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The Burning Times

The Burning Times: ask any Witch about it and you'll find out what it is. That name is to us what the Holocaust is to the Jews. Anywhere from 200,000 people to 9,000,000 people died. Pointlessly. For the "crime" of being pretty or ugly or old or having land or money the accuser wanted. The whole Burning Times period comes down to the two things every war comes down to: xenophobia and money. The people were terrifed and paranoid about Witches, and as such, any woman accused of being a Witch was as good as dead from the moment of accusation. Many men died, as well, but women were the main target. The Christian/Catholic Church tried women and men and found them guilty, sentencing them to death. Contrary to popular report, the favored way of killing in America seems to be not burning but hanging, though in Europe it was burning. But other methods of painful death were fairly common as well. For instance, there was a tradition of dunking the accused under water and holding them down long enough for a person to drown; if the person did not drown, then they were a Witch, but if they did, oh well. Too bad. God would surely take them to Heaven.

Torture was a favorite way to obtain "confessions" from unwilling lips. There were hunts with needles for the mark that Satan supposedly put on his people, a mark insensitive to touch. The torturers looked for the insensitive place by pricking the accused all over with needles. And being pressed to death with weights should not be forgotten. The things people did then were truely horrifying.

Can you blame Pagans today for being secretive and scared? Scared not of God, but of Man? The Burning Times are not over. If they were, cases like Kerry Patavino would not exist, and Witches would be able to be open and honest about their beliefs. There would be no scared Pagan teens setting up their altar in their closet for fear that their parents would turn them out into the streets if the truth were to be found. I would not be an angry girl with bitter memories of how her friends had treated her, how the whole school was out for her blood. I would be safe.

And safety is why I break my cover and expose myself, helpless, to the dagger-like words of the many. I want others in generations to come to be able to wear their Pentacles, Star of Davids, and crosses with equality. If I make this world one person safer, that's one person that my Pagan friends will not be hurt by.

Please, hear these words. "Any that hath ears to hear, let him hear." The words of the Saviour. Jesus Christ, Son of God. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Maiden, Mother, Crone. Are we so different that we are a threat? We are humans, like you. We will not hurt you. We cry out against injustice and our voices merge with yours. We will fight for our rights--and for yours. "Judge not, lest ye be judged;" "For as ye judge, ye shall be judged, and what ye mete out, ye shall be measured again."

Matt 7:1 and 7:2, the Holy Bible Peace v.s. Hate Religious Tolerance v.s. Discrimination Whose side are you on? Not what religion, but whose side. For to be a Christian is not to be good, as to be Pagan is not to be bad. Please, remember always: Love is the Law, No Matter What the Religion! (this isnt my writing but i found it in my sister's stuff and she allowed me to use it. So who ever's this is i want to give them credit.)

The Burning Times (Got from Catala's Page)

How did the lies start? Where did the negative image of the Witch begin? And how did it become so ingrained in our culture that it's almost impossible for some people to hear the word Witch without thinking of evil?

The religion of Witchcraft dates back about 25,000 years, to the Paleolithic Age, where the God of Hunting and the Goddess of Fertility first appeared. Out of respect for the overwhelming power of Nature grew a belief in beings, gods, who controlled the winds, the seas, the earth and the fires.

Soon, the old ways of the common people came into conflict with a new religion that started with rulers and upper classes - Christianity.

When the Christians decided that their new ways weren't catching on fast enough, things got a lot rougher for those who were practicing the Old Religion. Christian leaders began asserting that Witches were devil worshippers and savages.

In the year 1233, Pope Gregory IX instituted the Roman Catholic tribunal known as the Inquisition in an attempt to suppress heresy. In 1320, the church (at the request of Pope John XXII) officially declared Witchcraft and the Old Religion of the Pagans as a heretical movement and a "hostile threat" to Christianity. Witches had now become heretics and the persecution against all Pagans spread like wildfire throughout Europe. (It is interesting to note that before a person can be considered a heretic, he or she must first be a Christian, and Pagans have never been Christians. They have always been Pagans.) The single most influential piece of propaganda in this campaign was commissioned by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484 after he declared Witchcraft to be a heresy. He instructed the Dominican monks Heinrich Kraemer and Jacob Sprenger to publish a manual for Witch-hunters. Two years later the work appeared with the title Malleus malificarum, or "The Witches' Hammer." The manual was used for the next 250 years in the church's attempt to destroy the Old Religion of Western Europe.

"He must not be too quick to subject a witch to examination, but must pay attention to certain signs which will follow. And he must not be too quick for this reason: unless God, through a holy Angel, compels the devil to withold his help from the witch, she will be so insensible to the pains of torture that she will sooner be torn limb from limb than confess any of the truth. But the torture is not to be neglected for this reason, for they are not equally endowed with this power, and also the devil sometimes of his own will permits them to confess their crimes without being compelled by a holy Angel."

-- Kramer and Sprenger, the Malleus Maleficarum

Witches... along with countless numbers of "innocent" men, women, and children who were not Witches were persecuted, brutally tortured, often sexually molested or raped, and then executed by sadistic, bloodthirsty church authorities who taught that their God was a god of love and compassion. Once denounced, a suspected Witch was arrested and then hideously tortured into a confession. Suspects were subjected to thumbscrews, the rack, boots which broke the bones of the legs; they were deprived of sleep, starved and beaten. At times, hundreds of suspected Witches were killed in a day. Witchcraft in England was made an illegal offense in the year 1541, and in 1604 a law decreeing capital punishment for Witches and Pagans was adopted. Forty years later, the thirteen colonies in American also made death the penalty for the "crime" of Witchcraft. By the late seventeenth century, the followers who remained loyal to the Old Religion were in hiding and Witchcraft had turned into a secret underground religion after an estimated one million persons had been put to death in Europe and more than thirty condemned at Salem, Massachusetts, in the name of Christianity. Unfortunately, when the persecutions ended in the 18th century, the stereotype of Witches as devil worshippers remained for those who were uninformed of the true nature of the Craft.

The Burning Times - by Caryn Smirl

A young woman about my age Has been put on trial as a witch For growing harmless herbs On her windowsill. I watch helplessly As they bind her hands and feet With thick coarse rope And pull her long golden hair. Someone spits on the ground Just inches from her face And curses at her like a demon. A holy man is at the river's edge Blessing the swirling water. This is the first test. If the blessed water receives her And she sinks, Then she was wrongly accused And she goes to Heaven. But if the water rejects her And she floats, Then she is the demon spawn They say she is And she will be tortured and burned. I feel her terror as she is lifted. Feel the air rushing by As they throw her into the river. Feel the churning water around me As she disappears below the surface. And I feel her overwhelming dismay As she rises to the surface, Coughing and struggling to breathe. A few men wade through the water to her And pull her back to shore. The crowd clamors for her burning, And she is taken away to be tortured. I see her again a few days later With her hair shorn and shaven. She has been dressed in a black robe And she looks as though Her spirit has been broken. My heart cries out for her, But I cannot bring myself to defend her For fear they would do the same to me. They tie her to a post Surrounded by wood. Our eyes lock as holy men Drive their torches into the wood. I can feel the heat as the fire Licks at the hem of her robe. She is suddenly shrouded By a shimmering light. Just before she is consumed By the flames. The light remains until the fire dies down. Nothing is left of her body. It seems that though Holy Water rejected her The Almighty accepted her in her last moments And I feel her joy and peace.

Questions to be asked of a witch

How long have you been a witch?

Why did you become a witch?

How did you become a witch and what happened on that occasion?

Who is the one you chose to be your incubus?

what was his name?

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

What was the oath you were forced to render him?

How did you make this oath, and what were its conditions?

What finger were you forced to raise?

Where did you consummate your union with your incubus?

What demons and other humans participated in the sabbat?

What food did you eat there?

How was the sabbat banquet arranged?

Where was the banquet?

What music was played there, and what dances did you dance?

What did your incubus give you for your intercourse?

What devil's mark did your incubus make on your body?

What injury have you done to such and such person, and how did you do it?

Why did you inflict this injury?

How can you relieve this injury?

What herbs or what other methods can you use to cure this injury?

Who are the children on whom you have cast a spell? And why have you done it?

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

Who are your accomplices in evil?

Why does the devil give you blows in the night?

What is the ointment with which you rub your broomstick make of?

How are you able to fly through the air?

What magic words do you utter then?

What tempests have you raised, and who helped you to produce them?

What plagues of vermin and caterpillars have you created?

What do you make these perniciois creaters out of and how do you do it?

Has the devil assigned a limit to the duration of your evildoing? (Masello 171-173)

So as you can see these are very pathetic questions that for 1 thing have nothing to do with being an actual witch for 1 thing and another thing these questions and this time was the base of all the stereotypes witches now have today. I only have one question..Where did they come up with such questions?

Dates of Trials, laws, confessions, and abolishments

(These are in no specific order)

January 13th, 1787- Final Witchcraft laws repealed in Austria.

January 14th, 1696- Official confession of error by jurors of Salem Witch trials issued.

February 7th, 1274- Death of Thomas Aquinas, Catholic Scholar who wrote that heresy was a product of ignorance and therefore criminal, and refuted the Canon Episcopi.

February 10th, 1975- Zsusanna Budapest arrested and later convicted for fortune telling.

February 13th, 1728- Death of Cotton Mather, minister of Salem Witch Trials.

February 14th, 1652- Else Blum, a farmhand from Oberstedten, sentanced to death for witchcraft.

February 15th, 1521- Pope Leo X issues bull to ensure that secular courts would execute those convicted of witchcraft by Inquisition.

March 10th, 1582- The meeting of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly is said to have happened on this day.

March 14th, 1314- Jacques de Molay, headof the Knights Templar in France, retracts his confession of heresy before being burned at the stake.

March 19th, 1563- Elizabethan statueagainst witchcraft enacted.

March 22, 1311- Pope Clement persuaded by Phillip IV to supress the templar order

March 24th 1661- Arrest of Florence Newton, one of the few people b urned as a Witch in Ireland.

March 25th, 1199- Pope Innocent IIIissues a bull to establish the Inquisition.

April 13th 1662, Scotland- First Confession of witchcraft by Isobel Gowdie, whos case is unusual because she confessed without torture.

April 19th, 1579, England- Conviction of Witches at second of four famous trials at Chelmsford.

April 23rd, 1350, England- Edward III begins the Order of the Garter which Margaret Murray later links to Witchcraft.

May 11th, 1659- Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans ban Christmas celebrations becauset hey are too Pagan.

May 14th, 1660- Widow Robinson of Kidderminster, England, arrestedfor using magick to try to preventthe return of Charles II from exile.

May 27th, 1662- Final Confessionof Witchcraft by IsobelGowdie.

May 30th, 1431- Joan of Arc found guilty of Witchcraft and exicuted.

June 1st, 1563- Witchcraft act takes effect in England

June 10th, 1692- Hanging of Bridget Bishop, first to die in the Salam Witch Trials.

June 11th, 1604- James I repeales Elizabeth I's 1563 mandate and replaces itwithh the stricter Witchcraft statute.

June 15th, 1648- Margaret Jones Becomes the first person executed as a Witch in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

June 22nd, 1951- Final Witchcraft lawin England repealed.

June 25th, 1233- Law introduced in Germany to encourage conversion, rather than burning, of heretics and Witches.

July 3rd, 1549- Trial ofJoan Prentice, who was accused of sending an imp in theformof a farret to bite children.

July 5th, 1589- Conviction of WItchesatChelmsford, England.

July 19th, 1692- Rebecca Nurse hanged in Salem Massachusetts

July 21st, 1540- Lord Hunterford executed in England for Treason for consulting Mother Roche,a Witch, and speculating on the King's death.

July 22nd, 1612- Northamptonshire Witches Condemned.

July 25th, 1492- Death of Pope Innocent III, who issued famous anti-Witchcraft bull Summis Desiderantes Affectibus

July 26th, 1566- Confession of Witchehs at f irst of four major Witch trialsin Chemsford England

July 27th, 1612- Jannet Preston became the first of the "Malkin Tower" Witches to be hanged

July 29th, 1566- Agnes Waterhouse hanged. One of the Chelmsford Witches tried in t he first major trial after the institution of the Elizabethan statute against Witchcraft.

July 30th, 1390- Trial of Marion la Droituriere for employing Margod de la Barre to make her ex-lover impotent with his new wife. One of the first trials of lower-class women for ritual magick.

August 13th, 1313- Aradia de Toscano said to be born in Volterra, Italy

August 18th, 1634- Father Urbain Grandier found guilty of bewitching nuns in Loundoun, France.

August 19th, 1692- John Willard and Reverend George Burroughs put to death in the Salam Witch Trials

August 20th, 1612- Execution of theh Lancashire, England, Witches.

September 9th, 1603- Else Pfraum, a baker from Koppern, Germany, sentanced to death for witchcraft.

September 16th, 1692- Death of Giles Corey in Salam Massachusetts.

November 3rd, 1324- Petronella de Meath, servent of Lady Alice Kyeler, is executed in the first recorded burning in Ireland

November 8th, 1610- Sentencing of the Witches of Zugarramurdi

December 5th, 1484- Innocent VIII reverses the Canon Episcopi by issuing bull Summis Desiderantes Affectibus