Las Hijas de Juan

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Victoria Martinez Dr. Patricia Perea English 101 25, October 2012 Are witches real? The witch is defined as,” a person believed to have magical powers; a mean, ugly, old woman.” Webster’s Dictionary .Landoll, Inc. Ashland, Ohio. 1997.(441). In other words, the stereotypical crone with pointed black hat, wart on her nose, flying with her black cat or familiar, on a broom. This cartoon interpretation of the word reaches far back into Western civilization and is reinforced by movies such as The Wizard of Oz ,or Scary/comic witch and cat symbols are used throughout our culture, and the interpretation is particularly prevalent at Halloween. The story of witchcraft is almost as old as human history itself, and was even tolerated by early Catholics until the Roman Catholic Church stepped in. Witchcraft to some, is not a simple formal religion; it lacks a consistent or standardized body of belief. It is also closely believed to be linked to evil. To primitive peoples, witchcraft assigns meaning to the inexplicable by providing a native theory of failure, misfortune, and death. It is an attempt to decode the darker aspects of life that chill the souls of man and to explain through improbable answers, the nature of the vast unknown. Witchcraft evolved in Europe and was later carried to the New World. It consisted of an amorphous body of magical lore closely tied to Devil worship, fertility rites, fortune telling, hexes, and incantations, and problems of health and sickness. The craft was divided for purposes of classification. The first, is the practice of white magic, provided charms or spells for benevolent purposes. The second is witchcraft, black magic, perpetuated evil and was used by persons whose intent was entirely malicious. Finally, is the third degree, the witch went beyond invoking the aid of the Devil and made an actual deal to become his servant. Marc, Simmons. Witchcraft in the Southwest. Northland Press: Flagstaff.1974. Marc Simmons writes: ““Anthropologist Margaret Murray put forward the hypothesis some years ago that the witches of Western Europe were lingering adherents of a cult forming part of the pagan religion displaced by Christianity. According to her view, when a new religion takes root, the god or gods of the old faith become the Devil of the new.”” ““The pre-Christian Old Religion was called Wicca (Craft of the Wise) in England, and from the word derived “witchcraft” and the name for black arts. Murray believes that the prehistoric god with horns and cloven hoofs depicted in cave paintings throughout Europe may be linked to the Devil of the witch cults. This pagan deity, often pictured as a goat, lustful and lecherous, became the arch symbol of evil for Christians and stood as the antithesis of belief in God. The Devil thus served two functions: he was the source of supernatural power for those dedicated to witchcraft; and, for Christian inquisitors, his existence offered an irrefutable basis for the change of heresy.”“(Simmons,6). In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII, issued a Bull summoning for the Nation of Europe to rescue the Christian Church, imperiled by the machinations of witches and Satanists. The tenor of his words was urgent. Simmons writes,”” … many persons of both sexes unmindful of their salvation and straying from Catholic Faith have abandoned themselves to devils, incubi, and succubi, and by the incantations, spells, conjurations, and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses have slain infants yet in the mother's womb as also the offspring of cattle, and have blasted the produce of the earth.””(Simmons,7). Innocent's Bull is believed to have started the relentless crusade against all persons that strayed away from Christian belief. This and the misinterpretation of the Biblical passage, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18). Leaving no doubt to an individual that witchcraft was indeed a crime under the Mosaic Law. Once the full power of the...
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