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In Southern African traditions, there are three classifications of somebody who uses magic. The tagati is usually improperly translated into English as "witch", and is a spiteful person who operates in secret to harm others.
The sangoma is a diviner, somewhere on a par with a fortune teller , and is employed in detecting illness, predicting a person's future or advising them on which path to take , or identifying the guilty party in a crime.
She also practices some degree of medicine. The inyanga is often translated as "witch doctor" though many Southern Africans resent this implication, as it perpetuates the mistaken belief that a "witch doctor" is in some sense a practitioner of malicious magic.
The inyanga ' s job is to heal illness and injury and provide customers with magical items for everyday use. Of these three categories the tagati is almost exclusively female, the sangoma is usually female, and the inyanga is almost exclusively male.
Much of what witchcraft represents in Africa has been susceptible to misunderstandings and confusion, thanks in no small part to a tendency among western scholars since the time of the now largely discredited Margaret Murray to approach the subject through a comparative lens vis-a-vis European witchcraft.
Complimentary remarks about witchcraft by a native Congolese initiate: They could also gather the power of animals into their hands If we could make use of these kinds of witchcraft, our country would rapidly progress in knowledge of every kind.
In eastern Cameroon, the term used for witchcraft among the Maka is djambe  and refers to a force inside a person; its powers may make the proprietor more vulnerable.
It encompasses the occult, the transformative, killing and healing. In some Central African areas, malicious magic users are believed by locals to be the source of terminal illness such as AIDS and cancer.
In such cases, various methods are used to rid the person from the bewitching spirit, occasionally physical and psychological abuse. Children may be accused of being witches, for example a young niece may be blamed for the illness of a relative.
Most of these cases of abuse go unreported since the members of the society that witness such abuse are too afraid of being accused of being accomplices.
It is also believed that witchcraft can be transmitted to children by feeding. Parents discourage their children from interacting with people believed to be witches.
Every year, hundreds of people in the Central African Republic are convicted of witchcraft. Christian militias in the Central African Republic have also kidnapped, burnt and buried alive women accused of being 'witches' in public ceremonies.
As of [update] , between 25, and 50, children in Kinshasa , Democratic Republic of the Congo , had been accused of witchcraft and thrown out of their homes.
Other pastors and Christian activists strongly oppose such accusations and try to rescue children from their unscrupulous colleagues.
In April , in Kinshasa, the police arrested 14 suspected victims of penis snatching and sorcerers accused of using black magic or witchcraft to steal make disappear or shrink men's penises to extort cash for cure, amid a wave of panic.
According to one study, the belief in magical warfare technologies such as "bulletproofing" in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo serves a group-level function, as it increases group efficiency in warfare, even if it is suboptimal at the individual level.
In Ghana , women are often accused of witchcraft and attacked by neighbours. Arrests were made in an effort to avoid bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 alleged penis snatchers were beaten to death by mobs.
For example, the belief that a sorcerer has "stolen" a man's penis functions as an anxiety-reduction mechanism for men suffering from impotence while simultaneously providing an explanation that is consistent with African cultural beliefs rather than appealing to Western scientific notions that are tainted by the history of colonialism at least for many Africans.
It was reported on May 21, that in Kenya , a mob had burnt to death at least 11 people accused of witchcraft.
In Malawi it is also common practice to accuse children of witchcraft and many children have been abandoned, abused and even killed as a result.
As in other African countries both African traditional healers and their Christian counterparts are trying to make a living out of exorcising children and are actively involved in pointing out children as witches.
According to William Kamkwamba , witches and wizards are afraid of money, which they consider a rival evil. Any contact with cash will snap their spell and leave the wizard naked and confused.
So placing cash, such as kwacha around a room or bed mat will protect the resident from their malevolent spells. In Nigeria , several Pentecostal pastors have mixed their evangelical brand of Christianity with African beliefs in witchcraft to benefit from the lucrative witch finding and exorcism business—which in the past was the exclusive domain of the so-called witch doctor or traditional healers.
These pastors have been involved in the torturing and even killing of children accused of witchcraft. Churches are very numerous in Nigeria, and competition for congregations is hard.
Some pastors attempt to establish a reputation for spiritual power by "detecting" child witches, usually following a death or loss of a job within a family, or an accusation of financial fraud against the pastor.
In the course of "exorcisms", accused children may be starved, beaten, mutilated, set on fire, forced to consume acid or cement, or buried alive.
While some church leaders and Christian activists have spoken out strongly against these abuses, many Nigerian churches are involved in the abuse, although church administrations deny knowledge of it.
Among the Mende of Sierra Leone , trial and conviction for witchcraft has a beneficial effect for those convicted. Six months later all of the people Instead of such old and widowed people being left helpless or as in Western society institutionalized in old people's homes, these were reintegrated into society and left secure in their old age Old people are 'suitable' candidates for this kind of accusation in the sense that they are isolated and vulnerable, and they are 'suitable' candidates for 'social security' for precisely the same reasons.
In Kuranko language , the term for witchcraft is suwa'ye  referring to "extraordinary powers".
In Tanzania in , President Kikwete publicly condemned witchdoctors for killing albinos for their body parts, which are thought to bring good luck.
Sorcery usually involves reference to the almasola or homber chiki , a devil-like entity. Hoek of the Parnassia Psychiatric Institute.
In , Springfield, Massachusetts , experienced America's first accusations of witchcraft when husband and wife Hugh and Mary Parsons accused each other of witchcraft.
At America's first witch trial , Hugh was found innocent, while Mary was acquitted of witchcraft but sentenced to be hanged for the death of her child.
She died in prison. Thirteen women and two men were executed in a witch-hunt that lasted throughout New England from — The Salem witch trials followed in — These witch trials were the most famous in British North America and took place in the coastal settlements near Salem, Massachusetts.
Over people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused who were not formally pursued by the authorities. The two courts convicted 29 people of the capital felony of witchcraft.
Nineteen of the accused, 14 women and 5 men, were hanged. One man who refused to enter a plea was crushed to death under heavy stones in an attempt to force him to do so.
At least five more of the accused died in prison. Despite being generally known as the "Salem" witch trials, the preliminary hearings in were conducted in a variety of towns across the province: The four sessions of the Superior Court of Judicature in , held in Salem Town, but also in Ipswich, Boston, and Charlestown, produced only 3 convictions in the 31 witchcraft trials it conducted.
Likewise, alleged witchcraft was not isolated to New England. In Maryland, the legend of Moll Dyer still exists.
In the rural southern counties, her name is spoken with care. The historical record is slim regarding Moll as all official records were burned in a courthouse fire.
However, there's is a local road named after her, where her homestead was said to have been. There is a letter from a colonist of the period describing her in most unfavorable terms.
The county courthouse has on display the rock where her frozen body was found. She escaped the fire set by fellow colonists, only to die of exposure in December Every local family has their own version of the Moll Dyer affair.
Accusations of witchcraft and wizardry led to the prosecution of a man in Tennessee as recently as While spiritual leaders perform " sings " for healing, protection and other beneficial purposes, all practices referred to as "witchcraft" are intended to hurt and curse.
Witches are associated with harm to the community and transgression of societal standards, especially those relating to family and the dead.
The yee naaldlooshii is the type of witch known in English as a " skin-walker ". They are believed to take the forms of animals in order to travel in secret and do harm to the innocent.
Corpse powder or corpse poison Navajo: The powder is used by witches to curse their victims. Sometimes, however, the victims simply wastes away , as from a normal disease.
Traditional Navajos usually hesitate to discuss things like witches and witchcraft with non-Navajos. Witchcraft was also an important part of the social and cultural history of late-Colonial Mexico, during the Mexican Inquisition.
Spanish Inquisitors viewed witchcraft as a problem that could be cured simply through confession. Yet, as anthropologist Ruth Behar writes, witchcraft, not only in Mexico but in Latin America in general, was a "conjecture of sexuality, witchcraft, and religion, in which Spanish, indigenous, and African cultures converged.
In modern history, notoriety has been awarded to a place called Catemaco , in the state of Veracruz, which has a history of witchcraft, and where the practice of witchcraft by contemporary brujos and brujas thrives.
Belief in the supernatural is strong in all parts of India , and lynchings for witchcraft are reported in the press from time to time.
Apart from other types of Violence against women in Nepal , the malpractice of abusing women in the name of witchcraft is also really prominent. According to the statistics in , there was a total of 69 reported cases of abuse to women due to accusation of performing witchcraft.
The perpetrators of this malpractice are usually neighbors, so-called witch doctors and family members. According to the statistics by INSEC,  the age group of women who fall victims to the witchcraft violence in Nepal is 20— In Japanese folklore, the most common types of witch can be separated into two categories: The fox witch is, by far, the most commonly seen witch figure in Japan.
Differing regional beliefs set those who use foxes into two separate types: The first of these, the kitsune-mochi , is a solitary figure who gains his fox familiar by bribing it with its favourite foods.
The kitsune-mochi then strikes up a deal with the fox, typically promising food and daily care in return for the fox's magical services.
The fox of Japanese folklore is a powerful trickster in and of itself, imbued with powers of shape changing, possession, and illusion.
These creatures can be either nefarious; disguising themselves as women in order to trap men, or they can be benign forces as in the story of "The Grateful foxes".
A fox under the employ of a human can provide many services. The fox can turn invisible and find secrets its master desires. It can apply its many powers of illusion to trick and deceive its master's enemies.
The most feared power of the kitsune-mochi is the ability to command his fox to possess other humans. This process of possession is called Kitsunetsuki.
By far, the most commonly reported cases of fox witchcraft in modern Japan are enacted by tsukimono-suji families, or "hereditary witches".
These foxes serve the family and are passed down through the generations, typically through the female line. Tsukimono-suji foxes are able to supply much in the way of the same mystical aid that the foxes under the employ of a kitsune-mochi can provide its more solitary master with.
In addition to these powers, if the foxes are kept happy and well taken care of, they bring great fortune and prosperity to the Tsukimono-suji house.
However, the aid in which these foxes give is often overshadowed by the social and mystical implications of being a member of such a family. In many villages, the status of local families as tsukimono-suji is often common, everyday knowledge.
Such families are respected and feared, but are also openly shunned. Due to its hereditary nature, the status of being Tsukimono-suji is considered contagious.
Because of this, it is often impossible for members of such a family to sell land or other properties, due to fear that the possession of such items will cause foxes to inundate one's own home.
In addition to this, because the foxes are believed to be passed down through the female line, it is often nearly impossible for women of such families to find a husband whose family will agree to have him married to a tsukimono-suji family.
In such a union the woman's status as a Tsukimono-suji would transfer to any man who married her. Witchcraft in the Philippines is often classified as malevolent, with practitioners of black magic called Mangkukulam in Tagalog and Mambabarang in Cebuano ; there are also practitioners of benevolent, white magic, in addition to some who practise both.
Mambabarang in particular are noted for their ability to command insects and other invertebrates to accomplish a task, such as delivering a curse to a target.
Practitioners of traditional herbal-based medicine and divination called albularyo are not considered witches. They are perceived to be either quack doctors or a quasi-magical option when western medicine fails to identify or cure an ailment that is thus suspected to be of supernatural, often malevolent, origin.
Feng shui , an influence of Filipino Chinese culture, is also not classified as witchcraft as it is considered a separate realm of belief altogether.
Saudi Arabia continues to use the death penalty for sorcery and witchcraft. Saudi authorities also pronounced the death penalty on a Lebanese television presenter, Ali Hussain Sibat , while he was performing the hajj Islamic pilgrimage in the country.
In April , a Saudi woman Amina Bint Abdulhalim Nassar was arrested and later sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft and sorcery.
In December , she was beheaded. In June , Yahoo reported: An expedition sent to what is now the Xinjiang region of western China by the PBS documentary series Nova found a fully clothed female Tocharian mummy wearing a black conical hat of the type now associated with witches in Europe in the storage area of a small local museum, indicative of an Indo-European priestess.
Witchcraft in Europe between — was believed to be a combination of sorcery and heresy. While sorcery attempts to produce negative supernatural effects through formulas and rituals, heresy is the Christian contribution to witchcraft in which an individual makes a pact with the Devil.
In addition, heresy denies witches the recognition of important Christian values such as baptism, salvation, Christ and sacraments.
In Early Modern European tradition, witches were stereotypically, though not exclusively, women. The peak years of witch-hunts in southwest Germany were from to It was commonly believed that individuals with power and prestige were involved in acts of witchcraft and even cannibalism.
The familiar witch of folklore and popular superstition is a combination of numerous influences. The characterization of the witch as an evil magic user developed over time.
Early converts to Christianity looked to Christian clergy to work magic more effectively than the old methods under Roman paganism, and Christianity provided a methodology involving saints and relics, similar to the gods and amulets of the Pagan world.
As Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe, its concern with magic lessened. The Protestant Christian explanation for witchcraft, such as those typified in the confessions of the Pendle witches , commonly involves a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the spirits of evil.
The witches or wizards engaged in such practices were alleged to reject Jesus and the sacraments ; observe " the witches' sabbath " performing infernal rites that often parodied the Mass or other sacraments of the Church ; pay Divine honour to the Prince of Darkness ; and, in return, receive from him preternatural powers.
It was a folkloric belief that a Devil's Mark, like the brand on cattle, was placed upon a witch's skin by the devil to signify that this pact had been made.
Witches disrupted the societal institutions, and more specifically, marriage. It was believed that a witch often joined a pact with the devil to gain powers to deal with infertility, immense fear for her children's well-being, or revenge against a lover.
They were also depicted as lustful and perverted, and it was thought that they copulated with the devil at the Sabbath. The Church and European society were not always so zealous in hunting witches or blaming them for misfortunes.
Saint Boniface declared in the 8th century that belief in the existence of witches was un-Christian. The emperor Charlemagne decreed that the burning of supposed witches was a pagan custom that would be punished by the death penalty.
In the Bishop of Lyon and others repudiated the belief that witches could make bad weather, fly in the night, and change their shape.
This denial was accepted into Canon law. Other rulers such as King Coloman of Hungary declared that witch-hunts should cease because witches more specifically, strigas do not exist.
The Church did not invent the idea of witchcraft as a potentially harmful force whose practitioners should be put to death. This idea is commonplace in pre-Christian religions.
According to the scholar Max Dashu, the concept of medieval witchcraft contained many of its elements even before the emergence of Christianity.
Powers typically attributed to European witches include turning food poisonous or inedible, flying on broomsticks or pitchforks, casting spells, cursing people, making livestock ill and crops fail, and creating fear and local chaos.
However, even at a later date, not all witches were assumed to be harmful practicers of the craft. In England, the provision of this curative magic was the job of a witch doctor , also known as a cunning man , white witch , or wise man.
The term "witch doctor" was in use in England before it came to be associated with Africa. Toad doctors were also credited with the ability to undo evil witchcraft.
Other folk magicians had their own purviews. Girdle-measurers specialised in diagnosing ailments caused by fairies, while magical cures for more mundane ailments, such as burns or toothache, could be had from charmers.
In the north of England, the superstition lingers to an almost inconceivable extent. Lancashire abounds with witch-doctors, a set of quacks, who pretend to cure diseases inflicted by the devil The witch-doctor alluded to is better known by the name of the cunning man, and has a large practice in the counties of Lincoln and Nottingham.
Historians Keith Thomas and his student Alan Macfarlane study witchcraft by combining historical research with concepts drawn from anthropology.
Older women were the favorite targets because they were marginal, dependent members of the community and therefore more likely to arouse feelings of both hostility and guilt, and less likely to have defenders of importance inside the community.
Witchcraft accusations were the village's reaction to the breakdown of its internal community, coupled with the emergence of a newer set of values that was generating psychic stress.
In Wales, fear of witchcraft mounted around the year There was a growing alarm of women's magic as a weapon aimed against the state and church.
The Church made greater efforts to enforce the canon law of marriage, especially in Wales where tradition allowed a wider range of sexual partnerships.
There was a political dimension as well, as accusations of witchcraft were levied against the enemies of Henry VII, who was exerting more and more control over Wales.
The records of the Courts of Great Sessions for Wales, — show that Welsh custom was more important than English law.
Custom provided a framework of responding to witches and witchcraft in such a way that interpersonal and communal harmony was maintained, Showing to regard to the importance of honour, social place and cultural status.
Even when found guilty, execution did not occur. Becoming king in , James I Brought to England and Scotland continental explanations of witchcraft.
His goal was to divert suspicion away from male homosociality among the elite, and focus fear on female communities and large gatherings of women.
He thought they threatened his political power so he laid the foundation for witchcraft and occultism policies, especially in Scotland.
The point was that a widespread belief in the conspiracy of witches and a witches' Sabbath with the devil deprived women of political influence.
Occult power was supposedly a womanly trait because women were weaker and more susceptible to the devil. In Helen Duncan was the last person in Britain to be imprisoned for fraudulently claiming to be a witch.
There have even been child murders associated with witchcraft beliefs. The problem is particularly serious among immigrant or former immigrant communities of African origin but other communities, such as those of Asian origin are also involved.
Step children and children seen as different for a wide range of reasons are particularly at risk of witchcraft accusations.
Lack of awareness among social workers, teachers and other professionals dealing with at risk children hinders efforts to combat the problem.
The Metropolitan Police said there had been 60 crimes linked to faith in London so far [in ]. It saw reports double from 23 in to 46 in Half of UK police forces do not record such cases and many local authorities are also unable to provide figures.
The NSPCC said authorities "need to ensure they are able to spot the signs of this particular brand of abuse". London is unique in having a police team, Project Violet, dedicated to this type of abuse.
Its figures relate to crime reports where officers have flagged a case as involving abuse linked to faith or belief. Many of the cases involve children.
There is a 'money making scam' involved. Pastors accuse a child of being a witch and later the family pays for exorcism. As in most European countries, women in Italy were more likely suspected of witchcraft than men.
In the 16th century, Italy had a high portion of witchcraft trials involving love magic. Professional prostitutes were considered experts in love and therefore knew how to make love potions and cast love related spells.
She was also not seen as a model citizen because her husband was in Venice. From the 16thth centuries, the Catholic Church enforced moral discipline throughout Italy.
Franciscan friars from New Spain introduced Diabolism, belief in the devil, to the indigenous people after their arrival in In pre-Christian times, witchcraft was a common practice in the Cook Islands.
The native name for a sorcerer was tangata purepure a man who prays. All these prayers were metrical, and were handed down from generation to generation with the utmost care.
There were prayers for every such phase in life; for success in battle; for a change in wind to overwhelm an adversary at sea, or that an intended voyage be propitious ; that his crops may grow; to curse a thief; or wish ill-luck and death to his foes.
Few men of middle age were without a number of these prayers or charms. The succession of a sorcerer was from father to son, or from uncle to nephew.
So too of sorceresses: Sorcerers and sorceresses were often slain by relatives of their supposed victims. A singular enchantment was employed to kill off a husband of a pretty woman desired by someone else.
The expanded flower of a Gardenia was stuck upright—a very difficult performance—in a cup i. A prayer was then offered for the husbands speedy death, the sorcerer earnestly watching the flower.
Should it fall the incantation was successful. But if the flower still remained upright, he will live.
The sorcerer would in that case try his skill another day, with perhaps better success. According to Beatrice Grimshaw , a journalist who visited the Cook Islands in , the uncrowned Queen Makea was believed to have possessed the mystic power called mana , giving the possessor the power to slay at will.
It also included other gifts, such as second sight to a certain extent, the power to bring good or evil luck , and the ability already mentioned to deal death at will.
A local newspaper informed that more than 50 people were killed in two Highlands provinces of Papua New Guinea in for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
Pagan practices formed a part of Russian and Eastern Slavic culture; the Russian people were deeply superstitious.
The witchcraft practiced consisted mostly of earth magic and herbology; it was not so significant which herbs were used in practices, but how these herbs were gathered.
Ritual centered on harvest of the crops and the location of the sun was very important. Spells also served for midwifery, shape-shifting, keeping lovers faithful, and bridal customs.
Spells dealing with midwifery and childbirth focused on the spiritual wellbeing of the baby. Her sweat would be wiped from her body using raw fish, and the fish would be cooked and fed to the groom.
Demonism, or black magic, was not prevalent. Persecution for witchcraft, mostly involved the practice of simple earth magic, founded on herbology, by solitary practitioners with a Christian influence.
In one case investigators found a locked box containing something bundled in a kerchief and three paper packets, wrapped and tied, containing crushed grasses.
While these customs were unique to Russian culture, they were not exclusive to this region. Russian pagan practices were often akin to paganism in other parts of the world.
The Chinese concept of chi , a form of energy that often manipulated in witchcraft, is known as bioplasma in Russian practices.
Spoilers could be made by gathering bone from a cemetery, a knot of the target's hair, burned wooden splinters and several herb Paris berries which are very poisonous.
Placing these items in sachet in the victim's pillow completes a spoiler. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and the ancient Egyptians recognized the evil eye from as early as 3, BCE; in Russian practices it is seen as a sixteenth-century concept.
The dominant societal concern those practicing witchcraft was not whether paganism was effective, but whether it could cause harm. Impotence, stomach pains, barrenness, hernias, abscesses, epileptic seizures, and convulsions were all attributed to evil or witchcraft.
This is reflected in linguistics; there are numerous words for a variety of practitioners of paganism-based healers. Ironically enough, there was universal reliance on folk healers — but clients often turned them in if something went wrong.
According to Russian historian Valerie A. Kivelson, witchcraft accusations were normally thrown at lower-class peasants, townspeople and Cossacks.
People turned to witchcraft as a means to support themselves. Males were targeted more, because witchcraft was associated with societal deviation.
Because single people with no settled home could not be taxed, males typically had more power than women in their dissent.
The history of Witchcraft had evolved around society. More of a psychological concept to the creation and usage of Witchcraft can create the assumption as to why women are more likely to follow the practices behind Witchcraft.
There is analyzed social and economic evidence to associate between witchcraft and women. Witchcraft trials occurred frequently in seventeenth-century Russia, although the "great witch-hunt" is believed [ by whom?
However, as the witchcraft-trial craze swept across Catholic and Protestant countries during this time, Orthodox Christian Europe indeed partook in this so-called "witch hysteria.
Very early on witchcraft legally fell under the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical body, the church, in Kievan Rus' and Muscovite Russia.
The sentence for an individual found guilty of witchcraft or sorcery during this time, and in previous centuries, typically included either burning at the stake or being tested with the "ordeal of cold water" or judicium aquae frigidae.
Accused persons who submerged were considered innocent, and ecclesiastical authorities would proclaim them "brought back," but those who floated were considered guilty of practicing witchcraft, and burned at the stake or executed in an unholy fashion.
The thirteenth-century bishop of Vladimir, Serapion Vladimirskii, preached sermons throughout the Muscovite countryside, and in one particular sermon revealed that burning was the usual punishment for witchcraft, but more often the cold water test was used as a precursor to execution.
Although these two methods of torture were used in the west and the east, Russia implemented a system of fines payable for the crime of witchcraft during the seventeenth century.
Thus, even though torture methods in Muscovy were on a similar level of harshness as Western European methods used, a more civil method was present.
In the introduction of a collection of trial records pieced together by Russian scholar Nikolai Novombergsk, he argues that Muscovite authorities used the same degree of cruelty and harshness as Western European Catholic and Protestant countries in persecuting witches.
Tsar Ivan IV reigned — took this matter to the ecclesiastical court and was immediately advised that individuals practicing these forms of witchcraft should be excommunicated and given the death penalty.
So, during the Oprichnina — , Ivan IV succeeded in accusing and charging a good number of boyars with witchcraft whom he did not wish to remain as nobles.
Rulers after Ivan IV, specifically during the Time of Troubles — , increased the fear of witchcraft among themselves and entire royal families, which then led to further preoccupation with the fear of prominent Muscovite witchcraft circles.
After the Time of Troubles, seventeenth-century Muscovite rulers held frequent investigations of witchcraft within their households, laying the ground, along with previous tsarist reforms, for widespread witchcraft trials throughout the Muscovite state.
Witches have a long history of being depicted in art, although most of their earliest artistic depictions seem to originate in Early Modern Europe, particularly the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
Many scholars attribute their manifestation in art as inspired by texts such as Canon Episcopi , a demonology-centered work of literature, and Malleus Maleficarum , a "witch-craze" manual published in , by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger.
Canon Episcopi , a ninth-century text that explored the subject of demonology, initially introduced concepts that would continuously be associated with witches, such as their ability to fly or their believed fornication and sexual relations with the devil.
The text refers to two women, Diana the Huntress and Herodias, who both express the duality of female sorcerers.
Diana was described as having a heavenly body and as the "protectress of childbirth and fertility" while Herodias symbolized "unbridled sensuality".
They thus represent the mental powers and cunning sexuality that witches used as weapons to trick men into performing sinful acts which would result in their eternal punishment.
These characteristics were distinguished as Medusa-like or Lamia-like traits when seen in any artwork Medusa's mental trickery was associated with Diana the Huntress's psychic powers and Lamia was a rumored female figure in the Medieval ages sometimes used in place of Herodias.
One of the first individuals to regularly depict witches after the witch-craze of the medieval period was Albrecht Dürer , a German Renaissance artist.
His famous engraving The Four Witches , portrays four physically attractive and seductive nude witches. Their supernatural identities are emphasized by the skulls and bones lying at their feet as well as the devil discreetly peering at them from their left.
The women's sensuous presentation speaks to the overtly sexual nature they were attached to in early modern Europe. Moreover, this attractiveness was perceived as a danger to ordinary men who they could seduce and tempt into their sinful world.
Dürer also employed other ideas from the Middle Ages that were commonly associated with witches. Specifically, his art often referred to former 12th- to 13th-century Medieval iconography addressing the nature of female sorcerers.
In the Medieval period, there was a widespread fear of witches, accordingly producing an association of dark, intimidating characteristics with witches, such as cannibalism witches described as "[sucking] the blood of newborn infants"  or described as having the ability to fly, usually on the back of black goats.
As the Renaissance period began, these concepts of witchcraft were suppressed, leading to a drastic change in the sorceress' appearances, from sexually explicit beings to the 'ordinary' typical housewives of this time period.
This depiction, known as the 'Waldensian' witch became a cultural phenomenon of early Renaissance art. The term originates from the 12th-century monk Peter Waldo, who established his own religious sect which explicitly opposed the luxury and commodity-influenced lifestyle of the Christian church clergy, and whose sect was excommunicated before being persecuted as "practitioners of witchcraft and magic".
Subsequent artwork exhibiting witches tended to consistently rely on cultural stereotypes about these women. These stereotypes were usually rooted in early Renaissance religious discourse, specifically the Christian belief that an "earthly alliance" had taken place between Satan's female minions who "conspired to destroy Christendom".
Another significant artist whose art consistently depicted witches was Dürer's apprentice, Hans Baldung Grien, a 15th-century German artist.
His chiaroscuro woodcut, Witches , created in , visually encompassed all the characteristics that were regularly assigned to witches during the Renaissance.
Social beliefs labeled witches as supernatural beings capable of doing great harm, possessing the ability to fly, and as cannibalistic.
Meanwhile, their nudity while feasting is recognized as an allusion to their sexual appetite, and some scholars read the witch riding on the back of a goat-demon as representative of their "flight-inducing [powers]".
This connection between women's sexual nature and sins was thematic in the pieces of many Renaissance artists, especially Christian artists, due to cultural beliefs which characterized women as overtly sexual beings who were less capable in comparison to men of resisting sinful temptation.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Witchcraft disambiguation and Witch disambiguation. Folk religion , Magical thinking , and Shamanism.
Neoshamanism and Modern paganism. Satanism and Satanism and Witchcraft. Witchcraft and divination in the Hebrew Bible. Christian views on magic.
It is not to be confused with Djembe. Witchcraft accusations against children in Africa. Human rights in ISIL-controlled territory.
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