Historically, black masses have served to give the oppressed a feeling of power (however false that might be) by mocking the reigning religious institution. The Satanic Mass by H.T.F. Rhodes covers the topic quite well. Accounts in decadent literature as well as in court documents recording confessions extracted under torture chronicle a pageant of vile acts meant to denigrate Christianity, and practically they tended to debase those performing them. Unless one’s personal fetishes involve sipping excretions and bestiality, as well as the mutilation of aborted fetuses and using consecrated wafers for sexual arousal, most modern rational folk would not be inclined towards such “celebrations.” Earlier testimonies of accused witches and heretics compiled by Christian prosecutors functioned as inspiration for later messes noir. The film HÄXAN (1922) depicts the sabbat deviltry in fairly graphic detail.
Anton LaVey sagely observed that since Christianity has lost its control of the state, then mocking its rites (which in themselves are distortions of earlier pagan ceremonies) is now pointless and in his time he thought that a contemporary version of a black mass should poke fun at things being championed in society at-large. It could, he said, include crushing an LSD-laced sugar cube underfoot and deriding then popular counter-culture figures like Timothy Leary. Today, a properly-focused black mass might mock trending celebrities (since their cult is the present’s major pop-religion) and parody widely-viewed shows such as “Game of Thrones.” With the ephemeral nature of what currently holds the minimalist attention span of today’s Internet-absorbed drones, what is relevant one hour would be passé the next making it difficult to have up-to-date targets. Times, they are a changin’—rapidly.
Some self-proclaimed “satanists” supposedly planned to do a recreation of a historical black mass in a Harvard pub under the auspices of a student organization for “educational purposes.” Their true motives might be discerned since this upcoming event was publicized widely beyond the locals who could attend, thus purposely arousing much harrumphing from Christians associated with that campus. Of course, any well-staged attempt of that ceremony should include some fairly foul displays, though these could be faked with proper theatrical means if the performers had the talent and an effects budget. From their past productions, one imagines the actual presentation would more likely have been a lackluster spouting of tried and true blasphemies in Latin (thus obscured to most) before someone decided who would be the recipient in the game of “hide the wafer.” It was guaranteed by the promoters to be unconsecrated, as they didn’t really want to be, you know, blasphemous. In truth, there’s more authentic Satanic celebration of life’s passions going on in most pubs on a nightly basis than some stilted recitation of an outdated black mass would have provided.
The would-be performers behind this evidently planned to stir-up a brouhaha and the resultant cancellation of the event got more press (their real goal) than the probably shabby performance would have. This bunch has proven through similar actions that solely seeking media attention via frat-boy calibre stunts is their stock-in-trade. There is no actual Satanism being presented, but it is used as window dressing to rile the gullible. The local Christians, true to form, brought pressure to bear and had the venue withdrawn, showing their ecumenical thinking had limits. Surprise!—not. They perceived the proffered pageant as being a form of “hate speech” against their cherished doctrines. In a sense, a historical black mass does fulfill that definition, and as such could be employed by an actual modern Satanist as a type of purgative psychodrama if he or she had personally felt persecuted by Christians. One wonders if a proposed reenactment, for “educational purposes only,” of an NSDAP rally or Ku Klux Klan cross-lighting might have roused even more outrage—and attending reporters? I suspect that Nazis and southern-fried racists still trump Satan on the popular scale of “Evil.” They really exist.
I find it deplorable that many journalists leap to broadcast this and similar Satan-themed trivia. They did so with the false claims of Miranda Barbour, who murdered a victim lured via Craig’s List with her husband’s assistance. That crime did not get much press until she claimed to be a “satanic cultist” and serial killer. Her father told The Daily News that Barbour “isn’t a psychopath—just a heroin junkie looking for attention.” He cautioned, “Believe very little of what Miranda says. She has a long history of extreme manipulation and dishonesty.“ Rather than first determining the plausibility of this disturbed murderess’s tales, her unchallenged lies were disseminated world-wide, giving her the center ring that she desired. Should sensationalism overrule sensibility? A radical Islamic sect in Nigeria has threatened selling hundreds of hostage teen-aged girls into slavery, yet some aborted barroom shenanigans can get a spotlight.
Perhaps these tempests in a piss pot are just easier to hawk, since they serve as modern freak shows that, for the most part, only require titillation or tut-tutting as a response? On the other hand, those girls in Africa are being treated monstrously with their lives used as bargaining chips and the government that should be protecting them is failing to resolve this horrendous crime against innocent victims. There should be a continued international outcry along with appropriate assistance, if the populace of the world considers this religiously-inspired abuse of young innocents to be something that should be halted. This story of human peril and cruelty requires action being taken to bring it to a just conclusion, and perhaps putting the onus on an audience might be considered importuning by those who decide what is aired. That this is happening in a third world country might also be a factor. The horror at Sandy Hook wherein 26 people died was deemed a national trauma and the usual types quickly began lobbying for anti-gun legislation—as if that ever prevented such abominations. Imagine what would happen if over 200 girls were to be kidnapped by slavers from an American public school. However, news stories flash-permeate the media, then fade into obscurity with alarming swiftness and the memories of the masses are practically non-functional. Continued fresh fodder for temporary excitement is the rule of the game. If the media did not clutter its “news” feeds with insignificant incidents and instead dealt with events whose consequences merit concern, then this age of “infotainment” might begin to wither, heralding a return to the higher standards of general reportage once in practice that I recall from my youth. I know the human animal, so I do not expect that to happen anytime soon.
It is interesting to note that, as I mentioned above, the purpose of the historic black mass was to arouse a sense of liberation from undeserved oppression, yet here the precise opposite has happened. The performers can now mime indignance at being barred from a space that is privately held, whose uses are up to the owners, and can play the “victim card,” hardly a posture that is typically embraced by actual Satanists. Those inspired by the Luciferian pride which comes from frequently successful endeavors are loathe to present themselves as losers. The Church of Satan’s own 6/6/06 Satanic High Mass was a private event which was covered by worldwide media and embraced by the atheist-owned venue. We challenged theism and superstition before a global audience in a positive Satanic rite that celebrated the essence of Satanism, which is not in any sense a faith. And our private affair in the UK Hellfire caves was most dramatic and fulfilling for all concerned, though we have not shared footage from that beyond the attendees. The Church of Satan’s fiftieth anniversary is upcoming and should there be a commemorative gathering, that too will be invitation-only and later shared with outsiders—if we deem them worthy. Satanism is elitist and exclusivity is a practice we uphold. The media may not be readily welcomed into our masses, black or otherwise, for we selfishly may decide to keep such heady experiences amongst our own.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore