Sigil of Baphomet Origin; A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy

The first appearance of what we now know of as the Sigil of Baphomet appeared on the cover of A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy and was edited down from an earlier version by Stanislas de Guaita that appeared in La Clef de la Magie Noire. First published in French in 1961 Maurice Bessy’s book was translated and printed into English in 1964. the book was quite popular as it went through multiple reprints as late as the early/mid 70s. As with other popular easily referenced or obtained material that Anton borrowed, plagiarized, and cobbled together while founding the Church of Satan the current CoS leadership up-sells how he changed or altered it to make use of it on publications. Here is a scan of the symbol from the cover of the book;

Cover scan of a 1972 print. We also have a print from 1968 with the same image

Here is a CoS entry on the origin in which it is presented thus;

While The Satanic Bible was being written, it was decided that a unique version of this symbol must be rendered to be identified exclusively with the Church of Satan. The pentagram was made geometrically precise, the two circles perfect, the Hebrew characters were distorted to make them look more sharply serpentine and “corrupted with time,” while the goat face was redrawn with particular attention paid toward the eyes.

Which is essentially a long-winded self-congratulatory way of saying that a line drawing/tracing was produced for smaller print visibility on The Satanic Bible and subsequent publications…

It is certainly thematic that Satanists would appropriate imagery that reflects the demonization of older horned gods to express a positive assertion of our own beliefs and values as opposed to exclusively inverting or blaspheming Abrahamic religions. However as I’ve expressed before ad nauseam, I find irony in the ability of CoS to exaggerate the creative and intellectual abilities of Anton LaVey while claiming that he “created something new” that is Satanism and laying sole claim to the identity while downplaying that he simply picked from widely available materials and milieus which resonated with him personally and reflected his hatred of San Francisco hippy culture.

A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural is a reference book for those interested in the occult. Before the internet or Wikipedia most of us relied on books such as this for a quick overview of topics we could then selectively pick and choose to look deeper into. 1960’s interest in things Satanic, demonic, and counter-cultural is clearly and heavily represented within it minus the requisite association and fascination with evil that we find in similar materials from the 80’s and 90’s. Put more simply, it is a relic from a time when a coffee-table book frankly discussing Satanic topics didn’t have to pander to Evangelically inspired superstition and hyperbole in order to sell copies.

While perusing the pictures and captions in A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural with an understanding of how popular it seems to have been it is easy to imagine the widespread influence that it may have had on quite a bit of familiar art and culture that followed. For instance, I cannot help but wonder if William Peter Blatty chose Pazuzu as the demon in The Exorcist after it being featured here;

Pazuzu in the 1968 edition. The Exorcist was written in 1971.

A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural also spends quite a few pages on one of The Satanic Temple’s favorite topics, witches and witch hunts;

The copy of A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural that I’ve owned for years was acquired as a gift from The Brown Elephant, a non-profit thrift store in Chicago. For years it was little but decoration on my bookshelf, (much in the way it served CoS and LaVey by their own admissions) while I wondered at why it had the Sigil on it’s cover. I had incorrectly assumed that the publishers had placed it there to cash in on the popularity of CoS in the late 60s. I know now that in actuality it was likely the other way around with LaVey picking it for his organization from a popular and widely circulated publication. You will never find me denying that LaVey was adept at successful branding and marketing in his day even if he wasn’t as innovative at new content or ideas as some would have us believe…

*insert side-eye

 

 

 

 

 

Walpurgisnacht at The Satanic Temple Salem 2017

Our observance of ritual is as a performative event that is emotionally significant to an individual or community and as an artistic expression of emotional topics.

Initially I was undecided about publicly publishing a write up that includes details of the ritual we wrote for our 2017 Walpurgisnacht event. We worked on the ritual for a couple months leading up to Walpurgisnacht and went through a few drafts as we narrowed it down to an essence that felt right. My intentions are to share the ideas we worked on and hope they inspire and help someone else for their event. Feel free to take from, modify, add to, or otherwise eviscerate and dissect what we worked on for your own events.

Ritual is a form of participatory performance art involving archetypes and feelings and therefore people are often highly protective of rituals and ideas they’ve created. Many writers are protective of their ritual content or ideas being stolen and suspicious of anyone who uses an archetype in a ritual they’ve had also incorporated.  This makes finding other ritual outlines or descriptions to reference difficult. We discovered this while writing out an outline of what Walpurgisnacht looks like at The Satanic Temple. Most of what you will find about Walpurgisnacht or Beltane are descriptions of events without a running program or script of any performance elements.

After some deliberation about our intent and overall theme we decided on a ritual that touches on Walpurgisnacht traditions while also dipping heavily into our literary influences. Below is the script we used along with some notes from earlier drafts and full quotes from literary references that we used modified in both the ritual and to help contextualize our theme.

Amelia, our altar centerpiece guest.

We wanted our theme to reflect both the vestiges of winter being cleared away and the new spring growth. We spent weeks leading up to the event collecting winter brush from around the gallery and neighborhood to weave into brooms and decorations which we then decorated and highlighted with spring buds, leaves, flowers and growth that we picked fresh at twilight in the days leading up to the event. You don’t want to pick these things too far before the event unless you can keep them fresh or they won’t wilt in the time. We really wanted to pull things specifically from near and around the Gallery so we got a bit of landscaping done as well. For most of the evening Häxan Witchcraft Through the Ages played on the projector to a soundtrack created by Lucien which included Coil and other similar artists. I’ll add that track list as soon as I can get it from him because we’ve already had requests for it.

“With a despairing gesture, Johann turned his horses towards Munich. I leaned on my stick and looked after him. He went slowly along the road for a while, then there came over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin. I could see so much in the distance. When he drew near the horses, they began to jump and kick about, then to scream with terror. Johann could not hold them in; they bolted down the road, running away madly. I watched them out of sight, then looked for the stranger; but I found that he, too, was gone.”

-Dracula’s Guest

“You have ignored the hoteliers warning and ventured out late on Hexennacht, Welcome.” -Tall Thin Stranger greets audience (Dracula’s Guest reference as the story begins with a hoteliers warning to avoid being out on Walpurgis Night)

The Tall Thin Stranger

Gathered in lecture hall in a rough half-circle. Promethean holds out lit candle to first guest saying;

“The price of enlightenment is never free and marks both mentor and pupil alike. Pass your fingers through the flame, choose a sprig/stick.

After everyone around the room has chosen Promethean asks everyone to repeat after him;

“ I share this gift of light and dark.

(I share this gift of light and dark)

I honor winter past as I welcome spring begin”

(I honor winter past as spring begin)

Promethean hands the candle the celebrants passed their fingers through to the Tall Thin Stranger. He blows it out saying;

“I collect the life from the flame the same as everything.”

Crone/witch walks in front of the altar reading from a spell tome:

“There is a mountain very high and bare… whereon it is given out that witches hold their dance on Walpurgis night. Now to the Brocken the witches ride; The stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Square Uranus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.”

Maiden leads Stranger by the hand and pushes him down to  kneel/bow in front of the altar. Removes his robe (as much clothing as possible to expose as much skin canvas as possible). Places his hands palms over mouth one by one and binds them there with twine.

“We have tied hostile tongues in our enemies mouths that they not whisper uninvited darkness into our season of fertility and rebirth”

*places bowl of doves blood in front of Stranger

*places a broom on the floor before that

“Step over the threshold and place your binding upon the stranger with your chosen remnant of winter or sprig of spring”

*demonstrates by stepping over the broom and dipping a sprig (maiden selects a sprig because she is spring) in the bowl of dove’s blood and marking Stranger with a symbol upon the head or torso. She then gestures to the next celebrant in the half-circle line (who should be planted to mark Stranger in a place other than where she marked to let other celebrants see that all exposed skin is game for a mark)

The Tall Thin Stranger being bound.

*motions for guests to step up and do the same. Takes the instruments from them after and places them in the cauldron on or beside the altar

Maiden takes the spell tome from the Crone/witch and reads;

“For you see, within every one of us a spark of [Satanism] is glowing. It has out-lasted the thousand years since the old Teutonic times. Once a year comes the truly Free-night. Then the witches, laughing scornfully, ride to the mountain-top, on their broomsticks and the wild desires awaken in our hearts which life has not fulfilled.”

Afterwards the Crone/witch takes the broom to the door threshold and sweeps with an outward gesture 9 times, then points at two people who carry the cauldron from the altar outside (could be significant if instead the witch had her assistants take the cauldron from the Maiden since it is symbolic of fertility. This could be read as an offering specifically from the Maiden to the Witch. We did discuss that we liked the idea of the Maiden also simply being a younger version of the Crone/witch.)

Celebrants follow the Witch outside (Tall Thin Stranger remains bound and does not follow the procession)

Ideally the contents will then be burnt outside. (They were)

Afterwards the Maiden reads;

The witch(es) have blessed our binding and accepted our offering. Enjoy the company of lascivious friends and fiends, drink, eat and lust freely among the blooms and sprigs of spring wrapped in vestiges of winter.

circle of participants at the cauldron

some notes and extra quotes (thank you Chalice Blythe);

“For you see, pastor, within every one of us a spark of paganism [Satanism] is glowing. It has out-lasted the thousand years since the old Teutonic times. Once a year is flames up high, and we call it St. John’s Fire. Once a year comes Free-night. Yes, truly, Free-night. Then the witches, laughing scornfully, ride to Blocksberg, upon the mountain-top, on their broomsticks, the same broomsticks with which at other times their witchcraft is whipped out of them,–then the whole wild company skims along the forest way,–and then the wild desires awaken in our hearts which life has not fulfilled.”
Sudermann, St. John’s Fire 1857-1928 

“Now to the Broken the witches ride; The stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Square Uranus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.” Goethe, Faust Walpurgis Night 1829

random notes from comrades on our various Google doc versions;

I really like the Hag ritual of the Parentalia. I’ve referenced the original in the comment and maybe this particular part can go as such:
Once there, the Hag (followed silently by the Tall Thin Stranger) goes around and snuffs out all candles, taking a sip of wine for each one. When she gets to the last candle, she puts the thin man’s hands up to his mouth (palms on mouth) and uses a cord to bind together the hands of the Thin Man around his head, afterwards proclaiming “We have tied hostile tongues in our enemies mouths!”  

I like this bit. Here’s the original ritual:“Three fingers tuck three incense lumps under a door,
Where a tiny mouse built a hidden path.
The hag then fastens enchanted cords with dark lead,
And rolls seven beans inside her mouth;
And she roast on the fire the sewn head of the sprat
Smeared in pitch and spitted with a bronze rod.
She also drops in wine. What remains of the wine
She or her friends drink (although she drinks more)
‘We have tied hostile tongues and our enemies mouths’
The hag shouts.”

The broom being historically representative of balance, the “male” shaft and “female” bristles. We COULD talk about how they became associated with Witches in that they “rode” their broom handles covered in hallucinogens to “fly, but…. Since it’s also seen as a protector to the “gateway” to a ritual space, we can draw a circle around the broom making station. The stations can be the ritual space for making the brooms. That can be discussed as well.

“The price of enlightenment is never free.” – Prometheus
He is essentially a demi-god with human attributes but also a grandiose warrior side that is now worn with suffering. His robes can be a muted grey or white color wrapped in a Grecian fashion;

With the association of lighting the candles, I like the idea of them wearing a grey, billowy cloak to look like the smoke left after the candles are blown out.

I’ve also seen the Gardens of Adonis story as being one about rebirth. The Gardens were made to encourage fertility, growth and the vegetational death of Adonis, as a life-death-rebirth deity. Was celebrated at the commencement of Spring

I also believe that jumping over the broom was part of the ritual for protection

We also need a cauldron. With the May Pole being phallic, the symbolism of both Beltane and Walpurgisnacht is that of fertility, the cauldron symbolizing the lady who becomes pregnant at Beltane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors Inventing Demons (why I engage in TST Grey Faction)

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I lived in a terrifying world. Procter & Gamble, who you may not be aware manufactures nearly everything in your house, was being run by a coven of Satanists just like in Rosemary’s Baby. After school cartoons were subliminally recruiting children into the occult and Satanism by softening them up to sorcery, symbols, and ritual. Young minds everywhere were being prepped for mind control and split personalities to be prepared for roving bands of incognito Satanists to be used to recruit, rape, and sacrifice other children. As I grew into my teens the assault on my virtue continued as I found that most of the music I enjoyed was also a way to indoctrinate me into the occult and away from God and all things good and wholesome. 

The book that started the pop-psychology fad/fascination of multiple personality disorder, which was followed by the movie Sybil. A fascination so strong that the support groups surrounding DID today often appear to be a fledgling religion.

It worked. Years of raising alarms about the secret wolves in our midst didn’t distract me enough from the very real and pressing abuse I faced as a queer kid in a Christian religious and mentally ill family in Ohio. Younger folks don’t understand the ubiquitous nature of the Satanic Panic in the 80’s and 90’s. By my late teens my friends and I had started naming and defining our “aspects” (personalities). This was an occult rite of passage for us (so we imagined). The multiple personality disorder (MPD) myth was so popular and captured the imagination so much that it seemed inextricable from the occult we were using to declare independence from our oppressively Christian homes and schools. To that end it felt subversive to embrace having alternate personalities while rebelling against pervasive Christian rhetoric and propaganda. When I see the influx of self-diagnosed DID (dissociative identity disorder) “victims” onto social media like YouTube and Tumblr making “meet the alters” videos I see echos of the role-play and contextualization my friends and I conceived of back then. It’s the veracity of the diagnosis and therapists using it to profit off of the superstitious or vulnerable, not people who create multiple identities or stage names, that is the problem as far as we see it.

The rebranding of MPD has served its purpose of making criticism and conversation about DID very confusing to people. With the current attention and social discourse about invisible and mental illness, DID proponents rely on the civility surrounding mental health issues to keep the diagnosis above reproach or examination. People have expressed to me recently that they were unclear if TST has an anti-therapy stance (we do not) and to remind me that dissociation disorders are widely accepted and recognized by professionals. I suspect that this kind of confusion was exactly part of the plan when they rebranded MPD into DID. They parented it to a family of diagnosis that does have veracity to lend it the credibility that a cursory examination of the history involving DID/MPD doesn’t.

some notes;

1. Dissociative Identity Disorder shouldn’t be confused for dissociative disorders in general. It is classified as part of that family of more understandable and observable disorders but is a more specific and more dramatic diagnosis. As I said after engaging in some of these conversations I suspect that part of the tactic here was to marry it to a diagnosis that is more legitimately accepted by most health care professionals. Dissociation can be used to describe a feeling of “watching” or “being removed” from yourself (particularly in situations of physical or emotional pain) as if you are a stranger to yourself. DID is a claim that the dissociation can be so severe that a whole new personality separate from the self can develop. This is a claim that lacks evidence outside of self-reporting and the minority of therapists who still diagnose it possibly actually creating the experience in clients during sessions.

2. DID is a complex issue to discuss because victims can actually exhibit memories and personalities based on the suggestions of their therapists. If you’ve read any amount of research on how we form and retain memories and how false memories can be created this is easy to comprehend. Unfortunately this creates a situation where the client can actually believe they have different personalities and outlandish memories to go with the extreme trauma that is a prerequisite for DID. After watching a few of the malpractice suits against therapists who diagnosed DID in patients you will often hear statements like; “I went in for depression and left with multiple personalities.” Across the board being diagnosed with DID becomes the beginning of even more hardships and worse mental health for the client. Patients go in to speak with someone about depression and end up strapped to a chair screaming and accusing their family members of abuse in later sessions.

4. Grey Faction doesn’t target victims or clients of these therapists. The organizations and therapists with vested interests in keeping vulnerable people in the DID cycle try to operate quietly among their echo-chambers without challenge. When video surfaces of their antics at conferences they project their embarrassment as anger and paint us as stalking and harassing rape and incest survivors. This is also why there is a dearth of new critical info on DID. It’s too fascinating and profitable for those inclined to supernaturalism and conspiracy to let go of and those of us who do openly criticize the lack of evidence or point out the underlying woo are immediately categorized as pedophile or rapist enablers. See what they do there, if you question narratives of widespread ritual abuse and mind-control cults you must be a rapist pedophile… Few have time or spoons for that kind of dumpster fire.

5. DID is still currently in the DSM-V despite the majority of health care professionals criticism or disbelief of it. For context, it wasn’t that long ago that homosexuality was also in the DSM. The tide has turned on the effectiveness of ex-gay therapy and the destruction it causes and we hope to see something similar happen to DID. Conference organizers and even grassroots believers in DID and conspiracies have done an impressive job of avoiding the public transparency that would ensure the demise of the therapy and when they can’t avoid it altogether they just rebrand MPD/DID to muddy the water and slide back into the cesspits.

They may be able to ignore or brush our petitions under the rug for now, but we won’t stop disseminating the information. All one needs to do is scratch the surface of any of the therapists on our list to see the tin-foil, malpractice, and conspiracies. DID proponents would like nothing more for it to be business as usual at their conferences and we aren’t going to allow them their subterfuge any longer.

February Abyss

The other night I cried as I fell asleep. This morning I woke up dissociated and looked around my strange room and wondered what was wrong with me. I have had quite a few moments over the past month or two where I wake up and as soon as I open my eyes a twinge of sadness sets in right after I get over wondering where I am. Where I am is single in February in a new apartment by myself for the first time in 8 years, and today it wasn’t a twinge but a convulsion. It brought an alien logical realization; ‘Oh, yeah, there’s the depression…’ The realization didn’t make me happier, but it set me up to cope.

February is always a dark month for me. Usually depression has long set in for months prior but if it hasn’t February brings it out. For that reason I’ve always been very fond of Valentine’s Day. It’s brilliantly set in the middle of a month where there generally isn’t much else to look forward to. Distraction as therapy, my husband and I would buy each other all of the stupid things at the drug store for weeks. Teddy bears and frogs holding hearts, cheap heart shaped boxes full of mediocre chocolate, and of course new cock-rings or jockstraps. Valentines day contains echos of other older celebrations civilizations placed in February, celebrations of bloodletting and purging followed by sensual excess. Wise hopeful dreams made into pageants and rituals to relieve the harsh bleakness of the post-solstice, pre-bloom gray. I’ll still take it.

I am glad to be working with a February onset of light depression rather than the year-and-a-half deep crippling one that helped destroy the marriage I am now without though. I still have most of a year of first-withouts ahead of me. I slid under the wire of my first-without my ex holiday season. Tomorrow is my first Valentines-without. I don’t know if I’ll try to leave the house. I didn’t buy any heart-shaped anything holding anything this year and I’ve been able to mostly avoid the stores that remind me of that. Today I slipped on a cock-ring to love myself before I ended up sobbing while leaning into my closet and feeling ridiculous and dejected. I decided to stare out of the window at the snow for a while instead.

I have friends arriving this week. Everything is manageable, these are my mantras. Things aren’t as bad this year. Rinse and repeat until it’s clean and true. Here’s to purging the darkest moments before spring.

 

Antichrist Superstar: 20th Anniversary Reflections

“When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you… (incomprehensible mumbling) Let all the children say ‘We hate love. We love hate’….”

Antichrist Superstar was released on October 8th 1996. I had been a Marilyn Manson fanatic since seeing them and Jim Rose Circus open for Nine Inch Nails in 1994 at Battelle Hall in Columbus Ohio (a show that got NIN banned from the venue after fans dismantled and removed all seating on the main floor to create a mosh pit). By the time Antichrist came out I had seen Marilyn Manson 5 times. The last time I saw them was at The Newport in Columbus Ohio right after its release. When The Beautiful People was released as its first single on September 8th 1996 we got a look at what the next phase of our Satanic art messiah looked like. It was a look that drove Antichrist Superstar to debut at no. 3 On Billboard and Rolling Stone magazine to declare the grunge era over. We were ready for theatrics and ceremony in our rock again. Years of boys playing coy on stage in thrift clothing begged for an aggressively made-up shock-showman rebuttal. Nirvana heralded the end of hair metal, and then Manson brought back the metal, make up, and lingerie in a genuinely disturbing, visceral, and unglamorous fashion that poked a scabbed finger in the eye of both grunge and hair metal. It whipped us into an inspired deviant ecstasy. Beyond the aesthetics of shock the concepts behind the album and band were as empowering to a young Satanist as Lucifer himself handing you the worm-eaten windfall apple of discord.

partially the story of how a theocratic fascistic society creates its own devil and reflection. The Adversary, a consistently Satanic theme and story.
Antichrist Superstar is partially the story of how a theocratic fascistic society creates its own devil and reflection. The Adversary, a consistently Satanic theme and story.

The rock opera is part of a trilogy that was later revealed to be the conclusion released in reverse order. The story is about a boy who becomes a worm, chrysalises into a filthy, scarred, and hateful angel, takes the mantle of anti-Messiah, and then the anti-God. Presumably in the process destroying or dismantling the society that destroyed the boy and made him a worm in the first place. An ouroboros consuming itself along with the world it is coiled around.

(then I got my wings and I never even knew it,
When I was a worm, thought I couldn’t get through it)

because today is black
Because there is no turning back.
Because your lies have watered me
I have become the strongest weed

Here awesome of my favorite performances and tracks from the album… with commentary. Prick your finger the time has come. The moon has now eclipsed the sun. The angel has spread its wings. The time has come for bitter things…

The Beautiful People, released a month in advance of the album. We waited with bated breath for the release of this new song and video, making sure we were in front of MTV when it debuted. Marilyn’s grotesquely regal entrance and spoken intro to the MTV video music awards performance in 97 perfectly perfectly encapsulates this song;

“My fellow Americans, we will no longer be oppressed by the fascism of Christianity, and we will no longer be oppressed by the fascism of beauty. Cause I see you all sittin’ out there trying your hardest not to be ugly, trying your hardest not to fit in, trying your hardest to earn your way into heaven… but let me ask you, do you wanna be in a place thats filled with a bunch of ASSHOLES?”

me either.

Speaking of assholes we’d rather not accompany in heaven, Im pretty sure one of the ones protesting (a concert, FFS) in this clip of Angel With The Scabbed Wings is the “God Warrior” woman who went on to the infamous episode of trading spouses where she gets unhinged about the pagan/new-age family she stays with. You can tell from her accent and space in her teeth even though they concealed her identity. Enjoy the vintage hyperbole in this clip… different decade, same shit.

“He will deflower the freshest crop, dry up all the wombs with his rock n roll sores…”

The title track video was never officially released. Apparently they shot it and the record company was horrified enough at the cinematography to bury it. Manson also was not sure it conveyed the proper criticism of the subject matter. It was leaked to YouTube a few years ago. It features Nazi rally footage and tearing apart a bible at a podium, which became and remains the live performance depiction of the song. It contains a similar observation of an earlier assertion from Portrait of an American Family; You cannot sedate all the things you hate. Satanists acknowledge that as long as there is tyranny and oppression our kind will always grow within the culture around us to be the adversary and counterbalance our society deserves.

“Time has come it is quite clear our Antichrist is almost here… cut the head off, grows back hard. I am the hydra. Now you’ll see your star.”

“I went to god just to see, and I was looking at me
Saw heaven and hell were lies
When I’m god everyone dies…”

The quintessential gnosis of an awakening Satanist. That “God” is just a disingenuous approximation of the individual or groups desires and idealized character, and that there is power in removing the fictional middle man. In this case a deeply scarred individual who would remove everything and everyone who ever created or contributed to the oppression that forged him.

“shoot here and the world gets smaller. Each thing I show you is a piece of my death
Shoot shoot shoot motherfucker
No salvation, no forgiveness
This is beyond your experience”

Man That You Fear was inspired by Manson’s experience of growing up as an outsider and how the reactions of people around him towards his awkward nature made him embrace is identity as Other. I’ve written before about how I believe Satanists to be created (not born) in reaction to their surroundings. I’m not sure thats the best expression of our experience. It is more like we are a special kind of metal that is forged and hammered by the same tools used for iron, but to an obviously different effect and quality. We had the inclinations and predilections already, and otherwise pedestrian exposure wired us differently as an outcome.tumblr_m65us8kcjl1qi2fjlo1_500

In the two decades since its release Antichrist Superstar and Marilyn Manson have deeply influenced (usually without credit) rock and pop music in sometimes obvious ways. Often however, those of us who watched the performances and developments in the early years can only spot the influence from experience. It’s in a dozen bands that sprouted up like bad caricatures of Manson. Its in the performance, videos (see Y Control), and facial expressions of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Its in the now standard success formula of remaking a vintage song from the 80s. Costumes and make up in movie and stage production, even hip hop videos are soaked with a dark glam that Manson normalized.

and have you ever seen a Lady GaGa video?

Lest you think I’m stretching just search YouTube for “Manson GaGa” or “is ___ a copy of Marilyn Manson” and enjoy dozens of examples. Know your cultural art, its influence/influences, and all of its permutations.

Ave.

“When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed.”

Salem Art Gallery, The Satanic Temple’s Temple.

“you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave….”img_20160813_204745

The Satanic Temple officially announced on September 14 that their clandestine Salem, MA headquarters will be opening as a center of operations for the organization and its guests. Salem Art Gallery has been a refuge and base for members and allies of The Satanic Temple privately during its renovations for nearly a year and is the meeting location in the Washington Post article that broke the After School Satan Club story. One of its first events had Adam Parfrey of Feral House exhibiting and discussing the works of William Mortensen in October last year. Salem Art Gallery will begin holding ticketed and invitation-only events for the public on September 23rd. The privately donated historic Victorian property dates back to 1882 and also currently houses the Baphomet monument until it can be donated to a suitable home on state property where religious monuments and plurality are welcome.img_20160914_194451

Salem Art Gallery will open to the public with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Satanic Panic and witch hunts from the past and present. Grey Faction is the foundational organization within the Satanic Temple which focuses on Satanic Ritual Abuse claims and their current incarnations such as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Members of the Grey Faction, many of whom have personal experience with harmful conspiracy theory masquerading as mental health therapy, curated the Satanic Panic exhibit along with Lucien Greaves. The gallery also features a media room for film screenings, book events, lectures, and educational events. The Satanic Temple’s ordainment coursework that is under development and nearly complete and ritual events such as marriage dissolution rituals and pet funerals are also being discussed as they are underserved but important life events that serve human emotional need.  Yes, weddings will likely happen too… Salem Art Gallery will be the only still existing brick and mortar religious destination for Satanists in the United States excluding the Luciferian Church that opened up in Texas last year. Luciferians do not typically identify themselves as Satanists however.img_20160914_194852

The building is a large Victorian two story home whose public areas are all on the first floor. The media room is large with a projector screen and podium used for lectures and films or videos of interest to the Satanic community. Its circuitous scarlet-walled layout is sometimes confusing to navigate and is probably due in part to its former use as a funeral home. The Baphomet monument resides in a specially constructed structure whose interior decoration is Roman inspired and sits apart from the main building. Artists, performers, authors, writers, and filmmakers are frequent guests as well as chapter heads and members of TST. It is a place well suited to the continuing cultivation of the Gnosticism-hued Satanism of The Satanic Temple. The social and creative culture of The Satanic Temple and Satanism in general is usually overlooked and underreported which inhibits the willingness of many people to understand the religion. Now, with a headquarters announced publicly and more TST cultural events and gatherings being reported on or attended by larger audiences Satanists are prioritizing designing and creating their own culture in a town historically fit for both their insight and influence.

The first exhibits for Salem Art Gallery as the official base of operations for The Satanic Temple will include Mark Porter (the artist who sculpted the Baphomet monument) and sculptor Chris Andres who specializes in Satanic themes and taxidermy style monsters including Baphomet masks and sculptures. Halloween, Salem’s heavy tourist season, will see events not yet announced at Salem Art Gallery with plans to carry on through the entire Holiday season with Krampus events in December and events on into January still in discussion. There will likely be an online component available for members and allies who cannot physically attend events in the space.

 

 

Dissolution, Ritual, and Amputated Identities.

A few days after the Orlando shooting I approached a conversation with my husband that had been buzzing beneath the surface for months. “Are we OK? We are growing apart and can we fix it?” I really wanted to, he was the world to me and all of my future. I wanted to reforge our 7 year relationship as the changed people we are. He had another solution he’d decided on, and we split up. Every future I imagined and had built my faith on was discarded. While we are still financially bound I am now largely alone when I am not with TST people or at work. He has another place to stay most nights, and always had all of “our” friends. I am now East of Eden and trying to construct my new singular life in a city I never wanted to come to and trying to make peace with it all anyway.

Erasmus and Omnius stare out at me in anticipation.
Erasmus and Omnius stare out at me in anticipation.

The night it happened I made myself attend another organization’s activism event with other TST NYC members. That weekend I left for a Salem retreat where several of us from across the country got to see each other again or meet in person for the first time. I left for escape and support and to work and play. We discussed the upcoming ASSC campaign and enjoyed the feeling of immediate comfort that only happens when you run into others from your tribe. In my little over 20 years of Satanism I’ve never joined any other Satanic organization until TST. Their culture was never quite the right fit for me. My political/ social justice/ scientifically informed consciousness was always significantly at odds with most of their membership I encountered. The most important thing a religion provides is community and culture to people of shared interests and beliefs. It provides a family outside of often disappointing genetic bonds. I have found a family, and they are the right people at the right time in my lifeedited_FB_IMG_1463888461149

In October I plan on undergoing a dissolution ritual to put my crushed future in a box under the bed and reconstruct myself from the pieces I have left. Rituals are important and effective to the human mind in ways that are still being researched and discussed. We have small mundane rituals for things we do everyday. Rituals that shape our mind and imagination to executing a task or event. We have all of the rituals for big life events like death, and birth, and marriage…

Divorce or separation rituals are underrepresented. A person who is recently separated often feels incomplete. Half of who I am is gone. My identity cannot be the same anymore and I want to contextualize all of that grief and then rebirth into a moment that excorcises my failure and misery. There are really poignant and inspiring divorce rituals people have done for themselves, and I am relying on myself and my TST family for creating mine.4334

I need to re-imagine who I am in a deliberate way. Ritual can trick the mind into prolonged focus and action. On the other side of my event I want to feel new and different again. Hardened and distilled and all me.FB_IMG_1467481286037

I’ve lost two families, his and the one we planned together. I’ve lost the security of company when I’m lonely and someone who prioritizes me. I lost the only close friend I’ve had for 7 years. I want to stop crying at home and obsessing over everything, real and imagined, that I’ve lost. I want to come out of the other side unable to relate to the emotions I am right now writing down.

I want to be over it and be me again.received_617555201742812

 

Deviled Easter Eggs.

feature Art: Ash Astaroth by Mirter Christina, Mr_Christinax on Instagram

I hate Easter. It reminds me of cheap suits and asphyxiating neck ties, fiery extra long sermons and people eager to show public penance in exchange for popularity and approval. Easter is a bunch of grown-ass adults playing dress up and making a spectacle of themselves in churches while reaffirming their fears of the Others out there. Easter is polyester navy blue and stern looks from red faced preachers with bulging veins in their angry xenophobic foreheads. Easter is adults bawling about some mythological sacrifice and how it enriched and empowered them personally while the whole world burns down around them. On Monday they’ll return to their lives with gasoline and matches.

I became an atheist around 14. There were a lot of factors that informed my awakening, my sexuality, my love of reading, my enthusiasm for science, and the increasingly damaging superstition of my fringe Christian mother. I remember a time when I was very young when my mother displayed contempt for televangelists and did not attend church or talk about Jesus. By the time I left the house it was because she told me that demon possession made me Gay. I’m pretty sure she saw that on her favorite show; The 700 club. She was not well, and her increasing fanaticism was indicative of that. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realised how traumatic my family and religious life had been, and the imprint it left upon me.preacher

My mother insisted on making me go to our baptist church every week. She frequently let me call off of school. I made sure I missed the maximum amount of days I could for school without having to get a doctors note or take summer classes. However, my church attendance was non-negotiable. I kept losing the arguments regarding the futility of making a blue haired, black nailed, pierced punk atheist attend church. In church I got to listen to sermons about evil demonic powers rising up towards Armageddon in our nation, homosexuals and feminists, atheists, Democrats. Week after week folks glanced expectantly at me during the end of service when the pastor called congregants to come up and pray at the altar with him. They called it “dedication”. That was when folks who wanted a little extra attention and validation came up and “rededicated” themselves to Jesus through tears and personal testimony. It was a sideshow of self-involvement. “No thanks folks, I don’t need any more Jesus in my life this week.”

My attitude problems started at a young age
My attitude problems started at a young age

I had tinkered in the occult before acknowledging my atheism. The occult and sexuality were more forbidden in my household than violence. Our school library in small town Ohio was surprisingly well stocked on occult topics in the 90s. Aleister Crowley, Feral house, and Disinformation publications warped and reshaped me. When I was 17 I read a blurb in a magazine (again in my school library) about The Church of Satan. I ordered The Satanic Bible and picked it up at my local bookstore. Everything I did or said became increasingly suspicious to my mother as demonic activity. She threatened to have me declared unruly and sent to a group troubled teens home.

I stopped coming home. I barely lived there. I officially moved out after the second time I came out to my mother, having been forced into it because of her eavesdropping on my phone calls and gossiping with friends moms about me hanging out at gay bars. She tricked me into coming home to help paint over the literal writing on the walls in my bedroom. It was a ruse to have a youth minister, who was also a local policeman who had busted me before, come talk to me about Jesus and the bible. “You can read out of that book till your face turns blue, but like I’ve told you several times now, I don’t believe in those fairy tales and repeating them won’t change that.” That was in spring.

I hate Easter Sunday. Even as an all holiday enthusiast I can’t get down with what Easter is to me. I delight in memes of Lich Jesus, bunnies laying bloody easter eggs… And I’ll make it a personal project to reclaim Easter for the heathens, just as we’ve been working at with Christmas. I expect fertility celebrations to take a sharp and decidedly Satanic uptick in the years ahead. Don’t thank or curse me, thank/curse Fellowship Baptist Church. Christianity itself creates many of its own best adversaries.

Art credit: Caspian Lothbrook
Art credit: Caspian Lothbrook

 

The Satanic Temple is not The Church of Satan, deliberately.

I have all of Anton LaVey’s books on my shelf. They’ve been there for 20 years. I’ve read them (along with a host of other related books and topics). They aren’t particularly well written, and they are heavily embellished with borrowed ideology from other sources (e.g., Rand and Redbeard). When I was younger they were everything to me. Enthusiastically I was what we now call a LaVeyan Satanist. I was also less informed and less emotionally mature. I didn’t know where Anton clipped and pasted his ideas from then.

There are still a ridiculous amount of LaVeyans asserting that since Anton named Satanism it is defined by his (their) preference of what Satanism means. Recently I listened to a boring monologue in which the speaker was incredulous that some TST members had never read The Satanic Bible, while publicly disassociating with TST because it isn’t “real Satanism” AND ironically quoting Anton as saying “If I didn’t create Satanism then someone else less (or demonstrably more, IMO) qualified would have.”

Aside from the absurdity that even Church of Satan Satanism was ever intended to be static and refuse/resist to adapt or react to social evolution and new information (which is the purveyance of Christianity and other theistic religions), there is a very plain and publicly available reason that some members in TST may not have read The Satanic Bible; it is not canon, and it is not necessary to what TST is. Indignation about that fact is irrelevant, we have extensive reading suggestions of which many also influenced LaVey and his curated creation directly or indirectly. His books don’t fall onto those lists. It’s not because we are “hiding” them or denying CoS existence. It is because the only things we have in common with CoS are that we both champion individuality (albeit in practice very differently) and have an atheistic/non-theistic religion with Satan as the symbolic herald. That can be said in two sentences. Digging into what those mean is best done in better written and researched books and dissertations other than The Satanic Bible.

Our Satanism is humanitarian and activist. It is delineated by literary tradition more so than from the occult. This is very clearly explained and elaborated on in our FAQs. William Blake’s writings predate LaVey’s by more than 150 years. Milton predates LaVey by 300 years. Any such influence found in LaVey does not negate these works from influencing and inspiring us directly via the primary sources. Revisiting Anton’s quote above; “someone else” did create a new Satanism, and whether you think we’re “less qualified” is irrelevant. We aren’t concerned with, or insulted by, the limited intellectual abilities of boring anachronisms that insist Satanism look just like it did 40 years ago despite new sociological information and the invalidation of “Social Darwinism” as a functional social theory. What exactly is Satanic, liberating, or fiercely individualistic about an invisible religion of 60s hippy culture reactionist sentiments in 2016? Personally I just think of that as the 80s, which is incidentally the decade Anton most failed to illuminate given his opportunities to address The Satanic Panic.

We intend to indulge in the positive rewards of a religious community, despite theist, other-Satanist, or non-Satanist atheist protests and tears. Memes aren’t just snarky pics on the internet. Our canon is a list of varied authors and media, it is a collection of diverse ideas and works into a cohesive vision, and it is adaptable because of that.  Memes are formed in just that manner and they can influence a whole culture. Anton created one in the late 60s in the culture phenomenon that was San Francisco, and we are here in the 2016 doing so with even more knowledge available to us.

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Photo; Chris Switzer

In the end, I suspect that these folks who joined TST for the party and recognition felt the need to very publicly quit when they found out that many of the actual individuals who are passionately practicing actual rebellion against actual tyranny and injustice ingrained into our society weren’t quiet about it. This is a philosophy of action, rejection of arbitrary authority, and inquiry.  That is wholly Satanic.

 

The Sabbat Cycle; Awaken

The Satanic Temple and the producers of the movie The Witch are presenting a four part Satanic ritual in four cities. The ritual was conceived prior to being sent a copy of The Witch and the movie thematically contextualizes the message of The Satanic Temple.  On The Satanic Revolution Jex explains the inspiration for the partnership;

We are empowered by the narrative of The Witch: a story of pathological pride, old-world religious paradigms, and an outsider who grabs persecution by the horns. Efforts to oppress and demonize the heretic prove to be a path to destruction. The witch does not burn but rises up in the night.

The first part of The Sabbat Cycle was called Awaken and happened on Ash Wednesday at The Jane Hotel ballroom in Manhattan. Photography was strictly prohibited and limited to approved photographers. The Satanic Temple inversion of ritualised abstinence was ritualised indulgence and awakening to our carnal nature in rebellion against restrictive religious traditions. Guests received dove’s blood and ash marks on their foreheads from two celebrants clad only in nylon stockings. They incanted “This is the mark of your Awakening” as they made these crosses.

The Jane Hotel was established in 1908. The weathered antique art noveou decor perfectly complimented The Sabbat Cycle Awaken. The ballroom had a lodge feel and featured a taxidermy ram over the mantle. Large couches were arranged around long coffee tables filled with black candles and red flowers. A small stage to the side of the room was laid with eucalyptus branches and flanked by two large leather rhinoceros floor cushions. A second level and smaller lounge was accessible via a split stair case and was restricted for the first part of the night leading up to the ceremony. Guests mingled under a large disco ball missing many of its mirrored plates. They enjoyed the fruit and macaroon plates and open bar for most of the evening while dark ethereal music played. A large television in the corner of the ballroom featured a live feed video to a room in the hotel where a Dominatrix and her male subject.photo7_Lphoto4_L.png

When the ballroom filled to capacity Cornelius Loy performed a theremin set on the small stage at the side of the room. His music was haunting, dramatic, and appropriate for a Satanic gathering as the instrument has long been associated with occult counterculture and Satanism in particular due to Anton LaVey’s enthusiasm for it. As his set reached a climax two lines of nude men appeared at the door to the upstairs lounge and slowly decended each side of the split staircase opon which they stopped and faced the crowd. They were followed by two women and Jex who took the center of the platform. The theremin music continued as she gave a speech from which the following excerpt came:

The Devil- a personification of evil as defined by the dictates of a corrupt moral institution. The witch, an expression of independent female sexuality and power within the human history of carnal repression. These are not medieval designations… If you stand here as free-thinking, self-governed and godless you too are considered an enemy of God and a patron of Satan by many in your community and by those who represent you in your government.

Two wrapped objects were presented to the lowermost men on the stairs. As the speech continued the objects were passed up and familial kisses were exchanged between the men. The objects were revealed by the women at the top as a pigs head and a long dagger. The pigs head was motheringly held to breast as  the dagger was brandished defiantly as the speech concluded.

At this a very large black and white American flag was unfurled from its hidden place inside the eucalyptus branches lining the bannister of the landing and the participants ascended the stairs to the upper lounge which was then opened to all guests.

With the ritual concluded participants passed out cards with a room number so that the guests could go peak in on the dominatrix and her sub they had been watching on the video feed all evening.  Smaller versions of The Satanic Temple American flag were also distributed to guests with the message “This flag is a symbol of the new American Era. Place it in spaces that will benefit from Satanic insight. Join the #SatanicRevolution.”IMG_20160210_183644463

The rest of the evening was debaucerous yet relaxed. Guests sat and spoke on couches or mingled in small crowds while more lascivious guests played semi discretely in corners and shadows. Enthusiastic conversations about the symbolism of the ritual were in abundance. The pigs head , a symbol of fecundity and abundance, being significant in several artistic, occult, and literary traditions such as Lord Of The Flies.

The Satanic Temple of Detroit put on a great experience. More than a party, it was fun and invigorating. It was inspiring and …awakening.

(I will add images to this blog as they are released) Recently also covered by Vice. 

The Sabbat Cycle: Rebel. LA

The Sabbat Cycle: Convoke. Austin TX

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