THE WITCH-CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE
A Study in Anthropology
MARGARET ALICE MURRAY
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com, October 2000 by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.
THE mass of existing material on this subject is so great that I have not attempted to make a survey of the whole of European ‘Witchcraft’, but have confined myself to an intensive study of the cult in Great Britain. In order, however, to obtain a clearer understanding of the ritual and beliefs I have had recourse to French and Flemish sources, as the cult appears to have been the same throughout Western Europe. The New England records are unfortunately not published in extenso; this is the more unfortunate as the extracts already given to the public occasionally throw light on some of the English practices. It is more difficult to trace the English practices than the Scotch or French, for in England the cult was already in a decadent condition when the records were made; therefore records in a purely English colony would probably contain much of interest.
The sources from which the information is taken are the judicial records and contemporary chroniclers. In the case of the chroniclers I have studied their facts and not their opinions. I have also had access to some unpublished trials among the Edinburgh Justiciary Records and also in the Guernsey Greffe.
The following articles have already appeared in various journals, to whose editors I am indebted for kind permission to republish: ‘Organization of Witch Societies’ and ‘Witches and the number Thirteen’ in Folk Lore; ‘The God of the Witches’ in the Journal of the Manchester Oriental Society; ‘Child Sacrifice’, ‘Witches’ Familiars’, ‘The Devil’s Mark’, ‘The Devil’s Officers’, ‘Witches’ Fertility Rites’, ‘Witches Transformations’, in Man; and ‘The Devil of North Berwick’ in the Scottish Historical Review.
My thanks are due to Georgiana Aitken, W. Bonser, and Mary Slater for much kind help, also to Prof. C. G. Seligman for valuable suggestions and advice as to lines of research.
M. A. MURRAY.
I. CONTINUITY OF THE RELIGION.
II. THE GOD.
1. As God.
2. As a Human Being.
4. As an Animal.
III. ADMISSION CEREMONIES.
2. The Introduction.
3. The Renunciation and Vows.
4. The Covenant.
5. The Baptism.
6. The Mark
IV. THE ASSEMBLIES.
1. The Sabbath, Method of going. The site. The date. The hour.
2. The Esbat. Business. The site. The time.
V. THE RITES.
3. The Dances.
4. The Music.
5. The Feast.
7. The Sacrament.
8. Sacrifices: Of animals. Of children. Of the God.
9 Magic Words.
VI. THE RITES, continued.
VII. THE ORGANIZATION.
1. The Officer.
2. The Covens.
VIII. THE FAMILIARS AND TRANSFORMATION.
1. The Divining Familiar.
2. The Domestic Familiar.
3. Methods of obtaining Familiars.
4. Transformations into Animals.
Fairies and Witches.
Trial of Silvain Nevillon. Taken from De Lancre’s L’Incrédulité et Méscréance.
A. Covens and Names of Members.
B. Index of Witches’ Names, with Notes.
Notes on the Trials of Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais.
Some Notes on ‘Flying’ Ointments. By Prof. A. J. Clark.