Undoubtedly you are familiar with the elements of the Satanic Ritual, and I may have said on more than one occasion explained that I find them therapeutic, not supernatural, so I’ll refrain from saying so again, but it doesn’t mean that the elements that I choose to perform my ritual aren’t chosen with precision and care. The tools I use are selected for an exact purpose, and if something isn’t right with one of them it drives a wedge into the process and for me at least: will impair me in trying to achieve my goal. Ritual props are important. Let’s talk about Ritual props and just how important they are, and I’ll tell you about why I decided to make my own Book of Brimstone from scratch with these two hands of my own.
If you check out any of the historical photos of Anton LaVey’s Satanic parties you’ll see something very prominent: theatrics. You’ll see dramatic capes, deep colors, dark candles, stoic expressions, and of course—beautiful women, everything a great movie about the occult needs. I feel like I walk a thin line as a Satanist with regards to the ritual element of our practice. On one hand I treat it like therapy, as something that doesn’t have any real, traceable effects on the outside world. On the other hand, I recognize that I don’t know everything about the world, and the “To Be” could be more than an emotional objective for some Satanists. Regardless of your belief about rituals though, you probably do agree that they don’t really work unless you can enter that subjective state, a state that requires that you embrace your emotions and temporarily set aside the logical mind. We use cues and props to drop ourselves into our psychodrama that include: the ringing of a bell, a sword to indicate the cardinal directions and of course the infamous Satanic Bible from which to read invocations and enocchian keys.
The Satanic Bible is an Awful Prop, Okay?
Here’s my problem, though: the Satanic Bible is actually a piss-poor ritual prop. There. There, I said it. May as well put it up on a billboard somewhere. Aesthetically, it’s atrocious. Now, there are indeed versions available in hard cover, but I’m not interested in buying one because my money is better spent elsewhere. I’m an extremely visual person and I’m incredibly creative. When I hold that $8 paperback in my hands I feel like it’s not worth my ritual. My rituals are of a higher caliber than toothy pages with smudging ink and a font that looks like it was typed on a typewriter. A typewriter is not going to discharge my mind from the logical world. Thinking about machines is not going to release my satanic subconsciousness. It’s just not enough. So, what do I do if I refuse to buy someone else’s improved product and also despise using that which I have? The answer is simple: I make my own.
The first time I heard of a “Book of Brimstone” was in Satanists Amino (Amino is a social media platform for bloggers that includes chat rooms and a few other things. SA is not endorsed by any organization and you can think of it like a forum community), and at that forehead slapping moment I realized that yup, this was going to be my solution. Just like with other things, individual practitioners have looked to other creations of mankind and incorporated it into their inspiration for a solution that works for them. What does this mean? In Wicca you have something called a “Book of Shadows,” where a witch will write down their favorite spells, lunar phases, notes about the deities they attempt to work with, and so on. It has a fancy name, but it’s more or less a dedicated field journal: that’s what a Book of Brimstone is. It’s a field journal used by Satanists (unofficially, this is all personal preferences and prop making here!) where they can keep anything they want within it that relate to their practice. A Satanist may include something like: a poem that evokes a passionate reaction within them, almanac information about the weather, information or dates that they find significant for whatever reason they deem, lists of recommended song tracks for ritual, or any other such thing that they want.
How to Do It RIGHT!
If you’re like me and in a similar place as where I find myself, you’re undoubtedly reading this with the same forehead slapping ‘DUH’ that I experienced, and your next step is thinking, “So how do I make one of these things? Is it really just a journal?” My answer to you is this: everything in this world is what you make of it. I did a little bit of research for some ideas and inspiration and I found what I was looking for. What you decide to put in a Book of Brimstone is entirely up to you; it’s nothing more than a prop to help you enter that subjective state during ritual or if you don’t want to use it for ritual, you can use it just like a field guide. Want to write down your favorite pages of the Satanic Bible for quick reference? Put it in there. Want to jot down the 11 Satanic Rules of Earth, 9 Satanic Sins, 9 Satanic Statements, and Satanic Assertions in one place? Toss it in… Feel like documenting a process that you are undergoing to make the most out of your life? Go ahead, stranger. Whatever you want. This is a prop for you, so make it your own.
It was apparent to me that the number one issue I have with the Satanic Bible during ritual revolves around its aesthetic. I knew that the journal that I chose for this prop was going to have to fit a certain requirement… I personally wanted something significant enough in size that it’s comfortable to hold, something that makes a statement in itself. Within it I decided that I would write my own invocations in calligraphy (some sort of blackletter script), but I would first have to learn how to do that—and so from scratch I began, and I am now a proud self-taught calligrapher (Just a few months into my studies, but I’m satisfied with the product thus far). I know that I’m going to want the BOB to be organized in a logical fashion: no Book of Fire or Book of Air to skip before I get to my ritual process, and I want to make sure that the notes I make for myself about what to say in what situation is logically laid out as well. My next step is to plan out my layouts, and once I’m done I can begin to bring my prop to fruition.
Don't Mess This Up
This project has been a greater undertaking than I originally anticipated. I knew that I wanted there to be calligraphy in it, and I knew that the calligraphy wasn’t going to be the easiest thing to do, but I suppose I underestimated just how particular I am when it comes to organization of data (such as layouts and the table of contents). That aside though, I’m really glad I started and tried to do this. I learned that I really enjoy calligraphy and it’s actually a good stress relief for me because it forces me out of that rut that worrying can put you into, and it gives me something beautiful to see when I’m done creating it. Unlike with video games, I can see my skills grow, and I can see the product realized before me. I can SEE the progress! That’s important to me.
I haven’t even brushed on the concept that by putting my own sweat and tears into this, I will have an emotional connection with the prop that I wouldn’t have had if I had run on down to Barnes and Noble to pick something up off the shelf which is mass-produced. It will become a much more intimate and more arcane-feeling tool to me, and it’ll help me slip into that headspace that I’m shooting for when I’m conducting my rituals. I think that in itself is a win, and it’s one that I hadn’t considered before (I’d only considered the purpose of the prop, not the implied emotion around it).
I’ll share some photos with you once I have more of it completed. I’ve already run into a few problems that I was able to solve—such as, for example: the ink from my quill ‘ghosts’ onto the backside of the page. I didn’t want to see blemishes, nor did I only want to write on one side of the page, so I decided to glue the pages together. Now I have thicker pages, and it feels more authentic this way since paper used to be pressed and a bit stiffer. Anyway, yes, this is quite the experience and much like other things, I recommend that you give it a shot for yourself. It’s a fun way to exercise your creativity in a way that celebrates you, and it feels nice to do a physical craft every once in a while (remember those paintings you’d make in school that your folks would oogle over and, much to your chagrin, hang on the wall for one too many years to come?). I’ll keep you posted! In the meanwhile, why not share with me what ideas you have for your own BOB? I’d love to hear them!
Who is the Witch?
I'm just another successful Satanist who happens to be kinda good at the whole Lesser Magic thing. This blog is about my personal experiences and perspective in Satanism and does not speak for others nor their experiences. For more information please click here and learn more.