B for Pope Boniface VIII

What makes this man remarkable is not his systemising of Catholic Canon Law, or founding the University of Rome, or formalising the custom of the Roman Jubilee, a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon, but by being remembered in Dante’s Divine Comedy as public enemy number one!

Born Benedetto Caetani, Pope Boniface has the unenviable notoriety of being named in Dante’s Inferno as an exponent of the black arts. He succeeded to Pope Celestine V to the papacy in 1294 and put forward some of the strongest claims of any pope to temporal as well as spiritual power. He involved himself often with foreign affairs, including in France, Sicily, Italy, and the First War of Scottish Independence. These views, and his chronic intervention in “temporal” affairs, led to many bitter quarrels with Albert I of Germany, Philip IV of France, and Dante Alighieri, who wrote his treatise De Monarchia to dispute Boniface’s claims of papal supremacy and placed the pope in the Eighth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy, among the simoniacs, i.e. those who sold church roles and sacred objects to empower them with the power of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.
Boniface issued a bull in 1303 declaring both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope’s jurisdiction, and kings were subordinate to the power of the Roman pontiff. Philip disobeyed and had the bull publicly burnt in Paris in 1302. Boniface excommunicated Philip and all others who prevented French clergy from traveling to the Holy See, after which the king sent his troops to attack the pope’s residence in Anagni on 7 September 1303 and capture him. Boniface was held for three days and beaten badly and died from a fever a month later.
His successor Benedict VI undertook to defend his memory but died in the first year of his pontificate -it was said by poison, and the Holy See remained vacant for 11 months, when a Frenchman, the archbishop of Bordeaux was elected to the papal chair under the title of Clement V. There is little doubt he was Phillip’s choice who then pressured Clement V to stage a posthumous trial of Boniface, accusing him of heresy and sodomy. The Pope referred the process to the 1311 Council of Vienne, where two Templar knights challenged the claim to a trial by combat. With no one willing to fight them, the Council declared the matter closed. Boniface’s body was accidentally exhumed in 1605 and was found to be in relatively good condition, dispensing the legend that he had become frenzied, gnawing his hands, and bashing his brains out against the wall.
The French case against Boniface involved many testimonies, which described Boniface as a free thinker, in the habit of mocking, and cynically regarding things sacred to the church, of practising the black arts. It was commonly reported in Italy, according to witnesses, Boniface had communication with and worshipped demons. One, a friar, brother Bernard de Sorano, said that when Boniface was a cardinal and held the office of notary to Nicholas III, he lay with the papal army before the castle of Puraino, and he having been sent to receive the surrender of the castle returned with the cardinal to Viterbo, where they were lodged in the palace. At night looking out of the window with the cardinal’s chamberlain they saw Boniface enter an adjoining garden, where in a mysterious manner, carrying a cock and an earthen pot he made a circle about himself on the ground with a sword. On seating himself therein he created a fire in the pot and killed the cock sprinkling its blood on the fire causing much smoke. He proceeded to read from a book conjuring up demons during which much noise was heard that made them terrified. One voice clearly heard said “Give us our share”. After this ceremony Boniface returned to his room which he slept in alone, but he was heard talking all night and strange voices answering him.
Eventually under pressure to consider ‘other necessities’ Philip IV agreed to drop the prosecution, and at last, in 1312, Boniface was declared in the Council of Vienne, innocent of all the offences he had been charged.
Make of this as you will, fundamentalists, monarchs, and politicians during the middle ages often said there was no smoke without fire. Boniface VIII has not been alone accused of heresy, and that includes the present Pope Francis (2013 -) whose words and actions have been said to be a comprehensive rejection of Catholic teachings on marriage and sexual activity, on the moral law, and on grace and forgiveness of sins. The pontiff has even been accused of using a satanic symbol at the opening mass of the Synod on Youth in 2018, when he “carried a staff in the form of a ‘stang,’ an object used in satanic rituals”.

A for Abraham the Jew

Turn the “A” upside down and you’ll have a good sense of its original shape and meaning when it was introduced around 1800 BC. Resembling an animal’s head with antlers or horns, the original meaning of the letter in ancient Semitic was “ox.”

Abraham the Jew (Alchemist, magician, and philosopher) was born 1362 in Mayence, Germany. His father was reputed to be a seer and the son’s education would have begun at an early age, later studying under Moses, who Abraham describes as a good man, but entirely ignorant of the True Mystery, and of Veritable Magic. Yet still a young man he began travels, Hungary, Austria, Greece, then to Constantinople where he remained for two years -next moving on into Arabia, in those days a veritable centre of mystical learning, onward into Palestine, and Egypt. Here he made acquaintance with Abra-Melin, the famous Egyptian philosopher who, besides entrusting him with certain documents, confided in him by word of mouth a number of invaluable secrets. He returned to Europe eventually settling in Wurzburg, Germany, where he married and raised a family. He espoused two sons and three daughters. The dowry he gave on all three daughters were sums of 100’000 golden florins -in medieval times a fortune, and in today’s money £11,412,800. He claims to have gained these fortunes and more by travelling as an alchemist and magician. He certainly won great fame during his lifetime, being summoned to perform acts of magic by rich and influential people, notably the Emperor Sigismund of Germany, the Bishop of Wurzburg, King Henry VI, Duke of Bavaria, and Pope John XXIII. Abraham’s career is shrouded in mystery, even the date of his death is uncertain, commonly supposed to have occurred about 1460.

What we know of him comes from a curious manuscript, originally lodged in the archives of the Bibliotheque de l ’Arsenal in Paris and subsequently published in 1760 by Abraham Eleazar as ‘A Very Ancient Alchemical Work’ -likely not his real name.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Abraham-Jew-R-M-S/dp/1511667168

The original manuscript was entitled, ‘The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin, as delivered by Abraham the Jew unto his son Lamech’. The first part is a record of his travels in search of wisdom, the second and third parts are based on the documents which the Egyptian sage gave to Abraham, the principles of Magic, and the practise of Magic. Later chapters cover such subjects as developing clairvoyance, how to retain familiar spirits, bound or free, how to excite tempests, raise the dead, change shape and form, thaumaturgic healing of leprosy, dropsy, paralysis, fevers, and sea sickness. His penultimate chapter is entitled ‘How to cause armed men to appear’. It is by seership and the evocation of Kabbalistic Squares that such magic can be achieved. If you would like to know more about what Kabbalistic Squares are, this commentary could prove helpful, http://www.ismaili.net/mirrors/Ikhwan_08/magic_squares.html

What we know of his character comes from this document, written partly in Latin, Arabian, Chaldee, and Syriac language. It shows that Abraham was a man of strong beliefs entirely dedicated to occult knowledge, didactic in his language, and a person who would not suffer fools gladly.

Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642) is believed to have had copy of this manuscript -now the question for you is this. Given such famous people solicited his services and he was never (apparently) short of a penny, can you believe in his powers? Is it possibly true he was a practitioner of knowledge we can no longer access or understand?

In numerology the letter A in his name signifies Life tends to be approached with ambition and drive, pursued with confidence. Courage tends to be valued. The person tends to express willpower and purpose.