An Anthropological Study of the European Witch-Hunts- Second Printing
Hallucinogenic Drugs and Witches 189
Chapter Seven Hallucinogenic Drugs and Witches European demonologists maintained that witches had the ability to fly through the air and that they often traveled in this manner to attend their hideous nocturnal assemblies. The idea of the witches' flight, or transvection, was rooted in myths from Classical times and elements of local folklore. Popular beliefs regarding the night-flying adherents of the pagan goddess Diana, or Herodius, are mentioned in the Canon Episcopi, a document incorporated into Canon Law during the twelfth century and considered the highest authority in matters of orthodoxy: 1 It is not to be omitted that some wicked women, perverted by the Devil, seduced by illusions and phantasms of demons, believe and profess themselves, in the hours of the night, to ride upon certain beasts with Diana, the goddess of pagans, and an innumerable multitude of women, and in the silence of the dead of night to traverse great spaces of earth, and to obey her commands as their mistress, and to be summoned to her service on certain nights. 2 The possibility of the atmospheric transportation of witches was based on Matthew 4:5-8, which relates how the Devil transported Jesus through the air, setting him down on the Temple and then on the pinnacle of a mountain outside Jericho.3 Citing this passage, as well as Thomas Aquinas' commentary on it, Bodin observed that "Satan, with God's permission, has no less power over men to transport them, since it is completely certain that Jesus Christ was...
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