Thursday, June 14, 2007

Witches offer babies to the Devil

Yes, that's what certain propaganda machines would like you to believe, and not just in the Medieval and Early Modern European Witch Trials. Roman writers like Horace and Lucan writing in the late 1st century BCE and early 1st century CE promoted the idea that female Witches reversed their usual maternal instincts and instead of nurturing their babies, offered them up either to malevolent supernatural beings, or used their body parts in subversive magical rituals.


Anonymous said...

Well its all very Norman Cohn isn't it. The whole inversion of values and "nature". Its also the kind of claim thrown out at moral panics at every "deviant" group as Cohn suggests. I've been so re-evaluating recently after my paper on the SRA panics of the 1980s. They are so straight out of the middle ages. Kinda disturbing. If you ever want a bit of a scare read some Richard Hicks sometime.

Caroline Tully. said...

Hi, OK, I will look Richard Hicks up. Have you read David Frankfurter's book on SRA and associated things - also like a continuation on from Norman Cohn - called "Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History" (2006)? It is absolutely excellent, and I think it should be essential reading for anyone involved in or a student of alternative religions.

Anonymous said...

Not too far from the truth, babies were regularly offered, a far too common site in even Neolithic sites of Romania, Ancient slavic villages, and specifically along rivers. Babies were commonly buried under homes, which was considered a blessing, when offered ceremoniously.

Slavic Folklore (Better termed oral History) talks about female priestesses offering young babies to the goddess. Also Serbian, and even the Gaul nymphs practiced infant sacrifices as a form of respect, and babies were known to be stolen and raised by nymphs if not given as sacrifice to the river goddess.

Evil also means live! Devil means lived, and Devi is a female goddess in Sanskrit so their is more to that statement then we are told today.