Malleus Maleficarum: Fourth Question

What are the demons that do this?

It is righteous to say that there is an order among demons, just as there is an order among the angels. The lesser demon spirits are tasked with performing the tasks too lowly for the major spirits. This includes the tasks of incubi and succubi. In the Holy Scriptures, when they regard incubi and succubi one cannot find mention that the demons would have these roles with any willingness.

The demons set to test us are not in Hell but in a “misty space”. I interpret that as the Purgatory.

The higher demons (and angels) are more forcibly punished if they make mistakes, as their mistakes are worsened by their station.


 

The question itself isn’t answered beyond the brief mention of incubi and succubi. The vileness of the human sexual life makes these demons the lowest of the low, but this answer is mostly inferred.

The chapter was however rather lengthy, but mostly consisted of proof for the above statements. Featured were the normal Church Fathers and even a few Greek philosophers.

Next up is Question Five, which is really not a question.

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Malleus Maleficarum: Third Question

Is it righteous to claim that when witches are born or procreate incubus and succubus demons would be able to generate effects through which humans could be born?

It is not possible that demons could interbreed with humans. (Genesis 1 and 3, Matthew 19). That would make the work of the Devil stronger than the work of God. Procreation is an action of the living body, thus demons are unable to do it. Angels as spiritual creatures may transfer seed, however. In ancient times (before Noah and the Ark), demons and humans did have offspring, and those were called giants.

The Devil may change the body with the help of “another” (a witch? unsure), move the body locally and indirectly change the will and understanding of a human. This happens, as was previously stated, only if God so allows. The strength of the Devil resides in the loins of man and the navel of the woman – this is where lust resides in humans. A woman should always cover her hair with a scarf to avoid the interest of incubi.

Against the righteousness of the claim are both the Holy Writings and statements of the saints. In the works of Augustine we can however find passages about giants and pagan myths (fauns et cetera).

A demon may as a succubus take the semen of a man and as an incubus transfer it to a woman. A child thus born is the child of the man whose sperm was used.

Demons join with men to ruin their soul, not to procreate. The transfer of semen happens if God so allows.

Therefore it is not righteous to claim that children could be born from a union with a demon.


 

This question, all in all, was rather straight-forward. It was interesting to see pagan myths (from the Greek and Egyptian mythology) to be used as a basis for the answer.

Yet again though, the answer contains contradictions. If giants are the children on men and demons, how could they be born before, but not anymore? Did the will of God change? Why so drastically?

The people of that time also believed that the creation of a child required a “seed” from both the man and a woman. The mans seed came from his loins and the seed of the woman was in her navel. If you think about it, it’s not really that far from the truth as an allegory…

On to reading the next question!

Malleus Maleficarum: Second Question

First off, I can’t believe it took me this long to actually get back to posting. Sorry about that to anyone still bothering to check here… The road to hell and best intentions and all that jazz.

Is it righteous to claim that in practicing harmful magic the demon and the witch always work together, or could one do so without the other, demon without the witch or vice versa have the same effect?

Demons may work without the witch, if God so permits. If a demon in so doing uses a witch as a tool, the witch is guiltless of the act. However, as a free agent, the witch is still guilty of fraternizing with demonic forces. For a demon to use a witch, it must touch them.

Sometimes the harmful force originates from nature.

There are four kinds of pestilences: beneficial, harmful, black magic and natural. The beneficial magic comes with the aid of angels, the harmful through “evil angels” (I assume this means demons, but that’s what reads in the book). Black magic is from demons working through witches and natural is due to planets and such outside Earth. The damaging methods have evolved through time to their current forms, and used to be simpler in ancient times.

Demons act to serve the witch to bring them to their eventual doom.

The “evil eye” is also demonic instead of natural. The most effective is the gaze of old women on young boys.

In conclusion, the witch is always a tool of demonic forces when they harm another person.


I find this book still very difficult to decipher. My notes for this question were really terse, as I really couldn’t at times decide whether the writer agreed or disagreed with the question. At first, they posit that the witch when used as a tool is innocent, but by the end of the question flip it around and say the witch should still be punished, because a human always has a free will. Thus, a person working against the laws of God willingly (even because of demonic influence) is to be tried and killed for their heresy.

I found myself agreeing with the principle of the previous question, but this one goes so far into esoteric theology -territory I really don’t know what to think. That’s one of the reasons why I can’t write more about it. I just couldn’t follow the mental gymnastics.


Well, I tried making myself a schedule to try and follow moving forward. I hope to publish Question three next week. You are free to dig out your pitchforks and other assorted lynching tools and come find me if I fail this.

On another note, I hope to get a post up about what I have been actually doing instead of posting before that. I have been reading, at least, so I should have something to say about that at least…

Malleus Maleficarum: First Question

Is the claim that users of magic exist so true, that to say the opposite is heresy?

Basically, this question and the succeeding chapter seek to prove the existence of magical forces in the world. First, we are presented with the most common claims to the opposite, namely that only God may change things within the world or in the human body. Through this it must then also be true that demons and witches have no powers.

These claims are then debunked, using Bible verses and writings of such wise old men as Augustine and Ambrosius among others. Unfortunately I’m not that familiar with such works as summa contra gentiles, de civitate Dei and de doctrina christiana as to argue with any of the arguments… and my latin is sketchy at best.

The basic ideas presented to us are as follows: God may want to use the magic as a punishment for the victim and thus allows the evil to happen; the Bible gives examples of God allowing demons to have an influence; and God’s law decrees that witches must die. Isn’t that an irrefutable argument for witches existing if anything, so bad they must die? Ancient laws against fortune telling, scrying and witchcraft also serve as prove to the existence of magic.

We arrive then to the conclusion that the Devil and demons may work in the world by themselves or through magic users if God so allows. These magic users, if caught, must then be punished as decreed in law. We are also reminded that everyone should turn in their neighborhood witch.


I daresay it took me an hour to get an understanding of the chapter. I’m not particularly sure I still understood everything right, and this book is in my first language. Oh my, I do not know how I’ll pull this through. I really thought there’d never be a day when I didn’t understand what I’m reading (with the exception of government forms, no one understands those).

The translator has done an amazing job, it couldn’t have been easy to tackle that particular beast. My Bible must be a bit different of the one used in the book, however, because I checked the verses and some of them ‘weren’t there’, as in the number didn’t match. In one case there was a verse, but the contents didn’t match the subject matter. It is also completely possible this is due to my inferior Bible-skills.

So far I can’t really argue with the book. If we accept the existence of God as true and Bible as truth as well, the arguments against the questions are sound.

Next up, Question Two.

Hello 2018!

… Albeit we’re already almost a month in.

Time’s just been flying by. I’ve been trying to get myself more organized. That included going through a lot of my old writing (part embarrassing, part passably good) and cleaning up my notes. I re-read all my space related material and have a new list of things I need to look up and also a list of new, more defined ideas for the actual story part.

I’ve been flexing my writing muscles as well. I didn’t write that much for a long while because of my hand, but these past couple of weeks I’ve tried to get back into the saddle so to say. It’s been fun and I hope I can get some longer stretches in soon.

But to set up some expectations for this year…

I remember I promised not to make any promises. In spirit of keeping that, I’m just going to say that in the name of boosting my productivity and cutting procrastination to the minimum I’ve set some goals for myself.

This year I’m planning on at least starting on my Malleus series. As I’ve said before, it’s heavy reading, but I’ve been trying to come up with ways to split the task up into manageable portions. I’m looking forward to actually writing some posts and not just talking about it.

In spirit of not-promising, I also stated myself the hope of writing a blog post every week. Already totally failed that, so now I can say once a month is a great baseline and everything above that is spectacular. Ahaha. My standards for myself are borderline embarrassing.

To be fair, I have too many plans and too many things to do already. I have to keep pushing the things I want to do ahead and focus on the things I need to do. The house still needs work, obviously, and the yard even more. I need to devote energy and time to finding ways to earn some money – so many plans, so few facts, so much bureaucracy.

Also, in the spirit of sparing the national treasury a bit, here’s hoping our presidential election is solved already tonight. I’m sure the costs of a second round are not that great, but since the nation must check it’s spending…

See you (hopefully) next week, I’ll go check the current score.

What have I been reading?

Since I’ve been occupied outside the house these past weeks I’ve had very little time to sit down and actually write. I thought that once the frost set in I’d have more time at home, but instead I’ve been dragged around with my mother.

Sitting in a car or a bus, I’ve been reading quite a bit. I started my third read through of Gardens of the Moon. I have the feeling I have a few more left before I catch every hint.

I’ve also returned to Sci-Fi after a very long break. I loaned Heinlein’s The Cat who Walks through Walls from the library and I’m just about halfway through. I’ve been enjoying the story and the language quite a bit – although I’d really love to see some of the names and terms in English. I should return it tomorrow, so I’m in a bit of a rush to finish it. I had too much to do to get started on it right away, and now I’m forced to speed through it to avoid late fees. Meh. I’ve been liking it so far, so I guess I’ll loan it out again later.

The library is a bit poor on the Sci-Fi department, many titles I remember seeing in the old days are gone. I guess they got too worn and niche literature is notoriously difficult to replace in Finland. Reprints are rare and focus on the best-selling titles and classics. The market is just too small to justify reprints, even if that means libraries will end up with no copies available and new readers never get to enjoy them. Oh well, what can I do? It’s not like I could afford buying all those titles anyway.

I also bought couple new Agatha Christie pocket books when in Helsinki couple weeks ago. I read the other one at the in-laws’, that being a Tommy & Tuppence book Postern of Fate. I’d never heard of Tommy and Tuppence until about two years ago when Finnish reprints started popping up. (See what I said about classics? There’re at least three existing versions of some Agatha Christie books in multiple printings, but some Fantasy or Sci-Fi series never get completed.) I took a liking to them. Even though they’re quite a bit more ‘hard-boiled’ than, say, Miss Marple, the novels have a light-hearted spirit to them. Yet again there is a distinct voice setting the cycle apart from Poirots or Marples.

Now that I’ve pretty much covered the subject matter of this post I might just as well tell you a bit about what I’ve been up to since last. You can basically stop here if you don’t care about that 😉

There was the Helsinki weekend, a birthday party for two of my husband’s friends. Here we have an interlude of furious gardening after the first snowfall to gain control of the water flow in our yard (our basement floods. A lot.). Then I had to accompany some lady relatives to various shopping trips, and my gosh they can be taxing… I mean, they’re lovely in small doses, but being confined to small spaces with them for hours is sometimes tortuous.

This week the landscaping guys decided to appear, about a month after they said they would. There are so many rocks in my yard you wouldn’t believe! Everywhere. Even in the patch that supposedly was once a field. I have no idea how anything had room to grow there. The guy piled up three huge pile of boulders in different corners of the yard.

I wanted a spot for a rock garden… well, I got a bit more than I hoped for. The spot I picked out for it had three big rocks before. Now there’s a ~5m x ~5m dome of rock about 1,5m high. It’ll take me a decade to get enough plants to make it look anything but a pile of rocks it is. Can’t complain, I got what I asked for. Maybe I’ll post you a picture if there isn’t too much snow tomorrow morning.

Until next time!

Kaari Utrio

I’ve been re-re-rereading her bibliography over the past month or so. I’ve read most of her books several times before, they’re my go-to easy reading along with Agatha Christie. Since I haven’t had time to do much else productive towards this blog, I’ll try and gather my thoughts for this author -piece.

Kaari Utrio is a Finnish author of both fiction and non-fiction, born 1942. She is a historian by trade and has written several pieces on women and children throughout history. Apparently her works have been translated to seven languages, but I could only find one Hungarian translation on Goodreads of her main non-fiction work. The freely-translated title to that one is “Daughters of Eve: History of European Women, Children and Families”.

Most of her work is strongly colored by the feminist tradition of the 70s university world. She is not the most strongly worded or opinionated feminist, but at times the reader can see a strong distaste towards the treatment of women throughout history (quite deserved, but some like their facts without feelings). In total she has written or has been part of writing 22 non-fiction works.

Her fiction bibliography is long, 36 works since the start of her career in 1968. Most of her work is historical fiction, usually with a female lead character. The main characters are generally from Finland or the Nordic countries. Her main works, the trilogy of books called Vaskilintu, Tuulihaukka and Yksisarvinen (Bronze Bird, Kestrel and Unicorn, literally translated) all start in Northern Europe and take the reader to a tour of Mediaeval Europe. Each of the books follows the life of a woman (and generally at least two other important characters) and their personal growth. Each of the women is linked to each other either by blood or marriage, and the series spans from roughly 1020 to 1100.

The main plot is always a love story. This is one of the only failings of mrs. Utrio as a writer, as the plots are generally very similar in style. The only point when I got tired of her works was when I read them all in one summer as a teen and realized the aforementioned fact.

This time around, however, I was’t bothered by the repetitive elements. I found a new appreciation of finding new ways to portray the basically simple plot. It is a type of talent to be able to reinvent the wheel time and time again, so to say.

I find very little negative to say apart from the repetitive plots. The characters all have distinct personalities and while the reader can usually safely guess which characters will end up together the supporting crew may hold surprises. The end result is also usually reached through amusing or unexpected incidents (even if one knows something more will happen, it might not be what is thought beforehand).

Even though the works span as diverse eras as the first millennium or 19th century, I’ve also always appreciated the adherence to historic facts in her work. The times when she modifies true events to suit her story are few and far between, even though the books are rife with historic characters as supporting cast (several Byzantine emperors and empresses, European kings and queens, and popes). Reading her descriptions of cities like Rome or Constantinople are like small tours of the cities themselves. Personally I’m also partial to the accurate description of dress and items. There are usually also references to things that were happening around those times elsewhere, woven in as news or gossip heard by the characters.

I’m actually more than a bit surprised her work has gone untranslated. While the English-speaking world has many great authors of historical fiction, I’m hard-pressed to come up with many examples of mediaeval Nordics being represented (Jan Guillou comes first to mind with Arn). I was going to shamelessly plug Kaari Utrio to you, but I don’t expect you to learn Finnish to do that…

Oh, well. Until next time.