Halloween 2021 at The Black House

Halloween 2021: The Witchcraft District Reigns!

We Satanists find Halloween to be a holiday that celebrates the outsider, the other, those who are not like most. It is on this night that the “normals” tend to explore their own quirks and inner-darknesses by wearing costumes that often reveal aspects of themselves typically hidden during the rest of the year. Since Satanism is an individualist religion, we embrace our oddness without stinting, for we don’t require the permission of a special day and night to be honest about our true nature. For us, Halloween is a continuing state of both mind and practice. On this night, we enjoy watching the amateurs dare to try “being themselves,” whether those attempts are tentative or bold. But most of them don’t have our courage to be true to our own deepest selves. We Satanists are metaphorically members of the “Addams” clan, and thus we are recognized, and at times vilified, by the many folks who are not—the repressed, the xenophobic, the bigoted. But we do not let them deter us from our joyful otherness.

Here in Poughkeepsie, our departed friend Magister Joe Netherworld had coined the term “Witchcraft District” to signify those of us here who share the perpetual love of Halloween as a lifestyle. It is not a geographic territory, but is something that can be embraced by those, wherever they might live, who resonate with this archetype. Joe had crafted his own essential “Witch House” that stood as a total environment of the haunted, gothic, elaborate aesthetic that permeated all of his creations. In January of this year, when that looming edifice was destroyed by an arsonist 13 days before the anniversary of Joe’s death, this treasured local landmark for celebrating Halloween was obliterated. But, as with many things of deeply essential power, it lives on within those who are Joe’s fellow countrymen inhabiting our eternal “October Country,” as Ray Bradbury had recognized this zeitgeist. Our homes are avatars of our shared worldview, and one need not be a Satanist to be a denizen of this shadowed landscape.

That wanton act of extermination failed to expunge the legacy of Magister Netherworld, and thus “The Witchcraft District” concept has spread not only here in Poughkeepsie—where more and more people celebrate this unique and potent perspective, but worldwide, as people throughout the globe have come to know via contemporary media what had been birthed here in the Haunted Hudson Valley. So here’s to all of those outré outsiders who share our darkly vibrant way of life, wherever you might reside! The Witchcraft District Reigns!

On this night, my wife Magistra Peggy Nadramia—the High Priestess of the Church of Satan for almost 20 years—and I celebrate the 40th anniversary of our wedding, which signified our life partnership begun several years before the date of our formal marriage. At the time we married, many thought that doing so on Halloween was a weird anomaly, and there was no tradition for such an event. Our dear friends and cherished family members, both biologically and by choice, knew this was the crystallization of our shared vision for our relationship and for the future we planned together. It has been a deeply fulfilling four decades, and throughout this our love has flourished. We’ve survived the many tribulations that the universe has conjured, always gaining strength from one another whether we are surmounting obstacles or celebrating the victorious achievements of our goals. Our “secret” has been to always celebrate each other for the unique individuals we are—noting our shared loves and our differing passions, but always being fueled by the love we have for each other, for our essential selves, and working together towards being the best we each can be. I concretized this in my Satanic Wedding Rite:

“We are chosen mates, so decreed by our deepest ardor, the images of our fantasies incarnate. We desire to live with one another just as we are. We have chosen each other, above all others, to share our lives. We promise to always speak the truth, to honor and to tenderly care for each other. We love each other for ourselves, in trust that we’ll become all than we can be, to be as great as our natures and Will allow. We honor this pledge as long as life and love endure.”

And so, to all of you who have also chosen this Halloween time for your nuptials, may your bliss be unbounded and may your love wax ever stronger during your journey together—just as ours has! A Happy Halloween to you all!

Hail to The Witchcraft District! Hail to we Addamses! And Hail Satan!

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore