The Burning Times Memorial
Thousands were killed in the name of the Christain god. They were killed by those who taught that their god was one of compassion and love and forgivness. If God was so forgiving than he would have forgiven the "heathens" for their sins, correct? Many of those who were killed were not even witches. I had no idea that things were as horrible as they were until I got on the internet and looked it up. That was the time I deided to put up this page.
In the year 1233, Pope Gregory IX instituted the Roman Catholic tribunal known as the Inquisition in an attempt to suppress heresy. In 1320, the church (at the request of Pope John XXII) officially declared Witchcraft and the Old Religion of Pagans as a heretical movement and a "hostile threat" to Christianity, since the Christians weren't as popular as Pagans. Now, it was deffintly the other way around. Pagans and Wiccans were around much earlier than the Christians. Witches had now become heretics and the persecution against all Pagans spread quickly throughout Europe. (Note that before a person can be considered a heretic, he or she must first be a Christian.)
In Saxony in 1589, 133 witches were burned in one day.
From 1591 to 1600 in Switzerland, 300 or so were burned.
In 1347 to 1400 67 were burned for witchcraft in France.
In 1515 in Geneva more than 500 were executed for witchcraft.
There is more, I am sure of that.
Did you know that a bible verse was changed to suit the ideas of the Inquisition. The verse was origionally : "Thou shalt no suffer a prisioner to live." It was changed to : "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Interesting, eh? There were other passages changed as well.
must not be too quick to subject a witch to examination,
but must pay attention to certain signs which will follow.
And he must not be too quick for this reason:
unless God, through a holy Angel, compels the devil
to withold his help from the witch,
she will be so insensible to the pains of torture that
she will sooner be torn limb from limb than confess any of the truth.
But the torture is not to be neglected for this reason,
for they are not equally endowed with this power,
and also the devil sometimes of his own will permits them
to confess their crimes without being compelled by a holy Angel."
-- Kramer and Sprenger, the Malleus Maleficarum
Times - by Caryn Smirl
A young woman about my age
Has been put on trial as a witch
For growing harmless herbs
On her windowsill.
I watch helplessly
As they bind her hands and feet
With thick coarse rope
And pull her long golden hair.
Someone spits on the ground
Just inches from her face
And curses at her like a demon.
A holy man is at the river's edge
Blessing the swirling water.
This is the first test.
If the blessed water receives her
And she sinks,
Then she was wrongly accused
And she goes to Heaven.
But if the water rejects her
And she floats,
Then she is the demon spawn
They say she is
And she will be tortured and burned.
I feel her terror as she is lifted.
Feel the air rushing by
As they throw her into the river.
Feel the churning water around me
As she disappears below the surface.
And I feel her overwhelming dismay
As she rises to the surface,
Coughing and struggling to breathe.
A few men wade through the water to her
And pull her back to shore.
The crowd clamors for her burning,
And she is taken away to be tortured.
I see her again a few days later
With her hair shorn and shaven.
She has been dressed in a black robe
And she looks as though
Her spirit has been broken.
My heart cries out for her,
But I cannot bring myself to defend her
For fear they would do the same to me.
They tie her to a post
Surrounded by wood.
Our eyes lock as holy men
Drive their torches into the wood.
I can feel the heat as the fire
Licks at the hem of her robe.
She is suddenly shrouded
By a shimmering light.
Just before she is consumed
By the flames.
The light remains until the fire dies down.
Nothing is left of her body.
It seems that though Holy Water rejected her
The Almighty accepted her in her last moments
And I feel her joy and peace.
It is a personal belief of mine and others that the burning times are still going on. We [Pagans and Wiccans] are all still judged and oppresed.
I know I won't forget, and I don't think I personally will ever forgive.
*much of the info on this page taken from Catala's Realm of Witchcraft*