The Origin of Sado-Masochism in the Black Mass and Witch’s Sabbath

The book of sins is an edition ne varietur. New sins cannot be invented, and old ones never disappear. – J.-K. Huysmans, La-Bas

This Valentine’s Day, as you present your lover with a 50 Shades of Grey-themed Vermont Teddy Bear, in the back of your mind you won’t be able to stop thinking about the Satanic origin of the bondage subculture. As you tie her up to the bedposts that night, you won’t be able to shake the image of her naked body as an altar upon which unholy rites could be celebrated, including the sacrifice of unbaptised babies, the defilement of the Holy Host, and other such blasphemies. This is because the true genesis of this trendy modern expression of sexual deviancy is with the ceremony known as the “Black Mass,” and, to a certain extent, the Witch’s Sabbath.

The term “Sadism” comes of course from the erotic novels of the Marquis de Sade, including Justine and the sequel, Juliette. Those who have not read these works may not be aware that the Black Mass is celebrated several times in both novels as part of the debaucherous orgies described. Dr. Iwan Bloch, the famous translator of De Sade’s works, wrote in Marquis de Sade: His Life and Works (1899) that:

The Marquis de Sade gave evidence in his novels of being a fanatic Satanist. Many black masses appeared in Justine and Juliette. A mass in a monastery was fully described in Justine (II, 239). A Maiden, as the Holy Virgin, with arms raised to heaven, was bound in a niche in the church. Later she was laid naked on a great table, candles were lit, a crucifix decorated her buttocks, and ‘they celebrated on her buttocks the most absurd mysteries of Christianity.’ Then a mass was read on the same place. As soon as there was a Host of God, she seized the monk Ambrose and held fast to his member, whereby the believers in the Host were derided with the maddest expressions.

Two black masses were read in the privates of two tribades, (Juliette III, 147), then the Host was placed in the dung, after which the main altar became the place of the wildest orgies.

An illustration from Juliette by De Sade demonstrating the Black Mass
An illustration from Juliette by De Sade demonstrating the Black Mass


A 1969 film adaptation of Justine.

Black Mass imagery also features in the 1870 novel Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch, whose name gave rise to the term “Masochism.” (It was meant to be part of an unfinished series called Legacy of Cain.) The relationship between the Black Mass and Sado-Masochism was so clear in the past that in 1928 a short pornographic film called Messe Noir (Black Mass) was released in France showing this explicitly. It features women beating and pleasuring each other in a ritual officiated by an evil priestess and a diabolic priest. They conjure the demons Astharoth and Lilith, drink freshly drawn blood, and lay a new female recruit body down on an altar before ravishing her.

The sacrifice of an infant at the Black Mass
The sacrifice of an infant at the Black Mass

The Sadistic glorification of causing pain to others for your own pleasure, and the ability of a Masochists to turn that pain into pleasure for themselves, goes right along with the motto of the Black Mass, “Demon est Deus Inversus” (“The Demon is God Inverted.”) The Black Mass is specifically a mockery and parody of the Catholic mass. It is meant to be officiated by an ordained priest, so that the Real Presence of the Holy Spirit can be called into the host wafer, and then defiled. Traditionally, everything in such a rite is done backwards. The priest has his back to the altar, the cross is turned upside-down, the Lord’s Prayer is read backwards, and the meaning of everything is inverted. The altar is supposed to actually be formed by the naked body of a female, and the Holy Host is to be humiliated by being placed inside of her nether regions. Instead of wine, the blood of unbaptized babies sacrificed on the fleshy altar was consumed.


The Pyx, 1973, a film about the Black Mass.

This matches up in many ways with the descriptions given by confessed European witches of the “Sabbaths” that they purportedly attended, at which the Goat God was himself said to be present. As Thomas Wright described it in Worship of the Generative Powers (1865):

In order to ‘mix impiety with the other abominations,’ they pretended to perform religious rites, which were a wild and contemptuous parody on the Catholic mass. An altar was raised, and a priest consecrated and administered the host, but it was made of some disgusting substance, and the priest stood with his head downwards and his legs in the air, and with his back turned to the altar. Thus all things were performed in monstrous or disgusting forms, so that Satan himself appeared almost ashamed of them.

The desecration of the Holy Host at the Black Mass
The desecration of the Holy Host at the Black Mass

At the Sabbath, attendees were expected to kiss the Goat God. But only the chosen ones were permitted to kiss him on the face. The rest had to perform the humiliating “osculum infame” (“obscene kiss”), placing their lips on his second face, which was beneath his tale. Sexual debaucheries ensued, including the painful rape of young girls by the Goat God with his enormous penis. As Wright told it:

The young witch, Jeannette d’Abadie, told how she had seen at the Sabbath men and women in promiscuous intercourse, and how the devil arranged them in couples, in the most unnatural conjunctions — the daughter with the father, the mother with her son, the sister with the brother, the daughter-in-law with the father-in-law, the penitent with her confessor, without distinction of age, quality, or relationship, so that she confessed to having been known an infinity of times at the Sabbath by a cousin… of her mother, and by an infinite number of others.… This girl said that she had been deflowered by the devil at the age of thirteen — twelve was the common age for this — that they never became pregnant, either by him or by any of the wizards of the Sabbath; that she had never felt anything come from the devil except the first time, when it was very cold, but that with the sorcerers it was as with other men. That the devil chose the handsomest of the women and girls for himself, and one he usually made his queen for the meeting. That they suffered extremely when he had intercourse with them, in consequence of his member being covered with scales like those of a fish. That when extended it was a yard long, but that it was usually twisted. Marie d’Aspilcuette, a girl between nineteen and twenty years of age, who also confessed to having had frequent connection with Satan, described his member as about half a yard long, and moderately large. Marguerite, a girl of Sare, between sixteen and seventeen, described it as resembling that of a mule, and as being as long and thick as one’s arm.… The devil, we are further told, preferred married women to girls, because there was more sin in the connection, adultery being a greater crime than simple fornication.

Despite the pain and humiliation, the witches loved being raped by the Goat God, and he always left them wanting more. To quote form Wright again:

Some of the witches examined spoke of the delight with which they attended the Sabbath. Jeanne Dibasson, a woman twenty-nine years old, said that the Sabbath was the true Paradise, where there was far more pleasure than can be expressed; that those who went there found the time so short by reason of the pleasure and enjoyment, that they never left it without marvelous regret, so that they looked forward with infinite impatience to the next meeting.

Another relevant detail is that witches at the Sabbath were made to pass through a fire that did not burn them. This was meant to teach them not to be afraid of the fires of Hell which they would be going to at the end of their mortal life. So again, they were taught to have an abnormal and unnatural reaction to something that would cause a normal person unbearable pain.

Wright traces the origin of the Witch’s Sabbath and Black Mass to the ancient rites of Priapus, the Greek fertility God honored by phallic idols and rites of debauchery, whose cult appears to have been spread all over Pre-Christian Europe. Wright believed that the Christian image of “Satan” was in fact largely based on images of Priapus, and demonstrated that the traditions of underground “Satanist” and “witchcraft” cults were actually sublimated forms of Priapism. He shows that these traditions were passed on through heretical “Christian” groups like the Gnostic Ophites, the Cathars, and numerous others, all of which practiced obscene group sex rituals and all of which came to be suppressed by the Church.

Gnostics and Cathars believed that they were “pure,” and that therefore these rites did not defile them. In fact, indulging in them in the sanctified form of a ritual turned into something sacred a sin that they viewed as an otherwise unavoidable fact of carnal existence. One Gnostic group is said to have used as a motto: “Nemo potest peccare ab umbilico et inferius” (“No one can not sin, from the navel and below.”) Or, as the New Wave band Depeche Mode expressed it in their Sado-Masochistic paean “Strangelove”: “I give in to sin, because you have to make this life livable.”

The Knights Templar were also accused of practicing debaucheries in their rituals, and of forcing new recruits to kiss the anus of a goat (just like the “Obscene Kiss” of the Witch’s Sabbath). Wright believed that the Knights Templar were practicing these Gnostic rites of Priapism when they worshipped Baphomet, whom he saw as just another incarnation of Priapus. Certain phallic artifacts and images of Gnostic sex orgy rituals discovered on Templar properties seem to confirm this absolutely. Many medieval church buildings in Europe contain similar images amongst their gargoyles and other decorations, indicating that the popular older cult melded seamlessly with Christianity for some time.

Symbolist Stanislaw Przybyszewski, famous for his influential work The Synagogue of Satan (1897), wrote in his other book on Satanism, The Cult of Satan’s Church, that Satan:

… taught women the art of seduction, men to satisfy their feelings in their double sexual desires, he ran rim in color, discovered the flute and set the muscles in rhythmical movement, until the divine mania embraced the heart and the divine Phallus with its opulence sowed the fruitful womb.

In more modern times, the cult of Priapus, along with the rites of witchcraft and Satanism, continue on in Aleister Crowley’s Order of Oriental Templars, and in other fraternities that practice ceremonial magic. Now, of course, when all religious impulses must somehow be analyzed in the light of pseudo-scientific “psychology,” and all magic rituals presented as a form of psychotherapy, magicians have a good “excuse” for indulging in debaucheries. as Frater U.D. writes in Secrets of Western Sex Magic: Magical Energy and Gnostic Trance:

Sado-masochism has a boundary-breaking function in sex magic. … Sado-masochistic orgies frequently take the form of a black mass, but this has more to do with the sexual fantasies of their participants than with any real correlations to ‘applied blasphemy.’

In Clive Barker’s Hellraiser series of novels and films, Hell is presented as another dimension, dominated by creatures called “Cenobites” (named after an order of Greek Orthodox monks). They are shown as humanoid creatures with bodies mutilated and pierced, wearing clothes that Barker admits are inspired by the bondage subculture. They are former humans that transcended into demonic beings via their ability to enjoy the pains and tortures of Hell. They seem to have therefore been rewarded with the right to be the ones to torture others. One of the characters, Frank Cotton, tells in the film version how he reached a new vista of pleasure in Hell that was unavailable on Earth:

I… used to try and pretend I was dreaming all the pain. But don’t you kid yourself. Some things have to be endured. And that makes the pleasures so much sweeter!… I thought I’d gone to the limits. I hadn’t. The Cenobites gave me an experience beyond limits… pain and pleasure, indivisible.

Since French nobleman Gilles de Rais raped and murdered hundreds of boys in an attempt to conjure the Devil and transform lead into gold alchemically with their blood in the fifteenth century, the relationship between Satanism, sexual deviancy, and European nobility has been understood by society. The Marquis de Sade was himself of course one of them, and his copyrights are even to this day controlled by the noble Noailles family, which included Marie-Laure de Noailles, patron of the arts who funded projects by Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Jean Hugo. The heir to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, another nobleman, is none other than musician Marianne Faithful, who was once married to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. They both contributed creatively to the films of Satanist and Aleister Crowley acolyte Kenneth Anger.

With such an august background, it almost seems like the esteemed tradition of Sado-Masochism and the Black Mass is being vulgarized by the currently popular novels of E.L. James. But then again, perhaps the masses have already been trained by the elite to enjoy their own humiliating roles in society, and this is just another manifestation of our warped psychology.


Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled by Tracy R. Twyman and Alexander Rivera.

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“Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

For seven centuries, the enigma of Baphomet has mystified both scholars and the general public. Did the Knights Templar really worship a demonic idol of that name? If so, what does the word mean? What is the origin of this figure? What was the nature of the rituals that the Templars performed in secret? What were their covert beliefs? And why, if the Templars initially described their idol as a mummified severed head, is this figure now represented as a hermaphrodite human with the head of a goat?

Authors Tracy R. Twyman and Alexander Rivera have dived head-first into the bottomless abyss of mystery and returned with some astounding wisdom to share. Here for the first time they reveal the genesis of these symbols, showing how they relate to the Witches’ Sabbath, traditions of Sufi Islam, alchemy, Gnosticism, cabalism, the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus, and so much more.

Learn why the Templars and their beloved severed head are frequently associated with John the Baptist, and how this connects to his student, Simon Magus. Discover the known facts about things like the Chinon Parchment, the Book of the Baptism of Fire, the Templar Abraxas seals, and newly-found documents which claim that the Templars discovered the real Temple of Solomon during a secret trip to Mecca.

Join Twyman and Rivera on this exciting adventure into the unknown. Immerse yourself in this knowledge, if your heart has the strength. It is certain that your mind will never be the same.