Walpurgisnacht is here again! While chosen as the date of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, it has been known for centuries in Europe as Witches’ Night. On that night, the Satanic witches were said to gather in their Sabbats on mountaintops and other savage places to dance, revel and worship the Devil their Lord.
This year, just as we did last year, we will celebrate The Black Mass of Desecration, only now in an even grander fashion. Thanks to the work on this site, as well as the foundation of the new coven, this year’s mass will be larger, more spectacular, and ever more indulgent!
In certain galleries of the British Museum, visitors are allowed to hold ancient artifacts with their own hands. This piece in my hand is an inscription in cuneiform from the 21st Century BCE Ziggurat of Ur. The Ziggurat, which still partially stands, was a temple complex dedicated to the Moon god Nanna (Sin). He was described as the father of all gods, and the “Lord of Wisdom”. The main sanctuary at Ur was called E-gish-shir-gal, “house of the great light”. In some legends, Nanna begat the goddess Inanna (also known as Ishtar), who governed love and beauty and was associated with the planet Venus. She was called the “Queen of the Heaven”, and her religious influence has stretched into the present day: later known by the Phoenicians as Astarte, then to the Greeks as Aphrodite, all of whom share many similarities to the Virgin Mary of Christian worship (also a Queen of Heaven).
We are all heirs to great Mystery. None of our modern religions have ever stood on their own. They are built on the shoulders of giants, ever more ancient and nebulous because of the vast gulfs of time that stand between us and them. As I held this precious and unique artifact in my hands, I had a true sense of awe as I contemplated these ideas in my heart. To many of my friends, history is boring. I have always found that history is alive and we are surrounded and formed by it in every single way. Perhaps in another 4,000 years, this tablet will still be preserved next to artifacts from our own times, where other people will delicately hold them and wonder at what was…
I would normally reserve this kind of post for the Sinister Ministers page, but it is far too important to be tucked away. Cardinal Pell, basically the “Holy” See’s No. 3 administrator and custodian of Vatican finances for many years, has been charged and accused of five accounts of child sexual molestation. He is now, happily for me and many others, rotting in prison with other high offending criminals who I’m sure are not too keen on having him there. Freedom is one of the most precious things a human being can possess, and now he will pay the temporal wages of his sin by having that freedom stripped away. I would even bet money that he will be laicized by Pope Francis some time soon.
Last Sunday, the coven I belong to, who you may remember from A Vision of Satan, A Night of Magic, hosted a fantastic Lunar Eclipse party for friends and the public. It was a blustery, cold and cloudy day and we were afraid the moon would be hidden all night. However as the time came to perform our Eclipse ritual, the sky quickly opened up to reveal the moon shining brightly on a perfectly clear night. It is very difficult to write a ritual for the general public, most of whom are non-magical thinkers but I think we did well.
We presented a nondenominational symbolic Drawing Down of the Moon, whose persona our lovely coven member Diana was gracious enough to take on. This included a dance of the planets who aligned into a Lunar Eclipse formation. The attendees blessed themselves with eclipse water, and cast their intentions into the cauldron to be burned. We had an attendance of about 40 people.
In the middle of the ritual, we looked up to see the shadow of the Earth cast sharply onto the now crescent Moon. At that moment, I had a sense I was standing on the top of the whole world, and the great scope of local cosmic space was revealed to me. The Moon before me, the Sun behind me, and the whole sphere of the Earth below me. We were all aligned.
The rest of the night was spent partying, watching the eclipse unfold with telescopes and cameras, and getting real fucked up in the smoking tent. After the group dwindled down, and the eclipse was still in motion, a smaller group of us performed the ritual binding of Donald Trump, with great effect.
If you’re feeling nosy, you can enjoy these timelapses of the ritual and a birds eye view of the party, which was in my own back yard. These are 360 videos that are best viewed in the YouTube app.
Sacristy painting commissioned by the Observant Franciscans. The catalogue description did not give many details, but I would guess by the costumes that this was made somewhere between 1560’s to 1580’s. The theme of the Dance of Death was hugely popular throughout multiple periods of European history, and saw a particular revival after the 1538 series by Master Holbein the Younger, whose works were widely distributed with the advent of the printing press.
Credit: The dance of death. Oil painting.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY
Facsimile of a fresco by Traini, exposed to nature for centuries but severely damaged in WWII, located in Camposanto, Pisa.
“A scroll warns that ‘no shield of wisdom or riches, nobility or prowess’ can protect them from the blows of the Approaching One. ‘They have taken more pleasure in the world than in things of God.’ In a heap of corpses nearby lie crowned rulers, a Pope in tiara, a knight, tumbled together with the bodies of the poor, while angels and devils in the sky contend for the miniature naked figures that represent their souls.”
-Barbara Tuckman, The Black Plague
Detail from the Offices for the Week, compiled by Andrea Matteo Acquaviva (1458-1529), Duke of Atri. This manuscript is delicately ornamented with Italian red morocco and gilt throughout. Currently property of the Huntington Library. View it in full detail here.