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Author Topic: Lesson 4  (Read 2168 times)
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« on: April 27, 2010, 09:51:02 PM »

Lesson 4
In the last lesson we discussed the initiation of a candidate into the mysteries and presented an eyewitness account of an initiation that took place into the mysteries of Isis in the Great Pyramind of Egypt.

Though the rise of Christianity caused the Craft to take the practice of its rites underground in order to avoid persecution, Christianity nonetheless borrowed much from the cult. The names of the days of the week are taken from the ancient belief in their astrological influence by the various planets. Sunday, is, of course, named after the Sun; Monday, after the Moon; Tuesday, after the planet Mars, called Tyr by the Norsemen; Wednesday, after the god Mercury, called Wotan; Thursday, after the god Thor, or Jupiter; Friday, after Venus, or Freia; and Saturday, after Saturn.

Among other examples, in Italy the healing springs of the god Apollo were rededicated to St. Apollinaris, and 25 December the Pagan Mithraic birth of the Sun, was designated as the birthday of the Christ, who was in actuality born in the spring.

Mention must also be made of the influence of the Crusades on the development of magic. Returning from the East, many crusaders carried with them books unknown in Europe that dealt with such subjects as demons, spirits, and other forms of magic. So, too, many carried with them strange tales of men who possessed powers not known or accepted in Europe before Franz Mesmer, who is credited with the discovery of hypnotism

Unusual though it may seem, witchcraft was not considered a danger to Christianity until A,D. 1137, when the first proclamation appeared mentioning the influence of witches. In 1437 and 1445, Pope Eugene IV issued papal bulls (church decrees) commanding punishment of witches who caused bad weather. These bulls are interesting in that they establish the ability of the Craft to influence weather. In 1484 the papal order Summis Desiderantes appeared, causing the execution of scores of thousands of witches.

Initially, membership in the Order was limited solely to initiated families and their children. As the influence of Christianity began to fail, due chiefly to corruption among the clergy, the less well educated sought to return to their old beliefs. Since women occupied the lowest position in the society of the time, they were in the first to reunite with the Craft. Next came those who had seen the influence of the cult while away on the Crusades or those into whose hands books on magic had fallen. Finally, new recruits were found among those who had been helped in one way or another by members of the cult.

Among the prerequisites for membership in the Order was the requirement that the would-be initiate freely consent to becoming a witch. So, too, each was required to deny the Catholic faith. Lastly, attendance was required at the Sabbath, together with actual initiation into the mysteries.
Since the Order then, as today, was essentially a secret organization, you may wonder how it is we know what took place within its confines. One way is through evidence revealed at the various witch trials. Though sometimes doubtful, since given under the threat and pain of torture, these trial records provide much of what is known today about the early workings and organization of the ancient mysteries.

In speaking of these trials, we must note the possibility that many who confessed were simply neurotics who delighted in their own fancies and who sincerely believed in their ability to do all kinds of evil. Thus, we find statements like that of Jane Bosden, who ?confessed freely and without torture and continued constant in it in the midst of the flames in which she burnt.?

Attempting to bolster a faltering Christianity, these trials, directed by the clergy, were preoccupied with sex, in the belief that the cult was a phallic one, that its practices were essentially orgiastic, and that its sole purpose was to increase or reverse fecundity. What better example of witchcraft could be found than the failure of one?s crops,
the inability of one?s herd to produce milk, or the lack of one?s issue? From its inception, the cult was always connected in some way
with the keeping of animals. In the Egyptian mysteries, animals were united with human form and thought of as gods. This was accomplished through the high priest wearing animal masks or horns that were believed to convey the strength (particularly masculine strength) and characteristics of the animal to the wearer. Of the various animals associated with the Order during the early period, the horned god remains foremost. A painting of a horned dancer on the wall of a cave in Ariege, France, has been dated approximately 8000 B.C.
In Mesopotamia, the number of horns indicated the importance of the god. In the New Testament book of Revelation, we find reference to a Seven Horned Lamb. (The significance of the various numbers will be explained later on in your studies.) The demon of early Christianity, Eukidon, possessed horns, tails, and hooves. The Egyptian god and goddess, Osiris and Isis, wore horns of fertility, as did the satyric Greek god Pan.

At first the interest of the early church in the horned god was a casual one. However, as time went on, and more and more reports ere gathered that attested to the appearance of the ?beast? at the ceremonies of the witches, Christianity began to take more of an interest.
In the seventh century the Archbishop of Canterbury issued an injunction prohibiting sacrifice to devils and eating and drinking in heathen temples. In time the concept of the horned god evolved into the belief in a superior being, personifying evil, who was believed to appear at every meeting of the Craft to instruct them in their evil practices. In the next lesson, we will tell you more about this Devil, or Satan. as he is also called.

In addition to the horned god, small animals, especially black cats, have alvavs been associated with the Wicca folk. The animals, orginallv the totem or badge of a particular clan or tribe, were used for divination purposes or predicting the future. Since they were often found near members of the Order, the belief arose in the ability of the Prince of Darkness to transform himself into any form or appearance in order to seduce followers away from the church. The idea of a personal spirit, sometimes.called a genius, is a very ancient one. Plato tells of the demon that often prompted Socrates not to do a particular thing. Of the sage Pythagoras it was written that he conversed with an eagle.

At the various trials the names given to such small animals, also called familiars, included angel, little master, imp, fury, maumet, and nigget. Among the types of animals represented were rats, butterflies, wasps, toads, and of course cats.

From the actual records of the Order we have learned that the initiates generally divided their familiars into two classes: domestic and divining.
The divining familiar was a special animal given to the witch by the Devil, along with instructions as to how to use the animal in order to obtain information about the future and other matters. In 1615, the following was written concerning the use of familiars:

- That there are witches who keep familiars, which are little imps in the form of toads, and give them to eat a mess of milk and flour and give them the first morsel, and they do not dare absent themselves from the house without asking leave, and they must say how long they will be absent, as three or four days, and if they (the familiars) say that it is too much, those who keep them dare not make the journey or go against their will.
One adherent, Gentien Ic Clerc, declared that he had more trust in his familiar than in God, that there was more profit in it than in God, and that he gained nothing by looking to God, whereas his familiar always brought him something.

The animal could also be a large creature such as a horse, stag, or large bird. The words used to conjure up a response from the familiar always included the use of the secret name of the god or goddess of the cult.

The domestic familiar was always a small animal that could be kept within the confines of the house. The geographic distribution of such traditions suggests that the origin of the habit was in Scandinavia, Finland, or Lapland. It was believed that such a creature was fed by the owner on food into which a drop of the witch?s blood had been mixed.The feeding of the familiar constituted a ritual that may account for the belief in imps.

The familiar could be bought and sold or given as a gift.

One good wife Weed gave her a white cat, telling her that if she would deny God, and affirm the same by her blood, then whomsoever she cursed and sent that cat unto, they should die shortly after (1646).

There are also instances in which the familiar was inherited from another witch, Another method of finding a familiar was to recite a prayer to the god or goddess and then to take the first animal that appeared thereafter.

Exercise 4

Continuing with the development of your ability to concentrate, try the following.

Obtain a small shallow bowl, a wooden match or toothpick, and a glass of water, and go to a quiet room.

Fill the bowl with water, and float the stick on the surface.

Place one hand on each side of the bowl, palms facing toward the bowl.

Now, while being careful not to blow on the stick, try to cause it to move by concentrating and fixing your attention on its end.

First, cause it to move away from you by concentrating your attention and pushing the match away, then to the right, and then to the left.

Try this experiment once daily for ten days as originally instructed.
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