Tags: witchcraft

me

Dear Grammy and Pop-Pop.

Dear Grammy (Grandmother) and Pop-Pop (Grandfather),

You have both taught me so much. You both taught me to have great respect for all life on Earth, be it Human or otherwise. You both taught me the Ancient Ways of Wicca and Witchcraft. You taught me to respect and about the way the life energies that surround us and bind us together work and their uses. You taught me patience and tolerance for others, even if they don't treat me in the same manner. You also taught me how to love, yet be tough at the same time.

Grammy, you showed me how to honor Mother Earth and all of her children, human and otherwise. Grammy, you showed me the secrets to having a successful flower garden as well as a fairy garden. You also showed me and taught me about birds and their individual names and habits. You, Grammy, treated them the same way you treated your Human children. You also taught me about flowers and their individual names and habits, as well as their likes and dislikes and also treated them as if they were your children. Grammy, you also taught me the basic core values I have now and about Karma and its workings. You and Pop-Pop were the first ones to teach and show me unconditional and undying love.

Pop-Pop, you taught me to respect, or at least be tolerant of, those that follow other paths and/or religions, even if they do not show me the same respect and/or tolerance. You also showed me how to plant a successful vegetable garden. You, Pop-Pop, showed me all of your secrets to growing huge, tasty tomatoes and having the biggest, juiciest watermelons. You also showed me the secrets to cooking the finest snap beans and pole beans ever. Pop-Pop, you disciplined me and taught me everything I know nowadays with nothing but love in your heart. Even when I acted in a deplorable manner, you and Grammy disciplined me and set me straight in a gentle, loving, non-threatening manner. You and Grammy never yelled at me nor did you strike and/or spank me. And you both treated me like an adult in my later years-even supporting me in, and guiding me in, my individual Wiccan/Pagan path.

To both of you: I love and miss you both. Even though death may keep us apart physically, you are both still with me in Spirit, Heart, Mind and Soul. One day we will meet in Summerland. But not today. You both are still loved and missed, if not by your children, then by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

With Love,
Your Wiccan/Pagan granddaughter
goddess and god

Newly Recognized Profession of Withcraft in Romania, Now Must Pay Taxes

Curses! Romania's witches forced to pay income tax
The Associated Press, January 05, 2011
"MOGOSOIA, Romania (AP) — Everyone curses the tax man, but Romanian witches angry about having to pay up for the first time are planning to use cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government.

Also among Romania's newest taxpayers are fortune tellers — but they probably should have seen it coming.

Superstitions are no laughing matter in Romania — the land of the medieval ruler who inspired the "Dracula" tale — and have been part of its culture for centuries. President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days, supposedly to ward off evil.

Romanian witches from the east and west will head to the southern plains and the Danube River on Thursday to threaten the government with spells and spirits because of the tax law, which came into effect Jan. 1."

Romania's witches curse income tax ruling

(Same Article with Pictures)
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Romanian witches use spells to protest new taxes
The Associated Press, January 05, 2011
"MOGOSOIA, Romania (AP) — Solace for world leaders trying to enforce painful austerity measures: At least you're not running Romania.

Angry witches are using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government who are forcing them to pay taxes. Also in the eye of the taxman are fortune tellers, who should have seen it coming."

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Romania legalises withcraft as a profession
Ninemsn, ‎Jan 4, 2011‎
"Romania has amended its employment laws and declared witchcraft a legal profession in an effort to stamp out tax evasion and help it out of an economic crisis."

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Newly Recognized Profession of Withcraft, Now Must Pay Taxes; Place Hexes On Government, President
ShortNews.com, ‎01/06/2011
"Until recently the witch "profession" was not listed in the Romanian tax code. Those without a registered employment weren´t taxed. Now astrologers and other non-traditional job designations such as embalmers and driving instructors are official.

Recently witches have put mandrake in the Danube to put a spell on the government.
"My curses always work" says 63 year-old Bratara who plans to cast a spell with cat excrement and a dead dog along with her fellow witches.

Bratara had been imprisoned under the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu for witchcraft in 1977.
Ceausescu and his wife had their own personal witch. Others are glad they can practice openly."

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Tax-burdened witches cast spells on the Romanian government (using feline feces and dead dogs)
By Cyriaque Lamar, io9, Jan 5, 2011
"I'm no expert in paranormal law, but I'm pretty sure psychics (and the occasional neighborhood spell caster) have their income taxed over here in the States (or simply conduct their affairs under the table). Still, the United States doesn't have a popular tradition of witchcraft — the 2009 Romanian presidential loser alleged that Basescu's reelection team sabotaged his campaign with negative energy and the strategic usage of purple clothing. (See, this is why Congress is always at loggerheads. Everyone's firing their negative energies off willy-go-nilly, and nobody's wearing fuschia to gain the upper hand.)"

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Romanian Witches Casting Spells Against New Tax
by Dexter X. South, Gather.com, January 05, 2011
"A law went into affect Saturday requiring witches to pay 16% in income taxes and contribute to health and pension funds. The law also includes astrologers, embalmers, valets, and driving instructors who can no longer avoid paying taxes. The President of Romania is said to be wearing purple to ward off evil spirits due to threats by the Romanian witches.

Romania takes magic seriously. Roughly 80 percent of Romanians belong to the Orthodox Church which tolerates the practice. Queen Witch Bratara Buzea, 63, who was imprisoned in 1977 for witchcraft, is very angry over the new law. She said Wednesday that her plans are to use a group of Romanian witches to cast a spell involving cat excrement and a dead dog. "We do harm to those who harm us," she said. "They want to take the country out of this crisis using us?""

Witchcraft Legal Profession in Romania - Witch Promises Retaliation
by Kate James, Gather.com, January 02, 2011
"If other people who work have to pay taxes, then so should they. What do you think? Are you surprised that Romania made witchcraft legal as a profession? Should other countries follow suit in order to collect more taxes?"

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Witchcraft Now A Professional Career In Romania
by Katrina Brown, Sure Start News, Jan 5, 2011
"A new year usually indicates new beginnings and 2011 will be no exception. Effective Saturday, Romania have changed their employment laws which sees witchcraft now recognised as a professional career.

Anyone who practices witchcraft in Romania are now regarded as working real jobs and will no longer be able to avoid paying income tax."

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Wednesday's Witches: Romania makes witchcraft a legal profession
by Chris Cunnyngham, Strange & Mysterious Facts Examiner, January 4th, 2011
"The Romanian government this week officially recognized witchcraft as a legal profession so they can tax revenue from the practice. How exactly they plan to enforce this tax is as yet uncertain. "

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Witches to cast spell on tax law
By Arno Maierbrugger, GulfNews, January 6, 2011
"The debt-burdened country, with its government looking for new tax sources to reduce the public deficit, has identified the formerly free professions of witches, fortunetellers, astrologists, clairvoyants and similar occupations as "real jobs" and wants them to apply for a tax file number.

Until now, those professions were categorised as "social activities", but given the fact that many witches and "seers" were pocketing ¤15,000 and more tax-free each year which makes them high earners in Romania, the temptation was too big for the government not to let them go without paying their dues."

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Romania: Witches must pay taxes
GlobalPost, January 5, 2011
""This law is foolish. What is there to tax, when we hardly earn anything?" a witch named Alisia told the AP. "The lawmakers don't look at themselves, at how much they make, their tricks; they steal and they come to us asking us to put spells on their enemies."

Witches typically earn between $7 and $10 a consultation."

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Witchcraft now legal profession in Romania
MorungExpress, AP, ‎Jan 4, 2011‎
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Witchcraft Now a Legal Profession in Romania
Newser, Rob Quinn, ‎Jan 4, 2011‎
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goddess and god

More evidence of 'witchcraft' , Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras

More evidence of 'witchcraft' discovered at Havana Cemetery
Katie Lopez, KGBT-TV, ‎Sep 24, 2010‎
"This is not the first time there have been claims of witchcraft at the cemetery.

It was just last week that Action 4 News reported about a local mother who found a shrine to Santa Muerte, a cow's tongue and other objects she considered "evil."

"We saw witchcraft objects," said 'Jane.' "We saw a jaw with candle wax, burned paper, and red chile peppers wrapped in plastic bags."

Who's responsible for them remains a mystery.

But there are some that point to Pagans.

Those who practice said there is a misunderstanding about their religion and what they do."


Woman killed, another thrashed for witchcraft
Divy Khare, Times of India, ‎Sep 27, 2010‎
"BOKARO: A 56-year-old woman was killed and another battling for life in hospital after they were mercilessly beaten by a group of villagers for allegedly practicing witchcraft. While the deceased woman has been identified as Guruwari Devi, Mukta Devi is in hospital in critical condition.

The villagers even took out procession along with the two women and later tied them to a black berry tree and thrashed them till they collapsed. The inhuman incident occurred in the tribal-dominated village, Joshi Colony, adjacent to Bokaro Steel Limited (BSL) plant boundary wall under Harla police station on Saturday."


Woman lynched in Orissa, 10 arrested
The Hindu, ‎Sep 27, 2010‎
"A 65-year-old woman was beaten to death in Orissa’s Jharsuguda district for allegedly practising witchcraft, police said, adding that 10 people were detained in the case Monday.

Gangi Munda was killed in Naxapali village, about 25 km from Jharsuguda district headquarters, late Saturday by some in the presence of other villagers.

“We have detained 10 suspects for questioning. We will arrest them after further investigation,” police inspector C.M. Pradhan said.

According to police, a two—month—old baby of the village died of bronchopneumonia —— an illness of lung —— after being treated at a nearby government hospital Saturday.

The baby’s parents, relatives and some villagers blamed Munda for the death and accused her of bringing miseries to the area by practicing witchcraft.

“The villagers then dragged her out of her home and beat her to death,” another police official said.

According to the 2001 census, Jharsuguda district, 374 km from here, has a population of 514,853 and 31.55 percent of them are tribals."



Ancient sanctuary dedicated to Mithras discovered in France
Ann Wuyts, Independent, 29 September 2010
"Archaeologists excavating at Angers, France, have discovered the remains of a temple dedicated to the Indo-Iranian god Mithras. The small, rectangular chapel, in which worshippers gathered for banquets and sacrifices dedicated to the god, is dated to the third century AD.

At the sanctuary, a typical bas-relief of the god Mithras wearing his Phrygian cap shows him slaughtering a bull – the so-called tauroctony. The depiction of the god was intentionally damaged in ancient times, possibly by early Christians trying to suppress the pagan cult."
goddess and god

Christine O'Donnell and Witchcraft


Cartoon does Wiccans a disservice
Arizona Republic, ‎Sep 26, 2010‎
"As a Wiccan, I was deeply offended to see Benson's cartoon on Tuesday, "The tea party's rising star."

Wicca has nothing to do at all with Satanism, which is represented with the inverted pentacle as in the cartoon. The pentacle is a representation of the elements - spirit, air, earth, water and fire.

There is nothing satanic in my faith. It is about revering life. Satanists corrupted it for their own misuse.

Perhaps people should try doing a little research before they judge something. Fear leads to hatred and only more suffering. - Megan Maclean, Scottsdale"


Intolerance shown in ‘witch’ controversy
Pantagraph.com, Bloomington, IL, September 24, 2010
"While I do not support the candidacy of Christine O’Donnell, nor do I have any impact upon what the state of Delaware thinks or does, I must wholeheartedly object to the way that many news agencies are covering the revelation that she, at least in part, has dabbled in witchcraft.
More often than not, the central message of these articles and reports are meant to challenge the validity of her campaign. The reporters and pundits, who are propagating this message of intolerance, mean to vilify the candidate, but do so without thought to what is actually being said.
So what if a candidate for the U.S. Senate “dabbled” with it when she was young? So what if she’s still a witch? Wicca — also known as Witchcraft — and its practitioners, who sometimes choose to self-identify as witches, is a religion which actually flows very well with true Christian messages of peace, love and harmony.
However you may feel about Wiccans, a person’s religion should never preclude them from running for political office, nor should their faith be wielded as a cudgel against them.
As a young, educated and informed witch, living in these United States, I find it abhorrent that anyone would condemn Christine O’Donnell based on her faith. Instead, focus on her political beliefs, her ethical fiber and her agenda — that should be more than enough to lose her the election this November.
Ryan Johnson, Bloomington"


Christine O'Donnell and Witchcraft
By Dani Alexis Ryskamp and Allison Reilly, The Perpetual Post, September 28th, 2010
"ALLISON REILLY: True, O’Donnell’s comments and past involving witchcraft aren’t worth the media hype it’s received. And true, they probably won’t mean anything to her political career in the long run. But as someone who lived with a Wiccan for two years, the definition of Wicca and its differentiation from Satanism and witchcraft must be specified.

Wicca is a peaceful, nature-based religion, that originated in the British Isles. A witch is someone who practices Wicca, often female, who through the Wiccan religion tries to understand humankind’s role in nature. Wiccans believe the humankind is part of nature, and not necessarily meant to be superior and in ownership of the Earth. Wicca is a religion, albeit not a mainstream one. Most people don’t take it seriously, but there are those that do, and misinformed comments and connotations compounds upon the toughness these folks have to fit into society with their religious identification. I’m sure there many more folks that can relate."


Christine O'Donnell Witchcraft Activity Confession SNL Parody
Politics and World News (blog). ‎Sep 26, 2010‎
"The SNL skit below was offensive to some, as it touched on Christine O'Donnell's personal views on sensitive subjects. At the end, she dons a witch outfit and flies away on a broom.
[...]
On the other hand, Christine O'Donnell is the joke of the Tea Party and the GOP. Her primary win has showed a riff in the Republican party. Karl Rove has spoken out against her while many others defended her.

So what are your views on the Christine O'Donnell SNL skit...was it too much?"


Interesting

Dear MSNBC:

Please inform your pundits that "I dabbled in witchcraft and my first date with a witch was on a Satanic altar" is NOT, I repeat, NOT the same thing as being a Witch. You are offending your progressive, pagan core viewers when you cite Christine O'Donnell's interview on "Real Time" and calling her a witch. Satanism is a twisted form of Catholicism. Satan is a Christian construct. The Black Mass follows the Catholic Mass in form and function, only the deities have changed. IT IS NOT WITCHCRAFT NOR IS IT WICCA!!!

Wicca is a religion and a way of life. Being in a coven is not a requirement to being Wiccan. Many Wiccans practice alone, for a variety of reasons. It is a religion that celebrates Life while acknowledging that Death is necessary for growth. It is a way of life that respects Nature and seeks to improve the Self, which in turn improves Society. There is no hate in Wicca. There are no missionaries. We do not seek to convert, only to educate. We honor Free Choice, in all forms and functions, and take Responsibility for our actions.

Do yourselves a favor and pass this on to your prime time pundits. It will be appreciated by those of your viewers who are real Witches.

Thank you.
goddess and god

Pagan Passions, Magic and Witchcraft

This sounds beautiful I wish I had something like this locally.

Festival of fire reignites pagan passions
by Michael Harding, The Irish Times, Tuesday, May 4, 2010
"It’s been more than 1,500 years since fires were lit on hilltops to welcome the summer. Michael Harding climbed Uisneach in Westmeath to witness the tradition return

ON THE WAY up the hill there was a young man ahead of me, wearing sandals and a cloak. He had a fake hatchet and sword strapped to his back. His companion looked like an apache squaw in a blanket. Three boys from Ratharney drank from cans of Druids’ cider, and a helicopter circled the hill.

Four horses passed us, their riders cloaked in maroon blankets, their faces painted black. At the top of the hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath there is a vast saucer-shaped meadow, of more than 40 acres, which was dotted with wicker huts, wigwams, and sculptures of horses and other creatures, made from willow rods. There were stalls selling cider, and roasted pig, potato cakes and rashers. There was a vegetarian soup, a bouncy castle, and hundreds of people eating sausages, and listening to Sharon Shannon."
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One of the reasons I choose Wicca was I wanted a religion that openly acknowledges the practice of magic. Witchcraft is not "black magic". It is just magic.

Exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum Looks at Jewish Magic through the Ages
Reuters, Art Daily, Tuesday, May 4, 2010
"JERUSALEM.- Magic permeates our daily (Jewish) lives to such a degree that life without magic is close to impossible. An interesting fact is that most individuals are unaware that many items in their daily life and many daily actions and beliefs are magical in nature. Examples of this are endless: knocking on wood, tfu tfu tfu, Evil Eye (בלי עין הרע), not naming a child before birth, the amuletic power of the mezuzah, red ribbon bracelet, khamsas, jinxes… These and many more practices have ancient sources. Some have lost their meaning even though they are still used, for example, the magical formula ABRACADABRA, has its roots in the 3rd century CE, and is continuously used even today.

In this exhibition visitors examine the origins and development of magic in Judaism from the First Temple period to the present day by focusing on beliefs, customs and, particularly, the practical use of magic objects in daily Jewish life."


Witches in the Bible and in the Talmud
by Meir Bar-Ilan
"In any event, it appears that the double relationship between witchcraft and women, and women and witchcraft, was but a part of the imparting of a demonic nature to female activities and linking these to Satan. This, thus, is a further example of the negative view of men about women, and the perception of the female sex as endangering the "stronger"sex (a view which was the exact reverse of the reality in which men killed women, but not the other way round). It appears that these views were the product of the tension between the sexes in a traditional society in which there was clear inequality between the two sexes.

With the aid of this accusation, the upper class strengthened its status over the lower class, and cast the blame upon the weak (physically and politically) women, as a solution to the ills of society. Thus, the lower class in society (women in one social context, and Jews in another social context) was blamed for all the tragedies and the woes with which the ruling society, i.e., the males or the Christians, was unable to deal.

Linking women to witchcraft can serve as a lesson in suppressing a lower social class, but also in how the stronger class can strengthen its political status. One should also note another aspect of the sexual division in the issue at hand. In reality, all the sources which deplore women for their witchcraft are "male" sources. All the books quoted above were written, to the best of our knowledge, by men, and R. Yose and R. Simeon bar Yohai, who deplored women because of witchcraft, were also men. Indeed, one should note that the same R. Simeon bar Yohai who deplored women for their witchcraft was himself involved in witchcraft. After all, we are told that he removed a spirit which had entered into the body of the emperor's daughter (Me'ilah 17b), i.e., he was engaged in exorcism. It was R. Simeon bar Yohai who looked at his opponent and turned him into a heap of bones (JT Shevi'it 9:1, 38d), or, in other words, by the use of the "Evil Eye". So too are other miraculous deeds attributed to him.

In other words, if R. Simeon bar Yohai carried out actions beyond the realm of the laws of nature, that was a miracle, but if a woman carried out the same action, that was witchcraft. Similarly, if Moses threw a staff and it turned to a snake, that was a miracle and a sign from God, but if a non Jew did that same action, it was witchcraft. It thus follows that, in ancient times, the boundary between the miracle and witchcraft depended not only on the person's religion, but also on the person's sex. From this, one can clarify another aspect of the social phenomenon. One cannot ignore the sources which stress women's involvement in witchcraft, and even if this is restricted to modest dimensions, we still find the accusation standing. It appears that the attribution of witchcraft to women stems from the nature of the traditional society, but in a different form than was explained earlier. This depends on the institutions of the society and one's natural desire to rule."
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goddess and god

Golden Bough found in Italy, No Witches in Nigeria, Witchcraft Through the Ages

Golden Bough from Roman mythology 'found in Italy'
Italian archaeologists claim to have found a stone enclosure which once protected the legendary "Golden Bough".
By Nick Squires in Rome, telegraph.co.uk, 18 Feb 2010
"In Roman mythology, the bough was a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas to travel through the underworld safely.

They discovered the remains while excavating religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near an ancient volcanic lake in the Alban Hills, 20 miles south of Rome.

They believe the enclosure protected a huge Cypress or oak tree which was sacred to the Latins, a powerful tribe which ruled the region before the rise of the Roman Empire.

The tree was central to the myth of Aeneas, who was told by a spirit to pluck a branch bearing golden leaves to protect himself when he ventured into Hades to seek counsel from his dead father.

In a second, more historically credible legend, the Latins believed it symbolised the power of their priest-king.

Anyone who broke off a branch, even a fugitive slave, could then challenge the king in a fight to the death. If the king was killed in the battle, the challenger assumed his position as the tribe's leader.

The discovery was made near the town of Nemi by a team led by Filippo Coarelli, a recently retired professor of archaeology at Perugia University.

After months of excavations in the volcanic soil, they unearthed the remains of a stone enclosure.

Shards of pottery surrounding the site date it to the mid to late Bronze Age, between the 12th and 13th centuries BC."
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Nigeria: 'No Witches Here'
by Mary Ekah, AllAfrica.com, ‎Feb 18, 2010‎
"Recently, Gov Godswill Akpabio visited the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), Ikot Afaha, Eket Local Government Area, where some 201 children abandoned by their parents and guardians gathered for a surprise package. Guided by their teachers, they rendered improvised songs to welcome their special guests.

Some of the inmates, according to the proprietor of the centre, Samuel Itauma, were street children. Some were dumped at birth while quite a number were sent out of their homes by their parents or guardians on grounds that they were witches or wizards.
[...]
So far, the governor has done a lot to change the situation of abandoned children. Beyond putting policies in place, he has also worked on the self esteem of the people; changing their mental orientation. "You would no longer hear children being thrown into the streets any longer. Many parents are learning. I know also that, yes, the story was a bit blown out of proportion the extent of which might not have been as it was but for me. What was important was that if it was happening at all, it had to be nipped in the bud to ensure the protection of our children. It is not true that Akwa Ibom State is full of witchcraft people. What is true is that there were a few fraudsters, fake pastors and bishops masquerading under the guise of Christianity and making money from gullible and unsuspecting members of the public by branding the children witches", he said.

However, if there are still those left in the Stone Age when harmful traditional beliefs ruled the day, Akpabio intends to jolt them out of their illusions with legislations. Now, there's a law in place against stigmatization of children and defaulters risk 10 years in jail."
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To Do: Witchcraft Through the Ages
Anni Saastamoinen, District Weekly, Long Beach CA, Fri. February 19
"Writer/director Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 Swedish/Danish silent film Häxan (aka Witchcraft Through the Ages) documents the history of witchcraft as it was then known, depicting how superstition and the misunderstanding of diseases could feed hysterical witch-hunts. Banned in the United States—and heavily censored elsewhere due to dramatized scenes of torture, nudity and sexual perversion—the film will be scored Friday by the Jimi Cabeza De Vaca Arcestra. The Arcestra’s music alone is capable of giving you the chills—all the better for watching demons dally with witches.

The Art Theatre, 2025 E Fourth St, Long Beach CA 90814. 562.438.5435. Fri 11:55pm. $10. arttheatrelongbeach.com."
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goddess and god

Witchcraft in Africa and India, A Short Story, Okra Soup Dreams, Cotton Mather

Talk about family squabbles!
Man owns snakes, goblins and paraphernalia in his garden
By MEMORY KHOZA, zimGossip, Zimbabwe, February 18, 2010
"THE alleged Mutare rural witchcraft mastermind, Abisha Matimbe, has admitted the presence of snakes, goblins and other underworld paraphernalia in his garden and in the family.
[...]
His bitter father, Mr Torai Matimbe, does not want to hear anything about his son, saying he had suffered enough because of his son’s evil deeds.

“My son is a wizard. He has brought us a lot of suffering. Why is he refusing to join others to find a lasting solution to problems bedeviling this family?” he asked.

Even if I am to die today, I don’t want him anywhere near my grave. If he dies first, I will not step my foot on his grave.

It is sad to note that he is accusing his own mother of witchcraft when he is the one who is in possession of the calabash full of blood.”"
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Nigeria: Echoes From Anambra Polls
Josef Omorotionmwan, AllAfrica.com, 18 February 2010
"Until recently, there was no AIDS; there was no cancer of any description; diabetes and other killer diseases that we know today were not yet born. Every death in the village was attributed to witchcraft. What we now call AIDS was easily the handiwork of that witch (the vampire) who made sure she sucked all the blood before finally killing the victim. Diabetes was at the other extreme: the witch ensured that her victim was inflated before he was finally killed. The explanation for any sudden death, including accidents and even cardiac arrest was simple: such lives were plucked off! For our man with the incurable sore, going to any dispensary was useless since he had fixed his eyes on the yellow woman around as being responsible for the sore. Life was quite simple then. People lived and died in the village. There was no need to go to Saudi Arabia for any treatment. After all, it was clear that the witches; the enemies of progress around could not be happy at the prospect of a single family doing so well. Science was so elemental at that point."
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Man Gets Hard Labor For Hexing Neighbor
by Ron Hogan, Popular Fidelity (blog), ‎Feb 16, 2010‎
"You could also title this article “Don’t Practice Witchcraft In Southeastern Africa While Cursing Your Neighbor To Drought,” because that’s what officials in Malawi say 35-year-old Ckumbeni Mwanatheu did to his neighbor after a dispute. He cursed his neighbor’s land to not get rained on, and as a result, Mr. Mwanatheu has received two months in prison and hard labor for his witchcraft. As it turns out, this is for Mwanatheu’s safety! While witchcraft is punishable by 5 years in jail, most witches in Malawi get torn apart by angry mobs before they can serve time.

Magistrate Lameck Mkwapatira, the presiding judge on the case, said that the suspected witch, “needed to be given a custodial sentence to let the community enjoy peace in his absence and for his own safety.” That’s putting it mildly. Two months in a prison camp or getting shredded by angry neighbors? I’ll take the hard labor, thanks."
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When women become 'witches'
by Saira Kurup, Times of India, ‎Feb 6, 2010‎
"They were accused of being dayans. “There were at least 10,000 villagers watching when these women were beaten up. Word had spread that the dayans would be dancing,” says Deepak Kumar Deo, legal trainer with an NGO, Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) in Ranchi.
[...]
However, there’s now a glimmer of hope, with Union woman and child development minister Krishna Tirath saying recently that there would soon be a law against witch-hunting. But would that ensure justice for the likes of Pinki and Sushila? That, unfortunately, still seems a long way off. "
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The Witch's Mirror - A Short Story
by Dr Ratan Lal Basu, Washington Bangla Radio Online Magazine, ‎Feb 16, 2010‎
"The storm raged through the village and demolished many houses including the hut of the old woman, allegedly a witch. It was at the farthest corner of the village where the bushy field slopes gently down to the small stream. Everybody in the village was relieved as the awe-inspiring woman was killed by natural hazard. Police came; her body was removed after clearing the debris and cremated at the sandy bank of the river. The villagers set fire on the crumbled house and it was gutted in a few minutes. All belongings of the deceased woman were now gutted by fire and the owner of the land on which the hut was erected, hired a priest to do the rituals to sanctify the plot so that no ominous effects of the soul of the woman alleged to be a witch remains. Villagers were now happy that the hidden menace of the witch was gone, but many felt morose as she had never done any harm to anybody and there was no proof that she was a witch; furthermore she used to help the villagers with her herbal medication. The village, however, reverberated with gossips about the deceased witch and her death brought some new topic to spend their idle time on in their monotonous rustic life. The tea stall gossips which had so far remained confined to the monotonous day- to-day living and back biting of the persons absent now swung to a livelier arena and stories were fabricated about the activities of the alleged witch."
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FOOD MATTERS: Okro soup dreams
by Yemisi Ogbe, NEXT, February 18, 2010
"There is a very real obstacle in attempting to explain what the average Nigerian means when he uses the word "demonic". It becomes even more complex when the word is attached to "Okro soup".

The whole matter becomes intractable when one puts all the words together in a sentence reading; "Eating Okro soup in your dreams is demonic". It forms an incoherent idea that makes complete sense to us.
[...]
When I brought up okro soup, the matter was regarded on an altogether different level: It was bad enough dreaming about Jollof rice and plantains, but if one dreamt of okro soup or snails, without any doubt, one was a candidate for a "deliverance" service which means going to a pastor or pastors to be prayed for and to have evil spirits exorcised from one's body.

Were they serious? Deadly so! Everyone but the pastor was reluctant to give details of their own okro soup dreams. You can imagine the condescension with which I was regarded when I suggested that okro soup and snail dreams designated by our subconscious as nightmares and witchcraft recruitment might be our collective way of dealing with the reality of eating foods that are texturally and visually uncomfortable and giving ourselves license to enjoy the foods. How else can one navigate the psychosis between regarding cooked snails as a delicacy and then rejecting it in ones dreams as a tool of the devil?"
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Cotton Mather & the Salem Witch Trials
by Cara Ruccolo, Australia.TO, ‎Feb 2, 2010‎
"Mather describes witchcraft as the doing of “strange things” and witches as the doers of “strange things” (368). “Strange things” is a vague term that could lend itself in an incorrect way in many different situations. Is eccentric Goodie Harrison a witch because she always ties her kerchief in a double-knot, as opposed to a single-knot? Is that small boy being possessed by the devil because he takes an interest in sewing? Is that anti-social elderly man practicing witchcraft since he does not ever leave his house? In such a way, Mather is encouraging townspeople to be very critical of others’ eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. Is an action that “[puzzles] the ordinary sense of mankind” an act of dark magic (368)? Mather seems to assert thus. In a society that vilified going against the strict Puritan norm even in times before witchcraft had ever been introduced, every odd move, odd glance became subject to scrutiny."
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goddess and god

Witchcraft in the UK, Science and Christianity

Witchcraft is the most benign of all the silly religions
Tanya Gold, The Guardian, UK, Tuesday 16 February 2010
"Of all the silly religions – and I think that all religions are silly – I believe that witchcraft is the least dangerous and the most benign. It is also the least understood.
[...]
But the things that witches do agree on are benevolent. Witchcraft is the ultimate eco-religion. Witches love our planet. They are pagans who worship the stones and the trees through the prism of their god and goddess, by practising "the art magical". I don't know what this is exactly, because no witch would tell me. It sounds odd, and very time-consuming, but not dangerous. There are no witch Jihadis, and few witch proselytisers.

But I have seen Kate West, author of The Real Witches Handbook, harangue an audience at the Witchfest convention in Croydon to bully politicians into action on global warming, long before it was fashionable. "Go away and turn into a group of nagging witches," she shouted, dressed, incredibly self-referentially, as Grotbags from Emu's World. "We sing to the Mother Goddess and follow her through the cycles of the seasons. But do we stick up for her when she is in trouble?" She then laid into the curse of spray-can incense and battery-powered "flickering" candles – witches, on the whole, do not care about money.

Witchcraft is also a religion that venerates the female. During the witch trials, odd, different or freethinking women – outsiders – were tortured and murdered; it's all in the Vincent Price classic Witchfinder General (1968). Many female witches told me they were drawn in for this reason: there are no shaven heads in witchcraft, no shrouding of the female, no submission to the male. I suspect even Jedis think men are superior to women – the worship of the lightsaber is a telling clue."
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I found this interesting because just recently I was trying to explain to someone that Western Science is a Protestant Christian religion. That it was the child of European Christianity.

Faith and science were once friendlier bedfellows
By Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 4 February 2010
"While an early memorandum of the Royal Society declared that fellows would avoid "meddling with divinity, metaphysics, morals", its 1663 charter stated that its activities would be devoted "to the glory of God the creator, and the advantage of the human race".

Officers were even required to swear an oath on "the holy Gospels of God".

In reality, Professor Harrison said, "almost without exception, early modern natural philosophers cherished religious convictions, although these were not invariably orthodox. Some - but by no means all - made the point that they were motivated to pursue scientific inquiry on account of these religious commitments."

Far from being militant atheists, they "believed that the disinterested study of the structures of living things could offer independent support for the truth of the Christian religion, and refute atheism"."


The Templeton Foundation plays some more games
by PZ Myers, ScienceBlogs (blog), February 16, 2010
"They might as well argue that the people who built Stonehenge 5000 years ago were motivated by their pagan beliefs to study astronomy — the astronomy is cool, but animism is not hallowed by its antiquity."
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goddess and god

Albino killings in Tanzania, Sorcery in Malawi

Albino killings in Tanzania related to ancient tribal beliefs
by Rachel Pollock, MediaGlobal, 11 February 2010
"This recent wave of mass killings have been correlated to ancient tribal beliefs in supernatural powers some refer to as “witchcraft,” which can also be used to inflict harm or damage to property or the members of a community. Unfortunately, today, we are seeing a sharp increase in the amount of killings due to these ancient spiritual beliefs. Mike O’Maera of the Catholic Information Service of Africa (CISA) tells MediaGlobal “The issue of Albinos has had special repercussions in the way persons perceive each other and the whole idea of “quick” riches from witchcraft related rituals.”
[...]
While the beliefs in supernatural powers used to heal people suffering from serious ailment, have always been part of African culture, killings as a result of the myths surrounding disease, have been a recent development. Engstrandneascu commented: “[locals] do not recall such practices taking place in the past (killing of albinos for body parts used in witchcraft). However, ritual killings of animals were and still are common in east and west Africa. In parts of Africa (like Nigeria and Uganda) they do abduct and kill children, suggesting that the use of innocent blood would ‘bless’ a major enterprise. Similarly, albinos have been singled out by the color of their skin and are used in the same way.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, “believes that a combination of tougher judicial measures, education and adequate health services could curb these killings and restore the dignity of people with albinism.” It is from a lack of education and adequate healthcare that these killings were able to escalate to such a degree."
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Malawi man jailed for sorcery
ABS CBN News Agence France-Presse, 02/13/2010
"BLANTYRE - A court in Malawi has jailed a man after he was accused of casting a spell that blocked rain from falling on his neighbor's field, police said Friday.

The court sentenced Chikumbeni Mwanatheu, 35, to two months in prison with hard labor after he admitted a charge of witchcraft, police spokesman Augustus Nkhwazi told AFP.

Magistrate Lameck Mkwapatira ruled that the suspect "needed to be given a custodial sentence to let the community enjoy peace in his absence and for his own safety."

The poor tobacco producing southen African country has been experiencing drought since last year.

Belief in witchcraft and magic runs deep in Malawi. The practice is punishable by up to five years in prison and suspects are often killed by mobs."