12039357_166638010344956_7063389137812773011_nOkay so maybe not the FIRST witch hunter, but probably the most famous if for one reason: He wrote the book on witch hunting. LITERALLY. I’ll get to that.

Kramer was born in Selestat, Alsace circa 1430 CE and from a very young age showed a great deal of interest in the church and it’s works. He joined the Dominican Order of Monks at a markedly young age (though how young is not known) and became the Prior of the Order in his hometown while still quite young. Sometime in his 40’s he was appointed as Inquistor of Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia, and Moravia, and his charisma and passion in the pulpit drew the attention of the Holy Father and has been associated with one Jacob Sprenger (a man worthy of his own article) to collaborate on the inquisition of witchcraft and sorcery. These guys are both credited with contributing to the book now known as the “Malleus Maleficarum” or very literally “The Hammer of Witches.”

Most of that you could have gotten from the Wikipedia page, but here is where Kramer’s story gets interesting. When Kramer brought the Maleficarum before the top theologians in the Inquisition, it was condemned for being too unethical and for not remaining consistent with Catholic demonology. I am going to say that again.

Heinrich Kramer wrote a book recommending practices that were too unethical for the INQUISITION!

Kramer wasn’t excommunicated for that, though, they just shot him down for widespread endorsement. He was eventually summoned to Venice to preach to the masses his message of hate which apparently was quite well received amongst the Venicians. Around 1500, several neo-Christian movements were condemned as heretical in the eyes of the Catholic Church and Kramer was fully empowered to move against them.

A quick aside about 15th century Venice: For a long time, Venice was the hedonist capital of the world. While Christian on paper, they accepted trade from the “Moors”, allowed Jewish moneychangers within the city (a HUGE no no in 15th century Europe) and even supported the pursuit of alchemy in an effort to turn lead into gold. There was a Catholic friar who had ties with the Middle East and his express purpose was to ransom slaves captured in raids back to the Europeon families.

So, to sum up. Here is a guy who was deeply influenced not only by the church but the cultural heritage of 15th century Germany from a very young age. His hatred of witchcraft was so strong (very likely due to those influences) that he justified torture, dismemberment and death in the name of God to root out that which he saw as evil. His methods were considered so beyond the pale awful that even the Catholic Inquisition told him to chill the heck out, and eventually the only place that would take him was Venice, the Las Vegas of 15th century Europe. So ultimately… a charismatic German has a meteoric rise to power and is strongly disliked by his peers and contemporaries. Sound familiar?



11180297_161613964180694_1326815881445740600_nFollowing on from our recent post regarding Lilith (who legend states married an archangel – Samael – after being expelled from the Garden of Eden) and questions we have received regarding the differences between Angels and Archangels we have put this little post together to guide you through the most common references you are likely to come across.

An archangel (literally means chief angel) is an angel of high rank. Beings similar to archangels are found in a number of religious traditions; but the word “archangel” itself is usually associated with the Abrahamic religions.

When thinking of Archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael probably come to mind. They are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with feasts and are the only reconized archangels.
But did you know that in many other religions there are others?

Roman Catholic Archangels:

Michael is the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” the leader of all the angels. His name is Hebrew for “Who is like God?” and was the battle cry of the good angels against Lucifer and his followers when they rebelled against God.

Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength,” Announced the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and also the Incarnation of the Word in the womb of Mary.

Raphael, whose name means “God has healed” because of his healing of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit. Tobit is the only book in which he is mentioned. His office is generally accepted by tradition to be that of healing and acts of mercy.

Now also we can’t forget about Lucifer (we will be doing a seperate post on him)some have him as an archangel while others have him as a regular angel. Lucifer means ‘light bearer.’ Other names that may refer to Lucifer include Satan, Iblis, Beelzebub, Ba’al, Belial, Apollyon, Azazel, Leviathan, Lumiel, Prometheus, and Devil.

In Islam, the named archangels include:

Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic). Gabriel is said to be the archangel responsible for revealing the Quran to Muhammad and inducing him to recite it. Gabriel is known as the angel who communicates with the prophets. Various hadiths (traditions) mention his role in delivering messages from “God the Almighty” to the prophets.

Michael (Mikhail in Arabic). Michael is often depicted as the archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth.

Israfil (Israfel or Israafiyl). According to tradition, Israfel is the angel responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day by blowing a horn/trumpet. It translates in Hebrew as Raphael.

Azrael , in the Quran (Surah al-Sajdah 32:11) is responsible for parting the soul from the body.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) believe that there is only one archangel (Michael), based on the literal meaning of the Greek word “chief angel”. They also believe that the definite article at Jude 9 (“Michael the archangel”) means there is only one archangel.

Orthodox iconography, each angel has a symbolic representation:

Michael in the Hebrew language means “Who is like unto God?” or “Who is equal to God?” St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.

Gabriel means “Man of God” or “Might of God.” He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.

Raphael means “God’s healing” or “God the Healer” (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand, and holding a physician’s alabaster jar in his left hand.

Uriel means “Fire of God,” or “Light of God” (II Esdras 4:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword against the Persians in his right hand, and a flame in his left.

Sealtiel means “Intercessor of God.” He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.

Jegudiel means “Glorifier of God.” He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.

Barachiel means “Blessing of God.” He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his breast.

Jerahmeel means “God’s exaltation.” He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God (II Esdras 4:36). As an eighth, he is sometimes included as archangel.

In the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, 1 Enoch describes Saraqael as one of the angels that watch over “the spirits that sin in the spirit.” (20:7, 8)

Jewish literature, such as the Book of Enoch, mentions Metatron (normally thought to be the Scribe of God and also Enoch himself) as an archangel, called the “highest of the angels”, though the acceptance of this angel is not canonical in all branches of the faith. Some branches of the faiths mentioned have identified a group of seven Archangels, but the actual angels vary, depending on the source. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are always mentioned; the other archangels vary, but most commonly include Uriel, who is mentioned in 2 Esdras.

In the Kabbalah there are ten archangels, each assigned to one sephira: Metatron, Raziel (other times Jophiel), Tzaphkiel, Tzadkiel, Khamael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel and Sandalphon. Chapter 20 of the Book of Enoch mentions seven holy angels who watch, that often are considered the seven archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Saraqael, Raguel, and Remiel. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel.

Judaic tradition, where they are named as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel and Saraqael. While this book today is non-canonical in most Christian Churches, it was explicitly quoted in the New Testament (Letter of Jude 1:14-15) and by many of the early Church Fathers. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church to this day regards it to be canonical.

In the late 5th to early 6th century, Pseudo-Dionysius gives them as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel, and Zadkiel.
The earliest Christian mention is by Pope Saint Gregory I who lists them as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel (or Anael), Simiel (Samael), Oriphiel and Raguel. A later reference to seven archangels would appear in an 8th or 9th century talisman attributed to Auriolus, a “servant of God” in north-western Spain. He issues a prayer to “all you patriarchs Michael, Gabriel, Cecitiel, Oriel, Raphael, Ananiel, Marmoniel (“who hold the clouds in your hands”)

I hope you enjoyed this little toe-dip into the world of the winged. In a further post I will explore cherubim, nephilim, seraphim and “guardian” angels, and discuss some of the theories about the existence of angels.