History of Witchcraft (part 7)
We have looked briefly at the similarities of the philosophies
and vocabularies, but is that all that they had in common? Let's
look at symbologies.
For many years, the cross has been the symbol representing the
death of the Christian Christ. It has represented that through
his death, man could be reborn into God's grace. Thus, we have
the philosophy of life in death being connected to the cross.
Is this the only time where this symbol was recognized as such?
Let's go back to Egypt and find out.
An upright piece of wood, tied to a horizontal beam indicated the
height of the flood waters on the Nile. This beam formed a
cross. If the waters failed to rise during the season of
planting, it meant a poor harvest for these people. Thus the
cross was revered as a symbol of life and regeneration.
The Ankh represents the genitals of both sexes. The cross itself
is a primitive form of the phallus, and the loop that of the
womb. Again, we continue the symbol of the cross as the giver of
Oh my gosh...did I use the word phallus in connection with the
Yes...even prior to this time was the cross a symbol of the
phallus or fertility. This is not the only thing that the
phallus has symbolized over the many centuries within and without
the pagan world. It has also been used as a symbol of strength.
Within the Bible, we find several references to the horn also as
a symbol of strength.
2 Samuel 22:3 - He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation.
Luke 1:69 - And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us.
Psalm 18:2 - He is my shield and the horn of my salvation.
The move from horn to helmet is followed up also in the bible as
Isaiah 59:17 - For he put an helmet of salvation upon his head.
Ephesians 6:17 - Take the helmet of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 - ...putting on faith and love as a
breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
In Roman days a warrior would were horns on his helmet. If he
came back defeated, he was said to have been dehorned. There are
several references where a soldier who lost his helmet on the
field was killed for this offense because it meant dishonor for
him to loose his horn.
Shakespeare had much knowledge of the use of horns as a symbol of
protection and victory as is evident in his works "As You Like
It" (IV,2) and in "Measure for Measure" (II,4:16) when he writes:
"Let's write good angell on the devill's horne; tis not the
Even in modern days, the Catholic Church uses this symbol when
setting the mitre upon the head of a newly consecrated bishop.
The words used at such a time are: "We set on the head of this
Bishop, O Lord, Thy champion, the helmet of defense and of
salvation, that with comely face and with his head armed with the
horns of either Testament he may appear terrible to the
gainsayers of the truth, and may become their vigorous assailant,
through the abundant gift of Thy grace, who didst make the face
of Thy servant Moses to shine after familiar converse with Thee,
and didst adorn it with the resplendent horns of Thy brightness
and Thy truth and commandedst the mitre to be set on the head of
Aaron, Thy high priest, Etc..." (Copies in Latin and translated
can be found in The Order Consecration of a Bishop Elect with the
imprimatur of H. Card. Vaughn, p. 14, Burns and Oates, 1893.)
If we are looking at protections and the like, we must look at
the use of stones and crystals within our lives. Yes, even in
the Christain bible, the powers and uses of stones is mentioned.
Exodus 28:15-21 - "Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions -
the work of a skilled craftsman. MAke it like the ephod: of
gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted
linen. It is to be square - a span (9 inches) wide - and folded
double. Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. In the
first row there shall be a ruby, a topaz and a beryl; in the
second row a turquoise, a sapphire (or lapis lazuli) and an
emerald; in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; in
the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. Mount them in
gold filigree settings. There are to be twelve stones, one for
each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a
seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes."
Exodus 28:9-14 - Take two onyx stones and engrave on the the
names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth - six
names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave
the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem
cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree
settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as
memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the
names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord. Make gold
filigree settings and two braided chains of pure gold, like a
rope, and attach the chains to the settings.
Though it does not say as much, we might take the engraving as a
form of runes, again creating a similarity between the craft and
religions of old.
From man's search for protection, we come to the telling by the
stars...Astrology, and the use of stars as protectors of man.
The lore behind the star of David is an interesting tale. The
easy interpretation is that of Zionism. The more research you do
on this though, you will find that once again, depending on the
cultures you look at, it's interpretation changes. The six-
pointed star formed by the superimposing of one triangle on
another. The symbol is a combination of the male (apex upwards)
and female (apex downwards) triangles; it is said, in cabalistic
writings, to comprise the signs of the four elements and the four
letters of the Tetragrammaton, and thus it came to be the symbol
for God. Since the Biblical commandment puts a taboo on the use
of the Name of God and on the depiction of God, the symbol was
inscribed as the graphic representation of God in synagogues and
wherever the Name was appropriate. In alchemy, the star of David
combined the symbols for fire and water; hence, it meant
distillation. Until recently, therefore, it appeared on shops
selling brandy. The star of David is the symbol of Zionism and
appears on the flag of Israel. As Solomon's seal, the hexagram
possessed power to control demons of all kinds. The stopper on
the bottle containing the bottle imp or jinni was stamped with
the seal of Solomon. In the Nsibidi script of West Africa, a
native form of writing, the symbol means ardent love; the
universality of the male-female content of the sign is here
Astrology also has interesting roots. Though the word itself is
made up of the Greek words meaning "star logic" (astra - star,
Logos - logic), the actual origin is yet to be determined. We
read in the Epic of Creation of Sumer - Akkad, or Early Babylon
(ca 2200-1900 B.C.) that: "The Star - Jupiter who brings
prophecies to all is my Lord. My Lord be at peace. The Star -
Mercury allows rain to fall. The Star - Saturn, the star of Law
The telling of fortunes by the stars underwent an avid growth
spurt during the times of the Roman Empire, and though with minor
qualms with the Christian church, it co-existed peacefully until
the time of Constantine when all "pagan" activities were
outlawed. Though outlawed within the Roman Empire, Astrology
continued to thrive within the Middle East.
I realize that I said that I would touch on the inquisition and
such, however, I think that it is common knowledge the document
used to persecute those involved was written by the Friars within
the Catholic Church at the time. The document, The Malleus
Maleficarum, was a document designed to bring about fear within
the Christian community, and more power to the church. What is
not widely realized is that the majority of the persons that were
either burned, drowned, or hung were not witches, but Protestants
within the Christian church. (The ones that were Protesting the
I realize that, at this time, this is a rather sketchy document.
I hope in the near future to be able to take the time to develop
more of the depth that I would like to put into bring up our
roots. I hope to include in the expanded edition the times of
burning, modern witchcraft, more symbols, and famous persons in
We've changed...but then as a good friend has told me on more
than one occasion..."When we cease to change, we cease to grow.
When we cease to grow, life ends."
The Golden Bough - Frazer, Sir James George, Macmillan Publishing
Co., NY, NY c 1922
Witchcraft The Old Religion - Martello
Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and
The History of Witchcraft - Russell, Jeffrey B., c 1980
Encyclopedia Britanica - 1986
The Holy Bible (New International Version)
Under the Spell of the Zodiac - Mark Graubard
Alchemy: Origin or Origins? - H. J. Sheppard, AMBIX, July 1970
Magic, Supernaturalism, and Religion - Seligmann c 1948
This Bibliography encompasses the entire 7 document series here
on this series.