Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Demonology and Witchcraft - "Less we forget"
Written and compiled
by George Knowles
Heinrich Kramer (Henricus Institorus) was a member of the Dominican Order of Friars, known variously as Friar Preachers, Black Friars or Jacobins, a Roman Catholic religious order founded in 1214 by St Dominic de Guzman. Kramer was also a noted demonologist who co-authored with a fellow Dominican preacher James Sprenger, the now infamous Malleus Maleficarum (referred to as “The Hammer of the Witches” or “Hexenhammer”). The main purpose of the Malleus was to justify the suppression of alleged heretic’s, Witches and Pagan’s. Sanctioned by the church, it was used to instruct inquisitors, judges and magistrates on how to identify, interrogate and convict Witches, leading to near 3 centuries of the most diabolical persecutions.
Kramer was born in Schlettstadt (then part of Germany under Austrian rule, which is now Sélestat in Alsace, France) around 1430. He joined the Dominican Order of Friars at an early age and rapidly advanced through its ranks. While still a young man he was appointed Prior of the Dominican house in his own native town. Later he was made a Preacher General and Master of Sacred Theology (two high distinctions in the Dominican Order). In 1474 he was appointed inquisitor for the districts of Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia, and from there began his campaign of terror against witches during the early 1480s. Due to his eloquence in the pulpit and tireless activity he soon received recognition in Rome and was made right-hand man to the Archbishop of Salzburg with a position as Spiritual Director of the Dominican church.
By the time of the papal bull ‘Summis desiderantes’ issued by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484, he was already associated with James Sprenger to make an inquisition against heritic’s, witches and sorcerers. In 1485 he drew up a treatise on Witchcraft, which was incorporated in the Malleus Maleficarum. Some claim that Kramer failed in his attempted endorsement for the work from theologians at the Faculty of Cologne, and that they condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology at that time. Others were unconvinced that the work was inconsistent, noting that his co-author James Sprenger held very prestigious and influential positions in the Church, including that of Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Cologne.
In 1495 he was summoned to Venice to give public lectures, which were very
popular. In 1500 he was empowered
to proceed against heretic’s, Witches and Pagan’s.
Of his partnership with Jacob Sprenger, co-author of the Malleus, Sprenger was a distinguished theologian but had no real experience in prosecuting witches. His alliance was based on their shared obsession with asserting papal supremacy over the secular authorities. The book's claim to be based on a large caseload of witch trials must therefore have depended on the work of Kramer who had conducted a campaign in the Tirol during the early 1480s. In the book, he claims to have tried nearly one hundred women, of whom half were sentenced to burn.
In 1484, eight women were executed at Ravensburg, near Constance. When Kramer arrived in town, armed with papal bulls, he started to preach the dangers of witchcraft inciting the townspeople to accuse their neighbours. Eight women were convicted and burned for fornication with the Devil, as the town officials explained to Archduke Sigismund of Tirol when he arrived to investigate. While there were sympathetic officials and intellectuals in the area, such as the mayor of Constance, Conrad Schatz, a fervent enemy of witchcraft, the Archduke of Salzburg however was skeptical, as was the Bishop of Brixen (Bressanone), Georg Golser. When Kramer moved his activities to Innsbruck in 1485, interrogating fifty women, the Bishop called him "a senile old fool" and expelled him from the town.
Since it was the Innsbruck trials and his failure to prosecute there that
launched Kramer's career as an author as well as his reputation amongst other
demonologists and historians as an authority, it is worth inquiring a little
more closely into the case.
The women were accused of causing illness through love magic as a result of conflict between lovers and spouses or old feuds and envy. Kramer turned this into diabolical witchcraft. It was the absence of any diabolism in the original accusations that convinced the Bishop that Kramer was out of control. In the case of Helena Scheuberin, he based his entire accusation of diabolism on her supposed promiscuity, asking such detailed questions about her sex life that the bishop's representative ordered him to stop. The anger of the townsfolk and the threat of rioting forced the Bishop and the Archduke to take action, and Kramer's witch-hunting career came to an abrupt end.
Kramer later resided for a period at the priory of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (X. Zanipolo), returning to Germany in 1497, where he lived at the convent of Rohr, near Regensburg. On January 31, 1500, he was appointed nuncio and inquisitor of Bohemia and Moravia by Alexander VI and further empowered to proceed against heretics, Witches and Pagan’s. He never gave up and died in Bohemia in 1505.
His major works: include:
The Malleus Maleficarum
Several Discourses and Various Sermons upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Nuremberg, 1496
A Tract Confuting the Errors of Master Antonio degli Roselli, Venice, 1499
The Shield of Defence of the Holy Roman Church Against the Picards and Waldenses, circa 1500
Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959.
Plus many other websites.
Best wishes and Blessed Be
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Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /
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Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Samhain / Yule / Imbolc / Ostara / Beltane / Litha / Lammas / Mabon
Tools of a Witch / The Besom (Broom) / Poppets and Dolls / Pendulums / Cauldron Magick / Mirror Gazing
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat / Rats / Unicorn
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Mystical Sacred Sites - Stonehenge / Glastonbury Tor / Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni / Avebury / Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant / Ireland - Newgrange /
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Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
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Wisdom and Inspiration:
Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill / I Talk to the Trees / Awakening / The Witch in You / A Tale of the Woods / I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
Pliny the Elder / Hesiod / Pythagoras
A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Allan Kardec (Spiritism) / Alphonsus de Spina / Amber K / Ann Moura / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Balthasar Bekker / Biddy Early / Barbara Vickers / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christopher Penczak / Christina Oakley Harrington / Cornelius Loos / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Donald Michael Kraig / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edain McCoy / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jean Bodin / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim - the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Lodovico Maria Sinistrari / Ludwig Lavater / Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Michael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" / Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Martin Antoine Del Rio / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Olivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Paul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school / Peter Binsfeld / Philip Heselton / Raven Grimassi / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Richard Baxter / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Rossell Hope Robbins / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / Walter Ernest Butler / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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