The Sabbat of the Witches, as depicted in late medieval and early modern lore, is populated with a great number of denizens and fantastic ritual elements. The dead and the living flock together in a nocturnal convocation, their circle lit with lamps of burning fat and attended by demons and satyrs. Alternatively horrific and erotic, the scenes of the Sabbat utilize a combination of phantasmagorical features to convey an atmosphere of dark ecstasy which has given rise, in part, to the modern conception of the witch. These tableaus are an amalgam of Christian heresies and the iconography of pagan myth, also at times incorporating local folklore. One important and recurring feature of the Witches' Sabbath is the element of flight: the airborne retinue of witches, their animal mounts and spirits travelling in procession through the night sky to a distant ritual gathering in some remote location. Though the flight of the witches is commonly relegated to the fantastical elements of legend, its basis lies, in part, in actual magical practice, most of which has been obscured by the historical record.
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