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Old 12-07-2012, 06:55 PM   #64
lightgiver
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Lightbulb Witches' Sabbath

The Witches' Sabbath or Sabbat is a meeting of those who practice witchcraft and other rites.European records indicate cases of persons being accused or tried for taking part in Sabbat gatherings, from the Middle Ages to the 17th century or later.


Quote:
He sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the sabbath... Roar of delight at her arrival... She joins the diabolical orgy... The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.

The English word “sabbat” came indirectly from Hebrew (שַׁבָּת). In Hebrew it means “to cease” or “to rest”. In Judaism Shabbat is the rest day celebrated on Friday evening into Saturday. In connection with the Medieval popularity of the belief that Jews worship the Devil, satanic gatherings of witches were called “sabbats” or “synagogues”. The latter is a Jewish places of worship, much like a church. Alternately, some Christians were accused of Judaizing. Christian Sabbathkeepers, who never accepted Emperor Constantine's edict in 321 A.D., the first enforcing Christian worship on Sunday rather than on Sabbath, were demonized and accused of witchcraft; hence, the accusatory nomenclature, "witches' sabbath."



The most common belief on which some authors purport is that Satan was present at the Sabbat, often as a goat or satyr, and many agreed that more demons were present...According to folklore, the Sabbat was most often celebrated in isolated places, preferably forests or mountains. Some famous places where these events were said to have been celebrated are Briany, Carignano, Benevento, Puy-de-Dôme (France), Blocksberg, Melibäus, the Black Forest, (Germany), the Bald Mount (Poland), Vaspaku, Zabern, Kopastatö (Hungary), San Colombano al Lambro (Italy) and more, but it was also said that Stonehenge (England) was a place for Sabbats. In the Basque country the Sabbat (there called Akelarre, or 'field of the goat') was said to be celebrated in isolated fields...The descriptions of Sabbats were made or published by priests, jurists and judges who never took part in these gatherings, or were transcribed during the process of the witchcraft trials. That these testimonies reflect actual events is for most of the accounts considered doubtful. Norman Cohn argued that they were determined largely by the expectations of the interrogators and free association on the part of the accused, and reflect only popular imagination of the times, influenced by ignorance, fear, and religious intolerance towards minority groups. Some of the existing accounts of the Sabbat were given when the person recounting them was being tortured and so motivated to agree with suggestions put to them.


Other historians, including Carlo Ginzburg, Éva Pócs, Bengt Ankarloo and Gustav Henningsen hold that these testimonies can give insights into the belief systems of the accused. Ginzburg famously discovered records of a group of individuals in northern Italy, calling themselves benandanti, who believed that they went out of their bodies in spirit and fought amongst the clouds against evil spirits to secure prosperity for their villages, or congregated at large feasts presided over by a goddess, where she taught them magic and performed divinations. Ginzburg links these beliefs with similar testimonies recorded across Europe, from the armiers of the Pyrenees, from the followers of Signora Oriente in fourteenth century Milan and the followers of Richella and 'the wise Sibillia' in fifteenth century northern Italy, and much further afield, from Livonian werewolves, Dalmatian kresniki, Hungarian táltos, Romanian căluşari and Ossetian burkudzauta. In many testimonies these meetings were described as out-of-body, rather than physical, occurrences...


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Last edited by lightgiver; 12-07-2012 at 07:08 PM.
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