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