LETTERS: Which witch is which

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The Independent Online
From Rowan Sir: I would like to thank the Independent for approaching the subject of witchcraft in so sympathetic and open-minded a manner ("Abracadabra, maleficarum, zoophilia: a compleat A-Z of British witchcraft", 16 December).

May I point out, however, that the Malleus Maleficarum ("The Hammer of the Witches") was not an anti-witchcraft law - it the torture manual written by two Dominican friars which was officially distributed by the Catholic Church to its inquisitors for usewhen interrogating suspected witches and heretics - or anyone else who disagreed with it.

Secondly, there is no such post as a Magistrar. I suspect you mistook the old title of Magister which was that of the male head of a traditional (pre-wiccan) coven, the title of the female head being usually Maid or Maiden (as in Marian). Modern, ie wiccan, groups tend to use the titles of High Priest and High Priestess respectively.

Much of the standard wiccan liturgy and practice is now in the public domain and can bought off the shelves of those high-street bookshops which stock a reasonable selection of "New Age" titles. Much, however, is still kept secret, especially that used by traditional groups which has never been published.

Yours faithfully, ROWAN Redditch, Worcestershire

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