Thursday, November 25, 2010

Why the Devil Loves
Pee-Wee Herman

[A note to non-Satanists: Before reading this, please understand that Pee-Wee and his creator are not preaching Satanism. This is a highly personal interpretation of the character and his world. It is not to be understood as anything else. Pee-Wee has endured enough scandal already!]

Earlier this month, under the dark of the moon, in a chamber nestled among the Luciferian lights of Broadway, I attended a magical ritual. It was conducted by a sorcerer who has been an indirect mentor to me since my childhood.

This ritual was none other than The Pee-Wee Herman Show.
It might not be terribly obvious, but Pee-Wee Herman embodies several principles that resonate deeply with elements of Satanism.

Those new to Satanism may want to read the Church of Satan Informational Pack, along with other literature, to better grasp some of this. But for the most part, it should be self-explanatory.

Pee-Wee Herman is a staunch individualist. He is immune from any possibility of being changed by anyone outside of himself. Such is his strength of will that, if there is to be change, it will be in the people and objects around him! This can be seen most clearly in his Playhouse.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse is a total environment. He has surrounded himself with imagery, companions, and activities that stimulate, satisfy, and express his ego. It is his sanctuary and, at times, his ritual chamber.

It is also significant that, aside from a few human visitors, Pee-Wee’s primary companions are what would normally be inanimate objects. Through either technology or imagination, most of the items in his world are animated, or even alive. Though some are more anthropomorphic than others, all of these objects serve as Pee-Wee's artificial human companions.

This unique environment is shaped by Pee-Wee’s profound capacity for evocation, which is a key principle at the often-misunderstood heart of Satanism.

Adding to this energy is "the secret word" that, from day to day, tautens the Playhouse's atmosphere with its explosive potential. Secrets are powerful, and this one never fails to unleash a confounding outburst of prankish cacophony.

If you’ve ever seen Pee-Wee on stage, you know how many dirty jokes he and his friends tell. Though distasteful to prudes, these are simply a mischievous celebration of carnality. This is, of course, essential to any truly good life — unless one’s particular fetishes encourage a rare inclination to the contrary!

It's not just the dirty jokes that are so diabolically delightful, though. If, as Baudelaire said, "Laughter is Satanic," then Pee-Wee surely ranks highly among the devils of mythology!

The final major Satanic element of Pee-Wee’s world is more overtly related to magic and ritual. Jambi, a genie (djinn) who lives in a trapezoidal box, is the most traditionally magical part of this environment. He grants wishes, inviting others to join him in a chant that, though it may be gibberish, is given meaning through its esoteric implications. These otherwise nonsensical words are, by their very association with magic, used to heighten emotions for the purpose of projecting and manifesting the wisher's will.

Pee-Wee’s stage show also imparts two more significant magical lessons, which the perceptive can identify without my specifying them and spoiling the plot. The first is that, if one uses magic to bestow a blessing upon another person, this must be done with absolute certainty that success would not bring unhappiness to him or herself; otherwise, it may backfire. The second lesson is that one should not waste magical efforts on anything that could be better achieved through more direct means.

As with just about anything, the ultimate relevance of Pee-Wee Herman to Satanism is as varied as Satanists themselves. This is just a basic survey of themes of general interest to Satanists, at least a few of whom are some of Pee-Wee's biggest fans.

Hail Pee-Wee!

Hail Satan!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Eye for Carnage:

Anton Szandor LaVey
on the Horror Films of
Herschell Gordon Lewis

A few years ago, I acquired an old catalog. Someone I knew was probably discarding it; I forget. But I kept this white elephant because it struck me as a unique reference for my cinematic explorations. Audio Brandon Films 16mm International Cinema, 1978-79, contains well over 500 pages of films then available for rental by educational institutions, theaters, etc. Instead of a dull list, however, Audio Brandon fattened its catalog with striking stills and critical, even scholarly descriptions by educators, journalists, and other qualified aficionados. Among these contributors was Anton Szandor LaVey, who wrote about Herschell Gordon Lewis and two of his films.

When I discovered that this catalog, whose great worth was already apparent, included material by LaVey, I was all the more excited to have re-discovered this nearly discarded volume. Although this and other editions of the catalog have been quoted in academic works, it seems fairly rare. Especially because I was getting rid of clutter at the time, I felt that I had just narrowly missed losing a valuable bit of Satanic history. Not to mention a veritable encyclopedia of international cinematic history up until the late 1970s!

The following is LaVey’s contribution to this catalog. It involves horror films, as the average reader might expect, but offers keen observations that only the Black Pope himself could have penned. Of course, he could have also written illuminating pieces about many other films in the book, most of which are not horror, and some of which are recommended in the appendices of Blanche Barton’s
The Church of Satan. I, for one, would have relished a book of cinema criticism by the premier pioneer of contemporary Satanism! But at least we have this passage, which in itself includes enough history and insight for a creative manifesto.

Herschell Gordon Lewis

In 1963 ex-English professor Herschell Gordon Lewis decided that the skinflick market was waning, limited as it was to nudie films. Not wishing to make history nor waste time and money in courtrooms pioneering porn, he recognized an unexploited realm of living-color, perfectly legal blood-and-gore cinema that the big companies wouldn’t touch. Though horror and the supernatural had always been good box office, no one had really pulled all the stops. Lewis’ first film of the type,
Blood Feast, was received with such revulsion that it was yanked under protest from many theatres before its bookings expired. Yet it made money and made cinema history, inspiring and uninhibiting virtually every other producer and director with an eye for carnage. Later Lewis commented, “Peckinpah’s blood is much more watery than ours… Peckinpah shoots people. We dismember them!” The discerning viewer will find Lewis’ films to be much more than superficial gore; rather an eerie reflection of the repressed sado-masochism in us all that even the smallest voice inside seldom admits to. From Bonnie And Clyde to The Exorcist, from The Wild Bunch to Jaws, fragments of Lewis’ kaleidoscope radiate.

Two Thousand Maniacs (1964)

A horror version of
Brigadoon, this is Lewis’ tale of a Southern town which was savagely destroyed by Union troops and rises from its swampy site every hundred years. Overlooked by American critics because of excessive gore, it was praised by European masters such as Jean-Luc Godard and classed with Polanski’s Repulsion and Hitchcock’s Psycho. The musical score (also by Lewis) inspired Bonnie And Clyde’s and many other later films. Because, rather than in spite, of its low budget and unknown performers (Connie Mason was a Playboy foldout), amateurism transcends into chilling super-realism. The plot is equal to the best old-school  pulp thriller, combining suspense, kinky sexual innuendo and the supernatural. Made in 1964, Two Thousand Maniacs is rapidly achieving the stature it deserves, now that “respected” filmmakers have saturated the public with bloodier but less effective results. In the genre of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Night Of The Living Dead, the townspeople extras convey the feeling that this film is the Real Thing!

Color Me Blood Red (1964)

A temperamental beatnik artist who occupies a desolately situated beach house becomes dissatisfied with ordinary pigments and materials. Pretty girls become his source of supply in what must be the only
Grande Guignol treatment of the Frankie Avalon / Annette Funicello beach blanket theme. As with other Herschell Lewis films, this is not for the squeamish.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts on
Crime and Justice
Nine Years After 9/11

Today, during the hours just before dawn, I reflected upon the perennial troubles facing the society in which I live, as well as the forces that keep them in check.

I had just finished watching a film that explored, among other issues, some of the most vile behaviors to be found on the worst urban streets. The specifics are not as important as the overall reminder that there are always individuals and groups plotting to infringe upon the freedoms of others. Of course, one need not watch a movie to be reminded of this, but it certainly can stir the blood.

Whether it is a crack-addicted thief robbing someone else's home, Al Qaeda fanatics committing wholesale kamikaze murders, or any other shade of intrusive crime, I am always infuriated when I learn that yet another life has been adversely or lethally impacted by such actions. This is a common reaction amongst Satanists, despite peskily persistent claims to the contrary.

Satanism advocates Justice. In fact, that is the current watchword of the Church of Satan, which fully supports the noble efforts of military and law enforcement agencies that fight for personal freedoms and against the criminals who curtail them.

It is with this universal meditation that I consider the significance of 9/11, nine years after the infamous attacks.

My thoughts are, as always, with those who have lost loved ones at the hands of criminals and enemy combatants.

My gratitude is, as always, with those who have been, and are still, fighting against the enemies of our liberties.

Lex Talionis!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA!

Today, the United States of America celebrates its 234th "Birthday". I celebrate this holiday not with blind patriotism, but with a joyous awareness of my freedom from plenty of the worst restrictions and difficulties that plague many other countries. My patriotism is not collective, but selfish. It is also grateful, as members of the military and of law enforcement, for reasons of their own, work to protect these privileges.

I thoroughly enjoy my lifestyle, my language, and my memories, all of which are deeply rooted in my history as a citizen of the USA. Whatever its faults, this nation was founded upon principles that have led to circumstances that enrich this wonderful life of mine.

These very principles inform the supposedly odious title bestowed upon the USA by Islamist fanatics:

The Great Satan

I, for one, embrace this title as an honor! Others with similar principles probably do, as well. The USA has long been a bellwether of international standards of individualism, indulgence, and innovation. All of these are anathema to terrorists and other evangelical totalitarians. They also happen to be welcome in, even essential to, the religion that stands in direct opposition to all of theirs: Satanism.

Let the death-worshipers shout their accusations from their temples, podiums, and screens. They call this nation Satanic for many of the right reasons! And, unlike most who would make that assertion, I think that it is a truly excellent thing.

If I am an American by accident of birth, I consider my nationality a felicitous accident, indeed!

Happy Birthday, USA!

Hail the Great Satan!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice XLV A.S.

Summer has stricken the Northern Hemisphere.

Long gone are the days during which this season freed me from the tedium of elementary and high school classes. That leaves just the thermometer-popping temperatures, which seem to awaken every boor's inner boor. The city is suddenly and consistently louder, not only because the crowds are thicker than sweat, but also because more oafs blast their stereos for the benefit of their neighbors. And that's just for starters.

I do enjoy warm weather and sunshine, but where other seasons offer these experiences, summer imposes them. The only truly wonderful thing about summer is that, just when it's at its worst, I get to celebrate my Birthday. The particularly indulgent days surrounding that most important holiday are, along with the holiday itself, almost like a reward for my patience.

This is a good time to read or re-read Anton LaVey's essay "Summertime," from The Devil's Notebook. It's a concise guide to the season's literally glaring flaws. However, it concludes with an inspiring passage on the cultivation of total environments, using a real-world example that the Magus himself once built. It's one of my all-time favorite pieces of writing.

On that note, I'm off to slice up a sweet, juicy mango, whose golden flesh is perhaps the embodiment of all that is good about the next few sweltering months.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on
the Dynamism of
Satanic Ritual

"There is more to Satanic magic and ritual than being in costume, with all your ritual gear in a decorated room. This is a necessary phase, and for some people will always have more 'juice' — but the ultimate 'intellectual decompression chamber' is and always will be YOUR OWN SKULL."
-Magister James D. Sass, Essays in Satanism

Ritual magic, also known as Greater Magic, can be a highly dynamic tool — especially within the individualistic framework of Satanism. For those who cling to pre-established formulae, the variations can confound and confuse. The Satanist, however, approaches all things from a third-side perspective, eschewing absolutism and its mind-flattening effects. Ritual is no exception.

I tend to employ Greater Magic exclusively as "self-transformational psychodrama," as Magus Peter H. Gilmore has so concisely defined one of its most undeniably effective uses. Though skeptical about magic's effectiveness in remotely controlling the world outside of oneself, a Satanist may nonetheless benefit greatly from this type of ritual. This active and highly adaptable relationship with diabolical symbolism can serve to stimulate one's mind, deepen one's awareness, and augment one's strengths. It keeps one in touch with one's daemons, attracting the very same success that others seem to attain more "mysteriously".

Whenever I feel the need, I find time in my day to focus and direct my energies, without speaking, to tap into the same energy that I access through formalized ritual. This is currently the most effective method for me. I developed it over the past fifteen years through an evolutionary maelstrom of philosophical "ourobourism," to coin a term. I maintain it through particular forms of study, contemplation, and visualization.

I have also gone through extended periods without engaging in any type of ritualistic thinking, usually when I am extremely busy with... well, business. However, I have learned that ritual and meditation are particularly important when I'm "all work and no play." Intellectual decompression keeps the mind flexible and realigns the will. It can be a potent means of maintaining balance in one's life.

Just as I have developed highly personal methods of ritualization outside of a formal context, so have others who wish to use this tool away from the ritual chamber. This is not an argument against more traditional rites — just another way to take "advantage of this many faceted key to the unknown — which the Satanist chooses to call 'Satan' (The Satanic Bible).

These are some of the thoughts that I have been mulling over while modifying my ritual practices in accordance with my continued evolution.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Prayer Day

In the United States of America, today is "National Prayer Day."

This is embarrassing.

It's one thing to have this regrettable holiday on a calendar, but this is law. The President of the United States is required, by law, to proclaim this holiday!
"The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." - 36 U.S.C. § 119
There has recently been some success in challenging this stain in our books. In a lawsuit initiated in 2008, the Freedom from Religion Foundation has sued Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, along with a few other relevant people, asserting that this law is unconstitutional. Earlier this year, U. S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in favor of this challenge, finding no secular advantage to the inherently religious law.

This would be a victory if not for the Obama administration's decision to appeal this ruling. Now, we wait to see whether a law that contradicts this country's constitution will be overturned or, as it very well may, continue to soil our soil.

After all, we haven't gotten rid of "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, nor the motto "In God We Trust," both of which were established only decades ago. Progress, indeed! Not to mention the official prayers before each session of Congress, or that we still swear an oath to a deity, on a religious text, in court!

Please excuse the exclamation points. Though based upon rational principles, my outrage is incandescent.

The persistence of religion as an accepted influence upon our government is worse than embarrassing. It harms the intellectual integrity of our most fundamental institutions.

Although some atheists would regret having the Church of Satan on their side, being misinformed bigots weighed down by big, fat Goodguy Badges, the rest should be glad to know that there is at least one religion that upholds atheism and the rationalism from which it springs.

Mr. Obama, tear down this law!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Walpurgisnacht XLV A.S.

Just minutes after the arrival of Walpurgisnacht, which I celebrate from Morgen until Nacht, I am reflecting upon the previous day, which was as productive as it was unusual.

I've just begun an enjoyable new job, and a lucrative part-time gig may soon add even more money-making fun to my schedule.

Yesterday, after work, I experienced major delays in my commute, leading to conversations and meetings that included a couple of unlikely connections. Later on, I experienced another unexpected and highly enjoyable event. The details are not very relevant to this post, except for one: each involved admirable or entertaining misfits.

Where others might find these to be mere coincidences, amusing at best, unimportant at worst, they have greater significance for me. They not only inspire me, but have also come at a time during which I am feeling especially... charged.

Only a few days ago, I visited a museum to see a retrospective of the career of an artist who has been very important to me since I was a little boy, when my sketchbook was already full of monsters, ghosts, movies, and other subjects that still thrive in my imagination. This artist's similar interests resonated deeply with my own love for the outré, enriching my creative vocabulary and inspiring me to further develop my bizarre visions. Every day since my visit to his very special exhibition has been more fruitful and full of gratifying surprises.

All leading up to what is sure to be an especially memorable Walpurgisnacht.

Taking a cue from Anton LaVey's essay, "The Combination Lock Principle," I must consider eschewing the concept of "coincidences" and keep an eye out for what I will call "alignments."

Inspiration, indulgence, and incidents.

Things are going my way, more than ever before.

May you Satanists enjoy your Walpurgisnacht as much as I will be enjoying mine.

Hail Satan!

- M. M.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Satanic Rituals
Satanic Holidays

As another major holiday approaches, many Satanists are preparing their altars and minds for rituals and ceremonies. However, these aren't compulsory rites done for their own sake. As with many elements of Satanism, there is more to this practice than is commonly understood.

Satanic holiday rituals draw their potency from one's life outside of this formalized context. One's energies are heightened by the occasion's symbolic significance – whether historical, seasonal or otherwise – but they first originate within the individual's "everyday" life. The religious trappings enhance his or her existing capacity for awareness, inspiration, and power.

In most traditions, ceremonies exalt something above the individual participants. Let there be no mistake that, in Satanism, ceremonies are designed to serve the individual, not to glorify external deities, or even to honor the traditions themselves. No matter what, it all begins and ends with the individual.

The imagery embraced within the Satanic ritual chamber can be misleading to those unfamiliar with our methods. Satanism's religious iconography and incantations often employ mythological elements and esoteric symbolism, which may seem to imply theistic or mystical inclinations. However, these are chosen for their ability to augment one's energies through emotional resonance. This is psychodrama. It has no basis whatsoever in any type of superstition.

This will be obvious to a few, but many people make the mistake of expecting Satanism to exhibit the same basic characteristics as other religions, albeit with a few diabolical twists. It just isn't so. The Satanic approach to religious activity is distinguished by principles that are alien to mainstream creeds. That includes holidays and the ways in which we celebrate them.

Again, we're not just going through the motions. Whether conducted on Walpurgisnacht, Halloween, a solstice, an equinox, a full moon, or a new moon, even the most strictly traditional ceremony is a tool in the service of the individual who chooses to ritualize.

Naturally, Satanic holiday celebrations frequently revolve around social, culinary, and cultural delights. Since we usually enjoy these things year-round, a special occasion can simply be an "excuse" for even more festivities. Not that we need excuses!

Only when the time is right does a gathering – or a solitary celebration – move from the informality of the living room to the electric air of the ritual, or "intellectual decompression," chamber.

When that time has come, you will know.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

On the 80th Anniversary of
Anton Szandor LaVey's Birth

Tonight, I am taking a moment to reflect upon the legacy of Anton Szandor LaVey, born eighty years ago today.

I am ever grateful that the path which he found the most fulfilling yielded books, films, music, and an organization that have all profoundly enhanced my life in the path that I find the most fulfilling.

Although I did not have the opportunity to meet Magus LaVey before his death in 1997, I joined the Church of Satan three years later, when I was about eighteen years old. My affiliation with this loosely-knit cabal has enriched my life on all levels, increasingly so as I continue to mature and evolve.

I am thus grateful not only to Magus LaVey, but also to his loyal comrades, who continue to build upon the foundation established by that singular sorcerer throughout his remarkable life.

Hail Anton Szandor LaVey!

Hail the Infernal Empire!

Hail Satan!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Johnson Smith & Co. and the Meaning of April Fool's Day

Today is April Fool's Day, an informal holiday devoted to pranks. Many people will burst into guffaws as victims fall prey to obligatory, yet unpleasantly surprising, deceptions. However, few will consider the historical and philosophical context of their "practical jokes.".

One of the most sacred texts for the prankologist is the Johnson Smith & Co. Catalogue of Surprising Novelties, Puzzles, Tricks, Joke Goods, Useful Articles, Etc. Highly recommended by the most discerning cognoscenti, including Anton Szandor LaVey, this catalog is a cornucopia of... well, the title says it all! The catalog offers gags intended to amuse, confuse, or alarm their victims. Some are even designed to inflict physical harm.

This industry flourished during the first half of the 20th century, when the best editions of the catalog were printed. It survives today as Things You Never Knew Existed... I deeply enjoyed reading this later incarnation during the early 1990s, when I was around ten years old. However, it lacks the charm and abundance of the original. But I digress.

LaVey pointed to the pranks sold by Johnson Smith & Co. as evidence that humans are, to some degree, inherently sadistic. How else could a company profit from selling these embarrassing, sometimes painful devices?

LaVey suggested ways in which one might put this cruelty to good use. The primary approach would be to take a deserving enemy down a peg. Why throw a curse when you can throw a prank? The latter is usually more fun! He also shared methods of manipulating others by making oneself look absurd, the results being far more revealing than any pair of so-called X-ray goggles.

With all of the above in mind, I encourage pranksters to deploy their arsenals wisely. You might want to avoid committing undue mischief against your friends today. Instead, aim your pies at the faces of your enemies.

"After all, a joke or a trick is really not much fun, I feel, unless it is perpetrated upon someone who is deserving, or who is going to be deflated by it."
-Anton Szandor LaVey, Speak of the Devil

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vernal Equinox XLV A.S.

Today is the Vernal Equinox — the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

As in ancient times, we observe and celebrate the resurgent fecundity of the earth and its beasts, all of which have begun to explode with life and the lusts through which it blossoms.

Morning and night rule this day in equal measure; henceforth the sun will grow more dominant, the earth warmer and brighter.

Although Satanism is more often associated with the darkness of Halloween, Walpurgisnacht — which is celebrated during this verdant and cheerful season — is an equally significant holiday. (The most important holiday is, of course, the individual Satanist's own Birthday.)

Celebrated on April 30, at the height of spring, Walpurgisnacht has long been associated with witches, warlocks, and the Devil. Satanists embrace this diabolical reputation as a tradition. Indeed, the Church of Satan was founded on Walpurgisnacht. Magus LaVey could have chosen Halloween, but he didn't – and for good reason.

Satanism is a carnal, life-affirming religion, rooted in the indulgence and vitality that accompany the abundance embodied in the spring season.

Spring is lively, and we love life.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Michael Vick Project:
Dog-Fights and Crocodile-Tears

"Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!"

"Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food."

Disgraced football player Michael Vick now has his own "reality show," titled The Michael Vick Project. As many of you may know, he served eighteen months in prison for running a massive dog-fighting ring. The owner of "Bad Newz Kennel," he was also an active participant in the criminal operation, helping to kill dogs whom were no longer able to fight.

Vick is claiming that, since his exposure to this activity as a child, he had seen nothing wrong with it, but now feels remorse. I think that all he regrets is being caught, and that any sick feeling he gets from revisiting his despicable actions is rooted in this unprincipled regret.

Even if Vick is genuinely sorry for his wretched crimes, his claim to ignorance does not make him at all innocent. For someone to be unaware of how terribly wrong dog-fighting is, he must be either a vile brute or a murderous cretin. Neither is worthy of the freedoms earned through responsible engagement with civilization.

I thank the Church of Satan Witch who made me aware of this outrageous program. She takes care of shelter animals every day with a warm strength that I and other Satanists deeply admire. Like this Witch, I strongly oppose the airing of a show dedicated to someone with a long history of torturing and murdering dogs.

I just hope that, at the very least, this show will make this widespread but underexposed problem more visible and lead to swifter justice in other cases of animal abuse.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Satanic Wisdom of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born on this day in 1809. He is, of course, best known for his poem "The Raven" and his often macabre short stories. Though his contributions to literature occasionally incorporate Satanic values ranging from aesthetics to vengeance, there is one piece that has long struck me as his most thoroughly Satanic: a poem titled "Alone".

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw — I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov'd, I lov'd alone —
Then — in my childhood — in the dawn
Of a most stormy life — was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still —
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain —
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold —
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by —
From the thunder and the storm —
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view —
From beginning to end, this poem outlines several defining elements found in the lives of most Satanists.

We are born with the Satanic characters that we later refine, often finding ourselves outsiders — at least in our most avid interests — at an early age.

These solitary passions are not at all limited to the morbidity expected of many outsiders. Joy and sorrow, "good and ill" — the Satanist both embraces life's infinite pleasures and gains further strength and wisdom by overcoming unpleasant experiences. We love and hate completely, fully aware of and aligned with our instincts.

We are often inspired by the full spectrum of Nature's displays, from the soothing quiescence of fountains to the raging majesty of storms. As materialists, we find these profound in and of themselves — all the more so because our minds are free from the dulling effects of mythological superstitions. The very vicissitudes of our spectacular universe provide more than enough stimulation and insight for us.

I interpret the "demon" in this poem as a force that, though apparently ominous, embodies all of the diverse catalysts, enjoyable and difficult alike, mentioned by the narrator. A self-centered individualist, the narrator also uses his experience of the universe around him to enhance his self-awareness and self-understanding. He thus identifies with the external elements that rouse his spirit; he lives in alignment with the source of his inspiration, his "demon."

Most of this poem is included in The Book of Satanic Quotations; I was delighted to find it there, and not at all surprised that it was the only entry for Poe. The Satanic appeal of Poe is often in his aesthetics, whereas this piece depicts a personal experience often found in the lives of Satanists, many of whom can't even relate to each other beyond this peculiar brand of otherness.

Hail Edgar Allan Poe!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 9th Day of the Year XLV A.S.

Today is the 9th day of the year XLV A.S. and of a new decade in the Gregorian calendar.

I've spent the evening and night engaged in personally meaningful activities, establishing a trajectory for the coming year by further refining the intentions I meditated upon after midnight on New Year's Day.

The beginning of a new year, in whatever calendar one is using, can be very stimulating. Many people use the occasion to declare "resolutions" for which they have no resolve. Wiser individuals, if they find the moment exciting at all, are more likely to think of this as a time in which to gain perspective through hindsight. They apply the wisdom collected through this period of reflection with true resolve, not because of the new year, but because it serves their purposes.

The new year is also a time for celebration. At the first stroke of midnight, we toast the people we cherish. Before and after, we enjoy indulgent gatherings abuzz with rampant cheer. This outpouring of positive energy can generate a potent reservoir for those who know what to do with it.

Happy New Year!

Hail Satan!

- BtH