My first-hand peek into the Satanic New Year.
First I think it's important to tell you a little bit about me. I'm a fairly woo-woo sort of gal just recently transplanted from the homogenous Marin county to the grand city of Oakland. I live in a temple. I go to a weekly prayer circle, and while I believe in embracing our whole human nature, which means our best and worst, I am pretty much an optimistic, hug-thy-neighbor, rainbows and sunshine sort of optimist.
So when my friend, Orji Walflaur (that's his nom de plume) asked me to come and see his performance at the 2004 Satanic New Year's celebration, I knew I just had to go. Not just because I wanted to support my friend and see the spectacle, but to face the fear it brought up in me. But before I could head out it required activating my rainbow light body, a merkabah field around me and rubbing frankincense and spikenard on my feet, hands and 3rd eye. I realized that it was time to really put my money where my mouth was. You see, I practice and teach what's called Spiritual Composting. It's the concept that EVERYTHING in our lives is a gift. Nothing is bad or wrong, just misunderstood. Finding understanding allows us to embrace all we are given. So, I found myself ready to walk into a completely unknown circumstance that, admittedly, brought up my so called "growing edges."
I got all dressed up in red velvet, black fur, black wig (it seemed more Satanic than my platinum and pink hair), fishnets and such. I imagined the scene would be something like the Edwardian Ball that's become a popular annual event in the San Francisco Bay Area; something like a formal Edward Gorey festival of gothic circus freaks and mystical oddities, except more dark and sexy. That's not exactly what happened.
First of all, I have to say that Satanists these days have no style. Well, not all of them, I guess. There were a few who took a little trouble to get gussied up for the event, but I was definitely overdressed for the party, which made me an instant celebrity.
The cover charge for the event was, can you guess? $6.66, but instead of paying $6.66, The guy gave me that much in change for the $10 I handed him. Now, it could have been due to lack of math skills, but he feigned it was out of kindness. Sweetness amongst the Satanists? Is that just laziness, or what? I didn't complain.
The second thing I will say, is that the whole carnal indulgence did NOT help the organization of the event. The show was supposed to start at 9:30, but I got there around 10:30, and they were still setting up. The sound guy was getting drunk, and the only thing that had been taken care of were the decorations (No streamers or spooky lights, no cool haunted house looking props, just some red curtains, and small banners with the goat head and inverted pentacle design). They were serving devil's food cake, which I thought was cute, and even cuter were the paper plates they served it on. No, not little red devil plates as I would have hoped for at this degenerating point . . . big yellow daisy plates. Again, big lack of style. No flare for ambiance or consistent theme. Is this a Satanic ritual or a children's birthday party? The plates weren't telling.
So, I took my seat and watched and waited. There were several musical acts. All very loud. Spinal Tap has nothing on any of these bands. All of their knobs go to 13, and they were cranked full blast. I didn't end up staying for the final, and highly touted "I will kill you fucker," band because, seriously, my arms were so tired from holding them up to plug my ears, but I digress . . .
As I waited, I saw Carla La Vey doing her best to maintain order (amongst Satanists . . . good luck! She’d have better success herding cats). In the middle of it all, she stopped to ask my name, shook my hand, and told me I looked beautiful. More sweetness? I don’t think these Satanists really understand how inconsistent this all is. Maybe she was hitting on me. Anyway, again, I didn't complain. I told her she looked hot, too. Imagine Anton LaVey with Joan Jet-like hair (red at the tips), sans goatee, noticeable cleavage, in tight red and black latex, and you've got his daemon spawn, Ms. Carla. Now she did have some style. But where were the hot male temptations into sin? Nowhere. Death and Satan had both taken a holiday to somewhere other than San Francisco's Edinburgh Castle. Not that this was a “lively” bunch by any stretch of the imagination.
There were only about 10 people to begin with, and by the end of the night, probably around 35, including the performers, and there wasn't much rowdiness or sense of something big like the New Year. In fact, there was no countdown, which is fine, because I didn't want to kiss any of the people close to me at midnight. There was a camera guy capturing everything for the an(n)als of history, if you will, but he was incredibly under the influence, and had found a resting spot that was not quite, but close to leaning on me to remain upright. When he took a break from the camera work, he would excitedly break out his black KKK-type hood and put it on, which really helped him move around with even more grace and ease . . . think drunken redneck tiptoe through the tulips.
The music, well, I must say, that though it was too loud to listen to in its pure form, I did mostly enjoy the music as I have a soft spot in my brain, er um, heart for industrial/experimental noise. It was a bit difficult to tell any of the acts apart, however, except for the props and outfits, because they ALL used theremin sounds and feedback as the main sources of noise. Imagine spooky ghost sounds and loud guitar reverb. I guess it's no surprise that my first favorite album was Disney's "The Sounds of Halloween." Yup, I was goth before goth was cool, or even goth.
Throughout the night, the room became more and more full of the stench of marijuana, alcohol, and body odor. By the time my friend, and ontological terrorist, Orji Walflauer, was up to do his hypnotism act, the room almost exactly radiated the rancid smell of the sewers he attempted to plunge his audience into. Attempt, I say, because by the time Orji did his act, everyone was too wasted to listen carefully enough to follow his instructions. I also have a feeling that they wouldn't have been too obedient anyway . . . obedient Satanists? They draw the line at sweetness; obedience is just too much to ask, as I found out first hand. The sound man was wasted before the performances ever really started, and no one could figure out how to completely turn off the Wurlitzer music that was playing, nightmarishly non-stop, through each act (maybe the one truly evil experience of the night).
Orji did his best, but he was heckled, and Jeckle’d, and no one would keep their eyes closed and shut the fuck up, because they were all just, well, a room full of drunken and stoned Satanists. Had Orji actually been able to manage cooperation, he would have taken them on a guided hypnotic journey to their darkest places and helped them to unleash the deepest shame and fears in the middle of a pitch black sewer, ripe with the smells, well, the smells like the ones in the room we were in, and pulsating with the feverish, hungry sucking mouth of the great monster lurking just beyond reach, waiting to devour its prey. But he did not get cooperation, and to top it off, in the middle of the act, the power went out, which was scarier than just about all of the other scenarios put together, because now the atmosphere really did feel, look, sound, and of course, smell like the horror Orji had just described. It was now much closer to real than anyone had imagined possible. It wasn’t frightening for long, because this inspired a complete breakdown of what little order existed, and there were jokes and laughter, broken glasses, and fake movie screams. Orji did his best to finish up, yelling into the darkened room of blithering ADHD Lucifer lovers, but it was like a teenage ejaculation, too little hurrah to make up for the lack of presence in the first place. The language was horrifying and beautifully scripted, but was like pearls tossed before swine. No one was coherent enough to appreciate its film noir style.
As I said before, my arms were tired from plugging my ears, and the stink was only getting stronger, and I had done the good friend deed of supporting a fellow freak amongst the minions of Bealzebub.
So, I gathered my things, kissed Orji and told him that it was a great effort, and took my leave.
I had gone, keeping my focus on not having judgment, holding love in my heart, and a garlic rosary in my purse, and I left feeling really grateful I had experienced this event. Yes, grateful.
There is so much fear around certain things, and the word Satan triggers a lot. I've felt heavier and more unhealthy energy at Northgate mall or from watching TV, and there wasn't a moment I felt fear (except for a flash when I thought the camera guy was going to fall on me). This was a group of people, not incredibly different from anyone else, not incredibly different from me. They were courteous, sweet, rowdy, irreverent, and pretty damned sedate for such a keystone event to their religion. I never felt any need to put up my guard, energetically. Shower, yes, but not guard myself against a spiritual invasion from the Dark Lord.
I had read the charter of the 1st Satanic Church before I went, to have an idea of what Satanists believe in. This is what I found:
1. Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!
2. Satan represents vital existence instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it instead of love wasted on ingrates!
5. Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!
6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires!
7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
9. Satan has been the best friend the Church has ever had, as He has kept it in business all these years!
Now, some of these things I completely agree with, many I don't (the whole philosophy is just not sustainable), but find that I still do some of them anyway, or at least feel myself wanting to/fantasizing about doing them (like hoping the jackass driving irresponsibly while talking on his cell phone will take a long walk off a short pier), and think that it takes a lot of courage to be this honest about ones nature. They may not believe in overcoming these behaviors, but, hey, at least they are honest about what they believe in, and that's the first step to recovery, isn't it? Honesty is one small step for Satanists, one giant (and apparently impossible) leap for many of our civic leaders, who still say they are Christians, but, save the haircuts and suits, look and act a lot like the Satanists. Vengeance being the big one that stands out to me (how many stories of the abhorent treatment of prisoners does it take to see the darkness?), but you can look at just about all of the 9 statements and see how they are implemented in the standards, laws, and practices of our government.
Anyway, I think that's it for this report. It's late, and I have some goats to kill, er um, I have some sheep to count on my way into la la land.
This has been your trusted undercover reporter, Amanda Elo'esh.
(Devil) signing off.