Behind the Scenes: Horrid Altar with Blackest Mildew
The last image in the shooting process became the second in the linear story of the series. From the beginning, the altar was of vital importance to my storytelling in the collection. I have extensively researched satanic, and to a lesser extent, basic pagan ritualistic altar construction. Using H.T.F Rhodes' 'The Satanic Mass' as my primary resource, I set about sourcing the artifacts I would require.
Firstly, a traditional satanic altar calls for the head of an animal, human or non human, slaughtered under extreme cruelty. The head is then dressed with candles made from the fat of an unbaptised infant. Other dressings include spoilt turnips, putrid milk and water of polluted origin (there is a reference in the book to water from a well in which a child has drowned)
For obvious reasons these specifications were somewhat hard to meet, I instead found the skull of a red deer, a species which would have been in the woods of medieval Europe, and dressed it with 'weeping rose' candles; they are black but weep red wax when lit. I was relatively underwhelmed with my first photographs of this setup, later adding the dry shell of a long deceased raven. A fitting addition, seeing as ravens were always seen as portents of crop failure and a sign things were going awry. The Raven then wove itself into the storyline as one of the Devil's many attendants at the Black Mass.