Monday, 29 November 2010

29.11.2010

(pp 56)... " The female sex has been always most concerned in the crime of Christian witchcraft.  What was the cause of this general addiction, in the popular belief, of that sex, it is interesting to inquire.   In the east now, and in Greece of the age of Simonides or Euripides, or at least in the Ionic States, women are an inferior order of beings, not only on account of their weaker natural facilities and social position, but also in respect of their natural inclination to every sort of wickedness.  And if they did not act the part of a Christian witch, they were skilled in the practice of toxicology.  With the Latin race and many European peoples, the female sex held a better position, and it may appear inconsistent that in Christendom, where the Godess-Mother was almost the highest object of veneration, woman should be degraded into a slave of Satan.  By the northern nations they were supposed to be gifted with supernatural power; and the universal powers of the Italian hag have been already noticed.  But the Church, which allowed no miracle to be legitimate out of the pale, and yet could not deny the fact of the miraculous without, was obliged to assert it to be of diabolic origin.  Thus the priestess of antiquity became a witch.  This is the historical account. "...


(pp 57)... "  Their magical or pharmaceutical attributes might be derived from savage life, where the men are almost exclusively occupied either in war or in the chase: everything unconnected with these active or necessary pursuits is despised as unbecoming to the superior nature of the male sex.   To the female portion of the community are abandoned domestic employments, preparation of food, the selection and mixture of medicinal herbs, and all the mysteries of the medical art. how important occupations like these, by ignorance and interest, might be raised into something more than natural skill, is easy to be conjectured.  That so extraordinary an attribute would often be abused is agreeable to experience. "...


Source: The superstition of Witchcraft, by Howard Williams; Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1865
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