Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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THE exact order of the ceremonies is never given and probably varied in different localities, but the general rule of the ritual at the Sabbath seems to have been that proceedings began by the worshippers paying homage to the Devil, who sat or stood in a convenient place. The homage consisted in renewing the vows of fidelity and obedience, in kissing the Devil on any part of his person that he chose to indicate, and sometimes in turning a certain number of times widdershins. Then followed the reports of all magic worked since the previous Sabbath, either by individuals or at the Esbats, and at the same time the witches consulted the Master as to their cases and received instructions from him how to proceed; after which came admissions to the society or marriages of the members. This ended the business part of the meeting. Immediately after all the business was transacted, the religious service was celebrated, the ceremonial of which varied according to the season of the year; and it was followed by the 'obscene' fertility rites. The whole ceremony ended with feasting and dancing, and the assembly broke up at dawn.

This was apparently the usual course of the ritual of the Sabbath; the Esbat had less ceremonial, and the religious service was not performed. The Devil himself often went round and collected the congregation; and, not being in his 'grand arroy', he appeared as a man in ordinary dress. Instead of the religious service with the adoration of the god, the witches worked the spells and charms with which they bewitched or unbewitched their enemies and friends, or they exercised new methods which they learnt from their Master, or received instructions how to practise the arts of healing and secret poisoning, of causing and blasting fertility.

There are a few general accounts of the usual course of the Sabbath ritual. Danaeus (1575) does not distinguish clearly between the two classes of meetings, but at the same time he seems to have realized that a certain order was followed:

'Satan calleth them togither into a Diuelish Sinagoge, and that he may also vnderstand of them howe well and diligently they haue fulfilled their office of intoxicating committed vnto them, and who they haue slaine wherefore they meete togither in certen apointed places . . . Whe{n} they meete together he appeareth visibly vnto them in sundrie fourmes, as the head and chiefe of that congregation. . . . Then doe they all repeate the othe which they haue geuen vnto him, in acknowledging him to be their God, the{n} fal they to dauncing . . . Whiche beeing all finished, then he demaundeth agayne of them what they woulde require of him. . . . Vnto some he geueth poysons ready made, and others he teacheth howe to make and mingle new. . . . Finally, if in any thing they neede his presence and helpe, by couenant he promiseth to be present with them.'[1]

Boguet (1589) is more exact, as he obtained his knowledge at first hand:

'Les Sorciers estans assemblez en leur Synagogue adorent premierement Satan . . . ils luy offrent des chandelles, & le baisent aux parties honteuses de derriere. Quelquefois encor il tient vne image noire, qu'il faut baiser aux Sorciers. . . . Les Sorciers en second lieu dansent. . . . Les danses finies, les Sorciers viennent à s'accoupler. . . . Les Sorciers, apres s'estre veautrez parmy les plaisirs immondes de la chair, banquettent & se festoient. . . . Les Sorciers rendent conte à Satan de ce qu'ils ont fait dés la derniere assemblée. . . . Il fait renoncer de nouueau à ces miserables, Dieu, Chresme, & Baptesme. Il leur fait rafraischir le serment solennel qu'ils ont fait.'[2]

The English account is put together from foreign sources to a great extent:

'They are carryed out of the house, either by the Window, Door, or Chimney, mounted on their Imps. . . . Thus brought to the designed place, they find a great number of others arrived there by the same means: who, before Lucifer takes his place in his throne as King, do make their accustomed homage, Adoring, and Proclaiming him their Lord, and rendring him all Honour. This Solemnity being finished, they sit to Table where no delicate meats are wanting. . . . At the sound of many pleasant Instruments the table is taken away, and the pleasant consort invites them to a Ball. . . . At

the last, the lights are put out. The Incubus's in the shape of proper men satisfy the desires of the Witches, and the Succubus's serve for whores to the Wizards. At last before Aurora brings back the day, each one mounts on his spirit, and so returns to his respective dwelling place. . . . Sometimes at their solemn assemblies, the Devil commands, that each tell what wickedness he hath committed. . . . When the assembly is ready to break up, and the Devil to dispatch them, he publisheth this law with a loud voice, Revenge your selves or else you shall dye, then each one kissing the Posteriors of the Devil returns upon their aiery Vehicles to their habitations.'[1]

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