Sex in history, by Gordan Rattray Taylor

There is plentiful evidence that those witches who were in fact the celebrants of a sex-centred religion experienced the sense of rapture associated with theolepsy. For example, Marie de la Ralde, a beautiful girl of 28, said that she went to the sabbat as to a wedding; she went not for the liberty and licence in which she declared that she had taken no part, but because this god “had so ensnared their hearts and wills”. Jeanne Dibasson, 29, said that the sabbat was the true paradise — one had such pleasures there that one could not describe them. Another girl declared it to be “the supreme religion”. The Inquisitor de Lancre exclaims in exasperation that, instead of being ashamed and blushing or weeping, they describe their experiences

“freely and with gaiety, as if they gloried in it, and they take a singular pleasure in retelling it”.

Observers note that such witches as these went to the stake with the same calm assurance as early Christians, and died without remorse or terror.

It is this, incidentally, which I think explains the rather extraordinary charge levelled at the devil by the authors of the Malleus: they say that he wished to be to his dependents the only source of good. He

“wished and asked that the blessedness and goodness of all the inferior creatures should be derive from him”.

Usually such phallic worship was quite consciously opposed to Christianity. Thus Boudin, in his “Etudes Anthropologiques“, describes how, until the twelfth century, the inhabitants of Slavonia worshipped Priapus under the name Pripegala. (244) The Saxon princes appealed to the prelates of France and Germany for help against them, complaining that they used to cry:

“Let us rejoice today. Christ is vanquished, and our invincible Pripegala is his conqueror.”