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fantaisie & imagination.'[1]
The cold food occurs also in the accusation against a Belgian witch, Elizabeth Vlamynx, in 1595:
'Vous-mme vous avez apport aux convives un hochepot [hutsepot] froid, que vous aviez prpar
In Sweden the witches collected the food and sent it to the Devil, who gave them as much of it as he thought
fit. The feast was always held indoors in the house known as Blockula.
'In a huge large Room of this House, they said, there stood a very long Table, at which the Witches did sit
down. . . . They sate down to Table, and those that the Devil esteemed most, were placed nearest to him, but
the Children must stand at the door, where he himself gives them meat and drink. The diet they did use to
have there, was, they said, Broth with Colworts and Bacon in it, Oatmeal, Bread spread with Butter, Milk and
Cheese. And they added that sometimes it tasted very well, and sometimes very ill.'[3]
6. Candles
At first sight it would seem that the candles were naturally used only to illuminate the midnight festivities,
6. Candles 90
The Witch Cult in Western Europe
but the evidence points to the burning lights being part of the ritual. This is also suggested by the importance,
in the cult, of the early-spring festival of Candlemas; a festival which has long been recognized as of
pre-Christian origin.
The light is particularly mentioned in many instances as being carried by the Devil, usually on his head; the
witches often lit their torches and candles at this flame, though sometimes it seems that the Devil lit the torch
and then presented it to the witch. To call the chief of the cult Lucifer was therefore peculiarly appropriate,
especially at the Candlemas Sabbath.
In 1574 the witches of Poictiers went to a cross-roads: 'l se trouuoit vn grand bouc noir, qui parloit comme
vne personne
[1. Boguet, pp. 135-9.
2. Cannaert, p. 45
3. Horneck, pp. 321-2, 327.]
aux assistans, & dansoyent a l'entour du bouc: puis vn chacun luy baisoit le derriere, auec vne chandelle
ardente.'[1] The witches of North Berwick in 1590 mention candles as part of the ritual:
'At ther meting be nycht in the kirk of Northberick, the deuell, cled in a blak gown with a blak hat upon his
head, preachit vnto a gret nomber of them out of the pulpit, having lyk leicht candles rond about him.' John
Fian blew up the Kirk doors, and blew in the lights, which were like mickle black candles, holden in an old
man's hand, round about the pulpit.[3] [John Fian] was taken to North Berwick church where Satan
commanded him to make him homage with the rest of his servants; where he thought he saw the light of a
candle, standing in the midst of his servants, which appeared blue lowe [flame].'[4]
In 1594 at Puy-de-Dme Jane Bosdeau went 'at Midnight on the Eve of St John into a Field, where there
appeared a great Black Goat with a Candle between his Horns'.[5] At Aberdeen in 1597 Marion Grant
confessed that 'the Deuill apperit to the, within this auchteine dayis or thairby, quhome thow callis thy god,
about ane hour in the nicht, and apperit to the in ane gryte man his lickness, in silkin abuilzeament
[habiliment], withe ane quhyt candill in his hand'.[6] In 1598 the witches whom Boguet tried said that
'les Sorciers estans assemblez en leur Synagogue adorent premierement Satan, qui apparoit l, tantost en
forme d'vn grand homme noir, tantost en forme de bouc, & pour plus grand hommage, ils luy offrent des
chandelles, qui rendent vne flamme de couleur blee. Quelquefois encor il tient vne image noire, qu'il fait
baiser aux Sorciers. Antide Colas & ses compagnes, en baisant ceste image, offroient vne chandelle ou buche
d'estrain ardente. Ces chandelles leur sont bailles par le Diable, & se perdent & esuanouissent ds lors
qu'elles luy ont est offertes. Il s'en est trouu qui ont confess qu'ils alloient allumer le plus soutient leurs
chandelles vne autre chandelle, que le Demon, estant en forme de bouc, portoit au dessus de la teste entre
les deux cornes.'[7]
[1. Bodin, Flau, p. 187.
2. Melville, p. 395.
3. Pitcairn, i, pt. ii, p. 246. The ploughman, Gray Meal, who took a large part in the ceremonies, was an old
4. Id., i, pt. ii, p. 210.
6. Candles 91
The Witch Cult in Western Europe
5. F. Hutchinson, Hist. Essay, p. 42.
6. Spalding Club Misc., i, p. 172.
7. Boguet, p. 131.]
Some of the witches of the Basses-Pyrnes, tried in 1609, said that the Devil was
'comme vn grand bouc, ayt deux cornes deuant & deux en derriere. Mais le commun est qu'il a seulement
trois cornes, & qu'il a quelque espece de lumiere en celle du milieu, de laquelle il a accoustum au sabbat
d'esclairer, & donner du feu & de la lumiere, mesmes ces Sorcieres qui tiennent quelques chandelles
alumees aux ceremonies de la Messe qu'ils veulent contrefaire. On luy voit aussi quelque espece de bonet on
chapeau au dessus de ses cornes. Toute l'assemblee le vient adorer le baisant sous la queu, & allumant des
chandelles noires.'[1]
Barthlemy Minguet of Brcy, a man of twenty-five, tried in 1616, described the ceremonies of the Sabbath;
after the sermon the worshippers 'vont l'offerte, tenant en leurs mains des chandelles de poix noire qui leur
sont donnes par le Diable . In 1646 Elizabeth Weed of Great Catworth, Hunts, .confessed that the Devil
came to her at night, 'and being demanded what light was there, she answered, none but the light of the
Spirit.'[3] In 1652 a French witch stated that at the Sabbath 'on dansait sans musique, aux chansons. Toutes
les femmes y toient tenues par les diables par lors il y avoit de la lumire une chandelle tenue au millieu par
une femme que ne connoit. . . Au milieux il y auoit une feme masque tenant une chandelle.'[4] Barton's wife
was at a witch meeting in the Pentland Hills, 'and coming down the hill when we had done, which was the
best sport, he [the Devil] carried the candle in his bottom under his tail, which played ey wig wag wig wag.",
Helen Guthrie in 1661 does not expressly mention candles or torches, but her description of the flickering
light on the ground suggests their use. She I was at a meiting in the churchyeard of Forfar in the Holfe therof,
and they daunced togither, and the ground under them wes all fyre
[1. De Lancre, Tableau, pp. 68, 401.
2. Id., L'Incredulit p. 805.
3. Davenport, p. 2.
4. Van Elven, La Tradition, v (1891), p. 215.
5. Sinclair, p. 163. The account given by Barton's wife of the position of the candle on the Devil's person is
paralleled by the peculiarly coarse description of the Light-bearers at the witch-sabbaths at Mnster.
Humborg, p, 120.]
flauchter'.[1] The Somerset witches stated that, when they met, 'the Man in Black bids them welcome, and
they all make low obeysance to him, and he delivers some Wax Candles like little Torches, which they give
back again at parting.'[2] The light seems to have been sometimes so arranged, probably in a lantern, as to be
diffused. This was the case at Torryburn, where the assembly was ht by a light 'which came from darkness', it [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]