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Malleus Maleficarum - The Witches' Hammer, part 8

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Question 16 (Comparing witchcraft to other types of "baleful superstition")

According to our boy Heinrich, there are fourteen types of magic that stem from three types of divination.

In the italics are direct quotes from the text, and next to that in bold I'll try to simplify the idea further.

Divination type 1: open invocation of devils Summoning demons

Divination type 2: a silent consideration of the disposition and movement of some thing, as of the stars, or the days, or the hours, and such things Astrology

Divination type 3: the consideration of some human act for the purpose of finding out something that is hidden, and is called by the name of Sortilege Drawing cards, casting lots, etc.

Under type 1 (summoning demons), we have: Sorcery

Under type 2 (astrology), we have:

Observation of Omens

So how about type 3? The species of the third kind vary according to all those things which are classed as Sortilege for the finding out of something hidden, such as the consideration of pricks and straws, and figures in molten lead.

So if you're like me, you're thinking a couple of things:

1. What the hell, Heinrich, why did you cop out on the third type?

And more importantly:

2. These categories seem jumbled up, bro. But I guess that's what happens when a man who detests magic tries to write about it: he gets stuff wrong.

Kramer briefly discusses the witch of Endor. He says not to be fooled into thinking necromancy is okay just because someone in the Bible did it for a good reason one time. He says either God allowed it to happen to pass the message on to Saul or the witch summoned a spirit that simply pretended to be Samuel.

Oneiromancy (telling the future through dreams) is okay in many situations, but witches specifically use dreaming to do their evil witchy stuff. From the text:

For when they do not wish, as has been mentioned above, to be bodily transferred to a place, but desire to see what their fellow-witches are doing, it is their practice to lie down on their left side in the name of their own and of all devils; and these things are revealed to their vision in images. And if they seek to know some secret, either for themselves of for others, they learn it in dreams from the devil, by reason of an open, not a tacit, pact entered into with him.

Even though all of these "-mancy"s and such are bad and you shouldn't do them, they're still nothing on witchcraft. Witchcraft is specifically used to cause harm, whereas these other types of magic are not necessarily used for nefarious purposes.

Question 17 (Comparing witchcraft to other crimes)

Specifically, Heinrich is going to tell us why witches are worse than Satan. Here are some of his reasons:

  1. When Lucifer fell, it was because of his pride. There was no punishment for sin at the time. But now, witches sin even though there are punishments, so they should definitely know that sinning is wrong.

  2. Lucifer lost his innocence only once. Humans are born in Original Sin and baptized to become innocent again. Witches throw away this new innocence.

  3. Lucifer sinned against God, but witches sin again God and Jesus.

  4. God did not have pity on Lucifer, but God has pity on humans. So to take advantage of that pity and sin anyway makes witches worse than Satan.

  5. God did not give Lucifer any second chances, but gives humans many chances to return to Him. Witches continuously spurn these chances.

To be honest, it seems like all sinners would fit these criteria, not just witches. But what do I know.

I think that's enough for this post.

Stay safe!

- me

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