"The History of Witchcraft"
The history of witchcraft has been so tainted by
historians throughout the years in articles and
books, so blatantly filled with prejudice and
fear, that it's hard to uncover the truth. But as
more and more brave souls step forward and
proudly proclaim themselves as witches, we learn
more about our ancestry.
Tens of thousands of years ago, our ancestors
lived close to the land. They hunted and
harvested fruits and seeds from their
environment, and their respect for the creatures
sharing the earth was a constant point of
reference in their day-to-day existence. Because
the world of our ancestors was a magical place
filled with the spirits of plants and animals,
and because their experience had shown them that
cooperation was more efficient then working
alone, it was only natural that a bond of
cooperation with nature be sought by them. Thus
was born the world's oldest religion: Witchcraft.
During the following centuries this religion
developed naturally and easily to fit the needs
of the people. As closer bonds were developed
with nature, spirits were designated to the
Wicca- which means "The Wise Ones". These men and
women held the secrets for the community, sharing
wisdom and power and leading the rituals during
the Sabbatts- the Holy days that mark the "Wheel
of the Year".
With the advent of Christianity, several things
changed and we feel those repercussions even
today. This new man-made religion focused on a
single God as opposed to a pantheon of Goddess
and Gods that had developed naturally over
hundreds of generations. According to Joeseph
Campbell, Monetheism is the single most dangerous
idea humans have ever had because this new God is
a being we cannot relate to in any way. Rather
than interacting with people, this God dictates
from a position of formlessness and timelessness.
This God has no personality to relate to, no
idiosyncrasies to show us that our own quirks are
acceptable. It is any wonder that the
Monks,Nuns,Missionaries,Bishops and Priests of
the early church were seen as erratic, pointless
souls lost in a belief they could neither explain
The spread of Christianity was not as lightning
fast as our history books would have us believe.
Rather, women and men of power were converted
first and the force of their will was imposed on
the people, sometimes entire countries. When the
people refused to give up the old religion, Pope
Gregory the Great issued an order to destroy the
sites of worship associated with the old religion
and replace them with Christian Churches.
The Old Religion was seen as a rival to the
Christians march toward world domination, so the
ugly rumors began in earnest. No one could have
ever been more surprised at the accusations of
"DEVIL WORSHIP" directed at the pagans than the
pagans themselves. Until the moment they were
cursed, they had no concept of "DEVIL". Satan was
a Christian import and the history books are full
of examples of the "Winner-take-all" philosophy
of the Christians. Throughout history the Gods of
the defeated became the devils of the victors,
and so it was in this case.
The Great One, the Horned God Herne(or,later
Cernunnus) became the epitome of Satan-Horned,
Clovenhoofed etc. By the time Pope Innocent VIII
took office, the cards were stacked against our
ancestors and the followers of the Old Religion.
Pope Innocent issued a Bill against Witches in
In 1486 two german monks submitted a filthy,
obscene, personally-concieved document against
witches that changed the course of history. This
document is the Malleus Malleficcarum, or the
"Witches Hammer"- a title that still sends chills
up and down the spines of Pagans and Witches
today. The holocaust against witches began in
earnest with it's publication, and this time of
hysteria is called "The burning Times".
Ironically, their manuscripts were rejected by
the Theosophical Council as "Crazy" and the monks
forged the signatures of approval: A fact that
was not made public for over 400 years.
During the Burning Times, an estimated 9 million
Witches were killed by their Christian Brothers,
Sisters, Spouses, and neighbors. Even today you
cannot publicly announce the fact that you are a
Witch without fear of severe and often brutal
repercussions, depending on where you live in the
world. But the times are changing and the Goddess
is re-awakening. The powers of Herne is calling
to us, Children of the Earth, and many of us are
answering, but not with vengence or hatred. We
are answering with the Witches Rede':
An' It Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt.