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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Witch Trials

I spent the morning on a quest to learn about demons at the library. Pretty quickly I was reading all about the witch trials of that late middle-ages period. My friend said 9 million died.

People were routinely accused. To ascertain their innocence, they would be tortured in the most horrific ways. Thumbscrews, racks, feet in iron boots filled with molten metal or boiling water. Eyeball plucking. Body piercing. Burning alcohol thrown on their bodies. Hanging by chained hands in impossible positions. Forced walking for days at a time. Water poured down the throat along with a loose cotten rag which was quickly pulled back out to tear the bowels.

Evidence was accepted from pretty much anyone. After days of torture, when asked about anyone or anything, the victims would answer affirmatively, fingering dozens more for torture. When they would recant their confession, they would be tortured again. Many in the Salem trials confessed to falsely accusing others because they were promised relief from torture.

Basically, once you were accused, you were going to be tortured. No fair trials (evidence was fabricated). Hell, birthmarks were considered the sign of the devil. The accused were stripped naked, shaved all over, and examined IN PUBLIC for marks of the devil. shortly thereafter, the torture would stop. Eventually, they would burn at the stake, some in a slow-burning green bush fire for 30 minutes.

The judges and the accusers and many of the laypeople were fanatic. The world was divided into God's and Satan's. Death was common, superstition even more so. This was a time when Protestants killed Catholics and vice versa. A time of the Inquisition. Of book-burning.

Here's a point: People haven't changed. People still have right and wrong firmly entrenched in their heads. They demonize the wrong, be it left, right, arabs, muslims, enemy nations, blacks, jews, etc etc. I feel awfully guilty on that last bit, as there is stuff on this site that would lead people to call me an anti-Semite or a Democrat, or a conspiracy-theory believer, or an anarchist, a reactionary, a hippie, etc. (and let's not forget a demon-worshipper)

I feel awfully guilty on that last bit, as I may be called an anti-Semite or a Democrat. I'm not either. In my own life I do see the discrimination I wield against those I disagree with.

Cultures collide, ways of life, nations are at war. And fake evidence is introduced all of the time. People are wrong, people kill, and people die horrible deaths.

And in my opinion, the Xtian/Jewish/Muslim concept of one-God is one of the ugliest things around. They demonize everything else. Literally.

For instance, it is probable that Lucifer refers to Venus. to Hecate, to Aphrodite. Ie. the planet and the goddess. Lucifer.

Many of the ideas of the fallen angels, of the makeup of hell (or existence thereof) are largely a result of scholars and priests making shit up in the intervening years.

And, of course, the most common thing to do for the monotheists (or at least for their extremists), is to demonize the god of the conflicting monotheists. Instead of worshipping God, they worship Satan.

Jesus Christ can't be all get along? :)

In short, the dualistic methods of dividing the world are extremely crude. This pervades every aspect of our cultures. In my own life and in my own head, on up to the whole world's.

Btw, I find demonology fascination. Largely it is the fears and prejudices of the authors. There are other cultures in times past and now where demons are not evil. Plus, most of the demons in the christian pantheons are relics of Pagan times (Greece, Rome, Scandinavia, Celtics, etc). Gods and Goddesses that were worshipped, nay recognized as FORCES OF NATURE, before the one-godders came along and forcibly converted (read: raped and killed) the pagans.

The same forces that Christianized the New World, commited genocide countless times. Plus Africa, the Middle East, China, and pretty much everywhere that is now of any religion. I said Christians, but every religion did it. Even buddhists (although not so much I think.) Ok, mostly the one-godders. The multi-godders always had places for other gods and (I think) were not so stressed about forcing a particular god on other peoples.

The same Missionary zeal that to this day strives to Xtianize Africa and China, Poland (which is already Christian! Just not Protestant enough), etc etc, killed the healers and the pretty ladies and the hags, and the shoemakers and grandfathers of the middle ages. The same zeal supports wars against foreigners. That same zeal will get me burned at the stake some day for being interested in what's really going on. Perhaps.

That's a ramble and a rant. Now tread on the cross and spit. Or make the sign of the cross and pray for my soul. I do understand the power of belief. And I do understand that the mysteries of life are grand. I dont stress it. I dont worry too much about it. Hell, I dont even worry too much about who's really pulling the strings. I could be gravely wrong and I could be on the path to Hell.
Hell if I know.

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