From Anarchy In Action

The Cathars were a Christian heresy in Western Europe that emerged in the 11th or 12th century and flourished until the 14th century especially in France and Italy. Their name came from the Greek word Katharoi meaning "the Pure." Strongly influenced by contact with the Bogomils, Cathars had a gnostic cosmology of a good God fighting against an evil deity. A majority of the Cathars were women. The movement saw women as equals and honored the feminine side of God known as Sophia. Women were prominent among the spiritual leaders and among the fighters who defended their communities from the Church's persecution. The Cathars opposed war including the Crusades, and their religious tolerance led Jews to find sanctuary among their French stronghold. Cathars held goods in common, and they kept a plant-based diet because they believed nonhuman animals were reincarnated human beings (though made an exception for fish). Cathars permitted and perhaps even encouraged homosexuality among ordinary members, although spiritual leaders practiced abstinence.[1]

With especially strong support among the peasantry, Cathars lived in communities of 60 to 600 individuals, and the leaders, known as perfecti or "perfect ones", led through example rather than command: "Scholar Martin Erbstosser notes how 'it was the life of the perfecti rather than the teachings of the heretics which played the key part here' (92). The perfecti lived such blameless lives and were so eager to be of assistance to others, they inspired devoted followers."[2]

  1. Arthur Evans, Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture: A Radical View of Western Civilization and Some of the People it Has Tried to Destroy (feral death coven, 2013), 75-80. Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation New York: Autonomedia, 2004), 35-6. Raul Vaneigem, The Resistance to Christianity: The Heresies at the Origins of the 18th Century , ch. 29, retrieved from Anarchist Library, Joshua Mark, "Cathars," 2 April 2019, World History Encyclopedia,
  2. Mark, "Cathars."