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Sex and Magic
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Sexual Relations with Devils: 

According to the confessions extracted from witches by the courts, women attending sabbats always had sexual intercourse with the devil.  Theologians accepted the reality of intercourse between humans and the devil, either as a male incubus or as a female succubus, and debated on the nature of the devils (whether corporeal or spirit), the extend of the sin, and the techniques of the act.  "The curiosity of the judges [at witch trials]," wrote Henry C. Lea, "was insatiable to learn all the possible details as to sexual intercourse, and their industry in pushing the examination was rewarded by an abundance of foul imaginations."  Thus a combination of prurient inquisitors and hysterical young women about to be burned produced most of the accounts, which are completely the product of erotic and neurotic imaginations.

Theologians and demonologists were puzzled as to how demons, who were spirits, could have relations with humans.  The fact itself was accepted, for it had the authority of the Bible and Church behind it.  Augustine, in his De Civitate Dei, expounded Genesis vi. 4: "The sons of God came unto the daughters of men, they bare children to them."  he was the first to consider fully "whether the angels, since they are spirits, are able bodily to have intercourse with women."  Augustine inclined to the affirmative, although he denied that the angels of God so sinned.  Later, Pope Benedict XIV, in De Servorum Dei Beatificatione, commented:

 This passage has reference to devils known as incubi and succubi...for while nearly all authorities admit copulation, some writers deny that there can be offspring....  Others, however, asserting that coitus is possible, maintain that children may result, and say that this had actually occurred, although in some new and unusual way not ordinarily known to men.
Pope Innocent VIII and Bonaventura also agreed that intercourse between devils and humans was possible.  Augustine, and in particular Thomas Aquinas, affirmed that demons as evil spirits either entered into corpses or else made new bodies out of the elements.  Sometimes, as Boguet notes, the devil used the body of a man recently hanged.  This traditional view appeared throughout all the literature on demonology, and as late as 1665 the Carmelite manual, Theologia Moralis, complained that "some deny this opinion, holding it impossible that devils could practice effectual intercourse with humans.  But the opposite opinion is very certain and must be accepted."  To reconcile the difficulties inherent in physical relations between spirit and human being, a later writer, Sinistrari (died 1701), in his De Daemonialitate et Incubis et Succubis, developed Augustine's account of "rural spirits and sylvan deities, commonly known as incubi," and conceived of them, not as evil angels, but as beings of a different (and lower) nature, motivated solely by lasciviousness.  Here he departed from the orthodox position that since the demons are spirits, "they can feel no joy or pleasure' (De Lancre) and act thus solely to degrade man.  In Sinistrari's view, acquiescence by a human won favors from the demon, while rejection caused hostility.  According to Sinistrari, the incubus demons simply wanted to satisfy their desires; however, frequently they urged the human partner to abjure the Faith, to indulge in sorcery, and to perpetuate crimes "as preliminary conditions to the infamous intercourse."  When there was no offense against religion, however, "it is hard to discover a
reason why it should be more grievous than bestiality and sodomy."  Yet, concluded Sinistrari, when men and women believed the incubi to be devils, then their guilt was what the Church said it was. 

From about 1430, the Inquisition, while not yet making it a major feature of the witchcraft trials, prosecuted women for relations with the devil.  Even young girls could have such intercourse.  Johannes Henricus Pott, at the end of the seventeenth century, told how a girl of nine or ten, under the influence of her stepmother, was seduced by a devil, but on account of her youth was merely scourged while forced to witness her stepmother's being burned as a witch.  Bodin, in his Démonomanie (1580), said girls of six, "which is the age of consent for women," had intercourse.  And at Wurzburg, in January, 1628, three children--Anna Rask, twelve, Sybille Lutz, eleven, and Munchen, eight, and a half--all confessed to sexual relations with incubi.  Anna declared she had intercourse six times with Master Hämerlein ("Jack Catch, the devil"); the court records noted "this copulations the child has formalissime described."  Sybille copulated with Master "Federlein."  Little Mu..chin testified formaliter she has coitus
cum demone.  Sybille and Anna were put to death; Mu..chin and seven others, between eight and thirteen, after interrogation were remanded to their fathers for reformation--Diefenbach, Der Hexenwahn, 1886.  The ne plus ultra of this fantasy was surely reached in a letter written by the Chancellor of Wurzburg in August, 1629: "The witch affair has sprung up again in a manner beyond description...  There are some 300 children of three or four years who have had intercourse with devils."   The devil could appear in whatever form he pleased.  He might imitate a man's mistress or unattainable ideal, as when Mephistopheles conjured for Faust the image of Helen of Troy.  Brognolus, in his Alexicacon, had a classical story of a succubus. 
In 1650 he heard the confession of a young man to whom his beloved had appeared, claiming she had been driven away from home.  After a night's pleasures, the youth realized his Teresa was actually a succubus, but his enjoyment was such that he continued this "monstrous commerce" night after night for several months.
 This young fellow was luckier than the hermit whose succubus was so demanding that he lasted only one month [see Succubus], or the two men reported by Remy in his Demonolatreiae (1595):

But on this point those who have told us about copulation with demons, whether in male or female form, all with one voice say that nothing could be imagined or described as being more cold and unpleasant.  Petronius Armentarius said that as soon as he embraced his "Abrahel" all his limbs became rigid; and Hennezel proclaimed it was like putting his instrument into an ice-cold cavity [speculum] and that he had to leave his "Schwartzburg" without having an orgasm--these odd names were what the succubi were really called.
But men's experiences were not often discussed, and interest centered on women.  Some authorities (for example, Weyer, 1563; Carpzov, 1635; and Pott, 1689) stated that even when the devil appeared as an animal or bird, especially serpent, goat, or raven, intercourse was possible.  Boguet reported how Francoise Secretain admitted copulation with the devil, sometimes as a black man, but also as a dog, cat, or fowl.  Before they were burned, the Scottish witches at Borrowstones in 1679 testified to the commissioners how the devil "would have carnal dealing with [them] in the shape of a deer, or in any other shape, now and then.  Sometimes he would be like a stork, a bull, a deer, a roe, or a dog, and have dealing with [them]."  One of these witches, Margaret Hamilton, was accused of having had "carnal copulation with the devil in the likeness of a man, but he removed from [her] in the likeness of a black dog."--Pitcairn, Criminal Trials.  Pott quoted an earlier anecdote (1605) of the wife of a Wittenberg merchant whose lover one night exclaimed, "Behold your lover, transformed into
a woodpecker," flew off, and was seen no more.  When the demon appeared in animal form, the Church held it was technically no longer an incubus; but the ordinary man or woman did not understand this distinction.   Nuns were supposedly specially subject to this kind of bestial temptation, imagined or real.  Boguet, in his Discours de sorciers, believed the devil frequently assumed the shape of a dog to abuse women, and gave a "remarkable example" from a convent
in the diocese of Cologne, in 1566, where a dog, said to be a devil, lifted up the robes of the nuns in order to abuse them.  Bodin, however, who told the same story, was somewhat less credulous: "In my opinion, it was certainly not a demon but an ordinary dog."  In his Démonomanie, he gave further examples:
He came to the convent of Mont de Hesse in Germany, where the nuns were supposed to be possessed by demons, and saw lying on their cots dogs shamelessly awaiting those suspected of having been assaulted and having committed that sin called the secret sin [la péche muet, i.e., sodomy, because the word is too shocking for honest ears].  At Toulouse, he found a woman who abused herself in this manner; and in front of everybody the dog wanted to mount her.  She confessed to the truth and was burned.
Bodin gave another case in Paris in 1540.

One of the few descriptions of how such an act of bestiality could be performed was given by De Lancre in his Tableau (1612) from what was claimed to be an eyewitness account.  Johannes d'Aguerre swore:

The devil in the form of a goat, having his member in the rear, had intercourse with women by joggling and shoving that thing against their belly.  Marie de Marigrane, aged fifteen years, a resident of Biarritz, affirmed that she had often seen the devil couple with a multitude of women, whom she knew by name and surname, and that it was the devil's custom to have intercourse with the beautiful women from the front, and with the ugly from the rear.
Another witness examined by De Lancre, seventeen-year-old Marguerite de Sare, testified that whether the devil appeared as man or goat--
he always had a member like a mule's, having chosen to imitate that animal as being best endowed by nature; that it was as long and as thick as an arm... and that he always exposed his instrument, of such beautiful shape and measurements.

De Lancre added:

          Quite the opposite is told by Boguet, who says the witches in Franche-Comté have never seen one longer than a finger and correspondingly thin.  All that can be said is that Satan serves the witches of Labourd better than he does whose of Franche-Comté!

 Since demons have no sex, the traditional position, propounded by Thomas Aquinas, held that they could appear either as men or as women.  The Dominican Charles René Billuart (1685-1757), in his Tractatis de Angelis, wrote: "The same evil spirit may
serve as a succubus to a man; and as an incubus to a woman."  By this duality they were able to re-use semen received while acting as succubus for later emission as incubus.  In his Compendium Maleficarum, Guazzo summarized the theory thus:

          For devils can assume the bodies of dead men, or re-create for themselves out of air and other elements a palpable body like that of flesh, and to these they can impart motion and heat at their will.  They can therefore create the appearance of sex
     which they do not naturally have, and abuse men in a feminine form and women in a masculine form, and lie on top of women or lie under men; and they can also produce semen which they have brought from elsewhere, and imitate the natural ejaculation of

Martin of Arles suggested that the incubi squeezed out semen from corpses; other demonologists, such as Guazzo, that they stole it from men's nocturnal emissions, and "by speed and experience of physical laws preserved that semen in its fertilizing warmth." 
However, the influential Nicholas Remy (1595) believed that all incubi were sterile, and so also did other authorities, such as Ulrich Molitor (1489).
 If a woman desired impregnation, the preserved semen was used; otherwise the demon "emits something like semen, yet warm so that the deception will not be discovered"--Guazzo.  Jeanne d'Abadie confessed before De Lancre that "the devil's semen was extremely
cold, therefore she never became pregnant by him."  Sinistrari maintained, "as a mere expression of private opinion," that the incubus was itself able to procreate; in this he followed the standard Malleus Maleficarum and Del Rio.  Other writers, such as
Pott (1689), believed that the devil was sterile, but that he supplied a stolen child parturition.
 The relatively late dissertation of Johann Klein (submitted to the University of Rostock in 1698) gave some of the most detailed accounts of the monstrous offspring of these unions.  A magisterial report told of the confession of a woman who claimed
to have given birth first to a tapeworm and later to a girl the size of a jug [Pottkrug], which sucked her breast.  Her incubus, David, removed both.  By another incubus, Hansen, she had a boy and a girl, both of which Hansen took away from her.  She confessed
that her incubi continued to consort with her in prison, and that she bore there a further child, which was also removed.  "Although there was a copious flooding which stained the clothes and the floor, all traces of it disappeared."  Bodin gave further
stories of monsters resulting from such generation.  And at Toulouse in 1275, it was alleged that Angela de Labarthe gave birth to a monster with a wolf's head and a snake's tail; she was presumably the first woman burned for intercourse with the devil. 
Carpzov and Pott also told many stories of this nature, including one of a woman at Augsburg, who in 1531 gave birth to a two-footed serpent.
 Legends, perhaps arising from rumors circulated by their enemies, credited many well-known historical figures with devilish origin: Robert (the father of William the Conqueror), Luther, Alexander the Great, Plato, Caesar Augustus, Scipio Africanus;
also Romulus and Remus, Merlin, and the whole race of Huns, and the inhabitants of the Island of Cyprus (Sinistrari).  One early writer believed that Merlin was not fathered by the devil, but was a human child substituted by the devil (Molitor).
 Other witches confessed their children were fathered by the devil.  Holinshed's Chronicle told of a young Scots woman discovered copulating with a monster; she later gave birth to "such a misshapen thing as the like before had not been seen."  To avoid
dishonor, the family burned the foetus.  A Prodigious and Tragical history of the arraignment, trial, confession, and condemnation of six witches at Maidstone in Kent ... 1652 noted that "Anne Ashly, Anne Martin, and one other of their associates, pleaded
that they were with child pregnant, but confessed it was not by any man, but by the devil."  The generally credulous Boguet, however, used common sense in regard to such confessions and asked: "Why should we not rather believe that these women [Rhea and
Leda] used the gods as a screen to cover their incests and adulteries?   And therefore I maintain that the widow of whom Bodin speaks was made pregnant by a natural man, and not by a devil."
 Some of the early accounts had emphasized the intense pleasure of diabolic intercourse.  The Inquisitor Nicholas Jacquier, writing in 1458, said it was inordinate carnaliter, and that many witches "for several days afterward remain worn out [afficti
et debilitati]."  Italian accounts generally concurred; Grillandus, the famous papal lawyer, reported confessions made to him personally by women who enjoyed the devil "maxima cum voluptate."  William of Paris, in his De Universo, said the devil could delude
women into thinking that relations performed only once or twice were repeated fifty or sixty times a night.  On the other hand, La Vauderye de Lyonois (1460) gave the later and more general view, that witches had intercourse with "great fear [timore et pavore]." 
This assertion of fear and pain first appeared in print around 1470, when the techniques of demonology were still a novelty, in Jordanes de Bergamo, who wrote: "These self-same witches confess and assert that the tool of the devil as well as his semen is
always frigid."
 In nearly all the later accounts, however, those accused of witchcraft said intercourse was painful and lacking pleasure.  So Boguet reported:

          Thievenne Paget said, moreover, that when Satan copulated with her she had as much pain as a woman in labor.  Francoise Secretain said that, while she was in the act, she felt something burning in her stomach; and nearly all the witches say this intercourse
     is by no means pleasurable to them, both because of the devil's ugliness and deformity, and because of the physical pain which it causes them, as we have just said.

Remy likewise quoted a witch as saying that copulation was devoid of satisfaction and painful.  In his Tableau, De Lancre gave some of the reasons:

          Marie de Marigrane, a girl of Biarritz aged fifteen years, affirmed that it seemed that the member of this devil for its full length was of two parts, half of iron, half of flesh, and similarly his testicles; and she testified to have seen it many times
     at the sabbat as she described it.  Furthermore, she had heard many women, who had slept with the devil, say that he made them cry out like women in travail with child, and that he always held his tool exposed.  Petry de Linarre testified that the devil
     had his instrument made out of horn, or at least it looked like that, and that is why he made the women cry out so much.

Another of De Lancre's witnesses added further details of the devil's penis.

          This was generally sinuous, pointed, and snake-like, made sometimes of half-iron and half-flesh, at other times wholly of horn, and commonly forked like a serpent's tongue; he customarily performed both coitus and pederasty at once, while sometimes
     a third prong reached to his lover's mouth.

A devil "cum membro bifurcato" was mentioned as early as 1520.
 Similar confessions from Lorraine were recorded by remy in his Demonolatreiae:

          The female witches also all maintain that when they are laid by their demons, they can admit, only with the greatest pain, what are reputed their tools, because they are so huge and rigid.  Alexia Drigie examined her devil's penis when it was sticking
     up, and said it was always as long as some kitchen utensils which then happened to be in view and which she pointed out with her finger; but that there was nothing where the testicles should be hanging.  Claudia Fellet said she herself had often experienced
     something forced into her, swollen to such a size, that no matter how capacious a vagina a woman might have, she would not be able to hold it without extreme pain.  And nearly all the other witches complain they are very unwilling to be embraced by
     their demons, but that it is useless to struggle against them.

 One witch, Antide Colas, reported by Boguet, reputedly had a hole below her navel, through which she had intercourse with the devil; she had relations with her husband by the vagina.  However, when examined by the court, only a scar on her stomach was
 Testimony is almost unanimous as to the coldness of the devil.  Boguet quoted Jacquema Paget, a witch of Franche-Comté, who

          had several times taken in her hand the member of the devil which slept with her, and that it was as cold as ice and a finger's length, but not as thick as that of a man.  Thievenne Paget and Antoine Tornier also added that the members of their devils
     were as long and big as one of their fingers.

Another girl quoted by Boguet said that the semen "kept its original warmth," but this comment is not typical.  For example, Sylvine de la Paline, aged twenty-three, condemned to be burned by the Parlement of Paris in 1616, described her experiences: "The
devil had known her once before, and his member was like that of a horse, and on insertion it was as cold as ice and ejected ice-cold semen, and on his withdrawing it burned her as if it had been on fire."
 Guazzo related how a "wench of intelligent appearance" was tried before the Parlement of Aquitaine in 1594.  After describing the preparations for the witches' sabbat, she continued her testimony:

          Afterwards, the Italian [boy friend] again took the girl to the same place; and then the goat asked her for a tress or lock of her hair, which the Italian cut and gave to him.  By this token the goat led her apart as his bride into a neighboring wood,
     and, pressing her against the ground, penetrated her.  But the girl said that she found this operation quite lacking in any sensation of pleasure, for she rather experienced a very keen pain and sense of horror of the goat's semen, which was a cold
     as ice.

 A few similar reports came for England.  Mother Bush of Barton in 1649 said that the devil who visited her in the form of a young man "was colder than man, and heavier, and could not perform nature as man"--Stearne, Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft. 
In 1662 Isobel Gowdie (Janet Breidheid, too) of Auldearne, Scotland, described the devil as "a mickle, black, rough man, very cold, and found his 'nature ' as cold within [her] as spring well water." (Pitcairn, Criminal Trials, 1833)
 In Treves, in 1572, Eva of Kenn admitted intercourse with a devil, but " it was like an icicle." And Johnann Klein (1698), while admitting that women may imagine intercourse in erotic dreams, nevertheless believed in reality of he reports of actual
intercourse "cum semine frigidissimo."  Guazzo explained, "As for the cold semen, that is only found in the case of witches who are fully aware that he is a devil."
 The coldness of the devil rapidly became part of folk literature, sot that in the Strange and Wonderful History of Mother Shipton (London, 1686), a kind of "merry tale," Agatha Soothtell, when sixteen, was seduced by the devil

          in the shape of a very handsome young man ... [who] prevailed so far as to gain her, but his touches (as she afterwards confessed to the midwife) were as cold as ice or snow.  From this time forward, she was commonly once a day visited by her hellish
     gallant, and never wanted money.

 The famous English philosopher Henry More, in his Antidote Against Atheism (1653), gave what he imagined a scientific reason for this characteristic.

          It stands to good reason that the bodies of devils, being nothing but coagulated water (which is snow or ice); and that it should have a more keen and piercing cold, it consisting of more subtle particles than those of water, and therefore more fit
     to insinuate, and more accurately and stingingly to affect and touch the nerves.

 Whatever Sinistrari might have though about the classification  of the incubus--spirit, human, or animal--intercourse with a devil was held the equivalent of buggery, for which the penalty was burning.  In a few of the confessions, a distinction of
the type of intercourse was made.  In 1624, Marie-de-Sains, self-styled princess of magic, said she had committed in "in the usual way," and also "the crime of sodomy and bestiality," that is, with the devil in the form of an animal--Histoire véritable,
Paris, 1624.  The Provost marshal of the French armies, Le Sieur Bouvet, lumped together intercourse with the devil and sexual relations between Christians and "Jews, Turks, pagans, and other infidels, because of the strange hatred these have for the Catholic
Church, for which reason they are treated as animals lacking the way to salvation."  The sinning couple should be burned together--the devil, of course, would leave the witch to go to the stake alone.
 An early Latin tract (1460) on the Arras witches summarizes the curious beliefs about sexual relations with devils:

           At the sabbats of the Vaudois, the presiding devil took aside the neophyte and carried her off to one side of the grove, so that in his own fashion he might make love to her and have carnal knowledge of her; to whom he said maliciously that he
     would lay her down on the ground supporting herself on her two hands and feet, and that he could not have intercourse with her in any other way other position; and that was the way the presiding devil enjoyed her, because at the first sensation by the
     neophyte of the member of the presiding devil, very often it appeared cold and soft, as very frequently the whole body.  At first he put it in the natural orifice and ejaculated the spoiled yellowing sperm, collected from nocturnal emissions or elsewhere,
     then in the anus, and in this manner inordinately abused her. ...  Upon her return to the sabbat, the neophyte, before the banquet, entered into sexual relations with any other man. ...  Then, the torches (if there are any) being extinguished, each
     one at the order of the presiding devil takes his partner and has intercourse.  Sometimes indeed indescribably outrages are perpetrated in exchanging women, by order of the presiding devil, by passing on a woman to other women and a man to other men,
     an abuse against the nature of women by both parties and similarly against the nature of men, or by a woman with a man outside the regular orifice and in another orifice. ...  Indeed a man experiences no pleasure with a she-devil, neither a woman with
     a he-devil; but they only consent to copulate out of fear and obedience. ...  In the second intercourse, however, the woman neophyte herself is known carnally by some demon, intimately and thoroughly, in the same way it was first done by the presiding
     demon; but in other succeeding copulations no more by a demon; except when on account of the paucity of men to complete the pairings (which happens whenever the greater part of the group there consist of women rather than men) the demons take over the
     part of the men in copulation, as it happens sometimes, though only occasionally.  When the women are fewer, the complement is filled by she-devils, and this happens very frequently in other unions, in addition to the first two couplings, in the first
     of which, after admission to the group, in returning to the presiding devil, a man has intercourse with a female devil. ...  Indeed, as sometimes happens, yet only occasionally, a certain man always has copulation with a she-devil, and it is an indication
     of extreme vileness in him; and likewise in any woman who has all her unions with a devil rather than with a man. (Hansen, Quellen)


Succubus: A devil in female form, the succubus specializes in seducing men.  Although feminine in meaning, in form this medieval Latin word succubus, is masculine (because demons were supposedly suxless); the feminine form succuba [strumpet] is occasionally
found.  Since women were allegedly more licentious than men, the male incubi appear more frequently in works on demonology; it was supposed that incubi outnumbered succubi by nine to one.
 A personal and imaginative explanation of the succubus appeared in 1801, in The Magus, a curious book by a believer in magic and demons, Francis Barrett.  He thought a succubus was really a wood nymph, although he gravely agreed that Satan could himself
appear as a young woman:

           And seeing the fauni and nymphs of the woods were preferred before other [spirits] in beauty, they afterwards generated their offspring among themselves, and at length began wedlocks with men, feigning that, by these copulations, they ;should
     obtain an immortal soul for them and their offspring; but this happened through the persuasions and delusions of Satan to admit these monsters to carnal copulation, which the ignorant were easily persuaded to; and therefore these nymphs are called
     succubi; although Satan afterwards committed worse, frequently transchanging himself, bu assuming the persons of both incubi and succubi in both sexes; for they conceived not a true young by the males, except the nymphs alone.

 The first accounts of succubi made her much more desirable than a mortal.  Pico della Mirandola told of a man who had slept this a subbus for forty years, and would rather die in prison than give her up.  The Malleus Maleficarum related an incident
at Coblenz.  In front of his wife and friends, a man was forced to have intercourse with a succubus.  He kept at it three times; but when the succubus wanted to recommence, the man fell to the floor worn out.  Later writers, probably desiring to parallel
the allegations that witches found intercourse with the devil cold and painful, made relations with a succubus similarly frigid.  Guazzo told how a couple procured a succubus for their son.  Although she had hooves for feet, the boy was eager for initiation,
"but it was as if he had entered an icy cavern."
 Most of the primitive saints were tempted by such devils, especially, as Girolamo Cardano (1550) observed, when both mind and body were enfeebled by prolonged asceticism in the desert.  St. Anthony of Egypt (A.D. 251-356) was plagued at night by a devil
"throwing filthy thoughts in his way" and "imitating all the gestures of a woman."  Again, according to his biography by Athanasius, "the devil, unhappy wight, one night even took upon him the shape of a woman and imitated all her acts simply to beguile
Anthony."  His disciple, St. Hilary, was, on lying down to sleep, "encircled by naked women," (Life, by St. Jerome)
 The saints struggled, of course; but it is recorded that one, St. Victorinus, succumbed.  The Bishop Ermolaus of Verona (1453-71) is the authority for the story of a hermit who yielded to the blandishments of the devil disguised as a woman; the hermit
so gave himself to lechery that he died within a month.  St. Hippolyutus (died A.D. 236) was once visited by a nude woman, but when he threw his chasuble over her to conceal her nakedness, the woman became a corpse (which the devil had animated to tempt
the saint to sin).  In consequence of such visions, the fear of the succubus became enshrined in a famous Ambrosian hymn ("Procul recedant comnia")-"Let all dreams and phantasms of the night ... fade away, lest our bodies be polluted."
 Stories of succubi recur throughout medieval times; in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries they are found chiefly in reports of trials.  Although the charge appears in prosecutions from about 1430, it is not until the later centuries that intercourse
with demons features prominently.
 Perhaps the most notorious fable was that spread by Walter Mapes, in his De Nugis Curialium [Courtiers' Trifles] (about 1185), concerning Gerbert of Aurillac, who became Pope Sylvester II (999-1003).  As a young man, Gerbert fell in love with the daughter
of the provost of Rheims.  The girl rejected him, and Gerbert despaired so long that he became impoverished and at his wit's end.  One day he came across a beautiful maiden seated on silks and surrounded by hoards of money.  She told him her name was Meridiana,
and that if he would only be faithful to her, he could possess her, her magical knowledge, and her money.  Gerbert gladly accepted and prospered rapidly, becoming Archbishop of Rheims, Cardinal, Archbishop of Ravenna, and ultimately Pope.  All this time
he secretly enjoyed the company of Meridiana every night, and was even forgiven by his succubus when the Provost's daughter, finding him inebriated, seduced him.  At last Meridiana prophesied Gerbert's approaching death at such time as he celebrated mass
in Jerusalem (to which holy place he had vowed to make a pilgrimage).  However, it was a Jerusalem nearer home, a church known by this name from its possession of an alleged piece of the Cross.  Realizing his end was near, Gerbert made a public confession
of his sins and died repentant.  Mapes said his tomb in the Lateran sweats copiously before the death of a pope.
 Another farfetched anecdote was given by the Dominican Johannes Nider (1435).  Many harlots, he said, offered their services to those attending the Council of Constance (1414-18), but the most sought-after call girl was a succubus, who even boasted
of the money she had earned.  Such fantasies as these, however, in 1468 condemned to death a man at Bologna for running a brothel staffed by succubi.  Two centuries later, George Sinclair, in Satan's Invisible World Discovered (1685), related the execution
in 1655 in Scotland of William Barton and his wife.  "He confessed that he lay with the devil in the shape of a gentlewoman, and [she] had fifteen pounds of him in good money; but he denied it again before his execution."
 See further, Incubus, Sexual Relations with Devils.


Incubus:  According to many Church Fathers, an incubus is an angel who fell because of lust for women.  Essentially the incubus is a lewd demon or goblin which seeks sexual intercourse with women.  It is also termed follet (French), alp (German), duende
(Spanish), and folletto (Italian).  The corresponding devil who appears to men is the succubus.  When associated with one particular witch or sorcerer, both incubus and succubus are know as magistellus, or familiar.  Inasmuch as the nightmare dream is sexual
in latent content, incubus is often used interchangeably with the near demon; in fact, the Latin word for nightmare is incubo (< to lie upon; compare Mod. Eng. incubator).  The "Description of Wales" in Caxton's Chronicle dives an early definition in English:

 That fiend that goth a-night
  Woman full oft to guile,
 Incubus is named by right;
  And guileth men other while,
 Succubus is that wight.

The learned Guazzo, who in his Compendium Maleficarum (1608) discussed at some length the niceties of the theory, wrote: "[The incubus] can assume either a male or a female shape; sometimes he appears as a full-grown man, sometimes as a satyr; and if it
is a woman who has been received as a witch, he generally assumes the form of a rank goat."
 While the temptation to lechery was itself never doubted, considerable discussion took place in the earlier Middle Ages about the corporeal manifestation of these devils, taken over into Christianity from Hebrew lore and classical mythology.  The
development of the theory may have been retarded by the hesitancy of Augustine, who admitted only that these demons were "affirmed by such persons [of indubitable honesty and report], and with such confidence that it were impudence to deny it."  However,
Augustine believed that devils "have often injured women, desiring and acting carnally with them."  One of the later demonologists, Sinistrari (died 1701), explained how a spirit could become a body:

           If we seek to learn from the authorities how it is possible that the devil, who has no body, yet can perform actual coitus with man or woman, they unanimously answer that the devil assumes the corpse of another human being, male or female as the
     case may be, or that, for the mixture of other materials, he shapes for himself a body, endowed with motion, by means of which body he copulates with the human being.

 By the thirteenth century, however, the great doctors of the Church conceded that such beings existed.  Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) wrote:

          Nevertheless, if sometimes children are born from intercourse with demons, this is not because of the semen emitted by them, or from the bodies they have assumed, but through the semen taken from some man for this purpose, seeing that the same demon
     who acts as a succubus for a man becomes an incubus for a woman. (Summa Theologica)

Elsewhere, in the De Trinitate, it was claimed:

          Devils do indeed collect human semen, by means of which they are able to produce bodily effects; but this cannot be done without some local movement, therefore devils can transfer the semen which they have collected and inject it into the bodies of

Caesarius of Heisterback believed that devils collected human semen emitted in nocturnal emissions or masturbation and used it to create new bodies for themselves.  Bonaventura similarly wrote:

          Devils in the form of women [succubi] yield to males and receive their semen; by cunning skill, the demons preserve its potency, and afterwards, with the permission of God, they become incubi and pour it out into female repositories.

 The incubus demons took pains to get the best quality semen.  Sinistrari (without approving) summarized two late sixteenth century writers, the Dominican Thomas Malvenda and Dr. Francisus Valesius:

          What incubi introduce into the womb is not any ordinary human semen in normal quantity, but abundant, very thick, very warm, rich in spirits and free from serosity.  This, moreover, is an easy thing for them, since they merely have to choose ardent,
     robust men, whose semen is naturally very copious, and with whom the succubus has relations; and then the incubus copulates with women of a like constitution, taking care that both shall enjoy a more than normal orgasm, for the greater the venereal
     excitement the more abundant the semen.

 Just as the ingenuity of demonologists was taxed to prove that the acts of witches were more than illusions, as the Canon Episcopi averred, so did the theorists have to labor to make the theory of the incubus as an actual lover displace the earlier
idea of erotic dream.  But at last they succeeded and the rational views of Gervais of Tilbury (1214), for example, did not return until the centuries of witch hysteria were over.  Only then, by the time of Louis XV, could his personal physician, De Saint
André, again suggest that the incubus was partly the result of an overstimulated imagination and partly an excuse for illicit relations:

           The incubus is most frequently a chimera, which has no more basis than a dream, a perverted imagination, and very often the invention of a woman. . . .  Trickery has no less a place in history of the incubus.  To conceal her sin, a woman, a girl,
     a nun in name only, a debauchee, who affects the appearance of virtue, will palm off her lover for an incubus spirit which haunts her.  (Lettres au sujet de la magie, des maléfices et des sorciers, 1725)

Such comment was a far cry from BREAKPOINT PAGE 256


The Vehicle of the Thunderbolt
 Quite early in the history of the Great Vehicle feminine divinities found their way into the pantheon.  One such was Prajñ?p?ramit?, the Perfection of Insight, the personification of the qualities of the Bodhisattva.  Later, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
who were thought of as male, were, like the gods of Hinduism, endowed with wives, who were the active aspect, the "force" or "potency" (?akti) of their husbands.  The god was thought of as transcendent and aloof, while the goddess was active in the world;
thus the god might be best approached through the goddess.  The productive activity of the divine was thought of in terms of sexual union, an idea as old as the Rg Veda.  With the spread of these ideas sexual symbolism, and even sexual intercourse as a religious
rite, were incorporated into the teachings of some schools of both Hinduism and Buddhism.
 With these ideas were combined a new magical mysticism.  The Lesser Vehicle taught that the release was obtained by the gradual loss of individuality through self-discipline and meditation; the Great Vehicle added that the grave and help of the heavenly
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas assisted the process.  The followers of the new teaching taught that it could be best attained by acquiring magical power, which they called vajra (thunderbolt, or diamond).  Hence the new school of Buddhism was called Vajray?na,
the Vehicle of the Thunderbolt.
 Even the Sthaviravadins taught that the monk who reached a high stage of detachment and mental training acquired supernatural powers.  At all times there were free-lance Buddhist monks, who did not live regularly in monasteries under orthodox discipline,
and who attempted feats of sorcery and necromancy, such as the Buddha is said to have condemned.  It was perhaps among these free-lances that the ideas of the new Vehicle developed, to be codified and given dignity under the P?la kings of Bengal and Bih?r. 
Even in the 7th century Hsüan Tsang found certain monasteries permeated with magical practices.
 The chief divinities of the new sect were the "Saviouresses" (T?r?s), the spouses of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.  There were also a host of lesser divinities, many called by the names of demons, such as "outcaste women" (m?tangis), demonesses (pi??cis),
sorceresses (yoginis), and she-ghouls (d?kinis).  The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with their T?r?s were approximated to the less amiable members of the Hindu pantheon, and were often depicted with many arms in ferocious poses.
 As in the days of the Br?hmanas, it was though that these deities should be compelled rather than persuaded.  The textbooks outlining the means of doing this (s?dhana) were called Tantras, and hence the new cult is often referred to as tantric.  By
pronouncing the right formula (mantra) in the correct manner, or by drawing the correct magical symbol (yantra), one might force the gods to bestow magical power on the worshiper and lead him to the highest bliss.  Among the many formulae of tantric Buddhism
one is specially famous--the "Six Syllables" (Sadaksar?), ?m mani padme h?m, still written and repeated thousands of times daily in Tibet. This phrase: "Ah! the jewel is indeed in the lotus!", may be sexual in significance, mystically repeating the divine
coitus of the heavenly Buddha and Prajñ?p?ramit?, and of Avalokite?vara and his T?r?.
 Tantric Buddhism did not neglect the techniques of mental training which were part of all the chief religions of India, but their direction was altered.  Their primary purpose was to obtain supernormal power.  The meditations of the Vajray?na were often
positively psychopathic.  The practitioner of the system might so hypnotize himself as to imagine that he was reborn from the womb of a T?r?, to kill his father the Buddha and take his place.  In sexual union with a female devotee he and his partner would
become Buddha and T?r?, or he himself might become T?r?.  In the sexual rites of tantric Buddhism all taboos were lifted.  Even incest was permitted, for what was sin to the ignorant was virtue to the initiate.  Drinking of alcohol, meat-eating, killing
of animals, and sometimes even of human beings--every imaginable sin--were practiced at the tantric covens.  These things were, however, done under strict control, and only by the initiates at sacred ceremonies.  Like the Bengali tantricist of later times
the Vajray?na initiate might in his ordinary life be a normal man, whose occasional religious debauchery served as a catharsis to his evil psychological propensities and was of real help to him in leading the good life as he understood it.


 Another form of religious ceremony was that practiced by the sects which worshiped feminine divinities.  These sects are generally known as tantric (from their scriptures, called tantras), ?aktic (from their worship of the ?akti, or personified energy
go the god), or "left-hand" (from the fact that the goddess sits on the left of her lord).  Their members believed that the usual Hindu rites and ceremonies, though not wholly ineffectual, were only suitable for the ordinary worshipers of the goddess; the
adepts, who had undergone long rites of initiation, practiced other ceremonies of much greater efficiency, similar to those of the Buddhists of the "Vehicle of the Thunderbolt" (p. 280f).  The Tantric rites involved the breaking of all the usual taboos of
Hinduism.  Small groups of initiates met at night, often in a temple or private house, but also frequently in a burning-ground, among the bones of the dead.  The group formed a circle, seated around  the circumference of a large circular magical diagram
(yanta, mandala) drawn on the ground.  Though the members of the circle might include Brahmans and outcastes, there was no class distinction at the ceremony--all were equal, and no ritual pollution occurred from their contact.  After regular evening worship,
the propitiation of ghosts, and other rites, the group would indulge in the five Ms (pañca-mak?ra): madya (alcoholic drink), m?msa (meat), matsya (fish), mudr? (symbolical hand gestures, known in other branches of Indian religion, and in dance and drama,
p. 385), and maithuna (sexual intercourse).  The rites concluded with the worship of the five elements, to which the five Ms mysteriously corresponded.  Among some Tantric groups the last of the five Ms involved promiscuous copulation, while the members
of others brought their wives to the circle.  With yet other groups those rites which were reprehensible to orthodoxy were performed only symbolically.
 The remarkable "black mass" of the Tantric sects, whether in Buddhism or Hinduism, became very popular in Eastern India in the late medieval period.  It is still sometimes practiced, but quite without publicity, and it is probably that with the growth
of puritanism and rationalism, the number of Tantric groups in India is now very small indeed.


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