Happy Halloween from The Black House

Halloween 2023: Danse Macabre

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. We’ve seen that there has recently been a plethora of party-poopers publishing lists of costumes that are considered to be in poor taste, or in some way offensive to these namby-pamby nincompoops. Fie on such spoilsports! I suggest it is far wiser to find a mode of dress that excites you, that empowers your fantasies, that fulfills aspects of your multi-layered persona, regardless of what some crabby curmudgeons find distressing to their constipated sensibilities.

Our world is currently wracked with major military conflicts, and humans are dying, their lives cut short in the throes of these struggles. In many mythologies one’s terminus is symbolized by an encounter, which is frequently portrayed as a dance, with Death, personified. This is the season wherein we ponder mortality and recall those dear departed, so I find it worthwhile to listen to Camille Saint-Saëns’ brilliant tone poem from 1874, the Danse macabre. This work established a primal spooky musical vocabulary, with the xylophone representing dancing skeletons, oft imitated since its premiere. The scenario of the piece—on Halloween, after the stroke of midnight, Death plays his fiddle and the dead rise from their graves to dance to his tune. Upon the morning cock’s crow, they return to their rest as Death moves on to his appointed rounds. Quintessential music for this special night! Follow this link to experience a fine performance with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Andrew Wan on violin, conducted by Kent Nagano.

Here in the Haunted Hudson Valley, our “Witchcraft District” encompasses those of us who share the perpetual love of Halloween as a lifestyle. It is not a geographic territory, but is, instead, a perspective that can be embraced by those, wherever they might live, who resonate with this archetype. Our homes are avatars of our shared worldview, and one need not be a Satanist to be a denizen of this shadowed landscape. Our fellow folk inhabit an eternal “October Country,” as Ray Bradbury had recognized this zeitgeist. As more aficionados of the outré have learned about this manner of self-description, the ranks of honorary residents continues to grow!

On this night, my wife Maga Peggy Nadramia and I celebrate the 42nd anniversary of our wedding, which recognized 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 bizarre, an anomaly, and there was no tradition for such an event. We began a new tradition, which many have subsequently embraced. And so, to all of you who have also chosen the Halloweentide for your nuptials, may your bliss be unbounded and may your love wax ever stronger during your journey together—just as ours has!

From The Black House, we wish an abundantly Happy Halloween to you all!

Hail Satan!

—Magus Peter H. Gilmore