Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie
Study and learn the history of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic and the Occult with our courses and resources
Read Dr Ruickbie on witchcraft and magic in Paranormal magazine.
What is Witchcraft?
That's what this website is here to find out. Witchology.com is the website of WICA - the Witchcraft Information Centre and Archive - founded in 1999 by Dr Leo Ruickbie as a research and education provider specialising in the areas of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic (Magick) and the Occult. We have been online continuously since 2000.
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Do you have to sell your soul to the Devil to master the magic arts? Find out in this true-life account of the secrets of a real Renaissance magician. Set in a time of witchcraft trials and magical adventure, "a work of meticulous scholarship" and "a gripping page-turner".
Dealing with the Devil: The Faustian Pact in Magical Culture
by Dr Leo Ruickbie
This paper explored the development of the Faustian Pact, looking at how the Renaissance magician Faustus came to be condemned as having made a pact with the Devil, and how this condemnation itself came to be a pattern for magical practice.
Pacts with the Devil have been a mainstay of Christian legend, used to reveal the saintliness of some and revile the Satanism of others – a two-edged weapon in the war of words fought between sanctioned ‘truth’ and outlawed knowledge. And it is a sword that has landed firmly on the neck of one sixteenth century magician in particular.
Out of this venerable history of pact-making the Faustian version emerged as a Reformation challenge to the Northern Renaissance. It is no idle speculation to wonder why this occurred. When Faustus has been called an ‘icon of modern culture’ whose legend has been central to the formation of Western consciousness it has been the Faustian Pact that has informed that interpretation and it is the Faustian Pact that continues to be the main cultural reference point.
However, the conceptualisation of the pact has not remained static. Several distinct periods in its development are discernible: pre-Faustian Christian morality tale, anti-secular polemic against Renaissance Humanism with sectarian overtones, Romantic salvation in the Enlightenment, political critique in the modern era, comical decline in post-modernity. Against this largely literary trend there has also continued an underground magical tradition of practice patterned on the Faustian Pact of the Northern Renaissance.
Edited version of a paper given at Reinventing the Renaissance Occult, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 14 November 2009.
Discover the secrets of Faustus
Faustus, Faust, magic, black magic, alchemy, astrology, necromancy, witchcraft, grimoires, Germany, Renaissance, sixteenth century, Goethe, Marlowe, biography, history, folklore, legend, Devil, Mephistopheles, pact, damnation, soul
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