In the mythology of medieval Western Europe holders of magical knowledge, witch.
Endowed with the ability to influence the nature and humans (witchcraft) and perform miraculous deeds — to become a werewolf, to pass through locked doors, fly through the air, steal the heart of people, cause diseases, bedevil on livestock and crops. They are credited with the ability to form an alliance with the devil and serve him, to join with him in sexual intercourse and seduce believers, ruining their souls.
Before the era of the development of medieval ideas about witches magical abilities were mainly at the level of folklore and condemned by the church, which would punish targeted women on suspicion of witchcraft, the belief in witches regard the church as a superstition, inspired machinations of evil forces (in particular, the church authorities have denied the existence of gatherings witch-coven).
In the era of the Middle Ages (13-15 cc.) In connection with the internal crisis of the church and the loss of full control of the spiritual life of the flock, the Church's attitude to the persecution of witches changing radically. In the face of theologians and inquisitors scholastics Church recognizes the ability of some women (and men) do malefitsy — black magic, impairing the health, life and property of the people.
Archaic folk beliefs was substantiated by the authorities and used to prosecute people accused of witchcraft. During this period, the church was recognized idea of the possibility of sexual intercourse between a man employed witchcraft and the devil.
The end of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation (line 15 and 16 centuries. — Ser. 18.) Witnessed widespread persecution of witches who have acquired the character of collective psychosis that swept the general population in the different countries of Europe. Bull of Pope shnnokentiya VIII «With great zeal» (Summis deside-rantes) 1484 proclaimed heretical disbelief in the existence of witches and the devil in their ability to harm people. In 1487-89 inquisitors shnetitorisom and Sprenger was published essay "The Hammer Against Witches" to-Roe argued the need for the most severe persecution of witches and two centuries became the main guide for secular and ecclesiastical courts deal with cases of witchcraft.
Traditional antifeminism church found in the "hammer" the complete and ultimate expression of, among other atrocities attributed to the ability of witches to deprive men of sexual power. Witch treated like a criminal, jurisdiction and special jurisdiction to be destroyed in the fire.
The prosecution of witches usually began with accusations of witchcraft, nominated neighbors and other people in the conflict that has been accused. Court faced with such cases and guided treatises on demonology, which number in the period multiplied, was not primarily concerned by the findings malefitsiya, and received from the "Witches' recognition that they were in league with the devil, cohabited with him and his government worked atrocities. Because the relationship with the evil spirit, and her service was seen as the gravest crime under the legal code 16., To witchcraft, a special procedure, accompanied by torture.
Rationale for the cruel and prolonged torture means hedgehog Histalkut recognition served belief that witches possessed the devil, which prevents her confession, and that therefore must be forced to cast him out of it. After obtaining the desired recognition, as a rule, has been burning witches or, rarely, banishment. Several of the accused, who endured torture and confessed to be presumed innocent.
Thus, people's belief in witches in this period combined with the teachings of demonological Wed-century. jurists and theologians, and the persecution of witches were both on the part of the masses of ordinary people, and by the ecclesiastical and secular authorities, to-rye sought to destroy traditional culture and, in particular, such an integral part of what the church was uncontrolled magic.
Woman, the main object of persecution, was at the same time the main bearer of traditions of culture. New in the persecution of witches in the 16-17 centuries. was the fact that the church and secular authorities saw them as no longer individuals, but "antitserkov" led by Satan. So the question of the Sabbath as a visible expression of this "antitserkvi" with his cult, representing the inverted church cult gained so much importance in the judicial interrogation accused of witchcraft.
Along with the belief in witches malicious people existed in the good faith of the Witches, which are able to neutralize the action of the first and to join with them in a confrontation.
Massive witch hunt in Europe reflects a profound crisis Wed-century. outlook and the disintegration of community ties of mutual assistance. Responsibility for the swap woes and troubles people of that era had for strangers on marginal elements of the collective and the like persecution of witches to every country in the Catholic and Protestant Europe, although in some areas they have their own characteristics (particularly in England females charged in connection with the devil, and torture were not in operation), and resulted in mass casualties.
Throughout the recent period of witch-hunting was a fierce controversy regarding witchcraft, and while many theologians and philosophers (including some humanists) defended the belief in witches and the need for their extermination, a number of other scientists, and many of them are Jesuits without calling into question the belief in witches, criticized their persecution. However, only in the second half. 17., When the terror caused by the massive persecution of witches, has lead to social disruption and was recognized by a great danger to the community to continue this persecution, the persecution of witches gradually subsided (in some places, they again broke even in the 18th — early 19th centuries.).
In the drug. new culture have survived representation of witches, especially dangerous during the calendar holidays, these holidays are timed rituals burning witches — carnival stuffed.
The image of the Witch (from al-Rus. Vd, "knowledge", "witchcraft", "Witchcraft"), and Sage (cf. Serb veshtitsa, Slovenes. Vesca, etc.) in Slavic mythology and folklore near West European views. Endowed with the ability to nasylat storm clouds ", vortices, hail, dew, kidnap, rain, celestial bodies (by placing them in a jar), milk cows, bedevil the cattle and people (why they became hysterical), organize rallies and orgies on the" Bald Mountain "(especially in the carols, at a meeting of spring, on the night of Schwan Kupala).
It was believed that witches cohabits with evil spirits, including a fiery serpent, and in the epic about Dobrynya sorceress Marinka comes into contact with the Serpent Gorynych: it brings the image of a witch with a female character of the glories of the myth of treason wife god of thunder with the serpent ( Wed also Mara, Maren, Makosh). In addition to malicious functions endowed as voodoo, divination abilities, etc. ("bogomerzkih Baba kudesnitsy" Wed-century. Sources).
Persecution of witches in the Slavs was not of such a mass scale, as in Western Europe, but according to popular notions penalty Witches (usually burning) was needed to end the drought, pestilence, etc.
Category: Mystery and Mysticism