Church of Satan Sigil of Baphomet


—Magus Peter H. Gilmore

With the ending of 2015 and arrival of 2016, it struck me that in the past month several people who made significant impacts in some manner on our culture have died. I had recently fulfilled a request to write an appreciation of a man I knew—a poet and novelist, once a dear friend—who had, towards the end of his life, withdrawn from his wide circle of friends and colleagues so that his death had gone mostly unnoticed. His work was potent and visionary, mainly published in small press venues with low print runs in the 80s-90s, hence it could readily vanish. Some of his admirers are now working towards preserving his legacy, the voice and expression that was his alone. I think he deserves to be remembered, his creations relished by new readers who will join me in appreciating my friend’s rare spark. When the tribute volume is released, I will mention it on our newsfeed.

Legacy—the remnants we leave upon our deaths—is a concept we Satanists hold dear as we recognize our mortality. We transcend this limit via our creations as well as the people whom we’ve touched during the all-too-brief time we have. Self-directed, self-satisfying individuals, we Satanists are typically generous with our enthusiasms, finding carefully chosen colleagues and companions who love and appreciate those things we pursue. We admire others who enjoy their lives to the fullest while leaving their marks. They serve as exemplars and inspiration for our own journeys and makings.

We do not create for others, but to externally encode the unique consciousnesses that we possess, speaking as only we can. We are but temporary eddies in the welter of energy and matter that comprises our cosmos. Though our bodies and minds are ephemeral, our thoughts and ardors might survive to incite others to partake of what we once found worthy of contemplation. Life may be fleeting, but that unique self, peering out from the “eye” of the vortex of our existence, may shape aspects of the surrounding universe so that other interested minds might experience an impression of the singular amalgam that we have been.

For Satanists, awareness of what has been thought and wrought by creators who’ve come before us is a never-ending journey. Preserving such legacies maintains a richness of materials for contemplation, assisting us to broadening our awareness of the many meanings that have arisen from our species in its contemplation of itself as part of the vast surrounding universe.

Let me touch upon a few widely divergent individuals whose works have now become fixed bodies, for us to savor or not as we choose. Whether their particular pursuits were to our tastes, it is undeniable that they each lived passionately and left something of their distinctive consciousnesses as monuments to their having existed and shaken the world about them.



Kurt Masur

On the 19th of December, conductor Kurt Masur died at age 88. He was an old-school maestro who had the cultural clout as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhouse Orchestra to be a part of moving the prevailing East German totalitarian regime towards democratic reform. He later became conductor of the New York Philharmonic after Pierre Boulez, bringing discipline and deep insight into his preferred repertory of Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. I’d heard him live with both the Leipzig and New York ensembles and always found his performances to be intelligent, exciting, and deeply moving. His goal was to serve the composers he loved, and he succeeded with brilliance.

I attended this excellent performance by Masur of Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony which was recorded live.


Gilbert Kaplan

On January 1st, publisher and Mahler aficionado Gil Kaplan died at age 74. Having made a fortune during his twenties publishing savvy Wall Street commentary in The Institutional Investor, Kaplan was smitten by a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, a massive work exploring philosophical issues culminating in a transcendent choral apotheosis. This began his obsession with the piece, leading to his purchasing the manuscript of the score and having a critical edition being published which corrected hundreds of errors. His desire was to conduct the work, even though he was not a musician. He conferred with conductors and hired teachers, and later an orchestra, to fulfill that intense dream—which he achieved to great success. He recorded the piece twice and was subsequently invited by many orchestras to lead it, in very detailed performances holding to the many exacting instructions Mahler demands in this daunting masterwork. He evangelized this symphony and brought many listeners to it so that they could share in his love for the monumental score. With his wealth, he also established the Kaplan Foundation for the promotion and preservation of Mahler’s works. I had heard Kaplan perform this symphony live and also met and conversed with him through my association with the Gustav Mahler Society of New York and found him to be bright and well-versed in Mahler’s oeuvre. Here is his second recording, well worth a listen.


Pierre Boulez

Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez died at age 90 on January 5th. Boulez was a powerful force in musical modernism, having had French President Georges Pompidou create the Institute for the Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music as his personal playground for fostering the avant-garde. While I find Boulez’s scores of interest conceptually, his conducting moved me far more deeply. With an extraordinarily sharp ear, his performances brought out great detail in the works he favored, including some splendid playings of Mahler symphonies. He had succeeded Leonard Bernstein as the conductor of the New York Philharmonic which lead to incisive performances of works by Stravinsky, Webern, Debussy, Bartok and Messiaen—his mentor, of sorts.

This recording of my favorite Messiaen work, Et Expecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum is full of majesty and mystery and not to be missed. 



Lemmy Kilmister

On December 28th, Motörhead’s Lemmy died at age 70. He’s admired as a seminal force in heavy metal music and has been revered by non-believers for his public stance against religion as well as his acceptance of personal responsibility for his own successes and failures. His excesses regarding indulgence in booze, drugs and women are legendary. He left a stamp on this genre of music that is definitive.

Magister Bill M. dedicated episode #555 of his podcast, The Devil’s Mischief, to Lemmy. Here are some of his observations.

The most famous song of his would easily be the Motörhead song “Ace of Spades”. …My personal favorite is Motörhead’s “1916” album, since it was the songs from there that got my attention and made me a fan. I used to have a quote from the song “No Voices In The Sky” in my signature: “You don’t need no golden cross to tell you wrong from right; the world’s worst murderers were those who saw the light.”

He was truly shameless about himself, and didn’t buy in to the usual non-conformist trends that his contemporaries did. …In a documentary (THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: PART II, THE METAL YEARS) where he was asked about glam metal acts who wear make-up and hairspray, he just said, "Good luck to them if they’re pretty. I wish I was.”

The thing about Lemmy is that he was just one of those few people that the entire scene hailed as an icon. It wasn’t just how much of an influence Motörhead was on sub-genres like speed metal. He was revered for his whole attitude, being a brutal “rock n’ roll” guy, indulgent but very down to earth and seemingly very simple in his ways, unchanged over the years. As they joked in the movie AIRHEADS, “Lemmy IS God!” I guess you could say he was the Chuck Norris of heavy metal.


David Bowie

Bowie left this world on January 10, at 69 years of age. A cultural force, Bowie’s art and his constant reinvention of his persona in daring ways established him as an iconoclastic shape-shifting avatar inspiring many to have the courage to explore themselves—wherever that might lead, despite resistance from those around them. His music is anthemic to many and was also employed as material for symphonic development by Philip Glass in his first (“Low”) and fourth (“Heroes”) symphonies. He was a fine actor and made lasting impressions in roles such as an alien in THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, the protege of a vampire in THE HUNGER, and as the Goblin King in LABYRINTH amongst many other notable performances.

His art was one of perpetual evolution and stretching boundaries so he will surely stand as an exemplar to many who find themselves called on journeys of self-guided transformation. My dear friend Witch Karen has offered these personal thoughts about his albums:

Ziggy Stardust—Most significant and life changing for me as it champions the ultimate alien elite. From the idea of only having Five Years left to the final shriek of “You’re not alone!” in it’s final  notes, I found it to be thought provoking, inspiring, comforting and also challenging to all I had been taught up to that moment – musically, aesthetically, sexually and socially.  There were times in my young life when I’d listen to this and think he was the only person in the world who gets me. That in addition to it being musically groundbreaking and timeless in concept, sound and storyline.

Station to Station—Genuine, heartfelt and ethereal. The transmission of emotion in Word on A Wing and the absolute masterpiece of (my favorite) Wild is the Wind still brings chills each time I hear it. It has lifted me up and over some tough hurdles in life over the years.

He has been an omnipresent friend who has always reassured me that it’s right to be true to yourself and to be different and not to follow the herd.



Alan Rickman

Rickman died on January 14th at age 69. Here was an actor who brought nuance and elegance to so many roles, His rich voice and sly face served well to embody villainy through nobility and many shades in between. As Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films he will remain a global icon, though his role in DIE HARD as Bruce Willis’ adversary grabbed the attention of many. He brought a truly touching turn to the comedic GALAXY QUEST as a Shakespearean actor resenting his fame as an alien in a popular space opera, modeled after Nimoy’s Spock in STAR TREK. He was delightfully devilish as the Sheriff of Nottingham in ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES. And he excelled in so many more performances on both stage and screen. He long ago entered the pantheon of great character actors, and will continue to terrify, seduce, and always entertain an ever growing cohort of fans.



Florence King

Florence King made her exeunt on January 6th, aged 80. A delightfully misanthropic writer, her tart-tongued diatribes warmed my heart. Miss King had a long career which included sharp criticism, insightful social analysis and even “bodice-ripping” erotic fiction, written under pseudonyms. She had the wonderful self-made role of professional curmudgeon, and always extolled intelligence over stupidity and the joys of keeping oneself apart from the herd. Her adversarial thinking is a refreshing hurricane in these days of toxic political correctness.

Just one example to entice: “Feminists will not be satisfied until every abortion is performed by a gay black doctor under an endangered tree on a reservation for handicapped Indians.”—Florence King

Her book, With Charity Toward None, A Fond Look At Misanthropy is an essential, diabolical work.