Black magic has been a staple of books and television shows for ages now, despite the fact that all of the Satanic cults that are supposedly killing babies have turned out to be nothing but lies either planted by overzealous therapists or misguided attempts for attention. The rites that take place in most episodes of black magic remain constant, however, and can be traced back to a handful of sources known collectively as grimoires.
What is less known is that many of these rituals, which the Catholic Church made a habit of condemning as heretical, also trace back to the Jewish apocrypha, especially the kabbalah; probably unbeknownst to Madonna. Probably. One of the apocryphal works that black magic goes back to is the Books of Enoch. It would be a mistake of anti-Semitic proportions to assume that black magic is simply revitalized Judaica, however. Let’s blame it on the French, instead.
Several grimmoires from French history are considered the textbooks for black magic. The most famous may well be the Grand Grimoire, an anonymous work that allows it to be endowed with all the great power that mystery endures. Another is titled the Grimorium Verum and was based on the writings of magic by a man known as Solomon the Hebrew Rabbin.
The other textbooks of black magic are True Black Magic or the Secret of Secrets and the Constitution of Pope Honorius the Great. It is from these works that rituals of the Black Mass developed. In keeping with the fact that satanic cults hardly have the cache of reality with which most people would invest them, the Black Mass is actually nothing more fearful than parody.
What does the Black Mass entail? Such horrific rites as the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in a backwise manner and replacing the Eucharist wafer with a blackened turnip. Ooooh, scary. Of course, no Black Mass is actually worth anything unless it is presided over by a priest who has been defrocked.
Although heretical and in many cases actually criminal, just as most cases of Satanism lead to nothing but pathetic high school kids who would be better served by being drafted and sent to Iraq, there have been some cases where those who took place in a Black Mass were actually tried. For instance, way back during the reign of fat King Henry VIII a woman named Mabel Brigge was not only tried, but convicted and executed for the crime of holding a Black Mass with the express purpose of attempting to bring about a speedy death for the husband of six wives.
As for France itself? The country that produced the textbook for conducting satanic rituals oddly never actually experienced a serious practice until the reign of the Sun King. In 1680 over 50 priests were charged with sexually abusing and even sacrificing children during multiple Black Masses.
In addition to this abuse of kids, part of the ritual also involved a rite performed on a nude woman that involved taking that turnip and doing things not exactly appropriate with it before engaging in intercourse and washing her nude body with holy water. These rituals of the Black Mass are the reason that, over four centuries previous, the Lateran Council ordered that everything associated with the Eucharist rite be locked safely away in order to prevent their theft and subsequent use in Satanic ceremonies.