Withccraft in British History

"European
witchcraft was a unique phenomenon which differed from
European high magic from the low magic or simple sorcery"
(Russel 658). "High magic and simple sorcery differ
however in methods and motivation" (658). High magic
was astrology and alchemy (658). Sorcerers are usually
people that are motivated by strong feelings of jealously,
revenge, malice which are experienced by everyone
(Marwich 3042). "More supernatural are witches who are
slaves of aberration and addiction that are consideration
weird" ( 3041). "The word witch derives from the Old
English noun wicca \'sorcerer\', and the verb wiccian \'to cast
the spell\'." The term does not really have a sinister meaning
to it. It comes from the adjective \'white\' which means to
help others. Throughout British history superstitions
regarding witches have affected the lifestyle of the people
and literature of the world. One question that everyone
wants to know, is if European witchcraft really exists. If it
exists merely as a concept, a body of beliefs or whether it
exists objectively is the question that baffles people. But
whether witchcraft exist or not the concept of witchcraft
dominated the period of the late Middle Ages through the
Renaissance and the Reformation and down to the
Eighteenth century. "Estimated over 100,000 to 200,000
people were executed and millions were tortured and
terrified by the government" (Russel 658). Therefore,
witchcraft brought the darkest periods in the European
history. The first witches knew about nature, they really
helped perform remedies, in a time of need. Magic is what
people started to beleive the witches were performing at
first in their lives (Stallman 11). "They started to beleive
they could start making people afraid, and so thats what
they did ( 13). People also believed to became a witch, a
seed in the mothers milf while breast fedding was placed in
a little child during infantsy (Marwich 3042). First the
witches practiced sorcery (Eliade 417). Sorcery fills
societal functions that merges from religion (416). Since the
1800\'s a new kind of diabolic witchcraft evolved in
medieval and early modern Europe (417). Sorcery
demands no attributes and can be practiced by anyone
who can receive necessary magical substances (Marwich
3042). "Sorcery may have a variety of social functions: to
relieve social tension, to define and sustain social values; to
explain or control terrified phenomena; to give a sense of
power over death; to enhance the solidarity of a community
against outsiders" (Eliade 416). An other element in the
development in witchcraft in Europe was Christian heresy.
It had been established by the fifteenth century. Its chief
elements were pact with the devil, formal repudiation of
Christ, the secret nocturnal meeting, the ride by night, the
desecration of the Eucharist and the crucifix, orgy,
sacrificial infanticide and cannibalism (417). At the first
formal trial in 1022 is were sorcery was linked with the
Devil. "In this trial the accused was said to hold orges
underground at night, to call up evil spirits, to kill and
cremate children conceived at previous orgies and use their
ashes in blasphous parody of the Eucharist, to renounce
Christ and desecrate the crusifix, and to pay homage to the
Devil" (417). Ideas introduced by courts suggested the
differences in witchcraft and in sorcery, that suppossed
these two religions were alike. In deciding the laws against
witchcraft than against sorcery in the prosecution of the
witches the courts finalized the separation ,although in
England that distinction was never made. In England,
witchcraft remained a civil crime, so that convinced witches
were hung ( Russel 661). "Theology , then, made a logical
connection between witchcraft and heresy. Heresy is any
persistently held belief counter to orthodox doctrine"
(Eliade 418). The worst imaginable heresy was if one used
demons serves the Devil rather than God, and if one serves
the devil, one acknowledges that correct theology involves
serving the Devil rather than God (418). The inquisition
was another way to transform sorcery into witchcraft. The
connection between them both, meant that sorcery could
be prosecuted with much greater severity than before.
Penalties for heresy were severe. In 1198, Innocent III
ordered the execution of those who persisted in heresy
after having been convicted and excommunicated.
Gradually almost all sorcery came to be included under the
heresy. In the Middle Ages, pagan religion and folklore
were the next elements in the formation of witchcraft (
Russel 660). "The Weld Hunt, and example was a model
of the witches Sabbath" (660). It was about the spirits and
ghosts who strayed around exposing and ruining everything
(660). If anyone approached who was a human being
would be killed (660). Pagan festivals of light and fertility
were maintained in revised form. "One particular was "need
fire" festivals on the 31 of October changed into Halloween
by Christians on the Eve of