A relatively new syncretic religion in Mexico has been growing as an off-shoot of the cult of La Santa Muerte. In their practice, those devotees of the angel (i.e. the Devil) can approach his worship in a less aggressive way, and more openly. In Pachuca at the cathedral of La Santa Muerte, worshippers of El Angelito Negro can offer devotions, make deals and ask help of the Devil. Some may ask for healing, others for blessing, and others for cursing. His favors may come with the cost of their own blood.
Quantum malorum clausa nullo limite Cogit libido, quamque dulci carmine Purissimas mortalium mentes rapit Furias in omnes, sed cito quam fallimur. Vitam brevem breve gaudium Mors occupat momentulum quod ridet, aeternum dolet.
“How many evils does Lust command, in the small secluded margins; who with enchanting spell the pure minds of mortals does subdue, and in everyone induces rage, but quickly each is deceived. Death, seizes fleeing Life and brief joy. He laughs for a moment, and forever despairs. “
This engraving by Jan van de Velde depicts a witch as thought of during the height of witchcraft hysteria in Europe. The bare-breasted wild woman stands proudly in her Circle of Art, while demons surrounding her wait to do her bidding to summon some misfortune. All around her are the tools of her craft: the grimoire, the diviner’s cards, flasks of potions, a horn of herbs and a wand, and the goat which she undoubtedly flew in on.
Zeal & Ardor have returned with new music which they are releasing every couple of weeks!
The most sacred and important holiday of the year is upon me. My birthday! This year’s festivities were scaled down due to the pandemic but they were no less decadent than in the past. My small chosen-pandemic social group got together to assist a Black Mass to celebrate my LIFE (and what a life it’s been so far).
This year’s altar was in stark contrast with the severe torch-lit ceremonies of the past. To celebrate indulgence and all the pleasures of the world, we built an altar to Faustus, the god who is ME–covered in gold, jewels, and all sorts of glittering trinkets which glowed in purple light. My favorite music filled the air as I offered (myself) choice incenses and an oil of frankincense, cinnamon and violet. Our holy communion was a delicious goat cheese with raw honey, and the “Elixir of Life”, Veuve Clicquot with a hearty splash of Chartreuse.
The Faustus candle was lit and bedecked with all the treasures of the altar, where its flame will continue to burn for many days, fortifying ME in my renewed hunger for LIFE.
Hail Faustus! Hail Satan!
The figuration of the damned crowded in the middle of demonic creatures is common in the XV th century to represent Hell. The painter innovates by associating it with the representation of various abuses, such as those described in the Purgatory of Saint Patrick , text which relates the voyage of the knight Owein in Paradise and in Hell. He associated it with the idea of the fall, made even more legible by the composition, built around a vertical line. In the lower half of the image, the damned, battered by monsters, sink into the depths of the earth. The conflagration of bodies combined perfectly reflects the terrible aspect of the scene.
The visual contrast with the very clear panel of Paradise, by the same artist, is accentuated by a radically different palette: here brown and gray tones, and to a lesser extent cold tones dominate. The artist’s masterpiece, this supernatural vision undoubtedly inspired the very suggestive works of Bosch.
Hell and Paradise are perhaps the shutters of a triptych representing the Final Judgment. They have sometimes been identified with elements of a composition produced for the town hall of Louvain in 1468.
Each detail of the work has been the subject of great attention from the painter. The anatomy of the suffering bodies, the textures of the scales of the monsters and their gleaming eyes are dramatically represented, making the horror of the scene even more palpable before our eyes.
The characters’ pain in the brazier manifests itself in their grinning attitudes and faces. The liveliness of the flames is rendered by means of a very opaque paint, as well as the eyes of the demons, which makes it possible to create striking contrasts.
Readers of this Book, and visitors to my Instagram, will already be highly familiar with my deeply seated hatred for Donald Trump and his cohort of evil. I have been an active member of the #MAGICRESISTANCE and Bind Trump movement since the very beginning. Unfortunately over the years, I have found the common spells used in the movement to be weak and pusillanimous. I do believe that the Trump Binding ritual has been effective in containing a great amount of what human evil this man is capable of unleashing on the world (things could be MUCH worse).
Still, the time for binding is over for me. I, and a large number of witches I know out there, have moved on to cursing. The stakes are too high in this election/pandemic/uprising/disaster fueled year to take any chances. Not only are we cursing the president himself, but his enablers, the GOP, and even his local supporters in my own town. If you fly a Trump logo near my house, I will be happy to include you in these workings. (Coincidentally, as soon as we started cursing some of the neighbors, the Trump flags started to disappear).
Some in my coven are working a series of rituals both simple and complex, almost every night for the foreseeable future, including the Operation of the Grand Bewitchment being held on Tuesday, June 15th. Below is a description of one such ritual we developed, which after a month of introspection, has shown itself to be effective not only against Trump’s reputation, well-being and safety, but has been a much needed catharsis for us internally.
Saturday, May 16th 2020, ☽︎ in ♓︎, Day & Hour of ♄
On this night of a waning moon, and in the day and hour of Saturn (which governs death, destruction, illness, and other dark influences), the Priestess and I gathered to conduct a five part ritual of destruction against Donald Trump, the GOP and other far right evildoers. The altar having been prepared, the torches lit, and the concelebrants in full regalia, we intoxicated ourselves with liquors, cannabis and visionary herbs.
I. Opening the Hellish Vortex
The LBRP was omitted for this circle casting, as we welcomed all malice, wickedness and evil spirits to be present at our baneful altar. In its place, the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram was used to remove even any positive influences present. Infernal powers were invoked with the solemn ringing of a bell, and calling out the names of the princes of Hell: Leviathan to the West, Belial to the North, Lucifer to the East, and Satan to the South. Then using the formulae of the Opening by Watchtower, the elemental powers at each quarter were called upon, and their influences equilibrated at the center of the altar. Next, as Saturn began to rise above the horizon, we performed the act of Drawing Down Saturn. As the gong sounded beyond the Sphere of Art, the space was enveloped in a dark flame which burned with wrath and fury. The elemental, diabolical and planetary energies now filling the chamber, we circumambulated the altar to form a vortex of these powers.
II. Binding the Enemy
We then performed the binding traditionally used by the Bind Trump movement, only now including the printed images of all our GOP worst-favorites as well. This time, however we had a secret weapon! You see, after Congress authorized a stimulus payment to the priestess and I due to the pandemic, by law the IRS was required to send notification to each recipient by mail. In this case, Trump decided that it was necessary to make the IRS send a letter in his name, and with his own signature at the bottom. By the Law of Contagion, this granted us immediate magical access to the person of Donald Trump, granting us a new avenue of magical influence over him we did not have before. The first Trump letter was consumed for this binding. To prepare the next step, a special Saturnal incense was prepared (henbane, sulfur, chicory, pepper, myrrh and dried blood) and the space was fumigated thereby.
III. The Curse Jar
Continuing to circle the altar, we entered the next phase by reciting the mantra, “Bring forth the flames of Hell!”. As we marched around, reciting this mantra with great passion and hatred in our hearts, we visualized the writing and scorching black flames of hellfire rising in this space, as the drum and the gong continued. A cauldron had been set in the center of the altar for burning our photos of the victims. Each of us took turns with these images, pouring our hate out onto them, piercing them with nails, and imbuing them with enmity, then casting them to the fire in the iron pot. Whenever we held an image that inspired additional outrage, we were free to throw burning phosphorous into the cauldron as well.
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
Seeing the faces of Trump, McConnel, Pence, DeVos, DeSantis, Scott, Rubio, and others–GOP lobbyists, EPA violators, alt-right murderers, criminals, killers, liars and cheats–burning up in our hands, brought us great delight at the thought of their downfall.
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
We continued this movement, until the heat, the sweat, the panting, the rage, the tears and the fury were built to a horrible crescendo–FRENZY!!
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
We took our coven’s sacred sword aloft, and pierced it through the air towards the burning cauldron, thrusting all our rancor, wrath and despair into the smoke and ash of their smoldering, writhing faces.
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
The images having been consummated by flames, we removed the ashes from the cauldron and added them to the Curse Jar. Inside the jar were the artifacts from the binding (above), the second Trump letter, the Saturnine incense, dirt from the yards of all the Trump supporters in my neighborhood, and my own concoction of Goofer Dust. This dust contained quantities of the following: graveyard dirt, cayenne pepper, habanero pepper, snake skin, a snake’s head, bone dust, salt, poppy seed, coal, the hair of a black dog, a spider and her eggs, and iron filings.
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
The Curse Jar was then topped off with an anointed death’s head candle, inscribed with the name Donald J Trump, whose wax was then let to drip through the whole jar as it melted and finally suffocated itself. We poured the rest of whatever malice we could find inside our hearts, into the jar, and sealed it with black candle wax.
Bring forth the flames of Hell!
IV. Toast of Destruction
Having spent our rage to the utmost of our ability, we then poured out blood red wine infused with bitter herbs, into ornate crystal chalices. “A toast…to the end of the GOP, to the death of tyrants, and to the suffering of Trump!” I let the bitter wine flow down my throat to drown the fires of my burning anger, to soothe my body and comfort my soul.
V. Down by the Riverside (Closing)
The Curse Jar made ready, the conflagration within drowned with wine, and all our energy spent, we left the circle and marched in solemnity and silence to my town’s canal, carrying the Curse Jar (and a second curse jar made months previously) in hand. To the ritual mind, it felt like holding a ticking time bomb, a hand grenade which could explode with our condensed acrimony and blistering vengeance. With some solemn words of release, we dropped the jars into the canal, letting the water carry them away to the sea. When we returned to the circle, we dismissed the quarters, bade farewell to the Infernal powers, and purified ourselves with the LBRP and other purifications.
The ritual was then concluded, and we left to go spend time and play games with our friends across town to refresh ourselves.
Last night in Mexico City, the ancient leader of the Clergy, Papa Nihil, dropped dead on stage. Current Ghost front-man Cardinal Copia was then transformed and anointed Papa Emeritus IV. It’s been years in the making but he has finally ascended. Perhaps soon then a new Ghost album will appear (I read that rumors indicate something new will drop in the summer, but more likely 2021).
Sketch of Baphomet, 19th century. Taken from Death & Mysticism.
While the Inquisition had been prosecuting and executing witches for centuries, the witch craze never really took off in England until the reign of James I. If anything, magic had an everyday place in English lives during the Tudor dynasty. This is not to say that witchcraft (then differentiated from magic) was free from scrutiny. But from the court-sanctioned experimentations of Dr. John Dee and other Christological magicians, the coastal witches who warded off the Spanish Armada with the help of Sir Francis Drake, to the rustic cures and spells offered by the cunning men and women, as well as the fantasy magical elements featured in popular culture such as Marlowe’s Faustus or Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest—magic was everywhere!
During the height of witch persecution on the Continent, there were no large-scale witch trials in England for a number of reasons. The ecclesial separation from other areas of Christian Europe meant that the English church had its own priorities, e.g. the persecution and removal of the treacherous papists! There was also a lack of any desire from authorities to conduct a witch hunt in the first place. The final decline of witch trials came at the latter half of the 17th century as a result of the rise of new scientific thought and the works of natural philosophers like Isaac Newton who were now able to explain the universe in mechanical ways, causing a decline in the belief in the possibility of magic to influence the world.
In English witchcraft trials, it is odd to see any reference to making a pact with the Devil. There are no witches’ sabbats, no sex with devils, nor did English witches fly. They did however have imps and familiars. Ursula Kemp was alleged to have four familiars: two cats, a toad called Piggen, and a lamb named Tiffin. Witches were usually only condemned for maleficium. These trials were rarely issued from above. English court records feature a lot of individual prosecutions from below by the alleged victims of witchcraft seeking redress in the courts. Trials against witchcraft were generally few and far between, except in the counties surrounding London.
Cases of witchcraft were coming predominantly from Essex. During the reign of Elizabeth I, for example, Hertfordshire only produced 24 cases, Sussex only 14, yet Essex produced 172 cases! Between 1560 and 1580, 270 individuals were prosecuted for witchcraft in Essex alone. Most of these trials took place in the last quarter of the 16th century, and became very rare everywhere after 1620. This decline can be explained by the fact that by the 1580’s judges were becoming very worried about the difficulties of proving witchcraft. This doesn’t mean necessarily that they were skeptical—many likely still believed that witchcraft was possible. But how could you prove witchcraft unless they confessed? In English law, torture was not used except in state trials when authorized by the Privy Council. It was routinely used in Scotland and the Continent. How could prosecutors root out natural causes of these alleged injuries? And if it were actually witchcraft, who did it? In cases of witchcraft, the normal rules of evidence could not apply.
With an increasing level of methodical jurisprudence, why they was there also a rise in the concerns against witchcraft in the 17th century? The dominant explanations offered by Thomas and Macfarlane show that witches were frequently elderly women who were accused of bewitching neighbors, not strangers, and who were often poorer than their victims. This suggests that accusations were rising as a result of tensions between poorer women and their competitive neighbors. While it is possible that some of those accused did practice magic and believe they had the power to harm, or that they responded to these accusations by playing the part of the witch given to them by reputation, there must have been some incident serious enough to start an honest investigation into witchcraft. In Essex, there was an average of four witnesses per accused witch. Witchcraft accusations could arise as a result of personal rivalries in local politics, used to discredit others and so on.
Thomas suggests that this peak period of witchcraft anxiety came with the rising concern in the loss of belief in the power of ecclesial protection and counter-magic, and secondly because that period was one of unusual tensions within village societies. Economic distress caused a declining position for the poor and widows. Poor Laws had not yet been put into effect for this population. The decline in charity among neighbors meant that accusing one of witchcraft could become a means to severing responsibility for the poor, and transferring this guilt to an accused witch.
Why were the Witchcraft Acts passed in the first place, and why did so many cases arise in Essex? Why were other counties similar to Essex not so affected? It’s worth considering that these laws were passed when they were for two reasons. Both were passed at the beginning of two monarchical regimes (Elizabeth I, then James I). This suggests that elements of symbolism or propaganda were being set up to confirm the legitimacy and uprightness of the monarch, who would be seen opposing certain subversive (yet harmless) acts. Another element was the perceived threats against the monarch. In 1561, two years before the 1563 act passed, a plot was discovered where sorcery was being used against Elizabeth. William Cecil discovered then that there were no acts preventing these crimes. The 1604 Act followed the succession of James I to the throne. He was a man with profound interest in witchcraft, having written his treatise Daemonologie after a group of witches were uncovered attempting to kill him in a shipwreck. The witchcraft acts of England and Scotland were then overhauled and combined.
As a result of these acts, the political and ecclesiastical elite had a bigger role in managing cases of witchcraft. It is possible then that Essex was peculiarly conscious of threats of witchcraft. The use of criminal law against witches had terrible publicity there. Three group trials took place in 1566, 1582 and 1589. In each case, an initial accusation was vigorously pursued by justices who had a particular concern against witchcraft. These trials were then publicized in pamphlets, which may have had the effect of heightening the sense of threat people felt, or even a moral panic. This paved the way then in 1644 for Matthew Hopkins, the self-appointed Witchfinder General.
Between 1644 and 1647, Matthew Hopkins traveled throughout East Anglia and hired himself out as a consultant for the discovery of witches. He came to have gained his experience by accidentally encountering a meeting of witches in Manningtree, Essex. The witches met and offered sacrifices to the Devil, and gave commands to their familiars to do harm. English prosecutions until then had been sporadic, except in Anglia where they then came in great waves. With the Witchcraft Acts of Elizabeth and James now making witchcraft a felony, Hopkins was free to pursue witches as state criminals and so use extreme acts to gain his confessions. Though torture was still illegal, one method he employed was in keeping the accused witch awake for days at a time until they would confess. Another means of torture which he employed was the infamous trial by dunking in water. The aim of Hopkins was not to prove a witch guilty of committing maleficium, rather of having consorted with Satan, and thus being a heretic. During this time, Hopkins is suspected of executing 300 alleged witches, or 60% of all cases in a period of 300 years of English history. His 1647 account of witch-finding, The Discovery of Witches would later influence the witch craze in New England, including the madness that was the Salem witch hysteria of 1692-1693.
 Thomas, K. (1971). Religion and the decline of magic: Studies in popular beliefs in sixteenth-century England.
 Macfarlane, A. (1970). Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A regional and comparative study.
 Hopkins, M. (1647). The discovery of witches: in answer to severall queries, lately delivered to the judges of assize for the county of Norfolk. And now published by Matthew Hopkins Witch-finder, for the benefit of the whole kingdome.
Having recently watched The Satanic Temple’s new documentary Hail Satan?, I am very excited to see this. The Church of Satan’s own documentary, perhaps an alternative to the TST’s recent work. It looks very promising. Coming to the Sitges Film Festival this October.