The Stone Age Origins Of Witchcraft

I have endeavoured to tell as much as I can of what witches know and believe about themselves and their history. Now I am going to discuss the probable origins of the cult, and to do this I shall try to show the various influences which may have been brought to bear upon it in Britain. I hope this may encourage others to investigate along similar lines in this and other countries.

When you begin to examine the origin of witchcraft, it is like excavating one of those prehistoric caves in France which are still occupied. A few inches down you find a copper coin of Napoleon; a few inches further you find those of various French kings, then mediaeval pottery; a little lower Gallo-Roman remains and those of the Bronze Age, then beautifully polished stone axes of the New Stone Age; then rougher and more primitive work of the Old Stone Age; and these all serve to form the floor of this dwelling, as the people who made them were the ancestors of the people who live there to-day. So while I believe that we find the origin of witchcraft in the primitive hunting magic of the Old Stone Age people, one must try to see what different types of people have influenced it through the ages.

Everyone has heard of the cave paintings of France and Spain, but not so well known is the carving on a bone found in the Pin Hole Cave in Yorkshire, under six inches of stalagmite, showing a dancing man wearing an animal mask. Incidentally, the Pin Hole Cave is so called because it contained a deep hole into which the country people used to drop pins to gain their wishes; another instance of the way in which a magical tradition can linger about a place throughout the centuries. In various caves in France and Spain, often half a mile or more from the entrance, in prehistoric times circles have been made by putting stones together, fires have been lighted inside, and pictures of animals painted on flat stones are carefully placed face-downwards inside them. Here it is obvious that magical rites have been performed inside the circles to affect the animals depicted upon the stones, which have then been placed face-downwards to prevent the power raised being dissipated. In other places clay figures of animals were found, which had been pierced with spears. When

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