Wicca is based on ancient northern European Pagan which came from the mists of Neolithic history, which basically covers the fertility and agrarian society. Nature worshipping and the subsequent interaction with nature came from the practices by the Celtic clans of Western Europe and the indigenous people of the British Isles, who, in our history, were the builders of the Stonehenge monuments.
The Wiccan nature worship systems were filtered down through our history in countless ways but mainly, they practice in secrets, hidden in the eyes of the society, even today. This secrecy was due to the dominance of the Europe’s Roman Catholic Church. The Burning Times started roughly from the year 1000 to around the 1700s where countless numbers of witches were executed through the misapplication of the biblical texts. The most common biblical verse that supports this incident was found in Exodus 22:18, “You shall not allow a sorceress to live.” Christian witch-hunters were attempting to root out practitioners of older pagan religions. The Roman Catholic didn’t convert people to orthodox Christianity through preaching and catechism alone.
A lot of witches were sacrificed through their ordeal. It was a long period of suffering for them since they were perceived as evil persons, primarily women, who devoted their lives to harming and killing others through black magic and sorcery.
The Witches killing spree didn’t really started immediately on the rulings of Christianity. During the 9th century, the Catholics were first neutral about the issues circulating about witchcraft. They considered it as a myth, an illusion and a form of exaggerated information. It was a not a capital problem in the society since whoever was proven to be a witch only has a mild punishment: “If a woman works witchcraft and enchantment and [uses] magickal philters, she shall fast for twelve months… If she kills anyone by her philters, she shall fast for seven years.” Fasting in these times involved only consuming bread and water.
This however changed through the years. Everything was linked to heretics. At first, during the year 1252, the church under Pope Innocent IV ordered not to investigate charges of divination or sorcery unless heresy was involved.
But on year 1326, the church started the authorization to investigate witchcraft and to develop “demonology,” which is the theory of the diabolic origin of witchcraft itself. This also started the concept of witches as evil sorcerers and believes that they have sworn allegiance to Satan, had sexual relationship with the devil himself, kidnapped and ate children for their own satisfactions, etc. Because of this, the Black Death epidemic started and has caused an uproar among other people. A large part of Europe’s population were reduced as conspiracies and theories were spread like wildfire from town to town.
Other religions were also affected as they were also accused as witches for poisoning wells and farms as disease spreads. Soon, Christian theologians started to write articles, journals, and books, which “proved” that witches really do exists.
The Roman Catholic Church soon began the first major witch-hunt. They created an imaginary evil religion, using stereotypes and false information. This is where the pagans were also involved. Any religion who worship other gods and goddesses were considered as evil witches who kidnaps children, sold their soul to satan, can fly through the air, causes diseases and misfortunes to other people, etc. The Church itself used this information to lure other people in their religion. It was a tool of repression, a scape-goat for God, a way for them to explain the existence of evil in the world.
This started The Burning Times, the persecution of the witches through burning in a stake in front of the whole town and city to see. They would track down, torture and execute any accused witches or satan worshipers.
The Wiccans (also known as Pagans in the past) were also wrongly accused and persecuted since they also do rituals, spells and magicks, and worship other gods and goddesses. Even though wiccans are known as good witches who harm no one, they were still considered as evil because of the christian revolution.
When the witch-hunt calmed down, the witches that survived the torturous era came into hiding. What happened has traumatized them and caused a scar in their image.