Motivations for the Satanic Panic

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“There are no cults that practice satanic ritual abuse (SRA).  Despite accusations of SRA that number in the tens of thousands, not one case has been substantiated.  The phenomenon of ‘recovered memory’ – in which a person experiences horrible abuse over several years, then completely forgets about it but suddenly remembers it with the help of a therapist – is the result of fevered imaginations running amuck.  The existence of satanic cults that practice ritual abuse is an urban myth fueled by societal fears of and fascination with sexuality.

… As a nation, we are obsessed with sex.  Unfortunately we also fear it, and repress our own interest in it, so it must be disguised and made unpleasant or violent to quiet our fears that watching it might arouse us, and to make information about it something a respectable person needs to know.  I feel that this ‘erotophobia,’ fear of erotic pleasure, is beneath as least some of the impulse behind both writing and reading the ‘satanic abuse’ stories …

… When something is labeled as forbidden and dangerous, it is easy to wonder if it could possibly be all that bad.  After all, the people telling us how bad the stuff is must have looked at it, and they seem more or less ok.  Furthermore, the urge to take at least a peek is very strong, particularly if one is raised in a belief system that labels any sexual impulse as very dangerous.  So not only does the reading of satanic child pornography, along with other types of sexual media, become permissible, it becomes almost an obligation to gain information to protect children and society.  I believe that a similar shocked, yet titillated, voyeurism fuels the current pop fascination with sadomasochistic imagery.

… The strongest force behind the satanic ritual and child abuse panic is people who fear, distrust, and want to get rid of any religion other than their own version of conservative Christianity.  Added to this is a major industry that ‘educates’ far right Christians, and any of the general public who get sucked in, regarding the dangers of Satanism, feminism, pornography, the homosexual menace, paganism, the New Age, meditation, sex education in schools, yoga, other world religions and the New World Order.  The Christian far right and their allies are horrified that so many women are leaving the home to go to work, and that divorce is an option.  What better way to convince them to stay home and stay married than to create a panic about daycare and other dangers to children?”

– Sharma Oliver, Claims of Satanic Ritual Abuse Are Unsubstantiated

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Satan as Patron of the Arts

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“According to tradition, the Devil has always been a celebrated patron of the arts. Quite apart from the vague and somewhat contradictory references to his personage found in the Bible, Satan has maintained a long and distinguished presence in Western culture. Indeed, it is as a constantly shape-shifting entity of the creative imagination that Lucifer has been most enlivened in mankind’s consciousness.

Mephisopheles was the muse of such composers as Liszt and Paganini, whose virtuosity inspired rumours of pacts with the Devil. Opera houses still resound to a repertoire of infernal arias. Medieval nun Hildegard von Bingen’s Sequentia included one of the Devil’s earliest appearances as a musical character, a heritage continued more recently in the Satanic pieces of Penderecki and Maxwell Davies. Dante’s Inferno, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Goethe’s Faust count among the masterpieces of their respective national literatures, each conveying an indelible Satanic vision whose influence has lasted centuries. The Prince of Darkness was praised in the litanies of Baudelaire and the hymns of Carducci, among countless other bards drawn to sulphurous verse. Ever since the Everyman plays of the Middle Ages, the Devil has strutted the boards of the world’s stages, from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus to Shaw’s Don Juan In Hell. Satan has been an obliging model for artists of the calibre of Durer, Bosch and Goya, later materializing on the decadent canvases of many great Symbolist painters. The first sculptures of the Devil were seen in 12th century churches, and secular Satans of stone were molded by the romantic Rodin.”

– Nikolas Shreck, The Satanic Screen: An Illustrated Guide to the Devil in Cinema

A Statistical Demographic Perspective on Satanism

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This study, published in the Marburg Journal of Religion in June of 2001 and conducted by James R. Lewis of the Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin, is an attempt to gather meaningful statistical data on the demographics involved in Satanism. Below are his findings.

“The average Satanist is 26 years old (ranging from 14 to 56) who has been a Satanist for eight years (ranging from less than a year to 44 years for an individual who claimed to have been raised in a Satanist household). This means that the average Satanist became involved at age 18. The youthfulness of this average is not surprising, but the length of involvement is. Even when the respondents who claimed to have been Satanists all their lives are excluded, the average age only drops to 25 and the length of involvement to seven years. This means the average age at which someone becomes involved is still 18.

Most Satanists are male. One hundred and one survey respondents were male, thirty six were female, and two marked the item “not applicable.” The heavy predominance of males sets Satanism apart from the active memberships of most other religious bodies, old or new.

Most Satanists are Single. Ninety-six respondents–a full two-thirds of the sample–were single (though a few noted they were in long term relationships and a few others that they were engaged), thirty two were married; and twelve divorced or separated. Thirty one had children (eleven with one child, twelve with two children, seven with three children, and one with four children). This is not an unsurprising pattern, given the relative youth of Satanists.

Most Satanists are Caucasian. Two respondents were Asian-American, three Black, nine Hispanic, and Eleven noted that at least one of their ancestors was Native American. Two other respondents indicated that they were “multi-racial,” one was Turkish, and one was Indian (South Asian). Everyone else was “pure” Caucasian. This is also not surprising. Demographic studies of other alternative religions have found the predominance of participants to be White.

Satanists are employed in diverse occupations. Eighteen respondents were involved with computers and/or the internet. Forty were students. And eleven were writers or artists (fourteen if web writers are included). Otherwise, they ran the gamut from stripper to clinical psychologist, and from salesman to engineer.

Satanists are politically diverse. Fourteen respondents were Democrats, nine Republicans, sixty three non-political, and forty one Independent or Third Party. The significant number of Independent/Third Party respondents markedly sets Satanists apart from the larger population. This finding is congruent with what one might anticipate from people following an individualistic philosophy.

The traditions in which Satanists are raised reflect the general pattern of the larger society. Two respondents were raised as secular Jews, twenty eight were raised Catholic, seventy seven raised Protestant (sixteen explicitly mentioned Baptist and nine Lutheran), and twenty three nothing or no response. Many respondents indicated that their Christian upbringing was nominal, though several were the children of ministers. The only unusual responses were two respondents who were raised Neopagan and two raised as Satanists.

People become involved in Satanism in diverse ways, though more often through reading and personal study: Sixty four said they became involved through personal study/books (thirty explicitly mentioned the Satanic Bible), twenty four through other people, seventeen through the internet, and two through music (one specifically mentioned Marilyn Manson). Other responses were harder to classify: One respondent, for instance, said he became interested in Satanism as the result of a Geraldo Rivera program; another, that he became interested as a result of taking a religious studies class. If the seventeen internet responses are added to the sixty-four personal study/book responses, we can assert that the majority of Satanists become involved through reading.

Most Satanists have been involved in other religions, usually Neopaganism or some other magical group: Forty-five respondents (slightly less than a third of the sample) indicated that, beyond the religion in which they were raised, they had not been involved in any other form of spirituality before coming to Satanism. Forty eight mentioned Neopaganism, twenty two some other “left-hand path” (LHP–e.g., Thelemic Magic; Chaos Magic), twenty one an Eastern religion (fifteen Buddhism), and fourteen some form of Christianity (not counting the religion in which they were raised). These add up to more than the total number of respondents because twenty-two people had been involved in more than one other religion.

Most Satanists are humanistic (atheistic/agnostic) Satanists, reflecting the dominant influence of Anton LaVey’s thought. Sixty percent of respondents (84) said that Satan was a symbol, an archetype, myself, nature, or some other anti-theistic understanding of Satan. Twenty five indicated that Satan was an impersonal force. (Though not regarded as “supernatural,” this force is something not adequately understood by current science.) Nineteen were theistic Satanists, although even most of these respondents did not have what one would call a traditional view of Satan/god/demons. Twelve respondents did not answer this item.

Satanists believe in the efficacy of magic. Only fourteen respondents stated that they did not believe in magic. Fifteen others did not respond to this item. The balance did answer this question, though they often noted that magic was not “supernatural.” This again reflects the influence of LaVey on this issue. Eight-five respondents never meet with other co-religionists for religious/ritual purposes, thirty one rarely, and everyone else ran the gamut from one or two times a year to every week. In other words, more than eighty percent of all respondents rarely or never meet with co-religionists for religious/ritual purposes.

Finally, the Satanist community is an internet community. While more than half of all Satanists do not meet with their coreligionists face-to-face, Fifty-eight communicate with others in talk rooms or via e-mail on a daily basis and another thirty one communicate frequently. This finding is congruent with the scattered geographical distribution of Satanists.”

– James R. Lewis, Who Serves Satan -A Demographic and Ideological Profile

Origins of the Temple of Set

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“The story of the Temple of Set which you have entered begins in 1966 of what archaeologists, in an effort to be non-sectarian, refer to as the Common Era (CE). In that year a man named Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of Satan in San Francisco.

LaVey, an imposing, congenial man with a carnival and circus background, had for many years been an enthusiastic but cynical devotee of the occult. He accumulated a unique library containing many works on the more peculiar and obscure facets of human nature, together with the major classics of traditional occultism. Disappointed with the lack of sophistication and practical relevance he saw in existing occult organizations, he decided that he would have to start one of his own to remedy the problem.

In the early 1960s, therefore, he began to conduct ‘midnight magic seminars’ at his home in San Francisco’s Richmond District. By 1965 these had solidified into a formal ‘Magic Circle.’ The success of this Circle prompted him to found the Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht (April 30) of 1966, which henceforth became known as Year I Anno Satani (AS).

For the first four years of its existence, the Church remained essentially a San Francisco organization. Group rituals were held every Friday night at midnight at the LaVey residence, while during the week Anton gave lectures on various arcane subjects and taught classes to aspiring Witches and Warlocks.

This fascinating and controversial organization won its share of publicity around the country and abroad, and soon many curious individuals were writing to San Francisco to find out how they too could become Satanists. In 1970 Anton published the Satanic Bible to summarize the basic tenets of his philosophy.

The Satanic Bible did not represent Satan and his fellow daemons as actual ‘supernatural’ beings, but rather as symbols and metaphors for hedonistic self-indulgence. Other religions in general – and Christianity in particular – were not considered to be deadly foes; instead they were mocked and dismissed as sanctimonious and hypocritical frauds.

The Satanic Bible went on, however, to promise results from the practice of simplified and standardized magical rituals. Such rites invoked Satan as well as various other gods and daemons from many mythological traditions, appealing for and/or commanding their aid in curses, seductions, cures, and the like.

There was thus an oddly-inconsistent feature to the Church of Satan’s philosophy: On one hand it professed psychodramatic atheism, while on the other it assumed the literal existence of daemonic personages with the ability to hear invocations and the disposition to respond to evocations.

By 1970 Anton LaVey and his wife Diane had begun to feel the strain of endless hospitality, so a decision was made to cease most of the activities at their home in favor of sponsoring local units or ‘Grottos’ of the Church elsewhere in the United States. From 1971 to 1975 the Church thus consisted of a San Francisco headquarters plus some five to ten Grottos in various metropolitan areas.

Over the years many rumors have circulated concerning the growth and size of the Church of Satan. I have seen figures ranging upwards of 50,000 card-carrying Satanists, with several millions of sympathetic non-members waiting in the wings. In actuality the Church rose from an initial San Francisco membership of about 50 to a nationwide average of about 300 through 1975. There was a turnover of perhaps 30% per year, reflecting the casual, fickle attitude of many of the lower-level members.

By 1973 Grottos had been organized in San Francisco, Santa Cruz/San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver, Dayton, Detroit, New York, Louisville, and Washington D.C. Like the membership-at-large, these tended to be unstable, short-lived groups, surviving and prospering only as long as a charismatic Grotto Leader was in office.

By 1975 Anton LaVey, having presided over nine years of mercurial individuals and Grottos, reluctantly concluded that, while the philosophy of Satanism had lost none of its popular appeal, the Church of Satan itself was largely a failure. A small, stable nucleus of serious and sincere devotees had indeed developed, but for the most part the Church had served to attract merely fad-followers, egomaniacs, and assorted oddballs whose primary interest in becoming ‘Satanists’ lay in being able to flash their membership cards for cocktail-party notoriety. Anton decided that the Church might as well be converted to a vehicle for his personal financial benefit, hence in may of 1975 he announced a decision to sell the Satanic Priesthood and all higher degrees for funds or objects of value.

Upon founding the Church, Anton had claimed for himself the titles of High Priest of Satan and Magus of the Age of Satan. By 1969 he had begun to ordain others to the Satanic Priesthood (the Priesthood of Mendes), and in 1970 he formalized an initiatory structure of five degrees: Satanist I, Witch or Warlock II, Priest or Priestess of Mendes III, Magister IV, and Magus V. Advancement to the II was based upon a fairly elementary examination concerning the contents of the Satanic Bible, but Anton was extremely strict concerning ordination to the Priesthood. Perhaps twenty individuals attained the III between 1966 and 1975, while during the same period Anton conferred only four IVs – one of which upon myself.

Anton’s 1975 decision to sell the degrees confounded the nucleus of sincere Satanists, myself included, who saw in it a critical corruption of the very institution whose incorruptibility and condemnation of hypocrisy had made it so refreshing and exhilarating.

Seizing control of the Church was impossible; Anton had incorporated it under his exclusive, personal control in 1971, a time when none of us had remotely anticipated his 1975 decision. Our only option was therefore to leave. By mid-June 1975, therefore, virtually the entire nationwide Priesthood of the Church had resigned en masse. The Church of Satan as a viable, functional organization was dead, save that the LaVeys continued to use the corporate name and image for private gain as a ‘business partnership,’ a status upon which they formally agreed by contract in 1985.

In 1986 Diane [LaVey] Hegarty sued Anton to dissolve the business and divide its assets between the two of them, and this was so ordered by the San Francisco Superior Court on October 28th, 1991. Anton subsequently filed for bankruptcy for himself and the Church of Satan, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court so ordered, under the dissolution Chapter 7 of U.S. bankruptcy law, on April 29, 1993. Legally as well as essentially and organizationally, therefore, the Church of Satan no longer exists, though continuing attempts to exploit its name might pretend otherwise.

The other three Masters of the Church had all turned tail in June 1975: One, Charles Steenbarger, was a clinical psychologist in Denver who feared that any but the most furtive involvement would wreck his life and reputation; the second, John Ferro, was a self-acknowledged decadent who could not bring himself to take any stand against Anton LaVey; the third, Anthony Fazzini, was the LaVeys’ chauffer, whose appointment to the IV a few months earlier had itself been a scandal foreshadowing the June crisis.

As the senior initiate among those who resigned in 1975, therefore, I was looked to for an answer as to what to do next. Should we try to form a ‘Second Church of Satan,’ or was the disaster so overwhelming that any such reconstruction would be futile?

In a Working of Greater Black Magick on the night of the North Solstice (June 21-22), I evoked the Prince of Darkness himself. ‘If this is not the end,’ I said, ‘tell us what we may do to continue our Quest along the Left-Hand Path.’

The result of the North Solstice Working was a document entitled The Book of Coming Forth by Night, professing to be a communication from the Prince of Darkness in his original semblance as the Egyptian god Set. The Aeon of Horus and the intermediary Age of Satan were at an end; the Aeon of Set had now Come Into Being as a catalyst for a new evolution of the Elect of mankind. We were charged to found a Temple of Set to replace the Church of Satan, and I – like Anton LaVey before me – was Recognized to the degree of Magus and directed to assume the High Priesthood.

In addition to its emphatic stance against the sort of corruption and confusion that had brought about the downfall of the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set differed from its predecessor in a number of ways. The Church had been arrogantly sensationalistic; the Temple was cautiously philosophical. The Church had opened its ceremonies to visitors, reporters, and academic researchers; the Temple’s activities were completely closed to non-Initiates. All degrees in the Church had been conferred by Anton LaVey personally; in the Temple the Recognitions of Adepts II and of the Priesthood of Set III were entrusted to the Priesthood and Masters respectively.

Doctrinally the Temple confronted a number of challenges with which the Church of Satan had never had to deal. First and foremost was the proposition of the very literal reality of Set. Gone overnight was the shaky conglomeration of half-baked anti-Christian daemonology; in its place was a new conceptualization of the Universe which would gradually mature …

The guiding Word of the Age of Satan – Indulgence – had exhorted Satanists to remain satisfied with a hedonistic approach to an admittedly animalistic life. The Word of the Aeon of Set – Xeper – held out the promise of an evolutionary divinity to those intelligent, bold, and determined enough to attain it. From a simple, colorful, and easy-going Church of Satan there had emerged a Temple of Set which was bewilderingly complicated, socially obscure, and impatient with complacency.

During its first four years the Temple of Set maintained an average membership of about 100 Initiates, almost all of whom were former members of the Church of Satan. Membership solicitation was felt to be inconsistent with the esoteric atmosphere of the Temple and the intrinsic dignity of true initiation. It proved to be very difficult, moreover, to institutionalize a philosophy as complex and underdeveloped as ours. No standardized instructional courses were offered, and any sort of ‘enthusiastic but ignorant followers’ climate was quite unacceptable. Hence we weren’t at all certain that it was a good idea to encourage aspirants who didn’t have an a priori working relationship with a Priest or Priestess through a local Pylon.” – Michael Aquino, Black Magic

Two Indictments for Witchcraft in Colonial Conneticut

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TWO INDICTMENTS FOR WITCHCRAFT

“John Carrington thou art indited by the name of John Carrington of Wethersfield—carpenter—, that not hauing the feare of God before thine eyes thou hast interteined ffamilliarity with Sattan the great enemye of God and mankinde and by his helpe hast done workes aboue the course of nature for wch both according to the lawe of God and the established lawe of this Commonwealth thou deseruest to dye.”

Record Particular Court, 2: 17, 1650−51.

“Hugh Crotia, Thou Standest here presented by the name of Hugh Crotia of Stratford in the Colony of Connecticut in New England; for that not haueing the fear of God before thine Eyes, through the Instigation of the Devill, thou hast forsaken thy God &covenanted with the Devill, and by his help hast in a preternaturall way afflicted the bodys of Sundry of his Majesties good Subjects, for which according to the Law of God, and the Law of this Colony, thou deseruest to dye.”

Record Court of Assistants, 2: 16, 1693.

A WARRANT FOR THE EXECUTION OF A WITCH[A] AND THE SHERIFF’S RETURN THEREON

To George Corwin Gentlm high Sheriff of the County of Essex Greeting

Whereas Bridgett Bishop als Olliver the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem in the County of Essex Sawyer at a special Court of Oyer and Terminer ——(held at?)[B] Salem this second Day of this instant month of June for the Countyes of Essex Middlesex and Suffolk before William Stoughton Esqe. and his Associates Justices of the said Court was Indicted and arraigned upon five several Indictments for useing practising &exercising on the ——[B] last past and divers others days ——[B] witchcraft in and upon the bodyes of Abigail Williams Ann puttnam Jr Mercy Lewis Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard of Salem Village single women; whereby their bodyes were hurt afflicted pined consumed wasted &tormented contrary to the forme of the statute in that case made and provided To which Indictmts the said Bridgett Bishop pleaded not guilty and for Tryall thereof put herselfe upon God and her Country ——[B] she was found guilty of the ffelonyes and Witchcrafts whereof she stood Indicted and sentence of death accordingly passed agt her as the Law directs execution whereof yet remaines to be done These are therefore in the name of their Majties William &Mary now King & Queen over England &to will and command you that upon Fryday next being the fourth day of this instant month of June between the hours of Eight and twelve in the aforenoon of the same day you safely conduct the sd Bridgett Bishop als Olliver from their Majties Goale in Salem aforesd to the place of execution and there cause her to be hanged by the neck until she be dead and of your doings herein make returne to the Clerk of the sd Court and precept And hereof you are not to faile at your peril And this shall be sufficient warrant Given under my hand &seal at Boston the Eighth of June in the ffourth year of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lords William &Mary now King &Queen over England Annoque Dm 1692 Wm. Stoughton

[Footnote A: Original in office of Clerk of the Courts at Salem, Massachusetts. Said to be the only one extant in American archives.] [Footnote B: Some of the words in the warrant are illegible.]

June 16 1692

According to the within written precept I have taken the Bodye of the within named Bridgett Bishop out of their Majties Goale in Salem & Safely Conueighd her to the place provided for her Execution &Caused ye sdBridgett to be hanged by the neck till Shee was dead all which was according to the time within Required
&So I make returne by me
George Corwin
Sheriff

– John M. Taylor, The Witchcraft Delusion

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Anton LaVey’s Near-Death Experience

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“When I Died
by Anton Szandor LaVey

Death was the most unmemorable experience of my life. On the 22nd of February, 1995, I suddenly and without warning, stopped breathing while I was finishing my dinner. It appeared I had died. As a matter of fact, I had. Blanche immediately began to administer CPR, while a friend called 911. The fire department campe, along with the ambulance, and proceeded to bring me back to life, using electric shocks and other procedures. I had only been dead a short time, but was nonetheless clinically dead. After a semblance of life returned, I felt no sense of relief. In fact I felt no more than I did when I died. I felt nothing. In fact, I didn’t even know I had died until several days later, in the hospital, when I was informed of the incident. Someone said, ‘Died, you know.’ My reply was, ‘I’ll be damned.’

By that time, unbeknownst to myself, I had been conversing with hospital personnel for several days about many unrelated things, death not being one of them. Through my speech was fanciful, it was coherent and articulate. I did not talk like a man who had returned from the dead, but one who thought he was in Las Vegas or aboard ship.

I remember experiencing absolutely nothing at the time of my death, nor anything until I regained my normal thought process at the hospital. No lights at the end of tunnels. No profound exhilaration. No orgasm. No sensation of release nor relaxation. It was like going to sleep and trying to describe the moment you fall asleep. One says, ‘I feel asleep,’ not, ‘I remember falling asleep.’

After the gravity of the event sunk in, it was suggested that I had undergone a remarkable phenomenon; one not normally encountered in everyday life. Later, someone ventured that as a religious leader, I could capitalize on my experience. I had already started my own religion and unlike all the messiahs of the past, had clinical proof of my death and resurrection. My immediate thought was, ‘What experience? Experience, experience – I don’t truthfully recall any experience.’ I know my advisor must have been thinking, ‘What’s wrong with you? You should invent a good one. Think up something profound. I would.’

Try as I might, I cannot even remember details of the events leading to my demise. Everything I know has been related to me by others. It’s not as though I even remember the sensations or events immediately prior to my death. The activities generally leading up to the event are foggy, as are most activities earlier in the day. A memory cushion seems to prevail as to the entire day, as much as an unawareness of several days following my observable return to consciousness. There is no memory of everything going black in the middle of a sentence, or a spasm during swallowing. No surprises nor deviations from whatever I happened to be doing at the time. No remembrance of blacking out, seeing things blur, shortage of breath, strange shapes appearing, unusual ringing or sounds – nothing.

If the death experience is like that to those who look to it for some sort of significant event, I fear they are wasting their time waiting around and should accept their daily routines as far more eventful, however pedestrian, than anything Heaven or Hell or a conscious afterlife might have to offer.

It may be said that my own account is predicated upon my lack of faith, and that had I believed, things might have been different. To that, I can answer that I wanted to believe; to be able to see the future, visit with my past friends, torture my enemies, and haunt certain places. I’ll just have to see. Maybe next time …”

– from The Cloven Hoof, Issue 130

Osculum Infame

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“Osculum infame is the name of a witch’s supposed ritual greeting upon meeting with the Devil. The name means The Shameful Kiss, or The Kiss of Shame since it involved kissing the devil’s anus, his other mouth. According to folklore, it was this kiss that allowed the Devil to seduce women.

During the years of the witch hunts, many believed that witches worshipped the Devil and paid him homage by kissing his posterior. The osculum infame is mentioned in nearly every single recorded account of a witches’ sabbat and in confessions – most of which were extracted under torture. It was called the kiss of shame because it was generally regarded as an act of degradation.

According to the allegations, witches would give the kiss of shame at the beginning of the sabbat, after the Devil had read the names of his followers. They would approach him by crawling or walking backwards, turn, bow and kiss his posterior. It was believed that this kiss was required for a new witch to be initiated, and the kiss was followed by feasting.

Sometimes, it was said, [by whom?] witches kissed not only the Devil’s fundament, but lower-ranking demons’ as well.

Generally considered to be an act of homage, or respect, the North Berwick Witch Trials of Scotland in the 16th century held that the kiss was an act of penance issued from the Devil. Reported in Newes from Scotland, declaring the damnable Life of Doctor Fian (1592) by W. Wright:

‘… and seeing that they tarried over long, hee at their coming enjoyed them all to a pennance, which was, that they should kisse his buttockes, in sign of duety to him, which being put over the pulpit bare, every one did as he had enjoyed them.’

Belief held that the Devil demanded the kiss of shame in forms other than human, including rams, black cats, and toads. Errores Haereticorum, a medieval tract, claims that the Cathars took their name ‘from the term cat, whose posterior they kiss, in whose form Satan appears to them.'”

– From Philip LaVey, quoted from Wikipedia