Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's a toad got to do with anything?

Toads have just as long of a history with witches and play just as an important role in the history of witchcraft as cats do. Here's a lil' interesting info I stumbled upon. I've always wondered what the significance of a toad was to a witch...

*Many of us are familiar with the age old belief that witches were comonly thought to have warts because they handled toads. Of course we know that toads do not cause warts to appear. To have a wart was once a sure mark of a witch. Toads play many roles in witchcraft as do cats, serving as familiars as well as components to spells and minions of the devil.

*Toads were perfect as familiars. Thanks to the two tiny horns borne on his forehead, a toad was recognizable as a demon, and witches took infinite care of him. They baptized their toads, dressed them in black velvet, put little bells on their paws, and made them dance.

*The breath of toads, and sometimes even being glanced upon by a toad, was also considered dangerous. The breath of a toad was believed to infect a person wherever it touched. Another common superstition existed stating those whom a toad regarded fixedly would be sized by spasms, palpitations, swoons, and convulsions.

*Toads secrete a thick, white, hallucinogenic substance from skin glands when they are injured or provoked. The secretion acts like digitalis in biological action, and was believed to have been used by witches for various nefarious purposes. Toad excrement was theoretically used as an ingredient in flying poitions by Basque witches. In Artois, a flying potion made from toads was created when the witch put consecrated bread and wine into a pot full of toads. When the toads had devoured the sacrament, they were killed and burned. Then the ashes of the toads were mixed with the powdered bones of dead Christians, the blood of children, herbs, and the recipe was completed with ‘other things'. Mmmm...scrumptious. Unfortunate toads could be decapitated, skinned, and thrown into cauldrons along with other strange ingredients. A lotion of sow-thistle sap and toads spittle was believed to make a witch invisible, and brandy embued with burned toad ashes was believed to be an effective cure for drunkenness. If a toad was baptized with an enemy’s name then tortured to death, the victim supposedly suffered the same fate. Nice.

*Sometimes the Devil would appear to witches as a toad. In these instances, witches would kiss the toad’s mouth in an act of homage. Satan was believed to have presided at Sabbats in the form of a he-goat, a black cat, a raven or crow, or a feathered toad. In their worship of the Devil, witches were said to have mangled, torn apart, and bitten toads. By stamping his foot, the Devil could send all toads into the earth. Yipee-yi-yo-ki-yay.

Now all my questions have been answered. ^_^

1 comment:

Wendy the (Very) Good Witch said...

That Toad Stew sounds simply scrumptious...ha ha! Eeeew! RIBBIT! RIBBIT!