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The Black Mass

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2003 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

Although some Satanists do practice it, the Black Mass has played a much bigger role in anti-Satanist propaganda than in actual Satanism.

The Black Mass is not just one single ritual. It is a category of rituals which use the format of the Catholic Mass but involve prayers to Satan and/or blasphemies against the Christian God. (In anti-Satanist propaganda, and on at least a few occasions in real life too, it has also involved various criminal activities. But it certainly doesn't necessarily involve criminal activities.)

The Black Mass has influenced the occult scene in general, not just Satanism. For example, Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass doesn't involve prayers to Satan or any of the cruder anti-Christian blasphemies traditionally associated with the Black Mass, but it is another creative variation on the Catholic Mass and does borrow key elements from the classic stereotypical Black Mass, such as the (preferably nude) woman on the altar. Crowley's Gnostic Mass, in turn, had a strong influence on the "Great Rite" of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca.

During most of the past several decades, the Black Mass has not had a promient role in Satanism itself. When Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966 C.E., a lot of people thought Christianity was dying. So, the Black Mass was dismissed as beating a dead horse, except as an occasional catharsis for people of strict Catholic upbringing.

Many people are still unaware of the massive growth of hardcore Christianity in recent decades. Due to that growth, it seems likely that there may be a revival of interest in the Black Mass in the near future, on the part of both Satanists and anti-Satanists.

Still, of course, the Black Mass will be most meaningful to those Satanists who are of liturgical Christian background, primarily ex-Catholics. It is not of great interest to me personally, since I am of nonliturgical Protestant background.

But here's a collection of info about it anyway, in the interests of making this website useful to a variety of different kinds of theistic Satanists, including those who practice this very well-known type of ritual.

First, here are some websites containing versions of the Black Mass:

Please note that both the LaVey and Melech versions of the Black Mass use very incorrect Latin.

If anyone wants to write a better Black Mass, I would strongly suggest, first of all, that you learn some Latin, especially Latin grammar. That is, of course, unless you decide to write your Mass strictly in the vernacular, without using any Latin.

You might also want to include variations on some Bible passages, To that end, here are some online copies of both the Latin Vulgate and various English translations of the Bible:

Also, of course, you'll need to refer to the text of the Catholic Mass itself. The following online texts are in both Latin and English:

Besides the mass itself, here's the 1964 edition of the complete Roman Ritual and sacramentals, in English.

And here are some articles on various items used in the Catholic Mass:

If you know of any other good websites relevant to the Black Mass, please let me know.

Also, if you ever write your own version of the Black Mass, I'll be happy to link to your website if you have one. Or, if you prefer not to maintain a website of your own, I'll consider publishing your Black Mass here on my site.

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See also For Theistic Satanists from hardcore Christian backgrounds (as I am too)