Page:Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921).djvu/75

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75
ADMISSION CEREMONIES

the sole of the Foot, renouncing their Baptism in that posture. Delrio tells us, that the Devil useth to Baptize them of new, and to wipe off their Brow the old Baptism: And our Witches confess always the giving them new Names … The Devil's Mark useth to be a great Article with us, but it is not per se found relevant, except it be confest by them, that they got that Mark with their own consent; quo casu, it is equivalent to a Paction. This Mark is given them, as is alledg'd, by a Nip in any part of the body, and it is blew.'[1]

Reginald Scot,[2] writing considerably earlier, gives a somewhat similar account of the English witches, though couched in less legal phraseology:

'The order of their bargaine or profession is double; the one solemne and publike; the other secret and priuate. That which is called solemne or publike, is where witches come togither at certeine assemblies, at the times prefixed, and doo not onelie see the diuell in visible forme; but confer and talke familiarlie with him. In which conference the diuell exhorteth them to obserue their fidelitie vnto him, promising them long life and prosperitie. Then the witches assembled, commend a new disciple (whom they call a nouice) vnto him: and if the diuell find that yoong witch apt and forward in renunciation of christian faith, in despising anie of the seuen sacraments, in treading upon crosses, in spetting at the time of eleuation, in breaking their fast on fasting daies, and fasting on sundaies; then the diuell giueth foorth his hand, and the nouice joining hand in hand with him, promiseth to obserue and keepe all the diuell's commandements. This done, the diuell beginneth to be more bold with hir, telling hir plainlie that all this will not serue his turne; and therefore requireth homage at hir hands: yea, he also telleth hir, that she must grant him both hir bodie and soule to be tormented in euerlasting fire: which she yeeldeth vnto. Then he chargeth hir, to procure as manie men, women, and children also, as she can, to enter into this societie … Sometimes their homage with their oth and bargaine is receiued for a certeine terme of yeares; sometimes for euer. Sometimes it consisteth in the deniall of the whole faith, sometimes in part. The first is, when the soule is absolutelie yeelded to the diuell and hell-fier: the other is, when they haue but bargained not to obserue certeine ceremonies and statutes of the church; as to conceale faults at shrift, to fast on sundaies, etc. And this is doone either by oth, protestation of words, or by obligation in writing, sometimes sealed with wax, sometimes signed with bloud.'

  1. Mackenzie, Title x, pp. 47, 48.
  2. Reginald Scot, Bk. III. pp. 40-2.