Church of Satan Sigil of Baphomet


The New York Times reports on a sculpture exhibition in the town of Highland Falls, just outside of the United States Military Academy at West Point, which includes Joseph Jaskolka’s piece titled “Ahriman Crowned” amongst a more typical gathering of contemporary works chosen by a curatorial committee, all meant to symbolize leadership and wisdom. It stands across from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, seemingly pointing towards it and thus unnerving some of the parishioners. 

From the article:

Mr. Jaskolka said the sculpture, named for the Zoroastrian spirit of destruction, was a personification of the negative forces of materialism in 21st-century society. “Our culture is dominated by these influences,” he said. “ ‘Ahriman Crowned’ symbolizes the loss of spirituality and individualism within the human soul.”

Mr. Jaskolka’s art is inspired by ancient mythology and includes very primal figures, including a potent Minotaur Bound. Made of roughly-hewn stone, Jaskolka’s work, which he began creating in 2009, might remind one of the stone Watchers from Aronofsky’s film NOAH (2014). 

While this piece is intended to critique aspects of modern culture that the Roman Catholic Church would also oppose, I find it amusing that their immediate reaction is that it is an homage to their Satan, a figure related to the myth of Ahriman. As we diabolists know, Anton LaVey included Ahriman amongst the roster of Infernal Names in The Satanic Bible, to be used in rituals of Greater Magic meant as cathartic psychodrama, rather than rites of Devil worship.

In Satanism, which is a carnal religion, we find that our reason, pragmatism and positive materialism lead us to have quite a strong sense of individualism. And we don’t believe in souls, nor think such a concept necessary to champion the value of one’s unique consciousness.

While the mythological Ahriman has a different significance to us than to the artist, I enjoy that Jaskolka’s statues, which have been voluntarily displayed in various public locations, have the power to cause controversy as they challenge their beholders to think, and that’s surely a proper purpose for successful works of art. The artist’s manager, Darren Nelson, has informed us that this piece can be purchased for $66k, in case any of our readers would like to give this bold embodiment of the “dark spirit” a permanent and fitting home.

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore

Pertinent Links:

New York Times article.

Joseph Jaskolka Sculptures

Ahriman Crowned