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          This is the  text of a talk entitled  PERSECUTION: ANCIENT AND M
          Written  by  Julia Phillips,  it was  presented  by Julia  and M
          Sandow at  the Wiccan  Conference, Canberra,  September 1992,  a
nd was
          illustrated with slides of medieval woodcuts, paintings and docu

          To begin, an example of religious persecution:

          I  am told  that,  moved by  some foolish  urge,  they consecrat
e  and
          worship the head of a donkey, that  most abject of all animals.
          is a cult worthy of the customs from which it sprang! Others say
          they reverence the genitals of the presiding priest himself, and
          them as  though they were their  father's... As for  the initiat
ion of
          new  members, the details are as disgusting  as they are well-kn
own. A
          child,  covered in  dough to  deceive the  unwary, is  set befor
e  the
          would-be  novice. The novice stabs  the child to  death with inv
          blows;  indeed, he himself, deceived  by the coating  of dough,
          his  stabs harmless. Then -  it's horrible! -  they hungrily dri
nk the
          child's blood, and  compete with one another as they divide his
          Through this  victim they are bound  together; and the fact  tha
t they
          all share the knowledge of the crime pledges them all to silence
. Such
          holy rites are more  disgraceful than sacrilege. It is  well-kno
wn too
          what happens at their feasts.... On the feast day they forgather
          all their children,  sisters, mothers,  people of either  sex an
d  all
          ages. When the company is all aglow from feasting, and impure lu
st has
          been set  afire by  drunkenness, pieces  of meat are  thrown to
 a dog
          fastened to  a  lamp. The  lamp,  which would  have been  a  bet
          witness, is overturned and goes out. Now, in the dark so favoura
ble to
          shameless behaviour,  they twine the  bonds of unnameable  passi
on, as
          chance  decides. And  so all  alike are  incestuous, if not  alw
ays in
          deed, at least by complicity; for  everything that is performed
by one
          of them corresponds to the wishes of them all... Precisely the s
          of this evil  religion proves  that all these  things, or  pract
          all, are true. (Minucius Felix: Octavius)

          Although  the language is not modern, the description of the pra
          could have come straight from last week's "Picture" magazine! An
d this
          is the point  that I wish to  make; the facts of  persecution ha
ve not
          changed in almost 2,000 years,  for that piece was written in  t
he 2nd
          century AD. Moreover,  the religion it  condemns is Christianity
,  not
          Paganism, for Paganism at  that time was the dominant  state rel
          In fact  the author  is a  Christian apologist,  and is  attempt
ing to
          rebuke what he  sees as  unfair criticism, by  parodying the  of
          which Pagans accuse Christians of perpetrating.

          Persecution  of religious  minorities  is  quite  simply that;
it  is
          persecution by a large  body of people - generally those who rep
          "society"  - against a smaller  one; generally comprised  of tho
se who
          have  either rejected, or  for one reason or  another, fall outs
ide of
          the social "norm".


          Let us look at the medieval picture of the  witch; society's sca
          par excellence: here we see her - for it is most often "her" - a
n old,
          ugly woman,  most likely poor,  and most likely  on the fringe
of the
          society in  which she lives. This  is the stereotype of  the wit
ch. We
          know it is false; we know it has no basis in fact;  however, it
          an integral part of the mindset of medieval  Europe, and through
          tales,  drama and literature, and more latterly, cinema, the med
ia and
          television, it has remained  an integral image in modern  societ
y. One
          has only to look to Roald Dahl's "Witches", or Frank Baum's "Wiz
ard of
          Oz", for  proof of this.   It came as a  surprise to me  to lear
n that
          "The  Wizard  of Oz"  was in  fact  a deliberate  propaganda exe
          released just at  the beginning of World War II.  If you remembe
r, the
          magic words are: "There's no place like home"; and where was "ho
          Kansas! that epitome of the WASP culture.

          When looking at medieval persecution of heresy, the waters are m
          by  the many  different causes  and effects  which permeate  the
          matter. There was no single cause, and no single victim.  It is
a fact
          that far  more women than men  were persecuted; there are  a num
ber of
          reasons  for this, not least  that throughout this  period, Euro
pe was
          engaged in one war after another - most notably The Crusades - a
nd men
          were in rather short supply.  There were also several epidemics
of the
          plague, not to mention  other diseases such as dysentery  and ch
          which in  the Middle  Ages were sure  killers. Another  reason i
s  the
          rampant  misogyny  which,  begun  with the  earliest  Christians
,  has
          permeated their theology ever since:
                    "What else  is woman but  a foe to  friendship, an
                    inescapable  punishment, a necessary  evil, a nat-
                    ural  temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic
                    danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature,
                    painted in fair colours...  The word woman is used
                    to mean  the lust of the  flesh, as it is  said: I
                    have  found a woman more bitter  than death, and a
                    good woman more subject to  carnal lust... [Women]
                    are more credulous; and since the chief aim of the
                    devil is  to  corrupt faith,  therefore he  rather
                    attacks them  [than  men]... Women  are  naturally
                    more impressionable... They have slippery tongues,
                    and are unable to  conceal from their fellow-women
                    those  things  which by  evil  arts they  know....
                    Women are intellectually  like children... She  is
                    more  carnal than a man, as is clear from her many
                    carnal abominations... She is an imperfect animal,
                    she always deceives....  Therefore a wicked  woman
                    is by  her nature quicker  to waver in  her faith,
                    and  consequently  quicker  to  abjure  the faith,
                    which is  the root  of witchcraft.... Just  as th-
                    rough the first defect in  their intelligence they
                    are  more prone  to abjure  the faith;  so through
                    their second defect of inordinate affections and
                    passions they search for,  brood over, and inflict
                    various vengeances,  either  by witchcraft  or  by
                    some  other means....  Women also  have weak  mem-
                    ories; and it is a natural vice in them not to be
                    disciplined,  but  to  follow  their  own impulses
                    without  any sense of what is due... She is a liar
                    by nature... (Malleus Maleficarum, edited by
                    Jeffrey Russell).


          It  is easy to  comprehend the persecution  of women when  one i
s con-
          fronted with such obvious hatred and fear of the sex.  But perha
ps the
          most powerful impetus of the witch trials era is one which is su
btly -
          and  sometimes not so subtly!  - present in all the  trials; tha
t of a
          pursuit of power  or wealth. For an  example we can look  to Gil
les de
          Rais, who  as the wealthiest man in  Europe (as well as  Joan of
          military Captain), was  a prime victim  for a charge of  heresy.
          guilty,  his  lands, properties  and  wealth were  confiscated
by his
          accusers.  Curiously though he was buried on consecrated ground
in the
          Churchyard; normally forbidden to heretics.  In  "The Encyclopae
dia of
          Witchcraft and Demonology", Russell Hope Robbins says:

                    "At  first, Gilles dismissed  their accusations as
                    "frivolous  and  lacking credit",  but  so certain
                    were the principals of  finding him guilty that on
                    September 3, fifteen days  before the trial began,
                    the Duke disposed of  his anticipated share of the
                    Rais  lands.   Under  these  circumstances, it  is
                    difficult  to place  any credence in  the evidence
                    against him, among the most fantastic and obscene
                    presented in this Encyclopaedia."

          Charges included the now obligatory conjurations  of devils and
          - Satan, Beelzebub,  Orion and Belial are mentioned by  name - a
nd the
          practice of that  dreadful art:  geomancy! And of  course the  c
          included human sacrifice and paedophilia; no self-respecting Chr
          could exclude these crimes from charges against a confirmed here

          There were not many who had the wealth of Gilles de Rais, but in
          a small parish, even the meanest property was eagerly seized, an
          the  witch hunts became a  profitable business. The  victims wer
e even
          required to pay for the fuel upon which they were burnt.  But th
e laws
          were  not  consistent throughout  Europe, and  in  some areas,
if the
          victim confessed, then his  or her property could not  be confis
          but  was inherited by the next of  kin. However, many of these v
          were  in fact  devout Christians,  who would  be  loath to  conf
ess to
          heresy  just so that their family could  inherit their land! Of
          many were  tortured to the point  were they would admit  to bein
g any-
          thing demanded of them,  although technically, they were only  a
          to be tortured once. This is why you will read in trials  record
s that
          the  torture was "continued", which, of course, gets round the p
          of the poor torturer missing out on his lunch and dinner.

          Although most heretics were  women, a great many men were  also
          tortured,  and put to death. This is a  letter from one such vic
tim at
          the notorious Bamberg in  Germany; a poignant  epitaph to one of
          ope's most hideous crimes:

                    Many hundred thousand good-nights,  dearly beloved

                    daughter Veronica. Innocent have I come into pris-
                    on, innocent have I been tortured, innocent must I
                    die. For whoever comes  into the witch prison must
                    become  a witch  or be  tortured until  he invents
                    something out of  his head  - and God  pity him  -
                    bethinks him of something.

                    I  said: "I  have  never renounced  God, and  will
                    never do it - God graciously keep me from it. I'll
                    rather bear whatever I must."


                    And then  came also -  God in highest  heaven have
                    mercy  - the executioner,  and put the thumbscrews
                    on  me, both  hands  bound together,  so that  the
                    blood spurted from the nails and everywhere,
                    so that for four  weeks I could not use  my hands,
                    as you  can see  from my writing.  Thereafter they
                    stripped me, bound my hands behind me, and drew me
                    up  on the ladder. Then I thought heaven and earth
                    were  at an end. Eight  times did they  draw me up
                    and let me fall again, so that I suffered terrible

                    All  this happened  on Friday  June 30th  and with
                    God's help I had to bear the torture. When at last
                    the executioner led me back into the cell, he said
                    to me: "Sir, I beg you, for God's sake, confess
                    something, whether it be true or not. Invent some-
                    thing, for  you cannot bear the  torture which you
                    will be put to; and, even if you bear it  all, yet
                    you will not escape, not even if you were an earl,
                    but one torture will  follow another until you say
                    you are a witch."

          The  author of  this letter,  Johannes Junius,  did indeed  conf
ess to
          being a  witch, and in  August of 1628, was  burned at the  stak
e.  He
          managed  to send  his final  letter to  his  daughter, which  en
ded by

                    Dear child, keep this  letter secret, so that peo-
                    ple  do not find it, else I shall be tortured most
                    piteously and  the jailers  will be beheaded.   So
                    strictly is  it forbidden... Dear  child, pay this
                    man a thaler... I have taken several days to write
                    this - my hands are both  crippled.  I am in a sad
                    plight. Good night, for your  father Johannes Jun-
                    ius will never see you more.

          This  letter describes  more accurately  than any  historical tr
          just how uncompromising the ecclesiastical courts were in their
          hunt for heretics. Witches, of course, were only one kind of her

          I mentioned earlier that  there are many causes, and  many effec
ts, to
          the period which  is commonly referred to  as "The Burning  Time
s", or
          the Great  Witch Hunt. It is  often assumed by many  people toda
y that
          Christianity  has been the dominant  western religion for 2,000
          This is  not so. The death  of Christ, which probably  occurred
in the
          year AD  30, may have heralded  the new religion, but  there was
          ainly  not an immediate conversion of the world to Christianity.
          of Scandinavia remained wholly  Pagan until as late  as the 12th
          tury. The British Isles  and mainland Europe were converted  to
          tianity  over a lengthy  period covering  mainly the  4th to  9t
h cen-
          turies.  Some  parts have  never truly  been  converted, and  wi
th the
          opening  up of the Eastern bloc countries, we are now re-discove
ring a
          wealth  of Pagan  tradition  and folklore  that  has been  hidde
n  for
          hundreds of  years:   initially from  the invading  Christian mi
          aries, and then later from the various communist regimes.


          As the new religion of Christianity began to spread, many differ
          sects and  cults appeared within its  ranks. The Pope in  Rome w
as the
          nominal head, but rarely was the Pope a person of spiritual puri
ty and
          ascetic tastes; the political scene in Rome has always been cut-
          and devious. A truly spiritual person  would have lasted approxi
          two seconds  amongst the clever  and calculating  politicians wh
o  in-
          fested the Papal See! The enormous wealth and power controlled
by the
          Pope was an incentive to the most grasping  and corrupt of men a
t that
          time to aspire to the Papacy. Pope Alexander VI (1492) is a supe
rb ex-
          ample of the type who  made it to Europe's foremost political  s
eat of
          power:  otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia; father (yes, we all k
          Catholics practise celibacy!) of Cesare, Juan, Lucrezia and Jofr
          and supreme commander  of a private army of  which any modern di
          would be proud.

          Because of their sumptuous lifestyle, their obvious disregard an
          contempt for vows of poverty and chastity, and their abuse of th
          spiritual authority invested in them, many spiritually inclined
          Christians rejected the Catholic Church, and instead followed
          leaders who lived simple, ascetic lives in accordance with the
          teachings of Christ. Some of these sects became very popular,
          and were soon perceived by the Pope as a threat to his status an
          power. It has been suggested that the witch trials were a direct
          result from the persecution of these sects. Rather than incorpor
ate a
          discussion of the different sects within this talk, handouts are
          available which very briefly describe the main ones.

          The main thrust was against the Cathars or Albigensians, and the
          Waldensians (Vaudois), and it was their persecution which gave r
ise to
          the legal  machinery which  developed into  the  Inquisition, an
d  the
          so-called witch hunts.  It began with Pope Lucius III and the em
          Frederick I  Barbarossa; they met  at Verona  in 1184, and  issu
ed the
          decree "Ad abolendam", which excommunicated sects like the Catha
rs and
          Waldensians, and  laid down  the procedures for  ecclesiastical
          after which the accused  would be handed  over to the secular  a
          ities  for  punishment. The  punishment  decreed  was confiscati
on  of
          property,  exile, or death.  By the  12th century, burning had a
          become  the established means of  execution for heretics,  and s
o this
          became enshrined in law.

          At  the beginning of the  13th century, the  Dominican Order of
          was  established, and  its  members were  instructed  by the  Po
pe  to
          investigate  and prosecute heresy. From this simple beginning gr
ew the
          awesome  machinery  of the  Inquisition,  which  although never
          particularly  at witches,  became  a byword  for  terror in  par
ts  of

          As you  can see, the motives  for the heresy persecutions  were
not to
          stamp out Paganism - although that was certainly a by-product -
          to remove the threat of any competition to the power of the Chur
          (and thus to the Pope), in Rome. And the greatest threat came fr
          other "Christian" sects, not the Pagans. The change from an accu
          to an inquisitorial  process became established,  and the legal
          inery which allowed  - indeed encouraged -  individual psychopat
hs and
          religious maniacs to persecute at will, was in place.


          Have you  got a neighbour  who annoys  you? plays loud  music, o
r  who
          keeps their smelly refuse next to your garden fence? Now your re
          is to the local council or the police; in  the Middle Ages, you
          denounced the  offender as a witch or heretic, and let the Churc
h deal
          with them  for you.  Not only  did it  cost you  nothing, if  yo
u were
          lucky, you might also inherit their property!

          For once you  were taken  as a witch  or a heretic,  there was
          chance of escape.  Certainly some victims were  pardoned and rel
          but the vast majority were  not so lucky. When you consider  the
          of questioning, this is not surprising:

          1     How long have you been a witch?

          2     Why did you become a witch?

          3     How did you become a witch and what happened on that occas

          4     Who is the one you chose to be your incubus? What was his

          5     What was the name of your master among the evil demons?

          6     What was the oath you were forced to render to him?

          21    What animals have you bewitched to sickness and death, and
                why did you commit such acts?

          22    Who are your accomplices in evil...?

          24    What is the ointment with which you rub your broomstick
                made of...?

          This  set of questions came  from Lorraine, and  was used consis
          throughout the three centuries  of the main persecutions.   Bear
ing in
          mind that  the accused HAD to answer - no  answer at all, or a d
          was tantamount to guilt - you can see how easily the composite p
          of the witch evolved.  As Rossell Hope Robbins says:  "The confe
          of witches authenticated the experts, and the denunciations ensu
red  a
          continuing  supply  of victims.  Throughout  France  and Germany
          procedure became  standardised; repeated year  after year, in  t
ime it
          built  up a  huge mass  of "evidence", all  duly authorised,  fr
om the
          mouths of the accused. On these confessions, later demonologists
          their compendiums and so formulated the classic conceptions of w
          raft, which never existed save in their own minds."

          As the new religion of Christianity began to spread, many differ
          sects and  cults appeared within its  ranks. The Pope in  Rome w
as the
          nominal head, but rarely was the Pope a person of spiritual puri
ty and
          ascetic tastes; the political scene in Rome has always been cut-
          and devious. A truly spiritual person  would have lasted approxi
          two seconds  amongst the clever  and calculating  politicians wh
o  in-
          fested  the Papal See! The enormous wealth and power controlled
by the
          Pope was an incentive to the most grasping and corrupt of men  a
t that

          time to aspire to the Papacy. Pope Alexander VI (1492) is a supe
rb ex-
          ample of the type who  made it to Europe's foremost political  s
eat of
          power:  otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia; father (yes, we all k
          Catholics practise celibacy!) of Cesare, Juan, Lucrezia and Jofr
          and supreme commander of a  private army of which any  modern di
          would be proud.


          It is also rather disturbing to discover just how important indi
          religious maniacs appear to have been in the persecutions. Rathe
r like
          today, where  a crusading  tele-journalist, or evangelical  vica
r, can
          cause untold  harm to innocent people. Without exception, these
          ations  are  by those  with an  unhealthy  mania against  anyone
          theology  or practices  differ from  their own.  In the  words o
f  one
          modern evangelist:  "if you're not  fighting and winning,  you'r
e los-

          Conrad of Marburg, described by Norman Cohn as, "a blind fanatic
", was
          a  severe  and formidable  persecutor. As  confessor  to the  yo
ung 21
          year-old  Countess of Thuringia, he would trick her into "some t
          and unwitting disobedience, and then have her and her maids flog
ged so
          severely  that the  scars were  visible weeks  later". (Cohn).
          became Germany's first official Inquisitor, and his zeal in deno
          heretics was  unsurpassed. Another Conrad, a  lay-Dominican Fria
r, and
          his sidekick Johannes,  were also vigorous in denouncing  hereti
cs. As
          they  moved from village to village, they  claimed to be able to
          tify a  heretic by his or  her appearance, based on  nothing but
          own  intuition. They were responsible for the burnings of many p
          and said, "we would gladly burn a hundred if just one among them
          guilty". (Annales Wormantiensis).

          Their comment about appearance is an important one; as we saw ea
          the stereotype of the witch hasn't changed much in hundreds of
          We know it is false; we know that it exists only in the imaginat
ion of
          the persecutors, and yet how powerful and enduring this stereoty
pe has
          proven to be.

          If we think about this stereotype,  what images do we conjure up
?   An
          old woman -  occasionally an old man; or perhaps  a young and al
          temptress?  Flying through  the  air on  a  broomstick; worshipp
ing  a
          devil, often in the form of a goat; trampling upon  the sacred s
          of Christianity; and  of course our  old friend  the Sabbat, wit
h  its
          practices  of  sexual  license,  debauchery,  drunkenness  and
          murder; the latter often of children.

          But persecution does not restrict itself to witches; the similar
          between this stereotype and that of the Jew are obvious: Jews ha
          been persecuted throughout their history, but it is interesting
          compare some aspects of their persecution with that of witches.

          In the 12th century, the word  "Synagogue" was used for the firs
t time
          to  describe the  meeting place  of  heretics. Professor  Russel
l says
          that:  "This usage, obviously designed  to spite the  Jews, was
          throughout the Middle Ages, being replaced only towards the end
of the
          15th century by the equally anti-Jewish term 'sabbat'.

          The Encyclopaedia Britannica says on the subject of Jewish perse
          that: "To  reinforce racial and religious  prejudice, the prepos
          ritual murder accusation  became common  from the  12th century.
"  The
          third and fourth Lateran Councils had already prohibited gentile
s from
          entering  Jewish  service, or  being  employed  by  Jews, and  f
          ordered that Jews  should wear a distinctive  badge, and live  o
nly in
          Jewish  settlement  areas. This  of course  was  the beginning
of the


          As we have seen though, the ritual murder accusation  was alread
y over
          a thousand  years old, before it  was used against either  the J
ews or
          the heretics  and witches. Most people  know of the  expulsion o
f Jews
          from Spain in the 15th  century, but perhaps not so commonly  kn
own is
          that for about  200 years prior  to the expulsion,  the Jews had
          massacred and persecuted.  Indeed, it  was against the  Jews tha
t  the
          infamous Spanish  Inquisition of  the 15th century  was directed
.  The
          persecution  of Jews  in  20th century  Europe  is too  well-kno
wn  to
          require further comment  here, but  perhaps a few  comments abou
t  its
          encouragement would be useful.

          We are discussing  persecution in  this talk, and  how persecuti
on  is
          manifested. Throughout  history, the written word  has been inva
          as a  means of  spreading  propaganda. Even  in  the Middle  Age
s  the
          "crimes"  of the heretic were  publicised by records  of trials,
          the  "confessions" were made known to the general public. The in
          "Malleus  Maleficarum"  became  highly  influential  in  Europe
          because  its  publication  coincided  with the  introduction  of
          printing.  It had little effect in England because no English tr
          tion  was available until 1928. This fact alone demonstrates the
          of the written word.

          In  medieval Europe, a pamphlet  describing the crimes  of a con
          heretic  would be pinned to a  post in the town  square, and tho
se who
          could not  read had it read to them. In 20th century Europe, pam
          were  still used  by one  group to  spread lies  about another.
 As we
          approach  the 21st  century, this  technique is  still used  wit
h very
          great success; for the persecutor needs to make only a glancing
nod to
          the truth, and the lies which are published (or more frequently
          cast) are far more scandalous than the reality!

          An example: soon after the launch  of the Pagan Alliance, Sydney
          2MMM broadcasted a  news story about the  sexual abuse of childr
en  by
          occultists and witches.  Matthew responded  immediately, and  pr
          the  station  with copy  documents  and news  clippings  from Br
          proving the story to be without foundation, and a scheme by the
          tian  fundamentalists to discredit  Pagans. The news  editor and
          journalist  were impressed by the  material, and agreed  that th
ey had
          been used by the fundies. However, they refused to broadcast a r
          tion because it  would be "old news".   So, the damage had  been
          and the fundamentalists achieved their objective.

          This technique was used with very great effect in the early part
          the 20th century, with the circulation of a pamphlet called, "Th
          Protocols of the Elders of Zion". This purported to be, "an acco
          of  the World Congress  of Jewry held  in Basel, Switzerland  in
          during which  a conspiracy  was  planned by  the international
          movement and the Freemasons to achieve world domination." (M How

          German nationalists made very great use of the Protocols, which
          was  claimed were "smuggled out of Switzerland by a Russian jour
          who  had placed the  documents in the  safe keeping of  the Risi
ng Sun
          Masonic Lodge in Frankfurt." (ibid) They were widely disseminate
d, and
          writing in  "Mein Kampf", Hitler "denounced  the Jews as agents
 of an
          international conspiracy devoted  to world  domination...". (ibi
d)  We
          all know what happened next.


          The point  is that although the Protocols were confirmed as a fr
aud in
          1921, they continued to have an effect, and once published, coul
d  not
          effectively be  retracted. This is  the aim of  today's fundamen
          Christian, who  believes that if he or she throws enough dirt at
          opponents (basically anyone who  does not agree with  their unco
          ising version of Christianity),  then some will stick, and  the
          will be won. This is the strategy which has been used for thousa
nds of
          years  to persecute minorities, and  has always been  successful
.  The
          formula  is  simple: discover  what most  people  fear most,  an
d then
          accuse your enemies of practising it.  It is an interesting comm
ent on
          humanity that those things which occur time and time again are c
          tent: conspiracy, buggery,  paedophilia, sacrifice (human  and a
          sexual  license,  drunkenness and  feasting.    More specific  c
          relating to  a pact  with a  devil or desecrating  sacred object
s  are
          additions to these core accusations.

          A further interesting aspect is that many of the accusations wer
          made by children; interesting parallels can be drawn to modern a
          tions by  children "encouraged" to reveal  information about occ
          and  witches. It has been  widely recorded that  Hitler's "Youth
          required  children to spy upon their parents, and report any ind
          tions; modern social workers use  an identical process for ident
          Pagan parents  - children are  asked about what their  parents d
o, and
          leading questions are commonly used.  And of course there have
          been children  who, for one reason or another, tell the most fan
          tales. It is unlikely  today that the victims of these child fan
          will be burned at the stake,  but there have been families torn
          children  placed in detention  centres, and untold  misery for p
          and children alike,  based upon no  more than the  verbal report
 of  a

          Commentators on this  aspect of  persecution have  suggested tha
t  the
          children wish to be the centre of attention; or to direct punish
          for their own misdeeds elsewhere; or are simply reacting in a hy
          tive manner to  the onset of puberty. Whatever  the cause, the e
          are  dramatic, and  have caused  severe suffering,  and in  the
          ages, loss of life, on many occasions.

          In medieval England, there were many occasions where children's
          ence" (sic) was  used to  convict witches. "The  Leicester Boy",
          Burton  Boy" and "The Bilson Boy" were a few of many who claimed
 to be
          bewitched by witches.  Eventually proven to be  a fraud, at  lea
st ten
          women died  as a result of  the accusations of The  Leicester Bo
y, and
          the Burton Boy  caused the death of at least one  of the women w
hom he
          accused. In  the 17th century a  number of women were  executed
on the
          allegations  of  hysterical  children,  even though  fraud  was
          discovered  during the  course of  the trial.  It is  a fact  th
at the
          delusions  of delinquent  or  disturbed children  were  often us
ed  by
          judges  to confirm their own prejudices; how little things have


          Salem (1692)  is probably the best known of all the cases where
          ren were the  chief accusers.  Although in fact,  the "children"
          more like young adults, with only  one under the age of ten,  an
d most
          in their late teens or  early twenties. However, as the panic  g
rew, a
          great  many more were sucked into the  web of lies, and Martha C
          was hanged on the "evidence" (sic)  of her 7 year-old daughter.
At the
          height of  the hysteria  almost 150 people  were arrested;  thir
          were convicted, and nineteen hung.  Some died in jail, and other
s were
          reprieved. As was common in Europe,  the accused were required t
o  pay
          their  expenses whilst in jail,  even if they  were subsequently
          innocent. Sarah Osborne and Ann Foster both died in jail, and co
sts of
          1 3s  5d and 2 16s  0d respectively were demanded  before the bo
          would be released for burial.

          The  chief of the accusers, Ann Putnam, confessed fourteen years
          that  the whole thing  was a fraud.  In 1697 the  jurors publicl
y con-
          fessed they  had made an error  of judgement, and ten  years aft
er the
          executions, Judge  Samuel Sewall  "confessed the  guilt of  the
          desiring  to take the blame and shame of  it...". By then of cou
rse it
          was too late  for those who were  dead, or whose lives had  been
          royed by the accusations.

          But we  are getting ahead of ourselves here,  for Salem is the l
ast of
          the great witch trials, coming as it does towards the end of the

          We mentioned earlier that in Continental Europe, the heresy tria
          appeared to arise from the persecution of the Christian sects of
          Bogomils, Cathars, Albigensians, and others such as the Jews,  W
          sians,  and even the Knights Templars. The stereotype of the wit
ch was
          compounded  from  many different  sources,  and  gradually becam
e  the
          composite figure of the  shape-shifting hag, who flew through  t
he air
          on a broom, and flung her curses at all and sundry.

          The concept of the pact with the devil existed as early as the 8
          century, and as we have seen, sexual license, buggery and ritual
          sacrifice have long been seen as activities supposed to be pract
          by those outside of society's norm, whether they be Christian or
          Pagan. During the 9th century, shape-shifting, maleficia and the
          incubus/succubus became more  commonly reported, and by  the 10t
h cen-
          tury, the idea of nocturnal flight was established.  Published i
n 906,
          the Canon Episcopi described how some women were deluded in the
          that at  night they could  fly behind  their Goddess, Diana  (Ho
lda or

                    "Some wicked women are  perverted by the Devil and
                    led astray by  illusions and fantasies  induced by
                    demons,  so that  they  believe they  ride out  at
                    night on beasts with Diana, the pagan goddess, and
                    a horde of women.  They believe that in  the night
                    they cross huge distances. They say that they obey
                    Diana's commands and on certain nights are  called
                    out in her service..."


          Echoes here to Maddalena's story recounted by Leland in Aradia:
          of the Witches:

                      "Oncein the month, and when the moon is full, ye
                    shall assemble in some desert place,  or in a for-
                    est all  together join to adore  the potent spirit
                    of your Queen, my mother, great Diana".

          Carlo Ginzburg has also published a remarkable book about the Wi
          Sabbath, and  the night flight,  where he  suggests that these
are in
          fact  based on  genuinely ancient shamanic  practices; nothing
new in
          this  concept to modern Witches, but  a novel observation in the
          emic circles in which Ginzburg moves.

          In  1012, Burchard's Collectarium was published:  the first atte
mpt to
          assemble a  book of Canonical Law. Book number 19 of this vast c
          tion was called  the Corrector,  and chapter five  deals with  v
          sins, and their respective penances. As we might suppose, Malefi
cia is
          prominent in  this chapter! It  enshrines in law  the notion of
          flight,  together with  murder, and  the cooking  and eating  of
          flesh. Although both the  Canon Episcopi and Burchard's Correcto
r  are
          specific in attributing  the powers of  flight to  Witches, it i
s  not
          until  1280 that  the first  picture of  a witch  riding upon  a
          appears. This is found in Schleswig Cathedral.

          In 1022, the first burning occurred: at Orleans, the victims wer
          accused of, "holding sex orgies at night in a secret place, eith
          underground  or in  an abandoned  building. The  members of  the
          appeared bearing torches. Holding the torches, they chanted the
          of  demons until an evil  spirit appeared. Now  the lights were
          guished, and  everyone seized  the person closest  to him in  a
          embrace,  whether mother, sister or nun. The children conceived
at the
          orgies  were burned  eight  days after  birth,  and their  ashes
          confected in a substance that was then used in a blasphemous par
ody of
          holy communion."

          Strange how  these charges appear to have changed so little in s
o many
          years!  Compared with our first  example, and indeed  with the a
          tions of modern day fundamentalists, one would be forgiven for b
          ing that time is a  figment of our imagination, and that  nothin
g ever
          really changes; certainly not human nature.

          The 14th  century saw a steady growth in the number of accusatio
ns and
          trials, and by the 15th century, the idea of the  Devil's (or Wi

          mark had become established. So too was the idea of a flying oin
          and  a consistent image  of The Devil  became common in  trials

          The Papal Bull of  1484, Summis Desiderantes Affectibus, and  th
en two
          years later, publication of the Malleus Maleficarum, further est
          hed the "crime" of witchcraft as a heresy, and confirmed Papal s
          for its  eradication. This infamous work - The Hammer of the Wit
ches -
          was incredibly influential in establishing a code of practice by
          witches were to be denounced, tried, convicted and executed. The
re was
          no escape  from this dreadful fate.  The third part of  the book
          ribes how to deal with one who will not confess to the charges:

                    "But if the accused, after  a year or other longer
                    period which has been deemed sufficient, continues


                    to maintain his denials,  and the legitimate  wit-
                    nesses abide by their evidence, the Bishop and
                    Judges shall prepare to abandon him to the secular
                    Court; sending  to him certain  honest men zealous
                    for the  faith, especially religious, to  tell him
                    that he cannot escape temporal death while he thus
                    persists in  his denial, but will  be delivered up
                    as  an impenitent heretic to the power of the sec-
                    ular Court.

          It is also in this section that our friendly Dominican monks ref
er to,
          "witch  midwives, who surpass all other witches in their crimes.
.. And
          the number of them is so great that, as has been found from thei
r con-
          fessions, it  is thought  that there is  scarcely any  tiny haml
et  in
          which at least one is not to be found."

          Despite its  incredible influence  in Europe, the  Malleus had
          effect in England, Wales or Ireland, where witchcraft accusation
          and trials were very different to those of the continent and Sco
          In fact Wales and Ireland seemed to escape from the witch persec
          almost entirely, with very few trials, and even fewer executions

          Although many  laws have been  enacted in England  against witch
          there has never been  anything like the hysteria about  witches
          in  mainland Europe. The earliest  known person accused  of sorc
ery in
          England was Agnes, wife of  Odo, who in 1209 was freed  after ch
          trial by ordeal of grasping a red-hot iron.

          Until 1563, commoners accused  of witchcraft in England met  lig
ht (if
          any) punishment. Those of noble birth were treated rather more s
          ly,  as the crime could easily be one of treason, and any action
          implied a threat  to the  monarch was treated  very seriously  i
          This resulted in the charge of  witchcraft being used to remove
          ical  opponents  with  great  expediency. There  were  certainly
          against  the  practice of  witchcraft  or  sorcery:  Alfred the
          (849-899  AD), King  of Wessex  and overlord  of England,  decre
ed the
          death penalty  for Wiccans (that was  the word he  actually used
), and
          Aethelstan - perhaps  one of  the most compassionate  of Saxon
          ordered  those who practised Wiccecraeft  to be executed,  but o
nly if
          their activities resulted in murder.

          Under Henry VIII's Act of 1546, the penalty for conjuration of e
          spirits was death, and the property of the accused was confiscat
          by the King. However, this was in effect for only one year, bein
          repealed by Edward VI in 1547, and only one conviction under thi
          Act is  recorded. In 1563,  the statute of  Queen Elizabeth I  w
as es-
          tablished, which also made death the penalty for invoking or con
          an evil spirit, but those who practised divination, or who cause
d harm
          (other  than death)  by their  sorceries, were  sentenced to  a
          imprisonment for a first offence. Subsequent offences could be p
          able  by death, and  in some  cases, the  confiscation of  prope
rty as


          However, even though laws against the practice of witchcraft had
          been established for hundreds of years, the first major trial wa
s not
          until 1566, at Chelmsford, and was typical of the English style
          witchcraft: no pact with the devil, no gathering at Sabbats, but
          simple and direct acts of maleficia, and the introduction of wit
          familiars. It was an important trial, for it set the precedent i
          English law for accepting unsupported, and highly imaginative, s
          from  children as evidence. It  also accepted spectral evidence
          witch's marks, and the confession of the accused.

          There are  some very distinctive aspects to  English witchcraft,
          set it apart from its Continental and Scottish counterparts, and
          are worth  noting. There was a relative lack of torture, and, th
is may
          come as  a surprise to some  people, but witches were  never bur
ned in
          England. Traitors  and murderers were  burned; witches  were hun
g.  Of
          course, a traitor or a  murderer could also be  a witch, but thi
s  was
          actually quite rare. The torture used in England - when it was u
sed at
          all - was typically swimming, pricking, enforced waking, and a d
iet of
          bread  and water.  Unpleasant, but when compared to squassation,
          skinned  alive,  the strappado,  the rack,  and  such delights
as the
          thumbscrews and the  iron maiden, hardly in the same  class. The
          of  English witchcraft  was  more towards  simple,  personal, ac
ts  of
          maleficia  than a perceived conspiracy against the power of the
          tian Church.  As one of  Britain's foremost  folklorists says:
          itions  of an organised, pagan witch-cult were never very plenti
ful in
          England, although they did exist occasionally, especially in the
          years of  the witch belief. They  were never really strong,  and
          the end of the persecution in the early 18th century, they disap
          altogether."   (Christina  Hole) This is  interesting, because
it has
          been suggested that the witch trials phenomena was largely inspi
red by
          the heretical Christian sects; this  would seem to be born out
by the
          type  of  accusations made  in England,  which were  largely nei
          against neighbour  rather than Church  and State against  an org
          conspiracy of heretics.

          What is also interesting is  that it was commonly believed  in E
          that if the  bewitched victim  could draw blood  from the witch,
          they  would be  cured, and  the witch's  power made  ineffective
. This
          belief has persisted in folk  traditions to modern times. In 187
5,  at
          Long Compton,  the body of an  old woman, one Ann  Turner, was d
          ered. She had  been pinned to  the ground by  a pitchfork throug
h  her
          throat, and across her face  and chest had been  carved the sign
 of  a
          crucifix. James Heywood, a  local farmer, had once claimed:  "It
's she
          who  brings the floods and drought.   Her spells withered the cr
ops in
          the field.  Her curse drove  my father  to an  early grave!".  H
          maintained  that the only  way to destroy  her power was  to spi
ll her
          blood, and so after her murder, he was  taken and tried for the
          He was convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Long Compt
on has
          always been associated with the practice of witchcraft, and is l
          only a short distance from  the magical Rollright Stones, and ne
ar  to
          the aptly  named Wychwood Forest. The derivation  of this name i
s from
          the curiously named tribe of THE HWICCE,  who lived in the area
at the
          time of King Penda of Mercia, and who seemed always to be ruled
by two
          brothers. But back to Long Compton:


          In 1945, Charles Walton, a  local labourer, set out one morning
 to do
          some hedging on nearby Meon Hill. That evening, his mutilated bo
dy was
          found in a field -  pinned to the ground  by his pitchfork, whic
h  had
          been stuck through his throat.  There were cuts to his arms  and
          and local police were baffled as to  the motive for the crime, a
nd who
          the likely culprit might have been. But gradually locals began t
o talk
          about Mr Walton; they said  he was a solitary and vindictive  ol
d man,
          who was concerned more  with searching out the secrets  of natur
e than
          in taking company  with his  neighbours. They said  that he  har
          toads, using reeds and pieces of ram's horn, and then sent them
          fields  to  blight the  crops.  They also  remembered that  he
kept a
          witch's mirror - a piece of  black stone polished in a mountain
          - concealed in his pocket-watch, which he used for weaving spell
s  and
          seeing into the future.  The police never discovered the  culpri
t, but
          it was accepted locally that Mr Walton was murdered because he w
as a
          witch. His wounds were a result of the belief that a victim coul
d be
          freed from enchantment if he or she were able to draw the blood
          the witch.

          We could not leave English witchcraft without mention of that in
          gentleman, Matthew Hopkins; self-styled  Witchfinder General. Fo
r  all
          his fame, his activities  were restricted to a relatively  small
          and a relatively short period of time.  However, his boundless e
          and boundless enthusiasm for the collection of large amounts of
          ensured that his name has not been forgotten.

          Matthew Hopkins  used the  unrest of  the Civil War  to prey  up
on the
          fears of  the common people. Little is known of his early life,
          that he became a lawyer "of little note", and failing to make a
          at Ipswich  in Suffolk,  moved to  Manningtree in Essex  - an  a
rea of
          Civil War tension.

          With virtually no knowledge of witchcraft, but  armed with a cou
ple of
          contemporary documents (including James I's "Demonology"), Hopki
ns set
          himself up in business  as a witchfinder.  And a very profitable
          iness  it was  too. At  a time  when the  average daily  wage  w
as 6d,
          Hopkins received  23 for a single  visit to Stowmarket, and  6 f
or a
          visit to Aldeburgh.

          His  approach  was consistent:  James  I  mentioned that  witche
s  had
          familiars, and suckled imps; therefore, anyone who kept a famili
          spirit or imp must be a  witch! Bearing in mind the English part
          to keeping  pets, and you begin  to see just how  very successfu
l this
          technique  could be.  For example,  Bridget Mayers  was  condemn
ed for
          entertaining an  evil spirit in  the likeness  of a  mouse, whic
h  she
          called "Prickears"; another (unnamed) woman was rescued  by her
          bours from  a ducking,  where she  confessed to having  an imp
          "Nan". When  she recovered she said:  "she knew not what  she ha
d con-
          fessed,  and she  had nothing  she called  Nan but  a pullet  th
at she
          sometimes called by that name...".

          Hopkins  moved from Essex to Norfolk and Suffolk, and by the fol
          year, had  operations in  Cambridge, Northampton, Huntingdon  an
d Bed-
          ford, with a team of six  witch finders under his control. "In S
          alone it is estimated  that he was responsible for arresting  at
          124 persons  for witchcraft, of  whom at least 68  were hanged."
          However, Hopkins moved too  far too quickly, and public  opinion
          to go against him. In 1646, a clergyman in Huntingdon preached a
          him, and judges began  to question both his  methods of locating


          ches, and  the fees that he  charged for the service.  In 1647 H
          published a pamphlet called  "Discovery of Witches", in which  h
e sup-
          ported his methods in sanctimonious and pseudo legal language.
          er, it  was to no  avail, for later that  year he died,  "in som
e dis-
          grace" according to most authorities. Witchcraft legend has it t
hat he
          was drowned  by irate villagers in  one of his own  ducking pond
s, but
          this has no recorded evidence to support it. However, it would b
e a
          fitting end to such an evil man, and I hope it was true.

          Moving away from England; Scottish and Continental witchcraft sh
ared a
          great many similarities;  Mary Queen of Scots, and her  son, Jam
es VI,
          were  both educated  in  France,  and  this ensured  that  conti
          attitudes  towards  witches  were enshrined  in  Scottish  law
at the
          highest level. In fact the concepts of witchcraft were introduce
d into
          Scotland by Mary in about 1563. Before then, trials for witchcra
ft had
          been few,  and there  were no  recorded burnings  of witches. In
          Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology" Rossell Hope Robbins

                    "Scotland is  second only  to Germany in  the bar-
                    barity of its witch trials. The Presbyterian cler-
                    gy acted like inquisitors, and the Church sessions
                    often shared the prosecution with the secular law
                    courts. The Scottish laws were, if  anything, more
                    heavily loaded against  the accused. Finally,  the
                    devilishness of  the torture was  limited only  by
                    Scotland's backward technology in the construction
                    of mechanical devices."

          It is  well known that James  VI was an ardent  prosecutor of wi
          and  it  was under  his  authority that  the  Bible was  transla
ted to
          include the word "witch"  (Exodus 22:18) to provide Biblical  sa
          for the death  penalty for witches. The original Hebrew word - k
          - meant either a magician, diviner or sorcerer, but was definite
ly not
          a witch. In  the Latin Vulgate (4th century version  of the Bibl
e) the
          word had been translated as "maleficos", which could mean  any k
ind of
          criminal, although in practice often referred to malevolent sorc
          Similarly, the  so-called Witch of  Endor, consulted by  King So
          the  original Hebrew was "ba'alath  ob": "mistress of  a talisma
n". In
          the Latin Vulgate she  became a "mulierem habentem pythonem":  a
          possessing an oracular spirit. It was only in the version of the
          authorised by King James that she became a witch.

          By the time that James acceded to the English throne in 1603, hi
          attitude towards witches had undergone a subtle transformation.
          fact,  he was  directly  responsible for  the  release and  pard
on  of
          several accused "witches", and personally interfered in trials w
          he believed that fraud or deception was being practised.  Howeve
          Lynn Linton writing in 1861 says of him:

                    "Whatever of blood-stained folly belonged special-
                    ly to the Scottish trials of this time - and here-
                    after -  owed its  original impulse to  him; every
                    groan  of the  tortured  wretches driven  to their
                    fearful doom, and every tear of the survivors left
                    blighted and desolate to drag out their weary days
                    in  mingled grief  and terror,  lie on  his memory
                    with shame and  condemnation ineffaceable for  all


          But it was under Charles II that perhaps the most famous -  and
          ing  - of  Scottish  witches was  tried,  and most  probably  ex
          (although records  of her punishment have not survived). Isobel
          of Auldearne,  on four separate  occasions during 1662  testifie
d that
          she  was a witch, and gave what  Russell Hope Robbins describes
as: "a
          resum of popular beliefs about witchcraft in Scotland.". He says
          Gowdie "appeared clearly demented", but that "it is plain she be
          what she confessed, no matter how impossible...".

          From Gowdie are  derived some of the concepts of  today's Wicca,
          uding the idea of a coven, comprised of 13 people.  Gowdie said
that a
          coven was  ruled by a  "Man in Black",  often called "Black  Joh
n". He
          would often beat the witches severely, and it seemed their main
          were  to raise storms, change  themselves into animals,  and sho
ot elf
          arrows  to injure or kill people. Coming  as she does right at t
he end
          of  the witchcraft persecutions, it is difficult to establish ho
w much
          of Gowdie's confession  is based upon real, traditional folk pra
          of  Auldearne, and  how  much she  is  simply repeating  the  st
          accusations against witches.   The Coven of 13 is  probably the
          aspect of her confessions  which does not appear elsewhere  in r
          of witchcraft trials, and my own feelings are that she was proba
bly as
          genuine a witch as was ever taken and tried.

          We have already commented how terrifying it is to consider the
          that a single person  can have upon  the lives of  so many peopl
e.  We
          have looked  at a number of  these - King James,  Kramer and Spr
          Matthew Hopkins, Conrad of  Marburg - and their latter  day succ
          are no  less  dangerous. Let  us  consider some  of the  20th  c
          persecutors.  We  have  already  mentioned Adolf  Hitler;  what
          Stalin?  his great purge in  the period following  1936 saw char
ges of
          treason, espionage and terrorism brought against anyone who show
ed the
          least inclination to oppose him. Using techniques which would no
t have
          been  out of  place during  the great  witch hunts,  Stalin's he
          enforced "confessions", and effectively exterminated any threat
to his
          political power.

          We could look  too at  McCarthy, whose fame  for persecution was
          that his name is now used to describe "the use  of unsupported a
          tions  for any purpose".  It is no  accident that  his activitie
s were
          referred to as a "witch hunt", nor that Arthur Miller's play abo
ut the
          Salem  witch trials, "The Crucible",  was more a  comment about
          thyism than a comment about 17th century American life.

          In 20th century Australia we are heirs to a European history, wh
          maintains  that witches  are  servants of  the  devil, and  shou
ld  be
          prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. In some States the
          laws actually remain upon the Statute Books; in others, the lega
          machinery has been removed, but often public opinion hovers arou
nd the
          middle ages, believing that the only good witch is a dead witch.

          Our latter-day inquisitors play upon these fears, in much the sa
          way as  Matthew Hopkins played upon the fears of the people duri
ng the
          Civil War. Christian Fundamentalists have no hesitation in using
          dirty trick in the book to  ensure that public opinion remains o
          to witchcraft. If this means  that some of them  have to stand u
p  and
          say: "Yes, I  was a witch:  I sacrificed my  babies to the  devi
l, and
          copulated with  a goat; I took  part in drunken orgies,  and dra
nk the
          blood of the sacrifice"; but  then I found Jesus, and was  born


          and now I'm  a really nice person; well so be  it. Some of them
are so
          psychiatrically unbalanced they may even believe it themselves.

          Listen to a  sample of the claims made by  Audrey Harper, who ac
          notoriety in Britain as an  ex-HPS of a Witches' Coven.   This e
          is from an article by Aries, which appeared in Web of Wyrd #5:

                    Sent to  a Dr  Barnado's home by  her mother,  she
                    grew up  with  deprivation and  social stigma.  In
                    time she becomes a WRAF, falls in love, gets preg-
                    nant, boyfriend dies, she turns to booze, gives up
                    her baby  and becomes homeless. Wandering  to Pic-
                    cadilly Circus she meets some Flower Children with
                    the  killer weed,  and  her descent  into Hell  is
                    assured. By day she gets stoned and eats junk
                    food; by night she  sleeps in squats and doorways.
                    Along  comes Molly; the whore with a heart of gold
                    who teaches  Audrey the art  of streetwalking. She
                    flirts with shoplifting, gets into pills, and then
                    gets talent spotted and  invited to a Chelsea par-
                    ty,  where  wealth, power  and tasteful  decor are
                    dangled as bait. At  the next party she is  hooked
                    by the  "group", which meets "every  month in Vir-
                    ginia Water". She agrees to go to the next meeting
                    which is to be held at Hallowe'en.

                    Inside the  dark Temple  lit

                    full of "A heady,  sickly sweet smell from burning
                    incense", she  is  "initiated" by  the  "warlock",
                    whose "face was deathly pale and skeletal... his
                    eyes ...  were dark and sunken"  and whose "breath
                    and body seemed to exude a strange smell, a little
                    like  stale alcohol."  She signs  herself over  to
                    Satan with her own blood on a parchment scroll,
                    whereupon a baby is  produced, its throat cut, and
                    the blood  drank.  Following this  she gets dumped
                    on the  "altar" and  screwed as the  "sacrifice of
                    the White Virgin". The meeting finishes with a
                    little  ritual cursing  and  she's left  to wander
                    "home" in the dark.

                    Her life  falls into a steady  routine of meetings
                    in Virginia  Water, getting  screwed by the  "war-
                    lock", drug  abuse,  petty crime,  and  recruiting
                    runaways for parties, where  the drinks are spiked
                    -"probably with  LSD" - and  candles injected with
                    heroin  release "stupefying  fumes into  the air";
                    the  object being  sex kicks and  pornography. She
                    falls pregnant again, gets committed to a psychia-
                    tric hospital, has the baby, and gives it away
                    convinced that the "warlock" would sacrifice it.
                    Things then become a  confusion of Church desecra-
                    tion,  drug  addiction, ritual  abuse, psychiatric
                    hospital, and  falling in with Christian  folk who
                    try vainly to save her soul. For rather vague
                    reasons the  "coven" decide  to drop her  from the
                    team, and she dedicates herself to a true junkie's
                    lifestyle with a steady round of overdosing, jaun-
                    dice, and detoxification units. The "warlock"


                    drops by  to threaten her,  and she makes  her way
                    north  via some psychiatric  hospitals to a Chris-
                    tian Rehabilitation farm. She  gets married, has a
                    child which she keeps, and becomes a regular chur-
                    chgoer.  But  beneath  the  surface  are recurring
                    nightmares,  insane  anger and  murderous feelings
                    towards her brethren.  At the Emmanual Pentecostal
                    Church  in Stourport  she asks  the  Minister, Roy
                    Davies, for help. He prays, and God tells him that
                    she was involved with  witchcraft. An exorcism has
                    her born again, cleansed of her sin. She gets bap-
                    tised and has no  more nightmares, becoming a gen-
                    erally nicer person.  She becomes the  "occult ex-
                    pert" of the  Reachout Trust  and Evangelical  Al-
                    liance, and makes a career out  of telling an edi-
                    ted version of her tale.

                    Geoffrey Dickens  MP persuades her to  tell all on
                    live TV; "Audrey, to your knowledge is child sacr-
                    ifice still going on?" To this she replies, "To my
                    knowledge, yes." After  this the whole thing  ram-
                    bles into an untidy conclusion of self-congratula-
                    tion, self-promotion,  and self-justification; and
                    for a grand finale pulls out  a list of horrendous
                    child abuse, which is shamelessly exploited in
                    typically  journalistic fashion, and  by the usual
                    fallacious  arguments which  links it  to anything
                    "occult"; help-lines, astro  predictions in  news-
                    papers, and even New Age festivals.

          And so we are left with a horrifying vision of hordes of Satanis
          swarming the country, buggering  kids, sacrificing babies, and f
          their own faeces to the flock."

          Whilst all this  seems incredible to any rational  person, unfor
          ely, in the age old tradition, it confirms the worst fears of th
e  man
          and woman in the street, and so they swallow  it whole.  After a
ll, it
          was on telly, so it MUST be true!

          As a direct result of people like Audrey Harper publicising thei
r lies
          and fantasy,  children in England  and Scotland were  forcibly r
          from their homes, and subjected to the type of questioning that
we had
          previously believed had died out at the end of the Middle Ages.

          A consultant  clinical psychologist  scrutinised the  interview
          cripts and audio records of the recent Orkney child abuse case,
          and in her summing  up said: "[the  Social Workers] told the  ch
          they knew things had happened  to them and were generally  leadi
ng all
          the  way. When  the children  denied things,  the questions  wer
e con-
          tinually put until  the children got hungry and gave  them the a
          they wanted."

          Who says that torture is no longer legal in the British Isles?

          The father of four of the children who were taken into care said
          "At first I thought the allegations were laughable, but I found
          how serious the police were...". Just to remind you of the words
          Gilles de Rais some 500 years ago: [the accusations] are frivolo
          and lack credit...".


          One 11 year-old described being asked to  draw a circle of ritua
          dancers. He said: "They got me to draw by  saying, 'I am not a d
          Can you draw that?' It was meant to be a ring with children arou
nd and
          a  minister in the  middle wearing  a black robe  and a crook  t
o pull
          children in."

          The boy said  he had been promised  treats such as  a lesson on
how  a
          helicopter worked if he co-operated, and was told that he could
          go if he gave one name. How remarkably similar to medieval witch
          trials,  where the victims were  always pressed to  name their a
          lices - for is it not said, "thou canst not be a witch alone?"!

          In 1990,  journalist Rosie  Waterhouse commenting upon  the Manc
          child  abuse  case said:  "After three  months  of questioning
by the
          NSPCC,  strange  stories began  to come  out  and other  childre
n were
          named. The way the children began telling "Satanic" tales in thi
s case
          is  remarkably similar  to  the way  such  stories first  surfac
ed  in
          Nottingham. As "The  Independent on Sunday" revealed last week (
          90), the  Nottingham children  began talking about  witches, mon
          babies  and blood  only after  they had been  encouraged, by  an
          social  worker, to  play with toys  which included  witches' cos
          monsters, toy babies, and a syringe for extracting blood."

          Believe it or not, the parents of these children had no access t
          them whatsoever. Why? Because our modern, scientifically trained
          20th century social workers believed that, "[the parents] would
          to  silence  the children,  using  secret Satanic  symbols  or t

          By  March 1991,  senior Police spokesmen  were publicly  claimin
g that
          "police have no evidence of ritual or satanic abuse inflicted on
          children anywhere in England or Wales". Scotland has a different
          legal system, which is why it was not included in the statement
          not because the police have evidence there, for they do not.

          When the Rochdale case finally came to court, after the children
          had been in care (sic!) for about 16 months, the judge delivered
          damning indictment upon those  who were responsible for it,  and
          "the way  the children had  been removed  from their parents  wa
s par-
          ticularly upsetting." He  saw a video of the removal  of one gir
l from
          her home during a dawn  raid, and commented that, "It is  obviou
s from
          the  video tape  that the  girl is not  merely frightened  but g
          distressed at being removed from home. The sobbing and distraugh
t girl
          can be seen. It is one of my most abiding memories of this case.

          Let us  return briefly to  Salem, where, in 1710,  William Good
          ioned for  damages in respect of  the trial and execution  of hi
s wife
          Sarah, and the imprisonment of his daughter, Dorothy, "a child o
f four
          or five  years old, [who] being  chained in the dungeon  was so
          used  and terrified  that she  hath ever  since been  very charg
          having little or no reason to govern herself.".


          Today's Christian Fundamentalist, like his vicious  and self-rig
          predecessors, will use anything in his or her power-including in
          children -  to destroy the evils of Paganism and the occult. Som
          I wonder if we are becoming paranoid, or the subjects of a perse
          complex, but  in writing this lecture  it was brought home  to m
e more
          strongly than ever before: the witch trials of the Middle Ages a
re not
          a bloody stain  on the history  of Christianity; they  are the
          from where today's fundamentalists  draw their power, and are  j
ust as
          terrifying  today  as they  were hundreds  of  years ago.  Bigot
ry and
          persecution have changed in only one respect: 20th century manki
nd has
          far  more efficient and effective  means of spreading  lies and
          ganda than was available to our ancestors.

          Appendix A

          The  subject of the  European Witch Trials  has been  written ab
out ad
          infinitum  (and nauseam!),  and there  are a  great many  useful
          which  the student will find  of interest. There  follows a shor
t bib-
          liography of those to which I referred when writing this lecture

          Select Bibliography

          Bradford, Sarah                 Cesare Borgia (1981)
          Cohn, Norman                    Europe's Inner Demons (1975)
          Ginzburg, Carlo                 Ecstasies: Deciphering The
                                          Witches' Sabbath (1990)
          Hole, Christina                 Witchcraft in England (1977)
          Howard, Michael                 The Occult Conspiracy (1989)
          Kieckheffer, Richard            European Witch Trials (1976)
          Larner, Christina               Enemies of God: The Witch Hunt i
                                         Scotland (1981)
          Larner, Christina               Witchcraft and Religion (1985)
          Maple, Eric                     The Complete Book of Witchcraft
          Radford, Kenneth                Fire Burn (1989)
          Ravensdale & Morgan             The Psychology of Witchcraft
          Robbins, Rossell Hope           The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft
                                         Demonology (1984)
          Russell, Jeffrey                A History of Witchcraft (1980)
          Scarre, Geoffrey                Witchcraft and Magic in 16th and
                                        century Europe (1987)
          Stenton, Sir Frank              Anglo-Saxon England (1971)
          Summers, Montague (Trans)       Malleus Maleficarum (1986)
          Thomas, Keith                   Religion and the Decline of Magi
          Trevor-Roper, H R               The European Witch-Craze of the
                                         and 17th Centuries (1988)
          Walsh, Michael                  Roots of Christianity (1986)
          Worden, Blair (Ed)              Stuart England (1986)

          Encyclopaedia Britannica (1969 edition)
          Collins Dictionary of the English Language (1980)
          Newspapers: The Times, The Guardian, The Independent (Britain)



          Appendix B - Historical Periods

          Anglo-Saxon:       broadly 550 AD to 1066 AD (the Norman invasio

          Middle Ages:       broadly the period from the end of classical

                               antiquity (476 AD)to the Italian Renaissanc
e  (or
                               fall of Constantinople in 1453).  More spec

                               the period from 1000 AD to the 15th century

          Medieval:          of, or relating to, the Middle Ages.

          Tudor:             the Royal House, descended from Welsh Squire
                               Tudor (d.1461), which ruled in England betw
                                1485 AD - 1603 AD

          Stuart:            the Royal House which ruled in Scotland betwe
                                1371 ADand 1714,and in England between 160
                                1714 AD.

          Jacobean:          relating to the period of James I's rule of E


          Reformation:       a 16th century religious and political moveme
                               which beganas anattempt toreform the Cathol
                               Church, but actually resulted in the establ

                               of the Protestant Church.

          Renaissance:       usually considered as beginning in Italy in t
                               14th century, this is the period which mark
ed the

                               transition from the Middle Ages  to the mod
                               world.  It is characterised by classical sc
                               scientific and geographical discovery, and

                               the exploration of individual human potenti

          Civil War:         1640-1649, between the Royalists under Charle
s I,
                               and the Parliamentarians led by Oliver Crom

                               Charles I was executed in 1649.

          Crusades:          a series of wars undertaken by the Christians
                               western Europe with the authorisation of th
e Papacy
                               from 1095 until the mid-15th century for th
                               purpose of recovering the Holy Sepulchre at
                               from the Muslims and defending possession o
                               it. (Enc. Britannica)

 Thirty Years' War:             a major conflict involving Austria, Denmar
                                France, Holland,Germany, Spain and Sweden
                                devastated central Europe, but especially
                                It began as a war between Protestants and
                                but developed into a general power struggl
e (1618 - 1648).

 Lateran Councils:              Five ecumenical councils held at the Later
an Palace
                                (the official residence of the Pope) betwe
en 1123
                                AD and 1512 AD.



 Appendix C - Gnostic and Christian sects

 Manichaeism:       a dualistic Gnostic religion first preached by Mani
                (q.v.)in the 3rd century AD. Its early centre was
                Babylonia, then part of the Persian empire and a
                meeting place of faiths. (EB)

      The  basic  theology of  Manichaeism is  that  good and  evil are
 separate  and opposed principles, which have become mixed in the world
 through  the  action of  the evil  principle.  There is  a complicated
 mythology  which describes the creation of the world and the elements,
 and a set of complex correspondences by which the seeker can return to
 a state of salvation. Manichaeism spread across a huge area, including
 the Roman  Empire. However, by the  6th century it had  virtually been
 eradicated  from Spain, France and  Italy, although was  strong in the
 eastern Mediterranean until the 9th century, when it was absorbed into
 the neo-Manichean sects of the Bogomils, Cathars, etc.

 Bogomils: a religious sect which flourished in the Balkans
          between the 10th and 15th centuries.

      Their central teaching was  strictly dualistic; that the visible,
 material world was created by the Devil, and that everything within it
 was therefore evil.   They  rejected many of  the trappings of  Chris-
 tianity, and  their condemnation of  anything to  do with the  flesh -
 including eating and drinking! - has rightly earned them the nickname,
 "the greatest puritans of the middle ages".

 Cathars:  a heretical Christian sect that flourished in
          western Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries.

      They believed that  goodness existed only in the  spiritual world
 created  by God, and  that the material  world, created by  Satan, was
 evil. Their theology bore  a great resemblance to that  of Manichaeism
 and the Bogomils, and they were closely connected with the latter.

 Waldensians:       also known as Valdenses or Vaudois. The sect was
                founded in southern France in the 12th century, and
                emphasised poverty, abstinence from physical labour,
                and a life devoted to prayer.

      They  were influenced by other  "heretical" sects, and rejected a
 number of  the basic tenets  of the Catholic  faith.  They  were stern
 opponents  to the acquisition of  wealth and power  within the Church,
 and  thus came into direct  opposition to the  Papacy,which thrived on
 both.   They  were fiercely  persecuted, and  by the  end of  the 15th
 century, confined mainly to the French and Italian
 valleys  of the Cottian Alps. During the 16th century, the Waldensians
 were transformed into a Protestant church, but suffered heavy persecu-
 tion throughout the 17th century from the Dukes of Savoy.  This ceased
 only after Oliver  Cromwell intervened personally on their behalf with
 the duke, Charles Emmanuel II. In  the latter part of the 17th century
 the Waldensians returned to their original homeland, and in 1848 the
 Waldensians  were given  civil rights,  and are  today members  of the
 World Presbyterian Alliance.



 Appendix D - A  calendar of events  connected with the persecution  of

 640 AD    Eorcenberht succeeds Eadbald as King of Kent, and
                becomes the first English king to order the
                destruction of pagan idols throughout his kingdom;

 663 AD         Council of Whitby determines the date of Easter to
                be in accordance with Roman practice, and so ends
                Celtic Christianity in Northumberland;

 668-690 AD     Liber Poenitentialis by Theodore, Archbishop of
                Canterbury.  Probably the first legislation against
                witches.  It advised penances (eg, fasting)for
                those who "sacrificed to devils, foretold the
                future with their aid, ate food that had been
                offered in sacrifice, or burned grain after a man
                was dead for the well-being of the living and of
                the house."

 735-766 AD     the Confessional of Ecgberht, Archbishop of
                York, which prescribed a 7-year fast for a woman
                convicted of "slaying by incantation";

 871-899 AD     reign of King Aelfred (brother of Aethelred), who
                declared the death penalty for those who practise

 925-939 AD     reign of King Aethelstan, where murder - including
                murder by witchcraft -was punishable with the
                death penalty;

 936 AD         Otto elected King of the Germans, whereupon he
                declaredit hisintention to drive the pagans out
                of his land;

 951            Otto crowned King of Lombardy;

 955            Otto defeated the Magyars and proclaimed himself
                "Protector of Europe";

 962            Otto crowned Holy Roman Emperor;

 1022           the first burning (at Orleans) for heresy;

 1066-1087 AD   reign of William the Conqueror in England; he
                reduced Aethelstan's sentence of death for
                convicted murderers to banishment;

 1118           King Baldwin II of Jerusalem suggested to Sir Hugh
                dePayens that he organise a chivalric order of
                knights to defend travellers to the Holy Land, and
                granted part of his palace, which stood on the site
                of Solomon's original temple, for their headquarters.
                As a result of this gesture, Hugh dePayens
                called his Order the Templi Militia, and then later


                changed this to Knights of the Temple of Solomon in

 1162           Pope Alexander III issued a special papal bull
                releasing Templars from spiritual obedience to any
                but the Pope himself, gave them exemption from
                paying tithes, and allowed them their own chaplains
                and burial grounds;

 12/13th cent   the Cathar heresies: introduction of the obscene
                kiss and ritual adoration of the devil;

 1243-44        Siege of Montsegur;

 1244           225 Cathars burned at the stake at Montsegur;

 1259           relationships between the Knights Templars and the
                Hospitallers of Knights of StJohn deteriorated
                into open warfare;

 1291           the Saracens took Jerusalem, and the Knights
                Templars were expelled, and lost their headquarters
                on the site of Solomon's Temple;

 1301           Walter Langton, bishop of Coventry, tried by
                ecclesiastical court for diabolism and acquitted;

 1302           trial in Exeter for defamation of a man who called
                a woman a "wicked witch and thief";

 1307           King Philip of France ordered the arrest of every
                member of the Knights Templar in France: this was
                followed by a papal bull to all rulers in Christian

                Europe that all Templars were to be arrested;

 1311           investigation in London by episcopal authority into
                sorcery, enchantment, magic, divination and

 1312           the Pope officially disbanded the Knights Templars;

 1314           Jaques de Molay (last Grand Master of the Knights
                Templars) burned as a relapsed heretic;

 1321           last Cathar burned at the stake;

 1324           Alice Kyteler tried in Kilkenny by secular and
                ecclesiastical authorities for diabolism, invocation
                and sorcery;

 1347           the Plague spreads over the whole of Italy, and
                arrives in France by the end of the year;

 1348           the Plague reaches Paris, then the Low Countries,
                and then via the Channel to southern England;

 1349           Britain ravaged by the Plague, which passes into
                Germany, Austria and Scandinavia;


 1360           the Plague, complicated by influenza reappears in
                Europe, continuing in waves until 1441, and finally
                ending around 1510;

 1390           woman tried in Milan for attending an assembly led
                by "Diana", "Erodiade" or "Oriente";

 1408           the Plague, still rampant in Europe is complicated
                by an epidemic of Typhus and Whooping Cough;

 1409           trial of Pope Benedict XIII at Pisa for divination,
                invocation, sorcery and other offences;

 1428-47        Dauphine: 110 women and 57 men executed by secular
                court for witchcraft, especially diabolism;

 1431           Joan of Arc tried for heresy and burnt at the
                stake: the trial decision was annulled in 1456, and
                in 1920 she was canonised by Pope Benedict XV with
                the date of her execution (May 30) becoming a
                national holiday in France;

 1440           Gilles de Rais tried on 47 charges including con
                juration of demons and sexual perversions against
                children: nearly all evidence was hear say, none of
                his servants was called to testify,and the proceedings
                were highly irregular: he was strangled and
                then sent to the pyre, but his family were given
                permission to remove his body before the flames
                reached it for burial at a nearby Carmelite Church;

 1441           Margery Jourdain ("the Witch of Eye") convicted of
                plotting to kill King Henry VI,and burned as a

 1458           first recorded use of the word "sabbat" (Nicholas
                Jacquier). "Synagogue" was the word commonly used
                to describe the meeting places of heretics and

 1470           trial before Royal Court in England for defamation
                man had accused the Duchess of Bedford of image

 1479           Earl of Mar executed for employing witches
                to kill James III of Scotland;

 1484           Papal Bull of Pope Innocent VIII officially
                declaring witchcraft a heresy;

 1486           first publication of the Malleus Maleficarum;

 1488           Metz: 31 women and 4 men tried by secular court for
                weather magic: 29 burned;

 1492           expulsion of Jews from Spain;

 1521           Martin Luther excommunicated by Pope Leo X, and so
                begins the Reformation;


 1532           the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina: the criminal
                code for the Holy Roman Empire which specified how
                witches, fortune tellers, etc were to be tried,and

 1542           first statute against witchcraft in England passed
                by Parliament (revoked 1547);

 1557           first list of prohibited books issued by the Roman

 1562           statute enacted in Scotland under Mary Queen of
                Scots declaring the death penalty for witchcraft,
                sorcery and necromancy: the Act was confirmed in
                1649 and repealed in 1736;

 1563           statute against witchcraft by Elizabeth I in
                England ordering the death penalty for witches,
                enchanters and sorcerers(under civil, notecc
                lesiastical law);

 1566           first major trial under statute of 1563: Elizabeth
                Francis, Agnes Waterhouse and Joan Waterhouse at
                Chelmsford: Agnes hanged, Elizabeth received a
                light sentence and Joan was found not guilty;

 1584           "Discoverie of Witchcraft" by Reginald Scot
                published - a Protestant argument against belief in

 1590-92        North Berwick trials by James VI;

 1595           Nicholas Remy publishes "Demonolatreiae" where he
                boasted on the title page that he had condemned 900
                witches in 15 years;

 1596           John Dee as Warden of a Manchester College acts as
                an advisor for cases of witchcraft and demonology;

 1597           "Daemonologie" by King James VI published;

 1600           Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake in Rome
                as an "impenitent heretic";

 1603           ascension of James VI to the English throne as
                James I;

 1604           new statute against witchcraft by James I
                which established pact, devil-worship and other
                continental ideas in English law;

 1611           King James authorises a new translation of
                the Bible to include the word "witch";

 1612           twenty witches tried together at Lancashire
                (the Pendle witches);

 1628           in Massachusetts, an English lawyer, Thomas
                Morton ordered a may pole to be erected in the
                colony which he founded (Merrymount), and celebrated


                May with local Indians and refugees from the
                Puritans, with stag antlers, bells and brightly
                coloured clothes, under an elected "Lord and Lady"
                to rule over the celebrations; He was arrested
                under charges of practising witchcraft, but was

 1633           the public exorcisms of the nuns of Loudun as part
                of a plot by Cardinal Richelieu to revenge himself
                upon Urban Grandier: Grandier arrested and tried by
                investigating committee;

 1634           Grandier tortured then burned alive;

 1644           maypoles made illegal in England;

 1644-5         Matthew Hopkins active in Chelmsford;

 1646           Matthew Hopkins retired - he died the following

 1647           first witch hung in the USA, in Connecticut;

 1649           first newspaper astrology column by Lilly;

 1662           at Bury St Edmunds women were accused and convicted
                of witchcraft on the testimony of hysterical

 1662           the trial of Isobel Gowdie in Auldearne, Scotland:
                Gowdie introduces the idea of a coven of thirteen;

 1663           the Licensing Act determined that books could not
                be published without prior consultation with the
                Church or State;

 1679-82        the Chambre Ardente affair: a star chamber court
                admitting of no appeal arraigned to try Madame by
                black  candles and full of "A heady,  sickly sweet
                smell from Bosse, her daughter and sons; Madame
                Montvoisin (LaVoisin)and La DameVigoreux.  During
                the course of the trial, several hundreds of the
                highest courtiers of King LouisXIV were implicated
                in the poisoning scandal. The affair degenerated in
                to a search for heresy and witchcraft, and eventually
                Catholic Priests Davot, Gerard, Deshayes, Cotton,
                Tournet, Guibourg and Mariette were also drawn in,
                accused of performing the Black Mass. Evidence was
                collected to show that Madame de Montespan (Louis'
                former mistress)attempted to poison Louis and his
                new mistress, and was the leader of the Satanic
                cult. In all, 319 people were arrested and 104
                sentenced: 36 to death, 4 to slavery in the gal
                leys, 34 to banishmentand 30 acquitted. In 1709
                Louis attempted to destroy the records of the
                affair, but failed;

 1684           Alice Molland was the last person executed as a
                witch in England (at Exeter);


 1689           Cotton Mather (New England) publishes "Memorable
                Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions"
                supporting belief in witchcraft;

 1692           Salem witch trials: 19 hung and more than 100
                jailed; the last person executed in the USA for

 1727           last execution in Scotland for witchcraft;

 1731           last trial for witchcraft in England: Jane Wenham,
                who was convicted, then pardoned and released;

 1736           the repeal of the statutes against witchcraft of
                Mary Queen of Scots(1562), Elizabeth I (1563) and
                JamesI &VI(1604): replaced with a statute which
                stated that,"no prosecution, suit or proceeding
                shall be commenced or carried out against any
                person or persons for witch craft, sorcery,inchant-

                ment (sic),or conjuration. "It provided for the
                prosecution of those pretending to possess magical
                powers, but it denied reality to those powers;

 1745           last execution in France for witchcraft;

 1775           last execution in Germany for witchcraft;

 1829           Lamothe-Langan fabricated and published documents
                represented to be records of trials of witches in
                Toulouse and Carcassonne, probably in an attempt to
                prove the continuing existence of the worship of
                the old religion;

 1830           in "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft" Sir
                Walter Scott argues that alleged witches had been
                misunderstood and mistreated;

 1862           Jules Michelet argues in his book "La Sorcerie"
                that witchcraft was a protest by medieval serfs
                against a crushing social order;

 1865           Pope Pius X again attacked secret societies,claim
                ing that Freemasonry was anti-Christian, satanic,
                and derived from paganism;

 1899           publication of Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by

 1928           first English translation of the Malleus Malefic
                arum (tr Summers);

 1951           repeal of the 1736 Witchcraft Act with the Fraud
                ulent Mediums Act;

 1963           demand made for reinstatement of the Witchcraft
                Laws in England following desecration of churches
                and graveyards;


 1966           the Index (of prohibited books) abolished;

 1991           Anti-occult amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill
                had its third reading in Parliament. Presented by
                Geoffrey Dickens, this prescribed imprisonment for
                not more than five years against one who,"permits,
                entices orencourages a minor to participate in, or
                be present at a ceremony or other activity of any
                kind specified in sub-section3...". Subsection3
                says: "The ceremonies or activities to which this
                section applies are those of, or associated with,
                Satanism and other devil worshipping, black magic,
                witchcraft, or any activity to which Section1 of
                the Fraudulent Mediums Act (1951) applies.

                The Bill was rejected for a number of reasons, not
                least because it made newspaper/magazine editors culpable
                minors should read the astrology column!

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Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races