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Frater Caprius Nigellus

 The rise of the early Christian church was marked by a battle to individualise itself by usurping and suppressing pantheistic ethos of all peasant cultures with which it came into contact. The purpose of pantheism is not idolatry (as the church has continually misinformed us) but a method of representing the method of nature.

At the top of the scale were the God and Goddess images, which were simply human most perfect form. These were icons to which peasants ASPIRE. At the 'bottom' the icons used were those things animate and inanimate, which encapsulated or symbolised elemental or physical forces such as fertility of animals and crops, these were things upon which the populations well being were dependant.

In the rustic communities, which then existed, their reverence for animals and birds went back into prehistory and all organised pagan ceremonies (and later, monotheistic ones) were just developments or dramatisations of these ancient rustic perceptions and rituals, supposedly enacted for the benefit of the community. An example of this might be the sacrifice of a  pig from the flock to the god that made pigs grow big This was simply an extension of the development of feudalism where the head of the tribe took a percentage of the peasants stock or food.

Animals were often used by pagans as Totems. The symbols carved into Totem poles by Native American Indians were not 'devils', but simply respect for the spirits, souls and dignity of animals. Even so they were still considered 'devils' by the early Christian missionaries to America.

As early Christianity developed, for the first few hundred years  like other religions it adapted much of the pagan worldview to suit it's purpose. e.g. the myth of the Christ god was virtually a direct adaptation of the Mithraic religion.

Christianity also had to compromise with local habits and customs, which is why many Anglo-Saxon churches had two altars; one for the Christians and one for the Pagans that also worshipped there. This was how the Christian missionaries to Britain surreptitiously commandeered exclusively for their own use the sacred sites, which Pagans had used in pre-history and continued with the adaptation of Pagan festivals.

When Christianity was weak it conjoined with what was expected tradition. When it became powerful enough to dictate what its followers should think and do, it soon began to divest itself of non-Christian pantheistic symbols, suppressing any Pagan content in festivals by firstly ascribing evil, anti-social, destructive, immoral and  malevolent influences to them. Thereby establishing misdirection to enable the victimisation and suppression of peasants who chose not to conform.

Admissions and inventions extracted from pantheists via torture or punishment were manipulated into further corroboration of the previously invented propaganda and the demonization of  Witchcraft was developed progressively by the Church just as the mythology of Satanic Abuse is being developed and used against Neo-Pagans and other non-conformists today.

 Goats were a terribly important part of most tribal cultures back into prehistory. They were an indigenous resource, which was plentiful across Europe. Goats could survive on rough pasture; they provided all that the tribe needed in the way of food, clothing, thread, wool, milk, horn etc. Goat milk could even be used to succour human babies. This is still true today in many rustic parts of the Mediterranean countries where goat herders continue husbandry, which is thousands of years old.

In ancient times goats were revered and their image found its way into virtually every Pagan pantheon. The most frequent symbol of male dominance was horns, usually those of a goat, but sometimes also that of a bull or ram. The Church became fixated upon any image with horns as a symbol of paganism - the religion they wished to replace. This was particularly the case in relation to Judaism (from whence most early Christians were converted) for in the Jewish religion the four elemental animals whose Image support heaven (and the altar in the Synagogue) comprise four animals, including a Horned Bull. The altar itself has, by tradition, horns as a decoration on each corner, and of course the goat was sacred to the Old Testament angel Azaxel who was the 'Messenger of the Lord' and who was sent to Earth each Atonement Day to take away the Scapegoat and purify Mankind's sins. Anti-Semitism made the link with Sin, Goat and Jew in a different way and in Wade Baskin's Dictionary of Sorcerery (1972) he writes: 'The goat appears in mediaeval folklore as the symbol of Judaism and the Jewish God. The goat's beard or goatee, a supposedly characteristic feature of the Jewish physiognomy, was also considered to be a physical token of the Jew's Satanism.'

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Four Horned Altar from Antwerp Bible 1526
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Four Horned incense Altar from Megiddo

It is true that most of the 'devil' images in demonology were created during a time when the Jews were being hounded and persecuted throughout Christian controlled Europe.  The religiously pious King Edward I ordered the expulsion of every Jew in England following several decades of Jew-bashing which had been started by rumours of Jews sacrificing children at their rituals. This is the same kind of scare tactic that was repeated by Satan Hunters in the social services in 1989. Massacres of Jews occurred in London and York where some 400 were burned to death en-masse at Clifford's Tower. It is estimated that around 16,000 English Jews were dispossessed. Edward then promptly confiscated all Jewish property in order to bale out his ailing treasury.

Throughout the world indigenous religions all used a horned animal of some kind to represent power, virility, strength, courage and plenty, and each one was discredited in turn as being heretical or Satanic when the Christian war machine overpowered that society and then tried to suppress any religious competition. 

To give you some idea of how prevalent and benign the Goat icon was I quote from Barbara Walker in her 'Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects' in which she says: 'Sacrifices of goats identified with men or gods were common in ancient Greece. The oldest Athenian religious festival was Apaturia, which featured Dionysus in a black goatskin. In Rome the sacrificial god of the Mamuralia was a man dressed in a goatskin who was lead through the streets and flogged as a symbol of atonement. The goat people mythologized as satyrs and fauns were originally men identified with the sacred goats, on whose images the mediaeval goat-horned goat-hoofed devils were modelled. Scandinavians were admonished by their Christian overlords right up to the seventeenth century for their pagan 'goat games' associated with religious holidays and yet these symbols persist. To this day Scandinavians make a Yule Goat out of straw to serve as a year-end sacrifice. Folk dance patterns have absorbed the ancient 'caper' which literally means 'goat dance' from the Latin word for goat. The same source also gave us caprice (capriccio) and Capricorn and the Isle of Capri was once dedicated to the goat lord.  dionysus 1.gif (21297 bytes)
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Dionysus as a Bull

In Dr. Brewer's 'Dictionary of Phrase and Fable' from 1870 he says: The goat is possibly the oldest domesticated animal after the dog. It is a sacrificial animal and was sacred to the Sumerian god Marduk and also to Artemis. In Greece the goat was an attribute of Silvanus and Dionysus. Goats were also sacrificed to Faunnus. The Teutonic Thor had a chariot drawn by goats which were sacred to him. His goat Heidrum supplied mead which was the drink of the Gods. The Vedic Agni god of fire and creative heat rides a goat. The Chinese have a goat spirit that is a transcendent of the star Fan-Yin and the Mongolians also have their own version of this same god.

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Traditional Romanian goat mask folk dance
Sir James Fraser adds that in Prussia the Corn Spirit anciently appeared in the form of a goat and he also points out that Dionysus (who is celebrated with the Black Goat Skin Rite) was actually a Corn Deity. It is worth mentioning that a goat may seem to be a strange choice for a corn deity but there was in fact an intimate connection between corn crops, fodder and goats. In Lower Bavaria it is said of the man who cuts the last corn that he has the 'corn goat' or 'oat goat' depending on which crop is being gathered. This compares with the British corn sheaf spirit which is made into a doll or poppet (a representation of the pagan goddess figure of Cerres) and its Christian counterpart the corn cross.

 Fraser also tells us that in Scandinavia around 1920 they still made model goats out of corn to sacrifice to their Pagan gods. In Hanover the harvest festival begins with the bringing in of the 'Harvest Goat' where the woman who bound the last sheaf is wrapped in straw, crowned with a wreath and taken to the village where a dance takes place round her.

In Grenoble a live goat is adorned with flowers and ribbons and is allowed to run about in the cornfield before the harvest begins. When it is caught it is slaughtered and the goats meat forms the main dish at the Harvest Supper. On the same day the skin from the sacrificed goat is made into a cloak which the farmer must wear at harvest time to bring good fortune.

At Wurttemberg, the effigy of a goat is made out of the last bundle of corn and the man who cuts the last corn must carry the goat to the barn of a neighbour who is still threshing for good luck.

Goat Dance.jpg (33492 bytes) All these remnants of the Black Goat Skin rite still existed or were remembered in central Europe in the early part of the 20th century. It is testimony to the importance of these pagan rites that they had survived, even if in a fractured form, throughout the witch hunting programmes even when their religious pagan meaning has become somewhat lost. Other reference to ancient rites involving goats exists in Modern times throughout Europe, including the 'Cripple Goat' ceremony on the Isle of Skye. 

The original Goat of Mendes was sacrificed at the city of Mendes in an ancient Egyptian ritual to cleanse the sins of the population and to renew the beneficial forces for the coming year. But this merely followed on from its use as a sacred animal in Sumerian and then Babylonian religions. Just as the Jews (and then the Christians) took their myths about creation from the Sumerian and Babylonian religions, the idea of the risen Sun God / Ra / Zeus / Dionysus / Mithra or Christ figure was also a development of earlier religious beliefs and so it was no accident that the Goat of Mendes found itself represented as the Scape Goat in the Jewish religion after it appeared in the Egyptian liturgy. The problem began when the Christian Church decided to monopolise ALL religious belief and suppress anything that went before which was not seen by them as strictly Christian.

The claims made about Witches (which meant those who adhered to the old religion or old ways - lets not forget that the word Pagan is Latin for 'Rustic') trafficking with a devil-goat are examples of the way that the twisted fundamentalist mindset re-interprets things in a darker dimension in order to grasp control of society and to terrorise the masses. At the time of the Witch hunts literally millions of people were either goat herders or had connections with goats. It is the modern day equivalent of identifying Satanists as people who drive cars! In rural society EVERYONE had become a suspect.

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Witches or Pagans never worshiped a devil. There was no devil figure in their cosmology. The Pagan Celts sometimes used a horned animal to represent maleness, virility, power, courage and strength. Just as the Vikings used horns as emblems. At other times and elsewhere in Britain other tribes used different horned animals to represent these things. In Southern England it was a stag (Herne the Hunter) and in other parts of Europe Cernuous was the stag deity. Sometimes another animal without horns would be felt to be more appropriate, such as the White Horse of Uffington. The lineage of all these animal totems can be clearly seen in the prehistoric cave paintings that our ancestors have left for us. To the twisted fundamentalist Christians of the time EVERYTHING with horns was a reminder of the great pagan civilisations of the past and had to be eradicated if they were to succeed.

  The key factor in the supposed witches rites of the time is it term that is repeatedly given by commentators on Witch Trials that 'Witches were reputed to worship the Devil in the form of a goat.' Indeed in many trials victims gave testimony under torture that they ' worshiped the Devil in the FORM of a goat'. Not that the Devil actually existed or actually manifested, nor that the goat was anything other than a goat. In short, the victims were peasants following the old ways and it was their inquisitors who turned the scape-goat into the Christian devil for only later did the twisted demonologists add the imagery of the half-man, half-goat figure with a pointed tail to equation and then begin asking questions about 'him' under torture to get confirmation.

ry of a half-man the equat

The original meanings and purpose of Pagan icons were quite clear and had been tolerated by the Christian Church for centuries. The horned goats, bulls and rams were not 'worshiped' in any way by the religious orthodoxies of the time. The goats, bulls, stags etc. were merely involved in ceremonies when it was relevant to the life styles of the people. These ancient rites were reinterpreted with an evil or immoral context by the church in order to justify the genocide of millions of innocent peasants, whose only crime was to follow the old folk tradition. 

Complete eradication of these horned icons was impossible, as they existed not only in the minds of the masses, but as realities in their everyday lives. Therefore the Catholic Church had to compromise and allowed many of the old Gods and icons to meld with their own. For instance the popular icon of the Mary cradling Jesus is a direct lift from statues and paintings of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis who is shown cradling the baby Horus two thousand years before the Mary legend was created.

Soon it was not long before anything that did not fit with the Christian cosmology was attributed to the 'devil figure' even though there never was an authentic 'devil' image because no pre-Christian religion ever had a 'devil' in its cosmology. The first likenesses of the devil were produced in the late 15th century as a by-product of the witch-hunts.

Senseless and irrational admissions about supposed meetings of witches were forced from the accused via torture. The ironic reasoning behind the compulsory use of torture was that it was said to be the only thing that would guarantee the accused spoke the truth! In reality the millions of people who were subjected to the most agonising torture imaginable invented anything they thought might stop the unbearable pain. 

The icon which most people now believe to be a depiction of the devil is Eliphas Levi's 'Goat of Mendes drawing.' This is a relatively modern image, created and drawn by Levi who was a knowledgeable and influential French Quabbalistic Magician whose work in the late 19th Century is said to have started the modern occult revival. In his book 'Transcendental Magic' from 1860 Levi (who had been a Roman Catholic priest) explains that his image symbolises the position of non ascended / non aware humans, linked more to their bestial nature than their god like consciousness. The animal kameas chosen to represent the elemental forces which create our environment. eliphas_levi 3.jpg (29874 bytes)
Eliphas Levi

The Goat sits in water and bears a fiery torch of knowledge between its horns. One arm points to Heaven bearing the inscription' Solve' or' to set free' and one to Earth bearing the legend 'Coagula or (Coagulation / Density / to impede). This image includes the waxing and waning moons and is of Alchemical importance. It is also said to reflect the teachings of the Templars about gnosis, the ability of man to know God directly once he has overcome his animal self. Although the Knights Templar group was an off shoot of the Catholic church and spent hundreds of years crusading against the Moslems (and therefore had nothing to do with paganism) the group fell into disfavour and was suppressed in 1320 following information given by renegade members about supposed heretical practices.

The persecution of the Templars occurred just as the European witch-hunts were gathering pace and so evidence about their supposed devilish practices was incorporated into the developing demonology. The Templars named their icon (of which no drawing, painting or effigy has ever been found) - Baphomet. Levi's drawing was an attempt to give form to this idea 600 years after the event. The image is often described as the 'Goat of Mendes', 'The Witches God' or 'Satan'. None of these is correct. Basically Levi’s drawing represents the animal nature of mankind, which the thinking person has to transcend in order to develop.

One thing is clear; Levi’s image (on which Dennis Wheatly and Hammer Horror films built their fortunes) is NOT a devil figure and was never meant to be. For Levi's model is a Hermaphrodite. In particular, it has breasts. The lack of breasts is a give away for fraudulent versions. Film depictions usually show the 'devil' as being all male and thereby they miss the symbolism entirely.

Levi's figure has nothing to do with witchcraft for it is based on Judaic and Quabbalistic philosophies which are not the same as the use of the goat in Paganism. It is plain that the use of the Goat as a symbol in Paganism the world over is related to its relevance in the day-to-day mundane life of the locality, not to any religious belief in a Devilish deity. As with all knowledge, the truth if any one thing resides in its opposites. The Christian Missionaries have lied to the people for thousands of years and controlled their minds and actions in the process. There was never any Devil other than in their own warped imaginations and any act of Devilry was solely down to them.


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