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At the Apocalypse, Satan will reign wearing a crown of dung. One of the names for Satan is Beelzebub, which translates as “Lord of the Flies” or “Lord of Dung.” This definition of Satan dovetails with Luther's anal eschatology, for he saw the world as a dung heap, the center of which is Satan's anus. At the Black Mass, Satanic neophytes are initiated into their order by kissing the bare buttocks of Satan. It is also said that all the gifts given by the Devil are eventually transmuted into shit. The Great Reformer's vision of the world was like Dante's, according to which the world is Hell, and we are passing through the Devil's digestive system. Luther wrote, “We live in the Devil’s worm bag ... I am the ripe shard and the world is the gaping anus.” Once it was a popular belief that at the moment of death, the soul would escape by way of the anus.

Luther commissioned his friend, the famous artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, to illustrate his book Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil. Cranach made a series of woodcuts wonderfully unsurpassed in their obscenity and vulgarity. One scene shows the Pope being born from the Devil's behind. A second shows two men with bared posteriors aimed at the Pope, emitting farts depicted as puffs of wind. Another depicts three men defecating into a Papal tiara turned upside down. A fourth shows the Pope holding in his hand his own steaming excrement that he solemnly blesses. A painting from the same period by Hieronymus Bosch depicts Satan enthroned on a privy, the souls of the damned passing out his anus into the bottomless pit.

Luther's detractors claimed that he was not human, but the son of Satan. As the scandalous story goes, Luther's beloved mother Margaretta was accused of being a whore working in a bathhouse in Eisleben, Germany. She there had intercourse with the Devil, who appeared in the form of an Incubus, and was demonically inseminated. (An Incubus demon takes on the form of a beautiful man while its counterpart, the Succubus, appears as a ravishing woman.) The Succubus can collect semen from men, transform itself into an Incubus, then have intercourse with women, ejaculating the ill-begotten semen. The offspring of this diabolical union lives under the spell of the Evil One.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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