Monday, August 23, 2010

Memeplex: Incubus

"One of the most notorious historical instances of a woman tutored by her incubus was that of Magdalena de la Cruz, of the convent of Santa Isabel de los Angeles, of Cordova, which she entered when seventeen years old, in 1504. For thirty-nine years she successfully exhibited a series of phenomena, trances, visions, prophecies, which deluded well-nigh all of Spain, and caused her to be regarded with the utmost veneration by the highest and the lowest in the land. Some, however, were not deceived. St. Ignatius Loyola entirely distrusted these exterior marvels, and rebuked one of her followers with great severity. Blessed Juan de Avila, one of the directors of St. Teresa, and a profound master of the mystical life, refused to believe in the heavenly origin of these ecstasies and soothsayings. In 1543 Magdalena fell dangerously ill, and was given over by the physicians. Believing that she lay on her death-bed, the sick woman, with floods of tears, made a full and ample confession of her imposture, and acknowledged that almost from the first she had acted under the influence and by the help of two evil spirits, Balban and Patorrio. These incubi were not only her paramours, but had taught her all kinds of juggling sleights and instructed her in seeming prophecies and visions of future events. The tale was a long and terrible one. Magdalena recovered, and the ecclesiastical authorities began an examination into these extraordinary happenings. A vast number of witnesses were heard, so that the process did not conclude until 2 May, 1546, when judgement was pronounced. [...] Thus Baxter, in his Historical Discourse of Apparitions and Witches, 1691, p 224, speaks of 'the Witch Magdalen Crucia, who got the Reputation of a Saint...and confessed how from twelve years old the Devil had lain with her thirty years.'"
-Montague Summers, Witchcraft and Black Magic

So, filled with longing and unease,
Tamara would sit long and gaze
Engrossed in lonely meditation
All day, and sigh with expectation
Beside her window, staring out....
That he would come she had no doubt,
Why else then were her dreams so clear?
Why else then used he to appear
With eyes so infinitely sad
And speech so marvellously tender?
For many days on end she had
Been strangely moved - she knew not why....
She called the good saints to defend her
But in her heart she called on him;
And always, when the day grew dim,
Weary with staring she would lie
Down on her bed and try to sleep:
The pillow burnt her flaming cheek
Fear stifled her, she gasped for breath,
Then, from her pallet she would leap
With heaving shoulders, fevered breast
Trembling, a mist before her sight,
Her arms outstretched to clasp the night,
The kisses melting on her lips...


 I am he to whom you barkened
In the stillness of the night,
He whose thought your mind has darkened,
He whose sadness you have felt,
Whose image haunts your waking sight,
Whose name the end of hope has spelt
To every soul with whom I treat.
I am he no man may love,
A scourge to all my mortal slaves,
The ill in nature. Enemy
To Heaven and all the powers above.
Lord of knowledge, liberty.
And, as you see, I'm at your feet.

-Mikhail Lermontov, "The Demon."

["Night Visit," by Mark Ryden; "Dreamtime for Toby," by Gary Baseman; "Demon and Tamara," by Mikhail Vrubel]

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