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The History Of Wicca Essay

1343 words - 5 pages

The history of Wicca is often debated by different people. It technically started in 1954, but was based on a mix of ancient religions. We will briefly cover the history of Wicca from caveman days all the way up to modern times in the following paragraphs.

In 1908, a statue known as the Venus of Willendorf was found in a cave near what is now Vienna, Austria. Archaeologists believe that the figure comes from 24,000 and 22,000 B.C. Similar statues have been found in a large area of Europe. The Venus of Willendorf has become a symbol of prehistoric art. Paleolithic Wo/Man believed in a multitude of gods and honored the spirit of each thing. Today, this is called Animism. As Wo/Man matured and traveled across Europe, he took his religion with him and the gods acquired different names. Wo/Man had also developed a belief in a life after death. Burial customs of the Gravettians (22000-18000 BC) showed burials with personal possessions. In some areas of Europe these ritual leaders, or priests and priestesses, became known as the Wicca, which means the “Wise Ones”. During the time of the Anglo-Saxon kings in England, the king would never think of acting on any important matter without consulting the Witan. In 2000 B.C. Babylon's Code of Hammurabi instructs people, "If a man has laid a charge of witchcraft and has not justified it, he upon whom the witchcraft is laid shall go to the holy river; he shall plunge into the holy river and if the holy river overcome him, he who accused him shall take to himself his house." By 350 B.C., the Celts had developed a priestly class called the Druids. Around the third century, AD in the pre-Christian Roman Empire, punishment by the State against witches who brought about another person's death was burning alive. Christianity was a man-made religion that was not an immediate mass-conversion that is often suggested. In 371 the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its religion, this meant that they killed the priests of the local religion; this included the Druids.

Between 540 through 604, Pope Gregory I had churches built on the sites of pagan temples. He instructed his bishops to smash any “idols” and to sprinkle the temples with holy water and rededicate them. After Gregory’s death, they employed inquisitors, men whose job it was to go out and look for non-Christians whose beliefs or practices varied from what the church prescribed. They were branded heretics, imprisoned, and eventually put to death. The document De ecclesiasticis disciplinis ascribed to Regino of Prüm describes popular notions of witchcraft in 906. It states that it is the duty of priests to, "instruct the people that these things are absolutely untrue and that such imaginings are planted in the minds of misbelieving folk, not by a Divine spirit, but by the spirit of evil." In 1275, the first "witch" is burned to death after judicial sentence of an inquisitor, in Toulouse, France. 1374, Pope Gregory XI declares...

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