Monday, July 27, 2015

James I and Witches

If James VI and I had been brought up by his mother Mary Queen of Scots, I doubt that would have been so obsessed with the dark side. From author Linda Root:
The king’s unhealthy concern with witchcraft and the occult began with his marriage to Anne of Denmark. They wed by proxy in August 1589 at Kronborg, Denmark, with George  Keith, 5th Earl Marischal, sitting in for James in their bridal bed. North Sea storms nearly left Queen Anne shipwrecked as she sailed to Scotland to meet her spouse. As it was, instead of sailing to her coronation, she ended up marooned in Oslo.  The already daemonophobic Danes were convinced witches were to blame.

In what one of his biographers has called the one romantic episode of his life, the King of Scots braved both witches and the North Sea, commandeered a less than enthusiastic Chancellor Thirlestane and sailed to Scandinavia to fetch his bride.  It was less than smooth sailing, but he made it safely to a Scandinavian port. While in Denmark, he shared his apprehensions concerning interference from the Underworld with his brother-in-law the King of Denmark and apparently got an earful from King Christian. Then he learned that a congregation of covens had been held at North Berwick where they tossed tortured feral cats into the surf and offered incantations to the Devil to churn the seas. There is ample evidence a group of Scottish witches indeed congregated on All Hallows Eve in a North Berwick churchyard, harboring a malicious intent. (Read more.)

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