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Lucifer, the Devil, was the model of perfection ( Ezakiel 28:12):
Our traditional image of the horned, winged demon comes from the Sumerian Myth of Zu and focuses on the two brother-gods, Enki, who seems to have sympathy for the humans, and Enlil, who is a strict adherent to Anu's orders.
“The witches were a vast political movement, an organized society, which was anti-social and anarchical, a world wide plot against civilizations.”
Montague Summers (1928 preface to the Malleus Maleficarum)
The history of witchcraft reaches back to ancient times. But it wasn’t until the later Middle Ages that witches ceased to be “cunning folk” who were sought out for medicinal aid or prophetic advice and became the devil’s foot soldiers in an all-out war against Christian morality and virtue.
The e Age of Enlightenment was still in its infancy and the French Revolution wouldn't touch off for another century. Ruled by a traditionalist monarchy and a corrupt state church, France was still very much stuck in the dark ages throughout the Early Modern period. The Catholic Church dominated nearly all areas of social, political and economic life, and nowhere was the iron grip of "divine authority" felt stronger than by the rural peasantry.
As the largest single property owner in France, the Church controlled nearly 40% of the country's wealth – much of which accrued through a heavy taxation on the peasantry and the confiscation of lands. Upper Church officials mostly came from old nobility provincial and royal court families, and they maintained a lavish and decadent lifestyle (“by the will of God”) while the poorest segments of rural society struggled daily against debt, eviction, poverty, malnutrition and premature death.
By the 13th century, witch gatherings were said to be taking place nightly in wooded areas throughout the countryside, drawing crowds numbering in the hundreds and thousands (Pierre de Lancre, a leading French demonologist, spoke of nocturnal meetings that brought together “some 100,000 devotees of Satan”). People couldn’t line up fast enough to pledge their oaths to the Devil at these nocturnal ceremonies, which were said to be followed by cannibalistic feasts and mass orgies. Once aligned with the forces of darkness a witch could, on their own or with the Devil acting through them, wield supernatural powers against person and property alike. They were responsible for everything from infertility, demonic possession and family misfortune to unexplained storms, crop failures, arson, plague outbreaks, attacks on livestock and unexplained deaths.
This was the basic image that was burned into the public consciousness, and the propaganda used to create a climate of mass panic where ‘witches’ could be hunted down ruthlessly and put to the stake, thereby extending the power and influence of the Church deep into the countryside.
Between the mid 16th and 17th centuries France's witch-hunt was at its height: forty witches were burned at Toulouse in 1557, four at Poitiers in 1568, and eighteen at Avignon in 1582. In Lorraine, some nine-hundred witches were condemned and executed between 1581-91. In Normandy there were witch-hunts between 1589-1594 (and again between 1600-1645). On the French Basque Coast entire communities were said to be taken over by witches, resulting in a succession of mass trials and executions between 1576-1605 that ended with nearly nine-hundred witches being put to the stake . The largest witch hunt in French history would take place between 1643-1645, with 650 witches arrested in Languedoc (a province with strong heretical traditions that trace back to early medieval times) alone.
All told, nearly six thousand people were executed for the crimes of witchcraft and heresy in France. The highest concentration of trials took place in the mountainous border areas, and the accused were disproportionately women from the poorest segments of society. Much debate has gone into the complicated set of circumstances that led to this bloody chapter in history. But it can’t be denied that, at its most basic level, the witch-hunts were a brutal form of social control used to keep oppressed – and potentially rebellious – populations in line.
In a world where the Church dictated a life of misery, conformity and ignorance its no wonder ‘the Devil’ (as both “adversary” and “light bringer”) had such a strong attraction among the knowledge-starved and rebellious-minded. France’s Early Modern Era gave birth to what we know as “modern satanism”. Amidst the backdrop of the witch craze that swept the countryside the major works of black ritual magic –The Grimorium Verum, The Grand Grimoire and The Constitution of Honorius – first saw general distribution around this time. The convents and church institutions were rocked by a series of ‘satanic’ possessions. And eventually even members of the aristocracy were starting to dabble in the dark arts to advance their social positions. The Devil, it would seem, was gaining influence at all levels of French society. But it was the rural poor who needed him most.
By pledging a binding oath to Satan, witches were practicing a form of heretical dissidence that challenged not only religious authority, but also that of "rulers, judges, masters of all kind." According to the Church, witchcraft subverted the very principle of law and order, "for all social relationships rested on legitimation by divine authority.”
This was the essence of witchcraft, at least as far as the Inquisitors and demonologists were concerned. In the view of Jean Bodin, a leading 16th century French demonologist and political theorist, sects of witches represented a rebellious counter-society that sought to "divert divine power to its profit" and "overturn the natural order of religion". A witch wasn’t just an individual agent of malevolence, but "members of an antichurch and an antistate, the sworn enemies of Christian society."
"And ye shall be freed from slavery, and so shall be free in everything, and the last of your oppressors shall be dead.”
– Charles Leland, Aradia: The Gospel of Witches
I´m Mister Trece and i paint creepy things. That´s a good way to introduce mysfelf. I don´t call myself artist, because i´ve a really aerosol spray addiction, and i do it for the need to create and just for the fun of it. My influences comes from so many different worlds, from the horror movies of the 70´s and the 80´s, the art music covers, graffiti, the supernatural and paranormal, tattoo world, religions, philosophy, urban legends, music, life, death, and everything in between.My tools are a simple blade, a cardboard, aerosol spray cans,canvas, ink, cotton, kleenex, loud music and coffee. I don´t know if i can call my stuff stencil art, because my paints are raw and rotten, and that´s the way i like it. I want to create something different, new ways to create with the same old tools. I don´t know if i do it. But to be honest… I don´t give a fuck and who cares about it. You just should to know one thing: expect the unexpected.|
You can find me here too: Futur Maestri futurmaestri.net/ My music soundcloud.com/mistertrece and Shadowness shadowness.com/MISTERTRECE
If you like my stuff, check my blog, is full of paranormal stories, art and music mistertrece.wordpress.com/
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