3 elements are necessary for witchcraft: the evil-intentioned witch, the help of the Devil, and the permission of God, who though he hates evil allows it to occur, since without freedom with its potential for evil men would have no potential for good. Witchcraft is the most evil of all crimes, and worthy of the most severe punishment, for it is immediate and direct reason against God himself.
The Malleus defined witchcraft as the most abominable of all heresies, its 4 essential characteristics being the renunciation of the Christian faith, the sacrifice of unbaptized infants to Satan, the devotion of body and soul to evil, and sexual relationships with incubi. Witches have become servants of the Devil by making a pact with him and engaging in ritual copulation with Satan. They render homage to the Devil. They use incantations, effect apparent changes in their shapes by means of diabolical illusion, practice various forms of maleficium, are transvected thought the air from place to place by the power of demons, and use the Christian sacraments in their vile rites. They cook and eat children, either their own or those of others; and they use the children’s flesh and bones to obtain a salve or ointment which they then employ in their magical operations.
Social tension do not of course cause intellectual or mythological phenomena, but they may provide conditions favorable to their growth. Periods of rapid change tend to produce unused anxieties and may encourage the development of mythologies of hostility like witchcraft. They may have been especially true in the cosmos and society were essentially unchanging, and through much of the Middle Ages, change was in fact slow and generally imperceptible. But in periods when perceptible change did occur, people were unable to understand it and became frightened. As society’s patterns shifted, people’s roles became undefined, and in that condition they developed greater anxieties. In a state of anxiety, they were open to the suggestion ha the cause of their misery was a hostel and powerful group of people with access to diabolical aid.
The mythological origins of witchcraft are a mixture of elements Teutonic, Celtic, and especially Greco-Roman.
Esquire: Ask Not What You Can Do for Your Country, but What Witchcraft Can Do for You.