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Demonology and Witchcraft - "Less we forget"
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Jean Bodin was a lawyer, economist, philosopher, historian and one of the major political theorists of the sixteenth century. While he wrote many major works of political theory, today he is perhaps best known for his treatise on witchcraft: “De la démonomanie des sorciers” (The Demonomania of Witches), first published in 1581 and reprinted frequently throughout Europe. Like the Malleus Maleficarum by James Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer published nearly 100 years earlier, it served as a guide to witch-hunters and judges in identifying, prosecuting and executing witches. Drawing on his own experiences as a judge at numerous witch trials in France, his own book continued to encourage the persecution of witches and helped to keep the fires of the Inquisition burning.
and Heinrich Kramer - The Malleus
Bodin was born in
Angers, in the Anjou
province of France during 1529. His father Guillaume Bodin and mother Catherine Dutertre
were wealthy Master-tailors
to the aristocracy. Bodin studied at a local university in his hometown and while still young
joined the Carmelite Order of Monks living in the monastery of Notre-Dames-des-Carmes.
In 1545 he moved to Paris and for two years studied philosophy under
time in Paris was rich in intellectual and spiritual experiences, but in
contradiction to his Carmelite vows, he became attracted to the new evangelical
ideas that were circulating. This
brought him into conflict with Church authorities when on the 07th August 1548
he was arrested by the Chambre ardente
and questioned on suspicion of heresy. After
the Bishop of Angers, Gabriel Bouvery appealed to the Bishop of Paris on his
behalf, Bodin was freed, but as a consequence was released from his Carmelite
next published in Latin an “Address to the Senate and People of Toulouse
on the Education of Youth in the Commonwealth (Oratio de instituenda in
republica juventute ad senatum populumque Tolosatem”,
1559). In this Bodin praises
humanism and calls for it to be taught in public schools. According to Bodin if humanism were included in the cultural
education of the country’s youth, the political and religious harmony of the
State would be strengthened. In a
similar vine, his “Method for the Easy Comprehension of History (Methodus
ad facilem historiarum cognitionem”,
1566) is listed as one of the top books of early-modern European humanism’s
In 1576, he wrote “The Six Books of the Republic”, which represents the sum total of legal and political thought of the French Renaissance, and is a work that remains studied in the twenty-first century. Bodin portrayed a kind of ideal society in which humankind was governed by natural laws, a moral code given through conscience and God. In general, Bodin idealized the potential of humankind as becoming steadily nobler and less beastlike. Scholars today still wonder what became of the utopian politician when next he sat down and wrote “Demonomanie des Sorciers”, making him one of the men most responsible for keeping the fires of the Inquisition burning so much longer.
The Six Books of the Republic
In the meantime, Bodin’s social situation improved after marrying Françoise Trouilliart on the 25th February 1576. After the marriage, he succeeded his recently deceased brother-in-law, Nicolas Trouilliart, to the position of King’s prosecutor at the “présidial” of Laon, during which period he became a celebrated “juris consult” and a leading member of the Parliament of Paris, later rising to Attorney-General of Laon in 1590.
He also became obsessed with ridding the world of the evils of witchcraft and actively participated in the growing number of witch-trials taking place in Paris. In 1580 he wrote “On the Demon-Mania of Witches” published in 1580 and followed it a year later with perhaps his most famous book on witchcraft “Demonomanie des Sorciers”. First published in Paris in 1581, it quickly became one of the most widely read books on Demonology and Witchcraft in Europe. It was translated into several different European languages and debated by most all theologians of his time. New editions were constantly re-published until well after his own death in 1596, and in 1616 it was renamed “Fleau des demons et des Sorciers” and continued to be re-published.
Bodin’s - Demonomanie des Sorciers
In the first and second volumes of the Demonomanie, Bodin offered his proofs that spirits communicate with humankind, and itemised the various means by which the righteous might distinguish good spirits from their evil counterparts. “Those men and women who seek to enter pacts with Satan in order to achieve diabolical prophecy, the ability to fly through the air, the power to shape-shift into animal forms, or create spells to summon incubi or succubi for carnal pleasure, are dealing with evil spirits”.
The third volume details methods in which the
work of sorcerers and witches might be defeated, and the fourth volume lists the
characteristics by which witches, shape-shifters and other servants of Satan
might be identified. It further enticed
judges to accept otherwise suspicious testimony in witchcraft cases, which of
course led to more executions as judges began accepting things such as a
defendant’s refusal to confess under torture as an acknowledgment of guilt.
Bodin was adamant about torturing and punishing witches, saying that God
would reject those who did not do so: “Those
who let the witches escape, or who do not punish them with the utmost rigor, may
rest assured that they will be abandoned by God to the mercy of the witches.
And any country which shall tolerate this will be scourged with
pestilences, famines, and wars; and those which shall take vengeance on the
witches will be blessed by him and will make his anger cease”. Even
children and invalids were not to be spared torture, as Bodin demonstrated time
and again by his own example as judge. Children
he said should be forced to testify against their accused parents.
One of his favored methods of torture was cauterizing flesh with a
red-hot iron and then cutting out the putrefied flesh.
That torture he said was mild compared to the hell that awaited the
Bodin concluded the book with a refutation of Johann Weyer (1515–1588), a German physician and author of “De Praestigiis Daemonum” (1563), in which he criticized many aspects of the witch trials. Bodin determined that Weyer was in grave danger of committing heresy by arguing that those men and women who claimed to be witches and shape shifters were merely people with unsound minds. Bodin was of the opinion that people who denied the existence of witchcraft were witches themselves and said that, with rare exceptions, no accused witch should go unpunished. He then helped to bring accusations of witchcraft against Weyer and urged that copies of his book be burned.
Johann Weyer and his book - De Praestigiis Daemonum
The later eminent Christian scholar and writer about witchcraft ‘Montague Summers’ in his book “The Geography of Witchcraft” describes Bodin as:
“Jean Bodin, born at Angers in 1520, died at Laon in 1596. He studied law at Toulouse, and yet unknown at forty years of age visited Paris. Here he soon attracted attention by his legal writings, many of which, however, are very unsound in principle and dangerous. In 1576 he was chosen a deputy of the Third Estate (tiers ėtat) to the States-General of Blois, and fourteen years later (1590) he is Attorney General at Laon. He was a man of shifty and ever-shifting ideas, and his Political writings betray an anti-Catholic temper, although he ever clung to the Catholic religion, and was actually buried in the Franciscan Church at Laon. Brunetiĕre assigns Bodin a place in French literature beside Henri Estienne and Amyot.”
Summers and his book - The Geography of Witchcraft”
Bodin’s final work the “Colloquium of the Seven about Secrets of the Sublime” (Colloquium Heptaplomeres de rerum sublimium arcanis abditis), published posthumously many years after his death in 1683 provides clues about his religious views and spiritual beliefs, which did not nessesarily coincide with any official religion of his day, but instead resembled a form of natural religion.
of the Seven about Secrets of the Sublime
Bobin died of the bubonic
plague between June and September 1596, and as requested in his ‘Last Will and
Testament’, he was buried in the Church of the Franciscans of Laon.
Witchcraft and Black Magic - By Montague Summers
The History of Witchcraft and Demonology - By Montague Summers
The Geography of Witchcraft - By Montague Summers
Plus a huge
amount of other websites to many to mention.
Written and compiled 22nd May 2020 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
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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 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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