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Children of Lucifer explores the historical origins of Satanism, the "anti-religion" that adopts Satan, the Judeo-Christian representative of evil, as an object of veneration. Ruben van Luijk traces its development from a concept invented by the Christian church to demonize its internal and external competitors, to a positive (anti-)religious identity embraced to varying degrees by groups in the modern West. Van Luijk offers a comprehensive intellectual history of this long and unpredictable trajectory; a story that involves Romantic poets, radical anarchists, eccentric esotericists, Decadent writers, and schismatic exorcists, among others, culminating in the establishment of the Church of Satan by carnival entertainer Anton Szandor LaVey. Yet, he argues, this story is more than just a collection of colorful characters and unlikely historical episodes. The emergence of new attitudes towards Satan proves to be intimately linked to the Western Revolution-the ideological struggle for emancipation that transformed the West and is epitomized by the American and French Revolutions. It is also closely connected to secularization, that other exceptional historical process during which western culture spontaneously renounced its traditional gods in order to enter into a self-imposed state of religious indecision. Children of Lucifer, thus, makes the case that the emergence of Satanism presents a shadow history of the evolution of modern civilization as we know it.
In 1631, at the epicenter of the worst excesses of the European witch-hunts, Friedrich Spee, a Jesuit priest, published the Cautio Criminalis, a book speaking out against the trials that were sending thousands of innocent people to gruesome deaths. Spee, who had himself ministered to women accused of witchcraft in Germany, had witnessed firsthand the twisted logic and brutal torture used by judges and inquisitors. Combined, these harsh prosecutorial measures led inevitably not only to a confession but to denunciations of supposed accomplices, spreading the circle of torture and execution ever wider.
Driven by his priestly charge of enacting Christian charity, or love, Spee sought to expose the flawed arguments and methods used by the witch-hunters. His logic is relentless as he reveals the contradictions inherent in their arguments, showing there is no way for an innocent person to prove her innocence. And, he questions, if the condemned witches truly are guilty, how could the testimony of these servants and allies of Satan be reliable? Spee's insistence that suspects, no matter how heinous the crimes of which they are accused, possess certain inalienable rights is a timeless reminder for the present day.
The Cautio Criminalis is one of the most important and moving works in the history of witch trials and a revealing documentation of one man's unexpected humanity in a brutal age. Marcus Hellyer's accessible translation from the Latin makes it available to English-speaking audiences for the first time.
Studies in Early Modern German History
This title features new translations of primary documents of a crucial period in the development of attitudes to witchcraft. In 1901, a rich collection of extracts from documents relating to witch beliefs and witch trials in the Middle Ages - "Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter" - was published. Most of the original documents are in Latin, with some in medieval German and French, and it has been left largely untranslated, making the material inaccessible, and neglected. This new translation of the key documents will enable students and scholars to look afresh at this crucial period in the development of attitudes towards witchcraft. Through the translated extracts we can see the beliefs and activities which had been formally condemned by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, but which had not yet become subject to widespread eradicating pogroms, start to be allied with heresy and with changing conceptions of demonic activity. The extensive introductory essay gives the reader the historical, theological, intellectual and social background and contexts of the translated documents. The translations themselves will all have introductory notes. This volume will contribute significantly to our understanding of the witchcraft phenomenon in the Middle Ages.
In 1901 a rich collection of extracts from documents relating to witch beliefs and witch trials in the Middle Ages - Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter" - was published in Bonn. Most of the original documents are in Latin, with some in medieval German and French, and it has been left largely untranslated, making the material inaccessible, and neglected. This new translation of the key documents will enable students and scholars to look afresh at this crucial period in the development of attitudes towards witchcraft. Through the translated extracts we can see the beliefs and activities which had been formally condemned by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, but which had not yet become subject to widespread eradicating pogroms, start to be allied with heresy and with changing conceptions of demonic activity. The extensive introductory essay gives the reader the historical, theological, intellectual and social background and contexts of the translated documents. The translations themselves will all have introductory notes. This volume will contribute significantly to our understanding of the witchcraft phenomenon in the Middle Ages.
"Given the historical orientation of philosophy, is it unreasonable to suggest a wider cast of the net into the deep waters of magic? By encountering magical thought as theory, we come to a new understanding of a thought that looks back at us from a funhouse mirror." from The Occult Mind
Divination, like many critical modes, involves reading signs, and magic, more generally, can be seen as a kind of criticism that takes the universe seen and unseen, known and unknowable as its text. In The Occult Mind, Christopher I. Lehrich explores the history of magic in Western thought, suggesting a bold new understanding of the claims made about the power of various belief systems.
In closely interlinked essays on such disparate topics as ley lines, the Tarot, the Corpus Hermeticum, writing and ritual in magical practice, and early attempts to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, Lehrich treats magic and its parts as an intellectual object that requires interpretive zeal on the part of readers/observers. Drawing illuminating parallels between the practice of magic and more recent interpretive systems structuralism, deconstruction, semiotics Lehrich deftly suggests that the specter of magic haunts all such attempts to grasp the character of knowledge.
Offering a radical new approach to the nature and value of occult thought, Lehrich's brilliantly conceived and executed book posits magic as a mode of theory that is intrinsically subversive of normative conceptions of reason and truth. In elucidating the deep parallels between occult thought and academic discourse, Lehrich demonstrates that sixteenth-century occult philosophy often touched on issues that have become central to philosophical discourse only in the past fifty years."
Delve into the many aspects of the evolving archetype of Lucifer, from his multifaceted creation to his almost endearing charm on today's world stage. Explore myths and legends of not only Satan, but what Lucifer represents in our culture and the effects it has had over the centuries-from dogmatic repression of pagan beliefs to the fervor during the heights of the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s and 1990s. Examine the defense of old Nick by the Romantic writers and Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, as well as literature and film's role in redefining his ever-changing guise. Learn the aspects of his origins and see what has been borrowed from other faiths to shape our mental picture of the being known as The Devil. Suspend preconceived notions and look at the evolution of this mythic persona from his origin up to modern times. Find out if the Devil made you do it...
Creating Magickal Entities is a comprehensive reference manual that presents step-by-step instructions for creating entities through astral manipulation that will change your life. This manual, written by three practicing occultists, reveals magickal and alchemical methods, many which have been lost and suppressed through the ages, in a refreshingly modern way that magickal practitioners of any tradition can understand.
The Oxford Handbook of Russian Religious Thought is an authoritative new reference and interpretive volume detailing the origins, development, and influence of one of the richest aspects of Russian cultural and intellectual life - its religious ideas. After setting the historical background and context, the Handbook follows the leading figures and movements in modern Russian religious thought through a period of immense historical upheavals, including seventy years of officially atheist communist rule and the growth of an exiled diaspora with, e.g., its journal The Way. Therefore the shape of Russian religious thought cannot be separated from long-running debates with nihilism and atheism. Important thinkers such as Losev and Bakhtin had to guard their words in an environment of religious persecution, whilst some views were shaped by prison experiences. Before the Soviet period, Russian national identity was closely linked with religion - linkages which again are being forged in the new Russia. Relevant in this connection are complex relationships with Judaism. In addition to religious thinkers such as Philaret, Chaadaev, Khomiakov, Kireevsky, Soloviev, Florensky, Bulgakov, Berdyaev, Shestov, Frank, Karsavin, and Alexander Men, the Handbook also looks at the role of religion in aesthetics, music, poetry, art, film, and the novelists Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Ideas, institutions, and movements discussed include the Church academies, Slavophilism and Westernism, theosis, the name-glorifying (imiaslavie) controversy, the God-seekers and God-builders, Russian religious idealism and liberalism, and the Neopatristic school. Occultism is considered, as is the role of tradition and the influence of Russian religious thought in the West.
Strange Histories is an exploration of some of the most extraordinary beliefs that existed in the late Middle Ages through to the end of the seventeenth century. Presenting serious accounts of the appearance of angels and demons, sea monsters and dragons within European and North American history, this book moves away from "present-centred thinking" and instead places such events firmly within their social and cultural context. By doing so, it offers a new way of understanding the world in which dragons and witches were fact rather than fiction, and presents these riveting phenomena as part of an entirely rational thought process for the time in which they existed. This new edition has been fully updated in light of recent research. It contains a new guide to further reading as well as a selection of pictures that bring its themes to life. From ghosts to witches, to pigs on trial for murder, the book uses a range of different case studies to provide fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It is essential reading for all students of early modern history. .
The history of American witches is way weirder than you ever imagined. From bewitched pigs hell-bent on revenge to gruesome twentieth-century murders, American Witches reveals strange incidents of witchcraft that have long been swept under the rug as bizarre sidenotes to history. On a tour through history that's both whimsical and startling, we'll encounter seventeenth-century children flying around inside their New England home "like geese." We'll meet a father-son team of pious Puritans who embarked on a mission that involved undressing ladies and overseeing hangings. And on the eve of the Civil War, we'll accompany a reporter as he dons a dress and goes searching for witches in New York City's most dangerous neighborhoods. Entertainingly readable and rich in amazing details often left out of today's texts, American Witches casts a flickering torchlight into the dark corners of American history.
The Salem witch hunt of 1692 is among the most infamous events in
early American history; however, it was not the only such episode
to occur in New England that year. Escaping Salem reconstructs the
"other witch hunt" of 1692 that took place in Stamford,
Connecticut. Concise and accessible, the book takes students on a
revealing journey into the mental world of early America,
shattering the stereotype of early New Englanders as quick to
accuse and condemn.
The remarkable discussions in this volume took place between Rudolf Steiner and workers at the Goetheanum, Switzerland. The varied subject-matter was chosen by his audience at Rudolf Steiner's instigation. Steiner took their questions and usually gave immediate answers. The astonishing nature of these responses - their insight, knowledge and spiritual depth - is testimony to his outstanding ability as a spiritual initiate and profound thinker. Accessible, entertaining and stimulating, the records of these sessions will be a delight to anybody with an open mind. In this particular collection, Rudolf Steiner deals with topics ranging from limestone to Lucifer! He discusses, among other things, technology; the living earth; natural healing powers; colour and sickness; rainbows; whooping cough and pleurisy; seances; sleep and sleeplessness; dreams; reincarnation; life after death; the physical, ether and astral bodies and the 'I'; the two Jesus children; Ahriman and Lucifer; the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ; Dante and Copernicus.
Antero Alli and Klint Finley discuss Antero's 'paratheatre' projects, his relationships with Christopher Hyatt and Robert Anton Wilson, and much more. Approximate running time is 36 minutes.
Spirit Possession and Communication explores the phenomenon of spirit possession, focusing on the religious and cultural functions it serves as a means of communication. Drawing on the multidisciplinary expertise of philosophers, anthropologists, historians, linguists, and scholars of religion and the Bible, the volume investigates the ways that spirit possession narratives, events, and rituals are often interwoven around communicative acts, both between spiritual and earthly realms and between members of a community. This book offers fresh insight into the enduring cultural and religious significance of spirit possession. It will be an important resource for scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, including religion, anthropology, history, linguistics, and philosophy.
The notion of "magic" is a current popular culture phenomenon. "Harry Potter", "The Lord of the Rings", the commercial glamour of the footballer and the pop idol surround us with their charisma, enchantment, and charm. But magic also exerts a terrifying political hold upon us: Bin Laden's alleged March 28 e-mail message spoke of the attacks on America in form of "crushing its towers, disgracing its arrogance, undoing its magic." The nine scholars included in this volume consider the cultural power of magic, from early Christianity and the ancient Mediterranean to the curious film career of Buffalo Bill, focusing on topics such as Surrealism, France in the classical age, alchemy, and American fundamentalism, ranging from popular to elite magic, from theory to practice, from demonology to exoticism, from the magic of memory to the magic of the stage. As these essays show, magic defines the limit of both science and religion but as such remains indefinable.
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