Here’s an interesting article by MADELEINE LEDESPENCER regarding Berthe de Courrière a 19th century Parisian who took the emerging trend of women’s liberation into the realm of occultism. A small excerpt reads:
“Rumors about Berthe and her occult predilections were rampant. She was said have sought out young priests to seduce or shock with her explicit confessions. The decadent author Rachilde, herself a bisexual, cross-dressing iconoclast among women, recounted walking along the Seine with Berthe who removed a small embroidered bag from her skirts and from it produced consecrated communion wafers to feed to stray dogs.
“Every aspect of Berthe’s life was immersed in the decadent and the taboo. Belgian Symbolist Henry de Groux described the unique decor of her apartment as ‘…the most diverse thing I had ever imagined–the taste of this world half-pagan, half-Catholic, or so-called such. Altar cloths, religious objects adapted to most unexpected locations, monstrance, corporals, dalmatics, candelabra with multicolored candles lit in mysterious corners of shade, near a beautiful lectern the works of Félicien Rops or the Marquis de Sade. The scent of benzoin, amber, rose essence suffocating dose alternate with those of incense.’ ”
Read the entire article: