We have a bloody mess on our hands explaining people’s sacrilegious beliefs about a particular period in history with I Support the Girls CEO Dana Marlowe. Also, Satanic Bay Area says happy birthday, and in the news, San Francisco briefly remembers a Satanic revel best left forgotten.
- SF Gate: Little Known Satanic Rally Held In 80s
- I Support The Girls
- Janie Hampton, Aeon: The Taboo of Menstruation
- Museum of Girls: Jahi
- Encyclopedia.com: Jeh
- Witches, Whores, & Sorcerers, by SK Mendoza Forrest
- Impure Blood, by Madeline Ott
- Women’s Secrets, by Albertus Magnus
- The Devil & the Jews, by Joshua Trachtenberg
- Semantic Scholar: Medieval Love Potion Recipes and Ingredients
- Women, Men, and Love Magic in Late Medieval English Pastoral Manuals, by Catherine Rider
- Engendering Puritan Religious Culture in Old and New England, by Marilyn J. Westerkamp
- The Vulnerability of Women to Witchcraft Accusations, by Christian Day
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Welcome to Black Mass Appeal, a podcast that brings modern Satanism to the masses. Today I’m Black Mass Appeal, we have a bloody mess on our hands explaining people’s sacrilegious beliefs about a particular period in history. Also, Satanic Bay Area says happy birthday, and in the news, San Francisco briefly remembers a Satanic rebel, best left forgotten. Joining me today, I’ve got Daniel.
Hey, my name is Daniel. I’m an organizer for Satanic Bay Area and I’m a member of the Satanic Temple, and my blood type is B+, in spite of my disposition. That’s not a joke, by the way, that’s actually true.
And, also joining me is Tabitha.
Hey, this is Tabitha. I’m an administrator for a Satanic Bay Area and I have a lot of blood. That’s my blood type. A lot. *giggling*
I’m glad to hear it; I hope you have enough.
*giggling* As far as I know. *more giggling*
Joining us later in the show will be Dana Marlowe, the CEO and founder of I Support the Girls, and until then, you’ve got me; my name is Simone. I’m an administrator for Satanic Bay Area, and I feel like I have an adequate amount of blood, but I don’t know the blood type. I know some people, like, find that out in high school; they learn how to type their blood. I literally have no idea what mine is, so, umm, better not need any anytime soon, I guess. *giggling* Well, Black Mass Appeal is a product of Satanic Bay Area and it is not associated with any other Satanic groups. This is a podcast for Satanists to discuss modern Satanism, its history, left-leaning political activism, and how Satanism relates to current events and pop culture, or for people who want to learn more about modern Satanism, whether you’re a newbie or already involved in Satanic groups. And speaking of Satanic groups, what blood rituals have we been doing lately, guys?
Well, you know what, we’re gonna have to do a quick Satanic rewind on this one because it occurred to me that leading up to- prior to our most recent public event, Pazuzu’s Blessing, we actually did a couple of birthday rituals right in a row that we never really had the opportunity to talk about on the show. So, I’m just going to cast my mind backwards into the abyss of time and remember that, first of all, we had a little birthday get-together ritual for Tabitha not that long ago.
And then, prior to that, also, our friend Rebecca had a great party up at her place in Vallejo, and as a gift, we were able to hold a little ritual occasion there, as well. And, Tabitha, how do you think it went?
I thought it was a lot of fun, especially since it was kind of on the fly and I’ve never actually done that before. I mean, luckily, with, like, Rebecca’s place, putting it all together was, like, real easy, but, like, we just kind of, like, did it. It was awesome. *chuckles*
I’m still so sad to have missed it. I had a cold. I was scared it was Covid. I figured either way I shouldn’t go and potentially infect people. [I was there with my crazy toddler who couldn’t be vaxxed yet, thank you Simone for staying home <3] By the way. Covid test came back negative, *sad, whiny voice* but I still missed the party! And I was very sad!
We appreciate you, your sacrifice, though. [for real, thanks Simone]
Well, the good news is, is my understanding, is she will have another birthday next year.
And, then, of course, you were there for Tabitha’s birthday just a couple of weeks later. Of course, it wasn’t technically her birthday; that was a different day, but this was the day when we were ceremonially observing it with our peers and this was a particularly challenging ritual occasion for Tabitha because it meant standing still while people said nice things about her *Tabitha starts laughing* which is *always* a hurdle.
*laughing* It’s so hard!
If anyone watched the Fox show, the New Girl, it’s the same thing as Winston’s ‘honey roast.’ It’s like a roast except you say nice things.
I really appreciated it. It’s, you know, a lot of people told me that I was very warm and, like, that I’m very inviting and I make people feel comfortable which is, like, not something that I didn’t know but it was definitely something that I didn’t know came across so well. So, I did it! *laughs* I could pack it up; no more birthdays for me! *Simone chuckles*
On the subject of a roast, I did for our- one of the ideas that we debated for the 100th episode of BMA was a celebrity roast of Satan, which I still think is a funny enough idea that I might try to resurrect it in some form of media down the line. I just wanted to bring these up to point out that you know, these occasions they’re very much like our larger, more formal ritual gatherings only they are a little bit smaller, they need to be invitation-only, and sometimes they are a little bit more experimental, and, also, it just reminds people that, you know, ritual can be- does not necessarily have to be something that is a big to-do. Ritual can be something that is part of our more everyday lives and is something that we can engage in more casually, but, at the same time, it can still be gratifying for us and still give us an opportunity to express and exercise that side of ourselves that, maybe, ordinarily, we don’t get to let out as often as we would like.
Yeah, I mean, a ritual can be as simple as literally lighting a candle. Like, you have a candle that you, maybe, light while you’re getting ready in the morning, and you pick the candle, like, fragrance and look with intention and you, kind of, have that small observation that this is part of my getting ready for taking on the day, and that’s it. That’s, that’s a ritual. That counts. Not that you need to care about ‘counting’ to anybody else, but just so you know, something that’s small, that, that’s a ritual.
I also want to point out on the subject of birthdays, I think I have the same attitude about my birthday that Tabitha does, which is, on the one hand, I don’t really like to make a thing about it; I don’t like to be the center of that attention, but I do like some kind of acknowledgment on the date. It’s a very tricky medium to try to navigate. So, because my birthday is right before Walpurgisnacht, for several years running, I conspired to have all of our Walpurgisnacht rituals fall on my birthday so that I could draw attention to myself, but, by default, it would not be about me. *Simone chuckles* It was not my birthday party; it was just a party that we happen to be having on my birthday *chuckling* that we would have had anyway, but, nevertheless, unfortunately, the- because of the way the calendar works, that doesn’t work every year, but for about two or three years *Simone chuckles* there in a row, I managed to nail it.
Your birthday is, what, nine days after mine? Something like that?
Right there; yeah.
Yeah. I’m an Aries; you’re a Taurus. I think no one will be surprised by that. Yeah, I have the same kind of attitude where it’s, like, I don’t- I am not an ‘it’s my birthday month’ kind of gal. [I am heyyyy] I am a ‘hey, you want to get some dinner? It’s my birthday,’ kind of gal. Just, kind of, low key but also say nice things to me and give me a present.
I’m, uh, ‘oh, my birthday totally doesn’t matter and I don’t care anything about it until about, I don’t know, like, four hours before my birthday is over, and then I realize I haven’t done anything and I cry.’ *laughs* Because I mad-
-because I didn’t do anything for it. So, which is why I’m glad that, that- Daniel knows that I have this, sort of, proclivity and helps me by planning things for my birthday. *chuckles*
For example, this year, we spent Tabitha’s birthday at the DEVIL-ish Little Things Museum in Vancouver, Washington. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by there; we had a great time and- [it does look really cute]
*groaning* It was so much fun!
-I am drinking tea out of the satyr cup that I bought at the gift shop, at the gift shop right now.
Yeah, the DEVIL-ish Little Things Museum is an account that I found on Instagram- we’ll post the link in the show notes- but it is a museum dedicated to, like, tchotchkes with the Devil on it. I don’t believe the person who runs it is of any sort of particular religious affiliation, so they just have, like, postcards from, you know, the 19th century with the Devil on it and, like, matchbooks and little, you know, ceramics, and, I mean, what did you guys see when you were there?
Lots of ceramics, lots of ashtrays, and matchstick holders, and that sort of thing. Like, what’s cool about that Devil imagery, especially the stuff that she collects, is that it’s very much that, like, ‘oh, the Devil made me do it’ kind of stuff so it’s a lot of, like, vise, but in a gentle kind of a way, not treating it as something that you should be super ashamed of, but, like, you know, it’s there, so like smoking, drinking, gambling, that sort of thing.
Well, I’ll tell you what, we did ask the Patreon backers whether they wanted us to do a birthday show which would be on-brand for our program. Unfortunately, that one didn’t do great in the voting; people wanted episodes like the one you’re about to hear instead, but I still suspect we’ll revisit this topic again in the future and so we will have more occasions to plumb the significance of our particular days.
Yeah, I mean, as Anton LaVey said, the most important holidays are Walpurgisnacht, Halloween, and one’s own birthday, and while we don’t do everything that LaVey says that we should do, this one seems like it fits. This one is still fun. So, we’re just really into celebrating ourselves. I mean, we’ve talked about Pazuzu’s Blessings enough, which is sort of, like, a group celebration of everyone, but it is nice to have a special day to yourself. All right. And, so, perhaps if you neglected to send us a birthday card this year, you can make up for it by leaving a podcast review. Kind of, kind of the same. So, we’ve got a couple new reviews to read. Our first one comes from Geordi93, who says: “My favorite podcast! I’m late to the game and still catching up on old episodes, but I absolutely love this podcast. It’s the perfect mix of informative and funny and always pleasant to listen to.” Well, thank you, Geordi93.
You’re not late to the game; you show up exactly on time.
Yep, you’re just on time.
What’s it, what do they say in Lord of the Rings? ‘A wizard is never late. A wizard always arrives exactly when he means to.’
It’s that kind of thing.
So Geordi is a wizard, is my takeaway from this?
This would be a really weird way to get your Hogwarts letter.
Yeah, through Apple iTunes podcast reviews. You find it, like, fuckin’ six years too late. You can’t go to- well, does anyone want to go to Hogwarts anymore? I feel like we are, kind of, collectively, over it. [look, JKR is a fuckin’ TERF and I hate her, but…I’m still a Gryffindor!]
Yeah. *groaning noise* No.
I mean, I didn’t really want to go there in the first place just because, like- I don’t know, that place needs- what’s, what’s the equivalent of OSHA for students? It needs, it needs a firmer regulatory hand, *chuckles* you know?
Yeah; I’m also a little concerned about, like- did they learn math? [I’ll charm a calculator; fuck off!] *Daniel laughs* Like- you know, math is not my favorite subject-
-but I feel like it’s pretty useful.
They have Wizard Math.
Yeah, they always have wizard shit; like, their wizard science is potions. Well- do you still need to learn, like, physics?
Normal chemistry? Yeah, I don’t know.
I’ll go if I don’t have to do fractions. *giggles*
I feel like Hogwarts is not an accredited place of learning. Also, students die a lot. [*sob screaming* leave hogwarts alone!]
Oh, it’s like a charter school! *laughter*
See, there is a, like, Harry Potter knockoff series about where it, what- it’s, like, for college-aged kids; that makes a little more sense. That’s when you’re, like, like, that’s, that’s more of, like, the specialty career training phase of your life where it feels like magic.
Yeah, it makes more sense. *chuckles*
Is that The Magicians on Sci-Fi Channel?
I haven’t watched the show; I read one of the books. But, yeah, that’s what I had in mind.
Okay, I watched one of the episodes. It was all right.
My mom watched that whole series. I don’t know much about it other than the fact that there’s this weird squeaky noise in it that is supposed to be a significant- like, signifier of something, and it drove me crazy *giggling* because I would hear the TV and hear the noise and be, like, *groaning* ‘fucking magicians is on!’
Is this, sort of, like, when I watched the Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time and during the scenes set outdoors at the school, there’s always cicadas chirping, which, I guess, is a very common thing to hear at that time of year in Japan, but up- you’re, like, ‘the fuck is wrong with my speakers? Why?’ *Simone chuckles* It took me, it took me an episode or two to figure out that it was always during those scenes and then later to place what was there, but yeah, it’s, it was just this, this weird, mysterious bed spring noise that was driving me nuts! *Tabitha laughs* Anyway, that- we went far afield with that one; *chuckling* thank you very much Shorty93. *Tabitha laughs again*
All right, our next one comes from Michael Clew; how’s it goin’? He says, “I only listened to three podcasts, but BMA is my favorite. The hosts are fun, funny, smart, and make even the smallest of conversations fun. Even when talking about the Bible, or history, or Greece, *Tabitha giggles* this show is fun and the first thing I look for on Spotify every other week. I’ve been a loner all my life, a Satanist for just a few years. I got into Satanism through being an atheist, a metalhead, and studying everything I can. I’ve been a listener of BMA for about a year now and I’m always waiting for the next episode.”
Aww, thanks, Michael.
I’m kinda interested to know what the other two are, that you listen to- the other two podcasts.
I bet they’re about Greece.
And, also, Greece! *Tabitha giggles*
*giggling* That will never stop being funny.
Why are you doing this to me? *chuckles*
You deserve it. *giggles*
Yeah. You’ll never live this one down, Daniel. *Tabitha cackles*
You know, the people, people listen to the show out of order; a lot of them have no idea what we’re on about.
I don’t remember what episode it was.
I feel like we can have one joke. Can we have one, like, inside joke? *giggles*
We have, we have plenty of inside jokes because we have: ‘I have two points.’
Oh, I guess there’s Stinky Tony, too.
Stinky Tony. I’m sure our listeners can let us know about the other ones. Like, if there was a BMA drinking game, what would the rules be? Like, don’t- I saw someone say, like, we- that we say ‘cathartic’ too much, so maybe *don’t* put that one in there because you’ll probably get alcohol poisoning.
I stopped saying it as much because of that. *chuckles*
I don’t remember hearing that criticism. It might be true, but I don’t really remember that one coming up very often. Certainly, if it has, it’s been a while.
Mostly in context of talking about ritual, and it wasn’t necessarily a criticism; it was just more of an observation. Anywho, thank you to Michael and Geordi for leaving those reviews. We really appreciate the time that anyone takes to, to leave us some feedback like that. And, something else that we appreciate are the folks who are contributing to our Patreon! Our Patreon is the sole means by which we, you know, finance this show and also some of the works of Satanic Bay Area, so we have some new contributors to thank. First, we have Lyra Spellman, then Nina Hellwitch, FreeThinker215, Kisa, and PA2.
And, when you back the Patreon, you don’t just get a ‘thank you,’ you also get certain bonuses like being able to decide what future episodes are going to be about. The reason why you’re listening to this show right now is because the Patreon backers voted for it. Now, I was a little less specific when putting the poll together. I talked- I said this was an episode going to be about religious superstitions, about blood, and about menstruation, specifically. I was hedging there because I wasn’t really sure whether I’d find enough good menstrual-specific material to fill out an entire episode, but you know what? We did. And, here we are. All because, you, the Patreon backers- I don’t want to say demanded it, but you definitely supported it.
I just feel, like, I want to do like a PBS, like, *imitating that PBS advert voice, i call it a secretary voice* ‘thanks to listeners like you, we’re bringing you exclusive programming like…*starts laughing* how menstruation is tied to the Devil!’
*chuckling* I was gonna be, like, *metal roaring that divulges into laughing*
I just imagine, like, one of those, like, nice, kind of, like, older women in, kind of, like, a flowy purple kaftan, on your local PBS affiliate with her, sort of, slightly out of date but made an attempt [with] their hairstyle, some chunky jewelry, maybe some glasses, maybe not, but then they’re just, like, *secretary voice* ‘and now we bring you *metal scary voice* Satannn!’
I’m laughing- like, like, like, you’re joking, but that would make a great PBS special. I also find it very interesting that that’s the image you have of PBS. Whereas, I think, like, PBS has a great YouTube channel; they have a very, very savvy presentation there. Emily Zarka has an excellent folklore show, and I would love to have her on our show one of these days. Maybe we should try to find a pitch for that, but I guess for most people, the PBS image is, perhaps, a few decades in arrears *laughing* of what I’m talking about now.
Well, when I think about PBS programming, like, I think about what I could watch on, like, my various apps these days and skip the televised, you know, broadcast version of PBS, but when I was a kid, you’d maybe turn on PBS to see, like, the end of a Fleetwood Mac Live in Concert thing, and then it would slide into some Ken Burns documentary, and in between would be the be-kaftaned older woman who would make the plea for you to call now with your donation so you can get the six CD set of Tower of Power, or whatever the fuck.
*chuckling* Now I’m picturing, like, a Ken Burns war documentary, except it’s about the War in Heaven and you get these *Simone gasps* very dramatic black and white-
-black and white photos. These fallen angels-
-have very dramatic and grave expressions as you pan over the stills.
Ohhhhh, I love that idea so much! You know, so, the show Community had its heyday. I didn’t finish watching the show because it, like, went to Yahoo for some reason, [it did get kind of weird; the earlier seasons are better] but one of the things I liked about that show was they would do these parody episodes that were absolutely, perfectly observed. There was an episode where they ate a Law and Order episode, and I used to just be obsessed with that show, and they got it down to the camera movements. Like, it was perfect, and they did one episode that was, like, a take on Ken Burns’s Civil War, but it was the students having a pillow fight with each other, [honestly one of the best episodes] and it was so good and now, now, now I have ideas for more projects that I just don’t have time for, but someone out there does.
Story my life.
You know, I only ever watch, I only ever watched one episode of Community and that was because somebody specifically recommended the D&D episode to me-
Oh yeah, mmhmm.
-been a lot of sitcoms previously that had done, like, jokes about D&D, but it was, it was very obvious they were by people who’d never played the game.
Somebody told me this one is pretty spot on and I sat down and watched it. I’m, like, ‘yes. This is pretty much exactly what playing D&D is like,’ *Simone laughs* except Chevy Chase is not usually being a dick at your game, although if he was, you know, that would, at least, be a story for later, so that was great television. Speaking of which, it has been a very long time since we did a D&D episode of this show and I am always trying to come up with a topic, a- more specific topics so that we can revisit that because that was a very early episode for us, so something to think about.
You know, didn’t they recently change some of the structures to release some of the fantasy race stereotypes? You know what I’m saying?
Yeah, there has been some chatter, but I haven’t followed it very closely. I, I- but, but, yeah, there was a lot of talk from the current developers about toning down the, the traditional D&D conventions of certain monsters always behaving in certain ways and, like, stigmatizing certain kinds of creatures and societies. There is some baggage that that game inherited from say, like, the, the 20th-century fantasy sources it was based on that is not necessarily great.
Well, you know, because we talk about, you know, old, like, old D&D, you know, Satanic Panic era and before D&D, but what is the modern Satanist playing on their tabletops these days? What’s the modern D&D like?
That’s not a bad idea. It also occurs to me that just, like, the specific topic of demons and devils in D&D, which are separate things in the, in the game, it’s, like, that’s, that was a roller coaster over the, over the 50, almost 50-year history of this game. Like, there have been a lot of ins, and, outs and, controversies over how those creatures are depicted and what they mean, so maybe that is something worth examining one of these days. Anyway, food for thought.
Okay, well, we’re going to take a break, find our dice, roll for initiative, and then we’re gonna come back with the news.
Black Mass Appeal 21:38
*interlude music plays*
*old-timey breaking news doots*
And, those doots mean it’s time for the news! Today, we are reading from SFGate, “A Little-known Satanic Rally, held in [80s] San Francisco, Foretold 2021’s Obsession with Conspiracy.” “The Church of Satan’s last gasp in the mainstream arrived in San Francisco on August 8, 1988-” Woo, just went right for it! *chuckles* I appreciate it. “Signs plastered outside of the Strand Theater in San Francisco…branded the sold-out, tightly packed show as ‘A Bitter Message of Hopeless Grief,’ ‘A Nightmare of TERROR!,’ and ‘An Evening of Apocalyptic Delight!’…The most explicit goal of the rally- an experimental music concert-slash-Satanists congregation-slash-promotional event- was to commemorate, nay, celebrate the murders of actress Sharon Tate, LA power couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, and three others nineteen years prior by the [Charles] Manson family. [sweet Satan, what assholes] In conjunction with the rally was the premiere of a film about Manson. To the collective, the killing was a symbolic end of the Summer of Love- the end of free love and hippie culture and a return to order, stratification and the emergence of their power. It was an extension of not just Manson’s will, but of the Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey’s legacy. Held in the throes of the Satanic Panic, amid fears of secret Satanists embedding themselves in schools and day cares abusing and sacrificing children in the name of the [Devil], the rally seemingly exploited these worries…’For us, the [60s] were a decade of corruption, a final culmination of Judeo-Christian rottenness,’ says [musician Boyd] Rice, who at the time was based out of San Francisco. ‘The [60s] were murdered, but its vestiges remained. We must annihilate its traces, branch and root, we must purge them from our life, and purge them from life itself. This is our sacred duty.’…This rally was repetitive, ritualized, the culmination of years of ‘youth rallies’ staged throughout California by [Church of Satan’s Nick] Schreck and Radio Werewolf, the collective named after the propaganda outlet made by Joseph Goebbels towards the end of World War II. Texas State religious studies professor Joseph Laycock-” Friend of the show. “-told SFGate that this ‘flirtation’ with Nazism was engineered to rile up as many people as possible regardless of political ideology or religious beliefs. ‘This experiment with adopting fascist tropes and iconography to make Satanism seem scary and provocative again,’ he told SFGate. The Nazi dog whistles are there: the Wolfsangel symbol, an ancient German insignia appropriated by the Nazis and then American neo-Nazi groups, printed on the flags; the rally was held on [8-8-88], an overt deployment of 88- or ‘Heil Hitler’ among neo-Nazis. These exaltations of Nazism and Masonite ideologies, Laycock explained, was likely an attempt to elevate the Church of Satan to the pantheon of these two hate movements in the public hive mind…When asked by an interviewer about the rally’s evocations of Nazi Germany, Rice replied, ‘What appeals to us about the SS or the Nazis and what we feel we have in common with its order, bringing things back to order.’ He went so far as to liken Hitler to an ‘occultist trying to bring about a pagan revival.'” [holy shit, fuck COS, just another reason to hate them!] Uhhh, fuck these guys. That’s what I got to say about that.
What the fuck?! Ser- like, fucking seriously? Like, I didn’t think it could get worse.
Now, of course, this is a, you know, truncated version; the article is much longer and pretty interesting. So, we’ll be linking to that in the show notes and you should check it out.
Now, the reason why this SFGate writer is bringing this topic up now is because the piece goes on to suggest that the sort of reaction that the Church of Satan was trying to procure for themselves at the time was actually not that dissimilar to the conspiracy panic that we’re actually seeing now. It was kind of an attempt to touch those nerves, to provoke that response intentionally, and then, I guess, almost, as pointed out here, almost, you could call it, a satire of the Satanic Panic in those days. One thing that I should mention here, is Nick Schreck, who is the husband of Zeena LaVey Schreck, and was, was the frontman for Radio Werewolf there was in a weird position because I do not believe he was ever technically a member of the Church of Satan, but because he was the husband of Zeena as she served as spokesperson, and he would often make media appearances with her, he was a, kind of, a de facto spokesperson for them as well, even though he was never actually, I believe, appointed to that, to that job. Which is not helpful because he would often say dumbass things that made the situation worse. Case in point: footage from this rally appeared on the infamous Geraldo special in what was that? 88? So, *chuckles* just always making things worse was Nick at the time it seemed, so really, really odd spot that he found himself in.
Can I just say one thing?
*Shrek voice* Donkay!
*laughing* His last name’s Shrek!
Oh, my god! Oh!
*laughing so hard she snorts*
Well, I mean, I guess that’s about the level of seriousness that he deserves.
*Shreck voice* Donkay.
You know, if you’ve ever seen a picture of this dude, especially in the 80s, he looks like if you took Herman Munster and Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins and you put them in that teleporter pod from The Fly-
*laughing* What the fuck?
-he’s what would, he’s what would come out the other end. *laughs* Sorry, just, you know, the Shrek thing, you know, put my mind on it. *Simone laughs* Anyway, sorry. Where were we? Oh, yeah, this weird Nazi rally that the Church of Satan held in San Francisco in 1988 for seemingly no reason. The fuck is up with that? It’s strange; they are *very* defensive about decrying any sort of association with that vibe today, but all you have to do is look at- it’s, like, so they were just put, they were putting it right out there trying to make it as unambiguous as possible just a generation ago.
I mean, we see this again later, like, thinking about Marilyn Manson had some Nazi imagery in his *fake fancy art voice, definitely is doing finger quotes* performance art and it’s so fucking tired and juvenile to me to try and be, like, an edgelord, like, ‘Oh, I’m, I’m just pretending to be a Nazi. I’m just trying to shock people with Nazi associations.’ And it’s, like, so what else you got? You got the shock. Great. What the fuck else you got? What are you doing here? What’s your message? Like, and the fact that they, generally, don’t have one, it just leaves it empty and leaves it open to being interpreted as, ‘well then, then you are supporting the Nazi message; you got, you got nothing else for me,’ and it’s so fucking stupid, and I hate it, and I don’t- I’m not trying to be, like, humorless here, but I don’t think this shit’s funny. So, I’m just, I’m not here for this.
It’s not even shocking anymore. Like, I don’t know-
-like, yeah, it’s very tired, and I feel like it was tired back then. Maybe it wasn’t; I mean, I guess people were really into that kind of stuff. [historian here: Nazism, at least in San Francisco, in the 80s was definitely still something that people talked about and were concerned about resurfacing as a repeat of WWII. Just look at leather daddies and people were all over those guys about whether or not they were Nazis]
I mean, ’88, I was five, so I don’t really know.
I’m sorry. I was thinking of, like, Marilyn Manson. Like-
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
-people were really into that sort of thing at the time. But, yeah, I just- *sighs* it’s never served me any. I don’t, I don’t feel like we need to dip into such horrifying ideologies to get a rise out of people. [true dat]
He kind of suggests that your Satanism aesthetic is perhaps failing you if you feel that you have to find something more horrifying to provoke people with, so there’s that. Two things come to mind. One, is, over the last year and a half, I have *frequently* alluded to Ruben van Luijk’s book Children of Lucifer- great read- and he proposed a very interesting hypothesis about old Anton LaVey during the 80s. He said that LaVey liked to appeal to this, sort of, angry, dissident, white supremacist, youth subculture, not necessarily because he was a Nazi, but because he perceived those young men as, sort of, spiritually impoverished and hungry and looking for identity, and he thought, perhaps, he could lure them away from the perceived relative shallowness of that subculture into, what he would characterize, as the more, as the deeper profundity of his culture instead. [that’s some cult shit right there, I tell ya what.] At the same time, van Luijk points out that it is not a coincidence that he was appealing to groups that shared the same sorts of far and extreme right politics that he himself had been preaching for many decades, and as we know from his later books, like Satan Speaks and The Devil’s Notebook, [in] which he became even more aggressively ingrained in as he aged and as he, sort of, left that 60s mindset behind, during which he was, actually, comparably a little bit more mellow. So, that is a, surprisingly, nuanced and insightful probing of his motivations of at the time and that of the institution to which he was, although no longer the outgoing public face, is still the head of. Which brings me to an interesting question of: I find it very fascinating that the Church of Satan would *never* do this today. They would *never* in a million- they would come down on this so hard, it will leave a crater where the Strand Theater is. By the way, the Strand Theater, these days, is a playhouse; very beautiful building. And, I wonder why that is because, you’ll remember, a big part of their ethos is they are supposed to be completely invincible to public disapproval and the opinions of the little people, so why is it that they’re- what changes their culture? Maybe, *chuckling* it’s just that all of the Nazis left; for example, you know, people like Zeena and Boyd Rice are no longer part of the Church of Satan. Zeena, also, by the way, as she, as she got older, said, ‘Yeah, this was a mistake.’ She’s- it’s not a period of her life she’s proud of-
Yeah, no shit.
-for a variety of reasons, so better late than never, I guess. That’s one possibility. However, I strongly suspect that no matter what the doctrine is, that the influences of political correctness, as they would call it, are working just as steadily on this institution, for whatever degree we can call it an institution in this day and age, as on anybody else, regardless of how vociferously they would deny that, and I think we can see the evidence of that right here. Because, again, not only would they never do this today, they like- this is not a reference that usually- they bury this pretty deep. Which is not to say that I do not think there are probably still some latent white supremacists and latent white supremacy within, you know, that particular culture. In fact, it’s- probably don’t have to dig very hard to find it. Again, it’s just, it’s kind of right there in The Satanic Bible; the sources for it, anyway. But, nevertheless, again, I still feel like, at the very least, the PR approach is radically different than once it was. Really not all that long ago, so that is intriguing.
Yeah, just- even if they try and distance themselves from it later and say it was just for shock value, or it’s just, like, an aesthetic, or whatever, and they don’t actually support Nazi thought, but you put Nazi shit out there and you’re gonna attract Nazis! So, I hope no one was shocked when, you know, you go to your next- well, I don’t fucking know – your next grotto *definitely doing finger quotes* shindig, or whatever, and there’s a bunch of fucking Nazis there, and you’re, like, *in dumb fancy voice* ‘Oh, well, how did we get all these Nazis? Maybe it’s a Nazi rally, we put on? Hmm.’
You know, I can’t remember what the name of their annual event is slash was, but that is an interesting point of the argument that it’s all for shock value. It’s, like, well, it’s definitely not any less shocking today. In fact, it would be even more so if you did it now, so again, it is telling that nobody’s doing it now. Not that I’m complaining that they’re not, but, again, when trying to suss out why *chuckles* these approaches changed and are different, you know, I don’t know. Again, it’s, it’s telling. I guess this does explain one thing, which is, I never really understood, there are certain older Satanists who had this weird preoccupation with Charles Manson, and I just did not get it. I mean, a lot of people have [a] preoccupation with Charles Manson. You know, it’s, it’s not necessary- you know, it’s a big touchstone in Boomer, Baby Boomer history, and then, of course, like, people dig true crime, but there was always something else going on there. Here, I guess, this idea of Manson as the antithesis of the 60s flower child movement; that sort of makes sense. Also, there was an interesting conversation was going on in a Satanic Temple religious- what’s the word I’m looking for? Service! Service, the other day we’re talking about how some people apparently, like, championed Manson as, like, a weird- they felt that the way that he had been vilified as this, sort of, supernatural super villain who had this evil mind control power over people was exaggerated and stupid, and so they would end up into, kind of, became partisans of his, but for the purposes of downplaying that imagery, and I thought to myself, I’ve actually never heard anybody talk about that before. The person, by the way, talking about this felt that that was foolish approach, but, nevertheless, it was, at least, one that had never been brought up before and, at least, explained, again, some people’s preoccupation with that, so that at least was a little bit of insight. Still, I don’t know. Ooof, this one. What, what can you even say about it?
Yeah, throw it out! LaVey may not have been there, I’m assuming, but it still stinks!
And in general.
And of, like, Nazi cheese-
-which I’m sure is a thing.
Well, I’m just gonna be like Jay Sherman from The Critic and say, ‘It stinks!’
Nazism stinks; you heard it here first, people. *laughter*
Okay, well, for other profundities, please stick around for our main topic. Until then, we’re gonna go ahead and we’re going to take a break.
Black Mass Appeal 36:36
*interlude music plays*
Ever since we were old enough to learn about the birds and the…Beelzebubs, most people have accepted monthly menstruation as a fact of life, but when it comes to religion, superstition, and folklore, a lot of folks throughout history have been seeing red about these bodily basics. To help us examine the turgid taboos and devilish dynamics that malign menstruation, we’re joined by Dana Marlowe, CEO and founder of I Support the Girls. Dana, thanks for joining us on Black Mass Appeal.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here today.
Well, just for our listeners who may not be familiar with the organization, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and I Support the Girls?
Sure. So, my name is Dana Marlowe and my pronouns are she/her. I’m based in the Washington DC area. And, six years ago, after exercising and changing some of my eating habits, I wound up losing 35 pounds, and I know that that’s not where you thought this story was necessarily going, but after that kind of weight loss, my body changed shape and I needed some new clothing, as well as new bras, and I went shopping at a store for some new bras and while I was there, I asked this perfectly lovely sales associate- stranger to me- what I could do with my perfectly good, but no longer fitting me, bras. And, what she said, basically changed the course of my life and led me here today to chat with Black Mass Appeal, and what she said was four words. She said, “homeless women need bras.”
And, I’m gonna bring us over to periods in just a second, *chuckles* I promise, but with the ‘homeless women need bras,’ and I- it made me realize I’d never thought about that and I’m somebody who donates a fair amount of products, and upcycles, and shares items all the time, but I had never opened up my bra drawer- and I am a person who chooses to wear bras, sometimes- and I never donated them, and so, she kind of opened my eyes that day. I got home and looked online for a homeless shelter near me and the first one I called in Washington DC, when I offered them, you know, 16 perfectly good sports bras and regular bras, they said, ‘How soon can you bring them here? We never have bras and we need them desperately.’
Yeah. And, I said, ‘Well, I don’t know what I don’t know, so what else do you all need? Because if I can bring you some bras, I’m happy to contribute in another way.’ And, the guy on the other end of the line said, ‘Well, if you’re willing, maxi pads and tampons,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ He said, ‘They’re not covered by food stamps; they’re not even a line item on our budget. We can’t afford them. Nobody donates them. And, we have a massive population of our clients who menstruate, so if you’re willing, that would be great.’ So, I put it out on my Facebook page and just, kind of, informed folks that I was going to be doing this collection drive of new and gently used bras, and sealed menstrual hygiene products, and would donate them two weeks later. So, this was July of 2015. So, basically, that means you should never trust me on projects and deadlines. *laugher* Because, here we are, right, six years later, and, originally- again, when I decided that- people were calling it ‘Dana’s Bra Project,’ but I decided it needed a little bit of a- I needed to move it off of my Facebook page; it wasn’t about me, and all these folks were generously donating products and it needed another, catchier name, so I went with the double entendre with support, ‘I Support the Girls.’ And, just for folks to know, we also support an enormous amount of trans and non-binary communities, as well, [yesss, women aren’t the only people who menstrate!] but when this was originally starting, this is just, kind of, the historical elements of six years ago. So, I created the Facebook page for I Support the Girls because we were supporting women and girls, and a lot of bras, as well as menstrual products, and the first donation was over 1000 bras and over 7100 menstrual products; pads, tampons, liners, and menstrual cups. [snaps for dana!]
Now, when people heard about this project, what is their response to it? [Did] they have the same reaction as you of- was, which was, ‘I don’t know what I don’t know,’ which is a great way to put it, because you mentioned prior to this starting recording that you had worked with some Satanist groups who do administration drives across the country and one of the big points that they often raise is: why menstruation? Because this is a thing that is overlooked; it is, you know, millions of people need these basic necessities but we don’t treat them as basic necessities. Do you find that when the topic comes up, people have that same response? They say, ‘Oh, I never thought about that?’
Completely. Yeah, so it still surprises me, after six years, how frequently people are genuinely and earnestly shocked when we talk about how in-demand period products are and how hard they are to come by for various populations of folks. And, yeah, it just kind of snowballed; so, my, my 16 bras then ultimately became- I started a nonprofit and my inbox had exploded, the media was very kind and has been very kind to us and our topic, and we’ve just worked on really, like, advocacy and raising awareness. But, my 16 bras, is now- we’ve donated over 15.1 million products. [snapsssss]
Yeah, thanks. Yeah, whoahhh! I mean-
Woahhhh! *laughs* That’s amazing!
Yeah, 15 million products. And, it was, like- you know, if I could describe what my basement and my house look like for months and months of- my dining room was filled with, like, maxi pad mountains and my kids- they were much younger than- were, like, stacking the square packaging of tampon boxes like towers, like Lego sets. Like, as high as they could. And, bras were, just, everywhere in my house. We’ve grown a lot and became an official nonprofit, and have a board of directors, and what we realized is the problem around period poverty is everywhere. It’s not just in my area here, or in the Bay Area, or in any select cities; it truly is everywhere. And, we now have 59 affiliates, which are like chapters, if you will, from, like, I Support the Girls Dallas to I Support the Girls Chicago to I Support the Girls, you know, Orlando, and we’re International and we have I Support the Girls in the Philippines, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, and Canada, as well as all over the US, so we’ve grown and we do an enormous amount when it comes to just talking about periods to break taboos to, like, try and crush the stigma around menstruation since half the population will have, does have, or has had a period.
Taboos and stigma. Well, that is definitely something we’re going to be talking about today. *chuckles*
Yes, and so-
I’m here for it.
Well, before we dive in, just a quick disclaimer, a content warning for our listeners. You know, some of the resources that we use do have gendered language, as has already been recognized. We know that more than women menstruate. There are, you know, trans folk, non-binary folk, just generally, people who menstruate. And, then, also, some of our sources will- well, you’ll, you’ll see- have a smack of misogyny and, also, anti-Semitism, so, you know, please just be aware that that might be coming down the pipe with some of our resources, here.
Weird how that last one keeps sneaking in whenever we’re talking about-
-historical beliefs about the Devil. Also, I guess I should mention upfront- so, this particular episode was my idea, although it was voted for by our backers on Patreon- thank you very much to all those Patreon unfaithful listeners out there- and the reason why I proposed this in the first place is because, you know, I think longtime listeners know *laughs* my favorite episodes are the ones where I just get to talk about the weird shit that otherwise I can only work into conversations with Tabitha, who’s very patient with me. But, if you go back to say, Episode 82, where we talked about the history of witchcraft or you go back to the Highgate episode, those are good examples of episodes with lots of weird stuff. Over the years of doing this program, I’ve noticed that there is a certain theme that sometimes emerges with the weird stuff. It’s not the most common theme, but you definitely notice it, and you definitely remember it, and after a while, I realized we could do an entire show about this. Which, from there, it was almost inevitable that I would say, ‘we should do an entire show about this,’ and enough other people that agreed with me, that here we are. So, on a scale of one to ten, what’s the- Simone, Tabitha, what do you think’s the weirdest show we’ve previously done? What would be the ten? Anything come to mind?
That is a good question. I don’t know. I feel like our show takes topics that seem kind of mundane and dives in more deeply- because I’m thinking about our goats episode. Like, we did a whole episode on, on cute little goats *chuckles* and why people associate them with the Devil. So, again, I think this is, kind of, like, actually, it’s, it’s a mundane thing, menstruation. I mean, a lot of people do it literally every day, and yet, if you go further into history, there’s, like, a weird history to it, so I kind of think that any one of our topics could have gone this way. So, I wasn’t really surprised when this topic was, was brought up as a possibility.
I’m, like, ‘yeah, all that tracks.’
I guess- so in that sense, if goats were, like, a five or a six on how weird the topic is and our human sacrifice episode *chuckles* was, like, a nine, this is gonna be at least a nine. Just, just gonna put that out there. *chuckles*
That sounds fair. Alright, well, let’s get into the weird. So, we have a bunch of resources to get through. Why don’t we go ahead and let’s have Tabitha read our first one here.
*in a dramatic voice* And, here we have, from “The Taboo of Menstruation” by Janie Hampton from Aeon: “The ancient Greeks believed that if a girl’s menarche [Tab pronounces it ‘man-arch’]-“, [Men-arch]? *giggles*
[prounounces it menarsh; it’s spelled menarche] [continues but I can’t make out what she’s saying]
Oh, I really like that. I’ve never heard that before and I’m a big fan of it.
It’s the first onset of somebody’s menstruating.
Ohhhhh, okay. And, yeah.”The ancient Greeks believed that if a girl’s menarche was late, blood would accumulate around her heart, and her uterus would wander around her body.” Fair enough. *laughs*
*laughing* Fair enough. “This could produce erratic behavior, from violent swearing to suicidal depression. Right into the 20th century, any inappropriate behavior or mental health in women was termed hysteria, after the Greek word for ‘uterus.’ Pliny the Elder, who died in 79CE, warned: ‘If a woman strips herself naked while she is menstruating, and walks around a field of wheat, the caterpillars, worms, beetles, and other vermin, will fall from the ears of corn…bees will forsake their hives if touched by a menstruous woman…linen boiling in the cauldron will turn black, the edge of the razor will become blunted.’ [metal] But then he also believed that drinking the blood of a gladiator would cure epilepsy…In medieval times, it was believed that if a man’s penis touched menstrual blood, it would burn up, [sounds like a you problem, fellas] and any child conceived during menstruation would be possessed by the Devil, deformed or red-haired.” [also metal]
Simone and Tabitha together 49:39
*scoffs* “A woman with a heavy menstrual flow was advised to bind the hair from an animal’s head [onto] a young tree. If this failed, she could drink comfrey or nettle tea, while reciting numerical formulae; or she could find a toad, burn it dry, and put its ashes in a pouch around her waist.” *sighs*
That is, there’s a lot going on, a lot going on here.
What, what did I just say? *laughter* About the weirdness? *more laughter and giggling*
On the one hand, Pliny the Elder- I’m trying to figure out if Pliny was saying that people who are menstruating are a good pest control? I’m trying to figure if that was a positive spin because, well, then, apparently, bees don’t like it very much. *Tabitha is still giggling* And, also, I- you know, *sighs* if only I had been conceived during menstruation then I wouldn’t have to spend this money on maintaining red hair. That would have been great. Thank you, Mom and Dad. *giggling*
I don’t know. I’m, I’m a little bit stuck on the wandering uterus concept. *laughter*
*laughing* I fucking love it. It’s, like, oh, oh, I think I filled up with blood. *laughter*
I’m just more, like, ‘I was at the store, and then my uterus came out, and then wandered into the candy aisle by itself, and I had to go get it. *giggling* There’s a whole thing you know, but- I mean, if my uterus wandered, that’s probably where it would go.
That’s what the tubes are for; they’re like a leash. *Tabitha laughs* I- okay, so we’ll be here all night if we delve into every weird detail, but I’ve got- so, this thing about the wandering uterus; I will say, if I had an organ of any significance wandering around my body like that, I think that would produce some erratic behavior. Yes, that is a reasonable conclusion. The premise is questionable, but the conclusion, I think, is pretty sound. There’s this bit here, ‘if a woman who is menstruating, strips naked, and wanders around a field of wheat;’ go check on her. Like, just, just check-in. That feels like, that feels, like, maybe a little attention- like, maybe, maybe the wheat is not, should not be your first concern in that circumstance; I’m just gonna put that out there.
So, is this, is this a bad time to say that that sounded pretty normal to me? *Daniel bursts out laughing* Like, swap out wheat for. like, you know, like a cornfield.
*chuckling* Uh, well-
Well, I was, I was just gonna say it sounds like a very fancy, you know, perfume ad with someone’s hands, like, gently grazing the wheat and the naked form just kind of popping in and out of view with some, you know, really cool music over it, so I’m actually, like, into it.
*in like a new york accent* And bleeding fucking everywhere! *laughter*
This bit about how a man’s penis would burn up at the touch of menstrual blood; that one would have been easy to test and I guarantee a lot of people did, so I question how widely this myth actually traveled. And, finally, this bit about ‘possessed by the Devil, *chuckles* deformed, or red-haired.’ One of these things is not like the other- what is going on? I, I- we have the same-
Well, I’m thinking- I’m pretty much two for three on that one. *Daniel laughs*
I’m saying, like, like, we have the same formula here at the end of the graph, where it’s, like, ‘bind the hair from an animal onto a tree, or drink tea, or burn a toad.’ *Tabitha starts giggling* It’,s like, I- it’s good to have options, I guess.
Poor toad. That toad didn’t do nothin’ to nobody.
Well, so, the point is, is that there are so many bananas myths around menstruation that just seem completely out of left field when, you know, what actually happens is a very, very mundane, biological thing. So, just, just lucky, I guess, to be a menstruator, here.
Continuing: “In 1878, letters to the British Medical Journal claimed that menstruating women would cause bacon to putrefy…”
I would never!
What do you- I mean, where are you putting the bacon?
Also, why did I say that out loud? *fake vomits* Okay. *laughs* “…and in 1916 the medical registrar Sir Raymond Crawford wrote that farmers still believed that menstruating women would prevent milk from turning to butter, or hams to cure. The pediatrician Bela Schick [1977-1967] believed that menstruating woman released plant-destroying substances called ‘menotoxins’ through their skin.” [again, this is all *so metal*] Isn’t that from Star Wars? That- no that’s Medichlorians. *laughs*
*laughing* “In 1919, he ‘proved’ it by asking women to arrange cut flowers. Sure enough, the flowers arranged by menstruating women died sooner. This claim was repeated in The Lancet in 1974, with the addition [that] a permanent wave would not ‘take’ to a woman’s hair during menstruation. As recently as 1980, I was told by a farmer’s wife in Shropshire that if a menstruating woman touched meat it would go rancid.” [honestly, i *wish* i could do shit like this while menstruating!]
Okay, now, *sighs* I am, sadly, reminded of some of the things I’ve seen on social media lately in regards to people who are afraid that vaccinated people will somehow shed disease onto them and then get them sick with the Coronavirus through their…shedded vaccine…germies? Anyway-
-about as rational as, as any one of these. Yeah, take any kind of fear of the unknown, any kind of out-group that one other group may want to ostracize, to make these absolutely bizarre, unprovable claims seems to be a common thread.
So, of course, it is interesting that we start with ancient superstitions and move up through well into the 80s. Dana, do you ever run into any oddball menstruation myths in your work today? Because, I’m guessing, unfortunately, they have probably not gone away.
Um, you know, people, people chat with me all the time about periods, but as far as them sharing- I mean, these are pretty wackadoodle, guys. Like, this is, like, I mean, *Simone laughs* there’s a scientific study that the flowers died quickly be, from the, their group of women who were menstruating? I, I don’t, I haven’t had, actually, in the six years that everyone and anybody will talk to me about periods, I haven’t had anybody sharing some of *these* myths. I have had lots of other, other ways to say ‘periods,’ so that you don’t have to say the word, or even the word period, actually, so that you don’t have to stay menstruation, and some of those have come out of left field that I haven’t heard of. But, I haven’t heard any, like, meat purification, *Simone laughs* dead flowers, or, like, vermin and beetles falling off ears of corn, so these are, these are all new for me.
Well, that’s a relief. So, I have coveted the opportunity to share this next anecdote on the show for so many years, and, by the way, if you knew me socially around 2017 or 2018, I definitely brought this up if the occasion presented itself. So, here is from a site, here’s from a blog called “Mythological Girls: Jahi” by Devon Allen at Museum of Girls. Museum of Girls [is] the site; “Mythological Girls” is the blog. [the site is actually Girl Museum, COME ON DANIEL GAWD] Devon Allen is the author; there, we’ve diagrammed that citation for you. “Zoroastrianism originated in Iran approximately 3500 years ago, with Ahura Mazda as its central deity…Jahi was believed to be the demonic personification of lasciviousness and debauchery…Both Iranian and Persian texts refer to her as a variation of the words courtesan and libertine, making her out to be a sexual deviant. She was said to encourage men to do evil deeds, whilst also being influential in the defilement of women which was believed to result in their monthly menstruation cycles…Jahi is shown as raising Angra Mainyu-” Longtime listeners know we’ve talked about Angra Mainyu, or Arman, as the sort of Zoroastrian Persian Devil and *possibly* a common root for the later apocalyptic Jewish and Christian Satan character, although academics will argue about that. Nevertheless, [Daniel does quite a bit of paraphrasing here, so I sort of corrected it a bit to actually match the text he’s quoting] “…Jahi is shown [as] raising Angra Mainyu from his slumber…[His] prior battles with Ahura Mazda…[had] sent him [to this slumber]…Angra Mainyu had resisted all prior attempts [to wake him], but he was roused from impotence by [Jahi]…On waking he defiled her with a kiss…[that was] believed to have afflicted Jahi with a monthly menstruation cycle, starting the pattern for women around the world. Together…they set to work on making an evil presence throughout the [world.]” I was *so* fascinated and enamored by this myth when I came on it, I think, by accident, lo those many years ago, and I absolutely loved Jahi and I’m kind of disappointed that there’s not more imagery and myth of her to refer to in terms of what her name means. It’s been translated a lot of different ways. Oftentimes, she is compared to a sex worker, but I’ve come to find out that really, it can also mean, say, an older woman, a witch, really any- a rude or glib woman- really, any woman who is, like, *chuckling* ill-behaved and is disrupting the situation is essentially what Jahi’s name boils down to, and I love it. I love that so much. I am, I am, I am so, so taken with this story, and, of course, naturally, they’re going to try, they’re going to pin this basic bodily function on her and, really, in a way, it seems, like, that is, maybe, the root of this myth is that, that is, is that she is, sort of, the, the personification of the menstrual process. Has anybody else ever heard this story, *chuckling* except when I bring it up because I brought it, brought it up? *laughter*
Uh, can’t say that I have. But, this brought to mind the euphemism for menstruation; you know, *definitely doing air quotes* ‘the curse.’ Because, in this story, it seems that it’s a curse upon her as some sort of, you know, punishment for waking him up, and it is always fascinating to hear the mythological, kind of retro, backstories that people would make up to explain biological functions that also position them as curses. Stuff like this, stuff like pain during childbirth in, you know, the Christian tradition. And, don’t get me wrong, menstruating has its downsides. It can suck. A lot. [understatment of the century] But, a curse? That’s not the first thing that, that my mind would go to. [idk, sometimes it feels like a curse…]
Well, I guess I should hasten to point out that my understanding is that the- this is actually supposed to be a reward to Jahi because being demons that get, like, inverse, Cenobite [I think this is what Daniel’s saying? the like monsters from Hellraiser?]logic about what is positive or negative, but it’s supposed to be-
Ok, becuase it, it said he defiled her, which I just took to mean the negative.
Right, but she would like defilement is kind of the point. *chuckles*
Ok, well, I, I dig that.
But, it’s supposed to be, it’s supposed to be a curse for everyone else, and so, really, the takeaway from this myth is this idea of menstruation as a disease or as a pollutant- which we’re going to see in another source coming up, unfortunately- so, that is, that’s the theme that, I think, emerges from this.
Dana, what do you think?
I would say, I mean, just to go off on the- instead of it being, right, such a neg- like, in such a negative light- although, I can wax poetic about the all of the things that make menstruation really, really tricky, and hard, and unpleasant, and challenging-
Right; there’s also a lot of positives, [there are? news to me lolz] but one of the things that I think, like, legislators in the US have- in 27 US states that still have, is, is a luxury tax, right? Or, a tampon tax. But, I haven’t found anyone to say that tampons or periods are luxurious. [for realz] *Simone chuckles* So, I kind of feel like that goes a little bit along with your, you know, like, if this was supposed to be something good, like, you know, and luxurious, you know, that, that’s, that’s an element we chat about pretty regularly because I don’t have, I’ve never had one tampon that I’ve used that I have said, ‘Oh my god, this is a luxury. *Simone laughs* I feel like this is, this is a Cartier. *Tabitha starts giggling* This is, get me the black card. This is, this is like a private jet tampon.’ *laughter* Because they’re not. It’s a piece of cotton. But, yeah, so, so that’s my only add-on there; I had never heard this particular myth before, so thanks for sharing that one.
Maybe if they start coming with, you know, glasses of champagne or something, we can start thinking they’re luxuries.
Oh, I could get behind that one.
Somebody called PNG [i don’t know what this is referencing] and Kotex and tell them about your marketing plan. *Tabitha giggles*
I feel I should hasten to add- even though listeners probably already know- I don’t love this story because- this horrifyingly misogynistic myth at face value. Rather, I like this because, of course, this is an attempt to, literally, demonize this bodily function, and yet, when I read about this, I feel like this is, like, the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. I’d like to think that if I were a person who menstruated, when I heard about this, I would think of Jahi as an empowering figure, as often on this show, we think about, usually, unruly women characters, like Lilith, or the Whore of Babylon, or the proverbial figure of the Witch. Anytime they try to create this ultimate personification of feminine villainy, I’m always just sittin’ here, like, ‘Okay, tell me moreeee.’ Which, you know, I guess that’s why I’m on the path of life that I am. *chuckles*
Daniel’s gotta type! *giggles*
So, here’s one that’s really cool. From Witches, Whores, and Sorcerers,” from SK Mendoza Forrest, stated that, “Women were the targets of considerable attention as potential evildoers because of natural functions. Menstruation is a major pollution in many cultures, but the Avesta saw it as a state of temporary demon possession, and indeed a woman had to undergo a shortened exorcistic ritual following…” men-struation- but um, bump. “…Perhaps because women were excluded from Zorastrian ritual for the most part, some of them might have engaged in practices that came to be known as witchcraft…As was the case in most premodern societies, seeing to women’s health was a job other women performed for their sisters. The severe sanctions against menstruating and other bloody women…[I couldn’t find the following portions of the book, so we’re taking what Dana is reading as a direct quote!] seem to preclude the existence of males in women’s health areas. The woman dealing with the polluting afflictions of the female body might be suspected of being in league with the demons who were supposed to be the cause of them in the first place.” It goes on to say, “Female agents of evil were all somehow connected to feminine blood. The Whore, The Witch, the menstruating woman, and the old woman who performed abortions, were all polluted by blood, accused of stealing, or trying to steal. They were believed to consort with demons and perform sorcery. Women in general were seen as having potential tendencies toward the demonic because of the idea that bleeding, connected with female procreative functions, invited demonic possession.” Ooh! What do you guys think about that? [yesssss so metallllll \\\\\m////// ]
Can I just lean into that a little bit? I just- I’m gonna start telling people if I’m on my menses, that I’m possessed. *Simone laughs*
Or inviting demonic possession, at the very least. *chuckles*
Oh, I can’t this week, I’m inviting demonic possession! *laughter*
For the record, this passage, I originally singled out for Episode 57, our episode about Evil, but I think it got bumped from that for time, so I was definitely including it here. *laughs*
I mean, how could you not? This, this seems like a perfect tie-in here.
I hate how much sense it makes. Or, not sense, but, like, you know, this, like, patriarchal sense of, like, ‘Well, I don’t understand it. That’s a weird blood thing. Uh, you’re probably evil.’ Like- and I, like, I get where they got this, and I think it’s very sad, but it’s, I don’t know, par for the course.
It has verisimilitude, for lack of a better word. *chuckles* [jesus, Daniel, way to make a girl feel dumb lol]
Now, I’m gonna go ahead and just preface this by saying that I *hate* this *definitely doing air quotes* saying, but, you know, you’ve seen jokes in movies or whatever, where some big, tough man-type says something, like, *grunts* ‘I don’t trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die.’ [that’s because you’re scared and you should beeeee] First of all, fuck you, buddy. But, I do think that that’s an encapsulation of this suspicion, this, this weird, masculine take on what the blood is. The idea that it’s, you know, blood is only tied to violence, and death, and butchery. Whereas, you know, for people who do menstruate, it has a *chuckles* completely different meaning. I’m reminded of a part of a Game of Thrones where Jon Snow is up in the North with the wild people, and someone was making fun of him for, you know, being weak or whatever, and he was saying, ‘Well, you know-‘ I’m, I’m gonna probably get this wrong, but he was saying something, like, ‘Oh, I know how to deal with blood,’ and his female companion just sort of looks at him and goes, ‘Yeah, women know how to deal with blood, too.’ So.
One thing I should also hasten to add is, you know, we’re, we’re started- we’re leaning on these ancient Persian sources and there is, often, when we’re studying these things, there is this priggish academic habit of, like, looking down our nose at these primitive people, but, as we’ve already seen with the previous citation, and also we’re definitely going to see with the ones coming up, this is not tied to any one particular time, place, or culture. This is an almost universal taboo, which is upsetting, but interesting, and predictable. *chuckles*
I think, I think the concept, by the way, that it is so universal really has been one of these special elements for us to be able to talk to so many people in different cultures, in different countries, because everybody gets it. When it comes to those who menstruate. They, they, there’s so much similarity, even in the basic elements of menstruation, that there’s this like unspoken common bond when menstruaters get together from other, from other cultures, countries, groupings, and get to connect, and talk about it, and hear how- I mean, when I chat with our folks in, outside of Islamabad, it- there’s so much commonality, that you forget, and there’s also an enormous amount of difference, obviously, so.
it is one of those things where it’s truly universal, but then, also, we have to consider the people who don’t menstruate for one reason or another. I, personally, have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I didn’t have my first period until I was nearly 17 years old, and after that, it was pretty hit or miss about whether it would be showing up that month. So, it’s something that, you know, I do have, obviously, familiarity with since it’s been a couple of decades since I was 17 years old, but the idea that it is a constant and happens to all menstruating people every single month- you know, there actually are more dimensions to that, and then, plus, the people who have not yet begun or who have, you know, exited that life phase. It is something, though, that whether you’re doing it or not, it is something that happens to most people all over the globe. Okay, moving on. Our next source here is from “Impure Blood: The Menstrual Taboo in the Christian Church [During the Thirteenth Century” by Madeleine Ott from 2018. [this is from a paper from a ‘young historians’ conference and as a former history master’s student i am here for itttt] “During the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the standardization of the Church’s values were written into law: all clerics associated with the Catholic Church were prohibited from contacting any other blood besides that of the Eucharist…This discussion regarding the material and purpose of menstrual blood was heightened during the fifteenth century…with translations of Aristotle’s ‘The Philosopher’ which circulated along [with] increased copies of the Bible…[the] stigma surrounding the inferiority of women and the impurity of female menstruation was continually perpetrated.”
Dammit, Aristotle, why are you always the reason we can’t have nice things?! *Simone laughs*
Can you, can you hear my eyes rolling? I’ll mute, okay? *laughter*
“An example of Biblical reasoning that justified the belief that Eve and Adam had never been equal was that Eve represented the flesh, while Adam represented the spirit- this was *definitely doing air quotes* proven in the Garden of Eden when Eve committed the Original Sin, and she and all her descendants began to menstruate as penance. Thus [a] stereotype was created… at the forefront of medieval sexuality stigmas surrounding women, some of which lasted until the early twentieth century. ‘Menstrual blood was not believed to concoct blood of the same degree of cohesion as men did, so that it would regularly seep out.’
Okay, back to impure blood. “Both women and men went to extensive lengths to find a cure for menstruation, thus suggesting that menses was both dreaded and feared in medieval society…[In] a medieval medical treatise, the treatment of menstruation elaborates on how to cure the ‘disease’ through humoral adjustments such as bloodletting.” Wait, that makes no kind of sense.
I mean, isn’t that what we’re- l- like, isn’t that what a menstruating person is technically doing? *laughs*
Yeah. Well, that’s medieval science for ya. “…menstrual blood was a topic of mystery and speculation, associated with the dark and unknown aspects of the [humoral] system. Likewise, menstruation and blood were associated with rapidly changing emotion.” Okay, that one I’ll give them. [seriously] “This belief is found to be the most clearly established in Albertus Magnus’s ‘De Secretis Mulierum,’ [Simone uses what sounds like its English translation, ‘The Secrets of Women’] which was revered by theologians [of] the time…This stigma was perpetuated in the writing and publishing of the ‘Malleus Maleficarum,’…a widely read manual [on] witch hunting.” *Tabitha groans*
So, here’s the thing: going back and looking at that, we have sources that often associate menstruation with things like demons, and demonic possession, and witchcraft, and then also with shitty, misogynist ideas about mental illness. You would think there would be a lot of attempts to tie it directly to Satan, and sometimes there are. More commonly, though, we see that it’s an indirect relationship between the Devil, and menstruation, and the idea that it’s actually all a product of Original Sin and Eve, and Eve is sort of acting as a stand-in or proxy for the Devil or sin, generally. And, unfortunately, the, the sources that we have here don’t stress it a lot, but there was an awful lot of debate, there was an awful lot of debate that continues, by the way, into contemporary churches. I was reading on their blog and their social media, [Daniel doesn’t actually specify which person or church’s blog/social media he’s referencing] people debating whether the Curse of Eve, which is usually reckoned to be childbirth, also included menstruation and whether, whether or not that was what God intended in that particular Genesis passage, which I think you could probably resolve just by reading it, but, apparently, it’s not good enough for a lot of people because they’re still arguing about it. *chuckles*
The thing that caught my attention in this passage was the idea that the Catholic clerics were prohibited from contacting any other blood besides that of the Eucharist. First of all, guys, that’s not blood; that’s wine, but that’s a conversation for another time. It does seem to slot right in, though, with the idea that, you know, the church leaders had to be masculine. I guess, if someone who menstruates is a cleric, then, by default, they’re going to be touching blood on a fairly regular basis, so that’s a no-go for them.
*flatly* Oh, gatekeeping the church? What a fuckin’ surprise!
I know! *laughs* Dana, what are your thoughts on this passage?
Oh, you know, so much of this is just so, so much of it is so crazy to me of how folks thought, what the common belief of the time was, and, you know, 700, 800 years ago, but I don’t know what they were, they were- what they were dealing with at the time. I can’t put myself in that, in that headspace, but there’s just- it, it’s just nuts, here. I don’t, I don’t have a lot of support for this. is what I would say.
Well, just talking about getting into these people’s headspace: imagine the vacuum you must live in- look, menstruation is happening in your household. You have people who live with you who are doing this every month, and it was happening in the house that you grew up in every single month. In order to try to understand this process, who do we talk to? Do we talk to the women in our lives? No, let’s talk to Albertus Magnus, *chuckling* a man who sounds like he was named by committee about what a medieval doctor’s name should be! *Tabitha giggles*
Well, and, and I don’t, I haven’t read this book in so long, so I hate to bring up, I hate to bring up a resource that I haven’t looked up in, in a long time, but Anita Diamant wrote the book, The Red Tent, which really talked about when girls and women had their periods, how they went to their own unique space, special tent, where they could be together, which then, again, there’s a lot of cultures nowadays, you know- they’re definitely in Nepal, where they have, like, menstruation huts where they, kind of, banished folks to go to when they are menstruating. So, I think it was just handled so differently- I can’t even say poorly because I don’t, I couldn’t put my mindset into what folks, you know, hundreds and hundreds of years ago had to contend with in life, but, I don’t know, some of the, some of the articles that I read in modern-day, like, modern-day, contemporary menstrual huts- when they would send, specifically, like, women and girls, out to these huts for days on end and some of them have died there because of snakebites, malnutrition, hypothermia, what, whatnot. It seems so archaic, and yet, it’s still happening in places around the world today, so, like, I can reference this, this fictional book, called The Red Tent, but also, it’s happening in a lot of different cultures today. So, I don’t know, I have a hard time putting my, wrapping my brain around what drove folks to make these decisions back then.
Well, I also have to wonder; moving, kind of, away from the “science” or “pseudoscience” of it: considering the idea that a person’s first period in, especially, in more ancient cultures- I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the Black Plague lately because it’s a hobby of mine and it comes up in, like, 1300s Europe- [that’s still the middle ages, not ancient, but i’ll let it slide this one time] but, you know, the idea that a person’s first period is the mark of them no longer being a child and, therefore, being eligible for marriage, being someone who could produce children- theoretically, anyway- and that transition for, you know, patriarchal societies of becoming a certain kind of property, where the father is the owner, to the different kind of property where the husband is the owner. And, thinking about the stereotypes of women, as, you know, that we’ve talked about before, as being temptresses and leading to sex and other very naughty things, was just something that sprung to my mind as we’ve been talking about this: the, the, kind of, bewilderment at the idea of menstruation, but I, kind of, wonder if it’s more of a signification of what it marks in a person’s life status going from, you know, like I said, a certain kind of property to being a temptress and, you know, also a different person’s property. [probably totally yes]
Hey, guess what?! From “The Secrets of Women” [it looks like this is coming by way of an article, “Women’s Secrets: A Translation of Psuedo- Albertus Magnus’s De Secretis Mulierum with Commentaries” by Helen Rodnite Lemay if it matters] by Albertus Magnus, 13th century. [I didn’t have the spoons to make an account for a library and all that so we’re going with this as a direct, unedited quote, thanksss] “Note that old women ought not to be permitted to play with children and kiss them because they poison them to such a degree that sometimes they die. The reason for this is that in these women, menses cannot be expelled. Since these menses are venomous-” Mmm, no. Okay. “-they are continually born to the eyes.” Are you saying that they bleed out of their eyes? Or that venom comes out-
I think you could, you could just catch it from getting looked at.
Ohhhh, I got it. Got it. “Because of-“
Yeah, it makes total sense.
Yeah. I mean, yeah, totally. I mean, thanks, Magnus. You are a genius. *sighs* “Because of the porosity of the eyes, they infect the air, which reaches the child for he is easily infected because of his tenderness. This infection is caused especially by old women, and poor women, because old women do not work and poor women consume gross foods-” *chuckles, in a childish voice* Eww, you’re- ew, that’s gross! “-and therefore their humors are more venomous. Someone might ask, why do they kill infants more than adults? The answer is that the bodies of infants are more porous.” *laughter*
What, what kind of experiments did they have to do to come to that conclusion?
Why do I feel like this guy literally just wrote down everything he thought and was just, like, ‘Well, everyone’s gonna believe me, anyway, I can say whatever I want!’ *laughs*
This is, this is like the Drunk History version *laughter* of medicine. *laughs* It’s, like, ‘Didn’t you realize old women fire poisonous menstrual rays out of their eyes *Tabitha laughs* that infect the sponge-like flesh of children? Yeah, that sounds about right.
I think he needs, he needs to get out of the Eucharist, is what needs to happen. “Why do menses kill children and not the women themselves? The answer is that women of a certain age are accustomed to them and so they’re not harmed by menses, for illness is not caused by what you’re used to-” Of course! “[This] is possible, naturally appears from poisonous animals, such as spiders and snakes.” *laughter, Tabitha is like laughing and fake crying*
*laughing* I can’t. I feel so bad- Tabitha can testify, when I was putting this sheet together, I was just cackling over this shit, which I feel bad about, because, of course, it’s, like, it’s not funny; it’s horrifying. But, at the same time, like, it’s, it’s so absurd, what else, how else am I supposed to- what am I supposed to do this? *laughing* What are we supposed to do with this?
It’s really upsetting, though. Like, it is funny, but, like, people listened to this asshole. Like, people thought this was real. Shit, people probably still do think this is real! *laughs*
I was just about to say, you know, the people who like to say, *in a stupid, ‘they took er jerbs!’ voice* ‘Oh, do your own research about COVID and the vaccine.’ And, really, their *definitely doing air quotes* research is just watching somebody rant on YouTube or some, you know, blah, blah, blah, dot-R-U-dot-blogspot-dot-com. *laughing* I kind of wonder if someone came across this, and they’d be, like, ‘Yeah, yeah, you know, this, this Albertus Magnus, I think, I think he’s, like, part of QAnon and I really dig what he’s saying. He, he does his own research, I can tell.’
You’re joking about that, but, like, QAnon conspiracists *love* The Book of Watchers, for example. They really dig a lot of that strange, Apocrypha stuff, so definitely don’t, don’t show them these-
-don’t show them this book!
I joke so I don’t cry.
And, continuing: “Take the hair of a menstruating woman and place them in the fertile Earth under the manure during the winter. Then, in the spring or summer, when they are heated by the sun long, a stout serpent will be generated. The same thing is true of a mouse.” …Wha? “Many other explanations can be given, however, what has been said suffices because it would not be too long to tell about all that is relevant to this subject.” What the fuck?! *Daniel laughs* What is- what just happened?!
Well, this is the-
You guys should come, you guys should come check out, check out what my backyard looks like in the summertime. *cackling*
I just love this bit- it’s, like, ‘I could go on explaining about how menstrual blood creates snakes, but we all know that one. There’s- let’s not belabor that point.’
Well, also, like, big pivot with the mouse. *Daniel chuckles* Also, that’s- also, a mouse will happen. Like what?! *laughs*
Well, before people realized how things work, a lot of people had this concept of spontaneous generation, where an unliving thing could turn into a living thing, and it actually- I can’t remember the, the scientist who did these experiments, but some people believe that maggots just spontaneously generated on rotting meat, for example. And, so, it took someone to take a piece of meat and leave it out as, as, you know, one experiment; take a piece of meat and seal it, entirely, in a jar, as the other, the other one, and then the in-between one was just put it in a jar and then just cover it with a piece of cloth, and see which one has the maggots appear and, obviously, because flies could not land on the meat inside of the jar, and could not lay their eggs which would then hatch into maggots, they actually figured out, like, ‘Oh, well, the maggots aren’t coming from the meat.’ They’re coming because the flies come and lay their eggs on it, and so, here, *laughs* it’s, like, ‘Oh, you leave a menstruating woman’s hair in some dirt, you’re just going to spontaneously generate maybe a serpent, maybe a mouse? Who knows?’ So. *chuckles*
I’d like to share that last sentence that says: “Serpents cannot be generated from the hairs of males because the humors in men are well-digested so their hair is not poisonous, nor does it rot as fast as a woman’s does.”
Yeah, that- science. That is just science, right there. *Tabitha laughs*
And, of course, keeping our common theme of our show ever in mind, of course, it is not a coincidence that is the snake, specifically, that is supposedly being born out of this process. So, again, the association is not necessarily always made explicit, but it’s never very subtle either. Next up, we’ve got The Devil and the Jews [: The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism] from Joshua Trachtenberg, 1943; I told you this book was gonna keep coming up on the show, unfortunately. This one is, look, I’m just, I’m just a reporter here, okay? That’s all I’ve got to say about this passage. I am just communicating to you the history of other people’s beliefs and I cannot be responsible for what ensues. [again, I don’t have the actual book in front of me so we’re just going with it] “In still another way did the Middle Ages proclaim its belief that the Jew was not quite human. All men are subject [to] disease, but Jews supposedly suffered from secret afflictions which did not trouble Christians. It was this belief that accounted for the alleged need for Christian blood, the sole effective therapy. *groans* Most often mentioned among these ailments was that of menstruation, which the men as well as the women were supposed to experience. Close second, were constant hemmorages. The accepted explanation of these ailments was that they were connected to the murder of Jesus. What more natural than that the supposed Devil’s brood should bear the signs of their iniquity.” And this chapter actually goes on at length for about, well, almost an entire page, describing all of the secret illnesses that supposedly were suffered by this one population. Again, this is a medieval belief, on account of their heritage and their close association with evil powers, but it’s the masculine menstruation, particularly, that stood out for fairly obvious reasons. I’m at a loss. I’m actually, I actually do not know what to say about this one, except that I felt like it kind of had to be shared, tragically. *laughs*
Well, you know, we’ve talked before on the show about how certain populations will malign the outgroups that they are trying, on purpose, to make seem less than human or make seem other, you know, in order to more easily demonize them and, you know, do what they ultimately want to do with this outgroup population. And, so, we talked about how, you know, these ancient misconceptions, these, these very harmful ancient misconceptions, of, you know, the rumors that Jewish people ate babies, or Jewish people killed Christian babies, or, you know, outgroups would, would take part in the most taboo of taboos, so cannibalism, you know, deviant sexuality, incest, you know, that kind of thing, and so, what I’m picking up here in this passage, is, is more of that, so taking the idea that, ‘well, menstruation is unclean, and we really, you know, I really would like to seize their land and their gold, so we gotta make the Jewish people seem unclean, too. Men menstruate! There you go; that’s, that’s what I’ve come up with. That’s what I’m going with.’
Should also mention again, it is, potentially, quite upsetting that we’re treating this idea of masculine menstruation as incredibly outlandish. Of course, lots of trans men menstruate-
-but that is not what they’re talking about, here, clearly-
-and, so, in the minds of the people perpetuating these ideas, this was the most bizarre, grotesque thing they could conceive of. Or, maybe not the most bizarre, but definitely on the list.
So, here’s a neat one from a paper by Catherine Rider, entitled “Women, Men, and Love Magic in Late Medieval English Pastoral Manuals,” from 2015. She shared: “The idea that women might use love magic on their own husbands went back to the early Middle Ages, when penitentials suggested penances for women who fed various prohibited substances to their husbands so they would love them more…In particular, the graphic descriptions of wives’ love magic that originated in an eleventh-century canon law collection…[suggested] a penance ‘if some woman has given…bread which was made on her buttocks with blood, or menstrual blood to her husband to eat or drink so that his love will be more inflamed’…A Treatise on penance written after the year 1234…likewise condemned women who fed menstrual blood to their husbands so the husbands would love them more. These detailed descriptions of wives’ love magic are highly gender specific, associated with female practitioners and with women’s bodies or bodily substances. We do not find equivalent descriptions of husbands’ love magic.” Well, that’s it. I’m out of here. *laughter* No husbands’ love magic?! [DANIEL. you should have left in the part about giving the husband a fish that HAD DIED IN THEIR VAGINA. like omg WUT.]
Well, I mean-
I would like to see some reciprocation and some effort, here. Come on, guys.
What are they gonna put in it? *chuckles*
If you’re making a sourdough on your ass?! I mean, like, come on! *laughter*
You’d better film it. You can make some good money doing that these days.
That’s true. *giggling*
I just want- like, the thing that I love about this is, like, do you think that whatever they’re making tastes really good? And, that’s why their, their husbands are, like, ‘Yeah, I married the right one. This sourdough bread is fucking fantastic.’
*laughing* It’s not jam. *laughter*
Worst episode of Great British Bake-Off ever. *cackling*
So, I’ve got a call back to two previous episodes of Black Mass Appeal. If you go all the way back to Episode 17, where we talked to- about- to Anna Biller, about her movie The Love Witch, there’s a great scene in that movie where our main character is casting a spell using, I believe, it is actually a tampon as one of her reagents, and in her narration, she mentions most men have never even seen a tampon. Later, there’s a really funny scene where the police detectives dig up her witch jar and they see the tampon and they’re, like, ‘What the hell is this thing?!’ Hysterical. *chuckles* Also, this came up when we did Episode 41, the Satanic Witch- sorry, Tabitha- *Tabbie groans* in which old Anton LaVey suggests wearing and keeping menstrual blood as a supposed charm to attract a man’s attention. Now, what was weird about that was that he tried to justify that recommendation with pseudoscience, which you’ll be surprised to learn, did not actually turn out to be substantive, but he never bothered to bring up that, yes, this is actually one of the oldest European love charms; various bodily fluids, unfortunately, and this one being the most common. Seems very odd that he failed- he neglected to mention that because shouldn’t he know? I feel like if he was writing that book, he should have known that. It continues to baffle me to this day. It’s, like, what are you even good for, man? Why are we doing this? *laughs*
I mean, do we really expect Anton LaVey to be citing his sources?
Well, *sighs* I don’t know. Did he not cite that source or did he just not know, is my question. It feels like it’d be a huge oversight if he didn’t, but look what we’re talking about here, so I don’t know. Con- it’s, it’s *laughs* never stopped bothering me on some level. *Simone laughs*
A lot of things about Anton LaVey never stopped bothering me on some level.
I don’t want to talk about it. *laughter*
I guess when, with mention of, you know, wearing, wearing menstrual blood, but just wearing blood in general, it just- the first thing that popped up into my mind was Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. I don’t know, or think, it was menstrual blood, but I- they did not share that information with me. But, yeah, that was- that, that’s one that I feel like made some headlines.
Yeah, I remember that, and I remember the general media revulsion over it, which I- even then- I think I was probably still high school, college at the time- and even then, I thought that was so strange, because, yeah, it’s kind of gross, but it’s, like, stopped up in a bottle, and it’s in like a nice pendant, and it was consensually, you know, acquired. So, I just kind of didn’t get the big deal over it, but I guess to some people, it just- any bodily fluid is, is super gross.
Yeah, weird that people who are in romantic relationships would have anything to do with each other’s bodily fluids. That’s-
-that’s, that’s a totally foreign notion. *Tabitha cackles* I guess I should mention that, for as much as we’re making light about this, I do know that, like, there are a lot of people who practice contemporary Neo-pagan witchcraft, who use blood, or even specifically menstrual blood, for a variety of things, and if that’s your thing, cool, no problem. My only objections are don’t try to use pseudoscience to argue in favor of it and, also, please don’t do it nonconsensually. Definitely, *chuckles* definitely get consent on that one above- really always get consent, but, like, if there were a hierarchy, this will be really high up there. *laughs*
Yeah, don’t be putting bodily anything’s into anybody’s food or- mmm- because, because that’s how you lose your job at Burger King. *Tabitha giggles*
*laughing* Oh man, okay.
Okay, let’s go ahead and move on to our next source, here. “Engendering Puritan Religious Culture in Old and New England” by Marilyn Westerkamp in 1997. Oh boy, Puritans! Here we go. “This Puritan mandate to subordinate wife to husband and, more generally, women to man, was justified by their conviction of natural female inferiority.” Ew. “…women were thought to be subject to the overwhelming influence and vagaries of bodily fluids. The specter of menstrual blood certainly influenced such analysis, with menstruation seen as a [means] through which women expelled turgid, fermented humors, necessary because her body overflowed with polluting fluids. Unfortunately, the very nature and behavior of women showed that menses itself was less than adequate…The humors coursing through women’s bodies weakened not only their constitutions but also their moral characters, for within the damp swampy atmosphere of their bodies,-” Rude. “-reason, the mind, and the soul were often unable to exert control over feelings and urges. Why humors were more trapped in women than men was not explained, merely observed as the determinative difference between the genders…Women were not qualitatively different from men; they were perhaps, simply soggy men.” *laughter and a lot of half-formed ‘oh, my god’s,’ etc*
I need a T-shirt! Soggy man!
*laughing* I’m a soggy man!
It’s gonna say ‘soggy man’ on it. *Dana laughs* [I mean, I do have a cricut…another one for the christmas gift list!]
*laughing* So, so, you think it’s, like, you go swimming and you wear your bathing suit, and then you’re, like, hanging out in your living room in a wet bathing suit, that it makes you a soggy man? It just-
Yes. *Simone laughs*
*laughing* Okay, sorry. *clears throat* Back to, back to the paper. *sighs* “Yet in the damp swirl of humors, women were understood as essentially, [physically] inferior…Woman’s general weakness of body and mind translated into weakness in her dealings with God and devil. All humanity may have been deeply depraved, but woman far outdistanced man in her wickedness…Evil flowed deeply in woman’s body amidst the excess fluids overbalancing her emotional stability and corrupting her reason. In a peculiar linguistic symbiosis, menstrual fluid became one symbol of evil and pollution, as in Peter Bulkeley’s comment that the damned “are to [God] as the filthiness of a menstruous woman.'” Then- so, we have here, talking about, you know, spontaneous generation, a few minutes ago, we have here another classic pseudoscience, you know, ancient ‘science’ of the idea of the four humors and that they needed to be balanced, and, I believe- I’m sure Daniel will check me- I think the four humors are blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm?
Yep, tragically, that is right. *laughter*
And so, I guess, the idea here is that women just had *so* much of one that it just started leaking out of orifices and that’s why they were soggy men?
And, the thing that drives me crazy about this whole thing is that it’s not as if, like, menstruation hasn’t been happening since humanity started. Like, and I get, like, okay, religions, and etcetera, like to try and explain things that are going on around them, but it’s like, oh! Well, you know, why is it, why, why is it that it’s not just something that happens? But, like, or, you know, come up with something, was, like, ‘Oh, this is just how women or, you know, how menstruating people are.’ But, no, it has to be something about how evil it makes them. Like, come on!
I mean, not only that, but did this passage sound rather familiar? It is very interesting that here we are about 400 years post-Albertus Magnus and we have, essentially, the exact same opinion being expressed, which is also not fundamentally that different from the opinions of the Zoroastrian priests several millennia ago, so you have to get very close to the modern age before, not only does the myth get, hopefully, dispelled, but even before it significantly changes in any remarkable way. These are almost interchangeable sentiments, here.
I feel like we had long- you’ll excuse me, long periods- where science, you know, was, sort of, stuck in a rut, you know, in terms of understanding, and it’s only in the last century or so that we truly accelerated our understanding of what exactly the fuck is going on inside of the human body. I mean, I don’t think- I’m trying to remember- I don’t think that an actual human egg leaving a follicle was photographed from, you know, a human body until just several years ago. That it was still, kind of, mostly, you know, pretty, pretty well understood, but still, essentially, theoretical. And, you know, we think about other technologies that have come along recently. I don’t- I think that tampons didn’t come into use until after World War II? So, we’ve had a lonnggggg stretch of time where bullshit like this could just flourish.
And, there’s, there’s actually been very few menstrual product innovations in, in the last 70 years.
Yeah, I think- the cup is only, maybe, a couple of decades old?
Yeah, the cup, I think, started getting popular in the 60s, and then lost favor for quite a while, and has picked up again, but, I mean, they were, like, every now and then people donate menstrual belts to us. I remember, the first one-
-I’m, like, what is this? [i literally have never even heard of these things]
Woah- *starts chuckling*
Yeah, yeah. So-
Did they have those sittin’ in the closet for the last 60 years? *laughs*
Probably under, like, their great aunt’s bathroom cabinet, kind of thing, and we get all sorts of donations. We could probably start a museum. But, I just want to say, I think ‘the soggy men’ is a great name for, like, a sea shanty group. *Daniel bursts out laughing*
*gasps* I love it!
Right? Can’t you see, like, hats and shirts called ‘The Soggy Men?’
I, I actually know someone who is in a band who does sea shanties and I’m gonna just run and tell him right away!
The Soggy Men! Oh, my god. Like, I, I- this is a missed marketing opportunity.
Friends, hit me up on Patreon that I don’t have *Simone starts laughing* and we’ll, we’ll get Soggy Men shirts.
No, no, no, but really- hit, hit up the Black Mass Appeal folks on Patreon and help with their podcast.
Get, get your Soggy Man shirt.
There we go.
Yeah, and then they’re gonna- yeah, they’ll get me the Soggy Man shirt.
I feel, like, someone should write a song called Soggy Men, and have it be really opaque, and so there’ll be a bunch of, like, men who are, like, ‘Aw, this song’s so good; it’s totally about me. You know, this is, this song represents my passion and stuff.’ And then- only to have it turned out that it’s actually about menstruating people.
Yeah, it’s fabulous.
Well, you know, Tabitha- Tabitha, I know that our band is a cover band, but I think we might have an original in us somewhere.
I just want to say ‘Soggy Men’ is very, very close to the name of the band in Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou, so I feel, like, maybe we can glom on to some of that energy-
Oh, yeah, the- was it Foggy Bottom Boys?
Soggy Bottom Boys.
Soggy Bottom Boys? Even better!
Because they had just been baptized, *laughs* if you’ll remember. Also, Tabitha, when we revamp the, the BMA shop, can we get a T-shirt that’s just, like, a woodcut of witches and then the phrase, ‘Soggy Men,’ in some Gothic type below that? I feel like that would be an easy best seller.
Your wish is my command. *laughter*
Let me know when that comes out; I’d like that for my office.
Okay, as we wrap up this conversation and start making plans for new merch, let’s go to our last resource. Tab, I think this one is you.
All, right. This is from “The Vulnerability of Women to Witchcraft Accusations” by Christian Day. Wow, Christian Day, huh? *laughs* From 1992. “The sexuality of women was probably the most significant issue involved during the witch persecutions….in an era [when] sex was viewed as sinful, women could not hide their [obviously] sexual [natures]: they became pregnant; they gave birth; they menstruated. Negative attitudes about sex were translated into negative attitudes about women, and reflected themselves strongly in witch trial procedures…in [the] times of [the] Witch Persecutions, the church often mentioned sexual temptation as being inherent in women…A major sexual function of women that made them a target was menstruation…Menstruation was a sign of a woman’s maturity…but rituals that helped women to understand their monthly cycles were intimidating [and suppressed.]…Ultimately, the issue of female sexuality was one of control. Women could have sex but only if it was according to the strict rules of both her husband and the male establishment in general. Women could give birth but only to establish the [continuity] of a husband’s name…Women could menstruate, but only in secret, where no one could witness the [supposedly] *dramatic act* abominable act.” It’s pretty par for the course. I mean, sigh. *laughs*
Yeah, like I was saying before, you know, the idea of menstruation as an outward symbol of one’s, you know, quote-unquote ‘sexual readiness,’ readiness to be a wife, readiness to be a mother, ready to be part of the patriarchal system. We have that right here.
I mean, even more than that, this passage reminded me- I know a lot of our unfaithful listeners have read the book Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici, in which she proposes that the entire witchcraft myth and persecution complex existed as a way of regulating and controlling women’s reproductive power. It was the question of, you know, women will only exercise this kind of agency within these very narrow institutional confines and if you step out of that, in even the smallest way, the Witch stigma is the thing that is going to remove those troublesome women from the equation. And, as much as that’s a, kind of, grim prospect, I wonder if we’re not still laboring under a lot of versions of that today, which is why, maybe, data things, like, I Support the Girls, are necessary because we are, on some level, just, sort of, almost, not literally, afraid to talk about these issues, but we have inherited the idea that is not something that we do and, therefore, if a problem never gets talked about, why would it ever get resolved?
Exactly, exactly. It still persists. I mean, you know, we, we just heard a little bit about rituals that help women to understand their monthly cycles, but even going back to that, kind of, first period, we hear all the time of all different kinds of ritualistic, first period stories from people all over the world and some of them are supportive and light-hearted, and some of them are- take ya back and, like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ Like, how does that become a ritual in the first place? And, so, I think that, from that element of how traditions around menstruation, or your first menstrual cycle, continue, or even just rituals around menstruation in general, how they persist, I think that, yeah, that’s, that’s why we do what we do, and we get out there and we talk about it and in whatever is the most, kind of, comfortable way for folks to hear, to normalize periods, to normalize menstruation for folks. But, yeah, that’s, it- menstruation definitely has a long and sordid history.
It’s funny to me to be on the fence between, like, no, periods are supernatural and it’s nothing- not super- not supernatural, dammit. Periods are extremely natural. *Simone laughs* And they, you know, they’re not going to hurt you and, you know, it’s something that, you know, you should respect or, you know, care about, and then, like, I will literally flip a coin and be, like, ‘I’m gonna get my blood on you. Get away from me.’ *laughs*
But, on a piece of bread? Or, just, you feelin’ that in general? *Simone bursts out laughing*
We’ll just, we’ll cross that bridge when come to it. *laughter*
Yeah. Have you guys heard of any, like, any interesting traditions around menstruation, either in your communities, or growing up, or from, from other friends that you’ve experienced?
Well, it is funny you mentioned that- I debated whether to bring this up on the show because I’m always loath to reference the Church of Ahriman on this program, even though I admit I do find them kind of intriguing- this is a small ‘Devil worship-‘ that’s their term for it- ‘sect’ out of Oklahoma City. I don’t like to bring them up because their founder and head priest is a registered sex offender, and so, I do not like to be perceived as giving them-
Yeah, not good.
-that he was, he was working as a prison guard and had an affair, which, aficionados of Orange is the New Black, know is a no-go, and so that has, actually, that has haunted him throughout the rest of his life, as indeed it should, so I don’t, necessarily, liked to be perceived as giving them undue attention. But, being as they are dedicated to, what they think of, as the Ahriman, the Zoroastrian Devil, they do, indeed, employ an awful lot of menstrual blood in a lot of their rituals, and being the person who furnishes that material is a position of particular distinction within that congregation, and so I do find their consistency on that point to be interesting.
Wow. No, I- that’s- I hadn’t heard that. That’s new for me.
There’s no reason why you should have heard of it. *laughter*
Yeah. You know, I grew up in what I, unfortunately, think is probably a typical American experience, where my family, being very waspy, and didn’t like to talk about things that might be uncomfortable; one day, my mom was, like, ‘Hey! There’s a show on PBS that’s on right now that I want you to watch.’ I’m, like, *in a fake ignorant voice* ‘Okay,’ and then I watch it and I go- my head’s just sort of explodes because I got, I got a lot of learning in just a couple of minutes, there, and that was, that was it. That was, like, assumed to be, you know, mission accomplished. Now, Simone knows everything that she needs to know about her period. Until, then, I didn’t have one for a very long time, and then, that situation just turned out to be, my mom’s, like, ‘I have a doctor’s appointment that I’d like you to go to,’ and I’m, like, ‘Okay,’ not even knowing what it’s about until we get there. So, just this American, you know, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, stiff upper lip-y thing, where we just don’t talk about these things, and I’m just, sort of, being shuttled *laughs* from video to doctor’s office without really understanding what’s going on. And, you know, I have since gone back and done some learning, but I have to wonder how typical that kind of experience is where, you know, it’s just, sort of, assumed that maybe the parents assume that the school is going to tell them and the school’s, you know, assuming that the parent is going to tell them, and, I mean, back when I was younger, the internet was just, sort of, starting so I didn’t really have any resources. I have to wonder what it must be like for, for people today. Not having children myself, I have to, you know, I’m curious what the, the, you know, the birds and the bees talk is like these days.
I had, I mean, I had pretty rigorous school, schooling on period care. I- the only, sort of, like, ritual I would say is that when I did get mine for the first time, my mom took me out, got me a donut, so period donut! *laughter*
That’s- so, period, period, like, cakes, like, you know, like,’ congratulations’ kind of cake, are definitely a very common, popular thing. I mean, a doughnut or, or a treat, or something like that, but there are some really, really, really interesting, like, first period stories from around, you know, around the globe. I think there’s- in Croatia, I think they pour you a glass of red wine when you let your, your parents know you have your first period. In a lot of cultures, if you told your mom, or your grandmother, or an auntie, they might hit you on the cheek pretty hard.
They slap you on the cheek. And, that’s been in French, a different- French, French cultures, Greek, Afghani, Ashkenazic Jews; there’s a whole bunch of cultures that have this, like, wild slapping tradition of, like, getting, like, hit once on your cheek.
Look, haven’t we gone through enough? *laughter*
And, then there’s one about, like, there’s, there’s a whole bunch I think that, like, have some type of egg component; eating an egg, biting an egg, swallowing an egg, eating a raw egg, eating egg yolk, that kind of thing. Like, with, like, an egg element in a bunch of different cultures that, that observe that particular ritual when a girl announces that she gets her period. So, there’s just crazy- there’s all just different- there’s so many different rituals. I’m a fan of the donut, the period donut. I think, I think that should be more commonplace.
Right? Ubiquitous. Everybody should get a period donut when they start their period; maybe even every time. *laughs*
Every day! Every day of your period, you get a free donut.
Yeah! Free donut.
The reason why, I don’t think, we run into a lot of Satanic rituals or specific practices about the first period in its own right is, even though I think most modern Satanists are people who would definitely like to see better and more compassionate education about things like bodies, and sex, and sex education, is simply because, I think, we often don’t want to be perceived as indoctrinating kids. And, so, very, very rarely do we have any sort of religious conventions that are aimed at communities that are- the communities of minors, and for Satanists who are parents, oftentimes, they can be very uncertain to what degree they want to include their kids in their religious life because so many of them are people who were indoctrinated to religions that they did- that were ultimately unhealthy for them when they were that same age, and that is actually a big part of why *chuckles* many of them later became Satanists. So, oftentimes, for them, it is, kind of, a big question mark; maybe, something like a religious convention would, would help in those families, but, unfortunately, I don’t really know what resources we could recommend for that. I guess, more generally, I can say that, unfortunately, we all inherit the prejudices of our societies, including the prejudices about our own bodies, and about each other’s bodies, and hopefully, a way that we can mitigate that is through our common acceptance and idea of the Satan myth because Satan represents an awful lot of things. Satan, we think of as representing nature, thinker- with Satan, we think of as representing people who are downtrodden, outcast, ill-served, and people who are ultimately the victim of injustice, and as we have seen in this conversation, it doesn’t take much, it does not take much, at all, to end up in that position, and, perhaps, when we take recourse to our common ideas about Satan and Satanism, that can help us provide a little bit of mitigation for those unhealthy attitudes that are foisted on us, unconsciously all the time.
Well, as this conversation comes to a close, Dana, I wanted to ask, is there anything in your experience, you know, running, I Support the Girls that we haven’t touched on here? Any sort of menstruation myths or realities, especially, that you think might be beneficial for our listeners to hear?
Thanks. I think that the more folks who can talk about menstruation regularly, openly, and comfortably, I think the more we move the needle and if that also means maybe considering the next time when uses the euphemism for, you know, for menstruation, whether it’s Aunt Flo, or ‘on the rag,’ or, I don’t know, ‘that time of the month,’ ‘Moon Time’- I know, there’s, there’s some wild ones out there, carry-
Soggy, soggy man. *laughs*
*laughing* Soggy man, ‘riding the cotton pony,’ right? ‘Shark Week’ or ‘Soggy Man Blues,’ I think that- consider using the term ‘menstruation’ instead, is what I would share.
Yeah, it does seem to, sort of, pluck it out of all these bananas cultural contexts and just present it for what it is; you know, it’s a biological thing that half of us go through, *claps her hands together* so there you have it. Well, Dana, thank you, again, so much for joining us on Black Mass Appeal. If folks want to get in touch with you, find out more about your organization, where online can they do that?
So, if folks want to get in touch with us, they can check us out, I guess, first and foremost, our website will hopefully have considerable amount of information and that’s at [ISupportTheGirls.org], and we’re also on all the social media platforms, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok, and folks can- we have slightly different handles, so it might be easiest just to look us up on, on our website. And, if you’d like to donate products, feel free to email us at [info@ISupportTheGirls.org], but, also, most importantly, if you need, are in need of menstrual products, please use that same email address, and let us know what’s going on, and we’ll try and point you in the right direction at [info@ISupportTheGirls.org]. So, thank you all at Black Mass Appeal for having me and I, you know, and I Support the Girls on, on this episode; this has been really a fun time chatting with you.
Well, thank you again for joining us. And, if you have any questions for us here at the show, our email address is [BlackMassAppealPod@gmail.com]; our website, which will include all of our past episodes, including all of the number of episodes that Daniel can somehow mention off the top of his head, that can be found at [BlackMassAppeal.com], and we are on social media, which includes Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as, well, [@BlackMassAppeal].
To find out more about Satanic Bay Area, check us out at [SatanicBayArea.com], find us on Instagram or on Facebook is Satanic Bay Area, or follow us on Twitter, the handle there is [@SatanicSF]. You can also find Tabitha on Tik Tok, the handle there is [@DailyBaphirmation]. Or, if you want to come down and- oh, actually, wait. What can I, possibly, recommend people do at Wicked Grounds that is within the proper thematic confines of this episode? *chuckles* I didn’t think this one through at all.
Sog, soggy, get soggy. *laughter* Go get, get your Soggy Man!
Come, come sing the Soggy Man Blues with us, in person, *Tabitha giggles* at Satanic Coffee Hour at Wicked Grounds coffee shop in San Francisco the third Tuesday of every month, and Tabitha, next time we’re at Wicked Grounds, what are we having?
Uhhh, I want a waffle?
Can we have waffles?
I don’t see why not.
Let’s have waffles, then.
Are they soggy waffles?
No- well, not when you get ’em; you can make them soggy. *Simone laughs* It- that is your, you know, your prerogative, but they should come crispy.
And, then they get an overbalance of humors.
Ew, come on! I really want to eat the waffle! *laughs*
Well, I’ll tell you what, why don’t we get a ‘Hail Satan’ to go out on, and then, Tabitha can have all the waffle she wants?
3, 2, 1-
Black Mass Appeal 2:00:52
Hail Satan! *Tears for Fear’s Watch Me Bleed plays*