Charles Lummis Witches Of San Rafael

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Evans-Wentz, W. Y. The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. 1911.

Reprint, Secaucus, N.J.: University Books, 1966.

Moon Since ancient times, the Moon has been associated with woman and her fertility, monthly cycle, powers of nurturing and powers of darkness. The Moon, ruler of the night and the mysteries of the dark, represents wetness, moisture, intuition, emotion, tides, the psychic, moods and madness. It embodies time, for its phases provided humankind with the first calendar. In contemporary Witchcraft, the Moon is the source of Witches' power, drawn down from the sky; it is the worker of MAGIC. The Great GODDESS, the Mother Goddess, the All-Dewy-One, is at her most formidable and potent as lunar deity.

In the earliest primitive times, the Moon was viewed as the source of fertility of all things. Its light was considered indispensable for abundant harvests, large flocks and herds and human fecundity. It was believed that women were made pregnant by moonbeams. Women who desired children slept under the light of the Moon; those who did not resorted to crude CHARMS, such as rubbing their bellies with spittle to avoid swelling like the waxing of the Moon.

Since antiquity, lunar phases have governed all facets of life. The waxing Moon is auspicious for crop planting and new endeavors, for luck and increasing; the waning Moon is a time of diminishing and destruction. Lunar phases have governed magical rituals for the creation and consecration of magical tools, the summoning of spirits, the preparations of remedies and charms and the castings of SPELLS. One cut one's HAIR AND NAILS, entered into marriages and business arrangements, let blood and traveled according to the phases of the moon. The Moon was believed to govern the humors, the moisture in the body and brain. In 1660 one English astrologer declared that children born at the full Moon would never be healthy but ran the risk of moonstruck madness, or lunacy. Folklore beliefs about the Moon persist to the present day. The Moon still influences magic rites.

The cycle of woman's menstruation is tied to the lunar phases. In many cultures, the words for "Moon" and "menstruation" are the same or very similar (see BLOOD).

The Moon as person and deity. The Moon was primarily a power and a force until about 2600 B.C.E., when it became personified in Middle Eastern civilizations as the Man in the Moon or the Great Man. During his waning, the Man in the Moon was eaten by a dragon and went down into the underworld. He rose anew as his son. The Moon also was believed to incarnate on Earth as a king; some lines of kings claimed to be the representatives of the Moon and wore horned headdresses. Eventually, the Man in the Moon was replaced by the deity of the Moon, who was first a god, then a goddess. The lunar goddess was the Great Goddess, the giver of all things in her waxing phase

Cotton Mather Witchcraft Woodcuts
Witches and their cat familiars enjoy the full moon (OLD WOODCUT)

and the destroyer of all things in her waning phase. She took on the fertilizing power of the Moon and was the protector of women. As destroyer, she could bring storms, particularly heavy rains, and floods.

The lunar gods and goddesses were portrayed with crescent moons, the auspicious symbol of the waxing and lucky Moon. The Great Goddess was associated with the Cow, goat and bull, whose horns represented the crescent or horned Moon.

To the Greeks, the goddess SELENE once was the sole lunar goddess. Selene was replaced by Artemis (DIANA) and HECATE. The true power of the Moon resided in Hecate, who ruled the waning and dark Moon, the time when the Moon slipped into the underworld and ghosts and spirits walked the earth. Hecate became known as the Three-Headed Hecate, whose triple aspects combined Selene, Artemis and Hecate. The witches of Thessaly were said to be able to draw down the power of the Moon from the sky. In myth, Aphrodite taught her son, Jason, "how to draw down the dark moon" whenever he needed magic.

The Moon in Witchcraft. In contemporary Witchcraft, worship of the Goddess is associated with the Moon. The consort of the Goddess is the Horned God, the god of the woodlands, whose horns represent both the beasts of nature and the horned Moon. The activities and magic workings of a Witch or coven are timed according to the phases of the Moon. Most covens meet at the full Moon; some also meet at the new Moon. The Moon is personified by a triple aspect of the Goddess, usually Diana (the Roman name is more common than the Greek name, Artemis), the Virgin, who rules the new and waxing Moon; Selene, the Matron, who rules the full Moon; and Hecate, the Crone, who rules the waning and dark Moon. Magic for healing, gain, luck and increase is done during the waxing Moon. Magical power is greatest on nights of the full moon, particularly at midnight. Magic for binding, banishing and eliminating is done during the waning phase.

The power of the Moon also is drawn down for a trance ritual called Drawing Down the Moon, in which the high priestess invokes the spirit of the Goddess into her so that She may speak to her followers.

Some feminist witches have a ritual of howling at the Moon in order to connect with the primitive power of the Goddess within.

The Moon is associated with the metal silver, favored by Witches for its properties as an amulet (see amulets) and as an enhancer of psychic powers.


Crowley, Vivianne. Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium. Revised ed. London: Thorsons/Harper Collins, 1996.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Moonscapes: A Celebration of Lunar Astronomy, Magic, Legend and Lore. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1991.

Green, Marian. A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic. London: Thorsons/Harper Collins, 1991. Starhawk. The Spiral Dance. Revised ed. San Francisco: Harp-erSan Francisco, 1989.

Morales Witches (17th century) Three Pueblo women of San Rafael, New Mexico, famous as witches.

The women—two sisters, Antonia and Placida Morales, and Placida's 17-year-old daughter, Villa—were so feared that they were never punished for any of their alleged witchcraft deeds. Placida was said to have transformed a young man Francisco Ansures of Cerros Cuates into a woman by giving him a cup of bewitched coffee in retaliation for some offense. After drinking it, Ansures said his hair immediately grew two feet and his trousers turned into petticoats. His voice changed in pitch. Ansures remained a woman for several months before he and his wife could afford to pay another witch to lift the curse and return him to normal. He said he never did know how he offended Placida.

In 1885, historian and photographer Charles Lummis had the rare opportunity to photograph the three witches standing on the threshold of their adobe hut. People who knew the witches believed that even looking at the photograph would bring bad luck.

The Morales women fared better than another New Mexico witch Marcelina, an old woman who lived in San Mateo. In 1887, Marcelina was stoned to death for turning a man into a woman and making another man lame.

Further READING:

Lummis, Charles. A New Mexico David. New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1891. Simmons, Marc. Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1974.

Mora Witches (1669) Witch hunts in Mora, in central Sweden, in which 85 people were executed for allegedly seducing some 300 children and spiriting them away to satanic sABBATs. Like the SALEM Witches trials of 169293, the hysteria of Mora was started by children.

The specter of witches first was raised on July 5, 1668, when a 15-year-old boy in Elfdale, Sweden, accused a 17-year-old girl of stealing children for Satan. Others were also accused. All pleaded not guilty except one 71-year-old woman.

That confession sparked concern, and King Charles XI established a commission to redeem the witches by mass public prayer instead of torture or imprisonment. Instead, public fears were ignited, and stories of child stealing and devilish activities increased.

The king's commissioners arrived in Mora on August 12, 1669, to investigate, to the relief of the villagers. The following day, the entire population of about 3,000 persons turned out to church to hear a sermon "declaring the miserable case of those people that suffered themselves to be deluded by the Devil." Everyone prayed to be delivered from the scourge.

Children who allegedly had been spirited away to sabbats were assembled and then interviewed one by one. Their stories agreed: they had been snatched sleeping in their beds and spirited away to the most horrid satanic revelries. Some of the children spoke of a white angel who appeared and rescued them, assuring that what was happening to them would not last long but had been permitted "for the wickedness of the people." The children named 70 witches, 15 of whom were other children. Some of them were from the neighboring district of Elfdale. The accused were rounded up, interrogated and tortured. Twenty-three of them confessed immediately.

The witches said they would meet at a gravel pit by a crossroads, where they put vests on their heads and danced "round and round and round about." They went to the crossroads and summoned the DEVIL to take them to an imaginary place called Blockula. According to one account the Devil "generally appeared as a little old man, in a grey coat, with red and blue stockings, with exceedingly long garters. He had a high-crowned hat, with bands of many-colored linen enfolded about it, and a long red beard that hung down to his middle."

After getting their promise to serve him body and soul, the Devil ordered them to steal children, threatening to beat them if they disobeyed. They said they were able to enter the homes because the Devil first removed the window glass. They took the children, promising them fine clothes and other things, and then flying off with them on the backs of beasts, on men whom they had charmed to sleep or astride posts. They admonished the children not to tell anyone. Some who did were "miserably scourged" to death, according to COTTON MATHER, in his book On Witchcraft, Being the Wonders of the Invisible World (1693). The judges did find some children with lash marks on them.

The witches said the Devil carried them all away on the backs of horses, asses, goats and monkeys, over the tops of houses, to Blockula, a house with a gate in an infinite green meadow. In a pledge to service of the Devil, the witches cut their fingers and wrote their names in their own BLOOD in his book (see DEVIL'S PACT). The Devil baptized the witches and bade them sit down at a long table for a feast of broth made of coleworts and bacon, bread and butter, milk, cheese and oatmeal. Sometimes the Devil played a harp or fiddle while they ate. Afterwards, they danced in a ring before the Devil, the witches swearing and cursing "most horribly." Sometimes they danced naked.

The Devil caused a terrible dragon to appear and told the witches that if they confessed anything, he would unleash the dragon upon them. He swore he would kill the judges. Some of the witches said they had attempted to murder the trial judges but could not.

The witches also said they had attempted to kill the minister of Elfdale. One witch said the Devil gave her a sledgehammer, which she used to try to drive a nail into the minister's head, but the nail would not go all the way in. The minister complained of a terrible headache at about the same time.

The judges asked the witches to demonstrate their black magic. They were unable to do so, explaining that since they had confessed, they had lost their powers.

All 70 persons accused were condemned to death. The 23 adults who confessed were burned together in one fire in Mora; the following day, 15 children were burned together. The remaining 32 persons were sent to Faluna, where they later were executed.

Milder punishment was meted out to another 56 children who were involved in the escapades. Thirty-six of them, between the ages of nine and 16, were forced to run a gauntlet and were lashed on their hands once a week for a year. Twenty children had their hands lashed with rods for three consecutive Sundays at the church door. Observed Mather, "This course, together with Prayers, in all the Churches thro' the Kingdom, issued in the deliverance of the Country."

The Mora case was long considered to be one of the most convincing pieces of evidence of the prevalence of evil witchcraft.

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