Sex in history, by Gordan Rattray Taylor

It seems unlikely in the extreme that the worshippers of the Horned God really engaged in incest; since the members of the coven copulated with the Grand Master, their action could only have been incestuous if they were all his daughters or his sisters, which no one has suggested. In point of fact, the names of the witches and their leaders are in several cases known, and show little sign of consanguinity.

In short, we find the Church alleging similarities between a somewhat diverse group of sects, a diversity which is rather marked in the case of the Cathars and the witches, since the former abstained from all intercourse while the latter made it the centre of their religion. In particular, it alleges the actual performance of both incest and homosexuality, though the clinical experience shows that these are usually mutually exclusives in the sense that where the former is overt the latter is deeply repressed.

Thus heresy became a sexual rather than a doctrinal concept; to say a man was a heretic was to say he was a homosexual, and vice versa.

In fact, the Church sought to bring together all its enemies into a common pattern, and to tar them with the same brush. And in its accusations, there was this much truth: all these heretics were to a greater or lesser extent, matrists. While their dogma and ritual differed greatly — and some of them claimed to be still within the Church — psychologically they had one thing in common: mother identification. This is the only heresy in which the medieval Church was really interested. To bring the worshippers of the Horned God under this head was more difficult than with other heresies, for two reasons. Firstly, because it was not an exclusive mother identification: its deity, when not an animal, was a man. It is true that he was assisted by a high priestess who also has her symbolic avatars (one of them is the Queen of Faerie), but the doctrine was not matrist in the ordinary sense. It was, rather, a doctrine of worship of the repressed half of the male deity, and the repressed half of the male includes his feminine components.