Witch Trials In Early Modern Europe

| Friday, February 11, 2011 | |
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Is Witchcraft Real? The answer is open to debate and very much depends on the individuals point of view. Witchcraft as a way of life or religion is as real as any other belief system, but if the question is asking about witchcraft with relation to magic that is an entirely different situation.

Cave paintings can date witchcraft as a way of life back as far as forty thousand years, with pictures depicting the worship of nature often evident. Witchcraft is closely tied to nature which is why this type of historical finding is associated with it. This makes witchcraft one of the oldest religions in the world.

Other religions make frequent references to witchcraft, particlualry parts of the Christian faith, which persecuted witches during the Middle Ages. Clearly these people believed in witches and witchcraft enough to see them as a threat worth irradicating. The practice of witchcraft was linked with heresy during this time to justify the many witch hunts of the period, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of mostly innnocent people.

The magic or spells associated with witchcraft are also very much down to belief in most cases. Christianity, as an example, classes this type of unknown as a miracle, which is just another term for magic. The changing of water into wine by Christ is a miracle to a Christian, but to those who do not follow the same religion it can be viewed as a spell or illusion.

The majority of Traditional Witches dating back to before the Middle Ages were often the village healers and frequently used various herbs and plants for medicinal uses. The fact that various potions and paultices actually did heal branded them as witches purely because that was the way to class such practices. Modern day herbalists are not classed as witches but as practitioners of medicine.

There were suspect activities practiced by witches but these activites were not necessarily unusual for the time period. Sacrifices and demonic worship are often associated with witchcraft but there is no actual proof that they are linked. Modern day witches deny any such practices and there is evidence that these practices were merely linked to assist with other religions persecution of witchcraft.

Dancing around a tree or gathering in a stone circle at various times of the year or during full moons is seen today as acting strangely. Perceptions change. This is how religion was practiced by people in those times and was a way of life to them. Going to church on sundays could just as easily be seen as strange in three hundred years time, but today it is seen as a normal religious practice.

Oliver Trescombe is an article writer and internet marketer with a wide variety of interests. For more information on Witchcraft visit Is Witchcraft Real.

Article from articlesbase.com

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Suggested reading (pdf e-books):

Nathan Johnston - The Devil And Demonism In Early Modern England
Friedrich Adler - The Witchcraft Trial In Moscow
Margaret Alice Murray - The Witch Cult In Western Europe