Harper Feist

 Women and Grimoire Magic in the Time of the Inquisition

Medieval grimoire use is recognized to have been performed by men, namely educated men with a clerical or noble background. Education was the name of the game, because literacy was the most basic requirement to make use of catalogs of demons and books of spells. Caught up in the Catholic Church’s intense attempt to control the spread of Protestantism and the practices of Judaism and Islam were people who owned and used forbidden books. Most of these people, of course, were men, but not all of them. Usage of written material in general was tied to availability of reading materials and literacy rates, quite low amongst the general population of the time, and even lower among women. Nonetheless, historical and legal records of women using grimoire material are not unknown.

An example of a woman being tried for possession of forbidden literature is the case of Laura Malipiero, who was discovered to possess several copies of the “Clavicule of Solomon” in various stages of completion. She claimed to be illiterate, but the facts point to her having been involved in Venice’s black market in grimoires.

This presentation will describe Malipiero’s case in more detail, and discuss a variety of other cases of the time, both in Italy and in other locations in Europe, along with reminders about the history of this period.

Harper Feist

Harper Feist has been interested in the intersection of magick, medicine and science for most of her life. She has a history in feri/faeri workings and facilitating large Reclaiming rituals. She is interested in the scrying role of ceremonial magick, having taking part in many workings involving both chthonic and celestial spirits. More recently, she’s become a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis and is an ordained priestess and the Master of her local body, Leaping Laughter Oasis, in Minneapolis MN, USA. She is also an active interviewer for the O.T.O. U.S. Grand Lodge’s official podcast, “Thelema Now,” and spoke on the topic of scrying at the last national meeting (NOTOCON 2017). She also presented a talk at her local body about the origins of the Picatrix. In her mundane life, Harper is a Ph.D. scientist, mother and a martial artist specializing in koryu Japanese sword work.