The solstice is upon us and, as kin to the rest of Earth’s species, we feel at one with the cycling of the seasons on this beautiful planet that is our home. Some Satanists might feel alienated by parts of the holiday hubbub 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 savior into prior earthy traditions which they 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, showing how American commercialism is a dominant force in this holiday’s celebrations. And let us not 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 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 will often be the only ones cognizant of the origins of ancient, widely-embraced festive traditions. 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 fun. And that Germanic devil Krampus has also 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.
The image above first appeared on the cover of The Cloven Hoof, Volume III, No. 1, in January of VI A.S. and is copyright © by the Church of Satan.
So, from our cozy Victorian lair in the haunted Hudson Valley, we offer a “Superlative Solstice” to all Satanists and fellow secularists around the globe for an occasion filled with joy in abundance!
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore