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|“||The Earth and all the things that live on it share a single invisible form within. Like the bones within a man. But this is not bone, it is alive. Like a great, invisible Snake coiled, sleeping inside the Earth. They seek to wake Him. They think they can control it but it will destroy them, and when they are through, this will not be the place we knew. It will be Hell.||”|
— Shaman about Nature
The Earth is but one of the ecosystems of the countless dimensions existing in the Universe.
How the Earth actually came into existence is quite unknown, except that Angels contributed to shaping its "geometries", and throughout history, every religion has tried to give explanations for its existence. According to Native American teachings, the Earth is an interconnected ecosystem of elemental spirits that can be favourable or harmful to humans; The Dark Lord is believed to be a deadly creature, sleeping underneath the earth. In addition, all the things living on Earth share an invisible form within.
On the other hand, the Puritans taught to fear the wilderness, considering it a deceptive work of Satan to push into sin even the most pious of men.
Nature is constantly mentioned by witches, for one of their main goals is to cleanse the Earth from the hypocritical scourge of Puritans.
Nature is honoured by both Native Americans tribes and the Essex Hive who believe that the Earth is the physical manifestation of the divine. The ancient members of the Essex Hive known as Widdershins, hidden inside the deepest of the woods, have a history of Nature-centered beliefs before entering a covenant with the Devil in order to acquire further powers to defend themselves against their oppressors.
Later on, after abandoning the powers given to them by the Devil when he turned his back on them, the Essex Hive turned to utilising the very magic of Earth itself as an entity, which further proves that the Earth itself is actually a source of great magic. Before her death, the Essex Elder also affirmed the hive's belief in the Earth being a manifestation of the divine feminine.
Source of Power
As demonstrated by the various types of magical practitioners, the Earth itself is a source of tremendous magical powers. However, while witches are able to independently manipulate the Earth as they pleased thanks to the gifts bestowed upon them by the Devil, non-witch practitioners such as shamans, Cunning Ones, and pagans usually require conduits such as plants, herbs, talismans, etc. to channel and cast Earth's magic to do their bidding. Potion brewing and sympathetic magic are the most versatile practices for achieving various feats of magic such as divination, forms of projection, and enchantments that include even raising the dead.
|“||Do not fear the woods.||”|
The Woods is the primary place where Nature shows itself to the eyes of men. Since the Pagans practised their rituals in close contact with nature, the Christians, and especially the Puritans, demonised forests, streams and meadows, turning them into the Devil's dangerous lair and the home of his followers, the fearsome witches. It is no coincidence, then, that the woods are the hiding place of the old hags, as well as the meeting point for the celebration of the Witches' Sabbath.
The woods, however, are the home and the temple of the Native American population, who worship the Great Spirit, a deity who shows to its followers in many different forms of Nature. The Essex Stronghold is located in the deepest of the Salem woods.
Throughout the Salem Series
In After the Fall and The Heart Is A Devil, upon Tituba's persuasion, the Essex Hive combined their powers to utilise the Tree of Life to resurrect Mary - a particularly significant display of magic, for at that moment, they had abandoned their contractual powers from the Devil, and were utilising the very magic of Earth itself an entity. While Mary was resurrected as a hale, whole person, it was revealed and subsequently shown that due to her resurrection by the tree, she was now bound to it, and unable to leave Salem until the day she died.
In The Commonwealth of Hell, due to Tituba's deception, the Essex Elder utilised the Tree of Life to literally tear a member of the hive apart through branches. This was another testament to the might of Earth's magic, especially since the tree itself was dying from the Devil's influence.
In The Man Who Was Thursday, when Mary met up with the Essex witches in accordance with their plan to destroy the Devil, she mourned over the sacrifice they would have to make. The Essex Elder comforted her by reminding her that the hive's original duty was to serve Mother Earth's will, and that they all, including Mother Earth Herself, was indebted to Mary. Channeling Earth's magic, the witches restrained the Devil with vines, and then sacrificed themselves to imbue Mary with enough magical power to dismember the Devil's human vessel - literally ripping it apart through vines and branches, rendering the Devil without a physical foothold on Earth until Tituba resurrected him. Hence, this could be said to be the most spectacular feat of Earth's magic, being - besides the Angel Dagger - able to destroy a Fallen Angel's vessel, which usually magically heals from weapons inflicted by conventional weapons.
- John Alden: "Cotton! What in the hell?"
- Cotton Mather: "Oh, not Hell, Johnny, nor Heaven. Just Earth! Glorious, glorious Earth."
- Magistrate Hale: "I fear the Reverend has gone mad."
- John Alden: "Cotton, get your drunk ass down here."
- Cotton Mather: "No, sir, I will not. I can see far more clearly from here. In fact, I can see everything. God himself walks among these woods, trailing clouds of animal glory."
- John Alden: "What happened to you?"
- Cotton Mather: "I took my boots off."
- John Alden: "Yeah, so?"
- Cotton Mather: "So, I felt the earth! I felt the raw, sacred earth beneath my naked feet. I felt the earth breathe."
- John Alden: "Go home. If your great insight is real, it will be just as real in your chambers and a whole lot safer."
- Cotton Mather: "The forest air and this sturdy tree are my teachers now."
- Magistrate Hale: "We haven't time for this."
- Cotton Mather: "I still have much to learn!"
- — The House of Pain
- Mary Sibley: "Those are deep woods, Sir. Even locals fear to trek there."
- Dr, Wainwright: "Ah. Terra incognita. Well, I live for unexplored territory. And in my experience, often the most fearsome landscapes are hiding the most succulent gardens."
- — Cry Havoc
- Essex Elder (to Mary Sibley): "The course of life is not ours to direct but the primordial right of the Earth. Hers is the only will we carry forth. She is indebted to you, as are we, Mary, for what you will do."
- — The Man Who Was Thursday
- Witches are able to control the natural elements and change the surrounding environment with their magic.
- The Kanaima is believed by witches to be the embodiment of Nature and is both a benevolent and malevolent Deity. According to the Shaman, however, He is nothing but a deceitful serpent lying underground waiting to destroy the world, bringing Hell on Earth.
- Puritans are taught to fear the woods and animals because they are nothing but evil temptations created by the devil.