Page:Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921).djvu/197

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197
THE ORGANIZATION

Cardrona, who took it from the witches as they danced on Minchmoor, but they followed him and he returned it.[1]

The system of reporting everything to the Chief of the community makes it certain that he was supplied with such current information as made his knowledge of public and private affairs appear miraculous to the uninitiated. Even those who supplied that information had firm faith in his supernatural power to kill or cure, and believed with equal ardour in the charms which he taught them to make and use.

In reviewing the evidence it seems clear that the witches of the Covens were bound to exercise their powers in the intervals between the meetings; they were bound to attend those meetings, unless absolutely prevented, in order to learn new methods as well as to make their reports; and they were bound to obey the Grand Master's orders and to treat him with the deference and respect due to his exalted position.

 

4. Discipline

Discipline was maintained by a system of rewards and punishments, enforced or relaxed according to the personal character ot the Chief. As a rule only the severer punishments are recorded, but occasionally there are indications of minor chastisements.

The contemporary writers make the system of rewards and punishments very clear:

'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 whõ they haue slaine.'[2] 'Such as are absent, and have no care to be assoygned are amerced to this paenalty, so to be beaten on the palms of their feete, to be whipt with iron rods, to be pincht and suckt by their Familiars till their heart blood come, till they repent them of their sloath,and promise more attendance and diligence for the future.'[3] 'Taking account also of the proceedings of his other Schollers, and so approuing or condemning accordingly.'[4] Sometimes at their

  1. Berwickshire Naturalists Club, xi, p. 265. Unfortunately the author of the article gives neither her authority for the statement, nor any indication of the date of the occurrence.
  2. Danaeus, ch. iv.
  3. Gaule, p. 65.
  4. Cooper, p. 91.