The game I’ve waited a year and a half for is being delayed indefinitely, again! I’m so sad.
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.
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.
In the magnificent baptistery of the Duomo of Florence, there is a master work of the Infernal Majesty of Satan and the fallen angels, eagerly munching the tenderest parts of the damned. This may be one of the earliest artistic versions of Satan as the Pan-like devil we know Him as today.
This, and Marcovaldo’s other 13th century works incorporate a blend of Byzantine and Romanesque styles, popular in Tuscany in the time. But this image of Satan is something quite new, though old. These devils are a frightening hybrid of the Satyr and a more ancient god in Tuscany, Fufluns.
These pagan deities, whose domains were merriment, orgiastic revelries and having a good time in general, are now demonized to represent the downfall of sinners, and the mysterious fits of ecstasy of the Cult of Dionysis, only known by this time in rumors or works of Greek tragedy like Euripedes’ Bacchae, were now the Church’s tool of the imagination, used to keep the masses scared and afraid, and so obedient.
Taking a quick look at some of the ghoulish and misshapen figures, you might think this is something by Hieronymus Bosch. It’s actually a commissioned religious piece by Master van Eyck. Take a moment to appreciate the horrors of the pits of Hell that this man painstakingly rendered in the smallest detail:
Meanwhile, this motherfucker is wearing some sort of flesh-crown and smiling with painful glee, while his ghoulish, fanged belly devours the ass of some sinner, all the while triggering your deepest trypophobia.
Yes, people of the ancient world had imaginations just as fucked up as we do today, as you can tell by these demonic creatures that would look right at home in a Hellraiser movie.
Unfortunately after about three Sazeracs I become this guy.
I was actually disappointed that the Church of Satan promoted this rather boring ritual video. Spooky sounds and Hot Topic daggers only get you so far. Where is the psychological decompression? Where is the emotion? If any of the rites mentioned in The Satanic Rituals could be well rehearsed, grandiose and perfected renditions, I’d be so happy. Has anyone ever attempted Die Elektrischen Vorspiele? That would be a site to see!
*EDIT, April 2019* – I took a second look at this video over a year later, and I actually have to retract my previous statements about this Walpurgisnacht ritual. The production is really quite tasteful at closer inspection. After reviewing the mechanics of Satanic Ritual as described in LaVey, I can better appreciate how well this ritual adheres to his instructions. I think my initial reaction was because there is probably much that is lost in translation between being actually present at something versus interpreting it through a video. I’ll leave my previous statements up because we are responsible for the words we put out there. However I will confess I initially was judging this ritual performance too harshly. Everyone’s a critic!