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VMs: Re: Witchcraft and pharmacology...

Hello Nick,
Yes, the pharmacology and herbal/magic potions and plants are the primary interest. Thank you for the references. It is really not very surprising to me that the use of certain plants for their medicinal/psychedelic applications would be found across disciplines. The reference I came across and those you have mentioned may help fill some of the gaps in identifying the plants and other aspects seen in the VMS.
Dana Scott
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2003 2:59 AM
Subject: VMs: Witchcraft and pharmacology...

Hi Dana,

At 22:22 27/11/2003 -0700, Dana Scott wrote:
>It seems that witchcraft flourished in the late 15th century:

There seems to be an abundant (if often inadequately cross-referenced)
literature on the cross-over between 15th century folk magic and
pharmacology, which I guess is what you are particularly interested in
(rather than "witchcraft" per se)

I've mentioned Ioan Couliano's "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance" several
times before (for witchcraft etc, refer particularly to pages 149-153). One
key source for Couliano is Jordanes de Bergamo's "Quaestio de Strigis"
(manuscript, circa 1470), quoted in Joseph Hansen "Quellen und
Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns" (Bonn, 1901) and in Henry
Charles Lea "Materials towards a History of Witchcraft" (New York and
London, 1957).

Couliano also mentions M. Harner "The Role of Hallucinogenic Plants in
European Witchcraft" in M. Harner (ed.) "Hallucinogens and Shamanism"
(Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 125-150.

I've also corresponded briefly with a German group of researchers who study
around the area of history of phytotherapy and gynaecology: it seems likely
to me that several sets of literature overlap in this general area.

A good first step to grasping this might be to compile a bibliography
(perhaps as a Wiki?) classified by general tradition (witchcraft,
pharmacology, herb-women, folk magic, etc). Circulating that amongst
different academic groups might act as a magnet for finding more recent

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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