Witch’s Corner: A Brief History of the Devil, Demons, and Witchcraft

Devil, demons, and witchcraft are three things that we absolutely enjoy over at Gothic Bite, and our amazing witch, L.A. Maciel, is tackling the overall subject!

Ah…The Good Ole Burning Times!

The silvery light of the full moon shines down on a circle of nude people, dancing hand-in-hand around a bonfire. From the flames comes a being with the head of a horned goat on a man’s body, where its feet should be are hooves… 

This is a typical scene when you look into the history of the Witch Hunts of Europe or if you’re part of the Neopagan movement, The Burning Times

Witches' Sabbath by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Witches’ Sabbath by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

This scene was used to claim that the people who practiced the Old Ways—or any religion that was not that of the Church—were Devil worshippers. They, of course, would be wrong.

The Templars Conspiracy

In fact, the image they used in wood cuttings, and books of that time, was that of Baphomet. The Church used this image, claiming that the Knights Templar worshipped Baphomet instead of God. 

It was first mentioned in a letter written in 1098 claiming that Muslims didn’t worship God but a strange hermaphroditic, goat-headed being. It was later embraced by occultists and mystical writers, like Aleister Crowley, who used the image in his “Gnostic Mass.” Baphomet is now used as the image of The Satanic Temple, as the ultimate radical defier.

Nevertheless, there are many Horned Gods from all around the world. Cernunnos is an example. These images were used to condemn people. And was used in books like the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches,) which was written by two German Catholic clergies. 

The Devil’s Book

Within this book, they claimed women were more likely to sign their name in The Devil’s Book and dance naked in the moonlight on the Sabbat. Those who supposedly signed The Devil’s Book could control the weather and call upon demonic forces to do their bidding. 

The Devil's Book - Devil Codex Gigas
The Devil’s Book – Devil Codex Gigas

Demons would attach themselves to the witch who called them and took the form of whatever animal they chose. This is the source of what most people think of as the witch’s familiar.

Beware The Witches Of The UK!

Years later, King James of England and Scotland wrote Daemonologie. Before King James traveled to his future wife’s home country, England and the British Isles had almost nothing to do with the Witch Hunts. 

But when he, and his wife, were sailing back to England, a freak storm struck, almost sinking his ship. This, of course, made him believe that witches were after him. 

Demonology
M0014280 James I: Daemonologie, in forme of a dialogue. Title page. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Title page Daemonologie, in forme of a dialogue James I Published: 1603 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The only positive, in his book he wanted an organized trial, and spectral evidence was not accepted in court. Of course, when someone is getting tortured, they will agree to anything.

L.A. Maciel  


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