~From the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) of 1487~
This is an excerpt from the text Malleus Maleficarum, which is considered to be the “handbook” for the persecution of witches used by male perpetrators of the misogynistic and bloodthirsty attempted extirpation that took place during the 16th and 17th centuries. Continue reading →
~Excerpts from The Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs by Richard Alan Miller~
In psychology, ritual is considered the celebration of a myth, which is achieved through a carefully constructed enactment of the myth. Because ritual is the externalization of something internal, myth has a more archetypal than logical structure to it. Rituals reveal values at their most fundamental level. Man expresses in ritual what moves him most. Therefore: The symbol always originates on the inside and is projected outward.
A rustic, preparing to devour an apple, was addressed by a brace of crafty and covetous birds:
“Nice apple that,” said one, critically examining it. “I don’t wish to disparage it — wouldn’t say a word against that vegetable for all the world. But I never can look upon an apple of that variety without thinking of my poisoned nestling! Ah! so plump, and rosy, and — rotten!”
“Just so,” said the other. “And you remember my good father, who perished in that orchard. Strange that so fair a skin should cover so vile a heart!”
This inconspicuous looking text was the impetus behind a rash of suicides in the late 18th century. Written by Goethe, this epistolary novel followed the sorrows of a young man whose true love is betrothed to another. The book accounts the man’s decent into depression and ultimately suicide.
A hand-written page from Lewis Carrol’s original manuscript copy of what would be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In 1863, when this page was written, the story was known as Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Illustrations are by the author himself. From the British Library.
The Codex Gigas is the largest medieval text still in existence. Created in the Czech Republic during the early 12th century, the Codex Gigas is also known as the “Devil’s Bible” because it contains a large illustration of the Devil and details on how to exorcise evil spirits. It also contains a full-length Bible, known as the Vulgate Bible, among other texts.
The tome is so large, the skins of over 150 calves were needed to create its 310 leaves of vellum pages. It is bound with wood, metal, and leather, and weighs over 150 pounds.
Incredibly, the entire Codex Gigas is thought to have been compiled by a solitary scribe: a Benedictine monk named Herman the Recluse.
Legends surrounding Herman the Recluse accuse him of breaking his monastic vows, leading the church to sentence him to being imprisoned alive within the monastery walls. The myth postulates that Herman the Recluse sought to avoid or postpone his horrible fate by promising to create a tome that would contain all of human knowledge and would make his monastery famous. He had one year to complete the task and, legend has it, he was able to do so on his own by making a pact with Lucifer, the devil, leading to the tome’s ironic nickname: The Devil’s Bible.