Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

September/October Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Black Mass

This article was written by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke on November 30, -0001
posted under Black Mass

Introduction: The so-called "Black Mass" (possibly, at least initially, a literary invention) was to be performed by an ordained priest—Catholic, Anglican, or Episcopal—(in later descriptions he was supposed to a de-frocked priest). It was an ordinary mass with magical ceremonies added, and was designed to pervert the power of the Eucharist to some magical end. It necessarily required belief in the power of the priest in Transubstantiation.

Description: The Walls of the chamber should be hung in black drapes; the altar is covered in black drapery; behind altar is a black curtain with a white cross on it. The woman—originally supposedly a virgin but later she was a Priestess—lies naked across the altar at right angle to its length, on her back and her knees drawn up. A pillow supports her head and she holds black candles in her outstretched arms. A cross is placed between her breasts and the chalice between her thighs. The priest is positioned between her knees.

Theory: The living body of the priestess forms the altar because the worship is of Creation from which all life originated.

As can be seen from descriptions derived from multiple sources, the black mass evolved from some use of the Christian ritual "perverted" for magical purposes, toward a more Pagan ritual of Nature worship. Whatever historic reality there may have been, the fiction probably led to actual enactment but information about it may be locked in Church archives. Later adaptations by modern Satanists were probably more theatrical than actual; and subsequent Pagan and Sex Magical enactments involving priest or magician and priestess or assistant are better studied under their own subject listings.


While Llewellyn's Classic Tarot has my name on the cover, I did not so much design this project as direct it. Llewellyn wanted a deck that was designed to be faithful to the traditional tarot images, symbols, and meanings recognizable to most modern tarot readers and students. Creating a faithful yet new expression of timeless tarot imagery is... read this article
The Union Screaming House: The Haunting Continues...Long After the Doors Are Shut
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck
The Oracle of the Angels
Tarot: Group Dynamics Spread
Evolutionary Astrology: What the Moon's Nodes Mean in Your Chart

Most recent posts:
Part 1: Why is Satan in the Grimoires?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

A Spread About You
This spread, called Alive, Dead, and Undead, is from the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night book. It was created as a companion to the deck and thus...

A "Thank You" to BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar passed away today. In the midst of a frantic morning I heard the news and suddenly paused, realizing the great impact one person can...




Easy Tarot Reading Easy Tarot Reading
The Process Revealed in Ten True Readings

By: Josephine Ellershaw
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN
$10.47 US,  $11.87 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
You Are the Answer You Are the Answer
Discovering and Fulfilling Your Soul's Purpose

By: Michael J Tamura
Price: $16.95 US,  $19.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN