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Basic History of Witches

Forums ► Wicca ► Basic History of Witches
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Basic History of Witches
Post # 1
Here is a small amount of basic history concerning witches and witch practice:

The Burning Times: Any threatening return of prejudice against/persecution of Witches and neo-pagans by religous groups, law-enforcement, employers, politicians etc.

Between the 15th and the 18th century were the Vindictive Witch Hunts.

Witch Hunts:
- Between 1563-1603
- 17,000 killed in Scotland
- 70,000 killed in England 1573
- Salem witch trial is a well-known example

The concepts of the Burning Times can make witches sensitive, especially when it comes to anything percieved as an attack. The Book of Shadows got it's name due to the fact that witches back then had to practice underground, and could not call something their 'Book of Spells' openly.

If there are any mistakes, feel free to correct me, in fact I welcome it. This knowledge was passed down through my coven.
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Re: Basic History of Witches
Post # 2
The following is borrowed from Wicca: For the Rest of Us. I encourage you to read the entire article here; http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/burning.shtml

The Burning Times is a term referring to the witch persecutions in Europe during the late medieval and renaissance periods. According to Wikipedia, it was first coined by feminist Mary Daly in 1978, who depicted the witch-hunts as a persecution against women. However, the "burning times," without captitalization, does, in fact, appear in Gardner's Witchcraft Today , which predates Daly by about 20 years. Whatever the origin, Wiccans and some other Pagans have certainly adopted the term, and today the phrase generally refers to the theory that Christian witch-hunters were, in fact, attempting to root out practitioners of older pagan religions. The stories of Satanic worship was simply a rouse to convince the masses of the necessity of putting these people down or, at best, the result of confusion and miscommunication. The fact that women were targeted almost exclusively is a result (according to the theory) of the fact that these pagan religions held women in much higher esteem, and women were generally considered the caretakers of magical and divine knowledge.

Not only is the myth of the Burning Times false, it's disrespectful to the real victims of the witch-persecutions who were, at first, heretics and then were generally Christians unfortunate enough to be swept up in a hysteria that swept half a continent. None of the victims were Wiccan - the religion did not exist at the time. Few, if any, had any knowledge of pagan religion. Worse, Wiccans have taken up such slogans as "Never forget, never again" (originally used by Jews in reference to the Holocaust) and spout hugely exaggerated numbers in an attempt to win the Most Persecuted Group in History Award.
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Re: Basic History of Witches
Post # 3
And about the Book of Shadows getting its name during the burning times, I again turn to Wicca: For the Rest of Us; http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/grimoire.shtml

According to Valiente in The Rebirth of Witchcraft , Gardner first came across the term Book of Shadows in a magazine in 1949, where the term actually referred to a Sanskrit document regarding divination through the studying of shadows. Gardner seems to have simply taken a liking to the name, even though the two documents have nothing to do with each other. Therefore, in reference to Wicca or witchcraft, the term was effectively invented by Gardner.

You may wish to start questioning where your coven got their "knowledge."
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Re: Basic History of Witches
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
The Burning Time is a not always what it seems.Certainly there were a few,very few, heretics burnt to death; even a few bishops!
But no witch or alleged witch was ever burnt to death in the British Isles. Some were drowned. most were hanged.
And the figures of 87,000 in England and Scotland is a bit far fetched.
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Re: Basic History of Witches
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 5
Even OccultJosh's dates are way out of line!
In England, witches (sorcerers) were not deemed to be heretics, and were therefore not burnt,they were hanged, and the last witch to be executed in England was in 1684!
And by the way, Josh, the figure of execution for witchcraft in England, was 38.
Thirty eight! Where on Earth did you get the figure of 70,000?
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