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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

One of the coven tools used in Wicca. It is used in initiations as part of the symbolic death that is part of that rite. By some Witches, scourging is also done in magical work. One way of building power is to bind a person and scourge them, thus causing the blood to course through the body and help build up the power. However, this is a delicate balance and one that is best taught on a personal basis, for no scourging, in Witchcraft, is done to hurt.

The scourge itself is simply a handle to which is attached a number of thongs or "tails." There may be three, seven, or nine tails—all of these considered "magical" numbers. The tails are anywhere from nine to twenty-one inches in length and are attached to a short handle, which may be marked or inscribed much like an athamé. Many covens make the tails of silk cord. To avoid causing pain, the tails are not knotted and are seldom made from leather.

(See also Flagellation.)

References in classic literature ?
In a woman armed with a scourge virtue could never compromise; consequently both love and self-interest were forced to seek her, and seek her resolutely.
Then of what other scourge are you afraid, my dear Blacas?
the scourge is knotted for him, even the whip of nine cords, and every cord three knots
Possessed as they are of immense droves of horses should they continue their present predatory and warlike habits, they may in time become a scourge to the civilized frontiers on either side of the mountains, as they are at present a terror to the traveller and trader.
The Argives, cowed by the scourge of Jove, were hemmed in at their ships in fear of Hector the mighty minister of Rout, who as heretofore fought with the force and fury of a whirlwind.
The natives of the coast, and, indeed, of all the regions west of the mountains, had an extreme dread of the small-pox; that terrific scourge having, a few years previously, appeared among them, and almost swept off entire tribes.
Money is the whip with which its possessor can scourge humanity.
Even as the three wayfarers stared, however, there was a sudden change, for the smaller man, having finished his song, loosened his own gown and handed the scourge to the other, who took up the stave once more and lashed his companion with all the strength of his bare and sinewy arm.
Returned home in triumph, Beowulf much later receives the due reward of his valor by being made king of his own tribe, and meets his death while killing a fire-breathing dragon which has become a scourge to his people.
Passion for power: the glowing scourge of the hardest of the heart-hard; the cruel torture reserved for the cruellest themselves; the gloomy flame of living pyres.
At the least, a prince may animate and inure some meaner persons, to be as it were scourges, to ambitions men.
Not to quote the illustrious examples of those heroic scourges of mankind, whose amiable path in life has been from birth to death through blood, and fire, and ruin, and who would seem to have existed for no better purpose than to teach mankind that as the absence of pain is pleasure, so the earth, purged of their presence, may be deemed a blessed place--not to quote such mighty instances, it will be sufficient to refer to old John Willet.