The Burning Times

Jean d"Arc

CJean d'Arc

This series of videos is a Canadian documentary I saw a long time ago. It is beautifully produced and tells a story that has shaped our world even to this day. It takes about 90 minutes to watch them all.

I was amazed when I lived in London what difficulties I sometimes had with men who saw me, a Tarot reader, as a dangerous threat, and how often a woman was sinisterly labeled a “witch” just for being attractive. These ideas still hang around 300 years later. Ignorance still poses a danger to those of who choose to come out as Witches. There are still large numbers of people who don’t really understand what that really means.

I think one aspect should be considered. In my studies, it seems that the Spanish Inquisition was not for rural witches, or pagans, but for much bigger fish — the heretics with a big H, like Giordano Bruno — learned men whose ideas threatened the dogmas and power base of the Church. I believe it was the job, or whim, of the regional churches to do away with practice of the Old Ways among the people.

The Womens’ Spirituality Movement, represented in this film, may be a bit passe now as younger women seem pretty free of the repression imposed on those of us born before 1970. In my younger days, it was a huge thing for us to feel safe to say what was true for us, let alone forge a meaningful life that did not revolve around child rearing.

I love the music by Loreena McKennitt, who I have always suspected her of being one of us, and the little girl in Part Six who, when asked “What is a witch?” replies, “A witch is something that comes out of the ground on Halloween and gives everyone magical powers.”

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

From Selena who posted the film on YouTube

The Burning Times Documentary

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This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the …

This beautifully crafted film is an in-depth look at the witch-hunts that swept through Europe just a few hundred years ago. False accusations and trials led to massive torture and burnings at the stake, and ultimately to the destruction of an organic way of life. The film advances the theory that widespread violence against women and the neglect of our environment today can be traced back to those times. Part two of a series of three films on women and spirituality, which includes Goddess Remembered and Full Circle.

REMARKS: I posted this video uncertain of how it would be received, though I suspected there were many others, particularly women, who would find it to be a clarifying link to our history. Even that word history erases the account of women, but such is the power of what happened during the Burning Times. I’ve read every single comment that has been posted, including the 15% or so that I moderate out, and I am glad that it has been so meaningful to Pagans, who have very few serious films to choose from that treat their roots with respect. Whether you are Pagan or not, the important thing to understand as you watch this video is that the Burning Times was a holocaust perpetuated on a culture that regarded women as patently valuable in spiritual and social importance, which seems the most obvious thing in the world to believe from simple observation of both ourselves biologically and nature at large. But that was the problem: a nature-based religion left no room for a centralized metaphysical authority, and no matter how hard Rome tried to coax these cultures into a comparatively nonsensical belief in order to better rule over their resources and land, an independent human’s natural curiosity leads one back to the rhythms of observable nature, and inevitably into questioning the authority of the Church. In order to destroy such a compellingly sensible view of the world — a view that was, in many respects, the ancient precursor of modern science — an act of genocidal terrorism was committed, for it was only that kind of fear that finally subdued people into accepting the counter-intuitive view that humans are separated from nature, and sublimated the recognition of the intrinsic duality between the feminine and male elements that underpins our very existence.

This was one of our darkest periods, one that brought out the very worst in people — our morbid sadistic bloodthirst that thrilled in the power of life and death over others — and it is, I think, fair to say that we still struggle with this now. Perhaps we always did. Even today, almost all women live with a distinct but unarticulated fear and uncertainty of their place in society, but perhaps in understanding what happened to bring that about — that it was a specific series of events that really happened, and her fear is that awful legacy — women may come to feel less isolated and more willing to move past that fear to find their own sense of purpose that they define for themselves. If this video plays any positive part in that, I am very happy for it.

UPDATE: You can buy the entire series here:…
Please consider buying it. Not only is it a fantastic series well worth having, but remember that buying the movies encourages more of these kinds of films to be made.

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach

Three Princesses by Lucas Cranach, painter for Martin Luther

Check out my article The Wicked Women of Lucas Cranach by clicking here:

It discusses the interpretation of women by artist living during the height of the Burning Times.

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Wicca: The Charge of the Goddess

Alexandrian Coven

Alexandrian Coven

Wicca was born in the 1930’s.

Organized Wicca was begun by Gerald Gardener who, influenced by Margaret Murray’s disputed yet evocative books, God of the Witches, The Witch Cult in Western Europe, and Aradia: Goddess of the Witches by Geoffrey Leland, began putting together the first Book of Shadows, a compendium of spells and rituals that he gathered together in an effort to revive the ‘Old Religion’. Also included in this book were bits from the sensationalist priest, Montague Summers, and the Great Beast, Aleister Crowely. He claimed to have initiated into witchcraft by a band of hereditary witches in the New Forest, granting him the authority to create his own coven of thirteen magical practitioners.

Doreen Valiente

Doreen Valiente

Wicca is a fertility religion with a Priest and High Priestess who enact a rite of sacred sex for the benefit of the generative forces of all of nature. Gardener’s first High Priestess was a mysterious lady called Dafo.
Gardener initiated Doreen Valiente into his Bricket Wood Coven in 1953. She was to become his greatest High Priestes. She refined the Book of Shadows and created a sense of mystery  and beauty with her fine poetry such as The Witches Rune, The Wiccan Rede, and The Charge of the Goddess. She is considered the Mother of Modern Wicca.

The Charge of the Goddess is commonly used to open Wiccan rituals invoking the Great Goddess. It has been adapted Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance, a highly influential handbook of Faery Magic and one of the first serious books I read in the late 1970’s that stirred my Witchblood and taught me the poetry of Wicca. Though I am not initiated into any Wiccan group, I respect and admire much of what they do. As a carrier of the Witchblood, my initiation came about before I was born.

Charge of the Goddess

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:

Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.

You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites.

Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth.

For My law is love is unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.

I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.

Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:

I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,

I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.

From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.

Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.

Diana of the Moon and Hunt

Diana of the Moon and Hunt

Don’t forget to check out my novella Salome: The Seventh Queen. I have just added another scene.

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