Page:Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921).djvu/166

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166
THE RITES

purpose.[1] Isobel Gowdie (1662) described how the witches laid a broom or a stool in their beds to represent themselves during their absence at a meeting. By the time that this record was made the witches evidently believed that the object took on the exact appearance of the woman, having forgotten its original meaning as a signal to show where she had gone. The words used on these occasions show no belief in the change of appearance of the object:

'I lay down this besom [or stool] in the Devil's name,
Let it not stir till I come again.'

Her statements regarding the change of witches into animals I have examined in the section on Familiars (p. 234). The words used to effect these changes are given in full. When a witch wished to take on the form of a hare she said:

'I sall goe intill ane haire,
With sorrow, and sych, and meikle caire;
And I sall goe in the Divellis nam,
Ay quhill I com hom againe.'

To change into a cat or a crow the last two lines were retained unaltered, but the first two were respectively,

'I sall goe intill ane catt,
With sorrow, and sych, and a blak shot'

or'I sall goe intill a craw,
With sorrow, and sych, and a blak thraw.'

To return into human form the witch said:

'Haire, haire, God send thee caire.
I am in an haire's liknes just now,
Bot I sal be in a womanis liknes ewin now.'

From a cat or a crow, the words were 'Cat, cat, God send thee a blak shott' or 'Craw, craw, God send thee a blak thraw', with the last two lines as before. When the witch in animal form entered the house of another witch, she would say, 'I conjure thee, Goe with me'; on which the second witch would turn into the same kind of animal as the first. If, however, they met in the open, the formula was slightly different, 'Divell speid the, Goe thow with me,' the result being the same.

  1. From a trial in the Guernsey Greffe.