Witches and Their Effect on Christianity?
It was initially a hysterical move by religious leaders who feared the separation of groups from the Catholic Church. It soon turned into a massive movement against women and anyone who sympathised with them or who objected to the lies and magic conducted by the Catholic hierarchy.
My anthropology studies moved up a notch when the historical witches came into the picture. As a spiritual person with full memory of reincarnation and a commission to take God off the cross my research was thorough. It was no shock, therefore, to discover that the Catholic Church and the crucified Savior were at the heart of the terror that pervaded Europe at that time. The so-called Prince of Peace was a weapon of discrimination and war/
Led by the Spirit to solve puzzles like the identity of 666, as told on this lens, the involvement in his organization in destroying the credibility of women was no real surprise. But men have a role to play in the persecution of women and so are as much to blame for what happened to them during the frenzied years of torture and burning alive that pervaded western countries and stretched even to the Americas.
A bibliography appears at the end of the page
The Activities of Women
Their role in society ignored.
Without a doubt women in society and cultural affairs have a backseat role to men and, in some societies, are without even a voice or a presence. While in western societies things have changed somewhat there is still no equality when it comes to the sexes. Women must be less forceful, less intelligent, less able to survive alone if they are to 'win' men over and keep them.
Now, it would seem, its all about sex. Women must flaunt themselves and display their bodies in such a way that men are constantly 'turned on' by their appearance. The more dumb the woman acts and the more attractive she makes herself the more chances she has of being successful in the marriage stakes and of getting rich in the bargain.
But women have always had it rough, as though they are not even human in many cases. Is this because men do not want to be seen as weak or is it something else? For centuries its been the case that only men received decent educations and could control industry and big business. Its because men control everything that women are unable to rise above them.
This is one anthropologist's view: "Social scientists have, by and large, taken male power for granted; they have also tended to accept a male view that sees the exercise of power by women as manipulative, illegitimate or unimportant" (Rosaldo 1974:21). This is an attitude that prevails in most if not all cultures. If a man and a woman are together whose view of something is taken as correct?
Walk into a shop and it is usually the male who will get served first. It is always the male before the female in news reports. It is astounding that when children are mentioned they are listed as the name of the male, and his sister. Also it is always mister and misses, or him and her, just as it is always a male god.
It is up to women to grow and prepare the food, to be the homemaker, to serve the man and to give birth and rear children. Whilst some men may now have a different attitude within marriage it is still the norm in most cases. Women, on the other hand are easy targets for ridicule, abuse and being trodden on. They can be yelled at, as though they are deaf, spoken too, as though they have the IQ of a young child, and given mundane occupations that would bore men silly. Above all else they are easily blamed for everything that goes wrong. This is often the case even from their own children.
"But women defy the ideals of the male order. They may be defined as virgins yet are necessary to the group's regeneration. They may be excluded from authority, yet exercise all sorts of informal power. Their status may be defined by their male counterparts, yet they outlive their husbands and fathers, . . . women will be seen as anomalous and defined as dangerous, dirty, and polluting, as something to be set apart" (Rosaldo 1974:32)
It is hard to look upon men in their tribal gatherings without questioning their intelligence. As they charge around killing each other and suffering incurable wounds, disfigurements and loss one wonders where their thinking comes from. Is it all about peer pressure? No! I don't think so for there is something inside the male which is mysterious and unfathomable from a woman's perspective.
There is something about him that favors the ridiculous rather than the common sense for which he claims he possesses more of than women. There is an urge that drives him into inescapable fanciful notions that he is a god and will live forevermore. This is often dependent on the number of people he kills and the more successful warrior he becomes. At least that's the view he portrays throughout history. So why doesn't he wake up? The answer is simple. He enjoys the power.
The ability of women to give birth to babies and to feed them from their bodies to keep them alive was something men had rarely understood and it threatened their power.
Are men more intelligent than women?
Who is the more intelligent human
Tests of Manhood
His greatness must be proven
One doesn't go far in anthropology without striking the male sense of manhood. To be seen as a god he must be able to withstand and survive the worst form of punishment and should he die then he will have eternal life in paradise. This is the thinking which built the male ego and is part of the mystery that every man carries inside himself.
To be seen as weak, effeminate and childlike is to encourage ridicule and laughter from observers and an immediate drop in self-esteem. Remember men don't cry - says who? Men do cry but usually only where they cannot be seen but they still ache in their hearts. Male children are told from birth that boys don't cry and that is a hard one for children to live with.
There are cases from around the world of men doing extraordinary things to prove their manhood. Marshall (1979) cited Gillmore (1990:12) notes that in the Truck Islands men take risks with life and limb when they dive deep in tiny pools while spear fishing in heavy shark infested waters. The youths will drink to excess, fight each other, and prove their manhood in sexual conquests or face ridicule and threats of death from their peers.
On the Greek Island of Kalymnos men dive into deep water without diving gear. They may be crippled for life as a result. In Ethiopia the Amhara men prove their manhood in whipping contests (Levinne 1966:18 ibid:13). All adolescent males must participate and their faces are lacerated, ears torn apart and red and bleeding welts appear. They also scar their arms with red hot embers and so prove their masculinity (Reminick 1976:760 ibid:13).
While these are only a few citations there are many more that could be used of things happening even today as men test themselves against nature and the gods. Bull fighting, boxing, even games like football, and so on, are tests of the male prowess, to say nothing of war.
In my research into the power of the sword much more came to light. To be blooded with the sword was to be touched by the Mother god and to prove your worthiness as a god you had to have been born of a virgin birth, that is without a father's involvement. The fact that men today still believe in a virgin birth, even though science proves it is impossible, demonstrates how wrong the male thinking is and of the extremes they go to to protect their status. But women also know it is wrong and yet they too believe in it.
Battles between men is just another form of this and until they wake up to how ridiculous it is to suffer in this way wars, terrorism and torture will persist.
Women are To Blame
The big put-down
As men cannot be seen to be responsible for pain and suffering they passed the buck to women. When they decided to make themselves gods and to write down the way it happened it was women who copped the blame for their failings.
The book of Genesis states that humans had everything, including extremely long and happy lives, before Eve spoiled it by tempting Adam to eat the fruit of a tree. We are not told what is special about that tree except that it was the tree of knowledge. But men kept knowledge to themselves so what justifies the blame?
It was male leaders who formulated religious practices which drove women to the back of society. It was they who wrote the bible and who put things in there that have plagued females ever since. Christianity, for instance, grew on the back of patriarchy, which promotes a male Father god who used a woman, Mary, to bear 'his' male child. From that point on men were right in denying women any rights in church, if you believe this religious dogma.
After all Jerome, who formulated the laws, festivals, order of service, and the garments worn by its members, despised women. We know that because he wrote of his hatred towards them in his diaries and Catholic priests were forbidden from coming into sexual contact with them. A law that persists til today, even though many of these so-called holy men sexually abuse children, especially boys.
With this background women were again the targets when the Church sought to expand its presence throughout Europe. The Roman Empire collapsed in the 5thCAD and the church was almost wiped out along with it until Charlemagne resurrected it around 8-900AD, This enabled it to grow wealthy again and to build schools and universities to train its own.
By the 15th-16th CAD it was losing ground again. The printing press had come into operation and people were now able to read the bible and to see the contradictions and fanciful things that were then in it. This included the Apocalypse, which anyone in their right mind would have trouble swallowing.
So new bibles were printed leaving out the more controversial stories and adding things like an elegance of style and content to make it more credible and interesting. One clever author left a code in his work to show what he did. In psalm 46 the 46th word from the beginning is 'Shake' and the 46th letter from the end is 'spear'. Coincidence! Not likely,
At this time there was a great split with the Christian fold and several new branches of it sprang up, including Church of England, Lutherans, Protestants, and so on. This angered the Catholic hierarchy to the extent that they went on a rampage and, you guessed it, they blamed the women. All over Europe and throughout Britain women were hunted down and murdered. But they couldn't do this without a reason so the title 'witch' was applied to them.
Have you Thought about Religious Persecution of Women - Its gone on for centuries and will continue unless women wake up
Can this type of abuse be stopped?
The Witches that Affected Religious Power
Who were they?
Witches had special characteristics. The European witch had no precedent and arose, more or less, spontaneously during the 16th and 17th centuries, right when religious reform was taking place and break away branches of Christianity were appearing. These severed all relationship with the Catholic fold taking the book, known as the bible, and their congregations with them.
Writers like Chaucer and Skakespeare included witches in their works, which appealed to audiences on a large scale. In the dark ages, however, there was no witch craze but the "scattered folk-lore of peasant superstitions; the casting of spells, the milking of storms, converse with spirit, sympathetic magic" (Trevor Roper 1970:122ff). But the church constructed "organised, systemic, demonology" which acquired great momentum during the Renaissance.
Remembering that at this time there was great pressure on the Catholic Church in that many were leaving to join other faiths and scientists were disproving much of the bible and that on which the church stands. One such person was Galilee Galileo who peered into the universe and saw that the earth was not the center of it. He also noted the size of it and that planets were not rotating around the earth in a closed sphere, as the church claimed, but around the sun. This blew away the crdibility for heaven and hell. Now space travel has killed it completely.
This was on top of other people like Leonardo da Vinci proving that the heart was not the brain and that circulation of blood was dependent on it. The idolatry of the heart as the place of the soul was paramount in some of their images, i.e. the sacred heart. This great scientist had to flee to France to save his life. others were not so lucky.
Add to that the role of the Medici's and Lucretia Borgia, sister of the Pope, and her scandalous behavior plus several other events and the anger of the church towards anyone who dared to question its teachings rose to boiling point. According to Trevor-Roper "By 1490 . . . the new, positive doctrine of witchcraft would be established in its final form . . . simply a question of applying this doctrine: of seeking, finding and destroying the witches . . . " (ibid)
As the momentum gathered and church preaching aimed against them fired people up to believe in the extraordinary over common sense it allowed for witches to suddenly be thriving in countries never subjected to them beforehand. Not only that but, according to the dogma, their powers were now extraordinary and "they were multiplying at an incredible rate." According to documents "thousands of old women - and not only old women - had made secret pacts with the Devil . . . the Prince of Darkness, bent on recovering his lost empire" (ibid:123). People were literally scared out of their wits and anyone who acted a little strange was handed over as a member of this 'club'.
it was broadcast that these ladies were using 'devil's grease' (the fat of murdered babies) by which they slipped through cracks and openings, including keyholes, rose up chimneys and riding on broomsticks, spindles or flying goats, rendezvoused at the 'witches sabbat'. This is not an incorrect spelling of 'sabot' but just another way the Church altered what it does not like. 'Sabbat' is in 'sabbath' so it could not stand in that form.
The unhealthy conclusions drawn by society through fear and provocation saw hundreds of these meeting places appear and "some 12,000 witches would assemble for the gathering known as the Aqualarre" (ibid:124). The mating of witches with the devil resulted in the birth of undesirables, such as Luther, and anyone else who dared question the authority of the Catholic Church. It was proposed that the devil equipped himself for procreation by squeezing the organs of the dead. With such insightful claims "by 1630 the slaughter had broken all previous records . . .and . . . lawyers, judges, and even clergy, joined the old women at the stake" (ibid:128)
There is much more that could be said on this subject but anyone interested should read up on it themselves. Let it suffice to say that the Church started out persecuting women. As men had been driven off to war leaving many villages without male protection it was they who took on the role of elders within their communities. It was they to whom people turned for advice and guidance on health, child rearing, day to day problems, and, of course, on religious truths.
This is the power the church feared most and why old women were targeted first. Lawyers, judges and community leaders who protested the injustices of the torture and live burnings were branded witches and suffered the same fate.
Fear is the greatest motivator of mass panic and death ever known. All it needs is for someone to start a trend and the rest of society will quickly follow. That happens because people fear being left out of the loop.
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Gregor T. Manhood in the Making. D. Gilmore. Binghamton, yale University Press 1990
Rosaldo M.Z. Woman, Culture and Society: A Theoretical View Stanford UP, Stanford, 1974 17-42
Trevor-Roper H.R. The European Witch Craze in Witchcraft and Sorcery Max Marwick (ed), Penquin, Harmondworth, 1970, 121-150
© 2010 norma-holt