Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Demonology and Witchcraft - "Less we forget"
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Anton Praetorius was a German Calvinist pastor and one of the few men of his time brave enough to speak out against the persecution of Witches and the ensuing Witch-hunts and Witch-trials of the late 1500’s. He was particularly critical against the need for torture during Witch-trails stating that: “In God’s Word one does not find anything from torture, embarrassing cross-examines [or] confession by force and pain”.
Praetorius was born in 1560, in Lippstadt,
Germany, the son of Matthes Schulze. He
later changed his name to the Latin Praetorius.
Initially raised in the Lutheran
faith, he was sent to a Latin school in Kamen, Westphalia, for his early
education, before returning home to studying Theology at the
Latin School in Lippstadt gaining a detailed knowledge of the Bible.
It was also in Lippstadt
during 1573, at just 13 years of
age, he witnessed and experienced his first Witch-trial, that left a lasting
impression on the young man.
1581 at the age of 21, Praetorius completed his
training as a teacher and
was called into service teaching at his old Latin School in Kamen. In 1584 he married his first
wife Maria, and in the spring of 1585 she gave birth to his son Johannes. A
year later in 1586 he was made Rector/principal
of the same School in Kamen.
Praetorius was next made a deacon in Worms, in 1587, responsible for the Kirchkasten (the Churchbox) and social affairs, and then in 1592, deacon at the Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine’s Church) in Oppenheim Palatinate. It was during this time period that Praetorius changed his loyalies from the Lutheran religion and joined the reformed Calvinist religion, and by 1592 he had become the first reformed Calvinist pastor in the Palatine community parish of Dittelsheim.
A year later in 1593 he visited nearby Herrnsheim in Worms with the large castle of the Dalberger. There he witnessed the “Dalberg (Hessloch)” witch-trial (regular witch-trials had been taking place there from 1593 to 1614 and in all some 236 accused were killed). Under terrible tortures, women confessed to being witches. Praetorius later writes that “Men and women have been burnt, and for their final judgment the City Hall read from a window such nefarious and foolishly deceitful things of diabolical communion and weather making that I would not listen to it and be ashamed of chaste ears to tell the same.”
While still at Dittelsheim, in October of 1595 Praetorius made a trip to Heidelberg, the centre of Calvinist theology in Germany. There he was so impressed by the “Great Wine Barrel” in Heidelberg Castle that he published a poem with the title “Vas Heidelbergense”, praising its size as apparent proof of the superiority of the Calvinist religion. The poem (written in Latin) is thought to contain the oldest news illustration/description of the great Heidelberg barrel.
Wine Barrel at Heidelberg Castle - then and today
1596 Praetorius moved again this time to Offenbach am Main in the county of
Ysenburg-Büdingen. Here he published
a work “De Pii Magistratus officio” (Of the duty of the godly
authority) in which he demanded from the ruling princes a faithful renewal of
Church and nation according to the teachings of Calvin.
However, the rigorous reformer Jean Calvin
(1509-1564) had also called for the detection of witches and the interrogation
of them and possible witnesses under torture.
Sadly that same year
his first wife Maria, died of the plague.
A year later on the 08th February 1597 he married again, this
time to Sibylle a daughter of Hermann Pistorius,
a pastor from
Muschenheim in the city of Lich, Hesse, but shortly after their wedding in
Dalberg Castle his second wife also succumbed to the plague and died.
A year later in 1597 Praetorius was appointed court preacher and pastor to Wolfgang Ernst I, Count of Isenburg Büdingen of Bierstein. During his time as pastor for the Earl in his castle at Birstein, as part of his duties Praetorius witnessed the torture of Anna Dietrich and 3 other women accused of witchcraft. This event greatly impressed itself upon him and affected much of his future life work. A court record states, “As the pastor has violently protested against the torture of women, it has therefore been stopped at this time.” But by the time the torture had been stopped, only one of the women survived. Anton’s interference incurred the wrath of the Earl who dismissed him from his post as pastor within a year of his arrival.
During his time in Birstein, Praetorius published Church songs, a catechism, and a book for families about Christian education in 1597. He also wrote a poem about Count Wolfgang Ernst von Ysenburg-Büdingen called “De pii magistratus officio”, in which he asked the Christian governments for a reformation of nation and Church along the principles of the Bible and the Calvinist faith. In 1602, he made a contribution to the discussion about the interpretation of the “Last Supper and Sacraments” in his theological masterpiece “De Sacrosanctis novi foederis Jesu Christi”.
After leaving Birstein in 1598 and moving to a new parish in Laudenbach near Heidelberg, Praetorius wrote a book “Gründlicher Bericht über Zauberey und Zauberer” (Thorough Report about Witchcraft and Witches) to further protest against the torture and prosecution of witches. Using arguments and evidence from the Bible, he turned against Luther’s and Calvin’s calls for witch-hunts, stating that in God’s words nothing is said about the use of torture and embarrassing interrogations or extorting confessions by violence and pain. The book was first published in 1598 under the name of his son Johannes Schulze, then in 1602 he dared to publish the book again under his own name. Much later the book was re-published in 1613 and posthumously in 1629.
writings followed in which he publicly objected to the prevailing
attitude in the Church on the torture and burning of witches (a view held by
Roman Catholics as well as Protestants such as Martin Luther and John Calvin).
He criticized the conditions in the prisons at the time, as well as general
grievances in the criminal justice system and demanded the right of the accused
to an adequate defense. He was
naturally met with fierce criticism, but he also found numerous well-known
advocates who expressed their support for him, and which he included in his
his private life was marked by many fatalities.
His first wife Maria had died of the plague in the late 1580’s,
they had one child called Johannes. He
then survived three other wives and ten of his eleven children.
Anton Praetorius died on the 06th December 1613 in Laudenbach, Bergstraße.
The Church of Laudenbach displays a plaque in memory of Praetorius:
around 1560 in Lippstadt, + 1613 in Laudenbach)
Fighter against witch
trials and torture
and worked 15 years until his death as a reformed pastor in Laudenbach. Through
his courageous advocacy he was able to rescue four women from the torture
chamber in 1597. He therefore lost his position as court preacher and found
refuge in Laudenbach. Here he wrote from 1598 his sensational book
"Thorough Review of Zaubery and magicians," which he brought in 1602
for the first time under his own name to the public. The book against
witchcraft, torture and violence had a total of four editions until the year
1629 and contributed much to put an end to the witch burnings gradually.
As recently as the 07th May 2015 the city of Lippstadt named a path in his honor.
and compiled by George Knowles ©
06th December 2020
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
The Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) / Esbats & Full Moons / Links to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft Resources / What's a spell? / Circle Casting and Sacred Space / Pentagram - Pentacle / Marks of a Witch / The Witches Power / The Witches Hat / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope Innocent VIII / The papal Bull / The Malleus Maleficarum / An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum / The letter of approbation / Johann Nider’s Formicarius / Jacob Sprenger / Heinrich Kramer / Stefano Infessura / Montague Summers / The Waldenses / The Albigenses / The Hussites / The Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
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:
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
Rocks and Stones:
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:
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:
(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 Praetorius / 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 and the “Malleus Maleficarum” / Idries Shah / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / James Sprenger and the “Malleus Maleficarum” / 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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