The Black Mass
Michelet in his Satanism and Witchcraft
traces the blasphemies of the Black Mass to the revolt of
the peasantry against the strictures of the church and the
perverse sexuality of the ritual's orgies to the dreadful
social conditions under which the peasants lived.
by the church to increase and multiply, the peasants could
not feed the mouths they had.
by the church to marry close relatives, they were forbidden
by their feudal lords to marry strangers lest they become
the serf of the wife's lord.
the eldest son inherited his father's few holdings, his
power in the family, and the right to marry. Brothers and
sisters mated with each other out of wedlock and the mother
committed incest with the eldest son, who now exercised
all his dead father's rights.
unholy unions which Michelet finds reminiscent of 'the Jews
and the Greeks' of old, the Black
Mass's excess found their start. The blasphemous rituals
offered a psychological and physical release for the peasants,
an outlet for anger and resentment, a time of festivity
and feasting and sexual abandon.
the chatelaines of great castles indulged themselves in
the vilest excesses (which their privileged positions permitted)
with slaves and cicisbios and lovesick knights and even
on occasion their noble husbands, the poor in their dreary
lives had the escape valve of the Sabbat, of the Black Mass.