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God of the Witches

God of the Witches

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Published by TheOccultTruth.com

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Published by: TheOccultTruth.com on Mar 02, 2012
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BYMARGARET ALICE MURRAY, D.Lit.(Fellow of University College, London)AUTHOR OF "THE OSIREION AT ABYDOS", "THE WITCH CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE","EGYPTIAN TEMPLES", ETC."Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence yeare digged."--ISAIAH, li. I.LONDON SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & CO., LTD.[1933]FOREWORD TO THE FIRST EDITIONThis book being intended for the general reader as well as for the studentof anthropology the authority for each statement is not always given in thetext. For the benefit of those who wish to pursue the study further there isa bibliography for each chapter at the end of the book. For a completebibliography of English records the reader is referred to WallaceNotestein's History of Witchcraft in England (Washington, 1911). In my WitchCult in Western Europe (Oxford University Press, 1921) the bibliography ischiefly of the British Isles, France, Belgium, and Sweden.Though I am concerned with the existence through the Middle Ages of aprimitive religion in Western Europe only, there is no doubt that the cult
2was spread in early times through Central and Eastern Europe and the NearEast. There it survived, underlying, as in the West, the official religionof the country, Christianity in Europe, Islam and sometimes Christianity inthe East. The literati of those countries were of the faith there in theascendant, consequently the Old Religion was seldom recorded, for Paganismbelonged there as here to the inarticulate uneducated masses who remainedfor many centuries untouched by the new religion. I have not attempted togive every known instance of the beliefs and ritual of the "witches"; all Idesire to do is to present to the reader a fairly complete view of the cultfrom contemporary evidence. I have also, as occasion arose, compared theWitch-Cult with other religions of ancient and modern times.My grateful thanks are due to my sister, Mrs. M. E. Slater, and to Mr. G. A.Wainwright for much kind help and many valuable suggestions; and to Mr. F.Rutter, Town-clerk of Shaftesbury, for the information which he so kindlyfurnished concerning the Prize Besom.In conclusion, there is one request I wish to make of my readers. Since myWitch Cult in Western Europe appeared I have received many letterscontaining criticisms, some complimentary, some condemnatory, of that book.If other correspondents honour me with similar private criticisms of thepresent volume, I ask of them that they will sign their communications, evenwhen the opinions they express are adverse. Anonymous letters, of which Ireceived a number, reflect no credit on their writers.CONTENTSFOREWORDINTRODUCTIONCHAPTERI. THE HORNED GODII. THE WORSHIPPERSIII. THE PRIESTHOODIV. THE RITESV. RELIGIOUS AND MAGICAL CEREMONIESVI. THE DIVINE VICTIMREFERENCESTHE GOD OF THE WITCHESINTRODUCTIONMUCH has been written of late years on the changes, evolution, and
3continuity of material culture from the Palaeolithic period down to theRoman era when written accounts of Western Europe began. The movements of peoples, the increase of trade, the advance of civilisation, have all beentraced with considerable precision. The late Palaeolithic period of Europehas been linked with the Capsian, which is of African origin, and the gulf between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic civilisations is being rapidlybridged. The material side of life has received most attention, for theconcrete remains of Early Man are very numerous. The pictorial and plasticarts of the most remote periods have also been studied, and from the artsand handicrafts the mental development of the Palaeolithic and Neolithicpeoples can be traced. But the religion of those early times has beenentirely neglected, with the exception of a few references toMother-goddesses and to burial customs. The student of early religion beginshis subject in the early Bronze-age of the Near East and totally ignoresWestern Europe in the Stone-ages; he ends his study with the introduction of Christianity, as the study of that religion is known as Theology. There is,however, a continuity of belief and ritual which can be traced from thePalaeolithic period down to modern times. It is only by the anthropologicalmethod that the study of religions, whether ancient or modern, can beadvanced.The attitude of all writers towards the post-Christian era in Europe,especially towards the Middle Ages, has been that of the ecclesiastic, thehistorian, the artist, the scholar, or the economist. Hitherto theanthropologist has confined himself to the pre-Christian periods or to themodern savage. Yet medieval Europe offers to the student of Mankind one of the finest fields of research. In this volume I have followed one line onlyof anthropological enquiry, the survival of an indigenous European cult andthe interaction between it and the exotic religion which finally overwhelmedit. I have traced the worship of the Horned God onwards through thecenturies from the Palaeolithic prototypes, and I have shown that thesurvival of the cult was due to the survival of the races who adored thatgod, for this belief could not have held its own against the invasions of other peoples and religions unless a stratum of the population were strongenough to keep it alive.If the evidence is carefully examined it becomes clear that this stratumconsisted of the descendants of the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze-ageraces, The Palaeolithic people were hunters, the Neolithic and Bronze-agepeople were pastoral and agricultural. Among all these races the Horned Godwas pre-eminent, for alike to hunting and pastoral folk animals wereessential for life. After the general introduction of agriculture, theHorned God remained as a great deity, and was not dethroned even by thecoming of the Iron-age. It was not till the rise of Christianity, with itsfundamental doctrine that a non-Christian deity was a devil, that the cultof the Horned God fell into disrepute.The idea of dividing the Power Beyond into two, one good and one evil,belongs to an advanced and sophisticated religion. In the more primitivecults the deity is in himself the author of all, whether good or bad. Themonotheism -of early religions is very marked, each little settlementok-group of settlements having its one deity, male or female, whose power

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