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Brief Description of The Burning Times  
Submitted by Torann
Witch or Wicca words that once meant "wise one" or healer, when did they become words that would instill fear, hatred and even violence in so many? 

Just a few hundred years ago and for hundreds of years witches were sought out, tortured in hideous ways and put to death. Often they would even suffer sexual molestation and rape. In some places there was such frenzy that many who were not withces would suffer the same fate. 

Christians who proclaim a god that is love, mercy and compassion began a witch-hunt after declaring the Old Religion to be evil and Satan worship. Over one million people sufferd barbaric tortures and death during the witch-hunt. The tortures they suffered were beyond what you can probably imagine. A little later I will mention and explain a few of them. I could not create a web site large enough to contain all that was done to our sisters and brothers of the past. 

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII declared witchcraft to be a herasy against God, and instructed two Dominican Monks to write a manual for Witch-hunters. This manual would be used for two hundred and fifty years during the Witch-hunt in Western Europe as an attempt to wipe out the Old Religion. The manual was called "The Malleus Malificarum (The Witches Hammer), it has been one of the most influential propaganda against witches. Here is an excerpt from it: 

"He must not be too quick to subject a witch to examination, but must pay attention to certain signs which will follow. And he must not be too quick for this reason: Unless God, through a holy Angel, compels the devil to withhold his help from the witch, she will be so insensible to the pains of torture that she will sooner be torn limb from limb than confess any of the truth. But this torture is not to be neglected for this reason, for they are not equally endowed with this power, and also the devil sometimes of his own will permits them to confess their crimes without being compelled by a holy Angel." 

How Witches Were Executed and Tortured: 

The Burning.
Probably the most famous way of all. After the conviction of a witch, there would be a great public gathering for the witch-burning. Before being burned, they were often strangled, and their unconcious or semiconcious body or corpse were tied to the stake to be burned. 

This has to be the most barbaric of all. A sharply pointed stake was inserted through the victims posterior then forced through the body until it protruded through the throat or head. The stake was then inverted and planted in to the ground for the witch to die a slow and agonizing death, which usually took several days. 

Boots containing wedges that were fitted from the ankles to the knees. A large heavy hammer was used to pound them closer together. They would cut through the flesh and crush the bones often to the extent that marrow would pour out. The legs of the victim would then be rendered useless. 

It was commonly believed that bleeding a witch or burning her head would render her powerless. If convicted witches were "scored above the breath." This was done by a slashing over the mouth and nose, they were then bled out. The victims often bled to death, slowly. 

Cleansing the Soul.
In Catholic countries it was often believed that a witch was a corrupted, filthy soul. Before punishment they would often be forced to consume things like scalding water, hot coals, fire brands or soap in order to cleanse their soul. The saying "clean your mouth out with soap," is derived from this. 

These are just a few of the horrible things that befell our ancestors at the hands of witch-hunters. All this was done in the name of their loving, merciful, compassionate God.

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