Further reading

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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Hole, Christina. Witchcraft in England. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd., 1947.

Maple, Eric. The Dark World of Witches. New York: A.S.

Barnes & Co., 1962. Summers, Montague. The History of Witchcraft and Demonol-ogy. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1926.

Davis, Pete "Pathfinder" See Aquarian Tabernacle Church.

de Lancre, Pierre See Lancre, Pierre de.

Demeter Greek goddess of the fertile soil and agriculture and an important aspect of the Goddess. As a goddess of nature, Demeter also represents women, marriage, harmony and health. She controls the seasons, the dying of the earth in winter and its rebirth in spring. She is acknowledged in the spring and autumn equinox celebrations, just as she was worshiped in ancient times (see Wheel of the Year).

Cults of Demeter were particularly strong in ancient Eleusis, and she was a central figure in the Eleusinian Mysteries of death and rebirth. According to myth, Demeter is the daughter of Cronos and Rhea, and the sister of Zeus and Poseidon. In an incestuous union with Zeus, she bore a daughter, Kore, "the maiden," also known as Persephone. Hades, the god of the underworld, lusted after Kore, and Zeus promised the maiden to him without telling Demeter.

Hades raped Kore and kidnapped her to his underworld kingdom. When Demeter learned of this, she went into profound mourning, donning black clothing and searching nine days for her daughter. On the tenth day she encountered HECATE, the patron goddess of witchcraft, who had heard Kore cry out. The two went to Helios, who had witnessed the abduction.

Upon hearing the entire story from Helios, Demeter went into a rage. She resigned from the company of the gods and neglected her duties. Crops failed and famine spread throughout the lands. The situation grew worse and worse, but Demeter could not be persuaded to act. Finally, HERMEs succeeded in convincing Hades to let Kore go. But the crafty god of the underworld tricked Kore into eating part of a pomegranate before she left; this partaking of food in the underworld doomed her to spend at least part of her time with Hades forever. A compromise was struck: each year she would spend six months above the earth, six months below. The coming and going of Kore is signaled by the equinoxes.

Demeter was so grateful to have her daughter back at least part of the year that she initiated mankind into her mysteries and taught him agriculture, symbolized by corn. Many of the secret rites of her cults were practiced only by women, because of their power to bring forth life. In Attica, the rituals were performed by both men and women.

Demeter and Kore were sometimes considered as two aspects of the Corn Mother and were called the "Two Goddesses" or the "Great Goddesses." Sacrifices of fruit, honey cakes, bulls, pigs and cows were made to them.

The Romans identified Demeter with Ceres, their goddess of the earth, and incorporated Demeter's aspects into their own goddess. The concept of the earth goddess who governs the fertility of the earth exists around the world.

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Abduction of Proserpine (Persephone) on a unicorn (ALBRECHT DÜRER, 1516)

demon A lesser spirit that intervenes in the physical world. Demons usually are associated with evil, but in pre-Christian and non-Christian cultures, demons were, and are, not necessarily good or evil. There are good and bad demons, and demons capable of both kinds of behavior. The study of demons is called demonology.

The term demon means "replete with wisdom"; good demons once were called eudemons, and evil demons were called cacodemons. Demon is derived from the Greek term daimon, or "divine power," "fate" or "god." In Greek mythology, daimon included deified heroes. Daimones were intermediary spirits between man and the gods. A good daimon acted as a guardian spirit, and it was considered lucky to have one for guidance and protection. A guardian daimon whispered advice and ideas in one's ear. Evil daimones could lead one astray. Socrates claimed he had a daimon his entire life. The daimon's voice warned him of danger and bad decisions but never directed him what to do. Socrates said his guardian spirit was more trustworthy than omens from the flights and entrails of birds, two highly respected forms of divination at the time.

Demons are controlled by magicians and sorcerers. Solomon commanded demons called djinn to work for him. Demons have been exorcised as the causes of disease, misfortune and possession. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that a magician who exorcised a demon responsible for a possession would be just as likely to use the same demon to other ends. To the present day in many tribal societies, demons are blamed for a wide range of misfortunes and illnesses.

Jewish systems of demonology have long and complex histories and distinguish between classes of demons. According to the KABBALAH, evil powers emanate from the left pillar of the Tree of Life, especially from Geburah, the sephira (sphere) of the wrath of God. By the 13th century, the idea had developed of ten evil sephiroth to counter the ten holy sephiroth of the Tree. Another system of demons distinguishes those born of night terrors, and yet another system describes the demons that fill the sky between the earth and the moon. There are demons who, with angels, are in charge of the night hours and interpretations of diseases, and those who have seals that may be used to summon them.

In the development of Christian demonology, demons were associated only with evil; they are agents of the DEVIL. Good Christian spirits belong to the ranks of angels of the Lord. Demons are fallen angels who followed Lucifer when he was cast out of heaven by God. Their sole purpose is to tempt humankind into immoral acts and come between humans and God. As Christianity spread, the ranks of demons swelled to include the gods and spirits of the ancient Middle Eastern and Jewish traditions, and all pagan deities and nature spirits.

As agents of the Devil, demons especially became associated with witches during the witch hunts and Inquisition. Increase Mather, writing in Cases of Conscience

(1693), said, "The Scriptures assert that there are Devils and Witches and that they are the common enemy of Mankind." George Giffard, an Oxford preacher of about the same period, said that witches should be put to death not because they kill others but because they deal with devils: "These cunning men and women which dealt with spirites and charme seeming to do good, and draw the people into manifold impieties, with all other which haue [have] familiarity with deuils [devils], or use conjurations, ought to bee rooted out, that others might see and feare."

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