Devil's mark According to witch-hunters, the Devil always permanently marked the bodies of his initiates to seal their pledge of obedience and service to him. He marked them by raking his claw across their flesh or using a hot iron, which left a mark, usually blue or red, but not a scar. Sometimes he left a mark by licking them. The Devil supposedly branded witches at the end of initiation rites, which were performed at nocturnal sABBATs.
The marks were always made in "secret places," such as under eyelids, in armpits and in body cavities. The mark was considered the ultimate proof of being a witch—all witches and sorcerers (see sorcery) were believed to have at least one. All persons accused of witchcraft and brought to trial were thoroughly searched for such a mark. Scars, birthmarks, natural blemishes and insensitive patches of skin that did not bleed qualified as Devil's marks. Experts firmly believed that the mark of Satan was clearly distin-
guishable from ordinary blemishes, but in actuality, that was seldom the case. Protests from the victims that the marks were natural were ignored.
Accounts of being marked by the Devil were obtained in the "confessions" of accused witches, who usually were tortured to confess (see torture). Inquisitors stripped off the accused witch's clothes and shaved off all body hair so that no square inch of skin was missed. Pins were driven deeply into scars, calluses and thickened areas of skin (see pricking). Since this customarily was done in front of a jeering crowd, it is no surprise that some alleged witches felt nothing from the pricks.
Inquisitors believed that the Devil also left invisible marks upon his followers. If an accused witch had no likely natural blemishes that could be called a Devil's mark, pins were driven into her body over and over again until an insensitive area was found.
British anthropologist MARGARET A. Murray said that Devil's marks were actually tattoos, marks of identification, which she offered as support of her contention that witchcraft as an organized pagan religion had flourished in the Middle Ages. Murray's controversial ideas have been debunked.
Devil's marks were sometimes called witch's marks.
Barstow, Anne Llewellyn. Witchcraze: A New History of the
European Witch Hunts. San Francisco: Pandora, 1994. Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Putnam, 1967. Lea, Henry Charles. Materials Toward a History of Witchcraft.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1939. Maple, Eric. The Dark World of Witches. New York: A.S.
Devil's pact A pledge to serve the Devil or one of his demons. The pact may be made orally, but according to lore it is best to write it on virgin parchment and sign it in blood. The pact provides that in exchange for allegiance and one's soul, the Devil will grant whatever a person wishes. Pacts with the Devil or demons for personal gain appear in various cultures.
From the earliest days of Christianity, a pact with the Devil was tacitly understood to be part of any MAGIC, sorcery or divination performed by an adept. Pacts also involved ordinary people: in legends, the Devil routinely appeared to people in distress and bartered love, money or power in exchange for souls. In the witch hysteria of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the pact took on new significance as proof of heresy and became grounds for prosecution and condemnation of accused witches.
The collaboration between men and demons, which implies a pact, predates Christ by thousands of years. King Solomon, son of David, acquired his wisdom and riches with the help of an army of demons called djinn.
The Bible does not expressly deal with Devil's pacts, but Christian theologians have always assumed them to exist and have condemned them. If the worship of God required
a pledge of service and the soul, then surely those who followed God's opposite, Satan, would do the same. The prevailing view of the church was that worldly goods and the like could not be obtained without crime except by appealing directly to God, or to Him through one of his saints.
One of the earliest Christian stories of a pact with Satan concerns Theophilus, treasurer of the church of Adana, who allegedly sold his soul to the Devil around 538 in order to become bishop.
Two major early Christian theologians, Origen (185254) and St. Augustine (354-430) claimed that divination and the practices of magic and sorcery required demonic pacts. Much later, this was affirmed by the influential theologian Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1227-1274), who stated in Sententiae, "Magicians perform miracles through personal contracts made with demons."
Using the ritual instructions in a GRIMOIRE, the magician or sorcerer evoked demons for the purpose of attaining wealth, the power of invisibility, love or political power— but seldom to harm enemies. The belief was that sooner or later such demonic favors compromised the magician into selling his soul to Satan in return. If Satan himself was invoked instead of a lower-ranking demon, he always demanded the magician's soul as payment "up front."
The Key of Solomon, one of the major medieval grimoires whose authorship is attributed to King Solomon, offered the following instruction for making a pact with a demon:
Was this article helpful?
Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.