Jump to content
  • Sign Up
Sign in to follow this  

Medieval Magic & Pharmacy: Not Just “Flying Ointments”

Recommended Posts

When I first started my investigation into the so-called “witches’ ointment” of the early modern period I was looking for a specific kind of ointment that caused a specific kind of experience – a “flying” experience, as recognised in contemporary popular culture.

But to delve deeper into the trial records, popular sermons, demonology texts, and medieval pharmacy one will discover not just a flying ointment, but a host of uses for these ointments.

Therefore, a more neutral term, like “psyche-magical” (psychedelic + magical) is useful to convey the breadth of experiences available through these concoctions.

Such magical drug practices (veneficia) included (but were certainly not limited to) entheogenic uses (“generating the divine within”), bewitchment, prophecy, Christo-pagan medical magic, transformations, recreation, and, of course, flying.



  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alcohol has also played a part in religions since it was invented.  The Romans and Greeks had a god for it.  In Greek he is Dionysus, the god of

1. the grape harvest, (Parable of the workers in the vineyard)
2. wine-making and wine, (The wedding at Cana, the last supper)
3.  of ritual madness, (The man possessed)
4.  fertility, (The virgin birth)
5.  theatre (The life of Christ)
6.  and religious ecstasy. (...)

Alcohol is at the very core of Christianity.  Poor witches were the victims of hypocrisy.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.