Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Satan and Babalon: A Concept of Deity in Satanism


The following article is a sort of Frankenstein Monster of writing, in that it is cobbled together from various excerpts from the works of John Allee (aka Lord Egan), the founder and High Priest of the First Church of Satan. Much of it comes from various versions of the FCoS FAQs, while other bits come from essays by John that appeared on the old FCoS website.
John’s theological views went through many changes over the years he was incarnated on this plane. This article is not an attempt at showing either John’s final views or an accurate snapshot of his beliefs in their entirety at any given point in time. Instead, this compilation of excerpts, edited into a new stand-alone article, was done with the intent of focusing on those ideas of John’s that I felt would most appeal to those of a more “theistic” mindset. The pieces that make up its construction have been purposefully chosen by me to emphasize John’s ideas and views that I personally resonate with as a Satanist and as a Thelemite. It is my hope that other Satanists will also find something meaningful and inspirational in this edit of John’s writings.
While I have taken much liberty in choosing which of John’s words to include or exclude from this article, I have also taken great care not to put any words into his mouth.
And finally, to round things off, I have decided to include excerpts from Crowley’s Liber Samekh at the end of the article, as a way of drawing attention to the influence that Crowley’s Thelema had on John’s concept of Satan/Babalon as God/Goddess.
I hope you enjoy this little compilation.
Satana Vobiscum!
- Frater V.I.M.

Satan represents the One manifesting itself as infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

THE universe comes from the One (Ain or No-Thing) and returns to it. The first cause is not an explosion like the so-called Big Bang, but the emergence of Chaos and Order. People often ask, “How can Satan be the exception to every rule, the dissonance in the universal, the rebel of the cosmos, the rock cast in the still pond and still represent nature’s balance factor?” Simply put, Satan, the male principle, is Chaos personified. Babalon, the female principle, is Order personified. These principles combine, divide and subdivide as the universe expands. These divisions create primary forms which help the co-creators weave the fabric of the universe.
All life springs from the Dark Mother, Babalon, for she is the life giver, nurturer, sustainer. The role of Satan is architect, builder and destroyer. Both work interdependently to achieve balance, harmony and consistent change. They define, compliment and complete one another. Life is an expression of both Order and Chaos. It consists of a continuous series of good and bad experiences which appear to follow a pattern. This is true regardless of age, irrespective of our race or religious convictions. When life goes well, our spiritual growth tends to stagnate. The onslaughts and challenges of daily life give us the impetus to grow and excel.
Some Satanists view the Devil as the first individualthe first being to acquire consciousness and self-awareness. This lends itself to free will and is the true meaning behind Lucifer’s “fall from grace.” We are all inheritors of that gift.
Lucifer is the Illuminated One, the Light Bearer, the Crowned and Conquering Child, the outward manifestation of Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Lucifer is the embodiment of that force which leads to progress by upsetting the natural order when necessarythis has goaded Man from brute existence towards that which is truly human and ultimately godlike. Man creates gods in his own image, thereby recreating himself. If you wish to see an icon, look in the mirror! By worshiping the god within, we honor both ourselves and Lucifer, as we move toward a more complex state of being.
How can Lucifer, Lord of Light also be the Prince of Darkness? The quick answer to that question is that he rules the heart of the Dark Goddess. “Darkness” refers to the Goddess. The title “Prince of Darkness” is a endearing sentiment illustrating the formula “Love is the Law, Love Under Will.”
Which deity is on the side of Love? The Goddess, representing Order. Which one has to do with Will? The so-called Devil or God of Chaos. Passive and Active. Form and Force. Flesh and Spirit. The same qualities come into play.
Furthermore, you cannot elevate the spirit while condemning the flesh and vice-versa! The truly enlightened individual realizes that all matter is composed of frozen energy or “spirit” and there can never be any separation. The aspiring magician must maintain a BALANCE in his or her perspective and not place one above the other because they compliment, define and complete each other. Truly, the All is One!
Some see life as a web of interconnections. They believe everything is connected to everything else and the All derives from the One. They focus on the Source and view themselves as insignificant. While the theory of interconnection is valid and can be seen as part of Hermetic Law, no part of the web is insignificant. Reducing one’s importance to a weak link is unhealthy. It diminishes your ego. Some Satanists realize this and move to the opposite extreme, exalting oneself as godhead while disregarding the source. While using the Law of Polarity to adjust the problem is a wise idea, this is going to far. This only causes the imbalance to continue, but in the opposite direction. As a result, we've witnessed a non-productive clashing of egos between individual Satanists and Satanic organizations, each with an agenda. It is almost impossible to imagine a Christianity based entirely upon altruism and it is foolish to imagine a Satanism based entirely upon selfism. To lead a fruitful existence, the needs of the many must be balanced against the needs of the few, or the one. Again, balance is the key!
Co-creationism is a theory where but deity and mortal create together. Some see this as a beneficial situation where “God helps he who helps himself” if you will. There is another way to view this relationship. The creator and the created are co-dependentthey exist for one another. God creates Man in his image because he wants to be worshipped. Man creates God in his image because he wants something to worship. Of course, when you hear a Satanist use the word “God,” he is referring to Satan or the divine essence within, not Yahweh or Allah.
A Satanist and a Christian have a major difference in perspective. It is the same difference that most pagans have with Christians. To the Christian, God is that all-knowing, all-powerful Oz out there. We have a concept of divinity which does not delineate the creator from the created. God is not only in my life, God is my life. Simply put, God IS . . . period! He does not have to be invited into my home like Dracula. I do not have to ask him for salvation.
In Satanism, every Man and Woman is a stara breathing, physical manifestation of that which is divine. The same value that the Christian will attribute attribute to Christ (Christ comes from the Greek word, simply meaning, annointed), the Satanist attributes to all mankind. Therefore, Man is God. Hail Thyself!
Well trained Satanists have a distinct advantage over other pagans. Because we see ourselves as god, and thus allow that our brethren are also divine, respect is vital. Showing deference and proper etiquette can be the trademark of a Satanist, provided the essence of that deity within each of us is accepted, and acknowledged appropriately.
The most common misconception about the Devil is that the Devil is somehow responsible for the free will choices we make as individuals. Is the Devil behind all the evil in the world? It would depend on what you would define as the Devil. We, you and I, and all other individuals are responsible for the evil and all the good as well. Human beings are creatures of habit and whenever a force of change is introduced to a system it is upsetting, perceived as “evil.”
Change itself is the universal constant. Just when you think you've got everything figured out and all your beliefs neatly categorized, the trickster devil comes along and whacks you upside the head with an apparent contradiction. You see, we are being “fooled by the Devil” because that is how we learnthrough our own mistakes! Without problem solving, existence becomes futile, meaningless! The Devil represents life’s onslaughts and challenges which we must face and overcome to evolve physically and spiritually. Satan is the force of change that “wills forever evil, but does forever good.”
Those who trash the Devil are beating up on themselves. The good guy/bad guy mentality sanctioned by the Islamic and Christian faith is dehumanizing and dangerous. The same technique is used by the military establishment. During the Vietnam war, the troops were shown propaganda films depicting Asians as slant-eyed devils who pillaged and raped women. The objective was to dehumanize the enemy so they could be killed without conscience. It is effective programming and excellent military strategy. The point is whether you choose to use it in your own personal life!
More recently, here in the United States, commercial airliners were hijacked by a group of Islamic fundamentalists who were taught from a very early age that America was “the Great Satan.” With fanatic religious devotion, they commandeered the planes to crash into strategic locations, killing themselves and everyone aboard, along with thousands of innocent people. Again, these hijackers were desensitized. They were not murdering men, women and children; they were vanquishing Satan. Thus, anything that they did, could not be seen as more evil than what they were attempting to overcome.
Many Christians fear that the Devil wants their soul. Again, you have to understand the definition of the Devil. Secondly, for there to be want, there must be separation or division. The source of all life is the One, whose center is everywhere. All layers of intelligence in the Universe are cut from the same dark cloth. We are it. It is us.
You cannot be separated from your soul. It is what makes you . . . you. You may worry about what the agenda of Satanism really is and what the Devil’s purpose is on this planet. In essence, you are really asking the age-old question, “What is our purpose on earth? What is the meaning of life?” Free will determines what you believe and how you perceive things. You are an aspect of divinity, therefore life means exactly what you think it means. Decide right now whether you will define your life from a perspective of free will or fear. One path is that of passive acceptance. The other is that of the trail blazer.
Do Satanists worship the Devil? It all depends on what you would consider “worship.” Worship need not describe groveling before a deity or expressing an unhealthy attitude that diminishes ones self worth. Unfortunately, many Satanists view worship in this negative light, then move to an opposite extreme; exalting oneself as godhead while disregarding the universal life-force. As a result, we've witnessed non-productive, egomaniacal infighting between Satanists.
We suggest a balanced perspective coupled with an appreciation for irony because the creator and the created are co-dependent! Also, we need to view “worship” in a different light: a feeling of love, adoration and devotion towards the archetypal forms of whom we are a physical expression.
My objective in offering this information adheres to a set of Satanic principles outlined by Crowley, a man who also believed in praetor-human intelligences; “The essence of every missionary message has always been to assimilate the taught to the teacher, and it has always been accompanied by bribes and threats. My message is exactly opposed to any of this. I say to each man and woman, you are unique and sovereign, the center of an universe. However right I may be in thinking as I do, you may be equally right in thinking otherwise. You can only accomplish your object in life by complete disregard of the opinions of other people.”

Excerpts from Liber Samekh

Hear Me, O breathing, flowing Sun! O Sun IAF! O Lion-Serpent Sun, The Beast that whirlest forth, a thunder- bolt, begetter of Life! Thou that flowest! Thou that goest! Thou Satan-Sun Hadith that goest without Will! Thou Air! Breath! Spirit! Thou without bound or bond! Thou Essence, Air Swift-streaming, Elasticity! Thou Wanderer, Father of All! Thou Wanderer, Spirit of All! Thou Shining Force of Breath! Thou Lion-Serpent Sun! Thou Saviour, save! Thou Ibis, secret solitary Bird, inviolate Wisdom, whose Word in Truth, creating the World by its Magick! O Sun IAF! O Lion-Serpent Sun, The Beast that whirlest forth, a thunder- bolt, begetter of Life!

I invoke Thee, the Terrible and Invisible God Who dwellest in the Void Place of the Spirit, thou spiritual Sun! Satan Thou Eye, Thou Lust! Cry aloud! Cry aloud! Whirl the Wheel, O my Father, O Satan, O Sun! Thou, the Saviour! Silence! Give me Thy Secret! Give me suck, Thou Phallus, Thou Sun! Satan, thou Eye, thou Lust! Satan, thou Eye, thou Lust! Satan, thou Eye, thou Lust! Thou self-caused, self-determined, exalted, Most High!”

Hear Me, thou the Wheel, thou the Womb, that containeth the Father IAF! Thou the Sea, the Abode! Babalon! Thou Woman of Whoredom. Thou, Gate of the Great God ON! Thou Lady of the Understanding of the Ways! Hail Thou, the unstirred! Hail, sister and bride of ON, of the God that is all and is none, by the Power of Eleven! Thou Treasure of IAO! Thou Virgin twin-sexed! Thou Secret Seed! Thou inviolate Wisdom! Abode of the Light of the Father, the Sun, of Hadith, of the spell of the Aeon of Horus! Our Lady of the Western Gate of Heaven! Mighty art Thou!

I invoke Thee, O Mother! O Truth! Thou Mass! Hail, Thou that art! Thou hollow one! Thou Goddess of Beauty and Love, whom Satan, beholding, desireth! The Fathers, male-female, desire Thee!”

Monday, May 14, 2018

Crowley on LAShTAL (Non-Being Becomes Being through Set/Satan)

I am inclined to contemplate the Virtue of Thelema being 93. 31 being AL and LA, the positive and negative three-in-one, the “love” of these two produces the third, which makes 91, and is the Will-Love-Word, and also the Formula Father-Mother-Child. Capricornus, Ayin, very well represents Will, especially as it is the Eye, and the Devil.
Virgo, Iod, is the Silence of the Hermit, enveloping the Speech of the Hermit, Lord of Virgo. Taurus, Vau, seems the formula of Reproduction, for its number is 6, Tiphereth, the Sun, made of 1 + 2 + 3, and of 1 × 2 × 3; and 6 is the Solar Seal of Solomon, made of the united Triangles. Finally, Gemini, Zain, is Love, for its card is ‘The Lovers,’ and its whole symbolism is the twin Nature, the duality (by virtue of polarization) of things, as if it asserted the formula of “Division for the sake of Uniting again” (“I am divided for love’s sake for the chance of union”).
In Aiwaz, then, we have a Word which combines the Four-in-One aspects of the Three-in-One All-Nothingand such is the Name of Him who opened unto us the The Book of the Law, of mine Holy Guardian Angel, being, as was the genius of Plotinus, Very God of Very God.
I may here say that I have long felt that 31 and 93 were rather feminine numbers, I think because the Circle-idea and the Nothing-idea suggest the Yin rather than the Yang. “Thrice Thirty-One is the triple negative veil,” and so on. Of course Tzaddi the Emperor is of phallic shape, and Aleph is the “Bolt” of Zeus, and “Hammer” of Thor; but that doesn’t quite compensate. It’s my own fault, I’ve no doubt, for leaning to the feminine interpretation of “Nothing.” Nothing is n + Minus n, which we (rather absurdly) call Two, in order to lay stress on its manifestation. Here is another difficulty, or rather another as yet unsolved arcanum: if we take AL as the Two phase, and LA as the None phase, what is the nature of the third 31, which goes to make 93? How can we attach any meaning at all to it? Can it be the Shin Teth which is so often 31 (XX plus XI) in the Qabalah of The Book of the Law? Teth is Energy, Leo, the Solar Force; it is BABALON and the Beast conjoined.
Shin is the Fire of Pralaya, the “Last Judgement.” The combination would therefore exhibit the methods whereby the “None” and the “Two” phases alternate.
(Curiously, LAShTAL is 371, equals 7 x 53, while 53 is the sum of the Tarot-Key Numbers.) But I don’t see much in thisyet. We might call LA “not-being,” ShT “becoming,” and AL, “being,” thus declaring the three possible states. Each being 31, they are ultimately identical. Out own formula is 93, to show that we can apprehend them. This sounds right. (We must not rashly try to assimilate this Trinity to the Gunas, for example; with LA Tamas, ShT Rajas, and AL Sattvas; the Gunas are but reflections, pallid and distorted of this true Trinity. Similarly, to take LA for Mother, AL for Father, and ShT for Child, is too bold, though tempting; for these ideas have all been absorbed into the unities of each 31.)
- Crowley, diary entry, 2 June, 1920

A certain recent operation of Magick has aroused my Kundalini beyond all measure, until I wonder if 31 etc. be not the true 13 × 12 vesica or Gate of Capricornus-Scorpio, which, by the way, unites the guttural and nasal gods, and gives the name ShTN, South plus North, combining all the Processes of Going.
- Crowley, diary entry, 27 June, 1920

The Magick that Crowley is here referring to is sexual magick, the Kundalini (or Magical Fire that was stirred by the recent operation) produced an illumination in which Crowley realized the following: the formula of sexual magick is concealed in the name ShTN (Shaitan or Set or Satan), Sh(ש), the Magic Fire, T(ט), the Lion-Serpent, and N(נ), the Scarlet Woman. Teth is related to the solar symbolism of Capricornus, the sign in which the sun is annually reborn, and Nun with the Scorpio-Dragon symbolism of Babalon, the Scarlet Woman. The name ShTN thus combines Hadit (the Sun) and Nuit (the Moon) in one glyph. Shaitan, which derives from the ancient Egyptian god Set, the sun in the south, and which blackens everything and was therefore later cursed, had some special attraction for Crowley. In fact, in his capacity as the Great Beast, he identified himself with Shaitan, another name for his Holy Guardian Angel, Aiwass. - The Magical Record of the Beast 666, 1972]

I also am a Star in Space, unique and self-existent, an individual essence incorruptible; I also am one Soul; I am identical with All and None. I am in All and all in me; I am, apart from all and lord of all, and one with all.
I am God, I very God of very God; I go upon my way to work my Will; I have made Matter and Motion for my mirror; I have decreed for my delight that Nothingness should figure itself as twain, that I might dream a dance of names and natures, and enjoy the substance of simplicity by watching the wanderings of my shadows. I am not that which is not; I know not that which knows not; I love not that which loves not. For I am Love, whereby division dies in delight; I am Knowledge, whereby all parts, plunged in the whole, perish and pass into perfection; and I am that I am, the being wherein Being is lost in Nothing, nor designs to be but its Will to unfold its nature, its need to express its perfection in all possibilities, each phase a partial phantasm, and yet inevitable and absolute.
I am Omniscient, for naught exists for me unless I know it. I am Omnipotents, for naught occurs save by Necessity, my soul's expression through my Will to be, to do, to suffer the symbols of itself. I am Omnipresent, for naught exists where I am not, who fashioned Space as a condition of my consciousness of myself, who am the centre of all, and my circumference the frame of mine own fancy.
I am the All, for all that exists for me is a necessary expression in thought of some tendency of my nature, and all my thoughts are only the letters of my Name.
I am the One, for all that I am is not the absolute All, and all my all is mine and not another's; mine, who conceive of others like myself in essence and truth, yet unlike in expression and illusion.
I am the None, for all that I am is the imperfect image of the perfect; each partial phantom must perish in the clasp of its counterpart, each form fulfil itself by finding its equated opposite, and satisfying its need to be the Absolute by the attainment of annihilation.
The World LAShTAL includes all this.
L is “Justice,” the Kteis fulfilled by the Phallus, “Naught and Two” because the plus and the minus have united in “love under will.”
A is “The Fool,” Naught in Thought (Parzival), Word (Harpocrates), and Action (Bacchus). He is the boundless air, and the wandering Ghost, but with “possibilities.” He is the Naught that the Two have made by “love under will.”
LA thus represents the Ecstasy of Nuit and Hadit conjoined, lost in love, and making themselves Naught thereby. Their child is begotten and conceived, but is in the phase of Naught also, as yet. LA is thus the Universe in that phase, with its potentialities of manifestation.
AL, on the contrary, though it is essentially identical with LA, shows “The Fool” manifested through the Equilibrium of Contraries. The weight is still nothing, but it is expressed as it were two equal weights in opposite scales. The indicator still points to zero.
ShT is equally 31 with LA and AL, but it expresses the secret nature which operates the Magick or the transmutations.
ShT is the formula of this particular Æon; another æon might have another way of saying 31.
Sh is Fire as T is Force; conjoined they express Ra-Hoor-Khuit.
The Angel” represents the Stèle 666, showing the Gods of the Æon, while “Strength” is a picture of Babalon and the Beast, the earthly emissaries of those Gods.
ShT is the dynamic equivalent of LA and AL. Sh shows the Word of the Law, being triple, as 93 is thrice 31. T shows the formula of Magic declared in that Word; the Lion, the Serpent, the Sun, Courage and Sexual Love are all indicated by the card.
In LA note that Saturn or Satan is exalted in the House of Venus or Astarté and it is an airy sign. Thus L is Father-Mother, Two and Naught, and the Spirit (Holy Ghost) of their Love is also Naught. Love is AHBH, 13, which is AChD. Unity, 1, aleph. who is “The Fool” who is Naught, but none the less an individual One, who (as such) is not another, yet unconscious of himself until his Oneness expresses itself as a duality.
Any impression or idea is unknowable in itself. It can mean nothing until brought into relation with other things. The first step is to distinguish one thought from another; this is the condition of recognizing it. To define it, we must perceive its orientation to all our other ideas. The extent of our knowledge of any one thing varies therefore with the number of ideas with which we can compare it. Every new fact not only adds itself to our universe, but increases the value of what we already possess.
In AL this “The” or “God” arranges for “Countenance to behold countenance,” by establishing itself as an equilibrium, A the One-Naught conceived as L the Two-Naught. This L is the Son-Daughter Horus-Harpocrates just as the other L was the Father-Mother Set-Isis. Here then is Tetragrammaton once more, but expressed in identical equations in which every term is perfect in itself as a mode of Naught.
ShT supplies the last element; making the Word of either five or six letters, according as we regard ShT as one letter or two. Thus the Word affirms the Great Work accomplished: 5°=6°.
ShT is moreover a necessary resolution of the apparent opposition of LA and AL; for one could hardly pass to the other without the catalytic action of a third identical expression whose function should be to transmute them. Such a term must be in itself a mode of Naught, and its nature cannot encroach on the perfections of Not-Being, LA, or of Being, AL. It must be purely Nothing-Motion as they are purely Nothing-Matter, so as to create a Matter-in-Motion which is a function of “Something.”
Thus ShT is Motion in its double phase, an inertia compose of two opposite current, and each current is also thus polarized. Sh is Heaven and Earth, T Male and Female; ShT is Spirit and Matter; one is the word of Liberty and Love flashing its Light to restore Life to Earth, the other is the act by which Life claims that Love is Light and Liberty. And these are Two-in-One, the divine letter of Silence-in-Speech whose symbol is the Sun in the Arms of the Moon.
But Sh and T are alike formulæ of force in action as opposed to entities; they are not states of existence, but modes of motion. They are verbs, not nouns.
Sh is the Holy Spirit as a “tongue of fire” manifest in triplicity, and is the child of Set-Isis as their logos or Word uttered by their “Angel.” The card is XX, and 20 is the value of yod (the secret seed of all things, the Virgin, “The Hermit,” Mercury, the Angel or Herald) expressed in full as IVD. Sh is the spiritual congress of Heaven and Earth.
But T is the Holy Spirit in action as a “roaring Lion” or as “the old Serpent” instead of an “Angel of Light.” The twins of Set-Isis, harlot and beast, are busy with that sodomitic and incestuous lust which is the traditional formula for producing demi-gods, as in the cases of Mary and the Dove, Leda and the Swan, etc. The card is XI, the number of Magick AVD: aleph “The Fool” impregnating the woman according to the Word of yod, the Angel of the Lord! His sister has seduced her brother Beast, shaming the Sun with her sin; she has mastered the Lion, and enchanted the Serpent. Nature is outraged by Magick; man is bestialized and woman defiled. The conjunction produces a monster; it affirms regression of types. Instead of a man-God conceived of the Spirit of God by a virgin in innocence, we are asked to adore the bastard of a whore and a brute, begotten in shamefullest sin and born in most blasphemous bliss.
- Crowley, Liber V vel Reguli

The phrases “roaring Lion,” “the old serpent,” and “Angel of Light” as quoted by Crowley in the above passage are direct references to Biblical descriptions of Satan, the Devil. The verses which Crowley is referencing are as follows:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
- 1 Peter 5:8

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
- Revelations 12:9

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
- 2 Corinthians 11:13-14]

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kenneth Grant on Satan-Set-Shaitan


It was Aleister Crowley who fanned the flame to furnace heat, which he did when the ‘world was destroyed by fire’ in 1904. This phrase is a technical one; it signifies destruction and super-cession in a sense that may only be interpreted by resorting to the astronomical myth cycles from which it derives. The subject is referred to more fully later on. Crowley was in Cairo at the time of this event. There he received The Book of the Lawthe New Gnosis, the latest Tantra, the most complex Grimoirefrom a praeter-human Intelligence named Aiwaz, a messenger of that most ancient god whose image was worshipped in the deserts under the name of Shaitan, and, long ages earlier, as Set, the soul or double of Horus.”

The initials A.'.A.'. stand for Argentum Astrum (the Silver Star). This is the Star of Set or Sothis (Sirius)the ‘sun’ in the south: ‘silver,’ to indicate that it is of the lunar region (i.e. Night); it is the concealed ‘child’ of Nuit, whose Light it manifests. According to Hermetic Tradition, our sun is but a reflection of the greater Sun, Sothis. The sun of our solar system therefore stands in the relationship of a ‘child’ (Child Horus) to this vast Star.”

The full invocation of Thelema, the True Will in man, was facilitated by Crowley through his restoration of a Graeco-Egyptian rite. This antique ritualthe most potent extant, according to Crowleylater formed the Preliminary Invocation of the Goetia of Solomon the King. Its actual origin, however, lies in a phase of religious history long anterior both to the mediaeval Goetia and the Graeco-Egyptian rite; it existed in the Akkadian or Sumerian epoch, when the oldest of all deitiesSet or Shaitanwas adored in the deserts by the Yezidi.”

In The Book of the Law, Hadit (or Set) declares ‘I am eight, and one in eight.’ The identification is with Sothis, the manifestator of the Seven Stars of Polaris (the Great Bear constellation which symbolizes the DragonNuit). She is the Mother of the Primal Gods, and her formula of Change, or Magick, is manifested in One, her Son, i.e. Sothis or Sirius, who, in his occult character symbolizes the Son behind the Sun.”

The Book of the Law is couched in Egyptian terminology because the Egyptian and Chaldean Mysteries form the basis of the Western Occult Tradition, the Tradition of the Illuminati, or the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, later known as the O.T.O.
Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Abrahadabra, Therion (the Beast), and Babalon, are the vital elements of this Tradition when stripped of all inessentials. The subtle concept Hoor-paar Kraat, or Set, of whom Aiwaz claims to be the ‘minister,’ and with whom he is for all practical purposes identical, is of great complexity.
Set represents the absorption of the projected energy of Horus.
It is in the silence of the ‘death’ of desire that the Child of the ‘blasphemous union’ of Babalon and Therion (Woman and Beast), realizes its identity with Absolute Consciousness. Set, therefore, is the means of return to the Supreme State represented by Nuit (le Neant), and, as such, is the Formula of the Phoenix.
In the preceding Aeon (that of Osiris), Set or Satan was regarded as evil, because the nature of desire was misunderstood; it was identified with the Devil and with moral evil. Yet this devil, Satan, is the true formula of Illumination. ‘Called evil to conceal its holiness,’ it is desire that prompts man to know himself‘through another’ (i.e. through his own double, or ‘devil.’) When the urge ‘to know’ is turned inwards instead of outwards as it usually is, then the ego dies and the objective universe is dissolved. In the light of that Illumination, Reality, the Gnosis, is all that remains.
In the Eastern Tradition the process is called the Opening of the Eye of Shiva, which is also the Eye of Set, because it sucks into itself all the Light that Horus has projected. It is in this sense that Satan came to represent the Opposer (of the Light). More precisely, Set is the Destroyer through Identity, for Satanas the name impliesis the combination and balance of North (Nuit) and South (Hadit), or Consciousness, and its projection as the objective universe. This explains the equivalence of Set, the God of the South, and Nuit, the Goddess of the North.
These ideas have their roots in biological phenomena. Sex functions through polarity. Babalon and Therion are the biological avatars (kteis and phallus) of Nuit and Hadit, Moon and Sun, North and South, Circle and Point, Earth and Air, Water and Fire, and so on. Their union produces Ra-Hoor-Khuit, which, although One, none the less conceals his twin or double within him. This double, or ‘devil,’ is Hoor-paar-Kraat. The two are identical in the sense that any idea can exist only by virtue of the contradiction contained within it. A classic example is the famous paradox of Cha’an‘I am because I am not.’ If this is not intuitively understood, no amount of explanation will elucidate it. This paradox, and others like it, are brought as near as possible to explanation in the incomparable works of the pseudonymous Wei Wu Wei, to which the reader is referred.”

The stellar or astral body is also called the Desire Body because it is the vehicle of sentience in the human organism. This body was ascribed to the most ancient Star god, Set, who was also a god of Fire. To Horus, his twin, was ascribed the spiritual body represented by the Sun. The link between staror firegods and the Sun is the lunar current typified by Thoth, Lord of Magick and Scribe of the Gods. Thoth is sacred to the youthful god Khonsu, of whom Crowley as a Magus claimed to be an avatar, thus identifying himself as the link between the Beast (Set, Lord of the Stars) and the Angel (Horus, Lord of the Sun). Sex being the mainspring of the astral body, it was through its use that Crowley accomplished most of his magick on the subtle planes.”

The god Mentu or Mm was the ithyphallic form of Horus; from Mm is derived the word Man. Mentu became Mendes, the name of the Egyptian nome sacred to the Ram or Goat, the Baphomet of the Templars depicted with phallus rampant. The primal power was also symbolized by the Uraeus Serpent which crowned the Egyptian gods, or the horns which protruded from the brow of the Great God Pan, the Greek All-begetter. It is the risen Kundalini, identical with the Set-Pan-Baphomet-Mendes-Phoenix chain of symbols.
In the earliest stages of Crowley’s magical career, the involuntary use of sexual magick, plus repeated assumptions of the god-forms of ancient Egypt especially that of the Horns-Hawkresulted in the rapport with Aiwaz in 1904. Eleven years later (1915), he realized himself as The Beast 666, a Magus of the Aeon of Horus, the Word of which is Abrahadabra, which conceals the formula of Shaitan and of sexual magick.
The number of Shaitan is 359; that of Aiwass, 418. Together they total 777 which is the total numeration of the Paths of the Tree of Life. Therefore Shaitan-Aiwass=The Totality of Existence and Non-Existence=All=Pan.”

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Sabbat


THE Assemblies of the witches differed very much from each other in an almost infinite number of ways. On certain ancient anniversaries the meeting was always particularly solemn, with as large an attendance as possible, when all who belonged to the Infernal cult would be required to present themselves and punishment was meted out to those who proved slack and slow; at other times these gatherings would be occasional, resorted to by the company who resided within a certain restricted area. It might be by only one coven of thirteen, it might be by a few more, as opportunity served. There were also, as is to be expected, variations proper to each country, and a seemingly endless number of local peculiarities. In the lesser Assemblies much, no doubt, depended upon the whim of the officer or president at the moment. The conduct of the more important Assemblies was to a certain extent regularized and more or less loosely ran upon traditional lines. The name Sabbat may be held to cover every kind of gathering, although it must continually be borne in mind that a Sabbat ranges from comparative simplicity, the secret rendezvous of some half a dozen, to a large and crowded congregation.
The derivation of the word Sabbat does not seem to be exactly established. It is perhaps superfluous to point out that it has nothing to do with the number seven, and is wholly unconnected with the Jewish festival. Sainte-Croix and Alfred Maury are agreed to derive it from the debased Bacchanalia. Sabazius was a Phrygian deity, sometimes identified with Zeus, sometimes with Dionysus, but who was generally regarded as the patron of licentiousness and worshipped with frantic debaucheries. But Littré entirely rejects any such facile etymology. “Attempts have been made to trace the etymology of the Sabbat, the witches’ assembly, from Sabazius; but the formation of the word does not allow it; besides, in the Middle Ages, what did they know about Sabazius?”
The seasons of the principal Assemblies of the year differ in various countries. Throughout the greater part of Western Europe one of the chief of these was the Eve of May Day, 30 April. The first of May was the ancient festival of the Druids, when they offered sacrifices upon their sacred mountains and kindled their May-fires. These magic observances were appropriately continued by the witches of a later date. There was not a hill-top in Finland, so the peasant believed, which at midnight on the last day of April was not thronged by demons and sorcerers.
The second witches’ festival was the Eve of S. John Baptist, 23 June. Then were the S. John’s fires lit, a custom in certain regions still prevailing.
Other Grand Sabbat days, particularly in Belgium and Germany, were S. Thomas’ Day (21 December) and a date, which seems to have been movable, shortly after Christmas. In Britain we also find Candlemas (2 February), All-hallowe’en (31 October), and Lammas (1 August), mentioned in the trials. Wright, Narratives of Sorcery and Magic (I. p. 141), further specifies S. Bartholomew’s Eve, but although a Sabbat may have been held on this day, it would seem to be an exceptional or purely local use.
It became common to hold a General Sabbat about the time of the high Christian festivals in evil mockery of these holy solemnities, and Boguet precisely asserts that the Sabbat “Is still held on the greatest festivals of the year.” The Lancashire witches met on Good Friday; and in the second instance (1633) on All Saints’ Day; the witches of Kinross (1662) held an assembly on the feast of Scotland’s Patron, S. Andrew, 30 November, termed “S. Andrew’s Day at Yule,” to distinguish it from the secondary Feast of the Translation of S. Andrew, 9 May. The New England witches were wont to celebrate their chief Sabbat at Christmas. In many parts of Europe where the Feast of S. George is solemnized with high honour and holiday the vigil (22 April) Is the Great Sabbat of the year. The Huzulo of the Carpathians believe that then every evil thing has power and witches are most dangerous. Not a Bulgarian or Roumanian farmer but closes up each door and fastens close each window at nightfall, putting sharp thorn-bushes and brambles on the lintels, new turf on the sills, so that no demon nor hag may find entry there.
The Grand Sabbats were naturally held in a great variety of places, whilst the lesser Sabbats could be easily assembled in an even larger number of spots, which might be convenient to the coven of that district, a field near a village, a wood, a tor, a valley, an open waste beneath some blasted oak, a cemetery, a ruined building, some solitary chapel or semi-deserted church, sometimes a house belonging to one of the initiates.
It was advisable that the selected locality should be remote and deserted to obviate any chance of espionage or casual interruption, and in many provinces some wild ill-omened gully or lone hill-top was shudderingly marked as the notorious haunt of witches and their fiends. De Lancre says that the Grand Sabbat must be held near a stream, lake, or water of some kind, and Bodin adds: “The places where Sorcerers meet are remarkable and generally distinguished by some trees, or even a cross.” These ancient cromlechs and granite dolmens, the stones of the Marais de Dol, the monolith that lies between Seny and Ellemelle (Candroz), even the market-crosses of sleepy old towns and English villages, were among the favourite rendezvous of the pythons and warlocks of a whole countryside. On one occasion, which seems exceptional, a Sabbat was held in the very heart of the city of Bordeaux. Throughout Germany the Blocksburg or the Brocken, the highest peak of the Hartz Mountains, was the great meeting-place of the witches, some of whom, it was said, came from, distant Lapland and Norway to forgather there. But local Blocksburgs existed, or rather hills so-called, especially in Pomerania, which boasted two or three such crags. The sorcerers of Corrieres held their Sabbat at a deserted spot, turning off the highway near Combes; the witches of la Mouille in a tumbledown house, which had once belonged to religious; the Gandillons and their covens who were brought to justice in June, 1598, met at Fontenelles, a forsaken and haunted spot near the village of Nezar. Dr. Fian and his associates (1591) “upon the night of Allhollen-Even” assembled at “the kirke of North-Berrick in Lowthian.” Silvain Nevillon, who was executed at Orleans, 4 February, 1615, confessed “that the Sabbat was in a house,” and the full details he gave shows this to have been a large château, no doubt the home of some wealthy local magnate, where above two hundred persons could assemble. Isobel Young, Christian Grinton, and two or three other witches entertained the Devil in Young’s house in 1629. Alexander Hamilton, a “known warlock” executed at Edinburgh in 1680, confessed that “the panne took him one night to a den betwixt Niddrie and Edmiston, where the devill had trysted her.” Helen Guthrie, a Forfar witch, and her coven frequented a churchyard, where they met a demon, and on another occasion they “went to Mary Rynd’s house, and sat doune together at the table . . . and made them selfes mirrie, and the divell made much of them all” (1661). The Lancashire witches often held their local Sabbat at Malking Tower. From the confession of the Swedish witches (1670) at Mohra and Elfdale they assembled at a spot called Blockula “scituated in a delicate large Meadow . . . The place or house they met at, had before It a Gate painted with divers colours; . . . In a huge large Room of this House they said, there stood a very long Table, at which the Witches did sit down; And that hard by this Room was another Chamber in which there were very lovely and delicate Beds.” Obviously a fine Swedish country house, perhaps belonging to a wealthy witch, and in the minds of the poorer members of the gang it presently became imaginatively exaggerated and described.
Christian Stridtheckh De Sagis (XL) writes: “They have different rendezvous in different districts; yet their meetings are generally held in wooded spots, or on mountains, or in caves, and any places which are far from the usual haunts of men. Mela, Book III, chapter 44, mentions Mount Atlas; de Vaulx, a warlock executed at Etaples in 1608, confessed that the witches of the Low Countries were wont most frequently to meet in some spot in the province of Utrecht. In our own country, the Mountain of the Brueteri, which some call Melibœus, in the duchy of Brunswick, is known and notorious as the haunt of witches. In the common tongue this Mountain is called the Blocksberg or Heweberg, Brockersburg or Vogelsberg, as Ortelius notes in his Thesaurus Geographicus.” The day of the week whereon a Sabbat was held differed in the various districts and countries, although Friday seems to have been most generally favoured. There is indeed an accumulation of evidence for every night of the week save Saturday and Sunday. De Lancre records that in the Basses-Pyrenees “their usual rendezvous is the spot known as Lane du Bouc, in the Basque tongue Aquelarre de verros, prado del Cabron, & there the Sorcerers assemble to worship their master on three particular nights, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Boguet says that the day of the Sabbat varied, but usually a Thursday night was preferred. In England it was stated that the “Solemn appointments, and meetings . . . are ordinarily on Tuesday or Wednesday night.”
Night was almost invariably the time for the Sabbat, although, as Delrio says, there is no actual reason why these evil rites should not be performed at noon, for the Psalmist speaks of “the terror of the night,” the “business that walketh about in the dark,” and of “the noonday devil.” And so Delrio very aptly writes: “Their assemblies generally are held at dead of night when the Powers of Darkness reign; or, sometimes, at high noon, even as the Psalmist saith, when he speaks of ‘the noonday devil.’ The nights they prefer are Monday and Thursday.”
The time at which these Sabbats began was generally upon the stroke of midnight. “The Sorcerers,” says Boguet, “go about midnight to the Sabbat.” Agnes Sampson, “a famous witch”as Hume of Godscroft in his Account of Archibald, ninth Earl of Angus, calls her commonly known as the wise wife of Keith, who made a prominent figure in the Fian trials, 1590, confessed that the Devil met her, “being alone, and commanded her to be at North-Berwick Kirk the next night,” and accordingly she made her way there as she was bid “and lighted at the Kirk-yard, or a little before she came to it, about eleven hours at even.” In this case, however, the Sabbat was preceded by a dance of nearly one hundred persons, and so probably did not commence until midnight. Thomas Leyis, Issobell Coky, Helen Fraser, Bessie Thorn, and the rest of the Aberdeen witches, thirteen of whom were executed in I597 and seven more banished, generally met “betwixt twelve and one hours at night.” Boguet notes that in 1598 the witch Françoise Secretain “went to the Sabbat at about midnight, and many other witches, which I had in hand, said the same.” In 1600 Anna Mauezin of Tubingen confessed that she had taken part in witch gatherings which she dubbed Hochzeiten. They seem to have been held by a well just outside the upper gate of Rotenburg, and her evidence insists upon “midnight dances” and revelling.
The witch resorted to the Sabbat in various manners. If it were a question of attending a local assembly when, at most, a mile or two had to be traversed, the company would go on foot. Very often the distance was even less, for it should be remembered that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and indeed, as a matter of fact, up to a quite recent date, when the wayfarer had gone a few steps outside the gates of a town or beyond the last house in the village he was enfolded in darkness, entirely solitary, remote, eloined. How black with, shadows, dangerous, and utterly lonesome was the pathless countryside! Not infrequently the witches of necessity carried lanterns to light them on their journey to the Sabbat. The learned Bartolomeo de Spina, O.P., in his Tractatus de Strigibus et Lamiis (Venice, 1538), writes that a certain peasant, who lived at Clavica Malaguzzi, in the district of Mirandola, having occasion to rise very early one morning and drive to a neighbouring village, found himself at three o’clock, before daybreak, crossing a waste tract of considerable extent which lay between him and his destination. In the distance he suddenly caught sight of what seemed to be numerous fires flitting to and fro, and as he drew nearer he saw that these were none other than large lanterns held by a bevy of persons who were moving here and there in the mazes of a fantastic dance, whilst others, as at a rustic picnic, were seated partaking of dainties and drinking stoups of wine, what time a harsh musics like the scream of a cornemuse, droned through the air. Curiously no word was spoken, the company whirled and pirouetted, ate and drank, in strange and significant silence. Perceiving that many, unabashed, were giving themselves up to the wildest debauchery and publicly performing the sexual act with every circumstance of indecency, the horrified onlooker realized that he was witnessing the revels of the Sabbat. Crossing himself fervently and uttering a prayer he drove as fast as possible from the accursed spot, not, however, before he had recognized some of the company as notorious evil-doers and persons living in the vicinity who were already under grave suspicion of sorcery. The witches must have remarked his presence, but they seem to have ignored him and not even to have attempted pursuit. In another instance Fra Paolo de Caspan, a Dominican of great reputation for piety and learning, reports that Antonio de Palavisini, the parish priest of Caspan in the Valtellina, a territory infected with warlocks, most solemnly affirmed that when going before daybreak to say an early Mass at a shrine hard by the village he had seen through clearings in the wood an assembly of men and women furnished with lanterns, who were seated in a circle and whose actions left no doubt that they were witches engaged in abominable rites. In both the above cases the lanterns were not required in the ceremonies of the Sabbat and they must have been carried for the purely practical purpose of affording light.
Very often when going to a local Sabbat the coven of witches used to meet just beyond the village and make their way to the appointed spot in a body for mutual help and security. This is pointed out by Bernard of Como, a famous scholar, who says: “When they are to go to some spot hard by they proceed thither on foot cheerily conversing as they walk.” The fact that the dark initiates walked to the Sabbat is frequently mentioned in the trials. Boguet, who is most exact in detail, writes: “Sorcerers, nevertheless, sometimes walk to the Sabbat, and this is generally the case when the spot where they are to assemble does not lie very far from their dwellings.” And In the interrogatory, 17 May, 1616, of Barthélemi Minguet of Brécy, a young fellow of twenty-five, accused with seventeen more, we have: “He was then asked in what place the Sabbat was held the last time he was present there.
He replied that it was in the direction of Billeron, at a cross-road which is on the high-road leading to Aix, in the Parish of Saint Soulange. He was asked how he proceeded thither. He replied that he walked to the place.”
When Catharine Oswald of Niddrie (1625) one night took Alexander Hamilton “a known warlock” “to a den betwixt Niddrie and Edmiston, where the devill had trysted hir,” it is obvious that the couple walked there together.
On one occasion the truly subtle point was raised whether those who walked to the Sabbat were as guilty as those who were conveyed thither by the Devil. But De Lancre decides: “It is truly as criminal & abominable for a Sorcerer to go to the Sabbat on foot as to be voluntarily conveyed thither by the Devil.”
Major Weir and his sister seem to have gone to a meeting with the Devil in a coach and six horses when they thus drove from Edinburgh to Musselburgh and back again on 7 September, 1648. So the woman confessed in prison, and added “that she and her brother had made a compact with the devil.”
Agues Sampson, the famous witch of North Berwick (1500), confessed “that the Devil in mans lickness met her going out to the fields from her own house at Keith, betwixt five and six at even, being alone and commanded her to be at North-berwick Kirk the next night. To which place she came on horse-back, conveyed by her Good-son, called lohn Couper.” The Swedish witches (1669) who carried children off to Blockula “set them upon a Beast of the Devil’s providing, and then they rid away.” One boy confessed that “to perform the Journey, he took his own Fathers horse out of the Meadow, where it was feeding.” Upon his return one of the coven let the horse graze in her own pasture, and here the boy’s father found it the next day.
In the popular imagination the witch is always associated with the broomstick, employed by her to fly in wild career through mid-air. This belief seems almost universal, of all times and climes. The broomstick, is, of course, closely connected with the magic wand or staff which was considered equally serviceable for purposes of equitation. The wood whence it was fashioned was often from the hazel-tree, witch-hazel, although in De Lanere’s day the sorcerers of Southern France favoured the “Souhandourra”Cornus sanguinea, dog-wood. Mid hurricane and tempest, in the very heart of the dark storm, the convoy of witches, straddling their broomsticks, sped swiftly along to the Sabbat, their yells and hideous laughter sounding louder than the crash of elements and mingling in fearsome discord with the frantic pipe of the gale.
There is a very important reference to these beliefs from the pen of the famous and erudite Benedictine Abbot, Regino of Prüm (A.D. 906), who in his weighty De ecclesiasticis disciplinis writes: “This too must by no means be passed over that certain utterly abandoned women, turning aside to follow Satan, being seduced by the illusions and phantasmical shows of demons firmly believe and openly profess that in the dead of night they ride upon certain beasts along with the pagan goddess Diana and a countless horde of women, and that in those silent hours they fly over vast tracts of country and obey her as their mistress, whilst on certain other nights they are summoned to do her homage and pay her service.” The witches rode sometimes upon a besom or a stick, sometimes upon an animal, and the excursion through the air was generally preceded by an unction with a magic ointment. Various recipes are given for the ointment, and it is interesting to note that they contain deadly poisons: aconite, belladonna, and hemlock. Although these unguents may in certain circumstances be capable of producing definite physiological results, it is Delrio who best sums up the reasons for their use: “The Demon is able to convey them to the Sabbat without the use of any unguent, and often he does so. But for several reasons he prefers that they should anoint themselves. Sometimes when the witches seem afraid it serves to encourage them. When they are young and tender they will thus be better able to bear the hateful embrace of Satan who has assumed the shape of a man. For by this horrid anointing he dulls their senses and persuades these deluded wretches that there is some great virtue in the viscid lubricant. Sometimes too he does this in hateful mockery of God’s holy Sacraments, and that by these mysterious ceremonies he may infuse, as it were, something of a ritual and liturgical nature into his beastly orgies.”
Although the witch is universally credited with the power to fly through the air to the Sabbat mounted upon a besom or some kind of stick, it is remarkable in the face of popular belief to find that the confessions avowing this actual mode of aerial transport are extraordinarily few. Paul Grilland, in his tractate De Sortilegiis (Lyons, 1583), speaks of a witch at Rome during whose trial, seven years before, it was asserted she flew in the air after she had anointed her limbs with a magic liniment. Perhaps the most exactly detailed accounts of this feat are to be found in Boguet, than whom scarcely any writer more meticulously reports the lengthy and prolix evidence of witches, such evidence as he so laboriously gathered during the notorious prosecutions throughout Franche-Comté in the summer of 1598. He records quite plainly such statements as: “Françoise Secretain avowed that in order to go to the Sabbat she placed a white stick between her legs & then uttered certain words & then she was borne through the air to the sorcerers’ assembly.” In another place she confessed “That she had been a great number of times to the Sabbat . . . and that she went there on a white stick which she placed between her legs.” It will be noticed that in the second instance she does not explicitly claim to have been borne through the air. Again : “Françoise Secretain was carried [to the Sabbat] on a white stick. Satan, in the form of a tall dark man conveyed thither Thieuenne Paget & Antide Colas, who most often left their house by way of the chimney. . . . Claudine Boban, a young girl, confessed that both she and her mother mounted on a besom, & that flying out by the chimney they were thus borne through the air to the Sabbat.”
Glanvill writes that Julian Cox, one of the Somerset coven (1065), said “that one evening she walkt out about a Mile from her own House and there came riding towards her three persons upon three Broom-stavess born up about a yard and a half from the ground. Two of them, she formerly knew, which was a Witch and a Wizzard.” It might easily be that there is some exaggeration here. We know that a figure in one of the witch dances consisted of leaping as high as possible into the air, and probably the three persons seen by Julian Cox were practising this agile step. A quotation from Bodin by Reginald Scot is very pertinent in this connexion. Speaking of the Sabbat revels he has: “And whiles they sing and dance, euerie one hath a broome in his hand, and holdeth it vp aloft. Item he saith, that these night-walking or rather night-dansing witches, brought out of Italie into France, that danse which is called La Volta.” Sir John Davies in his Orchestra or A Poeme on Dauncing (18mo, 1596) describes the lavolta as “A loftie lumping, or a leaping round.” De Lancre observes that after the regular country dance at the Sabbat the witches sprang high into the air. At their assembly certain of the Aberdeen witches (1597) “danced a devilish dance, riding on trees, by a long space.” In an old representation of Dr. Fian and his company swiftly pacing round North Berwick church withershins the witches are represented as running and leaping in the air, some mounted on broomsticks, some carrying their besoms in their hands.
There was discovered in the closet of Dame Alice Kyteler of Kilkenny, who was arrested in 1324 upon the accusation of nightly meeting a familiar Artisson and multiplied charges of sorcery, a pipe of ointment, wherewith she greased a staff “upon which she ambolled and gallopped thorough thicke and thin, when and what manner she listed.”
In many of these instances it is plain that there is no actual flight through the air implied; although there is a riding a-cock-horse of brooms or sticks, in fact, a piece of symbolic ritual.
A question which is largely discussed by the demonologists then arises: Do the witches actually and in person attend the Sabbat or is their journey thither and assistance thereat mere diabolic illusion? Giovanni Francesco Ponzinibio, in his De Lamiis, wholly inclines to the latter view, but this is superficial reasoning, and the celebrated canonist Francisco Peña with justice takes him very severely to task for his temerity. Pena’s profound work, In Bernardi Comensis Dominicani Lucernam inquisitorum notæ et ciusdem traclatum de strigibus, a valuable collection of most erudite glosses, entirely disposes of Ponzinibio’s arguments, and puts the case in words of weighty authority.
Sprenger in the Malleus Maleficarum, had already considered “How witches are bodily transported from one place to another,” and he concludes “It is proven, then, that sorcerers can be bodily transported.” Paul Grilland inquires: “Whether magicians & witches or Satanists are bodily & actually conveyed to and fro by the Devil, or whether this be merely imaginary?” He freely acknowledges the extraordinary difficulty and intricacy of the investigation, beginning his answer with the phrase “This is a very difficult and oft-discussed question.” But S. Augustine, S. Thomas, S. Bonaventure, and a score of great names are agreed upon the reality of this locomotion and Grilland, after balancing the evidence to the nicety of a hair wisely concludes: “Myself I hold the opinion that they are actually transported.”
In his Compendium Maleficarum Francesco Maria Guazzo discusses (Liber I. 13) “Whether Witches are actually and bodily conveyed from place to place to attend their Sabbats”; and lays down: “The opinion which many who follow Luther & Melanethon hold is that Witches only assist at these assemblies in their imagination, & that they arc choused by some trick of the devil, in support of which argument the objectors assert that the Witches have very often been seen lying in one spot and not moving thence. Moreover, what is related in the life of S. Germain is not impertinent in this connexion, to wit, when certain women declared that they had been present at a banquet & yet all the while they slumbered and slept, as several persons attested. That women of this kind are very often deceived in such a way is certain; but that they arc always so deceived is by no means sure. . . . The alternative opinion, which personally I hold most strongly, is that sometimes at any rate Witches are actually conveyed from one place to another by the Devil, who under the bodily form of a goat or some other unclean & monstrous animal himself carries them, & that they are verily and indeed present at their foul midnight Sabbats. This opinion is that generally held by the authoritative Theologians and Master Jurisprudists of Italy and Spain, as also by the Catholic divines and legalists. The majority of writers, indeed, advance this view, for example, Torquemada in his commentary on Grilland, Remy, S. Peter Damian, Silvester of Abula, Tommaso de Vio Gaetani, Alfonso de Castro, Sisto da Siena, O.P., Père Crespet, Bartolomeo Spina in his glosses on Ponzinibio, Lorenzo Anania, and a vast number of others, whose names for brevity’s sake I here omit.”
This seems admirably to sum up the whole matter. In the encyclopaedic treatise De Strigibus by an earlier authority, Bernard of Como, the following remarkable passage occurs: “The aforesaid abominable wretches actually & awake & in full enjoyment of their normal senses attend these assemblies or rather orgies, and when they are to go to some spot hard by they proceed thither on foot., cheerily conversing as they walk. If, however, they arc to meet in some distant place then are they conveyed by the Devil, yet by whatsoever means they proceed to the said place whether it be on foot or whether they are borne along by the Devil, it is most certain that their journey is real and actual, and not imaginary. Nor are they labouring under any delusion when they deny the Catholic Faith, worship and adore the Devil, tread upon the Cross of Christ, outrage the Host Blessed Sacrament, and give themselves up to filthy and unhallowed copulations, fornicating with the Devil himself who appears to them in a human form, being used by the men as a succubus, & carnally serving the woman as an incubus.”
The conclusion then is plain and proven. The witches do actually and individually attend the Sabbat, an orgy of blasphemy and obscenity. Whether they go thither on foot, or horseback, or by some other means is a detail, which in point of fact differs according to the several and infinitely varied circumstances.
It is not denied that in some cases hallucination and self-deception played a large part, but such examples are comparatively speaking few in number, and these, moreover, were carefully investigated and most frequently recognized by the judges and divines. Thus in the Malleus Maleficarum Sprenger relates that a woman, who had voluntarily surrendered herself to be examined as being a witch, confessed to the Dominican fathers that she nightly assisted at the Sabbat, and that neither bolts nor bars could prevent her from flying to the infernal revels. Accordingly she was shut fast under lock and key in a chamber whence it was impossible for her to escape, and all the while carefully watched by lynx-eyed officers through a secret soupirail. These reported that immediately the door was closed she threw herself on the bed where in a moment she was stretched out perfectly rigid in all her members. Select members of the tribunal, grave and acute doctors, entered the room. They shook her, gently at first, but presently with considerable roughness. She remained immobile and insensible. She was pinched and pulled sharply. At last a lighted candle was brought and placed near her naked foot until the flesh was actually scorched in the flame. She lay stockish and still, dumb and motionless as a stone. After a while her senses returned to her. She sat up and related in exact detail the happenings at the Sabbat she had attended, the place, the number of the company, the rites, what was spoken, all that was done, and then she complained of a hurt upon her foot. Next day the fathers explained to her all that had passed, how that she had never stirred from the spot, and that the pain arose from the taper which to ensure the experiment had been brought in contact with her flesh. They admonished her straightly but with paternal charity, and upon the humble confession of her error and a promise to guard against any such ill fantasies for the future, a suitable penance was prescribed and the woman dismissed.
In the celebrated cases investigated by Henri Boguet, June, 1598, young George Gandillon confessed to having walked to the Sabbat at a deserted spot called Fontenelles, near the village of Nezar, and also to having ridden to the Sabbat. Moreover, in his indictment the following occurs: “George Gandillon, one Good Friday night, lay in his bed, rigid as a corpse, for the space of three hours, & then on a sudden came to himself. He has since been burned alive here with his father & his sister.”
Since Boguet, who is one of our chief authorities, discusses the Sabbat with most copious details in his Discours des Sorciers it will not be impertinent to give here the headings and subdivisions of his learned and amply documented chapters.

Chapter XVI. How, & in what way Sorcerers are conveyed to the Sabbat.
1. They are sometimes conveyed there mounted on a stick or a broom, sometimes on a sheep or a goat, & sometimes by a tall black man.
2. Sometimes they anoint themselves with ointment, & sometimes not.
3. There are some people, who although they are not sorcerers, if they are anointed, are none the less carried off to the Sabbat. The reason for this.
4. The unguent, & the ointment are actually of no use to the Sorcerers and do not in effect carry them to the Sabbat.
5. Sorcerers are sometimes conveyed to the Sabbat by a blast of wind & a sudden storm.

Chapter XVII. Sorcerers may sometimes walk to the Sabbat on foot.

Chapter XVIII. Is the journey of Sorcerers to the Sabbat merely Imagination ?
1 & 3. Reasons for supposing this to be the case, & examples.
2. Indications, owing to which it may be supposed, that a certain woman paid a purely imaginary visit to the Sabbat.
4. Reasons for supposing that the journey of Sorcerers to the Sabbat, is a real expedition and not imaginary.
5. How we are to understand what is related concerning Erichtho, & Apollonius; the first of whom raised a soldier to life, & the latter a young girl.
6. Sorcerers cannot raise the dead to life. Examples.
7. Neither can heretics perform miracles. Examples.
8. The Author’s opinion concerning the subject of this chapter.
9. Satan most frequently deceives mankind. Examples.

Chapter XIX.
1. Sorcerers go to the Sabbat about midnight.
2. The reason why the Sabbat is generally held at night.
3. Satan delights in darkness & blackness, which are opposite to the whiteness and light that please Heaven.
4. At the Sabbat Sorcerers dance back to back. For the most part they wear masks.
5 & 8. When the cock crows the Sabbat immediately comes to an end, and vanishes away. The reason for this.
6. The voice of the cock frightens Satan in the same way as it terrifies lions & serpents.
7. Several authors relate that demons fear a naked sword.

Chapter XX. The days on which the Sabbat is held.
1. The Sabbat may be held on any day of the week, but particularly on a Friday.
2. It is also held on the greatest festivals of the year.

Chapter XXI. The places where the Sabbat is held.
1. According to many writers the place where the Sabbat is held is distinguished by a clump of trees, or sometimes by a cross. The Author’s opinion on this point.
2. A remarkable account of a place where the Sabbat was held.
3. There must be water near the place where the Sabbat is held. The reason for this.
4. If there is no water in the place, the Sorcerers dig a hole in the ground and urinate in this.

Chapter XXII. The proceedings at the Sabbat.
1. The Sorcerers worship the Devil who appears under the form of a tall black man, or as a goat. They offer him candles & kiss his posterior.
2. They dance. A description of their dances.
3. They give themselves up to every kind of filthy abomination. The Devil transforms himself into an Incubus & into a Succubus.
4. The hideous orgies & foul copulations practised by the Euchites, & Gnostics.
5. The Sorcerers feast at the Sabbat. Their meat & their drink. The way in which they say grace before and after table.
6. However, this food never satisfies their appetites, & they always arise from table as hungry as before.
7. When they have finished their meal, they give the Devil a full account of all their actions.
8. They again renounce God, their baptism, &c How Satan incites them to do evil.
9. They raise dark storms.
10. They celebrate their mass. Of their vestments, & holy water.
11. Sometimes to conclude the Sabbat Satan seems to be consumed in a flame of fire, & to be completely reduced to ashes. All present take a small part of these ashes, which the Sorcerers use for their charms.
12. Satan is always the Ape of God in everything.

As the procedure in the various Sabbats differed very greatly according to century, decade, country, district, nay, even in view of the station of life and, it would seem, the very temperaments of the assembly, it is only possible to outline in a general way some of the most remarkable ceremonies which took place on the occasions of these infernal congregations. An intimate and intensive study of the Sabbat would require a large volume, for it is quite possible to reconstruct the rites in every particular, although the precise order of the ritual was not always and everywhere the same.
Dom Calmet, it is true, has very mistakenly said: “To attempt to give a description of the Sabbat, is to attempt a description of what docs not exist, & what has never existed save in the fantastic & disordered imagination of warlocks & witches: the pictures which have been drawn of these assemblies are merely the phantasy of those who dreamed that they had actually been borne, body & soul, through the air to the Sabbat.” Happy sceptic! But unfortunately the Sabbat didand doestake place; formerly in deserted wastes, on the hill-side, in secluded spots, now, as often as not, in the privacy of vaults and cellars, and in those lone empty houses innocently placarded “To be Sold.”
The President of the Sabbat was in purely local gatherings often the Officer of the district; in the more solemn assemblies convened from a wider area, the Grand Master, whose dignity would be proportionate to the numbers of the company and the extent of his province. In any case the President was officially known as the “Devil,” and it would seem that his immediate attendants and satellites were also somewhat loosely termed “devils,” which formal nomenclature has given rise to considerable confusion and not a little mystification in the reports of witch trials and the confessions of offenders.
The man who occupied the chief position at these meetings and directed the performance of the rites would sometimes appear in a hideous and grotesque disguise, sometimes without any attempt at concealment. This masquerade generally took the shape of an animal, and had its origin in heathendom, whence by an easy transition through the ceremonial of heretics, it passed to the sorcerer and the witch. As early as the Liber Pœnitentialis of S. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, 668-690, we have a distinct prohibition of this mummery. Capitulum xxvii denounces the man who “at the Kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the head of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because this is devilish.”
Among the many animal forms which the leader of the Sabbat (the “Devil”) assumed in masquerade the most common are the bull, the cat, and above all the goat. The the Basque term for the Sabbat is “Akhelarre,” “goat pasture.” Sometimes the leader is simply said to have shown himself in the shape of a beast, which possibly points to the traditional disguise of a black hairy skin, horns, hoofs, claws, and a tail, in fact the same dress as a demon wore upon the stage.
The Aberdeen witch Jonet Lucas (1597) said that the Devil was at the Sabbat “beand in likenes of ane beist.” But Agnes Wobster of the same company declared that “Satan apperit to them in the likenes of a calff,” so possibly two masquerades were employed. Gabriel Pelle (1608) confessed that he attended a Sabbat presided over by the Devil, and “the Devil was a black cow.” Franchise Secretain, who was tried in August, 1598, saw the Devil “in the shape of a cat.” To the goat there are innumerable allusions. In the Basses-Pyrenees (1609): “The Devil appeared in the form of a goat having a tail & his fundament was the face of a black man.” Iohannis d’Aguerre said that the Devil was “in the shape of a goat.” Gentien le Clerc, who was tried at Orleans in 1614, “said that, as he was told, his mother when he was three years old presented him at the Sabbat to a goat whom they saluted as l’Aspic.”
In 1680 Elizabeth Stevenson, alias Toppock, of Niddrie, avowed to her judges that in company with Catharine Oswald, who was tried for being by habite and repute a witch, and Alexander Hamilton, “a known warlock,” she went “to a den betwixt Niddrie and Edmiston, where the devill had trysted her, where he appeared first to them like a foall, and then like a man, and appointed a new dyet at Salcott Muire.” When one of Catharine Oswald’s intimates, Alexander Hunter, alias Hamilton, alias Hattaraick, a “Warlok Cairle” who “abused the Countrey for a long time,” was apprehended at Dunbar he confessed that the Devil would meet him riding upon a black horse, or in the shape of a corbie, a cat, or a dog. He was burned upon Castle Hill, Edinburgh, 1631.
Sometimes those who are present at the Sabbat are masked. Canon Ribet writes: “Those who attend the Sabbat sometimes disguise themselves as beasts, or cover their faces to conceal their identities.”
At the famous Sabbat of one hundred and forty witches in North Berwick churchyard on All Hallowe’en, 1590, when they danced “endlong the Kirk-yard” “John Fian, missellit [masked] led the ring.” The Salamanca doctors mention the appearance at the Sabbats of persons “with their faces sometimes bare, sometimes shrouded in a linen wimple.” And Delrio has in reference to this precaution: “Sometimes their faces are bare, sometimes hidden, either in a vizard, a linen cloth, or a veil, or a mask.”
In the latter half of the eighteenth century the territory of Limburg was terrorized by a mysterious society known as “The Goats.” These wretches met at night in a secret chapel, and after the most hideous orgies, which included the paying of divine honours to Satan and other foul blasphemies of the Sabbat, they donned masks fashioned to imitate goats’ heads, cloaked themselves with long disguise mantles, and sallied forth in bands to plunder and destroy. From 1772 to 1774 alone the tribunal of Foquemont condemned four hundred Goats to the gallows. But the organization was not wholly exterminated until about the year 1780 after a regime of the most repressive measures and unrelaxing vigilance.
The first ceremony of the Sabbat was the worship of, and the paying homage to the Devil. It would seem that sometimes this was preceded by a roll-call of the evil devotees. Agnes Sampson confessed that at the meeting in North Berwick, when the whole assembly had entered the church, “The Devil started up himself in the Pulpit like a mickle black man, and calling the Row, every one answered Here. Mr. Robert Grierson being named, they all ran hirdie girdie, and were angry: for it was promised he should be called Robert the Comptroller, alias Rob the Rower, for expriming of his name. The first thing he demanded was whether they had been good servants, and what they had done since the last time they had convened.”
The witches adored Satan, or the Master of the Sabbat who presided in place of Satan, by prostrations, genuflections, gestures, and obeisances. In mockery of solemn bows and seemly courtesies the worshippers of the Demon approach him awkwardly, with grotesque and obscene mops and mows, sometimes straddling sideways, sometimes walking backwards. But their chief act of homage was the reverential kiss, osculum infame. This impious and lewd ritual is mentioned in detail by most authorities and is to be found in all lands and centuries. So Delrio writes: “The Sabbat is presided over by a Demon, the Lord of the Sabbat, who appears in some monstrous form, most generally as a goat or some hound of hell, seated upon a haughty throne. The witches who resort to the Sabbat approach the throne with their backs turned, and worship him . . . and then, as a sign of their homage, they kiss his fundament.” Guazzo notes: “As a sign of homage witches kiss the Dcvil’s fundament.” And Ludwig Elich says: “Then as a token of their homage with reverence be it spoken they kiss the fundament of the Devil.”
To cite other authorities would be but to quote the same words. Thomas Cooper, indeed, seems to regard this ceremony as a part of the rite of admissions but to confine it to this occasion alone is manifestly incorrect, for there is continual record of its observance at frequent Sabbats by witches of many years standing. “Secondly,” he remarks, “when this acknowledgement is made, in testimonial of this subjection, Satan offers his back-parts to be kissed of his vassal.” But in the dittay of the North Berwick witches, all of whom had long been notorious for their malpractices, “Item, the said Agnis Sampson confessed that the divell being then at North Barrick Kerke, attending their comming, in the habit or likenesse of a man, and seeing that they tarried over long, hee at their comming enjoyned them all to a pennance, which was, that they should kisse his buttockes, in sign of duety to him, which being put over the pulpit bare, every one did as he had enjoyned them.”
One of the principal charges which was repeatedly brought against the Knights Templars during the lengthy ecclesiastical and judicial processes, 1807-1814, was that of the osculum infame given by the juniors to their preceptors. Even so prejudiced a writer as Lea cannot but admit the truth of this accusation. In this case, however, it has nothing to do with sorcery but must be connected with the homosexuality which the Order universally practised.
There are some very important details rehearsed in a Bull, 8 June, 1303, of the noble but calumniated Boniface VIII, with reference to the case of Walter Langton, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry (1296-1322), and treasurer of Edward I, when this prelate was accused of sorcery and homage to Satan: “For some time past it has come to our ears that our Venerable Brother Walter Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield has been commonly defamed, and accused, both in the realm of England and elsewhere, of paying homage to the Devil by kissing his posterior, and that he hath had frequent colloquies with evil spirits.” The Bishop cleared himself of these charges with the compurgators. Bodin refers to Guillaume Edeline, who was executed in 1453 as a wizard. He was a doctor of the Sorbonne, and prior of St. Germain en Laye: “The aforesaid sire Guillaume confessed . . . that he had done homage to the aforesaid Satan, who appeared in the shape of a ram, by kissing his buttocks in token of reverence and homage.” A very rare tract of the fourteenth century directed against the Waldenses among other charges brings the following: “The Devil appears to them as a cat, and they kiss him sub cauda.”
Barthélemy Minguet of Brécy, a young man of twenty-five, who was tried in 1616, said that at the Sabbat “he often saw [the Devil] in the shape of a man, who held a horse by its bridle, & that they went forward to worship him, each one holding a pitch candle of black wax in their hands.” These candles, as Guazzo tells us, were symbolic and required by the ritual of the Sabbat, not merely of use for the purpose of giving light: “Then they made an offering of pitch black candles, and as a sign of homage kissed his fundament.” The candles were ordinarily black, and one taper, larger than the rest, was frequently carried by the Devil himself. At the North Berwick meeting when the witches were all to assemble in the church, “Iohn Fein blew up the Kirk doors, and blew in the lights, which wer like Mickl black candles sticking round about the Pulpit.” Boguet relates that the witches whom he tried confessed that the Sabbat commenced with the adoration of Satan, “who appeared, sometimes in the shape of a tall dark man, sometimes in the shape of a goat, & to express their worship and homage, they made him an offering of candles, which burned with a blue light.” John Fian, also, when doing homage to the Devil “thought he saw the light of a candle . . . which appeared blue lowe.” This, of course, was on account of the sulphurous material whence these candles were specially compounded. De Lancre expressly states that the candles or flambeaux used at the Sabbat were made of pitch.
An important feature of the greater Sabbats was the ritual dance, for the dance was an act of devotion which has descended to us from the earliest times and is to be found in every age and every country. Dancing is a natural movement, a primitive expression of emotion and ideals. In the ancient world there can have been few things fairer than that rhythmic thanksgiving of supple limbs and sweet voices which Athens loved, and for many a century was preserved the memory of that day when, the young Sophocles lead the choir In celebration of the victory of Salamis. The Mystae in the meadows of Elysium danced their rounds with the silver clash of cymbals and with madly twinkling snow-white feet.
The dance of the witches is degraded, awkward, foul, and unclean. These very movements arc withershins, as Guazzo points out: “Then follow the round dances in which, however, they always tread the measure to the left.” “The Sorcerers,” says Boguet, “dance a country-dance with their backs turned one to the other.” This, of course, being the exact reverse of the natural country-dance. “Sometimes, although seldom,” he adds, “they dance in couples, & sometimes one partner is there, another here, for always everything is in confusion.” De Lancre writes of witches’ revels: “They only dance three kinds of brawls. . . . The first is à la Bohémienne . . . the second with quick trippings: these are round dances.” In the third Sabbat measure the dancers were placed one behind another in a straight line.
An old Basque legend reported by Estefanella Hirigaray describes how the witches were wont to meet near an old limekiln to dance their rounds, a ceremony regarded throughout that district as an essential feature of the Sabbat. De Lancre notes the brawls à la Bohémienne as especially favoured by sorcerers in Labourd. In Belgium this Sabbat dance was known as Pauana.
In the Fian trial Agnes Sampson confessed that “They danced along the Kirk-yeard, Geilic Duncan playing on a Trump, and John Fein musslled led the Ring. The said Agnes and her daughter followed next. Besides these were Kate Gray, George Noilis his wife, . . . with the rest of their Cummers above an hundred Persons.” She further added “that this Geillis Duncane did goe before them, playing this reill or daunce uppon a small trumpe, called a Jewe’s trumpe, untill they entered into the Kerk of North Barrick.” “These confessions made the King [James I, then James VI of Scotland] In a wonderfull admiration, and sent for the saide Geillis Duncane, whos upon the like trumpe, did play the saide daunce before the kinges malestie.”
Music generally accompanied the dancers, and there is ample evidence that various instruments were played, violins, flutes, tambourines, citterns, hautboys, and, in Scotland, the pipes. Those of the witches who had any skill were the performers, and very often they obliged the company awhile with favourite airs of a vulgar kind, but the concert ended in the most hideous discords and bestial clamour; the laws of harmony and of decency were alike rudely violated. In August, 1590, a certain Nicolas Laghernhard, on his way to Assencauria, was passing through the outskirts of a wood when he saw through the trees a number of men and women dancing with filthy and fantastic movements. In amaze he signed himself and uttered the Holy Name, whereupon the company perceiving him took to flight, but not before he had recognized many of these wretches. He was prompt to inform the ecclesiastical tribunals, and several persons being forthwith questioned freely acknowledged their infamies. Amongst these a shepherd named Michael, who enjoyed a considerable reputation for his musical talents and strangely fascinating voice, confessed that he was the piper at the local Sabbat and that his services were in constant requisition. At the lesser Sabbats (aquelarre) of Zugarramurdi, a hamlet of Navarre, some six hundred souls, in the Bastan valley, some twelve leagues from Pampluna, one Juan de Goyburu was wont to play upon the flute, and Juan de Sansin the tambourine. These two unhappy wretches, having shown every sign of sincerest contrition, were reconciled to the Church.
Sinclar in his Relation XXXV, “Anent some Prayers, Charms, and Avies, used in the Highlands,” says: “As the Devil is originally the Author of Charms., and Spells, so is he the Author of several baudy Songs, which are sung. A reverend Minister told me, that one who was the Devils Piper, a wizzard confest to him, that at a Ball of dancing, the Foul Spirit taught him a Baudy song to sing and play, as it were this night, and ere two days past all the Lads and Lasses of the town were lilting it throw the street. It were abomination to rehearse it.” Philip Ludwig Elich precisely sums up the confused scene: “The whole foul mob and stinkard rabble sing the most obscene priapics and abominable songs in honour of the Devil. One witch yells, Harr, harr; a second hag, Devil, Devil; jump hither, jump thither; a third, Gambol hither, gambol thither; another, Sabaoth, Sabaoth, &c.; and so the wild orgy waxes frantic what time the bedlam rout are screeching, hissing, howling, caterwauling, and whooping lewd wassail.”
Of all the horrors of the Sabbat the climax was that appalling blasphemy and abominable impiety by which the most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar was mocked and burlesqued in hideous fashion. And since no Christian will receive the Blessed Sacrament save he be duly fasting as the Church so strictly enjoins, the witches in derision of Christ’s ordinance satiate their appetites with a wolfish feast and cram themselves to excess with food of all kinds, both meat and drink, before they proceed to the ritual of hell. These orgies were often prolonged amid circumstances of the most beastly gluttony and drunkenness.
Guazzo writes: “Tables are laid and duly furnished, whereupon they set themselves to the board & begin to gobbet piecemeal the meats which the Devil provides, or which each member of the party severally brings with him.” De Lancre also says: “Many authors say that sorcerers at the Sabbat eat the food which the Devil lays before them: but very often the table is only dressed with the viands they themselves bring along. Sometimes there are certain tables served with rare dainties, at others with orts and offal.” Their banquets are of various kinds of food according to the district & the quality of those who are to partake. It seems plain that when the local head of the witches, who often presided at these gatherings absente diabolo was a person of wealth or standing, delicacies and choice wines would make their appearance at the feast, but when it was the case of the officer of a coven in some poor and small district, possibly a meeting of peasants, the homeliest fare only might be served. The Lancashire witches of 1613, when they met at Malking Tower, sat down to a goodly spread of “Beefe, Bacon, and roasted Mutton,” the sheep having been killed twenty-four hours earlier by James Device; in 1683 Edmund Robinson stated that the Pendle witches offered him “flesh and bread upon a trencher, and drink in a glass,” they also had “flesh smoaking, butter in lumps, and milk,” truly rustic dainties. Alice Duke, a Somerset witch, tried in 1664, confessed that the Devil “bids them Welcome at their Coming, and brings them Wine, Beer, Cakes, and Meal, or the like.”
When all these wretches arc replete they proceed to a solemn parody of Holy Mass.
The erudite Paul Grilland tells us that the liturgy is burlesqued In every detail: “Those witches who have solemnly devoted themselves to the Devil’s service, worship him in a particular manner with ceremonial sacrifices, which they offer to the Devil, imitating in all respects the worship of Almighty God, with vestments, lights, and every other ritual observance, and with a set liturgy in which they are instructed, so that they worship and praise him eternally, just as we worship the true God.” This abomination of blasphemy is met with again and again in the confessions of witches, and although particulars may differ here and there, the same quintessence of sacrilege persisted throughout the centuries, even as alas! in hidden corners and secret lairs of infamy it skulks and lurks this very day.
The abomination of the Black Mass is performed by some apostate or renegade priest who has delivered himself over to the service of evil and is shamefully prominent amongst the congregation of witches. In 1336 a priest who had been imprisoned by the Comte de Foix, Gaston III Phébus, on a charge of celebrating a Satanic mass, was sent to Avignon and examined by Benedict XII in person. The next year the same pontiff appointed his trusty Guillaume Lombard to preside at the trial of Pierre du Chesne, a priest from the diocese of Tarbes, accused of defiling the Host.
A priest named Benedictus in the sixteenth century caused great scandal by the discovery of his assistance at secret and unhallowed rites. Charles IX employed an apostate monk to celebrate the Eucharist of Hell before himself and his intimates, and during the reign of his brother the Bishop of Paris burned in the Place de Grève a friar named Séchelle who had been found guilty of participating in similar profane mysteries. In 1597 the Parliament of Paris sentenced Jean Belon, curé of S. Pierre-des-Lampes in the Bourges diocese, to be hanged and his body burned for desecration of the Sacrament and the repeated celebration of abominable ceremonies. The Parliament of Bordeaux in 1598 condemned to the stake Pierre Aupetit, curé of Pageas, near Chalus Limousin. He confessed that for more than twenty years he had frequented Sabbats, especially those held at Mathegoutte and Puy-de-Dôme, where he worshipped the Devil and performed impious masses in his honour. August 14, 1606, a friar named Denobilibus was put to death at Grenoble upon a similar conviction. In 1609 the Parliament of Bordeaux sent Pierre De Lancre and d’Espagnet to Labourd in the Bayonne district to stamp out the sorcerers who infested that region. No less than seven priests were arrested on charges of celebrating Satan’s mass at the Sabbat. Two, Migalena, an old man of seventy, and Pierre Bocal, aged twenty-seven, were executed, but the Bishop of Bayonne interfered, claimed the five for his own tribunal and contrived that they should escape from prison. Three other priests who were under restraint were immediately set free, and wisely quitted the country.
During the reign of Louis XIV a veritable epidemic of sacrilege seemed to rage throughout Paris. The horrors of the Black Mass were said in many houses, especially in that of La Voisin (Catherine Deshayes) who lived in the rue Beauregard. The leading spirit of this crew was the infamous abbé Guibourg, a bastard son, so gossip said of Henri de Montmorency. With him were joined Brigallier, almoner of the Grande Mademoiselle; Bouchot, director of the convent of La Saussaye; Dulong, a canon of Notre-Dame; Dulausens, vicar of Saint-Leu; Dubousquet; Seysson; Dussis; Lempérier; Lépreux; Davot, vicar of Notre-Dame de Bonne-Nouvelle; Mariette, vicar of Saint-Séverin, skilled in maledictions; Lemeignan, vicar of Saint-Eustache, who was convicted of having sacrificed numberless children to Satan; Toumet; Le Franc; Cotton, vicar of St. Paul, who had baptized a baby with the chrism of Extreme Unction and then throttled him upon the altar; Guignard and Sébault of the diocese of Bourges, who officiated at the Black Mass in the cellars of a house at Paris, and confected filthy charms under conditions of the most fearful impiety.
In the eighteenth century the black mass persisted. In 1723 the police arrested the abbé Lecollet and the abbé Bournement for this profanity; and in 1745 the abbé de Rocheblanche fell under the same suspicion. At the hotel of Madame de Charolais the vilest scenes of the Sabbat were continued. A gang of Satanists celebrated their monstrous orgies at Paris on 22 January, 1798, the night after the murder of Louis XVI. The abbé Fiard in two of his works, Lettres sur le diable, 1791, and La France Trompée, Paris, 8vo, 1803, conclusively shows that eucharistic blasphemies were yet being perpetrated but in circumstances of almost impenetrable secrecy. In 1865 a scandal connected with these abominations came to light, and the Bishop of Sens, in whose diocese it occurred, was so horrified that he resigned his office and retired to Fontainebleau, where he died some eighteen months later, practically of shock. Similar practices were unmasked at Paris in 1874 and again in 1878, whilst it is common knowledge that the characters of Joris Karl Huysmans’ Là-Bas were all persons easy of identification, and the details are scenes exactly reproduced from contemporary life.
At the more frequented Sabbats the ritual of Holy Mass was elaborately burlesqued in almost every detail. An altar was erected with four supports, sometimes under a sheltering tree, at others upon a flat rock, or some naturally convenient place. In more recent times and to-day when the Black Mass is celebrated in houses such an altar is often permanent and therefore the infernal sanctuary can be built with a display of the full symbolism of the hideous cult of evil. The altar was covered with the three linen cloths the ritual enjoins, and upon it were six black candles, in the midst of which they placed a crucifix inverted, or an image of the Devil. Sometimes the Devil himself occupied this central position, standing erect, or seated on some kind of monstrous throne. In 1598, at a celebrated witch-trial before the Parliament of Bordeaux with the Vicar-general of the Bishop of Limoges and a learned councillor Peyrat as assessors, Antoine Dumons of Saint-Laurent confessed that he had frequently provided a large number of candles for the Sabbat, both wax lights to be distributed among those present and the large black tapers for the altar. These were lit by Pierre Aupetit, who held a sacristan’s reed, and apparently officiated as Master of the Ceremonies when he was not actually himself saying the Mass.
In May, 1895, when the legal representatives of the Borghese family visited the Palazzo Borghese, which had been rented for some time in separate floors or suites, they found some difficulty in obtaining admission to certain apartments on the first floor, the occupant of which seemed unaware that the lease was about to expire. By virtue of the terms of the agreement, however, he was obliged to allow them to inspect the premises to sec if any structural repairs or alterations were necessary, as Prince Scipione Borghese, who was about to be married, intended immediately to take up his residence in the ancestral home with his bride. One door the tenant obstinately refused to unlock, and when pressed he betrayed the greatest confusion. The agents finally pointed out that they were within their rights to employ actual force, and that if access was longer denied they would not hesitate to do so forthwith. When the keys had been produced, the cause of the reluctance was soon plain. The room within was inscribed with the words Templum Palladicum. The walls were hung all round from ceiling to floor with heavy curtains of silk damask, scarlet and black, excluding the light; at the further end there stretched a large tapestry upon which was woven in more than life-size a figure of Lucifer, colossal, triumphant, dominating the whole. Exactly beneath an altar had been built, amply furnished for the liturgy of Hell: candles, vessels, rituals, missal, nothing was lacking. Cushioned prie-dieus and luxurious chairs, crimson and gold, were set in order for the assistants; the chamber being lit by electricity, fantastically arrayed so as to glare from an enormous human eye. The visitors soon quitted the accursed spot, the scene of devil-worship and blasphemy, nor had they any desire more nearly to examine the appointments of this infernal chapel.
The missal used at the black mass was obviously a manuscript, although it is said that in later times these grimoires of hideous profanity have actually been printed. It is not infrequently mentioned. Thus De Lancre notes that the sorcerers of the Basses-Pyrénées (1609) at their worship saw the officiant “turning the pages of a certain book in his hand.” Madeleine Bavent in her confession said: “Mass was read from the book of blasphemies, which served as a canon, and was also used in processions.” The witches’ missal was often bound in human skin, generally that of an unbaptized babe. Gentien le Clerc, tried at Orleans, 1614-1615, confessed that “The Devil . . . read from a book which had a cover all hairy like a wolf skin, with white and red pages, others black.”
The vestments worn by the celebrant are variously described. On rare occasions he is described as being arrayed in a bishop’s pontificalia, black in hue, torn, squalid, and fusty. Boguet reports that a witch stated: “He who performs the service is dressed in a black cope without a cross,” but it seems somewhat strange that merely a plain black cope should be used, unless the explanation is to be found in the fact that such a vestment was most easily procurable and no suspicion of its ultimate employment would be excited. The abbé Guibourg sometimes wore a cope of white silk embroidered with fir-cones, which again seems remarkable, as the symbolism is in no way connected with the Satanic rites he performed. But this is the evidence of Marguerite, La Voisin’s daughter, who was not likely to be mistaken. It is true that Guiborg’s mass was often, perhaps, partially erotic and not wholly diabolic in the same sense as the Sabbat masses were, but yet Astaroth, Asmodeus, and Lucifer were invoked, and it was a liturgy of evil. On other occasions Guibourg seems to have donned the orthodox eucharistic chasuble, stole, maniple, girdle, alb, and amice. Gentien le Clerc was present at a Sabbat mass when the celebrant “wore a chasuble which was embroidered with a Cross; but there were only three bars.” Later a contemporary witness points to the use of vestments embroidered with infernal insignia, such as a dark red chasuble, the colour of dried blood, upon which was figured a black buck goat rampant; a chasuble that bore the inverse Cross, and similar robes adorned by some needle with the heraldry of Hell.
In bitter mockery of the Asperges the celebrant sprinkled the witches with filthy and brackish water, or even with stale. “The Devil at the same time made water into a hole dug in the earth, & used it as holy water, wherewith the celebrant of the mass sprinkled all present, using a black aspergillum.” Silvain Nevillon, a sorcerer who was tried at Orleans in 1614-1615, said: “When Tramesabot said Mass, before he commenced he used to sprinkle all present with holy water which was nothing else than urine, saying meanwhile Asperges Diaboli.” According to Gentien le Clerc: “The holy water is yellow . . . & after it has been duly sprinkled Mass is said.” Madeleine de la Palud declared that the sorcerers were sprinkled with water, and also with consecrated wine from the chalice upon which all present cried aloud: “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
This foul travesty of the holiest mysteries began with an invocation of the Devil, which was followed by a kind of general confession, only each one made mock acknowledgement of any good he might have done, and as a penance he was enjoined to utter some foul blasphemy or to break some precept of the Church. The president absolved the congregation by an inverse sign of the Cross made with the left hand. The rite then proceeded with shameless profanity, but De Lancre remarks that the Confiteor was never said, not even in a burlesque form, and Alleluia never pronounced. After reciting the Offertory the celebrant drew back a little from the altar and the assembly advancing in file kissed his left hand. When the Queen of the Sabbatthe witch who ranked first after the Grand Master, the oldest and most evil of the witches (“In each village,” says De Lancre, “there is found a Queen of the Sabbat.”)was present she sat on the left of the altar and received the offerings, loaves, eggs, any meat or country produce, and money, so long as the coins were not stamped with a cross. In her hand she held a disc or plate, “a pax,” engraved with a figure of the Devil, and this his followers devoutly kissed.
Silvain Nevillon, who was tried at Orleans in 1614-15, avowed: “The Devil preached a sermon at the Sabbat, but nobody could hear what he said, for he spoke in a growl.”
At the Sabbat a sermon is not infrequently delivered, a farrago of impiety and evil counsel.
The hosts are then brought to the altar. Boguet describes them as dark and round, stamped with a hideous design; Madeleine Bavent saw them as ordinary wafers only coloured red; in other cases they were black and triangular in shape. The chalice is filled, sometimes with wine, sometimes with a bitter beverage that burned the tongue like fire. At the Sanctus a horn sounded harshly thrice, and torches burning with a sulphurous blue flare were kindled. There was an elevation, at which the whole gang, now in a state of hysterical excitement and unnatural exaltation, burst forth with the most appalling screams and maniac blasphemies, rivalling each other in filthy adjurations and crapulous obscenities. The protagonist poured out all the unbridled venom that diabolic foulness could express, a stream of scurrility and pollution; Hell seemed to have vomited its reeking gorge on earth. Lord helps us, Lord helps us, they cried to the Demon, and again, Lord help us always. Generally all present were compelled to communicate with the sacrament of the pit, to swallow morsels soiled with mud and ordures, to drink the dark brew of damnation.
The Black Mass of the Sabbat varied slightly in form according to circumstances, and in the modern liturgy of the Satanists it would appear that a considerable feature is made of the burning of certain heavy and noxious weeds, the Devil’s incense. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the use of incense is very rare at the Sabbat, although Silvain Nevillon stated that he had seen at the Sabbat “both holy water and incense. This latter smelled foul, not fragrant as incense burned in church.”
When the blasphemous liturgy of the Sabbat was done all present gave themselves up to the most promiscuous debauchery, only interrupting their lasciviousness to dance or to spur themselves on to new enormities by spiced foods and copious draughts of wine. “You may well suppose,” writes Boguet, “that every kind of obscenity is practised there, yea, even those abominations for which Heaven poured down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah are quite common in these assemblies.” Throughout the centuries all erudite authorities have the same monstrous tale to tell, and it would serve no purpose merely to accumulate evidence from the demonologists. To-day the meetings of Satanists invariably end in unspeakable orgies and hideous debauchery,
Occasionally animals were sacrificed at the Sabbat to the Demon. The second charge against Dame Alice Kyteler, prosecuted in 1324 for sorcery by Richard de Ledrede, Bishop of Ossory, was “that she was wont to offer sacrifices to devils of live animals, which she and her company tore limb from limb and made oblation by scattering them at the cross-ways to a certain demon who was called Robin, son of Artes (Robin Artisson), one of Hell’s lesser princes.”
In 1622 Margaret McWilliam “renounced her baptism, and he baptised her and she gave him as a gift a hen or cock.” In the Voodoo rites of to-day a cock Is often the animal which is hacked to pieces before the fetish. Black puppies were sacrificed to Hecate; Æneas offers four jetty bullocks to the infernal powers, a coal-black lamb to Night; at their Sabbat on the Esquiline Canidia and Sagana tear limb from limb a black sheep, the blood streams Into a trench. Collin de Plancy states that witches sacrifice black fowls and toads to the Devil. The animal victim to a power worshipped as divine is a relic of remotest antiquity.
The presence of toads at the Sabbat is mentioned in many witch-trials. They seem to have been associated with sorcerers owing to the repugnance they generally excite, and in some districts it is a common superstition that those whom they regard fixedly will be seized with palpitations, spasms, convulsions, and swoons: nay, a certain abbé Rousseau of the eighteenth century, who experimented with toads, avowed that when one of these animals looked upon him for some time he fell in a fainting fit whence, if help had not arrived, he would never have recovered. A number of writers—Ælian, Dioscorides, Nicander, Ætius, Gesnerbelieve that the breath of the toad is poisonous, infecting the places it may touch. Since such idle stories were credited it is hardly to be surprised at that we find the toad a close companion of the witch. De Lancre says that demons often appeared in that shape. Jeannettc d’Abadie, a witch of the Basses-Pyrénées, whom he tried and who confessed at length, declared that she saw brought to the Sabbat a number of toads dressed some in black, some in scarlet velvet, with little bells attached to their coats. In November, 1610, a man walking through the fields near Bazas, noticed that his dog had scratched a large hole in a bank and unearthed two pots, covered with cloth, and closely tied. When opened they were found to be packed with bran, and in the midst of each was a large toad wrapped in green tiffany. These doubtless had been set there by a person who had faith in sympathetic magic, and was essaying a malefic spell. No doubt toads were caught and taken to the Sabbat, nor is the reason far to seek. Owing to their legendary venom they served as a prime ingredient in poisons and potions, and were also used for telling fortunes, since witches often divined by their toad familiars. Juvenal alludes to this when he writes:

I neither will, nor can Prognosticate
To the young gaping Heir, his Father’s Fate
Nor in the Entrails of a Toad have pry’d.”

Upon which passage Thomas Farnabie, the celebrated English scholar (1575-1647) glosses thus: “He alludes to the office of the Haruspex who used to inspect entrails & intestines. Pliny says: The entrails of the toad (Rana rubeta), that is to say the tongue, tiny bones, gall, heart, have rare virtue for they are used in many medicines and salves. Haply he means the puddock or hop-toad, thus demonstrating that these animals are not poisonous, their entrails being completely inefficacious in confecting poisons.” In 1610 Juan de Eehalar, a sorcerer of Navarre, confessed at his trial before the Alcantarine inquisitor Don Alonso Becerra Holguin that he and his coven collected toads for the Sabbat, and when they presented these animals to the Devil he blessed them with his left hand, after which they were killed and cooked in a stewpot with human bones and pieces of corpses rifled from new-made graves. From this filthy hotch-potch were brewed poisons and unguents that the Devil distributed to all present with directions how to use them. By sprinkling corn with the liquid it was supposed they could blight a standing field and also destroy flowers and fruit, A few drops let fall upon a person’s garments was believed to insure death, and smear upon the shed or sty effectually diseased cattle. From these crude superstitions the fantastic stories of dancing toads, toads dressed en cavalier, and demon toads at the Sabbat were easily evolved.
A candid consideration will show that for every detail of the Sabbat, however fantastically presented and exaggerated in the witch-trials of so many centuries, there is ample warrant and unimpeachable evidence. There is some hallucination no doubt; there is lurid imagination, and vanity which paints the colours thick; but there is a solid stratum of fact throughout.