Excerpt from pages 56-57 of 'Witchcraft Out of the Shadows - A Complete History' (Leo Ruickbie; 2004):
Christianization did not just reinterpret the witch. We have seen how the witch was already someone in close association with the gods of death and the Underworld. The gods of death and the realm of the dead in Pagan theology were not necessarily evil - death was an accepted and inevitable part of life. However, when the Christians turned the Underworld into the place of eternal damnation ruled over by the fallen angel Lucifer, the witch found herself associating with demons and the souls of the damned. The realm of the ancestors, the home of the dear departed, the place where knowledge could be found and power gained became the dungeon of God and the encampment of evil. Chistianization reinterpreted the entire cosmos. The "birthplace of all sorceries" became the "root of all evil" and East of Midgard became South of Heaven.
The Yoke of the Gospel
In Rome, in 381 CE, the Senate proscribed the "worship of idols" and in Gibbon's memorable phrase Rome submitted to the "yoke of the Gospel." The real turning point occurred in 313, however. It was in that year that the then emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great (274-337), decriminalized Christianity. After a series of battles he seized complete control of the Roman Empire in 324. Constantine was followed by Theodosius in Christian piety, who zealously undertook to stamp out Paganism. The temples were closed and their property seized. The contagion spread throughout the empire. In Gaul, Martin, Bishop of Tours, led and army of monks to destroy the temples, the statues of the gods, and the sacred groves of the Pagans.
|The Nebra sky disc|
It always bears repeating, again and again, that the pre-Christian, European, magical traditions---or for that matter, any of the earth traditions---had nothing to do with Satanism, Alchemy, Freemasonry, or the mystery schools. I suspect that the conflation of Druidic tradition with the mystery schools was an attempt by people of these secret cults in northwest Europe to tie themselves to their traditions in terms of ancestry. Still, I believe that there were positive aspects of certain Freemasonic groups taking on something of a Druidic style. What I would object to is Satanists obsessing with OUR ancestors' cultural loss and suffering from the Middle Ages. They latched onto our holidays, and conflated themselves with many other facets of the old religion. What could be more antithetical to traditions based on ancestry than Satanism? In that regard, Satanism--which was created first as an imaginary enemy by Christian inquisitors--has a lot more in common with Christianity and Islam.