A spiritual rite of transformation, rebirth, initiation, and EXORCISM. In the Christian tradition, baptism protects a soul against evil and the snares of the DEVIL. In POSSESSION cases, a DEMONIAC who is exorcised must be rebaptized.
   Christian baptism is performed with water, in keeping with the tradition established by JESUS’ baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. In Catholicism, holy water is sprinkled on the forehead. In some Protestant denominations, baptism is done by complete immersion in water.
   Baptisms are part of many magical rituals and may include other elements as well. Baptism by fire and baptism by BLOOD symbolize intense purging and purification; blood also is redemptive, symbolizing the blood shed by Christ on the cross.
   In DELIVERANCE ministry, baptism is essential in order to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit for discernment of spirits and healing.
   Demonic Baptism
   During the witch hunts of the Inquisition, the Devil was believed to administer a sacrilegious baptism to his followers, usually at a SABBAT, and as part of an infernal PACT. The witches renounced their Christian faith and then adopted a grotesque new name to symbolize their new identity. Isobel Gowdie, a Scottish witch tried in 1662, said that witches were baptized in their own blood and took names such as “Able-and-Stout,” “Over-the-dike-with-it,” “Raise-the-wind,” “Pickle-nearest-the-wind,” “Batterthemdown-Maggy,” and “Blow-Kate.”
   According to confessions made by accused witches, children were baptized by the Devil along with adults. Louis Gaufridi, who was executed for his role in the AIXENPROVENCE POSSESSIONS of Ursuline nuns in 1611, confessed to witnessing baptisms at sabbats. He stated: I confess that baptism is administered at the Sabbat, and that every sorcerer, devoting himself to the Devil, binds himself by a particular vow that he will have all his children baptized at the Sabbat, if this may by any possible means be effected. Every child who is thus baptized at the Sabbat receives a name, wholly differing from his own name. I confess that at this baptism water, sulphur and salt are employed: the sulphur renders the recipient the Devil’s slave while salt confirms his baptism in the Devil’s service. I confess that the form and intention are to baptize in the name of Lucifer, Belzebuth and other demons making the sign of the cross beginning backwards and then tracing from the feet and ending at the head.
   Such accounts of sabbats and baptisms have been discredited as fables that witnesses were forced to confess to by torture.
   - MacNutt, Francis. Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Chosen Books, 1995.
   - Summers, Montague. The History of Witchcraft and Demonology. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1926.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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