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|Of Witches and Witch Trials|
The Spiritual Earth
Chapter 35 – Of Witches and Witch Trials
(February 22, 1847)
1. There would hardly be anyone who has never heard of the so-called “witches”; for not even all that long ago the courts still held witch trials and thereby transported great quantities of the most innocent people from this world to the other, with a most painful death.
2. But how did mankind arrive at witches? Let us answer this question with a few little stories.
3. In times past, when people lead much more simple lives than they do now, there were often those who possessed the “second sight” as it is called, individuals that lived naturally in both the material and spiritual world. Even the people of this time could easily come to live in such a state, if only what they consume was of a more simple nature; mostly, however, the food that they consume nowadays only harms them. With it they spoil and stultify their nature in such a manner that the soul itself becomes entangled and agglutinated, like a bird captured with glue spindles, so that it cannot possibly attain the agility and dexterity necessary to perform a free ascent and departure.
4. So then, what did the diet of those simple people of times past consist of?
5. Their diet consisted mostly of legumes, simply cooked until they grew soft, with a little salt added, never eaten in a hot state. Likewise, bread, milk and honey were also an ancient, simple food, with which the people, for the most part, reached quite an old age, continuously in possession of the second sight, until the very last moment of their lives.
6. Everyone may enjoy wine every now and then, in moderation of course, but never so much that they would feel intoxicated.
7. Meat dishes should only be eaten at certain times, and never for more than seven days in a row, quite moderately and always from freshly slaughtered animals. The meat of fish is better than that of pigeons, the meat of pigeons is better than that of chickens, the meat of chickens is better than that of lambs, the meat of lambs is better than that of goats, and the meat of goats is better than that of calves and cattle, just as among the bread, wheat bread is the most suitable. However, of the foods indicated, never more than one type should be eaten with some bread, just as fruit should be eaten only moderately at all times, and only those of the best ripeness; the same goes for some root crops, but only one at a time.
8. With such a diet, the body would never become so bloated that it grows sluggish, sleepy and dull, that the soul would then have to bend over backwards just to keep such a labored machine running, let alone that it could occupy itself with any other task besides this one.
9. Behold, these people leading simple lives were plenty in the past, as already mentioned above, and especially simple did those people live who had erected their dwellings upon the mountains. These were in continuous possession of the second sight, they had natural contact with the spirits by day and night, and they had the spirits teach them all manner of things. The spirits showed them the effects of herbs, revealed to them the locations of some noble or base metals laying hidden within the mountains, and they even taught them how to extract the metal from the rocks and forge and smelt it into useful tools for all manner of purposes.
10. In short, there was seldom a house upon the mountains that did not come with its own host of spirits, as much belonging to the house as the other household servants. As a result, there were also a lot of wise men, especially on the mountains, living in greatest familiarity with the secret forces of nature, with our spirits. In essence, these forces, or spirits, were almost always at their disposal, so to speak.
11. When people from the lower regions, as well as from larger villages, markets and cities, came to these wise mountain dwellers, they must have taken particular notice of the many, to them, uncanny and mysterious things, especially when one or the other ill-disposed individual attempted to take issue with them in some matter. Such a disputant will then have certainly received a, to him, incomprehensible rebuke, of which he could, of course, think nothing else than that he had received it from none other than Satan incarnate, or at least from his accomplices.
12. What followed? The shrewd marketer, villager or city dweller in question immediately paid his local clergyman a visit, who, at that time, was commonly even more stupid, or at least more wicked than the plaintiff. Masses, processions and exorcisms were ordered, for a fee, of course, always having to amount to a considerable sum, if not the entire fortune, including house and farm, of the, in this case, bewitched, if not entirely demonized plaintiff.
13. If the plaintiff had thus met the demands of his clergyman, the case was reported to the secular court. This court then journeyed to the house where the plaintiff had supposedly been bewitched or demonized, bringing with it all manner of consecrated apparatuses ordered by the clergyman to counteract the influence of witches and devils. It was common that such a secular court then proceeded to capture the entire population in an abominable manner, leading them straight to the burning pyre without any further interrogation, seizing all their treasures, including house and land, though of course not before all of it was exorcised and consecrated seven times over. Again, a consecration such as this had to be diligently paid for as well.
14. In later times, it was often even worse, for in the end, anyone who was seen in a black coat outside the clergy and who could walk faster than anyone else was considered a daredevil, and all it took was a somewhat maliciously inclined plaintiff to bring the black-coated individual before the witch’s court. This was commonplace, and only recently did the natural scientists and chemists finally bring about change, making the exceedingly stupid mankind begin to realize that its supposed witchcraft is nothing but utter stupidity.
15. However, all went from one extreme to the other, forgetting the following proverb: In medio beati (in the middle lies happiness); for as misguided as it is to seek to be wholly surrounded by spirits as a natural man, so and even more misguided is it to banish the entirety of the spirit realm and declare it null and void.
16. It certainly cannot be denied that, in those earlier times, the people occasionally got into conflict with wicked spirits, with whose assisstance they caused quite a bit of damage to their surroundings; but these same evil ones have always been proficiently controlled by their diligent disciplinarians, their good neighbors, who knew right away what evil intentions any of these wicked ones harbored. Of course, back in those days, as well as today, the clergy takes no account of this, and everything, whether it be angel or devil, must be burned; for it did not matter whether it was good or evil, only whether or not it brought in any profit. Should the plaintiff have no fortune, and neither the alleged sorcerer, then the verdict was thus: Requescant in pace! (They may rest in peace!) On the other hand, if one or the other plaintiff had sufficient funds, things did not turn out so well and peacefully. In those days it was almost the same with these witches as it is today with funerals, where all manner of ceremonies and prayers are performed at the rich man’s burial, while the poor man must be content with but a “Pater noster” (Our Father) and a “requiescat in pace” (may he rest in peace!); and if the poor man cannot pay for anything at all, he may be content with nothing but consecrated earth!
17. Does this not mean practicing magic? Ah no! There it is said: The poor go to heaven either way; only the rich shall sweat a little before the gates of heaven are opened to them! Oh, that will make quite the comedy in the spirit realm!
18. These practices are considered honorable and legal by everyone, all the while, from a spiritual point of view, they are much worse than all the previous witch trials; the sole reason for those was usually stupidity, but here, it is nothing but pure greed, and a witch trial conducted for the sake of greed is much worse still than one carried out because of stupidity. And what is a funeral other than a witch trial, whereby one falsely supposes to exorcise many a devilish influence from the deceased.
19. I do mean this has been made quite clear; therefore, a few more little histories, and then on we go!