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The History Of Witchcraft 

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7





History of Witchcraft (part 5)


It's with these beliefs and doctrines that I state that not only 
was the doctrine, or teaching almost identical, but the 
vocabulary was extensively the same.

Greek life was characterized by such things as democratic 
institutions, seafaring, athletics theatre and philosophy. The 
mystery religions adopted many expressions from these domains. 
The word for their assembly was Ekklesia of the mystai. They 
spoke of the voyage of life, the ship, the anchor and the port of 
religion, and the wreath of the initiate. The Christians took 
over the entire terminology, but had to twist many pagan words in 
order to fit into the Christian world. The term Leitourgia 
(meaning service of the state) became the ritual or liturgy of 
the church. The decree of the assembly and the opinions of the 
philosophers (dogma) became the fixed doctrine of Christianity. 
The term for "the correct opinion" (orthe doxa) became orthodoxy. 

The mysteries declined quickly when the emperor Constantine 
raised Christianity to the status of the state religion. After a 
short period of toleration, the pagan religions were prohibited. 
The property of the pagan gods was confiscated, and the temples 
were destroyed. The metal from which Constantine's gold pieces 
were coined was taken from the pagan temple treasuries.

The main pagan "strong holds" were Rome and Alexandria. In Rome, 
the old aristocracy clung to the mysteries and in Alexandria the 
pagan Neoplatonist philosophers expounded the mystery doctrines. 
In 394, the opposition of the Roman aristocracy was crushed in 
the battle at the Frigidus River (modern stream of Vipacco, Italy 
and stream of Vipava, Yugoslavia). 

According to the Christian theologian Origen, Christianity's 
development during the time of the Roman Empire was part of the 
divine plan. The whole Mediterranean world was united by the 
Romans, and the conditions for missionary work were more 
favorable than ever before. He explains the similarities as 
natural considering the cultures etc. The mystery religions and 
Christianity had many features in common. Some examples of this 
are found in their time of preparation prior to initiation, and 
periods of fasting. Their were pilgrimages, and new names for 
the new brethren. Few of the early Christian "congregations" 
would be called orthodox according to later more modern 
standards. 

Though for many years, the pagan "churches" of this area tried to 
bring about a unity among their "doctrines", beliefs, and 
practices to raise support for their practices, the Christian 
philosophies and doctrines were so organized and strong that this 
fell as well. Little did they know that a couple hundred miles 
away, peoples were still worshipping in pagan temples.

Let's take a look up north.

The worship of trees goes far back into the history of man. It 
was not until Christianity converted the Lithuanians toward the 
close of the 14th century that tree worship was thought to be in 
the past. The truth is...whereas they are not worshiped, they 
are still honored by society today in the burning of the Yule 
log, May Day bon-fires, Kissing under the Mistletoe, and the ever 
famous Christmas tree. 

The worship of the oak tree or god appears to have been universal 
by all branches of the Aryan stock in Europe. Both Greeks and 
Italians associated the tree with their highest god, Zeus or 
Jupiter, the divinity of the sky, the rain, and the thunder. 
Possibly one of the oldest and most famous sanctuaries in Greece 
was that of Dodona, where Zeus was revered in th oracular oak. 
The thunderstorms which are said to rage at Dodona more 
frequently than anywhere else in Europe, would render the spot a 
fitting home for the god whose voice was heard alike in the 
rustling of the oak leaves and in the crash of thunder. 

Zeus of Greece, and Jupiter of Italy both were gods of thunder 
and rain, and to both the oak tree were sacred.

To the Celts, or Druids, their worship was conducted in oak 
groves. The Celtic conquerors, who settled in Asia in the third 
century b.c., appear to have carried with them the worship of the 
oak to their new home. In the heart of Asia Minor, the Galatian 
senate met in a place which bore the Celtic name of Drynemetum, 
"the sacred oak grove" or "the temple of the oak."

In Germany, we find that the veneration for sacred groves seems 
to have held the foremost place. According to Grimm, the chief 
of their holy trees was the oak. Again, here we find that it is 
dedicated to the god of thunder, Donar or Thunar, the equivalent 
of the Norse Thor. Among the Slavs, the oak tree was sacred to 
the thunder god Perun. Among the Lithuanians, the oak tree was 
sacred to Perkunas or Perkuns, the god of thunder and rain. 

The Christmas tree, usually a balsam or douglas fir, was 
decorated with lights and ornaments as a part of Christmas 
festivities. The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands 
as a symbol of eternal life was an old custom of the Egyptians, 

Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship, common among the pagan 
Europeans, survived after their conversion to Christianity in the 
Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with 
evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting 
up a tree for the birds during Christmastime. It survived in the 
custom observed in Germany, of placing a Yule tree inside the 
house in the midwinter holidays.

The modern Christmas tree originated in Western Germany. The 
main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir 
tree hung with apples (the tree of Paradise) representing the 
Garden of Eden. The Germans set up the Paradise tree in their 
homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. 
They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sigh 
of redemption). In later tradition, the wafers were replaced by 
cookies of various shapes. Candles were often added as the 
symbol of Christ, though they were also a pagan symbol for the 
light of the God.

As we can see, even though the pagan community has been trod 
upon, it was never destroyed. The date of Christmas was 
purposely fixed on December 25 to push into the background the 
great festival of the sun god, and the Epiphany on January 5 to 
supplant an Egyptian festival of the same day and the Easter 
ceremonies were set to rival the pagan spring festival. 

Let's take a look at a few of the holidays and compare.








 

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