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©Copyright 1992 by Allen Greenfield. All rights reserved.

Page 2

Still, as to the mythos, Farrar informs us  that the "two
personifications of witchcraft  are the Horned God and the Mother
Goddess..."  (ibid, p 29) and that the "Horned God is not  the
Devil, and never has been. If today  `Satanist' covens do exist,
they are not  witches but a sick fringe, delayed-reaction
victims of a centuries-old Church propaganda  in which even
intelligent Christians no  longer believe..."

(ibid, p 32).

One could  protest:, "Very well, some  case might be made for
the Horned God being  mistaken for the Christian Devil (or should
that be the other way around?), but what  record, prior to the
advent 50 years ago of  modern Wicca via Gerald Gardner, do we
have  of the survival of a mother goddess image  from ancient

 Wiccan apologists frequently refer to the  (apparently
isolated) tenth century church  document which states that "some
wicked  women, perverted by the Devil, seduced by the  illusions
and phantasms of demons, believe  and profess themselves in the
hours of the  night to ride upon certain beasts with Diana,  the
goddess of pagans, or with Herodias, and  an innumerable
multitude of women, and in the  silence of the dead of night to
traverse  great spaces of earth, and to obey her  commands as of
their mistress, and to be  summoned to her service on certain

(Quoted in Valiente, WITCHCRAFT FOR TOMORROW,  Hale,
1978, p 32.)

I do not doubt that bits of pagan folklore survived
on the Continent through the first millenium -- Northern Europe
remained overtly pagan until the High Middle Ages. But what has
this to do with Wicca?

Farrar, for his part, explains the lack of  references to a
goddess in the testimony at  the infamous witch trials by
asserting that  "the judges ignored the Goddess, being 
preoccupied with the Satan-image of the  God.."


But it is the evidence of that reign of  terror which
lasted from roughly 1484 to 1692  which brings the whole idea of
a surviving  religious cult into question. It is now  the
conventional wisdom on the witchburning  mania which swept like a
plague over much of  Europe during the transition from medieval 
world to modern  that it was JUST that; a  mania, a delusion in the
minds of Christian clergymen and state authorities; that is,  there
were no witches, only the innocent  victims of the witch hunt.

Further, this humanist argument goes, the  `witchcraft' of
Satanic worship, broomstick  riding, of Sabbats and Devil-marks,
was a  rather late invention, borrowing but little  from
remaining memories of actual  preChristian paganism.  We have
seen a  resurrection of this mania in the 1980s  flurry over
`Satanic sacrificial' cults, with  as little evidence.

 "The concept of the heresy of witchcraft was  frankly regarded
as a new invention, both by  the theologians and by the public,"
writes  Dr. Rossell Hope Robbins in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA  OF

(Crown, 1959,  p.9)

"Having to hurdle an
early church law,  the Canon Episcopi, which said in effect that
belief in witchcraft was superstitious and  heretical, the
inquisitors cavilled by  arguing that the witchcraft of the Canon
Episcopi and the witchcraft of the  Inquisition were

 The evidence extracted under the most  gruesome and repeated
tortures resemble the  Wiccan religion of today in only the most 
cursory fashion. Though Wicca may have been  framed with the
"confessions" extracted by  victims of the inquisitors in mind,
those  "confessions" ---  which are more than  suspect, to begin
with, bespeak a cult of  devil worshipers dedicated to evil.

  One need only read a few of the accounts of  the time to
realize that, had there been at  the time a religion of the
Goddess and God,  of seasonal circles and The Book of Shadows, 
such would likely have been blurted out by  the victims, and more
than once.  The agonies  of the accused were, almost literally,
beyond  the imagination of those of us who have been  fortunate
enough to escape them.

  The witch mania went perhaps unequaled in  the annals of crimes
against humanity en  masse until the Hitlerian brutality of our 
own century. But, no such confessions were  forthcoming, though
the wretches accused,  before the torture was done, would also be 
compelled to condemn their own parents,  spouses, loved ones,
even children. They  confessed, and to anything the inquisitors 
wished, anything to stop or reduce the pain.


A Priest, probably at risk to his own life,  recorded testimony
in the 1600s that  reflected the reality underlying the forced 
"confessions" of "witches". Rev. Michael  Stapirius records, for
example, this comment  from one "confessed witch": "I never
dreamed  that by means of the torture a person could  be brought
to the point of telling such lies  as I have told.  I am not a
witch, and I have  never seen the devil, and still I had to 
plead guilty myself and denounce others...."   All but one copy
of Father Stapirius' book  were destroyed, and little wonder. 

A letter smuggled from a German burgomaster,  Johannes Junius,
to his daughter in 1628, is  as telling as it is painful even to
read. His  hands had been virtually destroyed in the  torture,
and he wrote only with great agony  and no hope.  "When at last
the executioner  led me back to the cell, he said to me, `Sir,  I
beg you, for God's sake, confess something,  whether it be true
or not. Invent something,  for you cannot endure the torture
which you  will be put to; and, even if you bear it all,  yet you
will not escape, not even if you were  an earl, but one torture
will follow another  until you say you are a witch. Not before 
that,' he said, `will they let you go, as you  may see by all
their trials, for one is just  like another...' "
(ibid, pp 12-13)

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