By Zan Fraser
The fifteenth century of the Age of Pisces was a troubled era. The fourteenth century was decimated by the Black Plague. The old feudal traditions were breaking up. The church re asserted its monopolistic authority, and power struggles broke out between the papacy and the monarchs of Europe. People turned toward things of the spirit to sustain them—sometimes to private, visionary mysticism, sometimes to charismatic preachers. The pageantry and brutality of the fifteenth century played out against a backdrop of pagan night-goddesses, elves, faeryes, spirits, charms, spells, wizards and magic. And more than anything else, the events of the fifteenth century were influenced by—and directly affected—the fortunes of those known as witches.
This is the story of the first century of the three-hundred-year Burning Times of witches. Topics include: the formation of the satanic witch model; various medieval examples of the magic circle; the publication of the witch-hunters’ manual, the Malleus Maleficarum; and St. Joan of Arc and the influence of lingering paganism upon the rural Christianity of her day. The book ends on a note of dark forboding as the sixteenth century dawns with the escalation of witch-hunting.