Weird Old Art: Satanism and Witchcraft
Caution: This post contains sexually suggestive early twentieth century imagery.
Recently, I've discussed the way pagan beliefs were given a Satanic cast by Christians, who turned pagan worship ceremonies into Black Masses full of sodomy and blasphemy. In 1862, Jules Michelet tried to paint a more sympathetic (if inaccurate) portrait of medieval witches by describing their faith as a pagan-influenced feminist rebellion against Catholic patriarchy. His book, La Sorcière, is known in English as Satanism and Witchcraft, and of course the weird art used to illustrate the 1911 printing of the book is something to behold.
If you thought the images of women kissing Satan's or a goat's buttocks were bad, this little number puts them to shame. Behold the Black Mass as drawn by Martin van Maele, a French illustrator famed for his erotic art.
And a few more from the same volume:
This certainly says something about the tangled relationship between sex and religion in the early twentieth century. It also shows how little respect Michelet's sympathetic vision of a woman-centered religious tradition actually received. These illustrations are not exactly empowering women.
8/17/2014 09:22:16 pm
Given the updated revelations about sexual abuse and child rape in the Marion Zimmer Bradley family this just illustrates part of the problem and from my perspective, several associated discourses which also have ramifications in addition to the apparent abuse of religious ideologies in the name of art and anti intellectualism that some could be tempted to pass off as a form of double entendre. And to even describe it as such, I wonder if it provides 'art' with more dignity than it deserves both intellectually, historically, spiritually and religiously.
3/22/2018 07:25:57 am
All this is really weird and strange! What do you think are all this actions in the pictures real or just someones fantasies? This would be really queerly and frightfully if these are real events on the pictures. I don't feel good when I look on them.
4/5/2018 04:58:04 am
After I had discovered truth about Christians, I was deeply interested in the true history of the pagans switch to the Christianity. Monks did a good job in erasing predecessor’s history. I mean that it is very hard to find something because almost all the information about our past, because Church kept it in its hands. Things like this one can reveal pieces of the huge mosaic of undercover history. Thanks for sharing!
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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