Later, people began to learn the use of herbal remedies, drugs, and poisons the latter being useful for killing wolves.
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Each tribe would have its "wise man" or "wise woman," probably people with natural psychic powers. It is an ancient and universal practice to gather a number of objects, such as marked stones, or bones, assign different meanings to each, cast them on the ground, and "tell fortunes" from the way in which they fall. However, the word "sorcery" has come to mean almost any sort of magic.
RITUAL MAGIC, Art Magic, or Cabalistic Magic, seems to have evolved from Egyptian and Babylonian magical beliefs that there were many great spirits, minor gods, angels and demons, who could be bribed or Impelled to cause events to occur, by means of long rites and conjurations, with or without blood sacrifices. A very important branch of this magic was to know the Names of Power, by which such beings could be summoned and controlled.
When used for good purposes, these practices were called White Magic; but if for evil purposes, they were called Black Magic. This last term is nowadays much abused, being often applied to anything occult. We have illustrations, by means of books, pictures, and actual instruments and objects, of all of these types of magic in the Museum. Its basis is the old Hermetic axiom,"As above, so below. We have some examples of the tools, books, etc. It was the mother of modern Chemistry; though alchemists expressed their art in a curious mystical jargon, to prevent their secrets being stolen.
We have some objects and manuscripts relating to Alchemy, but regret we have no Philosophers' Stone or Elixir of Life to show you. It was usually performed with the corpse of a person recently dead. Spiritualism has been attacked as being Necromancy, but this is false, as there is no attempt to Impel the spirits to communicate, and no dead bodies are used.
We have some pictures of the practice of Necromancy. We have copies of what are alleged to be pacts with the devil, and other diabolical papers, including the alleged signatures of various devils, from the French National Archives and other sources; but we think the originals were either forgeries or cheats to deceive the simple-minded.
We have some relics which are said to have been used in such rites; but we have no real evidence that the people who used them were more than jokers in rather bad taste. Witches have been accused of "devil-worship"; but the Old Horned God of witchcraft is pre-Christian, and "the devil" is a concept of Christian times. Many practices which may or may not have taken place have been denounced by this name; but there is little convincing evidence of its real existence. However, we are always willing to receive proof, and the Museum has some objects alleged to be associated with it.
On the first floor are two rooms. One represents a Magician's Study, of the period circa , with everything set out for performing what is variously called Ritual Magic, Cabalistic Magic, Ceremonial Magic, or Art Magic; these terms mean very much the same thing, though some writers use one and some another. There is a large and complicated circle drawn on the floor, and an altar made to certain Cabalistic proportions.
Beside it is the magician's consecrated sword, and behind it two columns, with a light upon each. If used for good purposes only, this kind of magic was called White Magic; but if used for evil or selfish purposes, it was called Black Magic. The latter might involve the use of blood, and the summoning of demons, who were kept at bay by the Divine Names written around the circle, and were only permitted to manifest in the Triangle of Art drawn outside the circle, where they could be commanded to do the magician's will.
The other room represents a Witch's Cottage, with furnishings of about the same date as the above, and with the witch's magical implements set out for use, with the circle, the altar, etc. It will be seen that these are much less elaborate than those of the magician. The room is an ordinary living-room, with a bed in the background, and a few domestic articles scattered about; the altar is a chest; the circle is a simple chalk line. At an alarm of danger, everything could quickly be made to look quite normal. The witch's altar is set out as if for an initiation ceremony.
One of the objects upon it is a necklace, the only "ceremonial garment" a witch needed; whereas the magician might wear elaborate robes. In the First Gallery starts the famous collection of objects connected with Magic and Witchcraft. Case No. A large number of objects belonging to a witch who died in given by her relatives, who wish to remain anonymous. These are mostly things which had been used m the family for generations. Most of them are for making herbal cures.
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The herbs required to make charms or medicines had to be cut at the rime when the moon or the planets were in the particular part of the Zodiac "under the right astrological aspects," as a practitioner of the art would say; and the curved sickle or "baleen" was used for this purpose. She had a very fine ritual sword, which for many years was lent to the Druid Order which holds the annual Midsummer ceremony at Stonehenge, because it fitted exactly into the cleft in the Hele Stone. Case into. A large collection of magical rings and other jewelry, used for the purpose of protection and as luck bringers, and for various other magical purposes.
This case contains exhibits illustrating the development of present-day amulets from primitive pagan symbols. There are a large number of "Lucky Pieces," ranging from the crudely mounted "Badger's Paw" to intricate and costly astrological jewelry made according to the wearer's horoscope. Among these is the mediaeval magic ring formerly belonging to the Earls of Lonsdale, set with the fossil tooth of an animal, and surrounded by precious stones. It is a thumb ring made large enough to be worn outside a glove, and was supposed to have a mystic power over its possessor. A large number of objects used to ward off the "Evil Eye," dating from Ancient Egyptian and Phoenician to modern times.
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The "Evil Eye" is the supposed power to cast a spell upon another simply by looking at them, ant these mascots were thought to be able in various ways to deflect this dangerous glance. This is probably one of the oldest occult beliefs in the world. A representative collection of objects used by witches in their rituals, including a witch's riding staff, which gave rise to the "broomstick" legend.
Its actual use was like that of a hobby-horse, in a kind of leaping dance that was part of a fertility ritual. There are several gazing crystals, and a black concave mirror made by a witch in modem times and consecrated at the full moon in accordance with an ancient formula; all of these are used for "skrying," as crystal-gazing used to be called the idea being that visions could be seen in them.
There is a flask of witches' anointing oil in a silver case.
The case also contains objects used in the witch persecutions, and some relics of Matthew Hopkins, the notorious "Witch-Finder General. A collection of objects used by witches, given by an existing coven of witches. Naturally, they have only lent articles which they are not using, hence the collection consists chiefly of implements for the making of herbal cures and charms; there is, however, one very fine ritual wand, and a curious old desk containing seven secret drawers, in which they used to hide some of their possessions.
A large collection of talismans engraved on metal, prepared according to the formulas of the "Key of Solomon" and various other Grimoires. These talismans were consecrated with magical rituals, and had to be made and consecrated under the correct astrological aspects for the object they were to achieve, e.
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The person who wished to achieve some such aim by means of a talisman, after it was made and consecrated, had then usually to wear it next to the skin. This case also contains a collection of charms used against the "Evil Eye," mainly Arabic and Italian, and examples of the "Medusa's Head" charm, which was used to avert evil, and the "Mermaid" and "Sea Horse" charms for the same purposes.
A complete collection of the secret manuscripts of the Order of the Golden Dawn, a famous magical fraternity to which Aleister Crowley, W. Yeats, and many other well-known people at one time belonged. It was founded by the late Dr Wynn Westcott and S. MacGregor Mathers, and claimed descent from the original Rosicrucians. Aleister Crowley quarrelled with the Order and broke away to found his own fraternity. The magical working of the Order of the Golden Dawn is founded upon the Hebrew Cabala, and its Cabalistic knowledge was kept very secret, though some of it has now found its way into print; but most of the contents of this case have never before been available to the public.
The case also contains a number of documents from various sources, pertaining to other Orders which claim descent from the Rosicrucians. A collection of objects used for divination and fortune-telling, and a number of ancient and modern books upon the subject. Also a number of ancient and modem packs of Tarot cards. These cards are the forerunners of our modern playing-cards, but consist of 78 cards instead of only 52, as in the modern pack.
They were and are much used for fortune-telling, especially by Continental gypsies. The Trump cards have many curious figures upon them, an of which have an occult meaning.
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Their origin is unknown, and some authorities have postulated that they came from Ancient Egypt. They certainly date back in Europe to , and there are possible earlier references. A large collection of pictures showing what people have thought witches looked like, from prehistoric times to the present day; together with pictures of the practice of necromancy, and illustrations of sorcery and dealings with the devil. Reproductions of various pacts said to have been made with the devil some bearing the alleged signatures of demons.
Also some copies of the court records of Manx witchcraft trials, some being of cases which occurred in the close vicinity of this Museum. The latter illustrate the old Manx belief, "If a person is a witch, why shouldn't they do a bit of witchcraft if they want to? A very large collection of books on magic and witchcraft, including a number of ancient manuscripts, ranging from the latter part of the Middle Ages to the present day.
Types of "killing magic," including the "Pointing Bone" of the Australian aborigines, and the Malayan "Keris Majapight.
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Some modern instruments said to enable one to see the human aura, and to gain clairvoyance; together with some instruments used in water divining or "dowsing" of various kinds the modern term for this being "radiesthesia". Also a baby's caul , used as in amulet to enable lawyers to win cases, and as a charm against drowning. This was a fun one! Do you have a post that talks about all the types of witches you could choose to be — if I said that right? I do not!