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Although this article is based on canonical information, the actual name of this subject is conjectural.
A Rite of Passage into Witchcraft.
|“||Now tell him. Say it. This is what you want.||”|
The Initiation, or "Deal with the Devil," is the Rite of Passage into Witchcraft. The basis of the Initiation is notably straightforward, as all it requires is for a person to summon the Dark Lord and making a deal with him in exchange for power. What this deal varies from person to person, however, most witches have been known to exchange their souls to the Devil in trade for power. While this method is most common among those who practice Dark Magic (or Malice), this is not the only way for one to become a witch as the Devil they worship might not desire their souls, but rather something else of value.
Whenever a man or woman summons the Devil and offers that deity something valuable, such as their own soul, that person will be made into a witch. While the invocation of the deity commonly requires the presence of another witch, as proven by Tituba, this intermediary is not necessary as the deity can hear their call and will appear to them on their own. Tituba explained to Reverend Increase Mather that shortly after her village was invaded by slavers, she called out for God to protect her, but he never intervened. Instead, God "answered with thunder" and allowed Tituba and her people to be sold into slavery. Feeling abandoned and betrayed by the Abrahamic God, another god, that Tituba called the "Kanaima", heard her cries and appeared to her in the woods. However, Tituba told Increase that she was afraid of the Kanaima at first, and initially denied his offer of salvation. However, Tituba claims that though she rejected the Kanaima, he never abandoned her and that she could feel his presence wherever she went. Later, after several years of abuse from her masters, Tituba finally accepted his proposal and offered him her soul in exchange for power and protection. Keeping his promise, the Kanaima blessed Tituba with the power she needed to defeat her enemies and to protect herself from any further abuse. Overwhelmed the unconditional love she received from the Kanaima, Tituba has since devoted herself to complete the Grand Rite, to free her God from Hell so that he might right the wrongs of the world and average all of those who have suffered at the hands the violent and hypocritical Puritans.
All the powers bestowed upon the witch at the time of the pact with the Devil can be cruelly revoked by the latter at any given time through a ritual known as "The Reckoning."
Throughout the Salem Series
Brought to despair, deprived of her beloved, and with a child in her womb conceived out of wedlock, Mary Walcott offered herself and her unborn son to the Devil in exchange for prestige and the power to overthrow those who have oppressed her, forcing her to join the dark forces. Assisted by her servant Tituba, Mary hath gone into the forest and at the foot of an old tree has conceived her child while she was dazed by an unknown potion sprinkled on her face and body. With ramifications of hell-blood creeping up her legs and then, up to the groin, Mary has had visions of a satyr-like creatures, a man with bestial traits and covered with blood, who was chasing her in the woods and took every now and then likeness of her beloved John Alden (The Vow).
Willing to join the witches hive, Mercy Lewis didn't know the price to pay for wanting to dabble in witchcraft. Brought to the brink of a nervous breakdown, with the terror of being slaughtered by a razor from a deadpan Mary Sibley, the young daughter of the Reverend was completely stripped and left in the midst of the cold trees forest, approached by a hybrid being with goat head and the body of a man, except the goat-footed. Traumatised by this meeting, Mercy became an Essex witch with the aid of her mentor Mary Sibley and the promise not to suffer anymore at the hands of the Puritans and the granted power to make her own destiny. (The Red Roses and the Briar).
While she was brutally tortured, the slave Tituba had the opportunity to tell her story to Increase Mather, talking about how the white man's cruelty and the absence of God's answers to her prayers led her to seek comfort in the night, becoming friend of the Kenaima, a mysterious being of the wilderness, the only one who accepted the pleas and her cry for help, promising to destroy her enemies with a mighty fist and make her miss anything. A very young Tituba was then very well instructed by the Devil himself in the art of sorcery, possibly becoming one of the most knowledgeable among the Essex witches (The House of Pain).
Lost in the woods, the young Anne Hale was approached by the Devil in the guise of a naked man covered in blood and dirt, who welcomed her with joy, exclaiming "At last, you found your way home", anticipating what was to come only months later (The House of Pain). Once accepted her role as a witch and started to master her magical abilities, Anne Hale had to submit to a dreadful meeting with the Devil, a rough deal to be paid in exchange of power guaranteed by the forces of darkness. Raped in the heart of the forest in order to ascend to the witch title, left to fend for herself to find in her the strength to be what didn't kill her (Wages of Sin).
- Tituba (to Mary): Tell him. Say it. This is what you want. And all the world shall be yours in return.
- — The Vow
- Mary Sibley: And what about witches? Do they have souls, too?
- Cotton Mather: They do. But they have deeded them to the Devil himself in exchange for powers and all that they desire.
- Mary Sibley: A contract? Ironic, as I believe, by law, a woman's not allowed to enter a contract but through the agency of their husband.
- Cotton Mather: Not all witches are women.
- — The Vow
- Mercy Lewis: But how are we here? We're in the woods. We were in your room. You locked the door.
- Mary Sibley: There are many doors to many places for a witch.
- Mercy Lewis: I never said you were that. I-I'd never point my finger at you. I swear. I wouldn't. I won't.
- Mary Sibley: No. You most certainly won't.
- — The Red Rose and the Briar
- John Hale: "Because, dearest, there is no gift that is not also a curse, and I wish you save you from the price of your gifts. But having come this far, the price must be paid. I am so deeply sorry, my child, but it cannot be escaped or evaded. No gift without a curse. And he is the curse."
- — Wages of Sin
- Mary Sibley: I am proud. You were always stronger than I cared to see. And now that he has visited you, doubly so.
- Anne Hale: How did you know?
- Mary Sibley: I sensed it the moment I saw you. He came last night?
- Anne Hale: I have been telling myself it was not the devil but only a nightmare.
- Mary Sibley: He must appear to each of us. It is the prerequisite for all the power he grants. I know, his is a rough magic, indeed. But he proves that what does not kill us, makes us stronger. Like it or not, you are in this war.And you are now an even more powerful soldier in it.
- — Til Death Do Us Part
- Mary Sibley: You have had a small taste of the ecstasy and insight that awaits you down the crooked way. I warn you. It leads far from the comfortable main roads of civilisation.
- Dr. Wainwright: Well, then let me begin my journey at once.
- Mary Sibley: Patience. Before you can continue your journey, you must go before the Dark Powers and strike your own bargain. At the witching hour, at midnight. Your journey begins then. In the meantime, you must make yourself useful.
- Dr. Wainwright: Anything. I am your humble servant.
- — Wages of Sin
- During Season One Special "The Real Witchcraft of Salem", co-creator Adam Simon referred to this process as "Deal with the Devil", while specifically talking of Mary Sibley's initiation in The Vow.
- A spiritual initiation rite normally implies a shepherding process where those who are at a higher level guide the initiate through a process of greater exposure of knowledge. This may include the revelation of secrets, hence the term secret society for such organisations, usually reserved for those at the higher level of understanding. One famous historical example is the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece, thought to go back to at least the Mycenaean period or "Bronze Age".
- In the context of Ceremonial Magic and various Occult cults, an Initiation is considered to cause a fundamental process of change beginning within the person being initiated. The person conducting the initiation, being in possession of a certain power or state of being, transfers this power or state to the person being initiated.
- The whole process that goes by the name of "Pact with the Devil" is not yet entirely clear, as extrapolated from the speeches of very different characters as it may be a witch from a Puritan:
- According to Reverend Cotton Mather, the price to pay is to sell one's soul to the Devil.
- From some of the speeches between Mary Sibley and Tituba, the word soul has been used in a figurative sense ("body and soul"), meaning the total devotion to the cause of the witches rather than the actual sale of the soul as a tangible object, so to speak.
- Anne Hale was raped as a pledge for her powers and probably Mercy Lewis suffered the same treatment as she was left naked in the woods in the hands of the Devil in the guise of a satyr. Both Mary Sibley and John Hale (through what he wrote in his Book of Shadows) said to Anne Hale that this - probably referring to the rape - is the price to pay for power because the Devil is a curse, the downside for all the prodigious powers that a witch gets.
- It is unclear whether there is a unique payment or if every witch is a special case, with consequent payment depending on what the witch has most dear to sacrifice to the Devil.
- The pact should be stipulated not only by ordinary mortals who want to become witches but also by the witches who are born as such, making it clear that the powers of all the witches shown so far, whether made or born, come from Satan.
- Of all Initiations or Pacts with the Devil, the one signed by Tituba is the less violent shown on-screen, although it is possible that something more scabrous happened later. However, Tituba's loyalty to the Devil was paid dearly.
- The words Tituba said several times throughout the first season, "And all the world shall be yours in return," recalls the temptation of Jesus Christ in the Wilderness as narrated in the Gospels (Matthew 4:1-11).
- The Pact with the Devil, Faustian bargain or Witch Compact is an ancient and widespread belief in many cultures, brought into vogue by the Abrahamic faiths in the Middle Ages and much of the modern age, Motif so ingrained in popular culture that is possible to find references to it in literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, the most famous example surely the Faustian bargain with Mephistopheles.
- Although each story and belief are only to itself, the basic concept is to invoke the evil forces and establish with them a covenant in exchange for power, knowledge, wealth, health and so forth. Usually, but not always, the price to pay is the soul of the sorcerer. According to the legend or history, it is possible or not to cheat the Devil, but usually ends badly for the sorcerer because the soul is now corrupt and damned to Hell. During the witch trials of the modern era were found contracts drawn up with blood, written with seals and diabolical signatures, believed by witch hunters to be imprinted directly from Devil's claw.