History of Witchcraft
As I am trying to put this all together, I hope to bring about an
understanding that Witchcraft, like any religion, has undergone
it’s changes throughout the centuries. It is my personal
feeling, however, that the religion of Witchcraft has undergone
far fewer changes than any other in history.
As the song sung by Neil Diamond starts:
” Where it began, I can’t begin to knowin…”
Witchcraft, sorcery, magic, whatever can only begin to find its
roots when we go back as far as Mesopotamia. With their dieties
for all types of disasters, such as Utug – the Dweller of the
Desert waiting to take you away if you wandered to far, and
Telal – the Bull Demon, Alal – the destroyer, Namtar –
Pestilence, Idpa – fever, and Maskim – the snaresetter; the days
of superstitution were well underway.
It was believed that the pharaohs, kings, etc. all imbued some
power of the gods, and even the slightest movement they made
would cause an action to occur. It was believed that a picture,
or statue also carried the spirit of the person. This is one of
the reasons that they were carried from place to place, and also
explains why you see so many pictures and statues of these
persons with their hands straight to their sides.
In the Bible, we find reference to “The Tower of Babel” or The
Ziggurat in Genesis 11. “Now the whole world had one language and
a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in
Shinar (Babylonia) and settled there. They said to each other,
`Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used
brick instead of stone, and tar instead of mortar. Then they
said, `Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that
reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves
and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ But the
Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were
building. The Lord said,`If as one people speaking the same
language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do
will be impossible for them. Come let us go down and confuse
their language so they will not understand each other.'” It goes
on to say that the tower was never finished.
In other references, we find that the “Tower” was in fact
finished, and that it was a tower that represented the “stages”
between earth and heaven (not a tower stretching to the heaven in
the literal sense.) From this reference, it was a tower built in
steps. A hierarchy on which heaven and hell were based. It was
actually a miniature world representing the Mountain of Earth.
Each stage was dedicated to a planet, with its angles symbolizing
the four corners of the world. They pointed to Akkad, Saburtu,
Elam, and the western lands. The seven steps of the tower were
painted in different colors which corresponded to the planets.
The “Great Misfortune:, Saturn, was black. The second was white,
the color of Jupiter. The third, brick-red, the color of
Mercury, followed by blue, Venus; yellow, Mars, gray or silver
for the moon. These colors boded good or evil, like their
For the first time, numbers expressed the world order. A legend
depicts Pythagoras traveling to Babylon where he is taught the
mystery of numbers, their magical significance and power. The
seven steps often appear in magical philosophy. The seven steps
are: stones, fire, plants, animals, man, the starry heavens, and
the angels. Starting with the study of stones, the man of wisdom
will attain higher and higher degrees of knowledge, until he will
be able to apprehend the sublime, and the eternal. Through
ascending these steps, a man would attain the knowledge of God,
whose name is at the eighth degree, the threshold of God’s
The square was also a “mystical” symbol in these times, and
though divided into seven, was still respected. This correlated
the old tradition of a fourfold world being reconciled with the
seven heavens of later times.
It is thought that here was the start to numerology, but for this
to have developed to the point where they had taken into
consideration the square as the fourfold world, it would have had
to have developed prior to this.
From Mesopotamia lets move over to Persia.