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The Satanic High Mass
On June 6, 2006 C.E. we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Church of Satan at the Center for Inquiry West’s Steve Allen Theatre in Los Angeles. The first Satanic High Mass was performed, inspired by the rituals of our founder, Anton Szandor LaVey. The rite included workings for compassion, the prime celebrant and bestower of campassion being Reverend Bryan Moore, lust evoked by Priestess Heather Saenz - assisted by the Reverends Entity, and destruction summoned by Magister Diabolus Rex - with a special condemnation of fanatical theism proclaimed by Magister Robert Lang. Each celebrant accepted formal requests by three congregants, nine in total. The ritual was capped by a benediction upon the congregation by Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest. Heightening the emotions was the live score by LUSTMORD, available as an album titled Lustmord Rising (06.06.06).
Over 100 members of the Church of Satan coming from around the globe filled the theatre to capacity. These passionate people were part of the proceedings which were inspired by the film THE BLACK CAT starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff who played a brilliant modern architect and High Priest of Satan. The film depicted the Satanists as being wealthy and powerful and they arrived to celebrate the Rites of Lucifer dressed in formal evening attire. Their chamber was expressionistic, wrought with angled crystals. And so we conjured a similar decor, though the lighting was inspired by the works of Mario Bava. To complete this total environment, attendees were enjoined to dress formally, just as was done in the film, and our members rose to the occasion by donning colorful personalized attire, their sartorial splendor proper for the aristocracy of the outstanding that comprises our membership. An inside joke from the film was that the Latin words sonorously intoned by Karloff were in fact taken from an ancient botany text. Reverend Moore, in superb mimicry, speaks this text as a further nod to that most effective movie.
And we filmed these proceedings, which were introduced with warmth and humor by our High Priestess, Magistra Peggy Nadramia. For the first time we now make the film available for public viewing, to mark this Halloween night over four years after that fateful gathering. We have removed the nine formal requests to honor the privacy of those who made them, and the film begins after Magistra Nadramia’s speech. Below we have reproduced Magus Gilmore’s essay which appeared in the program. Please read that text, then enjoy the footage embedded below.
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Welcome, Citizens of the Infernal Empire!
We are delighted that you have all come forth from your lairs in many different nations to gather here in the City of Lost Angels, celebrating with us the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Church of Satan. As our esteemed progenitor, Anton Szandor LaVey, has said, “The first ninety-nine years are always the toughest.” Well, we shall soon be halfway there, and we are prospering. That is thanks to you, the productive and passionate individuals who stand strong as the proud bearers of the Black Flame - extraordinary exemplars of Satanism at its finest.
We chose this date for our Satanic High Mass to continue our tradition of showmanship, feeding off the anxiety of the massed herd who believe in the myth of Jesus and who irrationally fear a simple number mentioned in the most surreal section of their New Testament. Scholars seem to agree that “the number of the beast who is a man” is a reference to Emperor Nero, based on the symbolism found in Hebrew Gematria as applied to the moniker of that ancient, anti-Christian ruler. Of course, since we are aware of the cultural currents of symbols that rise and fall, we know that the “mass mind” hadn’t really embraced these digits until the advent of a series of films that began with “The Omen.” Now 666 is considered a shorthand signal heralding diabolism. While the biblical meaning is simply a curiosity for us, the potency of triple-six as an example of superstition on a grand scale makes it ideal for our use as a landmark.
We are here this dread evening, to call forth the Forces of Darkness to commemorate our freedom from unreason, and our embracing of Satan as our avatar of liberty, lust for life, and our pursuit of personal excellence. We know the credulous are cowering beneath their beds, or hiding in pews, fearing that the very Devil himself will be loosed. Indeed we devils are out and about, exploring many ways to enjoy this wonderful life, drinking the cup of Indulgence to the dregs and asking for more. We are the beasts who put those cowards to shame. While they tremble at phantoms, worshipping a symbol of self-abnegation, hoping for a reward after death that will never come, we live as the masters of our lives, maximizing our joy in all our endeavors.
We know that you have great discipline, and so your compelling support of the celebrants tonight will be a sign of your vitality. Many years ago, Dr. LaVey launched our movement by mustering a collection of outsiders who were brave enough to cast off any badge of self-righteousness and embrace the mark of Satan as their emblem. Working together in forbidden rites they raised the roof in that old Black House on California Street. While the structure has been demolished in reality, it has been transmuted into a resonant archetype. Here we use the lens of posterity to magnify that latent power to fuel our ever-growing legions of shadowy iconoclasts. We conjure the might of an idea whose time has come, and wield with elegance our ability to move the world according to our Will.
Our massed egos shall shatter the complacency of those who would abdicate reason for ignorance, who retreat to bigotry in place of tolerance, who seek comfort from superstition instead of pursuing undefiled wisdom. We take this night our rightful due, and pass sentence upon those who would cast our civilization back into the abyss spawned by the advent of the Nazarene hegemony. Their day is done, the night is ours, and we stand in the sanctuaries of solitude and speak the words of power wrought by Anton Szandor LaVey. He is with us, dear comrades, as we assure his legacy shall survive for all who live in the Devil’s fane.
Hail the Church of Satan!
Hail Anton Szandor LaVey!
Magus Peter H. Gilmore