Archeology’s First Witchcraft

Witchcraft has been with us from the beginning.


 


In the Lazaret cave in France are the remains of a Homo Erectus village dating from 150,000 years before present. The Homo Erectus are the people who preceded the Neanderthal.


 


The village was built inside the shelter of Lazaret cave to protect it from the rigors of the Ice Age. The houses are believed to have been made of skins stretched over wooden
frameworks.


 


Inside the doorway of each house is a wolf’s skull, each placed carefully in the same position. There is no practical reason for the skulls to be there –their purpose is thought to be
magical. The wolf skulls are presumably Magical Guardians intended to protect
the inhabitants of the house.


 


This practice is still with us today. Many modern Witches still keep Magical Guardians of one kind or another at the entrances of their homes to keep out ill fortune as well as
intruders.


 


 


Archeology’s First Temples


 


The Neanderthal, a people who flourished 100,000 – 40,000 years before present, left many remains of their religious practices –many of which show striking continuity with later
times.

Many examples of Neanderthal Shrines and Temples remain. These religious sites
have been found within caves where they may have been built for shelter from
the elements or because the Spirits worshipped had Chthonic associations. The
Neanderthal may have also had outdoor religious sites, but if so these have not
been found.


 


A striking example of Neanderthal a religious site was found in the Drachenloch cave in the Swiss Alps. The front of the cave apparently served as a periodic dwelling place,
while deeper within the mountain were both a Shrine and a Temple. Inside the
Shrine was a three-foot square stone box, which functioned as a reliquary.
Inside the reliquary were the skulls of seven cave bears.


 


Still farther into the mountain was a full-blown Neanderthal Temple. Around the walls of the Temple were six niches, each of which held the skull of a cave bear. Some of the
niches held the skull alone, while others held the skull and a leg bone.


 


Another example of a Neanderthal Shrine or Temple was found in the Cave of the Witches, near Genoa Italy. Here a ritual seems to have been enacted that involved the magical
“hunting” of a sacred stalactite that resembled an animal such as a bison.
Evidence indicates that the stalactite was regularly used as a target for stone
throwing –this is believed to have been magical in nature because the
stalactite is not easily accessible, being awkwardly placed deep within the
cave.


 


 


Cave Paintings

The Cro Magnon people followed the Neanderthal.


 


Virtually identical with modern humans, the Cro Magnon left much more evidence of their religious practices than the Neanderthal did.


 


The Cro Magnon left colorful cave paintings deep in the caves of Western Europe. Among the subjects of these paintings are animals of many kinds, abstract human forms, and beings that are
half-human half-animal. Most often the paintings are in deep, difficult to
access locations.

These cave paintings date from 10,000 to 32,000 years before present.


 


The Cro Magnon cave paintings are almost universally agreed to be magical in nature, although their exact purpose can only be guessed at.

One theory holds that the paintings were created for hunting magic, to ensure
successful hunts. Others hold that they are records of Shamanic visions.




Le Sorcière


Several Cro Magnon cave paintings show figures who are half-human and half-animal. The most famous of these is “Le Sorcière”, found in the cavern known as 'The Sanctuary' at
Trois-Frères, in France.


 


Le Sorcière dates from 13,000 years before present and shows a figure who appears to be half man and half stag.



Some people believe that Le Sorciere is a depiction of a Deity. Margaret Murray held that Le Sorcière represents the same God worshipped by modern Witches in
conjunction with the Mother Goddess.


 


Other people believe that Le Sorcière represents Shamanic shape-shifting. Shamans would enter a trance and their spirits would leave their body to journey to other worlds. When the
spirit left the body it could assume any shape the Shaman desired. This is the
origin of belief in werewolves and similar creatures.

This practice, also called “Astral Traveling”, is still practiced by Witches today.



Venuses



The Cro Magnon people also created female statues that are called “Venuses” after the Roman Goddess of fertility and love.

Most of the Cro Magnon Venuses are heavy-set women who may be intended to
pregnant. The Venuses are always nude and have exaggerated bosoms and hips. As
a rule they have no facial features, or only rudimentary faces.


 


The most famous Venus is the Venus of Willendorf.


Shamanism

Shamanism is the name commonly given to the tribal religions from which modern
Witchcraft and Paganism descend.

A major feature of Shamanic practice is the Shamanic Journey. In a Shamanic
Journey the Shaman enters a trance, during which their spirit leaves their body
and travels to the Spirit World to meet with Deities, Spirits, Guides, or Ancestors.


 


In the Shamanic Journey the Shaman may experience their travel in a number of different ways, including journeying under the Earth or flying through the air.


 


This sort of Shamanic Journey is the origin of the idea of Witches being able to fly.


 


 


 


 


 


The First Archetype

History’s first great archetypal Witch is the Goddess Isis of ancient Egypt.
Called “The Enchantress” Isis was considered the great Mistress of Magic and
was the first positive archetype of the Witch.


 


When her husband Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, it was Isis who used her magic to bring Osiris back to life. Isis gathered the dismembered body parts of Osiris and made the
first mummy, then she used magic to make Osiris whole and alive again.


 


Osiris then became the Lord of the Afterworld, in whose care all Egyptians hoped to spend their afterlives.


 


Isis was a Goddess of life, motherhood, compassion, magic, and protection. The followers of the Isis came to see her as the Soul of All Life, and regarded that all other Deities were
aspects of her, and vice versa. During the Greco-Roman era worship of Isis
spread throughout Europe, the Near east, and North Africa.


 


Today Isis is still among the most popular Goddesses in the world, and is venerated by many Witches.


 


 


 


History’s First Witch

The first actual person in recorded history who might be termed a Witch was
Imhotep, Vizier to Pharaoh Djoser of ancient Egypt.

Imhotep was a High Priest, a physician, and an architect. He is also said to
have excelled in the magical arts.


 


Imhotep is most famous for designing Pharaoh Djoser’s Step Pyramid, at Saqqara. Imhotep may also have been the first architect to use columns in building. Even without magic these
innovations guarantee Imhotep a place in history.


 


As well as being the first great Witch in history, Imhotep is also history’s first great physician.


 


After his death Imhotep was widely venerated, and eventually was considered a God in his own right. As a God Imhotep is a patron of architects, physicians, scribes, priests and witches,
and civil servants.


 


 








In the Lazaret cave in France are the remains of a Homo Erectus village dating from 150,000 years before present. The Homo Erectus are the people who preceded the Neanderthal.






The village was built inside the shelter of Lazaret cave to protect it from the rigors of the Ice Age. The houses are believed to have been made of skins stretched over wooden
frameworks.






Inside the doorway of each house is a wolf’s skull, each placed carefully in the same position. There is no practical reason for the skulls to be there –their purpose is thought to be
magical. The wolf skulls are presumably Magical Guardians intended to protect
the inhabitants of the house.






This practice is still with us today. Many modern Witches still keep Magical Guardians of one kind or another at the entrances of their homes to keep out ill fortune as well as
intruders.








Archeology’s First Temples






The Neanderthal, a people who flourished 100,000 – 40,000 years before present, left many remains of their religious practices –many of which show striking continuity with later
times.



Many examples of Neanderthal Shrines and Temples remain. These religious sites
have been found within caves where they may have been built for shelter from
the elements or because the Spirits worshipped had Chthonic associations. The
Neanderthal may have also had outdoor religious sites, but if so these have not
been found.






A striking example of Neanderthal a religious site was found in the Drachenloch cave in the Swiss Alps. The front of the cave apparently served as a periodic dwelling place,
while deeper within the mountain were both a Shrine and a Temple. Inside the
Shrine was a three-foot square stone box, which functioned as a reliquary.
Inside the reliquary were the skulls of seven cave bears.






Still farther into the mountain was a full-blown Neanderthal Temple. Around the walls of the Temple were six niches, each of which held the skull of a cave bear. Some of the
niches held the skull alone, while others held the skull and a leg bone.






Another example of a Neanderthal Shrine or Temple was found in the Cave of the Witches, near Genoa Italy. Here a ritual seems to have been enacted that involved the magical
“hunting” of a sacred stalactite that resembled an animal such as a bison.
Evidence indicates that the stalactite was regularly used as a target for stone
throwing –this is believed to have been magical in nature because the
stalactite is not easily accessible, being awkwardly placed deep within the
cave.







Cave Paintings

The Cro Magnon people followed the Neanderthal.





Virtually identical with modern humans, the Cro Magnon left much more evidence of their religious practices than the Neanderthal did.






The Cro Magnon left colorful cave paintings deep in the caves of Western Europe. Among the subjects of these paintings are animals of many kinds, abstract human forms, and beings that are
half-human half-animal. Most often the paintings are in deep, difficult to
access locations.



These cave paintings date from 10,000 to 32,000 years before present.






The Cro Magnon cave paintings are almost universally agreed to be magical in nature, although their exact purpose can only be guessed at.



One theory holds that the paintings were created for hunting magic, to ensure
successful hunts. Others hold that they are records of Shamanic visions.






Venuses




The Cro Magnon people also created female statues that are called “Venuses”
after the Roman Goddess of fertility and love.




These Venus figures date from 10,000 to 40,000 years before present.




Most of the Cro Magnon Venuses are heavy-set women who may be intended to
pregnant. The Venuses are always nude and have exaggerated bosoms and hips. As
a rule they have no facial features, or only rudimentary faces.






The oldest known Venus is the Venus of Hohle Fels, which dates to 40,000 years before present.






The purpose of the Venus figures is widely debated. Some people believe that the Venuses are fertility amulets. Witches almost universally regard that the Venuses are depictions of a
Mother Goddess.






Witches today worship the Mother Goddess as their principle Deity.






The most famous Venus is the Venus of Willendorf, which dates to 24,000 years before present. This Venus is among Modern Witches’ most favored depictions of the Mother Goddess, and has
become strongly identified with the idea of Gaia, the Living Earth or Living
Universe.







Le Sorcière




Several Cro Magnon cave paintings show figures who are half-human and half-animal. The most famous of these is “Le Sorcière”, found in the cavern known as 'The Sanctuary' at
Trois-Frères, in France.






Le Sorcière dates from 13,000 years before present and shows a figure who appears to be half man and half stag.




Some people believe that Le Sorciere is a depiction of a Deity. Margaret Murray
held that Le Sorcière represents the same God worshipped by modern Witches in
conjunction with the Mother Goddess.






Other people believe that Le Sorcière represents Shamanic shape-shifting. Shamans would enter a trance and their spirits would leave their body to journey to other worlds. When the
spirit left the body it could assume any shape the Shaman desired. This is the
origin of belief in werewolves and similar creatures.



This practice, also called “Astral Traveling”, is still practiced by Witches today.












Shamanism


Shamanism is the name commonly given to the tribal religions from which modern
Witchcraft and Paganism descend.



A major feature of Shamanic practice is the Shamanic Journey. In a Shamanic
Journey the Shaman enters a trance, during which their spirit leaves their body
and travels to the Spirit World to meet with Deities, Spirits, Guides, or
Ancestors.






In the Shamanic Journey the Shaman may experience their travel in a number of different ways, including journeying under the Earth or flying through the air.






This sort of Shamanic Journey is the origin of the idea of Witches being able to fly.








Egyptian Room









The First Witch Archetype


History’s first great archetypal Witch is the Goddess Isis of ancient Egypt.
Called “The Enchantress” Isis was considered the great Mistress of Magic and
was the first positive archetype of the Witch.






When her husband Osiris was murdered by his brother Set, it was Isis who used her magic to bring Osiris back to life. Isis gathered the dismembered body parts of Osiris and made the
first mummy, then she used magic to make Osiris whole and alive again.






Osiris then became the Lord of the Afterworld, in whose care all Egyptians hoped to spend their afterlives.






Isis was a Goddess of life, motherhood, compassion, magic, and protection. The followers of the Isis came to see her as the Soul of All Life, and regarded that all other Deities were
aspects of her, and vice versa. During the Greco-Roman era worship of Isis
spread throughout Europe, the Near east, and North Africa.






Today Isis is still among the most popular Goddesses in the world, and is venerated by many Witches.












History’s First Witch


The first actual person in recorded history who might be termed a Witch was
Imhotep, Vizier to Pharaoh Djoser of ancient Egypt.



Imhotep was a High Priest, a physician, and an architect. He is also said to
have excelled in the magical arts.






Imhotep is most famous for designing Pharaoh Djoser’s Step Pyramid, at Saqqara. Imhotep may also have been the first architect to use columns in building. Even without magic these
innovations guarantee Imhotep a place in history.






As well as being the first great Witch in history, Imhotep is also history’s first great physician.






After his death Imhotep was widely venerated, and eventually was considered a God in his own right. As a God Imhotep is a patron of architects, physicians, scribes, priests and
witches, and civil servants.

Tags: First, for, museum, plaques

Views: 18

Replies to This Discussion

Very informative and interesting! I am so happy to see references to early man. This period is very interesting to me. I seem to have a deep connection to that period. Very well done! This information would make a wonderful exhibit to the museum. Were I to visit, this room would be my first stop!
BB,
Rev.Theresa Helton (Moonraven)
Well Done!
I like them. The language is accurate and to the point. Gives the museum goer enough info for the exhibit and gives them an idea if they would like to learn more on their own later.
Very educational!
Good job, looks like you have done lots of research. The only change I would like to see is the description of Venus. I would prefer to see voluptuous or full figured. Many of us are not skinny minnies. Heavy set usually refers to men. I hope to visit in the near future. This is exciting.
Blessings,
Rowan

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