BEWITCHED

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The 4th-century Christian Latin poet Prudentius sang, “They say that the night-wandering demons, who rejoice in dunnest shades, at the crowing of the cock tremble and scatter in sore affright.” 

Protection from Witchery has been the goal of mankind for the ages. Think it is buried in the past before the age of enlightenment, think again. Many things we use today are rooted in protectionism from being ‘Witched’. 

Brass is thought to ward off evil spells of Witches thus bells made of brass are hung around the necks of livestock to protect them from falling under a spell. Since the Middle Ages candles have been placed on church altars. Holy candles were and are used by priests in the ritual of exorcism and candles are said to be good for, “for preserving oneself from the injury of witches.” Charms are magical phrases, words, chants, incantations, or prayers which protect against or cure disease, and ward off witchcraft, disaster, and evil. An old Pentecostal Preacher friend of mine’s favorite Charm was to drive a nail half way in a hog trough and place it under his porch. He was convinced of the effectiveness of this procedure. One of the most important symbols representing protection from evil is the male chicken known as a rooster or cock. The cock was an important Christian symbol of resurrection and vigilance. A rooster represented God, goodness, and lightness. Cocks’ places were earned at the top of buildings, domes, and church steeples. They crowed at the birth and death of Christ, and they herald the dawn, “which brings light to the sins of the night and rouses men to the worship of God.” We still place cocks on weather vanes today. It is said that cocks were and are despised by all sorcerers and witches. One of the Catholic Church’s most powerful weapons against the supernatural was Holy Water. Holy Water is a mixture of salt and water that has been blessed by a priest. Witches, vampires, and other nasty evil creatures were considered violently allergic to holy water. Any number of denominations use Holy Water today. Horseshoes are still used as good luck charms and wards against evil. It has long been used as an amulet against the evil eye, evil spirits, the Devil, faeries, and witches. Nailed over the doorway of a church, stable, house, or other building, its iron makeup prevents evil from crossing the threshold. A horseshoe pointing up catches good luck while one pointing down protects against evil.

This is just a few age old superstitions concerning evil that have vestiges in today’s world. We tend to dismiss much of the old ways as ignorance while failing to understand that many things we take for granted today are rooted in long held superstition. I might note here that witch hunters through the ages have inflicted unspeakable suffering upon helpless victims of malicious lies. They devised so called tests for witches no one could possibly prevail in.