A Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church.
A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized but not defined by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.
The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass, Usus Antiquior or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is the Roman Rite Mass which appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. The most widely used Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in 1969, it is celebrated in ecclesiastical Latin. The 1962 edition is the most recent authorized text, also known as the Missal of Saint John XXIII after the now canonized Pope who promulgated it.
In the 19th century the Black Mass became popularized in French literature, in books such as Satanism and Witchcraft , by Jules Michelet, and Là-bas , by Joris-Karl Huysmans.
Satanism and Witchcraft is a book by Jules Michelet on the history of witchcraft that was published originally in French in 1862.
Jules Michelet was a French historian. He was born in Paris to a family with Huguenot traditions.
Là-Bas, translated as Down There or The Damned, is a novel by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, first published in 1891. It is Huysmans' most famous work after À rebours. Là-Bas deals with the subject of Satanism in contemporary France, and the novel stirred a certain amount of controversy on its first appearance. It is the first of Huysmans' books to feature the character Durtal, a thinly disguised portrait of the author himself, who would go on to be the protagonist of all of Huysmans' subsequent novels: En route, La cathédrale and L'oblat.
Modern revivals began with H. T. F. Rhodes' book, The Satanic Mass published in London in 1954, and there is now a range of modern versions of the Black Mass performed by various groups.
The Catholic Church regards the Mass as its most important ritual, going back to apostolic times. In general, its various liturgies followed the outline of Liturgy of the Word, Offertory, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Benediction, which developed into what is known as the Mass. However, as early Christianity became more established and its influence began to spread, the early Church Fathers began to describe a few heretical groups practicing their own versions of Masses. Some of these rituals were of a bizarre sexual nature.The fourth-century AD heresiologist Epiphanius of Salamis, for instance, claims that a libertine Gnostic sect known as the Borborites engaged in a version of the Eucharist in which they would smear their hands with menstrual blood and semen and consume them as the blood and body of Christ respectively. He also alleges that, whenever one of the women in their church was experiencing her period, they would take her menstrual blood and everyone in the church would eat it as part of a sacred ritual.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
Early Christianity covers the period from its origins until the First Council of Nicaea (325). This period is typically divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period. After the death of John the Apostle, early Christianity was guided by the Ante-Nicene Fathers until the Council of Nicaea (c.325). Early Christianity is also known as the Early Church by the proponents of apostolic succession, notably the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Assyrian Church of the East, and Ancient Church of the East, in addition to some Protestant denominations.
Within the Church, the rite of the Mass was not completely fixed, and there were places at the end of the Offertory for the Secret prayers, when the priest could insert private prayers for various personal needs. These practices became especially prevalent in France (see Pre-Tridentine Mass). As these types of personal prayers within the Mass spread, the institution of the Low Mass became quite common, where priests would perform various Masses for the needs of their parishioner as The Mass is considered the highest form of prayer. In the 12th and 13th centuries there was a great surplus of clerics and monks who might be inclined to perform these Masses, as younger sons were often sent off to religious universities, and after their studies, needed to find a livelihood.
The offertory is the part of a Eucharistic service when the bread and wine for use in the service are ceremonially placed on the altar.
The Secret is a prayer said in a low voice by the priest or bishop during religious services.
Low Mass is a Tridentine Mass defined officially in the Code of Rubrics included in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal as Mass in which the priest does not chant the parts that the rubrics assign to him. A sung Mass in turn is a Solemn or High Mass if celebrated with the assistance of sacred ministers ; without them it is a Missa Cantata.
Another result of the surplus of (sometimes disillusioned) clerical students was the appearance of the Latin writings of the Goliards and wandering clerics (clerici vagantes). Some of the earliest of these Latin parody works are found in the medieval Latin collection of poetry, Carmina Burana , written around 1230. At the time these wandering clerics were spreading their Latin writings and parodies of the Mass, the Cathars, who also spread their teachings through wandering clerics, were also active. Due to the proximity in time and location of the Golliards, the Cathars, and the witches, all of whom were seen as threatening the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Papal Authority in Rome, some historians have postulated that these wandering clerics may have at times offered their services for performing heretical, or "black" Masses on various occasions.
The goliards were a group of clergy, generally young, in Europe who wrote satirical Latin poetry in the 12th and 13th centuries of the Middle Ages. They were chiefly clerics who served at or had studied at the universities of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and England, who protested the growing contradictions within the church through song, poetry and performance. Disaffected and not called to the religious life, they often presented such protests within a structured setting associated with carnival, such as the Feast of Fools, or church liturgy.
Clerici vagantes or vagabundi is a medieval Latin term meaning "wandering clergy" applied in early canon law to those clergy who led a wandering life either because they had no benefice or because they had deserted the church to which they had been attached.
Carmina Burana is a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces are mostly bawdy, irreverent, and satirical. They were written principally in Medieval Latin, a few in Middle High German, and old Arpitan. Some are macaronic, a mixture of Latin and German or French vernacular.
A further source of late Medieval and Early Modern involvement with parodies and alterations of the Mass, were the writings of the European witch-hunt, which saw witches as being agents of the Devil, who were described as inverting the Christian Mass and employing the stolen Host for diabolical ends. Witch-hunter's manuals such as the Malleus Maleficarum (1487) and the Compendium Maleficarum (1608) allude to these supposed practices.The first complete depiction of a blasphemy of the Mass in connection with the witches' sabbath, was given in Florimond de Raemond's 1597 French work, The Antichrist (written as a Catholic response to the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist). He uses the following description of a witches' meeting as a sign that Satanic practices are prevalent in the world, and a sign that the Antichrist's power is on the rise:
A witch-hunt or witch purge is a search for people labelled "witches" or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic or mass hysteria. The classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial North America took place in the Early Modern period or about 1450 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years' War, resulting in an estimated 35,000 to 100,000 executions. The last executions of people convicted as witches in Europe took place in the 18th century. In other regions, like Africa and Asia, contemporary witch-hunts have been reported from Sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea and official legislation against witchcraft is still found in Saudi Arabia and Cameroon today.
The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.
Host desecration is a form of sacrilege in Christian denominations that follow the doctrine of real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It involves the mistreatment or malicious use of a consecrated host—the sacred bread used in the Eucharistic service of the Divine Liturgy or Mass. It is forbidden by the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as in certain Protestant traditions. In Catholicism, where the host is held to have been transubstantiated into the body of Jesus Christ, host desecration is among the gravest of sins. Intentional host desecration is not only a mortal sin but also incurs the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae. Throughout history, a number of groups have been accused of desecrating the Eucharist, often with grave consequences due to the spiritual importance of the consecrated host.
An Italian man took her [Jeanne Bosdeau] to a field on Saint John's Eve. The man made a large ring with a rod of holly, muttering a few words which he read from a black book. Thereupon appeared a large, horned goat, all black, accompanied by two women, as well as a man dressed as a priest. The goat asked the Italian who this girl was, and having replied that he had brought her to be his, the goat made him make the sign of the cross with his left hand. Then he commanded all of them to come and greet him, which they did, kissing his rear. The goat had a lighted black candle between his two horns, from which the others lit their own candles. The goat took the woman aside, laid her in the woods, and carnally knew her, to which she took an extreme displeasure, suffered much pain, and felt his seed as cold as ice. Every Wednesday and Friday of each month the general meeting was held, where she went numerous times, with more than sixty other persons, all of whom carried a black candle, lighted from the candle that the goat had between his horns. After that they all began to dance in circles, their backs turned to one another. The person who was performing the service was clothed in a black robe without a cross. He raised a round slice of turnip, dyed black, instead of the Host, and cried at the Elevation: Master, help us. Water was put in the chalice instead of wine, and to make Holy Water, the goat urinated into a hole on the ground, and the person who was performing the service asperged the attendants with a black asperges (sprinkling of water). In this group they performed the practices of witchcraft, and every one gave a story of what they had done. They were to poison, to bewitch, to bind, to cure illnesses with charms, to make waste the fruits of the earth, and other such maladies.
Between the 16th and the 19th centuries, many examples of interest in the Black Mass come from France.
Scholarly studies on the Black Mass relied almost completely on French and Latin sources (which also came from France):
He went on in the Satanic Rituals (1972) to present it as the most representatively satanic ritual in the book.
The usual assumption is that the Satanic ceremony or service is always called a Black Mass. A Black Mass is not the magical ceremony practiced by Satanists. The Satanist would only employ the use of a Black Mass as a form of psychodrama. Furthermore, a Black Mass does not necessarily imply that the performers of such are Satanists. A Black Mass is essentially a parody on the religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, but can be loosely applied to a satire on any religious ceremony.
In spite of the huge amount of French literature discussing the Black Mass (Messe Noire) at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, no set of written instructions for performing one, from any purported group of Satanists, turned up in writing until the 1960s, and appeared not in France, but in the United States. As can be seen from these first Black Masses and Satanic Masses appearing in the U.S., the creators drew heavily from occult novelists such as Dennis Wheatley and Joris-Karl Huysmans, and from non-fiction occult writers popular in the 1960s, such as Grillot de Givry, author of the popular illustrated book Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy, and H. T. F. Rhodes, who provided a title for the satanic ritual in his 1954 book The Satanic Mass.Herbert Sloane, the founder of an early Satanist group, the Ophite Cultus Satanas, speaks of Satanists performing the ritual of the "Satanic Mass" in a letter he wrote in 1968 (see the article on his group), and in 1968 and 1969 also appeared the first two recordings of Satanic rituals, both entitled the "Satanic Mass":
Soon after Coven created their Satanic Mass recording, the Church of Satan began creating their own Black Masses, two of which are available to the public. The first, created for the Church of Satan by Wayne West in 1970, was entitled "Missa Solemnis" (named after the Missa Solemnis version of the Latin Mass; originally published only in pamphlet form, later published in Michael Aquino's history of The Church of Satan), and the second, created by an unknown author, was entitled "Le Messe Noir" (published in Anton LaVey's 1972 book The Satanic Rituals ).
All three of these newly created Black Masses (the one by Coven and the two by the Church of Satan) contain the Latin phrase "In nomine Dei nostri Satanas Luciferi Excelsi"(In the name of our God, Satan Lucifer of the Most High), as well as the phrases "Rege Satanas" and "Ave Satanas" (which, incidentally, are also the only three Latin phrases which appeared in the Church of Satan's 1968 recording, "The Satanic Mass"). Additionally, all three modify other Latin parts of the Roman Catholic Missal to make them into Satanic versions. The Church of Satan's two Black Masses also use the French text of the Black Mass in Huysmans' Là-Bas to a great extent. (West only uses the English translation, LaVey publishes also the original French). Thus, the Black Mass found in The Satanic Rituals is a combination of English, French, and Latin. Further, in keeping with the traditional description of the Black Mass, all three also require a consecrated Host taken from a Catholic church, as a central part of the ceremony.
A writer using the pseudonym "Aubrey Melech" published, in 1986, a Black Mass entirely in Latin, entitled "Missa Niger". (This Black Mass is available on the Internet). Aubrey Melech's Black Mass contains almost exactly the same original Latin phrases as the Black Mass published by LaVey in The Satanic Rituals. The difference is that the amount of Latin has now more than doubled, so that the entire Black Mass is in Latin. Unlike Coven and Wayne West, LaVey and Melech don't give the source for the Latin material in their Black Mass, merely implying that they received it from someone else, without saying who.
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The French sections that LaVey published were quotations from Huysmans's Là-bas. The Latin of Melech and LaVey is based on the Roman Catholic Latin Missal, reworded so as to give it a Satanic meaning (e.g. the Roman Mass starts "In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, introibo ad altare Dei", while LaVey's version, printed in the Satanic Rituals , starts "In nomine magni dei nostri Satanas, introibo ad altare Domini Inferi"). There is a small amount of copyist and grammatical errors. For example, "dignum" from the Mass, is once incorrectly spelled "clignum", in the printed Satanic Rituals . Another example, also appearing once, is "laefificat" instead of "laetificat". One of the more obvious grammatical errors is "ego vos benedictio", "I bless you", which should have been "ego vos benedico". Another grammatical peculiarity is that, throughout his version of the Mass, LaVey does not decline the name Satanas, as is typically done in Latin if the endings are used, but uses only the one form of the word regardless of the case.Melech uses Satanus. "Satanas" as a name for Satan appears in some examples of Latin texts popularly associated with satanism and witchcraft, such as the middle age pact with the Devil supposedly written by Urbain Grandier. Both Black Masses end with the Latin expression "Ave, Satanas!" — Meaning either "Welcome, Satan!", or "Hail Satan!" (expressing the opposite sentiments of the similar statement made by Jesus to Satan in the Latin Vulgate Bible (Latin Vulgate, Matthew 4:10), "Vade, Satanas!" - "Go away, Satan!").
The Church of Satan is a religious organization dedicated to Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible. The Church of Satan was established at the Black House in San Francisco, California, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey, who was the Church's High Priest until his death in 1997. In 2001, Peter H. Gilmore was appointed to the position of High Priest, and the church's headquarters were moved to Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City.
Anton Szandor LaVey was an American author, musician, and occultist. He was the founder of the Church of Satan and the religion of LaVeyan Satanism. He authored several books, including The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Satanic Witch, The Devil's Notebook, and Satan Speaks! In addition, he released three albums, including The Satanic Mass, Satan Takes a Holiday, and Strange Music. He played a minor on-screen role and served as technical advisor for the 1975 film The Devil's Rain and served as host and narrator for Nick Bougas' 1989 mondo film Death Scenes.
The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It is the central religious text of LaVeyan Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. It has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. Though The Satanic Bible is not considered to be sacred scripture in the way that the Christian Bible is to Christianity, LaVeyan Satanists regard it as an authoritative text as it is a contemporary text that has attained for them scriptural status. It extols the virtues of exploring one's own nature and instincts. Believers have been described as "atheistic Satanists" because they believe that God is not an external entity, but rather something that each person creates as a projection of their own personality—a benevolent and stabilizing force in their life. There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible, through which it has sold over a million copies.
LaVeyan Satanism is a religion founded in 1966 by the American occultist and author Anton Szandor LaVey. Scholars of religion have classified it as a new religious movement and a form of Western esotericism. It is one of several different movements that describe themselves as forms of Satanism.
The Church of Satan: A History of the World's Most Notorious Religion is a book by Blanche Barton, published on November 1, 1990 by Hell's Kitchen Productions.
Diane Hegarty is co-founder of the Church of Satan, which she co-founded with her longtime partner Anton LaVey.
Peter Howard Gilmore is an American composer, artist, and author. He is the high priest of the Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Scriptures. Gilmore graduated from NYU with both a bachelor's and master's degree in music composition.
The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey is a biography on the life of Anton LaVey, the founder of LaVeyan Satanism and the Church of Satan, released in 1990 through Feral House publishing. The book is written by Blanche Barton, administrator of the Church of Satan and partner and confidant of LaVey."
The Sigil of Baphomet is the official insignia of the Church of Satan and is trademarked and copyrighted by the Church of Satan. The Sigil of Baphomet first appeared on the cover of The Satanic Mass LP in 1968 and later on the cover of The Satanic Bible in 1969. The sigil has been called a "material pentagram" representational of carnality and earthy principles. The Church describes the symbol as the "...preeminent visual distillation of the iconoclastic philosophy of Satanism."
The Satanic Rituals is a book by Anton Szandor LaVey published in 1972 by Avon Books as a companion volume to The Satanic Bible. The book outlines nine rituals and ceremonies intended for group performance, with an introductory essay to each. Some of the rites presented are inspired by other groups, such as the Yezidis, Freemasons, Knights Templar and Order of the Illuminati, and some inspired by fictional works. The book includes the child baptism ritual used by Anton LaVey at the first publicly recorded Satanic baptism in history for his youngest daughter Zeena.
Theistic Satanism or spiritual Satanism is an umbrella term for religious beliefs that consider Satan as an objectively existing supernatural being or force worthy of supplication, with whom individuals may contact, convene and even praise, rather than him being just an archetype, symbol or idea as in LaVeyan Satanism. The individual belief systems under this umbrella are practiced by loosely affiliated or independent groups and cabals. Another characteristic of Theistic Satanism is the use of ceremonial magic.
Coven is an American rock band with occult lyrics formed in the late 1960s. They had a top 40 hit in 1971 with the song "One Tin Soldier", the theme song of the movie Billy Jack.
Satanism is a belief or social phenomenon that features the veneration or admiration of Satan or similar figure.
Greater and lesser magic, within LaVeyan Satanism, designate types of beliefs with the term greater magic applying to ritual practice meant as psychodramatic catharsis to focus one's emotions for a specific purpose and lesser magic applied to the practice of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour to bend an individual or situation to one's will.
Satanic holidays have been described by both Satanists and by Christian authors, as well as by historians of witchcraft, who in turn relied on Christian accounts.
"Hail Satan", sometimes expressed in a Latinized version as Ave Satanas, is an expression used by some Satanists to show their dedication to Satan, but has also been used for the purpose of comedy or satire. Believers in backmasking think they can hear "Hail Satan" and other messages to Satan in some songs played in reverse, such as "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. The variation Ave Satani, though grammatically incorrect, is sometimes used, likely originating from its use by Jerry Goldsmith in his theme music to The Omen.
Our Lady of Endor Coven, also known as Ophite Cultus Sathanas, was a Satanic cult claimed to have been founded in 1948 by Herbert Arthur Sloane in Cleveland, Ohio, though some argue that it was not conceived of until 1968, after Sloane's contact with the Church of Satan. The group was heavily influenced by gnosticism, and worshipped Sathanas, their name for Satan. Sathanas, was defined in gnostic terms, as the Serpent in the Garden of Eden who revealed the knowledge of the true God to Eve. That it called itself "Ophite" is a reference to the ancient gnostic sect of the Ophites, who were said to worship the serpent. The "Lady of Endor" is a reference to the Witch of Endor. Sloane's Coven was first publicly documented in the middle of 1968, when British occult writer Richard Cavendish said that he had received a letter from a Satanist "lodge" in Toledo, Ohio and a 1967 interview with Sloane with a Toledo newspaper about his occult & fortune telling business made no mention of it. While current scholars of Satanism point out that there is no substantial evidence showing Our Lady of Endor Coven existing prior to 1966, some also point out that it is likely that his group did have roots prior to that time:
It seems probable the group was in existence before 1966, although I have not found any traces of it in literature prior to that date. Sloane himself suggested that he was already operating in the 1940s, but given the many parallels with Wicca the group displayed, it is more likely its date of origin must be located sometime after 1953, the year Gerald Gardner's neopagan cult of witchcraft came into the open.
The Satanic Mass: Recorded Live at the Church of Satan is the first released audio recording of a Satanic ritual by high priest Anton Szandor LaVey, recorded in 1967 at Church of Satan headquarters, known as The Black House. The album was originally released as a vinyl LP on LaVey's own label, Murgenstrumm, in 1968. It was re-released June 21, 1995 on Amarillo Records.
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