Guest writer NIXIE VALE takes a look at the history of witchcraft through the ages…
In Medieval Europe witchcraft was perceived to facilitate the summoning of demons, the devil and other evil spirits, and back then the church had the power to punish anyone who was accused of witchcraft and sorcery. The priests had the power to exorcise anyone they believed to be possessed by evil spirits. This was a time when people believed in witchcraft, and that it was to blame for all the ill fortune and bad luck that befell people. If the crops failed, if a child dies prematurely, or if livestock died witchcraft was blamed, and the fear of witches led to a witch-craze that spread through all walks of life.
The Hammer of Witches
- Deuteronomy 18:11-12: “Let there not be found among you anyone who immolates his son or daughter in the fire, nor a fortune-teller, soothsayer, charmer, diviner, or caster of spells, nor one who consults ghosts and spirits or seeks oracles from the dead.”
- Exodus 22:18: “You shall not permit a sorceress to live”
Kramer took this Papal Bull as permission to write a book about the hunting of witches and how to identify them out of those accused. This Papal Bull brought about 400 years worth of witch-hunts, witch trials and hysteria, however, the Pope soon changed his mind and withdrew the support of the church.
About the Book, Malleus Maleficarum
- Part 1 is the evidence that witchcraft exists and would refute the critics. The Malleus Maleficarum claims that there needs to be three elements to witchcraft. The first is the evil-intentioned witch, the second is the Devil, and the third is the permission of God. The Devil plays a large part in stories about medieval witches, especially when it comes to sexuality. Women with high libidos would lay with the Devil and becomes witches “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.”[quote: bible]
- Part 2 is the section that details the practices, powers and abilities of witches, and how they recruit others to their ‘side’. It states that it isn’t the Devil that is in charge of recruiting; that’s down to the women he has corrupted and are now deep within his power. It also explains how a witch casts spells, what can be done to prevent witches and remedies that can be used for those affected by a witch’s spell.
- Part 3 is the legal part of the Malleus Maleficarum. It describes how to locate and prosecute a witch. It lays the arguments for any magistrate that is to be prosecute them. Kramer and Sprenger give a step by step guide on how to locate, accuse and ultimately deliver a witch to her death. It gave details on how to actually hold witch trials and actually promotes torture as a way of getting the truth. It’s said if a witch didn’t cry during her trial that was proof alone that she was in league with the devil and she was definitely a witch.
The Printing Press…
The Laws in Britain… The Witchcraft Act
NIXIE VALE is the creator of the Ramblings of a Rainbow Witch page and group on Facebook. Nixie has always had a gift with words, and she has combined that with the deep love and passion for her craft, and her fascination with history. Nixie has a profound connection to colour and it’s use in magic and it’s psychological effects, she has always had an interest in the natural world, from animals to crystals, and Nixie has taken all of these and fused them with her love of literature. As a teenager Nixie began learning Tarot and she has also learned about other forms of Divination and incorporated these into her repertoire of skills. Nixie is also a very creative person, having crafted jewellery, sewing and a plethora of other interests. Nixie has been writing about witchcraft for the last 6 years, and after being urged to share these ‘ramblings’ she created her page. Nixie is a trusted member of the facebook Pagan community and has worked with many in different ventures.