“Witch Hunt” in Wikipedia-
Modern scholarly estimates place the total number of executions for witchcraft in the 300-year period of European witch-hunts in the five digits, mostly at roughly between 40,000 and 50,000 (see table below for details), but some estimate there were 200,000 to 500,000 executed for witchcraft, and others estimated 1,000,000 or more. The majority of those accused were from the lower economic classes in European society, although in rarer cases high-ranking individuals were accused as well. On the basis of this evidence, Scarre and Callow asserted that the “typical witch was the wife or widow of an agricultural labourer or small tenant farmer, and she was well known for a quarrelsome and aggressive nature.”
While it appears to be the case that the clear majority of victims in Germany were women, in other parts of Europe the witch-hunts targeted primarily men, thus in Iceland 92% of the accused were men, in Estonia 60%, and in Moscow two-thirds of those accused were male.
Witch hunts still occur today in societies where belief in magic is prevalent. In most cases, these are instances of lynching and burnings, reported with some regularity from much of Sub-Saharan Africa, from rural North India and from Papua New Guinea. In addition, there are some countries that have legislation against the practice of sorcery. The only country where witchcraft remains legally punishable by death is Saudi Arabia.
The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches,[a] is the best known and the most important treatise on witchcraft. It was written by the discredited Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (under his Latinized name Henricus Institoris) and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1487. It endorses extermination of witches and for this purpose develops a detailed legal and theological theory. It was a bestseller, second only to the Bible in terms of sales for almost 200 years. The top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology.
The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy and prescribes inquisitorial practices for secular courts in order to extirpate witches. The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft. At that time, it was typical to burn heretics alive at the stake and the Malleus encouraged the same treatment of witches. The book had a strong influence on culture for several centuries.
Witch has been a word used as weapon for many generations. This weapon was (and still is) used against people and families, and we are their descendants. This trauma has been lodged in the cells of our bodies and lineages, and this trauma is still actively acting on the overall culture now. The Spirits of these ancestors and parts of us are untended. They are unsettled. They need to be reclaimed by us so we can do what we need to do now, for Earth and her Peoples. We know this is intense work, and we can do it together. Our ancestors need us to do so.
For this purpose, Web of Life Animist church is hosting a community
Soul Gathering ceremony
in Tucson, AZ on Saturday, October 20 at 7pm.
All are welcome to are ready to strengthen our connection with the ancestors.
Due to mature themes, adults only please.
Included here is the recording that is the introduction to our ceremony.