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Ведьмы. Кто они?In mythological views of the medieval Western Europe owner of magical knowledge, witch. Endowed with powers to act on the nature and person (witchcraft) and to perform miraculous feats - to become a werewolf, to get through a locked door, flying through the air, to steal the hearts of the people, to cause illness, to restore damage to livestock and crops. They attributed the ability to make a bargain with the devil and to serve him, to join him in sexual intercourse and to seduce believers by blanking their souls.

Before the era of developed middle ages views of the magical abilities of Witch has remained mostly at the level of folklore and was condemned by the Church, which would punish the persons who women suspected of witchcraft; belief in Witches were regarded by the Church as superstition, inspired by the machinations of evil forces (in particular, Church authorities denied the existence of gatherings of Witches Sabbath).

In the epoch of developed middle ages (13th-15th centuries) in connection with the internal crisis of the Church and the loss of full control over the spiritual life of the faithful with the attitude of the Church to the persecution of Witches is changing radically. In the face of theologians, the scholastics and inquisitors of the Church recognizes the ability of certain of women (and men) to create malefici - black magic, causing harm to the life, health and property of people.

Archaic folk beliefs was justification by the authorities and used for the prosecution of persons accused of witchcraft. In this period the Church was recognized as an idea about the possibilities of intercourse between people involved with witchcraft and the devil.

The end of the middle ages, the Renaissance and the reformation (turn of the 15th and 16th centuries - ser. the 18th century) was marked by the mass persecution of Witches who have acquired the character of a collective psychosis, covering extensive layers of population in different countries of Europe. Bull of Pope sinnocence VIII "With the greatest of zeal" (Summis deside-rantes) 1484 declared a heresy disbelief in the existence of Witches and the devil's ability to hurt people. In 1487-89 the inquisitors nationism and Sprenger was published an essay, "Hammer against witches", which justified the need brutal persecution of Witches and for two centuries became the main guidance for the secular and ecclesiastical courts that dealt with cases of witchcraft.

Traditional anti-feminism Church found in the Hammer completed and the ultimate expression of, among other crimes Witches were ascribed to the ability to deprive men of sexual power. The witch was regarded as criminal, within the jurisdiction of the special jurisdiction and subject to destruction by fire.

The prosecution of Witches usually began with accusations of witchcraft are submitted by neighbors and other people who are in conflict with which an accused person. The court, handling this type of case and governed by the treatises on demonology, which in this period was multiplied, was concerned primarily not by finding maleficia, and receiving from "Witches" recognizing that they were in League with the devil, cohabited with him and his power to do evil deeds. Because the relationship with the evil spirit and her Ministry was seen as a serious crime under the legal codes of the 16th century, to the accused used a special procedure, accompanied by torture.

The rationale for the cruel and prolonged torture hedgehog means Histalkut of recognition was confident that the Witch was taken over by the devil, prevent its sincere acknowledgement, and that it is therefore necessary to forcibly expel them from it. After obtaining the required recognition, as a rule, Witches were burned or, less frequently, exile. The few of accused who endured torture and was not admitted, was considered to be innocent.

Thus, people's belief in Witches in this period was combined with the demonic doctrine cf.-century. lawyers and theologians, and the persecution of Witches were at the same time and from the masses of ordinary population, and by Church and secular authorities, which tried to destroy the traditional folk culture and, in particular, such an integral part of it, which was uncontrolled Church magic.

The woman, the main object of persecution, was, however, and the main bearer of the national traditions of culture. New in the persecution of Witches in 16-17 centuries was that the Church and secular authorities saw in them are not individuals, but "anticoercive" led by Satan. Therefore, the issue of the Sabbath as a visible expression of this "antitorque" with its cult provided inverted Church cult, has gained so much importance in the judicial interrogations accused of witchcraft.

Along with faith in malicious Witch in the people believed in good Witches, which can neutralize the actions of the first and to join with them in the struggle.

Massive Witch hunt in Western Europe, reflected the deep crisis cf.-century. worldview and the disintegration of community relations of mutual assistance. Responsibility for the swap troubles and woes of the people of that epoch were laid on outsiders on marginal elements of the team and so on, the Persecution of Witches has spread to all countries of the Catholic and Protestant Europe, although in some areas they had their features (in particular, in England accusations of women in connection with the devil and torture were not in use), and led to mass victims.

Throughout the last period of Witch-hunting has been a fierce debate about witchcraft, and in that time many theologians and thinkers (including some humanists) advocated the belief in Witches and the necessity of their destruction, and a number of other scientists, and among them many of the Jesuits, without questioning the belief in Witches, criticized their persecution. However, only in the second floor. the 17th century, when the terror caused by the massive persecution of Witches, began to cause social disruption and was aware of the great danger to society continue the persecution, the persecution of Witches gradually abated (in some places they again broke out still in the 18th - beginning of 19th centuries).

In Nar. the culture of the new time are preserved views about Witches, especially dangerous during periods of calendar holidays; for these holidays in conjunction with the rites of the burning of Witches - carnival of stuffed.

The image of the Witch (et-Rus. wide, "knowledge", "witchcraft", "witchcraft"), vedun and (cf. Serb, mestiza, Slovene. vesca, etc. in Slavic mythology and folklore close to West European views. Endowed with the ability to send storm clouds, storms, hail, steal dew, rain, heavenly bodies (putting them in a container), milk the cows, to direct damage to livestock and humans (and why they became hysterical men), to hold gatherings, and Orgy in "Bald mountain" (especially Kolyada, at a meeting of spring, on the night of Schwan Kupala).

It was believed that Witches and heavy with evil spirits, including a Fiery Serpent; in the epic of Dobrynya enchantress Marinka comes into contact with the Serpent dragon: this brings the image of a Witch with a female character Slav, the myth about cheating spouses of God the Thunderer with the serpent (cf. also Mara, madder, Mokosh). In addition to malicious functions endowed well as healing, powers of divination and so on ("godless women are kudesnica" Ms.-century. sources).

The persecution of Witches Slavs were not of a mass character, as in Western Europe; however, according to popular notions penalty Witches (usually burned) was needed to end the drought, pestilence, etc.,
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