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{Burning Times}

~~Never were so many, so wrong, for so long~~

The seat of almost every religion known today, whether it is acknowledged or not, belongs to the women. It has always been so. By studying ancient religions all over the world, we discover that most of these structures honored both women and men, and allowed women to have high station within the hierarchy. Divinity, too, was seen as both male and female, with women encouraged do the work of the religion. Not so in Christianity, a thoroughly male-opinionated structure taken from the Roman
practices of the day. Christ himself did not support male domination and spoke against it-his followers, including Peter and Paul, had different thoughts on the matter, and began twisting Christ's teachings to fit their own view of how a religion should be, keeping in step with the Roman belief that the woman should remain secluded in the home. Sexuality, however, was a large part of early Roman belief-something that the early Christians would not tolerate. A Roman woman would be banished if
she was unfaithful to her husband. A Roman man could be unfaithful to his wife, as long as he was with a registered prostitute. Therefore, patriarchal practices did not begin with the early Christians-the denigration of women began with the Roman Empire and was accepted by the early Christians. We should note also that it was the Roman Empire that produced the popular slave trade-conquering vast communities, killing the men, and taking the women and children. Although Christ did not believe in
slaves, those Christians who followed him felt there was nothing wrong with the practice, and so the slave trade persisted. A Roman father could kill any of his children, and had complete rule over his home. Many Christians of today have no idea how much of the New Testament was based not on Christ's ideas, but rather on Roman thought and rules instead. Rather than taking the blame for mass murder, the early Christian Church chose to blame the creation of evil on Satan, even as they burned and
mutilated innocent people. During the Dark Ages, the church sought to eradicate the Pagans and wise women from the countryside so that it could amass both power and property. First, they had to devalue women. The church taught, among other things, that women had no souls and therefore were not important. Once this had occurred, it was only a small step to make women inhuman. The church was able to incite the superstitious populace by making the situation an "us or them" proposition. Once you
have made a group of people inhuman, then you remove the guilt of murder. In essence, the church developed a marketing plan to sell Christianity and, much like the political marketing plans today, used various methods to push their product, including fear, torture, and misinformation. During this process the church incorporated many of the already firmly entrenched beliefs of the country folk, like the Yule log, Christmas trees, gargoyles to guard churches, the Easter bunny, and so on, into
church custom and policy so as to keep the people they were trying to brainwash happy. The church even took the Pagan gods and goddesses and turned them into saints-St. Brigit, as a case in point. When the church could not convince the people to give up their Pagan ways, they moved to stronger methods. During the Dark Ages, historians believe that approximately 1.5 million women and children were murdered by the Witch Finders. This era is commonly called "The Burning Times." In the eighth
century, a document written by the church entitled the Canon Episcopi declared that the Witches were an illusion but, at the same time, the church also created a very deadly weapon-The Inquisition. The leaders of the Inquisition overturned this document, and thus began their wicked persecution of innocent people all across Europe with the full sanction of the church. Most persecutions took place between the 15th and 17th centuries. By the time these fanatics were through, the female population
had dipped to an alarming rate and almost no wise women or local healers had survived. During that time, religious leaders changed the Bible, particularly in one passage where it still says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." As you can see, the men of the Inquisition ruled with an iron hand, even to the point of changing many of the passages in the Bible to suit their own purposes and free themselves from the responsibility of their own evil. Perhaps the most significant turning point in
the fate of the church and the impact upon Samhain and the Pagan religions occurred on November 11, 1215, when Pope Innocent III opened the Fourth Lateran Council where church officials gathered in Rome from the many surrounding kingdoms as well as far more distant states. Although many issues were discussed in a 30 day period, the most significant points were the creation of papal courts for dispensing justice and the insistence that excommunication and the removal of nonbelievers was not
enough-they had to be silenced. Permanently. Executions, up until this point were uncontrolled and often thwarted by means of money, political power, of family lineage. During the 18th century, the horror that had sucked the life out Europe's population began to dwindle. Many historians call the beginning of this time the Age of Reason, meaning people actually began to think about what was happening around them rather than going along just to keep the peace. In 1736, WitchCraft ceased to be an
offense punishable by death in England and Scotland. In 1722, the last documented Witch burning in the British Isles took place in Scotland, when a woman by the name of Janet Horne was executed. But a look at history, even into the early 20th century, shows occasional burnings and hangings involving suspected Witches. In England, in 1952, the government repealed the last of the WitchCraft laws, meaning it was no longer a crime to practice the religion of WitchCraft in that country. The end of
WitchCraft as a crime in which one lost one's life to the bloody hands of the persecuters came at various times in different countries. The dates of the last executions are as follows: Holland-1610...England-1684...America-1692...Scotland-1727...France-1745...Germany-1775...Switzerland-1782...Poland-1793...Itaky-1791. What made them stop? Self preservation of the living. Germany was forced to curtail the actions of religious fanatics because whole towns were accused. So how did Witches become
evil, and why did the Christians associate them primarily with Halloween? The Celtic women were the stronghold of the family environment and, although the Celts accepted Christianity at first, they did not want to give up their family traditions or their lifestyle. Celts were free-thinking people. The church was not into free thinking, therefore anything that did not follow church dictates was evil, according to the church. Hence the Witches became evil. Since Samhain was the primary festival of
the Celts {their New Year, and therefore important}, and the church had already determined that Samhain was evil, the association between Witches and Halloween was born.


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