Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Stock Photo Hell: Heresy

Stock Photo Hell

Admittedly, heresy is much more about the ones *with* the church and the Bible who still can't get along.

Admittedly, heresy is much more about the ones *with* the church and the Bible who still can’t get along.

Circle Six: Heresy

We made our way inside without a struggle; and I, who wanted to observe the state of things that such a fortress guarded, as soon as I had entered looked about. I saw on every side, a spreading plain of lamentation and atrocious pain. […] here the sepulchers were much more harsh; for flames were cattered through the tombs, and these had kindled all of  them to glowing heat; no artisan could ask for hotter iron.”
-Canto IX, Mandlebaum

The City of Dis, where Dante describes these fiery tombs, is heretic central in Hell. Epicureans and other sects of heretical Christianity are all hanging out in tombs on fire. Virgil comments wryly, “These tombs are far more crowded than you think.” Two points of irony: 1. Those who thought “the soul dies with the body” are now condemned to being wrong in a really painful way for a long time, and 2. The pièce de résistance of the whole city is a heretical Cardinal, who is upside-down in a baptismal font filled with fire. So opposite. Such irony. Wow.


This one wins the Most Relevant to Dante’s Inferno award!

I think it’s only natural to, while reading the Inferno, calculate where you’d end up in Hell. And me? My best guess is that I’d end up in the City of Dis with the heretics. In high school and college I was a semi-active member of the Unitarian-Universalist Association, which stemmed from two heretical Christian sects. Unitarianism was declared heresy at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD, which is pretty old school in terms of heresy. (Unitarians didn’t believe in the trinity, thus the name. Instead, they believed in “a unity of God and Nature”.) Universalism wasn’t declared heresy until the fifth ecumenical council of 533AD, but I think had the far more punk-ass ideology: the doctrine of universal salvation. Everybody is saved. No matter what. It’s almost like, by extension…morals…become a secular thing… huh. Anyway, since the 1950s, the UUA has officially divorced itself from Christianity and now is a creedless faith where you can believe whatever you damn well please but still get together to sing songs from a variety of faith traditions. There are Seders, and Pagan rituals, and Buddhist meditations. I’m sure Dante would have had a field day with the UUA; Garrison Keillor jokes about “fundamentalist Unitarians” burning giant question marks on people’s lawns.

…And at this point in my life, my religious life consists of celebrating the Wheel of the Year with a coven of queer Pagans. It’s like going to church for Christmas and Easter, except with a far higher percentage of lesbians and witches.


BUT ANYWAY we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to talk about what Stock Photo Land considers heretical!

My search terms: heresy, heretic, female heretic (I find it worth noting Dreamstime’s “related searches”: wrath, witchcraft, british national flag, thanksgiving turkey, cute hot woman sexy cleavage.)

Yes, “heresy” was a kind of confusing search. I got the following sorts of things, from most to least logical:

Pictures from the walls of Torquemada's torture chambers

Pictures from the walls of Torquemada’s torture chambers

Statue of Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno, heliocentrist, burned at the stake in 1600, a “martyr for science.”

People shopping at outdoor markets in Europe...? Maybe they're actually Epicureans...! (Actually, I think it's in that same square with Bruno's statue.)

People shopping at outdoor markets in Europe…? Maybe they’re actually Epicureans…! (Actually, I think it’s in that same square with Bruno’s statue.)

Various castles of Carcassonne that defended the Spanish/French border. Let me know if that makes sense to anyone. Are the meeples actually heretics? I don't know!

Various castles of Carcassonne that defended the Spanish/French border. Let me know if that makes sense to anyone. Are the meeples actually heretics? I don’t know!

This pregnant lady...? Is she pregnant with the Antichrist or something...?!

This pregnant lady…? Is she pregnant with the Antichrist or something…?!


All that being said, searching “female heretic” in Shutterstock and Dreamstime each produced only one result, and both are SOLID GOD-DAMN GOLD:

black nun flipping of the camera while smoking a cigar

“Hey,” growled Sister Mary Ann Fuckoff, all the while chewing the end of her cigar, “Jesus thinks you’re an asshole.”

truly ridiculous pale woman with long black nails and bloody makeup

Bloodonica, having gone in for a fresh Evil Manicure, had to now say the entire Evil Rosary without the skull falling off her head.


  1. Apparently you don’t know much about Unitarian Universalism. Perhaps a refresher course would help. Please don’t go into a diatribe about something of which you are ignorant. Dramatic monologues have their place, but the web is full of them.

    • Anne Bean

      May 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Please feel free to correct me about Unitarian Universalism. As a member of the church for many years (I consider myself lapsed only because I haven’t been to church in years), I have a great deal of respect for the UUA. I am sorry if I sounded flip about it; my intent actually was to give a basic history of when its roots were declared heresy in context of myself as a heretic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2018 Anne Bean

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: