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The Witch-cult in Western Europe A Study in Anthropology   By: (1863-1963)

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THE WITCH CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE

A Study in Anthropology

BY

MARGARET ALICE MURRAY

OXFORD AT THE CLARENDON PRESS 1921

Oxford University Press

London Edinburgh Glasgow Copenhagen New York Toronto Melbourne Cape Town Bombay Calcutta Madras Shanghai

Humphrey Milford Publisher to the UNIVERSITY

PREFACE

The mass of existing material on this subject is so great that I have not attempted to make a survey of the whole of European 'Witchcraft', but have confined myself to an intensive study of the cult in Great Britain. In order, however, to obtain a clearer understanding of the ritual and beliefs I have had recourse to French and Flemish sources, as the cult appears to have been the same throughout Western Europe. The New England records are unfortunately not published in extenso ; this is the more unfortunate as the extracts already given to the public occasionally throw light on some of the English practices. It is more difficult to trace the English practices than the Scotch or French, for in England the cult was already in a decadent condition when the records were made; therefore records in a purely English colony would probably contain much of interest.

The sources from which the information is taken are the judicial records and contemporary chroniclers. In the case of the chroniclers I have studied their facts and not their opinions. I have also had access to some unpublished trials among the Edinburgh Justiciary Records and also in the Guernsey Greffe.

The following articles have already appeared in various journals, to whose editors I am indebted for kind permission to republish: 'Organization of Witch Societies' and 'Witches and the number Thirteen' in Folk Lore ; 'The God of the Witches' in the Journal of the Manchester Oriental Society ; 'Child Sacrifice', 'Witches' Familiars', 'The Devil's Mark', 'The Devil's Officers', 'Witches' Fertility Rites', 'Witches Transformations', in Man ; and 'The Devil of North Berwick' in the Scottish Historical Review .

My thanks are due to Georgiana Aitken, W. Bonser, and Mary Slater for much kind help, also to Prof. C. G. Seligman for valuable suggestions and advice as to lines of research.

M. A. MURRAY.

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON.

CONTENTS

PAGE PREFACE 5

INTRODUCTION 9

I. CONTINUITY OF THE RELIGION 19

II. THE GOD 28

1. As God 28

2. As a Human Being 31

3. Identification 47

4. As an Animal 60

III. ADMISSION CEREMONIES 71

1. General 71

2. The Introduction 76

3. The Renunciation and Vows 77

4. The Covenant 79

5. The Baptism 82

6. The Mark 86

IV. THE ASSEMBLIES 97

1. The Sabbath. Method of going. The site. The date. The hour 97

2. The Esbat. Business. The site. The time. 112

V. THE RITES 124

1. General 124

2. Homage 126

3. The Dances 130

4. The Music 135

5. The Feast 138

6. Candles 144

7. The Sacrament 148

8. Sacrifices: Of animals. Of children. Of the God 152

9 Magic Words 162

VI. THE RITES, continued 169

1. General 169

2. Rain making 172

3... Continue reading book >>




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