Halloween is traditionally a time when the obscure portal into the realms of darkness, death and the supernatural is thrown open. Demons and spirits have free reign for one night, cavorting, enticing us into their revels and revealing glimpses into the future. As a child drawn to darker passions from birth, I always delighted in the fear and fantasies of Halloween. It gives even the most mundane people the opportunity to taste wickedness for one night. They have a chance to dance with the Devil, either stumbling, tittering and nervous in the arms of the Black Prince, or boldly, ravenously sharing in the sensual excesses and fright of others on this magical, unholy night. Now, birth and death have, for me, become inextricably interwoven into this day. Our son, Xerxes, was born to us on November 1st, the Day of the Dead in Latin cultures, a time reserved for feasting and communing with long-dead ancestors. We celebrated Xerxes’ birthday at midnight on Halloween for three years. And then our High Priest—my love and Master—died on October 29th, 1997, three days before Xerxes’ fourth birthday. As painful as the last two years have been for Xerxes and I, it seems fitting that Dr. LaVey should have died when he did, when the barrier between life and death is only a paper-thin membrane. Anything can happen on such a night.
To defy blind belief, but to be open to infinite possibilities—that is why I am proud to wear the Baphomet. That is one main aspect of the philosophy Anton LaVey crystallized as Satanism. I do not have to be a bubble-brained “true believer” to entertain wild fancies. I can appreciate the power of fear, sensuality and ritual without giving up my reason. In Satanism, they are one and the same. Sexuality and intelligence; religion and logic; imagination and science; illusion and reality; fact and fiction—all shifting seamlessly together in intriguing patterns. Satanists dive headlong into all possibilities, delighting more in a complex truth, than in a comforting lie. We revel in the stimulation of complexity—that teetering back and forth to extremes in order to find inevitable balance. That is the essence of life. Stasis leads to stagnation.
Anton LaVey never pretended to have all the answers. He wanted, ultimately, to encourage people to never stop questioning, engaging in the lusts of life and challenging themselves. We are the thrill-seekers, red-lining it through life. What is disturbing to others, disquieting or threatening, we find most invigorating.
Fear, and change, challenges us. Losing Dr. LaVey two years ago was a challenge to all of us, but we’ve used it to bring our ideals into keener focus and persist even more in our resolve. Anton LaVey lives—when we laugh, play music, cavort with our children, achieve our selfish desires, and rut lustily with our lovers. From the last two years, I can see that the continuance of Satanism, and of the Church of Satan, is assured. We will remain the underground cabal of heretics Anton LaVey activated in 1966. We will continue to share our undefiled knowledge and strength with those precious few, the Devil’s Own, who seek it with patience, persistence and sincerity. We will teach our children to embrace life, shamelessly, without reservation. We will not indoctrinate them, substituting one blind orthodoxy for another. Society has seen lately how children grow angry and resentful when they discover they’ve been lied to by those in authority. We will provide a clear path for each child’s unique observations and expressions, a clear knowledge of justice, and, most importantly, encourage an understanding of human fears and foibles, and how to let those fears work to his advantage.
Yes, the demons have indeed provided a crystalline vision of the future to me this most unhallowed night. I see the firelight flickering wildly in my son’s eyes as he dances happily in his pirate costume. I see the young monsters and witches and vampires loosed in our streets, never to be shackled again. I see reason and science and fantasy blasting away the dull lethargthy of defunct philosophies. I see Satanists all over the world meeting in small groups this night and Hallowe’ens 500 years hence, to raise a glass to the Infernal Hosts, the revolutionaries, myth-makers, infidels and reprobates, and to Anton LaVey—Long Live our High Priest!
Magistra Blanche Barton
Church of Satan