented the search for the “devil’s mark”, and the idea of a cat or other domestic animal being a witch’s “familiar.” He too wrote a best-seller The Discovery of Witches, which was packed along with Puritan clergymen to the new world, and used in the witch hunt in New England that lasted from 1648 until 1663. These trials gave the world the marvelous innovation of pressing the accused between stones until death for the crime of refusing to plead.

    Northern European lands were not immune to the Protestant witch hunts either. The Torsåker witch trials (1675) conducted in Sweden by the state-run Lutheran church beheaded and burned 71 people in a single day. 65 of these were women, roughly one-fifth of the regions female population.


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