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The History of Witchcraft in Three Times

Who was the first witch? When did she live? Who started the traditions? We cannot know exactly, all we have are prehistoric remnants that we attribute to the first forms of worship to deities, nature or artistic expressions involving wills, desires and why not define it as magic? Is the domain of fire the first step towards understanding and mastering nature, its elements and energies hitherto feared, not understood and devastating to our ancestors?

Cave paintings could easily be forms of magical sigils for good results in hunts and searches for food and territories, the first records of the cult and the importance of fire for these peoples and the first step towards everything we have experienced at all times in history until today. About 60 millennia ago we already had funerary rites, well at least our Homo sapiens relatives already had the habit of burying their dead, but not only that, we found evidence that denote a belief in afterlife, as they were buried with personal objects, weapons, dyes in their garments and skin and small carvings with animal and phallic forms. Is there the birth of the concept of the soul? The birth of religion? The birth of totemic shamanism? I don't see why not, and even though we still can't claim to be the beginning of it there, there may still be more sites and evidence showing even more ancient and unknown things about our journey on this planet. Artistic expressions have been present in all ancient cultures, and the earliest records of a cult, desire or admiration for women are seen in Willendord's Venus figurines dating from 28 to 22 millennia before the common era, showing female bodies with large hips. and full breasts as if they wanted to register the importance of the woman and the capacity to generate a new life in her womb.

We can assume that this journey of discovery, of facing nature was something frightening to the first humans, the unknown and wild, the struggle for survival of the fittest shaping each generation and directing future humanity to the different beliefs and forms of worship that established themselves all over the world. The frightening Nature that could take life from the cold, with catastrophes or by animal attacks and disease and yet so beautiful and delicate that it could provide food, shelter, medicine and warmth, in the eyes of humans may have shaped the concept of divinity of our ancestors and given them their first gods and goddesses as manifestations of that nature who could be happy or angry according to what humans offered them.

Not long after we have the domain of agriculture, it becomes less difficult to survive in the world and this was crucial to establish more complex and organized societies, including religiosity. Pantheons are formed around the world, the gods of Egypt, Greece, Ireland and elsewhere. In these societies, there has always been an emphasis on those who understood nature and conversed with their spirits, whether to calm them down, to ask for help in the plantations or in the rains, or to predict the times to come. Witches (see that we use the term without gender as we mentioned in another article, the term applies to men as well) have always been more requested, needed and respected than feared by society. Kings, Priests, Politicians, Rulers of all shapes and levels sought the advice, spells and cures of witches. But this scenario changed with the world scenario with the birth and growth of a new religion.

With the emergence of the first forms of Christianity, we are seeing changes in history, while Christianity was formed and grew, nature and above all the feminine is seen as something wrong and unnatural to the desires of the new god. In the year 197, Tertullian places the woman as an inferior being and guilty for the sins of men. In 325 Christianity was officially born by the Council of Nicaea when Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor in Rome, declared the divine nature of Jesus Christ. In 900 Regino de Prüm states that women are married to the devil and dance at night with the goddess Diana (who is now seen in a demonized way, like the other gods and goddesses until then venerated). In 1022 we see the prelude to a coming hysteria, the first people are killed by the church on the charge of heresy against the church, there was a woman among them and then the stereotype of "Witch" being old, who lay in orgies with the devil, who killed children in cannibal rituals and other such stereotypes. In 1231 the law of the papal inquisition is regulated, where the church authorized the State to execute people for heresy, lack of Christian faith or denying any Christian custom. In 1324 we have the first hunt for a witch, well in fact it was never proven that Alice Kyteler was a witch, she was accused of practicing witchcraft and killing her four husbands, enriching herself through satanic pacts and conspiring against the church. She fled to Ireland where she probably spent the rest of her life, eleven people were killed in this hunt. In 1400 an unprecedented hysteria begins, the hunt for witches in Europe begins, in 1486 the most complete manual of identification, torture and execution of witches, the Malleus Maleficarum, is published for the first time, giving more strength to the stereotype and aversion to witches, or rather, to practically anyone who walked outside the church line, especially women. This hysteria lasted steadily until the mid-1700s, resulting in more than half a billion deaths, including men, children and the largest portion, around 85% of those dead, women. Animals were also accused and executed in the inquisition. Between the years 1692 and 1693 we had the most famous case of witch hunting, in the town of Salem in Massachusetts about 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft when charges without evidence of a child were heard by the church and led to 19 people being hanged and the bonfire, with only 6 being confirmed to be witches later, which does not justify any of the sentences, of course. Executions continue to this day, whether by popular judgments influenced by rumors, fear and prejudice, or even by extremist regional cultures.

The world was already calmer about the occult, in the history of magic in general we have several other modern characters presenting works and studies to the world, new sciences, new technologies, new everything after centuries of darkness. In 1951 England signs the anti-witchcraft law, just a few months after the last execution for witchcraft officially made by the church, this law was important for all the future of witches and the new generations to come. Gerald Gardner was brave to take the first step publicly to introduce himself as a practitioner of witchcraft and show the world a new ancient religion, Wicca, a new religion based on studies of ancient religions and practices, Modern Witchcraft, a risky but risky step. very well designed by Gardner to present without shocking or offending, and it worked very well, not long after Wicca was in the media, being sought after by famous and influential people, and of course new forms and adaptations began to emerge, such as Wicca Alexandrina, from Alex Sanders who studied Gardner's practices and made his own form of Wicca.

Our history today is the result of every step taken in the past, in 1972 Mary Nesnick, who studied the Wiccan practices of Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders and their members, creating after a few years the Algard Modern Witchcraft Tradition.

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