isis unveiled: chapter x (outside the walls…)

“Another Russian appellation for witch and wizard, the former being purely Slavonian, is znahar and znaharka (feminine) from the same verb znat to know. Thus Dr. More’s definition of the word, given in 1678, is perfectly correct, and coincides in every particular with modern philology.

“Use”, says this scholar, “questionless had appropriated the word to such a kind of skill and knowledge as was out of the common road or extraordinary. Nor did this peculiarity imply any unlawfulness. But there was after a further restriction, in which alone now-a-days the words witch and wizard are used. And that is, for one that has the knowledge and skill of doing or telling things in an extraordinary way, and that in virtue of either an express or implicit sociation or confederacy with some bad spirits.”

In the clause of the severe law of Moses, so many names are reckoned up with that of witch, that is difficult as well as useless to give here the definition of every one of them as found in Dr. More’s table treatise. “There shall not be found among you any one that useth divination, or an observer of time, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer”, says the text.

We will show, further on, the real object of such severity. For the present, we will remark that Dr. More, after giving a learned definition of every one of such appellations, and showing the value of their real meaning in the days of Moses, proves that there is a vast difference between the “enchanters”, “observers of time”, etc., and a witch.

“So many names are reckoned up in this prohibition of Moses, that, in our common law, the sense may be more sure, and leave no room to evasion. And that the name of ‘witch’ is not from any tricks of legerdemain as in common jugglers, that delude the sight of the people at a market or fair, but that it is the name of such as raise magical spectres to deceive men’s sight, and so are most certainly witches – women and men who have a bad spirit in them. ‘Thou shalt not suffer מְכַשֵׁפָה mecassephah, that is,’ a witch, to live.’ Which would be a law of extreme severity, or rather cruelty, against a poor hocus-pocus for his tricks of legerdemain.””

H. P. Blavatsky

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