House Of John Procter, Witchcraft Martyr, 1692




A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718 by Wallace Notestein

It has been said by a thoughtful writer that the subject of witchcraft has hardly received that place which it deserves in the history of opinions. There has been, of course, a reason for this neglect--the fact that the belief in witchcraft is no longer existent among intelligent people and that its history, in consequence, seems to possess rather an antiquarian than a living interest. No one can tell the story of the witch trials of sixteenth and seventeenth century England without digging up a buried past, and the process of exhumation is not always pleasant. Yet the study of English witchcraft is more than an unsightly exposure of a forgotten superstition. There were few aspects of sixteenth and seventeenth century life that were not affected by the ugly belief. It is quite impossible to grasp the social conditions, it is impossible to understand the opinions, fears, and hopes of the men and women who lived in Elizabethan and Stuart England, without some knowledge of the part played in that age by witchcraft. It was a matter that concerned all classes from the royal household to the ignorant denizens of country villages. 


IN Answer to severall QUERIES, LATELY Delivered to the Judges of
Assize for the County of NORFOLK

And now published by
FOR the Benefit of the whole KINGDOME

"Daemonologie" by King of England James I

In Forme of a Dialogie
Diuided into three Bookes.

By James RX

Printed by Robert Walde-graue,
Printer to the Kings Majestie. An. 1597.
Cum Privilegio Regio.

Transylvanian Superstitions (1885) by Emily Gerard

Transylvania might well be termed the land of superstition, for nowhere
else does this curious crooked plant of delusion flourish as
persistently and in such bewildering variety. It would almost seem as
though the whole species of demons, pixies, witches, and hobgoblins,
driven from the rest of Europe by the wand of science, had taken refuge
within this mountain rampart, well aware that here they would find
secure lurking-places, whence they might defy their persecutors yet

There are many reasons why these fabulous beings should retain an
abnormally firm hold on the soil of these parts; and looking at the
matter closely we find here no less than three separate sources of

Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists

Meteorologists and biologists have been left baffled by earthworms raining from the sky over Southern Norway.
According to Norwegian news service The Local, the most recent phenomenon was discovered by biology teacher Karstein Erstad while he was skiing in the mountains.
“I saw thousands of earthworms on the surface of the snow,” he said.
“When I found them on the snow they seemed to be dead, but when I put them in my hand I found that they were alive.”
He thought they might have crawled through the snow, but rejected this idea, as the snow was over half a metre thick across the mountains.
This is not the only time an area experiencing worms raining from the sky in Norway, with other cases found in Molde and Bergen, both in the south of the country.

Zosimos of Panopolis

Distillation apparatus of Zosimos, from Marcelin Berthelot, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs (3 vol., Paris, 1887-1888).

Zosimos of Panopolis (Greek: Ζώσιμος) was a Greek[1][2] alchemist and Gnostic mystic from the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 4th century AD. He was born in Panopolis, present day Akhmim in the south of Egypt, ca. 300. He wrote the oldest known books on alchemy, of which quotations in the Greek language and translations into Syriac or Arabic are known. He is one of about 40 authors represented in a compendium of alchemical writings that was probably put together in Byzantium (Constantinople) in the 7th or 8th century AD and that exists in manuscripts in Venice and Paris. Stephen of Alexandria is another.
Arabic translations of texts by Zosimos were discovered in 1995 in a copy of the book Keys of Mercy and Secrets of Wisdom by Ibn Al-Hassan Ibn Ali Al-Tughra'i', a Persian alchemist. Unfortunately, the translations were incomplete and seemingly non-verbatim.[3] The famous index of Arabic books, Kitab al-Fihrist by Ibn Al-Nadim, mentions earlier translations of four books by Zosimos, however due to inconsistency in transliteration, these texts were attributed to names "Thosimos", "Dosimos" and "Rimos"; also it is possible that two of them are translations of the same book.


In about 300 AD, Zosimos provided one of the first definitions of alchemy as the study of "the composition of waters, movement, growth, embodying and disembodying, drawing the spirits from bodies and bonding the spirits within bodies."[4]
In general, Zosimos' understanding of alchemy reflects the influence of Hermetic and Gnostic spiritualities. He asserted that the fallen angels taught the arts of metallurgy to the women they married, an idea also recorded in the Book of Enoch and later repeated in the Gnostic Apocryphon of John.[5] In a fragment preserved by Syncellus, Zosimos wrote:
The ancient and divine writings say that the angels became enamoured of women; and, descending, taught them all the works of nature. From them, therefore, is the first tradition, chema, concerning these arts; for they called this book chema and hence the science of chemistry takes its name.[6]
The external processes of metallic transmutation—the transformations of lead and copper into silver and gold (see the Stockholm papyrus)—had always to mirror an inner process of purification and redemption. Wrote Zosimos in Concerning the true Book of Sophe, the Egyptian, and of the Divine Master of the Hebrews and the Sabaoth Powers:
There are two sciences and two wisdoms, that of the Egyptians and that of the Hebrews, which latter is confirmed by divine justice. The science and wisdom of the most excellent dominate the one and the other. Both originate in olden times. Their origin is without a king, autonomous and immaterial; it is not concerned with material and corruptible bodies, it operates, without submitting to strange influences, supported by prayer and divine grace.
The symbol of chemistry is drawn from the creation by its adepts, who cleanse and save the divine soul bound in the elements, and who free the divine spirit from its mixture with the flesh.
As the sun is, so to speak, a flower of the fire and (simultaneously) the heavenly sun, the right eye of the world, so copper when it blooms—that is when it takes the color of gold, through purification—becomes a terrestrial sun, which is king of the earth, as the sun is king of heaven.[7]
Greek alchemists used what they called ὕδωρ θεῖον, meaning both divine water, and sulphurous water.[8] For Zosimos, the alchemical vessel was imagined as a baptismal font, and the tincturing vapours of mercury and sulphur were likened to the purifying waters of baptism, which perfected and redeemed the Gnostic initiate. Zosimos drew upon the Hermetic image of the krater or mixing bowl, a symbol of the divine mind in which the Hermetic initiate was "baptized" and purified in the course of a visionary ascent through the heavens and into the transcendent realms. Similar ideas of a spiritual baptism in the "waters" of the transcendent Pleroma are characteristic of the Sethian Gnostic texts unearthed at Nag Hammadi.[9] This image of the alchemical vessel as baptismal font is central to his Visions, discussed below.

Visions of Zosimos

One of Zosimos' texts is about a sequence of dreams related to Alchemy, and presents the proto-science as a much more religious experience. In his dream he first comes to an altar and meets Ion (the Sabians consider him the founder of their religion), who calls himself "the priest of inner sanctuaries, and I submit myself to an unendurable torment." Ion then fights and impales Zosimos with a sword, dismembering him "in accordance with the rule of harmony" (referring to the division into four bodies, natures, or elements). He takes the pieces of Zosimos to the altar, and "burned (them) upon the fire of the art, till I perceived by the transformation of the body that I had become spirit." From there, Ion cries blood, and horribly melts into "the opposite of himself, into a mutilated anthroparion"—which Carl Jung perceived as the first concept of the homunculus in alchemical literature.
Zosimos wakes up, asks himself, "Is not this the composition of the waters?" and returns to sleep, beginning the visions again—he constantly wakes up, ponders to himself and returns to sleep during these visions. Returning to the same altar, Zosimos finds a man being boiled alive, yet still alive, who says to him, "The sight that you see is the entrance, and the exit, and the transformation ... Those who seek to obtain the art (or moral perfection) enter here, and become spirits by escaping from the body"—which can be regarded as human distillation; just as how distilled water purifies it, distilling the body purifies it as well. He then sees a Brazen Man (another homunculus, as Jung believed any man described as being metal is perceived as being a homunculus), a Leaden Man (named Agathodaimon and also a homunculus). Zosimos also dreams of a "place of punishments" where all who enter immediately burst into flames and submit themselves to an "unendurable torment."
Jung believed these visions to be a sort of Alchemical allegory, with the tormented homunculi personifying transmutations—burning or boiling themselves to become something else. The central image of the visions are the Sacrificial Act, which each Homunculus endures. In alchemy the dyophysite nature is constantly emphasized, two principles balancing one another, active and passive, masculine and feminine, which constitute the eternal cycle of birth and death. This is also illustrated in the figure of the uroboros, the dragon that bites its own tail (and which appears earliest in the Chrysopoeia) Self-devouring is the same as self-destruction, but the unison of the dragon's tail and mouth was also thought of as self-fertilization. Hence the text of "Tractatus Avicennae" mentions "the dragon slays itself, weds itself, impregnates itself." In the visions, circular thinking appears in the sacrificial priest's identity with his victim and in the idea that the homunculus into whom Ion is changed devours himself—he spews fourth his own flesh and rends himself with his own teeth. The homunculus therefore stands for the uroboros, which devours itself and gives birth to self. Since the homonculus represents the transformation of Ion, it follows that Ion, the uroboros, and the sacrificer are essentially the same.[10]

Surviving Works

The complete (as of 1888) "Œuvres de Zosime" were published in French by M. Berthelot in Les alchimistes grecs. English translations remain elusive.

See also


  1. E. Gildemeister and Fr. Hoffman, translated by Edward Kremers (1913). The Volatile Oils 1. New York: Wiley. p. 203.
  2. Bryan H. Bunch and Alexander Hellemans (2004). The History of Science and Technology. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 88. ISBN 0-618-22123-9.
  3. Prof. Dr. Hassan S. El Khadem (September 1996). "A Translation of a Zosimos' Text in an Arabic Alchemy Book". Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 84 (3): pp. 168–178.
  4. Strathern, P. (2000). Mendeleyev’s Dream—the Quest for the Elements. New York: Berkley Books.
  5. Stroumsa, Gedaliahu A. G. (1984). Another Seed: Studies in Gnostic Mythology. Volume 24 of Nag Hammadi Studies. Brill Archive. p. 139 ff. ISBN 9004074198.
  6. Imuth, quoted in Syncellus, Chron. Drummond, William. "On the Science of the Egyptians and Chaldeans". The Classical Journal (London: A. J. Valpy) 18: 299. "September and December, 1818"
  7. Carl Gustav Jung, Elizabeth Welsh, Barbara Hannah (1960). Modern Psychology: November 1940-July 1941: Alchemy, vol. 1-2. University of California: K. Schippert & Co. pp. 44–45.
  8. Schorlemmer, Carl (1894). The Rise and Development of Organic Chemistry. London: Macmillan and Company. p. 6.
  9. Fraser, Kyle (2004). "Zosimos of Panopolis and the Book of Enoch: Alchemy as Forbidden Knowledge". Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism 4.2.
  10. Jung, Carl (1983). "The Visions of Zosimos". Alchemical Studies. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01849-9.



Berthelot, Marcelin (1888). Collection des Anciens Alchimistes Grecs (in French). Paris: Steinheil. Vol. I (introduction) p. 119, 127—174, 209, 250; vol. II (Greek text) p. 28, 117—120; Vol. III (trans.) p. 117—242.
H. D. Saffrey & Zosime de Panopolis (trans. M. Mertens). Les alchimistes grecs, vol. IV.1: Mémoires authentiques (in French). Les Belles-Lettres. pp. CLXXIII–348. ISBN 2-251-00448-3. p. 1—49: I = Sur la lettre oméga; V = Sur l'eau divine; VI = Diagramme (ouroboros); VII = Sur les appareils et fourneaux


Berthelot, Marcelin (1885). Les Origines de l'alchimie (in French). Paris: Steinheil. pp. 177–187.
Berthelot, Marcelin (1888). Collection des Anciens Alchimistes Grecs (in French). Paris: Steinheil. Vol. I (introduction) p. 119, 127—174, 209, 250.
Berthelot, Marcelin (1893). La Chimie au Moyen Âge (in French). Paris: Steinheil. Vol. II, p. 203—266; Vol. III, p. 28, 30, 41.
Mead, G.R.S (1906). "Zosimus on the Anthropos-Doctrine". Thrice Greatest Hermes: Studies in Hellenistic Theosophy and Gnosis III. London and Benares: The Theosophical Publishing Society. pp. 273–284.
Jung, C. G. (1943). Psychology and Alchemy.
Lindsay, Jack (1970). The Origins of Alchemy in Graeco-Roman Egypt. ISBN 0-389-01006-5.
Jackson, A. H. (1978). Zosimos of Panopolis. On the letter Omega. Missoula (Montana).
Knipe, Sergio, "Sacrifice and self-transformation in the alchemical writings of Zosimus of Panopolis," in Christopher Kelly, Richard Flower, Michael Stuart Williams (еds), Unclassical Traditions. Vol. II: Perspectives from East and West in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011) (Cambridge Classical Journal, Supplemental Volume 35), 59-69.

Chthonic (Deities)

Chthonic (ˈkθɒnɪk/, from Greek χθόνιος – chthonios, "in, under, or beneath the earth", from χθών – chthōn "earth";[1] pertaining to the Earth; earthy; subterranean) designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land (as Gaia or Ge does) or the land as territory (as khora (χώρα) does). It evokes at once abundance and the grave.

The pronunciation is somewhat awkward for English speakers. Most dictionaries, such as the OED, state that the first two letters should be pronounced as [k], /ˈkθɒnɪk/; others, such as the AHD, record these letters as silent, /ˈθɒnɪk/. The modern pronunciation of the Greek word "χθόνιος" is [xθoɲos], although the Classical Greek pronunciation would have been something similar to [kʰtʰonios].[2]

Chthonic and Olympian
While terms such as "Earth deity" or Earth mother have rather sweeping implications in English, the words khthonie and khthonios had a more precise and technical meaning in Greek, referring primarily to the manner of offering sacrifices to the deity in question.

Some chthonic cults practised ritual sacrifice, which often happened at night time. When the sacrifice was a living creature, the animal was placed in a bothros ("pit") or megaron ("sunken chamber"). In some Greek chthonic cults, the animal was sacrificed on a raised bomos ("altar"). Offerings usually were burned whole or buried rather than being cooked and shared among the worshippers.[3]

Not all chthonic cults were Greek, nor did all cults practice ritual sacrifice; some performed sacrifices in effigy or burnt vegetable offerings.[citation needed]

Cult type versus function
While chthonic deities had a general association with fertility, they did not have a monopoly on it, nor were the later Olympian deities wholly unconcerned for the Earth's prosperity. Thus Demeter and Persephone both watched over aspects of the fertility of land, yet Demeter had a typically Olympian cult while Persephone had a chthonic one.

Also, Demeter was worshipped alongside Persephone with identical rites, and yet occasionally was classified as an "Olympian" in late poetry and myth. The absorption of some earlier cults into the newer pantheon versus those that resisted being absorbed is suggested as providing the later myths.

In between
The categories Olympian and chthonic were not, however, completely separate. Some Olympian deities, such as Hermes and Zeus, also received chthonic sacrifices and tithes in certain locations. The deified heroes Heracles and Asclepius might be worshipped as gods or chthonic heroes, depending on the site and the time of origin of the myth.

Moreover, a few deities aren't easily classifiable under these terms. Hecate, for instance, was typically offered puppies at crossroads (see also Crossroads (mythology)) – a practice neither typical of an Olympian sacrifice nor of a chthonic sacrifice to Persephone or the heroes.[citation needed] Because of her underworld roles, Hecate is generally classed as chthonic.

References in psychology and anthropology
In analytical psychology, the term chthonic was often used to describe the spirit of nature within; the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self, that is one's material depths, however not necessarily with negative connotations. See anima and animus or shadow. In Man and His Symbols Carl G. Jung explains:
“     Envy, lust, sensuality, deceit, and all known vices are the negative, 'dark' aspect of the unconscious, which can manifest itself in two ways. In the positive sense, it appears as a 'spirit of nature', creatively animating Man, things, and the world. It is the 'chthonic spirit' that has been mentioned so often in this chapter. In the negative sense, the unconscious (that same spirit) manifests itself as a spirit of evil, as a drive to destroy.[4]     ”

Gender has a specific meaning in cultural anthropology. Teresa del Valle in her book Gendered Anthropology explains "there are male and female deities at every level. We generally find men associated with the above, the sky, and women associated with the below, with the earth, water of the underground, and the chthonic deities."[5] This was by no means universal and in Ancient Egypt the main deity of the earth was the male god Geb. Geb's female consort was named Nut, otherwise known as the sky. Greek mythology likewise has female deities associated with the sky, such as Dike, goddess of justice who sits on the right side of Zeus as his advisor. Eos was the goddess of dawn. Hades is the ancient Greek god of the underworld.

References in structural geology
The term Allochthon in structural geology is used to describe a large block of rock which has been moved from its original site of formation, usually by low angle thrust faulting. From the Greek "allo" meaning other and "chthon" designating the process of the land mass being moved under the earth and connecting two horizontally stacked décollements and thus "under the earth".

    ^ Chthonios, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, at Perseus.
    ^ See Modern Greek phonology.
    ^ "The sacrifice for gods of the dead and for heroes was called enagisma, in contradistinction to thysia, which was the portion especially of the celestial deities. It was offered on altars of a peculiar shape: they were lower than the ordinary altar bomos, and their name was ischara, 'hearth'. Through them the blood of the victims, and also libations, were to flow into the sacrificial trench. Therefore they were funnel-shaped and open at the bottom. For this kind of sacrifice did not lead up to a joyous feast in which the gods and men took part. The victim was held over the trench with its head down, not, as for the celestial gods, with its neck bent back and the head uplifted; and it was burned entirely." (Source The Heroes of the Greeks, C. Kerenyi pub. Thames & Hudson 1978). The 'gods of the dead' are, of course, Chthonic deities.
    ^ C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols, ISBN 0-385-05221-9, p. 267.
    ^ Teresa del Valle, Gendered Anthropology, Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-06127-X, p. 108.

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