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Salem Witch Trials: The Accused Bridget Bishop

Salem Witch Trials: The Accused Bridget Bishop by Odin’s Daughter

During the Winter of February 1692, unrest was building in the Village of Salem. Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams, through fits and mysterious maladies, were diagnosed with being affected with witchcraft. They soon released the names of the accused to their parents. Leading to more than one-hundred fifty accused. One even being a four-year-old child. Soon, June had arrived and here marks the first of the trials. One of whom was the most severely accused by her community, Bridget Bishop.

Born some time in the 1630s, Bridget Playfer, was born in Norwich, England. Soon to follow in the year 1660, she had her fist marriage to Samuel Wasselbe (spellings vary). It is unknown if Samuel had passed prior to her leaving for the new world or if he was still alive. She in the time of leaving England was in fact pregnant from this marriage, the infant did sadly pass in Massachusetts.

She then married again in Massachusetts in 1666, to a Thomas Oliver. They bought a large property that included orchards. They also conceived a daughter known as Christian. Thomas had 3 older children from his previous marriage. Thirteen years later and Thomas had passed away. In 1685, she remarried again, to an Edward Bishop.

Bishop Account by Samuel Parris

Due to the deaths of two previous marriages, gossip of her being a “witch” ensued. It grew into much more as time went on. Her first accusation was in fact in 1680 by a slave who claimed he saw her specter steal, pinch, and frightened horses; in total 10 people testified against her. There was a list of accusations: force girls to sign “the Devil’s Book”, poppets with stuck pins in them, specter visitations of various men, bewitching of others, declining health of others, stealing, arguments, seeing of imps on her property, her flying over her orchards, witches mark found on her body, and use of magic.

Bishop Account by Ezekiel Cheever

On June 10 th , 1692, Bridget Bishop was convicted of being a witch and using witchcraft. Being escorted by Sheriff George Corwin to Proctor’s Ledge. Where she was hanged at the edge of town publicly. She hung until she passed away. The first of the 19 to be hung and the very last to be exonerated by legislation in the state of Massachusetts in 2001.

Note: Her daughter did live on to be married, but soon died in 1693.

Based on twenty-seven years of original archival research, including the discovery of previously unknown documents, this day-by-day narrative of the hysteria that swept through Salem Village in 1692 and 1693 reveals new connections behind the events, and shows how rapidly a community can descend into bloodthirsty madness. Roach opens her work with chapters on the history of the Puritan colonies of New England, and explains how these people regarded the metaphysical and the supernatural. The account of the days from January 1692 to March 1693 keeps in order the large cast of characters, places events in their correct contexts, and occasionally contradicts earlier assumptions about the gruesome events. The last chapter discusses the remarkable impact of the events, pointing out how the 300th anniversary of the trials made headlines in Japan and Australia.
A girl fell sick in 1692. Her convulsions, contortions, and outbursts of gibberish baffled everyone. Then other girls had the same symptoms. The village doctor could suggest just one cause: Witchcraft.

Further Resources

First Salem witch hanging

Bridget Bishop Home and Orchards

Bridget Bishop becomes the first woman to be hanged during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in 1692

Salem Witchcraft Papers

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The Theban Alphabet: History and Mystical Use

A few years ago I began to look into the history and use of the Theban alphabet which are also known as Witches Runes, Witch writing, Honorian alphabet and the Runes of Honorius. This form of cypher dates back to Medieval times and has been a used in Mysticism and magical practices ever since. In recent years I began making Theban divination sets and find it to be quite a intriguing type of divination. So today’s blog post will be covering all about this interesting alphabet.

The Origins of the Theban

The Witch’s alphabet dates back to the 14th Century and is also known as the Theban alphabet.  Additionally it has been called the Honorian alphabet, Theban Script or the Runes of Honorius.  It’s exact origin is unknown nor is it’s original creator.  As it is with all undocumented ancient history, there is controversy surrounding the Witch’s alphabet.  It’s mostly been attributed to Honorius of Thebes, a Middle Age figure shrouded in so much mystery that some consider his very existence to be a myth.  Many students of the occult believe the Theban alphabet dates back much further, to before the 11th Century.  That group claims it originated as an alchemical cipher with an Avestan influence.  Avestan is oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language and it’s closely related to Vedic Sanskrit.  But this counter-theory is also undocumented and thus un-provable.

However, there is evidence to be gleaned from the shape of the characters and corresponding curve patterns that define Theban.  They show an unmistakable resemblance to characters found in the Avestan alphabet.  This alone doesn’t prove a theory.  There are major differences such as fewer characters and the inclusion in Theban of a symbol to denote the end of a sentence.  Theban does not have an upper or a lower case, so that symbol was critical.  Another comparison has been made with Latin.  There is a one-to-one correspondence between letters of the Witch’s alphabet and Latin alphabets with the exception of the letters j and u.  Those two letters are represented by the letters for i and v.  The Theban alphabet has also been called a runic alphabet but it’s clearly not.  Runes are characterized by straight lines and sharp edges, while the Theban alphabet is mostly based on arcs and curls. SOURCE

The first known recordings of the alphabet came from the astrologer Johannes Trithemius who included it in his 1518 published book Polygraphia. Trithemius stated the alphabet came from the Theban Honorius and it was revealed by Petries de Apono (aka Pietro D’Abano).

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa studied under Johannes Trithemius. Agrippa started referring to this script as the Theban alphabet in his book Three Books of Occult Philosophy and said it was from Honorius of Thebes.

Since Petries de Apono was close with Pope Honorius IV, some believe him to be the source; or his granduncle, Pope Honorious III. However, there is no proof of this because there has not been any work from either of them that contains this alphabet, including the manuscript written by Pope Honorious III called Grimoire du Pape Honorius.

Another belief connects to the fourteenth-century manuscript The Sworn Book of Honorius authored by Honorius of Thebes. According to lore, Honorius of Thebes was a scribe who complied this information together during a large assembly of deeply knowledgable magical practitioners. However, this is still speculation because the only copy of The Sworn Book of Honorius that remains today states that the Theban alphabet’s origins are from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa. SOURCE

The Theban alphabet from Francis Barrett’s 1801 book, The Magus

Uses in Magick and Divination

With the exception of the letters J and U / V, this alphabet is a one to one substitution cipher. That means that each character of the Theban alphabet corresponds to one of the letters in the Latin alphabet.

That makes this alphabet very easy to use in your magic writings and other workings. It’s simple to switch one letter for another to obscure what you’re writing.

Especially when the Theban alphabet was created, the Christian church was doing its best to stamp out any ancient practices, paganism, or witchcraft. Writing in a script that couldn’t be translated allowed magicians and witches to record their work without fear of being killed by the church.

The Theban alphabet is popular among witches to give their writings a mystical quality and to hide the meaning of what they are writing. Wiccans and other witches have adopted many substitution ciphers to hide and obscure the contents of their books of shadows. SOURCE

The Theban alphabet can also be used in a similar way in divination like is done with Ogham and Elder Futhark Runes which you can learn more reading HERE and HERE.

Based on the ancient magical writings of 14thcentury magus, Honorius of Thebes, the Theban Oracle is a codex employed for centuries as a means of devotion and divination. Used by such masters of the occult sciences as Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Dr. John Dee, Francis Barrett, and later Gerald Gardner, it has remained relatively obscure and elusive to the modern practitioner. Until now.

In this book, author Greg Jenkins, PhD, offers both the complete history of this medieval magical system and a working manual for the modern mage to utilize it. In these pages, you’ll find:

• How to make and care for your own set of stones.
• A variety of methods for divination, from using just one stone to using nine stones and more.
• How to use the Theban stones for spellcasting, including love and purification spells and Theban incense and candle magick.
• A complete lexicon of the Theban alphabet with a who’s who of Theban history along with divinatory meanings and how they relate to the modern world.
• A quick reference to the sacred herbs and angelic orders associated with each symbol.

Prepare yourself to discover the hidden mysteries of the ancients and the magick within you.

In conclusion the Theban alphabet is one that can be used in a variety of ways for spiritual divination and witchcraft practices. It has a fascinating history with origins shrouded in mystery and has been a part of Occult and Mysticism for centuries. Today you can see it used for spells in Grimoires, Book of Shadow and more giving the Theban a practical use still to this day.

An explanation of what the Theban Alphabet is and what is its purpose.

Further Resources

Theban Alphabet

A History of the Theban Magical Library

Theban Magic

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Romulus & Remus and the She-Wolf of Rome

The history of the ancient Roman Empire has been a fascination of mine for decades and I have always enjoyed anything and all things from that amazing time period from its fruition to the fall of the Roman empire and into the time of the Byzantine Empire. The humble beginnings of Rome far before it became an empire has a really interesting story regarding two orphaned brothers and a She-Wolf simply known as La Lupa and the First lady of Rome. From this it has been always recognized that Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BCE. So today’s blog post will be covering all about Romulus, Remus and the famous She-Wolf of Rome.

La Lupa the She-Wolf

According to tradition, Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by the twins Romulus and Remus. Sons of the god Mars and a mortal woman named Rhea Silvia, a direct descendant of Aeneas, the twins were abandoned by their uncle in the Tibur river. A she-wolf discovered them on the banks of the river and suckled them until they were taken in by a passing sheperd, Faustulus. Faustulus raised the boys together with his own twelve children until they decided to found a city of their own. They chose the spot by the Tibur where they had been rescued by the wolf, which was near the base of the Palatine hill in Rome. The representation of the wolf suckling the twins became a popular subject in Roman Republican and Imperial art. SOURCE

Cristina Mazzoni, She-wolf: The Story of a Roman Icon. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010

“Lupus est homo homini.” Plautus Asinaria 495

This famous quotation, through its various translations, perfectly encapsulates the themes explored in Cristina Mazzoni’s new book. Man is a wolf to other men—as Plautus undoubtedly meant it——but a wolf can also be interpreted as a human being in particular circumstances. In both Italian and Latin the word lupa can describe a she-wolf or a prostitute, either a ferocious animal or a female human of voracious sexual appetites. This paradox has informed interpretations of the legend of Romulus and Remus since antiquity, where the she-wolf figures as animal, mother, and whore simultaneously, and the complexity and ambiguity of this formative being have given her long life as a symbol representing a myriad of concepts, individuals, and entities. Mazzoni sets herself the ambitious task of exploring the she-wolf in all her forms and interpretations, from the famous Lupa Capitolina to her appearance in modern art, archaeology, poetry, and literature. Continue reading HERE.

Symbolism of the She-Wolf

The she-wolf of Rome represents the following concepts:

  • The she-wolf represents Roman power, which made her a popular image throughout the Roman Republic and Empire. The connection between the Roman state and the she-wolf was such that there were at least two dedications to the she-wolf performed by priests.
  • Wolves, especially she-wolves, are a sacred animal of the Roman god Mars. It is believed that they acted as divine messengers, thus seeing a wolf was a good omen.
  • The she-wolf is associated with the Roman Empire’s wolf festival Lupercalia, which is a fertility festival that starts at the estimated spot where the she-wolf nursed the twin boys.
  • The she-wolf also comes across as a mother-figure, representing nourishment, protection and fertility. By extension, she becomes a mother-figure to the city of Rome, as she lies at the very heart of its establishment. SOURCE
Mosaic depicting the She-wolf with Romulus and Remus, inspired by the legend of the founding of Rome. From Aldborough (UK), about 300-400 CE (Leeds City Museum).

Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus were the direct descendants of Aeneas, whose fate-driven adventures to discover Italy are described by Virgil in The Aeneid. Romulus and Remus were related to Aeneas through their mother’s father, Numitor. Numitor was a king of Alba Longa, an ancient city of Latium in central Italy, and father to Rhea Silvia. Before Romulus’ and Remus’ conception, Numitor’s reign was usurped by Numitor’s younger brother, Amulius. Amulius inherited control over Alba Longa’s treasury with which he was able to dethrone Numitor and become king. Amulius, wishing to avoid any conflict of power, killed Numitor’s male heirs and forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin. Vestal Virgins were priestesses of Vesta, patron goddess of the hearth; they were charged with keeping a sacred fire that was never to be extinguished and to take vows of chastity.

There is much debate and variation as to whom was the father of Romulus and Remus. Some myths claim that Mars appeared and lay with Rhea Silvia; other myths attest that the demi-god hero Hercules was her partner. However, the author Livy claims that Rhea Silvia was in fact raped by an unknown man, but blamed her pregnancy on divine conception. In either case, Rhea Silvia was discovered to be pregnant and gave birth to her sons. It was custom that any Vestal Virgin betraying her vows of celibacy was condemned to death; the most common death sentence was to be buried alive. However, King Amulius, fearing the wrath of the paternal god (Mars or Hercules) did not wish to directly stain his hands with the mother’s and children’s blood. So, King Amulius imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered the twins’ death by means of live burial, exposure, or being thrown into the Tiber River. He reasoned that if the twins were to die not by the sword but by the elements, he and his city would be saved from punishment by the gods. He ordered a servant to carry out the death sentence, but in every scenario of this myth, the servant takes pity on the twins and spares their lives. The servant, then, places the twins into a basket onto the River Tiber, and the river carries the boys to safety. Continue reading HERE.

The 21st April 753 BC is traditionally the date of the founding of Rome by twin brothers Romulus and Remus. (Romulus would later murder Remus.) Legend has it that they were abandoned as babies by their parents and put into a basket and then placed into the River Tiber. The basket was discovered by a female wolf who nursed the babies for a short time before they were found by a shepherd. It was the shepherd who brought up the twins.
According to legend, Romulus was born to a Vestal Virgin and left for dead as an infant near the Tiber River. His life nearly ended as quickly as it began, but fate had other plans. A humble shepherd rescued the child and helped raise him into manhood. As Romulus grew older, he fearlessly engaged in a series of perilous adventures that ultimately culminated in Rome’s founding, and he became its fabled first king.

Establishing a new city had its price, and Romulus was forced to defend the nascent community. As he tirelessly safeguarded Rome, Romulus proved that he was a competent leader and talented general. Yet, he also harbored a dark side, which reared its head in many ways and tainted his legacy, but despite all of his misdeeds, redemption and subsequent triumphs were usually within his grasp. Indeed, he is an example of how greatness is sometimes born of disgrace.

Regardless of his foreboding flaws, Rome allegedly existed because of him and became massively successful. As the centuries passed, the Romans never forgot their celebrated founder.
The founding of Rome is a legendary tale about the twins and demigods, Romulus and Remus. In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia and either the god Mars or the demigod Hercules. Also, in order to synthesize the myth of Aeneas, a Trojan prince who had fought in the Trojan War before setting off to Italy to establish the Roman bloodline, Romulus and Remus were believed to be direct descendants of Aeneas.
During Rome’s 2767th birthday celebrations, Larry Lamb heads to the city to investigate the Romanian Empire. In this first episode, Larry learns how Rome was founded by exploring the story of Romulus and Remus, using the works of ancient Roman historian Livy as a guide. He also goes on to discover how Rome would later become a city.

Further Resources

The legend of Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus: Roman mythology

Capitoline She-wolf

The She-Wolf: Mother to Other Species

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Salem Witch Trials: Introduction 1692-1693

Salem Witch Trials: Introduction 1692-1693 by Odin’s Daughter

**Opinions of research may vary. Dates are agreed but times and causes are conflicting according to where information is obtained.**

Salem, Massachusetts is well known for many reasons; one being the home to the Witch Hunts. During the reign of King William and Queen Mary, a war with France began in 1689, noted as King William’s War. This war had a very high toll on the colonies, mostly Salem Village in Massachusetts. Between low resources, family controversies, wealth, greed and those dependent on agriculture; the first ordained Minister of Salem, Reverend Samuel Parris was greatly disliked among the community. He had a very greedy nature. With all of this going on, the village soon gave into the belief this was all due to the Devil.

With winter months coming, people were falling ill. In fact, Reverend Parris’ daughter and niece fell ill in early 1692 and were having convulsions. Tituba, a servant in the Parris household, was especially close with Betty Parris. She had never been accused of witchcraft or dark arts before. This time though, she had been, due to healing a sick child. Tituba fell to not only be the first victim but also the first to witness the Salem Witch hunt.

Map of Salem Village in 1692 Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

As the months went on more and more had been accused by the two girls, Elizabeth Parris (Betty aged 9) and Abigail Williams (aged 11/Niece). In the year of 1692, Chief Justice William Stoughton had presided over the initial trials and had in one day, June 10th, hung 18 people. All being accused of some form of witchcraft and all from different stations in life. Thirteen women and five men met their end at the gallows. One man crushed to death as well by slab of stone. As well as 5 others who died in jail, bringing the number to a total of 25 deaths. Eventually near 200 people had been accused in the end and a listed 25 had died. Many, once released from prison, had died of hysteria(s), or other ailments they had attained while in prison.

Witchcraft at Salem Village by unattributed William A. Crafts 1876 SOURCE

Then like clockwork, Betty and Abigail, started accusing those who had helped them put so many away and to their deaths. One being the governor’s own wife. At this point, Governor William Phipps decided it was time to put an end to the ridiculous claims. He, in October 1692, disbanded the courts who held the trials, replaced them, and then proceeded to rule that spectral evidence was not true evidence. From late 1692 through mid-1693, those still in jail and awaiting execution were pardoned. For many years that followed, those who were affected by the Salem witch trials, were given apologies and restitution.

Based on twenty-seven years of original archival research, including the discovery of previously unknown documents, this day-by-day narrative of the hysteria that swept through Salem Village in 1692 and 1693 reveals new connections behind the events, and shows how rapidly a community can descend into bloodthirsty madness. Roach opens her work with chapters on the history of the Puritan colonies of New England, and explains how these people regarded the metaphysical and the supernatural. The account of the days from January 1692 to March 1693 keeps in order the large cast of characters, places events in their correct contexts, and occasionally contradicts earlier assumptions about the gruesome events. The last chapter discusses the remarkable impact of the events, pointing out how the 300th anniversary of the trials made headlines in Japan and Australia.
In 1692, the townspeople of Salem, Massachusetts found themselves in a panic over witchcraft. But after several months, the paranoia and violence ended almost as quickly as it began. All trials were halted, publications about the terror were officially banned, and the location of the execution site vanished from any records. Today, a group of historians uncovers new information about the infamous witch hunt in an effort to answer its most enduring mysteries.
In 1692, America witnessed the most horrific acts of injustice when 19 innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death for the practice of witchcraft in Season 1, Episode 7.

Further Resources:

Salem Witch Trials of 1692

Salem Witch Trials

Salem witch trials American history

Unraveling the Many Mysteries of Tituba, the Star Witness of the Salem Witch Trials