Yesterday was Halloween, and I have been a Satanist for six months now, and in its own time it becomes clearer what “Satan” means to me. This morning there was a chill in the air and mist casting a haze over the church opposite.
Yesterday was very mild and fine though, with blue skies, and sunlight illuminating the golden leaves that remained on the trees. We got taken out by some dear friends from Rochester and had a lovely day, ending up near the O2 Centre in North Greenwich having ice cream and coffee. It’s an area unlike any other in London, having been built on wasteland previously occupied by the deserted docks, gasworks and long dead industry. It’s like London without a past, which is oddly uplifting, but also oddly un-London-like. It was a lovely day in any case.
As some of my friends have noted, Halloween and Walpurgis Night are the two main common festivals that Satanists celebrate (along with birthdays, though there is no rule or compulsion to it of course), and in the UK they make very sensible seasonal markers also. We are not big on formal ritual, preferring things to simply be meaningful for ourselves. When we got back from our trip out in the late afternoon we took a nap.
I felt unaccountably sad and melancholy after we got back, and I realized after a while that it was as if a deep sense of the hurt of life (in the wider sense) was surfacing, on account of the enormous amount of suffering that life tends to involve, as a universal phenomenon. Not that life doesn’t have really wonderful things to it, and things that are worth searching and fighting for (love at the top of the list for me), but that there is a dreadful quality to embodied existence at the same time. And then it came to me that the “other world”, the world of spirits and visions, of gods and demons, is what has made life worthwhile so many times in the past, what balanced out the picture at its loneliest moments. We naturally need both worlds – and with both maybe people wouldn’t suffer as much. And that can relate to Halloween as a time (among others) when the two worlds are meant to be more commonly accessible to each other. And it also relates to the help we get as witches, warlocks, magicians, Satanists or just dreamers; in our relation with the extended spiritual ecology.
Of course I have many things to be happy and thankful for, so the melancholy was not really a personal thing, but I think it is a universal quality, if intimately felt, a bit like the Buddhist “vision of sorrow” which I have always felt a respect for, though I approach it differently.
When we got up Phil lighted a candle in an urn shaped brazier which our friends had given us, as a spiritual invitation to friends and family that wanted to join us. I had thought of things that I might do while lighting a black candle, such as affirming my repudiation of religion, but consciously visualizing it was actually enough right now. Then we watched a good ghost/mystery movie and ate pop corn.
Welcome to the next season.