The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
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29-05-2013, 10:52 PM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(29-05-2013 05:46 PM)Gaest Wrote:  Thanks for the reply. The reason I asked was that I wondered if Regino mentions the devil worshipping/orgy part of the later Witches´ Sabbaths, or only the travelling part?
We have Pope Gregory IX´s Vox in Rama from 1232 as a later example of the concept of devil worshipping and orgy - in this case it is directed against heretics, but it shows that the concept was present, and associated with pactum cum diabolo in some form.
Also, I´m wondering if the presence and role of the Jewish magician in the story of "Saint Theophilus the Penitent" helped to coin the term "Witches´ Sabbath"... I know there was a general slant against Jews, but this story seems to connect the Faustian bargain with Jews and (?) magicians, and it was well known in the middle ages.

No orgy is mentioned. The material in question is only a paragraph long:

Quote:This also is not to be omitted, that certain wicked women, turned back toward Satan, seduced by demonic illusions and phantasms, believe of themselves and profess to ride upon certain beasts in the nighttime hours, with Diana, the Goddess of the Pagans, and an innumerable multitude of women, and to traverse great spaces of earth in the silence of the dead of night, and to be subject to her laws as of a Lady, and on fixed nights be called to her service.

The church considered the night flights to be hallucinations. I'm assuming the orgy stuff came later once the folklore became more established. Honestly, I'm not nearly as knowledgeable on this stuff as I used to be. I devoured witch lore back in 2005 after I first read The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (you can read a copy on my blog). Most of it has been replaced by Asian and Judeo-Islamic history, as well as my study of primate behavior and evolution (my focus in college). I only just recently started looking into this again because the article I linked above resparked my interest in the subject.

I’ve never heard of the Vox in Rama before. Luckily I recently purchased a book packed full of such documents called Witchcraft In Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History (2001). I just looked it over. That certainly is one heck of an orgy they describe. I guess kissing the anuses of toads and black cats and making out with a zombie really puts people in the mood. It certainly appears like this influenced the mythos since orgies and ass kissing are described in some of the Sabbath accounts I’ve read about.

As for "Saint Theophilus the Penitent,” I’m not sure. I’ll have to look into it more when I get a chance. I’ll look through my books to see if they mention it. Thanks for the input.

(29-05-2013 06:03 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  No doubt you have heard of that lovely treatsie on the prosecution of witches written in 1486 by a Catholic clergyman, the Malleus Maleficarum?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleus_Maleficarum

It asserts that three elements are necessary for witchcraft: the evil-intentioned witch, the help of the Devil, and the Permission of God.

That last one is just insult to injury.

*In 1490, only 3 years after it was published, the Catholic Church condemned Malleus as false however it was continuously published until 1669, so I would presume that some of those copies made it to North America.

Yes, I've read it before (years ago). I also own the Compendium Maleficarum. Both have to be the most revolting anti-women pieces of literature ever written. It's said that the MM enjoyed such a wide readership.
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30-05-2013, 04:44 AM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
Thanks for the quick reply.

(29-05-2013 10:52 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  Honestly, I'm not nearly as knowledgeable on this stuff as I used to be. I devoured witch lore back in 2005 after I first read The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (you can read a copy on my blog).

Thanks for the links Smile

Quote:I’ve never heard of the Vox in Rama before. Luckily I recently purchased a book packed full of such documents called Witchcraft In Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History (2001). I just looked it over. That certainly is one heck of an orgy they describe. I guess kissing the anuses of toads and black cats and making out with a zombie really puts people in the mood. It certainly appears like this influenced the mythos since orgies and ass kissing are described in some of the Sabbath accounts I’ve read about.

Yeah, that´s what I thought, especially being from the pope and all, I think Mitchell mentions Vox in Rama as an early influence as well...

Quote:As for "Saint Theophilus the Penitent,” I’m not sure. I’ll have to look into it more when I get a chance. I’ll look through my books to see if they mention it. Thanks for the input.

You´re welcome.

As a side note; have you read Mitchell´s Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages? If not I highly recommend it.
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30-05-2013, 01:32 PM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(30-05-2013 04:44 AM)Gaest Wrote:  As a side note; have you read Mitchell´s Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages? If not I highly recommend it.

No, but I'll definitely looked it up. My personal copy of the aforementioned encyclopedia has lengthy entries on "Sabbath" and "Jewish witches." I'll read those and see if they answer any of your questions.
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30-05-2013, 07:59 PM (This post was last modified: 30-05-2013 08:04 PM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(30-05-2013 01:32 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  No, but I'll definitely looked it up. My personal copy of the aforementioned encyclopedia has lengthy entries on "Sabbath" and "Jewish witches." I'll read those and see if they answer any of your questions.

Okay, so the "Jewish Witches" entry just states that there never was any such thing. Jews were simply lumped together with Muslims and all of the other people the Catholics didn't like. In other words, it wasn't very helpful. The "Sabbath" entry states that pagan sources going back to around 1100 influenced the various aspects. Trial confessions from the early to mid-1400s mention gatherings of witches. One source from 1440 mentions a synagogue, but it wasn't until 1458 that the word "Sabbath" was first used by Nicholas Jacquier in his writings. Keep in mind that the encyclopedia is dated since it was written almost 65 years ago. I'm sure progress has been made since then.
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04-06-2013, 11:41 AM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(29-05-2013 05:46 PM)Gaest Wrote:  Also, I´m wondering if the presence and role of the Jewish magician in the story of "Saint Theophilus the Penitent" helped to coin the term "Witches´ Sabbath"... I know there was a general slant against Jews, but this story seems to connect the Faustian bargain with Jews and (?) magicians, and it was well known in the middle ages.

You may be interested to know that the encyclopedia mentions that the Saint Theophilus story is from the 13th-century and that the idea of someone making deals with the devil actually comes from Isaiah 28:15: "We have entered into a league with death; we have made a covenant with hell."
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04-06-2013, 05:11 PM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(04-06-2013 11:41 AM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  You may be interested to know that the encyclopedia mentions that the Saint Theophilus story is from the 13th-century

Are you sure? According to Mitchell the story was turned into a Latin text by Paul the Deacon...

Quote:and that the idea of someone making deals with the devil actually comes from Isaiah 28:15: "We have entered into a league with death; we have made a covenant with hell."

Good point.
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04-06-2013, 05:33 PM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
This has been sitting around waiting for me to start. It's made up of a goodly number of essays.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/26...9338568390

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04-06-2013, 07:21 PM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(04-06-2013 05:11 PM)Gaest Wrote:  Are you sure? According to Mitchell the story was turned into a Latin text by Paul the Deacon...

I see that that happened in the 8th century. I went back and looked at the encyclopedia; I guess the idea of signing a contract in blood came from a 13th-century variant of the story.

(04-06-2013 05:33 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:  This has been sitting around waiting for me to start. It's made up of a goodly number of essays.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/26...9338568390

Looks interesting.
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14-06-2013, 06:21 AM (This post was last modified: 14-06-2013 06:25 AM by ghostexorcist.)
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
Between other projects, I just started to research the history of the french concept "cauchemar" (nightmare). Cauchemar literally means "pressing spirit," and it is synonymous with "witch riding," especially by Cajuns and African Americans living in Louisiana. To me, it's obvious that two different folklore were fused. The original concept dealt with nightmares brought on by demons in the night. This eventually took on a sexual connotation via Succubi lore. The Wild Hunt-inspired legends of witches riding horses eventually changed into stories of witches riding humans at night. Therefore, it's easy to see how these two could mix.

I plan to write a short article in the near future. I'm now waiting for a book on medieval medicine and spirituality to arrive via my university library. An essay therein explains the origins and evolution of Succubi folklore. I'm just trying to see if I can figure out when the two legends met.
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14-06-2013, 08:27 AM
RE: The spread of witchcraft folklore to and in America
(27-05-2013 11:40 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  This eventually gave way to even later folklore that forewent the transformation and stated that the witches would just ride people at night as they slept. This phenomenon has been dubbed “witch riding.” Waking up with knots in your hair (a.k.a. bed head) was said to be sure sign of this.

Deep sleep and death - they have always been scary and were a gap in knowledge that needed to be filled. Human imagination produces some really interesting stuff, the sad part comes in when it's taken for real and steps are taken to eliminate the scape goats.

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