ANCIENT WORSHIP AND CULTS
Ancient worship and cults have formed part of the fabric of society since time immemorial. Usually characterised by obsessive behaviour and often involving sacrifice, they were the raison d`etre among many peoples of the old order.
The ancients drew spiritual stamina from resolute objects such as a mountain or courage and virility from a bull. Mesopotamian society elevated trees to regal status when the central trunk symbolised the fertile womb. By the third century BC, 'tree worship' had reached Rome in the Cult of Cybele, the Great Mother Goddess.
In ancient Egypt, the Cult of the Dead venerated Osiris, Lord of the Underworld. Other Pharoanic cults worshipped the female deity Isis while allied cults in classical Greece paid homage to Artemis and Lato. Then there was the cult of the Minotaur, the rampant Bull-God celebrated in ancient Crete.
The Druids are the best known of the Gallic peoples who were all exceedingly influenced by religious superstition. In common with other ancient civilisations such as the Nabataeans and the Aztecs they performed human sacrifices on massive altars at Stonehenge.
Voodoo, an amalgamation of ethnic superstition, ancestor worship and Roman Catholic dogma remains widespread in Africa and brought to the New World via slaves is now an integral part of society in Cuba, Haiti and Bahia in Brazil. The blessing of a gri-gri charm or the slaughter of a cock are part of voodoo magic and the occult.
Belief that Witchcraft was evil lead to purges in medieval Christian Europe and the New World notably in Massachusetts but its rituals, though secretive, focus largely on Nature and the Mother Goddess. Emphasis is placed on the development of self growth and personal power with magical practices often conducted 'sky clad' or nude. Both Wicca and Goddess worship are enjoying a revival in interest.