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Fact from Fiction

             The practices and beliefs of the pagan earth based religions have been demonized for centuries thru literature. Many classical and contemporary authors are responsible for perpetuating the misconceptions most commonly found in society regarding earth based pagan religions by using labels such as witch and paganism in conjunction with satanism. However, there are some publications that depict a more truthful view of the life and actions of pagans or witches. William Shakespeare's "Macbeth," Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," and Richard Cavendish's "The Black Arts" all have stereotypical falsehoods that tarnish the good work of these earth worshipers. Included in the sources of truthful depictions are Lady Sheba's "The Grimoire of Lady Sheba," Dr. Raymond Buckland's "Complete Book of Witchcraft," The New York Times staff writer "At a Witchcraft Museum, Halloween Is More Than Trick or Treat," and http://members.tripod.com/~AradiaMoonshadow/rede.html.
             The witches featured in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" are shown to be vile, ugly, and cursing creatures. This is expressed in scene III of act I when Macbeth and his companion Banquo happen upon three witches. Banquo says the following:.
             "How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these.
             So wither'd and so wild in their attire,.
             That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,.
             And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught.
             That man may question? You seem to understand me,.
             By each at once her chappy finger laying.
             Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,.
             And yet your beards forbid me to interpret.
             That you are so." (Shakespeare).
             In this example Shakespeare is painting a picture of what a witch is supposed to look like. He describes them as withered and wild and unlike anyone on earth. From descriptions like this people have formed the idea that all witches are ugly old hags. .
             Shakespeare not only describes witches as physically ugly but also inwardly ugly and evil.

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