eklogai

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Tag Archives: divination

Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

“What wickedness takes place during this feast; fortune-tellings, divinations, deceptions and feigned madnesses. On this day, having been seized up by the furies of their bacchant-like ravings and having been inflamed by the fires of diabolical instigation, they flock together to the church and profane the house of god with vain and foolish rhythmic poetry in which sin is not wanting but by all means present, and with evil sayings, laughing and cacophony they disrupt the priest and the whole congregation applauds for the people love these things.” – Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

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Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

“Let lot-casters and fortune-tellers be sought out, as well as those who observe the months and favorable moments and who observe dreams, and the people who carry around their necks those amulets which are inscribed with who knows what kind of words and veneficae, that is women who administer different potions in order to abort a pregnancy and who perform certain divinations so that they will be loved the better by their husbands as a result. Have all malefici, of whatever they be accused, brought in front of us so that their cases may be heard by us.” – Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.11

“Necromancers are those by whose spells the dead appear to be raised in order to prophesy and to answer questions, for corpse is nekros in Greek and divination mantia. Blood is thrown on a corpse to raise the dead because demons are said to love blood. Therefore whenever necromancy is practiced blood is mixed with water to obtain more easily the color of blood.” – Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.11

St. Jerome, as quoted in Collectio Hibernensis 49.13-14

“Some believe that the souls of the dead can see other things that happen, not merely the present but the past and future as well, when it is needful either for them or for us. But the truth is that not all the dead can see what happens here, just as not everyone, except for prophets, foresees all things in this world.” – St. Jerome, as quoted in Collectio Hibernensis 49.13-14

Homilia de sacrilegiis 5

“And whoever consults seers or seeresses, that is pythonesses, through whom devils make reply, who goes to question them and believes what they say, or goes to listen to them attentively in order to hear anything from demons – he is not Christian but a Pagan.” – Homilia de sacrilegiis 5

Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

“In my opinion, to sacrifice to demons in machinis is to believe in their extremely foul illusions, or to make use of divinatory science through what is called false lots of the saints, or spells, symbols or whatever kind of pendants or bindings, in all of which is the skill of demons, coming from the pestiferous union of men and wicked angels.” – Pseudo-Gregory, Penitential 27.183-4

Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

“We have decreed that each bishop, with the help of the gravio, who is the defender of the Church, should take care according to the canons that the people of god in his diocese do not perform Pagan acts but cast off and spurn every filth of Paganism, and that they should forbid sacrifices of the dead or sorcerers or soothsayers or amulets or omens or enchantments or the sacrificial victims which stupid men honor in the name of the blessed martyrs or confessors in the vicinity of churches, provoking god and his saints to anger, or those sacrilegious fires which they call nied fyr, and all those who love Pagan observances.” – Charlemagne, Concilia 2.1.1-4

Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

“Do not pay honor to idols, do not use charms, do not read omens, do not make sacrifices to mountains, nor trees, nor at the corners of foundation stones. Foolish, faithless and wretched men make idols for themselves with their own hands. They cast and sculpt gods for themselves in the image of man, some from gold, some from silver, some from bronze. Then they set them up and adore them. But others make themselves gods from wood and stone. Others still adore animals and worship them as gods. They give these idols the names of men who died badly in the midst of vices and sins, and whose souls now suffer eternal torments.” – Ratio de catichizandis rudibus 81, 82

Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

“Let no one be found among you who accepts arioli and observes dreams and omens, nor one who is a sorcerer or enchanter nor one who consults a pythoness.” – Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.16

“The arioli are given that name because they utter their vile prayers around the altars of the idols, and they offer wicked sacrifices, through the celebrations of which they receive answers from the demons.” – Isidore of Seville, Etymologie 8.9.16

St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

“All the sacrifices and soothsayings of the Pagan are sacrileges, as are the sacrifices of the dead and those conducted around corpses or over tombs. Also omens, amulets and offerings made on stones, or to springs, trees, Jupiter, Mercury or the other Pagan gods, because they are diabolic; and many other things which would take too long to list are all, according to the judgment of the holy fathers, sacrileges to be avoided and detested by Christians, and they are recognized as capital sins.” – St. Boniface, Sermons 6.1

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

“What usually happens, brothers, is that a persecutor sent by the devil comes to some sick man and says, ‘Had you summoned that healer you would be better already; had you been willing to apply those symbols you could already have been cured.’ Perhaps someone comes and says, ‘Send to that diviner, give him your belt or headband to be measured, and he will inspect it.’ And someone else says, ‘That fellow knows how to fumigate well, for when he did it for such-and-such, he promptly got better and all trouble vanished from his house.’ And hereabouts the devil is accustomed to deceive careless and lukewarm Christians, so that if a man has suffered a theft, that cruelest persecutor goads him through his friends, saying, ‘Come secretly to that place and I shall raise up an apparition who will tell you who stole your silver or money.’ What wickedness!” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

“When the children of some women are tormented by various kinds of trials or illnesses, the weeping mothers run about in a frenzy and say to themselves, ‘Let us consult that soothsayer or diviner, that caster of lots, that herbwoman; let us sacrifice one of the patient’s garments, a belt to be inspected and measured; let us offer some symbols, let us hang some protective charms on his neck.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 52.5

Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

“There is no doubt that, as many have observed, minds are being infected with certain kinds of trickery and diabolical illusions by means of love potions, foods and amulets, so that, unaware of their own shame, they are considered by many to have succumbed to madness. There are those who claim that they can disturb the air with their spells, bring on hail, foretell the future, take away produce and milk and give it to other people. They are reputed to do countless such things. Whoever, man or women, who is known to be of this sort is to be punished particularly severely for it has been written of such people under title 23 of the Councils of Ancyra: Whoever seeks divinations and follows the customs of the Pagans or introduces such men into his house to find something by witchcraft or to carry out a purification or to avert some omen, he shall fall under the rule of five years’ penance.” – Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 71

“Anyone who, following Pagan custom, brings soothsayers and fortune-tellers into his house, as if to expel or uncover hexes or perform Pagan lustrations shall do five years of penance.” – Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 71

Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.62

“Did you observe the Kalends of January in the Pagan fashion by sitting on the roof of your house after having drawn a circle around you with a sword so that you might see from there and understand what will happen to you in the coming year? Or did you sit at the crossroads on the hide of a bull so that you would discover your future? ” – Burchard of Worms, Decretum 19.5.62

Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

“A custom has developed concerning the Annunciation of St. John the Baptist which is deplorable. Certain little trollops abandon the churches and the divine offices; they pass the whole night wherever they will, in the streets and crossroads, by springs and in the countryside; they form round dances, compose songs, draw lots and pretend that people’s prospects are to be predicted from things of this sort. Their superstition has given rise to madness to the point that they presume to baptize grass and leafy boughs, and hence they dare to call the turf and trees their godparents and good friends. And for a long while afterwards they strive to keep them hung up in their houses, as though for the sake of piety.” – Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

MIFAO 104.127-33

“Now, what means your not going to the Wise Woman about the two boys who died in your charge? Consult the Wise Woman about the death the two boys suffered: was it their fate or was it their lot? While you consult about them for me, also see about my own life and the life of their mother. And should she happen to mention any god to you, you will be sure to write me afterwards about his name and any work that he wills to be done by one who knows their duty.” – MIFAO 104.127-33

The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

“On his way to the city of Antioch he destroyed many of the unrighteous found en route, so that men shuddered with fear at his countenance. For everywhere he suppressed all evil-doing whether in word or deed, inflicting punishment, including death, on those who had gone astray, so that from then on even those living a blameless life feared his presence. He claimed that what he did was in response to an oracle from god which appeared to him in a dream, namely that the lord was angry with the Hellenes and heretics and he should reveal the idolatrous errors of the atheists and gather together all their books and burn them. After some investigation he discovered that the majority of the leaders of the city and many of its inhabitants were preoccupied with Hellenismos, Manichaeism, astrological practices, automatism and other hateful heresies. He arrested them and put them in prison, and after gathering together all of their books – a huge number – he burned them in the middle of the stadium. He brought out their idols and their polluted accoutrements and hung them along the streets of the city, and their wealth was expended on numerous fines.” – The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

Liutprand 84.1.727

“If some one, forgetful of their fear of god, shall go to a soothsayer, male or female, for divination, or to receive answers from them, he shall pay half his price in the sacred palace, according as he is valued … and he shall also do penance according to the church canons. In the same way he who worships a tree which the rustics call holy and at springs, or performs sacrilege or incantation, shall pay a similar price. And if some one knows of a male or female soothsayer and does not denounce them or those who consult them, he shall pay the penalty. The same applies to those who send their servant or handmaid to consult the soothsayer.” – Liutprand 84.1.727

The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

1. It is not permitted to dress up as a calf or a stag on the Kalends of January or to present diabolical gifts; on that day all favors shall be granted as on other days.

3. It is forbidden to make offerings or keep vigils on saints’ festivals in private houses, or to discharge vows among woods or at sacred trees or at springs, but, whoever has a vow, let him keep vigil in the church and fulfill his vow by giving to the servants of the church or the poor. Nor let anyone dare to make feet or images of men out of wood.

4. It is forbidden to turn to soothsayers or to augurs, or to those who pretend to know the future, or to look at what they call ‘the lots of the Saints’ or those they make out of wood or bread. But whatever a man wishes to do, let him do it in the name of god.

5. Forbid especially, in every way, these observances on the vigils which are kept in honor of Saint Martin.

8. It is forbidden to offer mellita, mulsa or any other mixture of wine and honey at the altar of the divine sacrifice. Any potion other than wine mixed with water is forbidden. Great sin and crime belong to the presbyter who dares offer any drink other than wine in the consecration of the blood of Christ.

– The Diocesan Council of Auxerre

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

“Some days ago I admonished your charity, brethren, that as holy and religious men, you should remove all pollution of idols from your properties and cast out the whole error of Paganism from your fields. For it is not right that you, who have Christ in your hearts, should have Antichrist in your houses; that your men should honor the devil in his shrines while you pray to god in church. And let no one think he is excused by saying, ‘I did not order this, I did not command it.’ Whoever knows that sacrilege takes place on his estate and does not forbid it, in a sense orders it. By keeping silence and not reproving the man who sacrifices, he lends his consent. For the blessed apostle states that not only those who do sinful acts are guilty, but also those who consent to the act. You, therefore, brother, when you observe your peasant sacrificing and do not forbid the offering, sin, because even if you did not assist the sacrifice yourself you gave permission for it. If your order was not behind the crime your will is still to blame. As long as you remain silent, what your peasant does pleases you: if he did not act in this way perhaps he would displease you. So the subject does not merely involve himself in sin when he sacrifices, he also involves his lord, who does not forbid him; if he had done so neither would have sinned. Idolatry is a great evil. It pollutes those who practice it. It pollutes the inhabitants of the region. It pollutes those who look on. It penetrates its ministers, it penetrates those who know of it and those who keep silent. The peasant’s offering defiles the lord of the land. He cannot not be polluted when he eats food gathered by sacrilegious hands, brought forth by earth stained with blood, stored in foul barns. For all things are defiled, all are abominable, where the devils dwell, whether houses, fields or peasants. There is nothing free from evil where everything is steeped in evil. If you entered a rustic shrine you would find there bleaching sods and dead coals – a worthy devil’s sacrifice when a dead god is worshiped with dead things. And if you went into the fields you would see wooden altars and stone images, suitable to a rite in which insensible gods are served at moldering altars. If you woke up earlier than you usually do you would see a rustic reeling with wine. You ought to know that he is what they call either a devotee of Diana, one who is epileptic or made mad by the moon, or a soothsayer. For a god who makes mad usually has a frantic priest. Such a priest prepares himself with wine for his goddess’ blows, so that, being drunk, the wretch may not feel his punishment. They do this not only out of intemperance but by design, so that, buoyed up by wine, they may feel less pain. The seer who thinks piety is intensified by cruelty is wholly useless. How merciful his god must be to others who is so cruel to his priests! To sketch briefly this seer’s dress. He has a shaggy head with long hair. His breast is bare, he has a cloth half round his loins, and like a gladiator prepared for combat, he brandishes a weapon in his hand. But he is worse than a gladiator, for he is forced to fight against another man, whereas this fellow has to fight against himself. The gladiator strikes at others’ guts, this man tears his own limbs to pieces, and if one can say this, as his trainer works on the gladiator, so his god urges this man on to self-flagellation. Wrapped in this dress, bloody with his self-slaughter, judge for yourselves whether he is a gladiator or a priest! As the public outrage of gladiators has been removed by the religious piety of our princes, these gladiators of insanity should be removed by Christians from their own dwellings.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 107

The Council of Trullo, Canon 60

“Those who seek the advice of fortune tellers, the so-called hekatontarches, or other similar individuals in order to learn from them that which they want revealed about themselves, let them, according to the recent decisions of the fathers, be placed under the canon of six years. Further, let those who keep bears and other animals on leashes for the entertainment and harm of the simple-minded be subjected to the same canonical penalty. The same goes for those who speak of destiny, fate, genealogies, and a multitude of meaningless talk that stems from error, as well as for those who are called the dispensers of clouds, those who practice witchcraft, those who distribute amulets, and sooth-sayers. We have decided that those who continue to participate in such activities and do not change their ways nor flee from these destructive practices and Hellenic customs are to be thrown out completely from the Church, just as the divine canon declares.” – The Council of Trullo, Canon 60

Eunapius, Life of Iamblichus

“Iamblichus was accustomed to perform the sacred rites alone, apart from his friends and disciples, which provoked much curiosity. One day while the company was drinking and Iamblichus was regaling them with his conversation that was sweet as nectar, the most eloquent of the crowd inquired, ‘O master most inspired, why do you thus occupy yourself in solitude, instead of sharing with us your more perfect wisdom? A rumor has reached us through your slaves that when you pray to the gods you soar aloft from the earth more than ten cubits to all appearance; that your body and your garments change to a beautiful golden hue; and presently when your prayer is ended your body becomes as it was before you prayed, and then you come down to earth and associate again with us.’ Iamblichus was not at all inclined to laughter, but he laughed at these remarks … One day, after the group had performed a sacrifice at Iamblichus’ suburban villa, they were returning to the city, walking slowly and having leisurely conversation about the gods. Iamblichus abruptly stopped and gazed for a while at the ground, lost in deep thought. Then he seemed to come back to himself and looked up at his friends, saying in a loud voice, ‘Let us go by another road, for a dead body has lately been carried along this way.’ After saying this he turned onto another road which seemed to be less impure, and some of them turned aside with him, who thought it was a shame to desert their teacher. But the greater number and the more obstinate of his disciples, among whom was Aedesius, stayed where they were, ascribing the occurrence to a portent and scenting like hounds for the proof. And very soon those who had buried the dead man came back. But even so the disciples did not desist but inquired whether they had passed along this road. ‘We had to,’ they replied, ‘for there was no other road.'”- Eunapius, Life of Iamblichus

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6.14

“For the Egyptians pursue a philosophy of their own. This is principally shown by their sacred ceremonial. For first advances the Singer, bearing some one of the symbols of music. For they say that he must learn two of the books of Hermes, the one of which contains the hymns of the gods, the second the regulations for the king’s life. And after the Singer advances the Astrologer, with a horologe in his hand, and a palm, the symbols of astrology. He must have the astrological books of Hermes, which are four in number, always in his mouth. Of these, one is about the order of the fixed stars that are visible, and another about the conjunctions and luminous appearances of the sun and moon; and the rest respecting their risings. Next in order advances the sacred Scribe, with wings on his head, and in his hand a book and rule, in which were writing ink and the reed, with which they write. And he must be acquainted with what are called hieroglyphics, and know about cosmography and geography, the position of the sun and moon, and about the five planets; also the description of Egypt, and the chart of the Nile; and the description of the equipment of the priests and of the places consecrated to them, and about the measures and the things in use in the sacred rites. Then the Stole-keeper follows those previously mentioned, with the cubit of justice and the cup for libations. He is acquainted with all points called Paedeutic (relating to training) and Moschophatic (sacrificial). There are also ten books which relate to the honour paid by them to their gods, and containing the Egyptian worship; as that relating to sacrifices, first-fruits, hymns, prayers, processions, festivals, and the like. And behind all walks the Prophet, with the water-vase carried openly in his arms; who is followed by those who carry the issue of loaves. He, as being the governor of the temple, learns the ten books called “Hieratic;” and they contain all about the laws, and the gods, and the whole of the training of the priests. For the Prophet is, among the Egyptians, also over the distribution of the revenues. There are then forty-two books of Hermes indispensably necessary; of which the six-and-thirty containing the whole philosophy of the Egyptians are learned by the forementioned personages; and the other six, which are medical, by the Pastophoroi (image-bearers), — treating of the structure of the body, and of diseases, and instruments, and medicines, and about the eyes, and the last about women. Such are the customs of the Egyptians, to speak briefly.” – Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6.14