The winter solstice is again upon we denizens of the Northern Hemisphere, and many feel at one with the cycling of the seasons on our beautiful home world. Some Satanists might feel alienated by aspects of the holiday hubbub, particularly those promoting Christianity, yet heathen trappings have long been the dominant décor. It is fact that the Christians lifted this holiday from the pagans, as Pope Julius I in the mid 300s inserted their pallid, mythical savior into prior earthy traditions which he failed to supplant. Jolly, round and white-bearded Santa Claus—who has come to signify wish fulfillment—seems inspired by Silenus, tutor of the wine god Dionysus from Greek myths. And his ubiquitous look was conjured in advertisements for Coca-Cola published in 1931, demonstrating American commercialism as a dominant force in this holiday’s celebrations. And let us never forget that the ever-carnal Romans enjoyed their orgiastic Saturnalia at this time of year.
In practice, the Nazarene has little place in most of the general public’s celebrations of this season—and we Satanists like it that way. Who wants to think of that mangy manger-baby on the way to his zombie destiny when it is far more delightful to make merry and honor the wonders of Nature with friends and family? Festive gatherings with sumptuous food and drink have historically been employed in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year to mark the now lengthening days. The Winter’s chill is understood to be transitory, with the fecund Spring to come—certainly a proper reason to offer “Joy to all!”
I join with those who would revel in marking the Yule holiday season by enjoying the fullness of our lives in the company of people whom we cherish. We Satanists will often be the only ones cognizant of the origins of ancient, widely-embraced festive traditions, unless you seasonally hobnob with some festive religious scholars or savvy neo-pagans. It might surprise some that many Satanists decorate evergreen trees with blazing lights and ornaments that range from the diabolical to icons of what they consider to be stimulating and fun. Our tree has a menagerie including dinosaurs, cartoon characters (Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, the Roadrunner), Dr. Zaius, Pan, Aphrodite, The Minotaur, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Godzilla, Star Trek ships (The Federation, Klingons, and Romulans are in force) along with a talking tricorder, abstract shapes, cocktail accouterments, Cthulhu, musical instruments, detailed sparkling snowflakes and glass icicles, amongst other family heirloom ornaments. And that Germanic devil Krampus is also included. He has charmed many of us—his purpose to mete out justice is one we consider fundamental—so his imagery has been embraced by our folk with gusto.
From our cozy Victorian lair in the haunted Hudson Valley, as Peggy and I recline before our fireplace, sipping wine mulled with piquant spices, we offer a “Superlative Solstice” to all Satanists, fellow secularists, and all those around the globe who revere our Earth. May this be for all of you an occasion filled with joy in abundance! Do make merry, con brio!
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore