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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Black Mass


Black Mass: A perversion of the Catholic Mass supposedly performed by Satanists. It required a defrocked priest to run the service and a nude woman as the altar. The communion wafer would be stolen from a church and the Lord’s Prayer would be recited backwards. Although Witches were (and still are) accused of participating in this rite, it is not a part of Witchcraft.

Black Mass: The Mass is a rite developed by early Christians duplicating some of the aspects of Jesus’ “Last Supper” in the garden of Gethsemane. By the Middle Ages, Christians saw Pagans having large celebrations and assumed that they were rituals done in opposition to the Mass and referred to them as Witches’ Black Masses. However, it was not until the 17th century when the Black Mass became associated with an actual inversion of the Christian Mass. Supposedly requiring a defrocked Priest as the presiding ritualist and a nude woman as the altar, it included insulting the image of the cross and reciting the Lord’s Prayer backwards. There is little evidence that such practices were ever performed except for show or by some poorly-educated individuals who thought it was a real ritual. Some authorities also claim that it was any Mass in France performed for magickal purposes as opposed to the policy of the Church. This was supposedly invented by a priest to one of the mistresses of the French King to ensure that he wouldn't desert her for a younger woman.


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 ...
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Norse Gods & Goddesses
Partial List of the Norse Gods, Goddesses & Other Supernatural Beings Their Lore, Powers & Influence The Names of the deities are in the old Norse language while the Rune names are in German. (Note: Many of the correspondences given in ...
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The Mirror Image Technique
Introduction. Although the mirror is often viewed as a somewhat less than elegant tool for out-of-body induction, its usefulness has been repeatedly demonstrated both in the laboratory setting and in OBE training programs. As an OBE tool, the mirror ...
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Aura Self-Massage
We can create powerful mind/body interaction to promote better health and fitness. Aura self massage procedures can be adapted to many specific goals. The following is for self-healing. Physical Relaxation. Assume a comfortable seated or ...
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Crowley's Gnostic Mass
The Gnostic Mass was written by Aleister Crowley while he was in Moscow in the year 1913. He had just been appointed the head of the British section of the O.T.O. He claimed that he was influenced by the Liturgy of St. Basil of the Russian Church. ...
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The Well Worn Path Review
Summary: A deck that is specifically directed toward Pagans, Witches and Wiccans. Not a Tarot, the forty cards represent foundational Pagan concepts. While not for Rider-Waite-Smith purists, this deck is well-suited to the many tens of thousands of ...
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Review of the Tarot of the Secret Forest
Summary: Enter a dark and mysterious world filled with hidden wonders. This double-sided deck promises a unique experience for those willing to let go of preconceived expectations. The rich, full color images on one side show one side of the Secret ...
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Making the Mirror
Making and using a magic mirror is an ancient tradition. There are many different variations on how to do this that have developed over the centuries, but the basics are very simple, especially since it is now possible to find the necessary curved ...
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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Herbal Codes — Or, You Don't Need to Kill a Black Cat
Many grimoires and books of magic use animals and their parts as codes for herbs and other materials. Here are a number of them, some from the Greek Magical Papyri (see PGM XII:401-44), a work composed between 200BC and 500AD. Others come from Galen ...
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The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
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