Our witches and warlocks share their secrets of Greater Magic and insight on the art of Satanic ritual.
Our witches and warlocks share their secrets of Greater Magic and insight on the art of Satanic ritual.
Posted on Wednesday May 18, 2016
by Reverend Nathan Gray
an article for The Black Flame—May, LI A.S.
Art, music, and philosophy are the great culmination of Greater and Lesser Magic. They are the foundation for great war and great peace. They are what calls us to our own living ritual chamber, and beckons us to live!
Satanism does not insist that each of us utilize Greater Magic, but it is most certainly encouraged. Greater Magic empowers us each to actively take our reins and steer ourselves down our paths in a way that no other religion gives its members the power to do. Through ritual magic, we can purposefully set our minds and hearts to actions that benefit us. I try to focus not on moving the outside world with my Magic, but commit to strengthening myself for, against, or releasing myself FROM the outside world.
Every Satanist is a unique vessel through which the application of Ritual is moved. For some of us, catharsis comes from carrying out the methodical steps laid out in the Satanic Bible and Satanic Rituals. For some of us, maximum catharsis is achieved by ritualizing in a personalized manner best suited to who we are and what we do.
For me, that action manifests through my music. For over 20 years now, songs are where I have thrown all of my emotions, spun them into art, and expelled them through my live performance.
In a manner of sensory tantalization alone, a concert is all encompassing for both myself AND my audience. The environment is abuzz with sight, sound, smell, and even temperature. All of these elements marry to create an atmosphere that is absolutely incomparable to any other time and space. Within that ritual chamber is, for me, the most important element of all: the energy of an audience. I invite everyone who sees me perform to become a part of the ritual, rather than just watching it. Hungrily feeding off each other in purposeful chaos, I end up leaving that stage a changed man, every single time. That union of fantasy and light is special. It is MAGICAL. It creates the perfect environment for emotional release, and for the celebration of our most primal selves.
This Walpurgisnacht, I had the exhilarating honor of performing that ritual of music with a room full of people who truly understand what I do for its unique catharsis. In a spectacular display of elegance, carnality, and distinction, the Church of Satan celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a Conclave held in New York, during which Nathan Gray Collective played a show in front of Satanists from all over the world. We gathered in an exquisite room illuminated in crimson, and dined like royalty. After indulging in the feast, I took the stage to sing in front of some of the most powerful magicians in existence. It was most certainly one of the most intense and memorable shows of my career to date.
I encourage each of you to think outside the box, and play with Ritual a little. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to utilize Greater Magic–only your way. Find what combination of elements brings YOU maximum catharsis. Ritual is less about following steps in a book, and more about a Satanist making their own magic within themselves, so that they can be their best and exist in that vital life that only a Satanist can make. You are the highest power. You move mountains and you part waters. Ritual is one of the most powerful tools to clear your way down that path.
Posted on Monday May 09, 2016
by Reverend Daniel Byrd
an article for The Black Flame—May, LI A.S.
Over the years while making hand-painted Sigil of Baphomet Altarpieces, I’ve gotten a few questions concerning the importance or significance of setting up one’s Satanic Altar against a west wall. If the ideal wall for one’s altar happens to be north, south, or even east, will their rituals suffer? The short answer is no, unless you let yourself overthink it.
The inspiration for using the west wall for Satanic Rituals comes from the tradition dating back to early Christianity of constructing the apse and altar of their basilicas and cathedrals positioned toward the east. The priest generally faces “ad orientem” (“to the east”) so that he and his flock may pray in the direction of the Holy Land; the location of their redeemer’s presumed return; or enjoy the light of the risen Christ as represented by (a rather pagan) rising sun. Other white-light religions have used east for their own “righteous” reasons as well.
West is more appropriate for Satanism since we Satanists literally turn our backs on such sanctimonious drivel, leaving it behind us so we may revel in the mysteries that lurk in the darkness of night that so many fear. As such it’s not hard to understand why, especially for newly self-discovered Satanists who may still have some religious baggage they’re shaking off, this can be an important detail worth fussing over.
But for a more practical reason for using a west wall, we know from The Satanic Bible that the Hebraic characters around the Sigil of Baphomet spell “Leviathan.” Leviathan is also the final name called after the other Princes of Hell have been beckoned from their respective cardinal points (see step seven of “The Thirteen Steps” for Satanic Ritual in The Satanic Bible). As such, when facing a Satanic Altar that is “true” west, we call the final name of Leviathan from this direction while simultaneously facing the name “Leviathan” inscribed around the Sigil of Baphomet, and conveniently remain in this position for the duration of the ritual.
Regardless, you’ll be just fine wherever you choose to set up, even if you have to add an extra turn to face the altar again after calling the Princes of Hell. Magus LaVey included the words “if possible” in The Satanic Bible when instructing us on using a west wall so that even the most by-the-book personality could find some wiggle room if such a wall is just too impractical or even impossible. Magus Gilmore, in his book The Satanic Scriptures, points out, “[Facing west] is not obligatory and any direction may be utilized by the Satanist. You might even try focusing your ritual in different directions, should that bring enhanced stimulation.” Even Christians use “liturgical east,” which designates the location of their altar as “east” for purposes of their ceremonies regardless of what direction it may actually be (even west!) when topographical limitations during the building of their structures made using “true” east impossible.
But for the Satanist who really has his or her heart set on having the perfect altar against a west wall, one simple (and fun) solution is to create a “Leviathan’s Compass.” This is a tool to affirm that your altar is “west” for purposes of ritual and ceremony regardless of what actual compass point it may be in.
It may take any form. You may fashion it into the style of a traditional compass rose with west designating the direction of your altar, or perhaps create something of a symbolic “azimuth mark,” with representations for “west” such as the example provided. Otherwise, you can build it or draw it yourself; make it as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. You may display your compass or marker on the wall or place it directly upon your altar. Choose a location and a design that are most accommodating in relieving that directional dilemma, and I recommend using the “Satanic Rite of Dedication” outlined in Magus Gilmore’s The Satanic Scriptures to enhance its authority.
If you can’t alter the cardinal points of a compass inside something called the “Intellectual Decompression Chamber,” you don’t stand much of a chance altering much else, either. Suspension of disbelief is essential for Greater Magic. As such, west is exactly wherever you say it is. A “Leviathan’s Compass” can help you effectively make a west wall out of any wall in your lair that is most fitting for the aesthetics, secrecy, convenience, or any number of advantages you may require for your altar—without you feeling as though you’re fudging things or making it up as you go.
Now you can work your magic assured that you are facing the retreating sun, turning your back on the hypocritical deceit of white-light religions, and will “command the forces of Darkness to bestow their Infernal power” upon you!
Posted on Wednesday January 27, 2016
Reverend Adam P Campbell
an article for The Black Flame—January, LI A.S.
A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.
From our ancient history, we humans have sought power over those around us. To create and destroy is inherent in our DNA. On the rare occasion, there are those of us who step outside of the herd and demand more. We demand authority over those around us and respect from those who claim to know us. Of those rare few are an even smaller few who rather than just wanting authority, take it. This is done most often through the use of Lesser Magic; non-ritual or manipulative magic as explained in The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor Lavey.
Lesser Magic is the cornerstone of any Satanist worth his salt. It is the practical application of our will, unseen throughout the world. The Satanic Witch, formerly The Compleat Witch, by Anton Szandor LaVey goes into great detail about this topic, and should be studied by every Satanist. Lesser Magic has many forms. It can be subtle body language, an encouraging word, reinforcing physical support or the more tangible—a mysterious potion. Potions by definition can heal, alter one’s perception of reality, lighten one’s mood and even kill. Herein we will be talking about the alchemical art, the transformation of fruits and grains into fermented elixirs that can be used to further one’s own Lesser Magic ends.
When I decide to step into my brewing alcove, much like stepping into my ritual chamber, I enter with intention. I know what I will be concocting, and for what purpose. I infuse my tonic with my focus and intention, and what comes out of it is pure magic. In this way my act of brewing is Greater Magic; “The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will…” as written by Anton Szandor LaVey in The Satanic Bible. The process itself is ritual from the precise steps followed, implements used, notes taken and energy generated & directed. We Satanic Warlocks have a proud tradition in the mastery of Lesser and Greater Magic through study and exercise. Allow me to introduce you to Ritual Alchemy.
I often find myself in my brewing alcove to celebrate a harvest, manipulate a man or woman or to educate others. There are many individual reasons to step into the chamber; what is most important is that there IS a reason. Anyone can cook. Anyone can follow a recipe and create a product. The difference between a neophyte and a master is practice, study and intention.
When a Satanic Warlock brews there is technique and passion involved. Respect for the sourced ingredients and a sense of self. This is not just for the process itself but for the outcome. If I offer you a glass of my wine or a pint of my beer it means something. It’s not giving you a drink of water, I am giving a piece of myself to you. The particular aspect of myself I am giving—wrath, lust or compassion—may not be discerned until you have tasted it.
The Alchemy of fermentation naturally occurs without our input, but the human exercise of brewing beer and winemaking as a means to an end began in the Neolithic age. It’s been documented going back 7000 BCE. It’s not a stretch to say before the written word our ancestors were creating and consuming as well. This is to say, this ancient knowledge has been handed down from generation to generation from the beginning. Only those willing to study the process, and be willing to fail and give themselves to the experiment, will inherit this knowledge. Is it any wonder why alcohol has always been involved in religion?
Originally, the act of fermenting fruit and grains may have been for local pleasure, but it quickly spread into an economy of its own. In fact, depending on the ingredients used, fermented beverages have been used as a source of dietary nutrients. In ancient Egypt beer was a form of medicine. Their recipes actually created a natural antibiotic in the beer itself. Modern science wouldn’t catch up for over 3000 years.
Some of our earliest written literature centered around beer. The ancient Sumerians had “The Hymn to Ninkasi” which doubles as a prayer to a goddess and a recipe for creating beer. Even Christianity in the modern era claims their god transforms wine into blood as they consume it. It is said ancient Egyptians paid their slaves in beer rations while they built the pyramids. These structures stand to this day, a lasting legacy of a truly magical elixir.
In its simplest form, the alchemy behind fermentation is a metabolic process of yeast consuming sugar, the byproduct being carbon and alcohol. The process begins with cleaning your equipment, adding malt to boiling water, adding hops to bitter, flavor and add aroma to the wort, then cool the wort and pitch the yeast. But rather than dumbing down and stripping the magic away, let’s focus on the ritual behind it. My kitchen is my brewing alcove, my ritual chamber. Within is a cauldron where I call upon the fires of Satan to create an inferno that purifies the liquid to be used, removing impurities and leaving behind the blessed waters of Leviathan. I then call out to Belial, asking for the grains that grew in his earth to sacrifice themselves, providing a base of sugars for the alchemy to begin. Being the infernal master of the earth, he also provides hops to bitter and flavor the sweet potion before the yeast is pitched and the true alchemy begins.
The brewing process takes attention and care. You can’t just try it on a whim, hoping for a superb outcome. As with anything in life, it takes study and preparation. In the same way you are never promoted in your job the first day, your ultimate success in alchemy will come through repetition, improvement and love of the process and ingredients used. The idiom cleanliness is next to godliness is true in brewing. Every piece of equipment that will touch your beer or wine needs to be sanitized. There are many products that are able to help you in this process, but the process of cleaning your equipment is a ritual beyond the scope of this essay.
Once you have purified your ritual implements, you must begin the base of your potion, heat up your water in the cauldron. It is important to note that your water must be filtered and free of impurities prior to use. Depending on the recipe, you may have grains to add before you reach a roiling boil. If you do, maintain the water at 145-155 degrees fahrenheit for an hour with the grains steeping. This will provide a base of color and flavor to your potion and it is at this point you may infuse your liquid with your compassion if that is your intention. The liquid is open to your suggestion in this vulnerable state.
When you are finished steeping your grains, bring the liquid up to a boil and remove from heat. You must pay close attention from now through the end of the process. When you are actively stirring and adding your malt to your liquid, you are creating wort. Wort is a demon that is unforgiving and will boil over if left unattended. It needs your focus as you put the pot back on the heat and bring it to a boil. If you are wrathful, now is the time to unleash it. It will tame the wort and your aggression will be received well. Depending on the recipe, you will have one to three sets of hops to add: one for bittering, one for flavoring and one for aroma.
Adding hops to your wort is the time to show lust. This tames your sweet wort with your bitter and flavorful hops. If lust is your intention, let it flow now. The bittering hops should be left in the boiling wort for an hour. Add your flavoring hops in the last 30 minutes, and for the aroma hops, add for five minutes. When the hour is up, shut down the boil and cool down the wort with a coil or exterior ice. Do not allow any contaminants into your potion.
Once cooled to 75 degrees, siphon the potion into the primary fermenting container and then pitch your yeast. This is the ‘so it is done’ moment, and when you seal the container, attaching your airlock, the air should be clear and the ritual is complete. There will be a secondary filtering before you bottle, and the potion should sit in the bottle for a month prior to consumption.
Brewing potions is not a process for the weak of mind and requires focus and a spirit of experimentation. It is a legacy of our human species that has endured to this day. Those of us who celebrate its alchemical magic champion its process and carry on the traditions of the magicians from our past. If you choose to walk this dark path, perhaps one day we will share a cauldron or exchange secrets we have discovered. This is a process for the student, there are no masters, only passionate magicians feverishly brewing into the future.