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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

“Sorcerer’s Apprentice”

I am pleased to announce that my translation of Hanns Heinz Ewers “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is now available in Hard Cover, quality paperback and pdf version at lulu.com. Here is the link:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/anarchistbanjo

The First Volume in the Frank Braun trilogy. This is the first uncensored English translation of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. It includes an Introduction by Dr. Wifried Kugel; the poems, “Prometheus” by Goethe,and “Hymn to Satan” by Carducci; “The Satanism of Hanns Heinz Ewers”, “Duality-The Male”, “Duality-The Female”,and “Duality-Sexual Alchemy” by Joe Bandel and the complete text of “Synagogue of Satan” by Stansislaw Przybyszewski also translated by Joe Bandel.

For several years after writing “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Hanns Heinz Ewers gave highly successful lectures on “The Religion of Satan” which were based upon “The Synagogue of Satan”. His view of “Satanism” is highly different than what is popular today and shows that his belief in the future of humanity lies in the balancing of the male/female aspects within us and not in two eternal forces in opposition, good/evil. For him Satanism was the emancipation of women.

Due to the extensive footnotes/endnotes and illustrations this will not be offered in epub version. The epub version has difficulty with both footnotes and large numbers of illustrations.

On a side note, Side Real Press has the text prepared for “Hanns Heinz Ewers Brevier” which will also be coming out soon in limited edition through Side Real Press and regular hardcover at Lulu. More on this when it is available.

thanks,

-joe

I have not updated this blog in quite awhile as there has not been much of interest to post. Now I have some news to report. SideReal Press and I are both coming out with “Hanns Heinz Ewers Brevier”, a small book of quotations taken from his written works to describe Ewers world view on several topics. I will post more as this becomes available. This will be coming out as a SideReal Press limited edition of 200 signed and numbered copies and as POD hardcover from Lulu as well as an ebook. Details will follow as they become available.

 

My own translation of Sorcerer’s Apprentice will be out at the end of August as well. The text is almost done and it looks very good! I was deeply conflicted for about two years on whether I should translate Sorcerer’s Apprentice or not. The existing translation is not that bad, but not that good either. Here is a brief summary of why I went with my own translation. There is about one complete page of censored material in Chapter Three dealing with the rape scene; allusions about Angelo and beastiality with the goat Marfa were removed; a long dialogue of over a page worth of material dealing with movies and cinema was left out of the final chapter; and finally the rest of the material, while adequately translated, was badly in need of serious editing. It was written as if with a heavy German accent!

“I am to town going.” is a made up non-existant example of what I’m talking about. The words are there, the reader can understand exactly what is meant, but it does not read very smoothly. Much of the John Day edition falls into this catagory, especcially chapter nine, which really needed serious work. These changes were so extensive that I could not offer the text as a simple revision. Having made that decision I’ve modernized the language as well so it will match that used in my translation of “Alraune”.

The smoother and more clear text gives a more visceral reading experience and makes the entire story much more explosive. This will be made available through Lulu in hard cover, paperback and ebook formats.

 

-joe

The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897

Translated by Joe Bandel 2011

Part Six

The church was happily finished with nature. The hypocritical priest was torn away from his wife and began to perpetrate unmentionable sexual obscenities. His marriage was dissolved and now he began to rape and put horns on his male sheep. But, as previously mentioned, celibacy became the standard practice over all.

Now the church had to deal with logic and reason. Earlier man had been forbidden to seek after the nature of God. Now man was forbidden above all else to seek after the physical application of logic and reason.

“Every word corresponds to an idea and every idea is the essence of reality. Thus it follows that grammar is logic and logic is the true science.”

With that logic and reason was settled. If an idea was the essence of reality, then man didn’t need to see physical things at all, didn’t need to learn about them, didn’t need to observe them. Man perceived the world through his thoughts in the same way he perceived truth and reality. Everything was in his mind. Ideas were the ultimate reality.

Man gave up thinking about the physical world and with enthusiasm turned to some fragments of Aristotle that Harun al Rashid had translated into Arabic. Now man commented on poor Aristotle, wrote long commentaries on the commentaries. They mutilated the fragments, made the pagan into a Christian, and showed how he proved the divinity of Christ and his martyrdom by splitting hairs. The entire structure of Christian doctrine was found to originate from Aristotle and based on his philosophy.

An airhead from Avicenna became the prince of thinkers and both great church doctors became sterile mules. Thomas Aquinas brooded over the psychology of the angels and Duns Scotus discovered the marvelous “machine cogitationis” (thinking machine). If existence is a dream, then words are things! Beautiful! Yet even more: every combination of words represents combinations of things and their realities. Setting words together in certain sequences is called perception of reality. This logical sequence of associated words gives us the thinking machine, gives thought without thinking. Thus concluded the church.

Satan—as philosopher, he who had created the most unfathomable philosophical systems of the orient, he who delighted in the poetic subtleties of Plato, he who split the most competent heads of the good God with his Manichean heresies, smiled evilly and was amused at this child’s play.

“But how is it,” he asked with a sly wink of an eye to the church doctors, “How is it when a farmer pulls a swine to the market? What is doing the pulling? The farmer or the rope?”

An entire century painfully racked its brains over this question. Opinions were divided and the most competent athletes of lunacy could not resolve the question. The thinking machine had destroyed thought and the ability to think. The church exhaled in relief. But in that moment, just as the church thought it could proceed calmly and peacefully in its business of pulling the hide over the ears of the farmer, a fearful storm was raised.

Abelard dared utter a little, tiny thought. The idea is not real. Abstraction is not reality.

He was as beautiful and majestic as a god, according to the statement of a chronicler of the time. There was no woman in France that could resist him. He was extraordinarily learned for his time with a brilliant gift of eloquence. Abelard began to speak out as a man of men. He developed and popularized the most appalling jumble of church doctrines and came to surprising and new conclusions that threw the old doctrines of the church into the trash heap.

Anselmus had to believe in order to know. Now Abelard had to prove and understand before he could believe. The crime was not in the deed itself, but in the intention. Consequently there were no sins that came out of ignorance or habit. What was original sin? No sin at all, only a punishment. But what of the entire work of salvation? That was an act of love. God wanted to establish the law of love and for that reason he sent his son to earth.

That was a terrible heresy for the time, but Abelard’s philosophy spread with an unusual swiftness over entire Europe. The prime intelligencia of his time sat at his feet, from which later emerged two popes, twenty cardinals and fifty bishops. This new churchly philosophy penetrated into the populace. Abelard taught unceasingly that everyone had to interpret divinity according to their own understanding. With one stroke the spiritual power of the church was broken. All the people began to discuss sacred things. They began to form their own conclusions. Great and small, educated and uneducated, even little children violated the sacred sanctuary and the secrets of the church.

St. Bernard of Clairvoux lamented in his denunciation of Abelard, “Irredetur simplicium fides, eviscerantur arcana Dei, quaestiones de altissimus rebus temerarie ventilantur.” (The faith of the morally simple people is derided; the secrets of God eviscerated and questions concerning the highest things are frivolously discussed.)

Arnold of Brescia, Abelard’s most gifted student, leaned against the papacy. He wanted the church to return to the form of the first Christian congregations. With wild enthusiasm the people listened to his teachings, that the power of the church should only be spiritual, as Christ had wanted it and for the first time the unheard of battle cry resounded, “Rome must be free!” Pope Lucius II was killed and his successor, Eugene III had to flee in order to escape the vengeance of the people.

The kings of Castile had the entire works of Aristotle translated and in its wake came the Arabs and the Jews with the pantheism of Averroes and the subtleties of the kabbalah. Under the protection of Emperor Fredrick II, Arabian doctors dared the unheard of—to cut open a human corpse. And Frederick II, debaucher and atheist, a witty and refined philosopher—with a big grin—asked the Muslims, “My dear Gentlemen, what do you think about God?”

A spirit of skepticism and unbelief seized all the people and the “I” was brought to the fore with drunken enthusiasm. To be able to prove everything and at the same time refute it, that was considered the highest philosophical art. Simon de Tournay suddenly cried out after brilliantly laying bare the essence of the Christian doctrines, “O pètit Jèsus, petit Jèsus, comme j’ai èlevè ta loi! Si je voulais, je pourrais encore mieux la rabaisser!” (O little Jesus, little Jesus. How I have fortified your teachings! If I wanted to, I could refute them even better!)

Richard the lionhearted declared himself a brother-in-arms with the Sultan Malek Adhal and offered him his sister for a wife. Henry II, king of England, threatened the pope that he would become Muslim and King John charmed everyone with the most beautiful jokes about his excommunication.

The people of the twelfth century paid no attention to God. They believed that Christ had ruled for a long enough time already and that is was finally time for the Holy Spirit to have its turn. One messiah after another stepped up. Countless sects began to form. The people no longer sought after an external God. He was inside them and spoke through their own mouths.

*****

The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897

Translated by Joe Bandel 2011

Part Five

And Satan’s revenge came. He burrowed himself deeply into the earth until it became possessed. Around the year one thousand the people began to despair of God. Signs and wonders were happening all over the earth. The army of Otto the great saw the sun go out and return as a pale saffron yellow. In Rome the devil visited Pope Sylvester V in person. The seasons of the year appeared to turn themselves around. It snowed in summer and heavy thunderstorms broke out in the middle of deepest winter. “Holy Fire” ate the flesh of the people until it fell from their bones in gangrenous tatters.

The earth was delirious and the people became beasts. Starvation was a problem over the entire world and at home the people began to devour the corpses of the dead. The craving for human flesh became a mania. People despised animal flesh, did not even consider it. Humans were supposed to devour humans. Thus Satan got the revenge that he desired.

[Translator’s note: This section refers to the writing of monk historian Ralph Glaber who documented these times and the mass hysteria that surrounded the turn of the millennium. Here is an excerpt taken from the medieval sourcebook online. One must consider that due to volcanic eruptions at the time many parts of the world were plunged into a miniature ice age. Perhaps these were the end of days foretold in the book of Revelations and Christ has ruled the new Christianized earth for the last one thousand years. Perhaps his time has come and gone.]

Medieval Sourcebook:
Ralph Glaber: On the First Millenium

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/glaber-1000.html

For, in the seventh year before that date, Mount Vesuvius (which is also called Vulcan’s Caldron) gaped far more often than his wont and belched forth a multitude of vast stones mingled with sulphurous flames which fell even to a distance of three miles around; and thus by the stench of his breath he began to make all the surrounding province uninhabitable.. . . It befell meanwhile that almost all the cities of Italy and Gaul were ravaged by flames of fire, and that the greater part even of the city of Rome was devoured by a conflagration. During which fire, the flames caught the beams of St Peter’s church, beginning to-creep under the bronze tiles and lick the carpenters’ work. When this became known to the whole multitude that stood by, then, finding no possible device for averting this disaster, they turned with one accord and, crying with a terrible voice, hastened to the Confession [Coulton note: The part of the choir in which the celebrant makes his confession before saying mass. See Dom Martene, De Antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus, lib. i, c. iv, art. 2, ad fin. At St Peter’s of Rome, this is the space eastward of the Saint’s tomb]. even of the Chief of the Apostles, crying upon him with curses that, if he watched not over his own, nor showed himself a very present defender of his church, many throughout the world would fall away from their profession of faith. Whereupon the devouring flames straightway left those beams of pine and, died away.. . . At this same time a horrible plague raged among men, namely a hidden fire which, upon whatsoever limb it toned, consumed it and severed it from the body [Coulton note: this is St Anthony’s fire, one of the curses of the Middle Ages, which modem medicine has traced to poisons generated in corrupt rye-bread.] Many were consumed even in the space of a single night by these devouring flames.. .. Moreover, about the same time, a most mighty famine raged for five years throughout the Roman world, so that no region could be beard of which was not hunger stricken for lack of bread, and many of the people were starved to death. In those days also, in many regions, the terrible famine compelled men to make their food not only of unclean beasts and creeping things, but even of men’s, women’s, and children’s flesh, without regard even of kindred; for so fierce waxed this hunger that grown-up sons devoured their mothers, and mothers, forgetting their maternal love ate their babes. [Coulton note: The chronicler then goes on to speak of two heresies which arose in France and Italy, of the piety of King Robert of France, etc., etc.]

The vengeance seeking Satan first wanted the people to eat the flesh of children, then those that fell on the wayside, until at last it was dared to openly sell human flesh in public. Countless packs of wolves came out of the woods and devoured any others that still remained living. A great fear dominated that the world would become depopulated. The prelates and city officials gathered together and devised ways so that at least the strongest could stay alive and the world not die out.

The people sought in vain to reconcile themselves with God. In vain they swore the “Treuga Dei” (peace of God) with their bitterest enemies. In vain the kings, clothed with crowns and scepters, said the most despairing prayers along with the choir boys—it was all for nothing.

If God would not help, then Satan must! The people began to make fun of God. They trampled the consecrated host, his body, into the dirt and dung, spit on his holiest symbols. Satan began to reap his harvest. For a long time he had mockingly and scornfully whispered to the despairing, “Behold how good your God is! Don’t you see that he has damned you already and wants nothing more to do with you?”

If we are all damned, then there is no help for us. Alas! We might as well give ourselves entirely over to Satan. Christ shed his blood for the salvation of mankind. Heh! Salvation? What kind of salvation is this, that people have to eat each other, that the earth burns under our feet like a red hot iron and pestilence causes the flesh to fall from our bones?

Scorn, threefold scorn on this salvation! We spit on the salvation that is supposed to come after this earthly hell. This future salvation is only a lie like everything else. What about the promises of salvation here on earth? Look, the church, Christ’s holy bride, has become a whore that sells herself with the most frightful haggling.

During this time it was considered a disgrace for any gentleman to be without lands. The land was not for purchase. It was indivisible like a person and had to remain undivided. It got passed on to the eldest son.

But what about the other children? Now that was what the church was there for. The temple of God became the synagogue of Satan so the good fathers could make use of their filthiest passions to engender the most fertile of evils. The countless children of the Barons and Dukes became abbots and bishops. The people were called together and told to choose or else… The people never expected the “or else” so they chose.

Atto de Veciel tells how the countless sheep elected a little child of six years to the highest ministry. The child climbed onto a chair, prattled a couple of sentences from the catechism and was proclaimed a bishop. At times a child would forget the sentences, and then a dove would suddenly land on its head and help the people to choose. Behold! That was even more favorable. The Holy Spirit itself had chosen.

At the same time the worthy successors to St. Peter scandalized the entire world. Two women made their lovers into popes. The son of a Jew and a twelve year old boy decided over the fate of Christendom.

The good father of sin was satisfied. He knew that now his reign was established. The church took stock of itself.

“Reform the church!” screamed the entire world.

Pope Gregory VII began the reformation. Woman, oh ever and again it was woman, had to be destroyed within the church. With wild fanatical zeal the monk pope proclaimed the requirement of celibacy.  He himself was a monk and incited the other monks against the worldly priests. The monks threw their burning torches underneath the people and a horrible terror began. The destructive instinct of the people, that eternally hungry beast, was unleashed without bounds.

Had there ever been a better opportunity for the people to avenge themselves on the blood suckers that raged against them a thousand times worse than the castle lords themselves? The people threw themselves upon the priests, who with stiff necked despair refused to give up their wives. They drove them away from the altars, beat them, mutilated them or tore them to pieces in the cathedrals. The people trampled them with their feet, soiled them, spit on those things that a short time ago they had revered as holy.

They drank the Holy Wine after mixing it with urine and threw the consecrated host to the four winds. The power of the priest was broken. The people no longer believed them to be the representatives of God. They had no power or authority. The monks and the pope ruled the world.

Dunstan permitted the concubine of an English king to be mutilated. Pope Gregory VII rewarded an abbot with a bishopric after the abbot had a monk castrated. The theologian Manegeld openly taught that married priests should be killed.

Nature was raped; the church pushed the woman away in disgust as an unclean animal, a serpent of Satan, as eternal death incarnate. The fanatical madman Pietro Damiani roamed through entire Italy and in countless sermons always renewed his attacks on woman.

“C’est ả vous que je mảdresse, e’cume de paradis, amorce de Satan, poison des âmes, glaive des coeurs, huppes, bijoux, chouettes, louves, sangaues insatiables…(I am addressing you, scum of paradise, bait of Satan, poison of the soul, spear of the heart, all dressed up with jewels, you little chicks, she-wolves, insatiable bloodsuckers…)

The holy doctors declared that man should distance himself from woman. The world was populated enough and going to perish soon. Peter of Lombardy professed that marriage was a sin, at least a venial sin.

*****

The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897

Translated by Joe Bandel 2011

Part four

The demon was everywhere! Satan triumphed over Christ, first as a means to frighten people in order to solidify the dominion of Christ. He became an almighty Lord which the world feared and sought to appease. You scarcely dared to breathe because it might let the evil spirit into your body.

In the fourth century the horrible Messalinian sect appeared. They believed the devil was trying to possess them and were constantly seen beating themselves, screaming, spitting and twisting themselves in horrible convolutions in attempts to ward off the evil one whose name was “Legion”.

Satan multiplied himself a thousand fold. He became a theologian, went into the desert wastes and tortured the Holy fathers with awkward questions. He sowed thousands of doubts and thoughts into their souls. He went into the cloisters and inflamed the troubled brains of the monks with lewd images. He visited the pious women by night, took away their wills and understanding, forced them into shameful lewdness. He entered into the brains of thousands and thousands of believers and made them scream out the most confused curses and blasphemies.

The church was scarcely able to defend itself any more from Satan. Exorcism took an increasingly important role in the liturgy. No mass was ever enveloped with more pomp than that of the exorcism. You scarcely dared to partake in any religious ceremony without first exorcising every single corner of the church. Yes, under the reign of Sirtus they even exorcised an Egyptian obelisk before it was allowed to be set up in Rome.

But no matter how furiously the church battled the stronger Satan became. Possession took the upper hand. Satan scorned God through the bellowing voices of the possessed. He performed miracles in front of crowds of believers. He told the priests their secret sins. He prophesied things that really came true. He raised the bodies of the possessed up into the air and then smashed them back down onto the ground without them suffering the smallest amount of pain.

The Church grasped at doubtful means. In the assumption that every strong human passion predisposed one to possession by the devil they forbid even the simplest expression of emotion. Every passion had a demon. If the passion was killed the demon would be killed as well.

The world despaired. How could they protect themselves against Satan and his temptations? How could anyone protect themselves against the eternal stream of lewd hallucinations that rose up by the hour, the thousands of scorning, laughing voices that Satan raised against God? And even thought was a sin! The virgin, who without even knowing, allowed young boys to lust after her “sinned”, had already lost her virginity according to the proclamation of St. Cyprian. The woman that was beautiful sinned without knowing it, when through her beauty she became the scythe with which Satan mowed his harvest. (Anselmus) The monk, who the demon stole from the cross, sinned when he didn’t have enough strength to resist. The husband sinned because he had more interest in begetting children than in the love of God. The nun that washed herself more than twice a month sinned.

Sins—Sins were everywhere. Eternal damnation was everywhere. With one thought, one wrong deed man lost the right to paradise and succumbed to Satan. Once one succumbed they would be refused salvation. The Saints themselves admitted that many devils ignored exorcism and didn’t fear it at all.

*****

 

In this time of mass lunacy infectious hysteria spread with racing rapidity over the earth and convulsed the people in thousands of various ways. It was the time when people were always and eternally awaiting the end of the earth and lived in wildest despair for the coming Day of Judgment. They awaited the Paraclete, the triune Satan, the Antichrist, because the time for his dominion was very near.

“In brevi tempore saeviet”, said Cyprian. (He shall rage for a short time.)

Lactanius said, “The time is already here.”

They envisioned the most curious things about this Antichrist. He would be a man of sins, a son of the corrupt, the lawless, the adversary and a criminal. He would be begotten from the union of a pope and a succubus, or else, “immundissima meretrice et crudelissimo neblulone” (by a filthy whore and a good for nothing.). Sin was his element. He would be great in sin, greater even than Christ was in virtue. Everything that Christ taught would be overthrown, every sin raised to a virtue. Christ had humbled himself, but he would raise himself to the heavens, make his entry into the “temple” and proclaim himself as God.

He would cut down Christ’s servants and with an insolent proud mouth cry out, “Your blood covers us and our children!” He would perform miracles that were even greater than those that God’s son had performed and his power would be like that prophesied in the book of Job: 43.

“Upon the earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholds all high things: he is a king over the children of pride.”

And the Antichrist came, but not as a material ruler. Instead he came as one of the spiritual, the proud and the elevated, the godly Mani.

Satan became bored with the frenzied ravings of the epileptics, sated with living in the lewd dreams of the monks. The stupid game of exorcism did not amuse him anymore. He wanted to become God. Become God even before the real Antichrist was begotten. He wanted to be God in the kingdom of spirits, a proud wild Anti-god that would push the Nazarene, the usurper of the earth, back into his invisible kingdom once more.

Thus spoke Mani, the ancient holy wisdom.

“There are two gods, equally powerful, equally mighty and eternally opposing each other. The invisible god of good, who is enthroned in heaven, who does not trouble himself over the earth and only lives for the perfection of his chosen ones—

Then there is another god, the god of sins, who rules over the earth. But sins are not really sins because they came from this god like the virtues that came from the other god, the indolent god who said, “Don’t exert yourselves, just follow after me.”

Gnosticism and Manichaeism spread like wild fire across the Christian world and for the first time the question was raised, “Christian or Manichean, the fairy tale of free will or the fact of determinism, stupide imitatio or the self-ruling fantasy of the mystic, meek slavery or proud sinning in the name of Satan—as instinct, Satan—as nature, Satan—as curiosity, Satan—as passion.

Again the church was victorious. In the third century Satan had to lay down his weapons. His first grandiose anti-Christian Avignon was destroyed with terrible cruelty and Satan blasphemed in dark despair.

“I am the God of light! You, the evil God, have cast me down out of revenge because I was the light. Your jealousy of my beauty, my brilliance and my light was greater than my own power. But fear me now. Fear my pride and the hatred of the mighty. I, the eternal light, do not sleep and I have suckled my children with the eternal light that never sleeps. But your children, those that hate the light, those that fear the light, your children that crawl around your feet in base slavery, your children have tired of doing battle with me. They need to sleep. Behold!

I am the Prince of princes, I mingle with them, I dance with them—you are a dark despot that rules over crawling worms. Beware! Millions of my own have been sacrificed to your vengeance. I will sacrifice millions more, willingly sacrifice them. Those millions are only fertilizer for the one and only, for the one who can engender more. You have annihilated my congregations but you will never annihilate the one and only, the one who can engender thousands of new congregations. Beware and fear my vengeance!”

*****

The Synagogue of Satan by Stanislaw Przybyszewski 1897

Translated by Joe Bandel 2011

Part three

But the strongest death rage was the hatred that was directed against Satan—as magician and Satan—as healer.

Be poor in spirit and meek. Be obedient, be a follower, don’t think! That was the highest law of religion for the imbecile masses. But the magician was proud despite all laws. He rose into the air against the law of gravity and did not sink in the water. If you wanted you could throw him into the fire and he would come out healthy. The magician was too proud to be a follower. If he wanted to he could even become as good of a god as Christ.

“Christ is not able to do any more than I can, through virtue I also can become divine,” said Theodorus of Mopsuesta.

The magician despised poverty of spirit, broke open all things secret and unraveled all mysteries. He determined the successor to the Emperor from the stars and knew the fates of all the nations. The magician was that which Christ himself was, a defiant criminal of all the laws, a knowledgeable seer. He was a god, but much prouder than Christ.

Christ made his teachings available to the plebeians, formed his ancient band of conspirators out of child-like farmers and servants. The magician planted his teachings in only the proudest and strongest of souls.

The Christian wrath, the hatred of the plebian and the poor in spirit, the devotees of the law and those that could not do anything other than “follow” was directed against these defiant titans.

The law of Constantine had already placed heavy penalties upon the practice of magic. Now one law followed another and each new one was more severe than the last until under Emperor Valens all the philosophers were driven out. Even the brilliant Iamblichus took poison after being imprisoned. Having a book of philosophy was enough to put your life at risk. In order to avoid this fate all the folk gathered their books together and burned them.

This was the beginning of the terrible martyrdom of the proud children of Satan, against which the Christian persecutions of Nero seemed like a charming game.

During this time the magicians became priests and assembled the pagans around them. The old ways became the practice of magic. The symbols were lost and their content. No one knew what the signs or symbols meant anymore, but the magician helped them. He conferred mystical meanings upon them which by and by through the power of suggestion began to exert enormous influence. The words that no one knew anymore became a powerful means to help the magician establish a rapport between his Master and his soul.

The church perceived that it could not accomplish its goal with punishment and torture. It used its ability to imitate, only to imitate, and grasped onto “the magical link”, the “choc en retour”, that plays such a large role in magic.Incantations along with magical signs became replaced with Holy Water and the sign of the cross. Magical evocations were thwarted through the Mass and Holy Water was used to drive out Satan. The magician might conjure up a thunder storm in the name of Satan, but Christ could disperse it with the cross.

Still, the longer the battle went on, the more the church had to yield. It became forced to absorb the pagan cults into itself. The bacchanalia at the festivals of Ceres Libera were combined with the processions of the festival of St. Mary and celebrated with greater exuberance than ever before. Up until the 13th century the folk and the priests celebrated lascivious and orgiastic festivals together such as the festival of the ass and the festival of fools (fatuorum).

Remnants of the phallus cults crept into the church. The capitals of the columns thronged with obscene figures. A favorite subject depicted in churches was Noah and how he slept with his daughters. But the images were especially about hell! God, how magnificent!

The paltry brains of the church fathers and doctors that were so airy, naïve and spacey had no need to exert themselves when they could plagiarize. Hades made the greatest impression on the good Eusabius. Well, even the demon himself could have a good revelation now and then, but it was simply astounding how much the pagans knew about hell.  Rabanus Maurus in his description of hell does not once forget to mention the rivers Phlegeton, Cocytos and Styx and throughout the entire Middle Ages the boat of Charon was seen as the boat of the devil.

*****