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Malleus Maleficarum - The Witches' Hammer, Part 10

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Alright, I've had a break, so now let's dig back into the Malleus Maleficarum, I finished Part One of the book in some slightly older blog posts, so go check that out if you want a foundation. This is the beginning of Part Two.

Part One mostly served to make me really hate Heinrich Kramer, but it also gave us a few foundational rules about magic and how it works in this particular framework. Here's a quick refresher:

- Witches cannot permanently change the human body.

- The stars are more powerful than demons and demons are more powerful than witches.

- Witches exist by making a pact with the Devil, which God allows to happen. (I'm not being cheeky, he actually states that this can't happen without God's approval.)

- The Devil uses witches to spread evil, since he can't physically affect the human body himself.

If you want more, go check out my previous posts about this book.

Part Two of the book should be more fun. This is where we get to learn about some actual magic: what witches do and how to protect yourself from them, that sort of thing. So let's go.

Question 1 (Who is immune to witchcraft?)

Some people are better protected than others, namely innocents like babies and good people, but this protection only seems to cover their souls. Their human bodies and possessions are still up for grabs.

According to Heinrich, there are three types of people protected from witches. They are:

  1. Prosecutors, judges, etc. Anyone who legally prosecutes the witches.

  2. Christians who properly wield holy water, consecrated salt, blessed candles, etc,

  3. Anyone blessed by angels.

Kramer then goes on to add examples of the second type.

  1. Sprinkle holy water throughout your home or where you keep your animals (such as a barn or stable) while invoking the Trinity and reciting the Paternoster (Our Father). I grew up Catholic, so: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done On Earth as it is in Heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses As we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil Amen (There are some variations on this prayer, including the original Latin, but this is the version I had to recite every single morning in Catholic school.)

  2. In the case of a blessed candle, it's better to light it, but instead the wax can be sprinkled around the house. He doesn't state whether a prayer needs to be said for this one.

  3. Burning "consecrated herbs" in a convenient spot in the room will also work, though I'm not sure what herbs are being referenced here nor what constitutes a "convenient" spot, but I guess he just means don't burn your house down.

An anecdote is given about a woman who had an argument with a suspected witch and wanted to protect her baby from any retaliation. When putting her baby to bed, she put consecrated herbs under his body, sprinkled him with holy water, and put a dab of blessed salt on his lips. She did the sign of the cross over the baby, secured the cradle, and went to sleep. She woke up to the baby crying and found him out of his cradle, under a chair. It seems that the witch did try to do something to the baby and managed to get him out of his cradle but was unable to do anything to cause actual harm, likely due to the precautions the mother had taken.

What if you don't have blessed salt, herbs, or candles? Well, it seems you can just write this charm down and carry it on yourself:

"But the surest protection for places, men, or animals are the words of the triumphal title of our Saviour, if they be written in four places in the form of a cross: IESUS † NAZARENUS † REX † IUDAEORUM †"

That's all for this post. Stay safe!

- me

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