Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford of The Baptist's Head and Open Enlightenment were kind enough to answer several questions I put to them.Did you formulate the Core Practice techniques immediately after attaining the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel [K&C], or did it follow your successful crossing of the Abyss? ALAN: I attained the K&C using a free-form ritual technique, but I came to develop a simpler method based on Father Thomas Keating's centred prayer as I persisted in invoking the HGA through the years.The bare-bones Core Practice described in Alan's essay bears a strong resemblance to vipassana meditation, and Duncan has mentioned a long-standing interest in Buddhism. In your work, each of you pay homage to Daniel Ingram and his fantastic work. At what point did you pick up the links between wisdom traditions and decide to adopt vipassana into your regular practice? Read More
The Satanic Scriptures, by Peter H. Gilmore
Scapegoat Publishing, 0976403595, 302 pp., 2007
To the Satanist, Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshipped, rather it is a name for the reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will.
When Anton LaVey’s died in 1997 his wife, Blanche Bardon, assumed his place as the head of the Church of Satan. In 2001 Bardon ceded her position as High Priestess, and promoted Peter Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia to High Priest and High Priestess respectively; positions they still retain today.
The Satanic Scriptures comprises of a collection of essays written between 1987-2006, many of which were previously published in The Black Flame, the magazine founded by Gilmore and Nadramia which served as the official magazine for the Church of Satan. Unfortunately, apart from the odd reference to current events, there’s no clear indication when individual essays were written, a shame as it would have helped provide context for some of the opinions voiced.
The essays focus heavily on Satanic thought, practice and guiding principles as directed by LaVey and the Church of Satan. A student of music, Gilmore presents the reader with an overview of his favourite “Satanic” composers and brief guide to their works.
One of my favourite essays in the book discusses the misguided enthusiasm of some newcomers to Satanism who don’t quite “get” it, yet desire to “prove” themselves great and powerful to the world. Gilmore writes: “Satanism’s championing of self-empowerment is used against Satanism itself when over-zealous amateurs decide they have a mission to represent Satanism.” Indeed, this tends to result in bizarre high school groups, or the proliferation of the absurd and hastily created websites which littered the Internet in the late 90s (a practice which continues today, I’m afraid to say). Needless to say, it doesn’t reflect well on the novice Satanist, or the Church of Satan.
As Gilmore comically notes “As far as I can tell, the rest of the world’s religions and philosophies don’t have this problem, and this is generally because they preach submission. When someone reads The Holy Bible, he doesn’t immediately go out, make a website-Vatican emblazoned with the Papal Seal, claim he is a Cardinal or Pope, and ordain correspondents as Priests, Bishops and Arch-Bishops”2. The man certainly has a point.
The last section deals with ritual, after a brief note on the subject, and a dedication rite, three larger rituals are detailed: a Satanic wedding, a Satanic funeral using Anton LaVey as the example, and a Norse-inspired ritual called the Rite of Ragnarok. Following is a brief biographical essay on Gilmore written by his wife, Peggy Nadramia.