The History of Witchcraft: Part 1

As I am trying to put this all together, I hope to bring about an understanding that Witchcraft, like any religion, has undergone it's changes throughout the centuries. It is my personal feeling, however, that the religion of Witchcraft has undergone far fewer changes than any other in history.

As the song sung by Neil Diamond starts:
"Where it began, I can't begin to knowin."

Witchcraft, sorcery, magic, whatever can only begin to find its roots when we go back as far as Mesopotamia. With their deities for all types of disasters, such as Utug — the Dweller of the Desert waiting to take you away if you wandered to far, and Telal — the Bull Demon, Alal — the destroyer, Namtar — Pestilence, Idpa — fever, and Maskim — the snaresetter; the days of superstition were well underway.

It was believed that the pharaohs, kings, etc. all imbued some power of the gods, and even the slightest movement they made would cause an action to occur. It was believed that a picture, or statue also carried the spirit of the person. This is one of the reasons that they were carried from place to place, and also explains why you see so many pictures and statues of these persons with their hands straight to their sides.

In the Bible, we find reference to "The Tower of Babel" or The Ziggurat in Genesis 11. "Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar (Babylonia) and settled there. They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.' They used brick instead of stone, and tar instead of mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.’" It goes on to say that the tower was never finished.

In other references, we find that the "Tower" was in fact finished, and that it was a tower that represented the "stages" between earth and heaven (not a tower stretching to the heaven in the literal sense.) From this reference, it was a tower built in steps. A hierarchy on which heaven and hell were based. It was actually a miniature world representing the Mountain of Earth.

Each stage was dedicated to a planet, with its angles symbolizing the four corners of the world. They pointed to Akkad, Saburtu, Elam, and the western lands. The seven steps of the tower were painted in different colors which corresponded to the planets. The "Great Misfortuneā€¯, Saturn, was black. The second was white, the color of Jupiter. The third, brick-red, the color of Mercury, followed by blue, Venus; yellow, Mars, gray or silver for the moon. These colors boded good or evil, like their planets.

For the first time, numbers expressed the world order. A legend depicts Pythagoras traveling to Babylon where he is taught the mystery of numbers, their magical significance and power. The seven steps often appear in magical philosophy. The seven steps are: stones, fire, plants, animals, man, the starry heavens, and the angels. Starting with the study of stones, the man of wisdom will attain higher and higher degrees of knowledge, until he will be able to apprehend the sublime, and the eternal. Through ascending these steps, a man would attain the knowledge of God, whose name is at the eighth degree, the threshold of God's heavenly dwelling.

The square was also a "mystical" symbol in these times, and though divided into seven, was still respected. This correlated the old tradition of a fourfold world being reconciled with the seven heavens of later times.

It is thought that here was the start to numerology, but for this to have developed to the point where they had taken into consideration the square as the fourfold world, it would have had to have developed prior to this.

From Mesopotamia lets move over to Persia.

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