Peasants’ Black Mass of Rebellion

Jules Michelete’s La Sorcière (1862) has an entire chapter dedicated to a description of a typical Messe Noire held by the peasants of 13th century France to 1) Share food resources in a communal feast, and 2) stage a rebellious party against the Church and the nobility. Whether there were real witches among the group is unclear, but Michelete’s lengthy description describes how each part of the Christian Mass was inverted in this Black Mass. It is a pagan revelry of Bacchic proportions, which may have included psychotropic potions of belladonna to fuel their wild dancing. Sounds like a fun Saturday night to me.


Excerpts from Chapter XI-

In its earliest phase the Black Mass seemed to betoken this redemption of Eve, so long accursed of Christianity. The woman fills every office in the Sabbath. She is priestess, altar, pledge of holy communion, by turns. Nay at the bottom, is she not herself as God?…

They decked an altar to the arch-rebel of serfs, to Him who had been so wronged, the old outlaw, unfairly hunted out of heaven, “the Spirit by whom earth was made, the master who ordained the budding of the plants.” Such were the names of honor given him by his worshippers, the Luciferians, and also, according to a very likely opinion, by the Knights of the Temple…

Figure to yourself, on a broad more, and often near an old Celtic cromlech, at the edge of a wood, this twofold scene: on one side a well-lit moor and a great feast of the people; on the other, towards you wood, the choir of that church whose dome is heaven. What I call the choir is a hill commanding somewhat the surrounding country. Between these are the yellow flames of torch-fires, and some red braziers emitting a fantastic smoke. At the back of all is the Witch, dressing up her Satan, a great wooden devil, black and shaggy. By his horns, and the goat-skin near him, he might be Bacchus; but his manly attributes make him a Pan or a Priapus. It is a darksome figure, seen differently by different eyes; to some suggesting only terror, while others are touched by the proud melancholy wherein the Eternally Banished seems absorbed…


The full text is available here.

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