The History of Witchcraft: Part 2

From Mesopotamia lets move over to Persia.

Unlike the Mesopotamians, and Egyptians, who believed that all was done with either the favor or lack thereof of the Gods, the Chaldean star religion taught that luck and disaster were no chance events, but were controlled from the heavenly bodies (planets/stars) which send good and bad according to mathematical laws. It was their belief that man was incapable of fighting the will of the planet divinities. Though, the more this system evolved, the more the wise men read ethical values into man's fate. The will of the stars was not completely separate from man's behaviors. The stars were important, but not omnipotent in deciding man's fate. It was believed that the star Sirius would carry messages to the higher gods and he returned to announce their will.

Around the 7th century B.C.E. Zoroaster, the Median prophet was preaching the doctrines that evil could be avoided and defeated. He brought about the principles of the good and evil spirits. Below, we will look at the beliefs and influences of this man's life which created the religion named after him.

The first of the belief structure had to do with Ormazd (Ahura-Mazda) king of light, and his twin brother Ahriman (Anro-Mainyu) prince of darkness.

Zoroaster brought about the belief in the "holy war" (that between good and evil.) In this faith, the archangels (the spirits of Divine Wisdom, Righteousness, Dominion, Devotion, Totality, and Salvation) and the demons (the spirits of Anarchy, Apostasy, Presumption, Destruction, Decay, and Fury) were constantly at battle with one another. The archangels were controlled by Ormazd and the demons by Ahriman.

This religion had it's belief that in the end, Ormazd and his demons would prevail, but until then, Ormazd would keep the world safe.

It is interesting that the last of the demons (the demon of Fury) holds such a hard and fast thought that it was incorporated into the Hebrew and Christian belief structure. The last archdemon's name is Aeshma Daeva also know to the Hebrews as Ashmadai and to Christians as Asmodeus.

Asmodeus was the "chief of the fourth hierarchy of evil demons", called "the avengers of wickedness, crimes and misdeeds." He appears with three heads, a bull's, human, and a ram. He has goose feet, and a snake's tail. To appear more frightening, he also exhales fire and rides upon a dragon of hell.

It is said that Asmodeus is not to be feared. When you say to him: "In truth thou art Asmodeus," he will give you a wonderful ring. He will teach you geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and mechanics. When questioned, he answers truthfully.

The other demons tempt people away from the true worship of Mazda. They are Paromaiti — Arrogance, Mitox — The Falsely Spoken Word, Zaurvan — Decrepitude, Akatasa — Meddlesomeness, Vereno — Lust.

Much of the current day Christian beliefs were taken from this man's religion. (That of good and evil forces, the redemption, the "savior" factor, etc.)

From here, let us move on to Egypt where we will look at other mystical symbols and more history of magick and the craft.

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