The fear of returning from the dead dates back to prehistory, and if there was ever a geographical centre for that fear, it was Europe. In an Iron Age site in Bavaria, a violently killed woman was buried beneath a large stone, presumably to keep her from rising from her grave.
The heart of “esotericism” has long been centred around the belief that certain spiritual (or religious) teachings are best transmitted to others only after sufficient preparation and initiatic training. Such preparations are regarded as requiring long periods of discipline and often special empowerment rituals.
In order to come to a sound understanding of any aspect of the thought of Albert the Great insofar as it pertains to the adjective “mystical”, great care must be taken to avoid importing into Albert’s ideas any of the modern connotations of that term which may have been alien to his time and culture. And the best way to achieve this goal is to try to learn how Albert used the term.
In medieval thought, the concept of witchcraft held a place in the moral cosmology as a necessary evil receptacle of the hierarchically contrasting good of the community of Christians, God, piety and virtue. Still, the contents of the concept of witchcraft were dependent on the contents of its superior counterparts — and vice versa. In medieval and early modern thought, there could be no Christianity without the Devil and without witchcraft. This gave witchcraft an inherently unstable place on the threshold between orthodoxy, heterodoxy and heresy.