Oliver Madox Hueffer The Book of Witches

ISBN 13: 9781150509957

The Book of Witches

 
9781150509957: The Book of Witches

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1908. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER XII PERSECUTIONS IN SCOTLAND The influence of longitude upon national tendencies in superstition is far too wide a subject to be here discussed in any detail, but speaking generally, it may be said that the superstitions of a people--as their religion--are largely a matter of climate--milder and more genial in temperate districts, carried to fiercer and more terrible lengths amid extremes of heat and cold. The man whose gods are based upon his conceptions of the thunderstorm, the grim northern winter or the tropical sun, evokes sterner and more dreadful images than he whose lot is cast amid mild skies and gentle breezes. How wide is the difference between the grim gods who ruled the inhospitable heavens of Scandinavian and Teuton from the tolerant Bohemians who tenanted the classical Olympus. The gentle dryads and light-hearted fauns of Italy would have perished in the first snows of a Baltic winter, just as the hungry ravens of Woden would have been metamorphosed into Venus' doves in one Italian generation. Nowhere is the influence of climate upon national temperament more clearly typified than in the island of Great Britain. The Viking, settling amid the lush meadows and pleasant woodlands of England, laid aside his heathen sacrifices for the more climatically appropriate religion of Christ with scarcely a regret. Thor and Woden long held their own in the bare northern fastnesses, not to be finally driven out until they had tinged the Christianity which took their place with something of their own hopelessness and gloom. Just as the gods of Valhalla ever looked forward to the day of their destruction, so Hell rather than Heaven has always held the leading place in the Scottish imagination. So it came about that the superstitions of the Scot were gloomi...

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