Elizabethan Witchcraft Superstitions

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The Elizabethan Age, also referred to as the Golden Age, is the period of Queen Elizabeth I’s rule over England. Even if the Elizabethan Age was the peak of the Renaissance, a time marked by a rebirth of basic literature, art, innovations, and new ideas, individuals nonetheless maintained myriad superstitions together with the assumption in the evils of witchcraft. These accused of witchcraft have been believed to be in collusion with the satan and the supply of each sort of calamity.

Earlier than Queen Elizabeth’s reign in the early 1540s, laws forbid the follow of witchcraft of any variety, and through her reign, witchcraft was still thought-about a criminal offense. For the first offense, the accused was punished by way of public humiliation when she or he was positioned within the pillory: an instrument of punishment the place the subject had his or her neck and palms locked inside a picket framework in order that she or he could possibly be subjected to public ridicule. Nevertheless, the second offense for working towards witchcraft was much more pricey, because the accused was typically put to dying.

The worry of the unknown and of Satan and his alleged power have been on the root of Elizabethan witchcraft superstitions. Common perception held that there were three sorts of witches: those who have been innocent and who helped in numerous conditions; those who have been dangerous and under no circumstances useful, and people who have been capable of being useful and dangerous. Witches that might be both helpful and harmful have been believed to be probably the most sinister.

Identifying a Witch: There were specific and sometimes weird or ludicrous methods for figuring out who was a witch through the Elizabethan period. First, it was believed that in the event you have been to burn down an alleged witch’s residence and if she got here forth from the abode screaming and upset, then her actions revealed that she was training witchcraft. Various superstitions pertained to a witch’s physical appearance; it was believed that witches have been lame, previous, pale, melancholy, aged, deformed, and hideous. It was additionally believed that to be able to turn into a witch, the accused would make a pact with a demon or spirit, permit the spirit to suckle their blood, and it is by means of this blood oath that a pact was made. The spirit that suckled the “witch” would grow to be the witch’s familiar spirit, and the witch would feed the spirit from a “teat” which could possibly be situated anyplace on the accused witch’s physique.

Collusion with the Satan: Witches have been accused of dancing with devils, and of doing the devil’s work. They have been believed to be superstitious, irreverent, unholy individuals with no religion or solely a partial belief in God. It was also believed that the satan had full control of the witch’s thoughts, a problem that was totally on the fault of the witch, since that they had a lackadaisical or lazy mind and purportedly lacked the willpower or religious fortitude to spurn him.

Preternatural Powers: Witch’s have been believed to have a number of bizarre powers; it was thought that they might management the minds of others; especially judges, in order that if put on trial a decide can be rendered powerless towards them. Sarcastically, and flying immediately in the face of this superstitious notion, witches have been typically condemned to demise by the very judges they might allegedly management. Alongside the same strains, it was believed that witch’s might cause an entire host of illnesses in others, especially people who they recognized as adversaries. Superstition held that witches might cause madness, bodily tremors, insensibility, they usually might render somebody speechless just as easily as they might trigger someone to babble nonsense. It was even believed that a witch might ship needles into the liver of their adversaries, or, with nothing more than a look; the witch might trigger his or her adversary to develop into terrified, confused, and cowardly.

Invisibility was an influence attributed to accused witches as nicely; it was believed that they might cause horses to turn into so stressed that they might forged their riders off their backs, or that they might steal youngsters away from their moms with out being seen. “Black witches,” in line with common superstition, have been believed to eat youngsters or to boil their fat in produce flying ointment; of specific curiosity to witches have been un-baptized youngsters.

Witches have been allegedly capable of controlling the weather, and one superstition held that witches would assemble when the climate was calamitous. They have been accused of creating animals ailing, inflicting miscarriages and delivery deformities, and inflicting boys to be knavish or women to be idle. Finally, individuals accused of witchcraft have been suspected of shape shifting into donkeys, ferrets, cats, toads, horses, pigs, cows, wolves, or any animal of their choosing.


Source by Dayna Winters

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