Sex in history, by Gordan Rattray Taylor

The second face can be clearly seen in an old cut by de Teramo.

Men make gods in their own image, and if the Deity was an image of their better selves, the Devil was an image of their worse selves. He engaged in just those forbidden sexual acts which tempted them: and this is why he was so frequently accused of sodomy. (In some accounts, he is equipped with a forked penis, so that he can commit fornication and sodomy at the same time.) (139) But it is also true that the Deity is a father figure, and it therefore follows that his counterpart, the Devil is a Projection of many of the aspects of a father. Not only has he great knowledge and power, not only is he extremely old, but he also obstructs one’s plans and must be circumvented by cunning. Despite his wisdom, he is often outwitted. Like a father, he can often be induced to help one, especially in return for Promising to do what he says; he is quite grateful for co-operation, and seems genuinely concerned about injustice.

Decomposition, of course, is an infantile solution in life just as it is in literature. Good and bad are not neatly separated, and it is a mark of maturity to be able to accept the fact, with all that it implies in making one’s own decisions about the goodness or badness of particular people and their actions. The medieval retreat to decomposition was a retreat from reality and a defeat of the spirit.

But it was not enough only to decompose the father figure. The Church had already had to make many concessions to matrism, introducing a mother figure into its religion in an attempt to retain the allegiance of those who had introjected maternal as well as paternal images. But the Virgin Mary was in danger of losing her virginity: in many parts she had been made most specifically a goddess of fertility, and at many shrines ex votos were offered for the restoration of sexual powers. If the Virgin were to represent the pure and compassionate elements in the mother, there must be someone to represent the impure and destructive ones.

This role was neatly filled by the witch. The witch is the bad mother, and, since the nightmare of patrists is to discover that their mother has betrayed them by sleeping with their father, the witch’s main function, psychologically speaking, was to have intercourse with the bad father. This explains why it was such an essential dogma that all witches had had intercourse with the devil. Actually, in earlier days, witch like gods, had been undecomposed figures. H. Williams, speaking of the Anglo-Saxons, says:

“Their Hexe appears to be half divine, half diabolic, a Witch priestess who derived her inspiration as much from heavenly as from hellish sources; from some divinity or genius presiding at a sacred grove or fountain.”