Letter: Since when is a pagan ritual tradition? | INFORUM

A ‘List of Superstitions’ drawn up at the Counil of Leptinnes in 744 prohibited sacrifice to saints, evidence of the lingering confusion in the popular mind between new saint and old deity.  The same council approved a baptismal formula that asked the catechumen to ‘renounce all the works of the demon, and all his words, and Thor, and Odin, and Saxnot, and all evil beings that are like them.’ Charlemagne ordered death for anyone sacrificing ‘a human being to the Devil and [offering] sacrifice to demons as is the custom of the pagans’

The last helped transfer the characteristics of evil spirits to human witches.  The pagans had set out offerings of food and drink for minor spirits.  The Synod of Rome in 743 assumed that these spirits were demons and outlawed the offerings.  The demonic spirits were then transformed into bonae mulieres, the ghostly ‘good women’ who wandered out at night going into houses and stealing food.  Finally, the bonae mulieres were transformed into witches.  Likewise, the term striga or stria, originally a blood-drinking night spirit, common word for a witch.[31]

It is current especially amongst criminals, that any part of the body of a deceased person, or better still of an executed murderer, exerts a magical and protective power or bringing good luck.  It is by no means uncommon among the peasants and lower classes of Europe to put in order to protect the house homeopathically against theft.  The persistency of this superstition is shown by the fact that a farmer’s hired man named Sier and belonging to the hamlet of Heumaden, was tried at Weiden in Bavaria, May 23, 1894, and convicted of having exhumed the body of a newly buried child in the churchyard of Moosbach and taken out one of its eyes which he supposed would render him invisible to mortal sight like the famous tarnkappe of old German mythology, and thus enable him to indulge with impunity his propensity to steal.  For this sacrilege he was sentenced to 1 year and 2 months imprisonment and to the loss of civil rights for 3 years.[32]

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http://www.inforum.com/opinion/letters/4503655-letter-when-pagan-ritual-tradition

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