14th-Century Satanic Witch
Dame Alice Kyteler, a lady of wealth with a high social standing in Kilkenny Ireland. Her name became known in the year of 1324, during the first large witch trial to take place in Ireland. This accused witch had been married four times and had inherited 3 of her former husbands’ estates. Her 4th and still living husband at the time of her trail, Sir John le Poer, is the one who turned her in, with the help of her maid-servant who had informed him that his wife was slowly poisoning him. Sir John forcibly took possession of his wife’s keys and opened the boxes and chests that were in her room. From what he had found was enough to convince him that yes , his wife was indeed a witch under Satan. He then sent the contents he had found to the Bishop of Ossory, as evidence of poisoning and witchcraft. When this came into the spotlight, Dame Alice’s stepchildren by her previous marriages joined in the accusations against her. They claimed that she used witchcraft to kill their fathers so to gain their wealth.
Surprisingly, many of the Irish nobles supported Dame Alice and opposed the Bishop. From the recorded accounts, given by Holinshed in his Chronicle of Ireland (London,1587), states that: The Lady Alice Kettle, whom the Bishop asscited , to purge herself of the fame of enchantment and witchcraft imposed unto her and to one Petronil and one Basil, her complices. She was charged to have nightly conference with a spirit called Robert Artisson, (this name also happens to be the pen name of a present day traditional witchcraft author) to whom she sacrificed nine red cocks and nine peacocks’ eyes. Also that she swept the streets of Kilkenny between compline and twilight, raking all the filth towards the doors of her son William Outlawe, murmuring secretly with herself: “To the house of William my son, Hie all the wealth of Kilennie town“.
At the first conviction they abjured and did penance, but shortly after they were found in relapse, and Alice’s companion in witchcraft, Petronill, was burnt at Kilkenny. Oddly there is no account of what happened to her other accused companion, Basil. During the hour of her death, Alice accused her son William, as being privy to the sorceries of her and her companions. After some torture, William was imprisoned for a period of three months, in which during that time the Bishop had ordered that Dame Alice’s , now former belongings, be searched. During this search a wafer of sacramental bread was found with the Devil’s name stamped upon it in place of that of the Christ. A pipe of ointment and a greased staff were also found. During her confessions ,Alice had mentioned about such items, stating that the greased staff was used for her encounters with the Devil, also to ride upon the astral and join in to the Witches’ nocturnal Sabbat rites.
This business, about these witches, troubled all of Ireland. Troubling even more was that Lady or Dame Alice was supported by the majority of the nobles, and lastly conveyed over into England, since which time it could never be understood what really became of her.
The account above, lends us some insight into the type of magical working Dame Alice and her coven engaged in. The sweeping of the streets to her son’s door is a good example of sympathetic magick ( low magick). Compline was the last religious service of the day and to conduct magick or ritual on any Christian religious holiday or “sacred” day or time, is a practice held by many Satanists from past and up until this day. It’s considered a blasphemous rite or thing to do. It also is relevant to note, that back then and even some old fashioned types today who hold true to superstition, believe it to be so know, that using a broom after dark was considered to be an action to call upon the Devil. The staff and ointment which were among Alice’s belongings are typical within the history of witchcraft lore and myth. The staff could have been either a Stang or a broom handle and the ointment would be the famous witches’ flying ointment which would have contained psychoactive plant materials. According to folklore, witches would rub this ointment on their genitals or in some cases on broom handles and insert it into them in a sexual manner. This is where the stories of sex with the Devil and flying on brooms come into play. The effects of the psychoactive plants in the ointment would aide the witch to enter into trance and between the realms to the Sabbat. The account about the sacrifice of nine red cocks and nine peacocks eyes is not to be taken literally, it actually refers to nine tail feathers of each. Note that especially with peacocks that their tail feathers bear impressionable eye like markings. Beautiful as they might be, peacock feathers are feared by many who hold to the superstition that they bring bad luck when kept in the home. When searching further to the root of this superstition, it is believed so because the peacock is considered to hold sinister properties and is associated with the Devil/Satan. Peacocks like Lucifer hold pride. In Italy, peacock feathers are called “la penna malgina” , and are associated with witchcraft and the Evil Eye. In the Near East, the obscure sect of the Yezidis, have been accused of worshipping the Devil under the form of Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. Many Theist Satanists follow the mythological story of Melek Taus and this is one of the names still used today for the Devil/Satan or is highly associated with Satan’s aspect of Lucifer. The spirit mentioned to have visited Dame Alice nightly, Robert Artisson, is actually another name for the Devil or sometimes translated to be “The Son of the Devil” which in this case would make him to be Cain/Qayn/Qyain On a side note: Robert shortened in Rob and the name Robin (sometimes Robin of the Arts), is another title for the Devil/Satan.
(insert from my upcoming book on Satanic Witchcraft).
Copyright Kindra Ravenmoon.