Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Demonology and Witchcraft - “Less we forget”
and compiled by George Knowles
Weyer (1515–1588) was German physician who argued against the witch hysteria
and the alleged workings of the Devil through people and pacts. Weyer accepted the existence of demons and their ability to wreak evil and cause
possession, but he opposed the torture and execution of accused witches during
the Inquisition and refuted the belief that the Devil recruited people to cause
was born the middle of three sons to a Protestant family in Brabant, in the
Netherlands. His father was a hops
merchant who could afford to give his sons a good education.
Weyer was 15 when he went to study in the household of Heinrich Cornelius
Agrippa von Nettesheim, a prominent physician, philosopher, and occult scholar.
Agrippa taught Weyer Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy and introduced
him to the occult works of Abbot Johannes Trithemius of Sponheim.
seeds of Weyer’s skepticism about the witch hysteria that gripped the 16th
century may have been planted by Agrippa, who once defended an old woman accused
of witchcraft, arguing that she was feeble-minded, not diabolical.
apprenticeship with Agrippa lasted for about four years, after which he studied
medicine at the University of Paris in 1534, and at the University of Orléans
from 1534 to 1537. He learned the
prevailing medical doctrine, still in force from ancient times, that health
depends on the balance of four humors in the body: blood, phlegm, bile, and
black bile, or melancholy.
graduation, Weyer returned to Brabant and nearby Ravenstein to work as a
physician. In 1545, he became the
municipal physician for Arnhem, a much bigger city. At about the same time, he married Judith Wintgens, with whom
he had four sons and a daughter. In
1550, Weyer was appointed to a prestigious post that he held for most of the
rest of his career, as personal physician to Duke William V of
Julich-Berg-Cleves in Dusseldorf. Though
Catholic, the duke was liberal-minded, and Weyer enjoyed a comfortable
relationship with him. He pursued
scholarly studies and writing. In
1578, he retired from his post with the Duke, and was succeeded by one of his
sons, Galenus, named after the famous Roman physician Galen.
Weyer continued to write and practice medicine until his death in
Tecklenburg on the 24th February 1588.
wrote mainly on medicine and philosophy; but of importance to the subject of demonology
is his work called De praestigiis daemonum,
et incantationibus, ac venefi ciis (On the illusions, spells and poisons of
demons), published in 1563, in which he attacked many of the prevailing beliefs
of inquisitors. Weyer revised and
added to the work several times up to 1583.
1577, he added an appendix, Pseudo-Monarchia (The false kingdom of the
demons), to De praestigiis daemonum. It
is an inventory and description of 68 principal demons, their characteristics,
and how they may be conjured. Reginald
Scot, a contemporary who agreed with Weyer, translated Pseudo-Monarchia and
included it in his own book: The
Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584).
magical grimoire the Lemegeton, also called The Lesser Key of Solomon,
lists the same 68 spirits and adds four more, and gives Seal’s
for their conjuration. The 72 are
also known as Spirits
wrote De lamiis liber (On Witchcraft) in 1577. He used the term Lamiae to describe female witches who thought they had pacts with the Devil.
rejected the Aristotelian view that demons did not exist in reality.
He believed in the Devil and his legions of demons, but did not believe
that witches were empowered by the Devil to harm humankind.
Nor did he believe stories of their flying through the air and attendance
in which the Devil was worshipped and babies were eaten.
He thought that belief in witchcraft was
caused by the Devil and that the church ironically served the cause of the Devil
by promoting belief in the evil power of witches.
De praestigiis daemonum, Weyer refuted the idea of the demonic pact
because there was no basis for it in the Bible.
He gave a rational analysis of reports of alleged witch activity and
concluded that most witches were deluded and mentally disturbed old women, the
outcasts of society, who were fools, not heretics. Some might wish harm on their neighbors, but could not carry
it out. If harm occurred
coincidentally, they believed in the delusion that they had brought it about.
He did believe that some witches served Satan and did harm people, but
not through supernatural means. He
urged the church to forgive those who repented or, at most, to levy fines upon
believed that demons could possess people; however, he advocated ruling out all
medical and natural explanations and causes before looking for the supernatural.
successfully discouraged witch hunting in much of the Netherlands for a while,
but was forced out by the Catholic governor, the Duke of Alba.
His book had almost the opposite effect from the one he intended.
He was savagely denounced by critics such as Jean Bodin
and King James I of England,
both of whom favored the extermination of witches. King James even authored his own antiwitch treatise, Daemonologie,
in response to the works by Weyer and Reginald Scot. James Bodin urged that copies of
Weyer’s book be burned. Others
wrote books refuting Weyer, and these helped to stimulate more witch-hunts.
At one time Weyer himself was accused of being a witch but was not
formally charged. However, his
arguments did persuade many witch-hunters in Germany to consult physicians more
often to rule out medical causes.
He retired from his post in 1578 and was succeeded by his son, Galenus Wier (1547-1619). After retirement he completed a medical work on a subject unrelated to witchcraft. He died at the age of 73 on the 24th February 1588 in Tecklenburg, Germany, while visiting an individual who had fallen ill. He was buried in the local churchyard, which no longer exists.
First published on the 24th February 2019 © George Knowles
First published on the 24th February 2019 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
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History of Thanksgiving / Auras - Part
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Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) / Max Ehrmann
and the "Desiderata" /
The History of Thanksgiving / Auras - Part 1 and Part 2 / “Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /
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 /
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
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 / Paracelsus / Abramelin the Mage / Archimedes / Agrippa / Socrates / Aristotle / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” /
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
Aidan A Kelly / 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 / Hermann Löher / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Idries Shah / 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" / Lambert Daneau / 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” / 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 / 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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