Cops: Wiccan listed victim as 'sacrifice' in phone
A self-described Wiccan had a man's phone number programmed in her cell phone under the word "sacrifice" before she stabbed him to death, then claimed he had tried to rape her, authorities said Thursday.UPDATE:
Angela Sanford, 30, is accused of killing 52-year-old Joel Leyba last month with a dagger after inviting him to join her in a Wiccan celebration of spring near a popular hiking trail east of Albuquerque.
She told police she stabbed Leyba three times in the stomach after he tied her up and tried to assault her.
But police say Leyba was stabbed 11 to 13 times, and a detective reviewing Sanford's cell phone found the nickname "sacrifice" instead of Leyba's name.
Some history about modern practice of paganism from Wikipedia:
In the 1920s and 30s, the Egyptologist Dr Margaret Murray published several books detailing her theories that those persecuted as witches during the Early Modern period in Europe were not, as the persecutors had claimed, followers of Satanism, but adherents of a surviving pre-Christian pagan religion - the Witch-Cult. Despite now being discredited by further historical research, her theories were widely accepted and supported at the time.
It was during the 1930s that the first evidence appears for the practice of a pagan Witchcraft religion (what would be recognisable now as Wicca) in England. It seems that several groups around the country, in such places as Norfolk, Cheshire and the New Forest had set themselves up as continuing in the tradition of Murray's Witch-Cult, albeit with influences coming from disparate sources such as ceremonial magic, folk magic, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Romanticism, Druidry, classical mythology and Asian religions.
The Witchcraft religion became more prominent in the 1950s with the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1735, after which several figures, such as Charles Cardell, Cecil Williamson and most notably Gerald Gardner, began propagating their own versions of the Craft. Gardner had been initiated into the New Forest coven in 1939, before forming his own tradition, later termed Gardnerianism, which he spread through the formation of groups like the Bricket Wood coven. His tradition, aided by the help of his High Priestess Doreen Valiente and the publication of his books Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959), soon became the dominant form in the country, and spread to other parts of the British Isles.
Following Gardner's death in 1964, the Craft continued to grow unabated despite sensationalism and negative portrayals in British tabloids, with new traditions being propagated by figures like Robert Cochrane, Sybil Leek and most importantly Alex Sanders, whose Alexandrian Wicca, which was predominantly based upon Gardnerian Wicca, albeit with an emphasis placed on ceremonial magic, spread quickly and gained much media attention. Around this time, the term "Wicca" began to be commonly adopted over "Witchcraft" and the faith was exported to countries like Australia and the United States.
It was in the United States and in Australia that new, home-grown traditions, sometimes based upon earlier, regional folk-magical traditions and often mixed with the basic structure of Gardnerian Wicca, began to develop, including Victor Anderson's Feri, Joseph Wilson's 1734 tradition, Aidan Kelly's New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn and eventually Zsuzsanna Budapest's Dianic Wicca, each of which emphasised different aspects of the faith. It was also around this time that books teaching people how to become Witches themselves without formal initiation or training began to emerge, among them Paul Huson's Mastering Witchcraft (1970) and Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows (1971). Similar books continued to be published throughout the 1980s and 1990s, fuelled by the writing of such authors as Doreen Valiente, Janet Farrar, Stewart Farrar and Scott Cunningham, who popularised the idea of self-initiation into the Craft.
In the 1990s, amid ever-rising numbers of self-initiates, the popular media began to explore "witchcraft" in fictional films like The Craft and television series like Charmed, introducing numbers of young people to the idea of religious witchcraft. This growing demographic was soon catered to through the Internet and by authors like Silver Ravenwolf, much to the criticism of traditional Wiccan groups and individuals. In response to the way that Wicca was increasingly portrayed as trendy, eclectic, and influenced by the New Age movement, many Witches turned to the pre-Gardnerian origins of the Craft, and to the traditions of his rivals like Cardell and Cochrane, describing themselves as following "Traditional Witchcraft". Prominent groups within this Traditional Witchcraft revival included Andrew Chumbley's Cultus Sabbati and the Cornish Ros an Bucca coven.
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