Perspective

It’s all too easy to chastise oneself for not making enough blocks of time to devote to writing when writing is your passion.

Aside from work and a fulfilling family life, I find myself heavily involved in social media lately. While I dislike the way that social media has forced its way in to our daily lives the way that it has, the amount of time I’ve spent communicating with others in settings like Reddit and Facebook has given me some perspective.  I would be disingenuous if I continued to chastise myself given the large amount of writing I do explaining Satanic philosophy or occult concepts on Reddit or discussing politics on Facebook. The truth is that I’ve been writing quite a bit and not giving myself any credit for it.

The Church of Satan published a short essay I wrote for Religious Freedom Day back on the 16th of January.

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One of my current writing projects is an occult book that I am tentatively calling Liber QQQ as a working title.  This book is probably years away from publication, because I’m writing it in a different manner than any occult book I’ve seen to date.  This is intended to be a scholarly piece, using APA citations throughout as well as The Scientific Method and a magical journal in the format proposed by Phil Hine in Condensed Chaos [Hine, 1995]:

  1. What was done
  2. Duration
  3. Where it was done
  4. Any pertinent weather, moon phase, or astrological conjunctions (if deemed relevant)
  5. How you felt it went
  6. Any ideas arising from it
  7. Any other comments

The intent of this book is to cover a history of eastern and western esotericism, how those histories have evolved over the years in to the secret societies of today (e.g. O.T.O., IOT, A∴A∴), and give the reader a foundation to stand on to begin understanding magic and its application to our subjective and objective universe(s).

Below is a small unedited section concerning definitions of magic as well as the right-hand path and left-hand path.  I will include citations and a bibliography for this section:


Anton Szandor LaVey defines magic as, “The change in situations or events in accordance with one’s will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangeable.” [LaVey, 1969] Phil Hine goes on to say that, “Magic is a set of techniques for rousing a neurological storm in the brain which brings about microscopic fluctuations in the Universe, which lead to macroscopic changes – in accordance with the magician’s intent.” Hine goes on to explain that magic power is, “the ability to achieve intended effect within the constraints of a given situation.” [Hine, 1995]  Dr. Stephen Flowers defines magic as, “A methodology by which the configuration of the subjective or objective universe is altered through an act of will originating within the psyche, or the core of the individual subjective universe.” [Flowers, 2012] Aleister Crowley has stated, and Peter Carroll agrees in Liber MMM that, “Magic(k) is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” [Carroll, 1987] Dr. Flowers goes on to explain that a more scholarly definition of magic would be that magic, “is the willed application of symbolic methods to cause or prevent changes in the universe by means of symbolic acts of communication with paranormal factors. These factors could be inside or outside the subjective universe of the operator. Magic is a way to make things happen that ordinarily would not happen.” [Flowers, 2012]

“The right-hand path is the path of union with universal reality (God or Nature). When this union is completed the individual self will be annihilated; the individual will become one with the divine or natural cosmic order. In this state the ego is destroyed as “heaven” is entered or nirvana-like existence/nonexistence is “attained.” This is clearly the goal of all orthodox Judaic, Christian, Islamic, or Buddhistic sects.” [Flowers, 2012]

“The left-hand path considers the position of humanity as it is; it takes into account the manifest and deep-seated desire of each human being to be a free, empowered, independent actor within his or her world. The pleasure and pain made possible by independent existence are seen as something to be embraced and as the most reasonable signs of the highest, most noble destiny possible for humans to attain—a kind of independent existence on a level usually thought of as divine.” [Flowers, 2012]

“Essentially, the left-hand path is the path of nonunion with the objective universe. It is the way of isolating consciousness within the subjective universe and, in a state of self-imposed psychic solitude, refining the soul or psyche to ever more perfect levels. The objective universe is then made to harmonize itself with the will of the individual psyche instead of the other way around. Where the right-hand path is the theocentric (or certainly alleocentric: “other-centered”), the left-hand path is psychecentric, or soul/self-centered. Those within the left-hand path may argue over the nature of this self/ego/soul, but the idea that the individual is the epicenter of the path itself seems undisputed. An eternal separation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality of the independent self-conciousness moving within the objective universe and interacting with it at will.” [Flowers, 2012]

What all of this means is that the right-hand path seeks to harmonize itself with God or the universe whereas the left-hand path seeks to harmonize the universe with its will.

References:

Carroll, P.J. (1987) Liber Null & Psychonaut. San Francisco, CA: Weiser Books.

Flowers, S. (2012) Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices & Spiritual Heresies. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Hine, P. (1995) Condensed Chaos. Tempe, AZ: The Original Falcon Press.

LaVey, A.S. (1969) The Satanic Bible. New York, NY: Avon Books.

Baroque art of Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

I’ve been particularly busy lately with world events, but I’m finding the time tonight to put together a little artwork from Salvator Rosa, an Italian Baroque painter, poet, and printmaker.

There will be more interviews to come, but for now I’m pleased to announce that I am now a moderator of the /r/Satanism community on Reddit and more importantly that The Maestro himself, Magus Peter H. Gilmore, has given me his infernal blessing to act in the capacity as an Agent for the Church of Satan.

HS!


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Salvator Rosa’s Self Portrait

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The Temptation of St. Anthony (1645)

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The Witches Sabbath (1645)

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Witches At Their Incantations (1645)

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Glauccus and Sylla (1661)

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Jason and the Dragon (1665)

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The Shade of Samuel Appears to Saul (1668)

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Scene with the Witches 1: Evening (1645-1649)

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Scene with the Witches 2: Night (1645-1649)

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Scene with the Witches 3: Morning (1645-1649)

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Scene with the Witches 5: Day (1645-1649)

Infernal Interview with Hydra M. Star

I sat down for an interview with Witch Hydra M. Star from the Church of Satan.

Apart from being a member of the admin team for the unofficial CoS Facebook group, Hydra is involved in a number of writing projects and has a pyrography business called The Burning Witch.

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Quill:  So I know you’re working on The Burning Witch and Infernal Ink Magazine, along with “Candy, Blood, and Sex” which is also out right now. Is there anything else you’re currently working on? Infernal Ink magazine has been going for five years now, hasn’t it?

Hydra:  It is in its fifth year of publication. We started back in April of 2012. So, just passed the four year mark.

H:  Beside the magazine, I have several other personally writing projects in various stages of completion. One of them, “Great-Grandmother’s Necklace”, will be released before this interview goes live. I’m also contributing to as least one anthology, Fucked Up Fairy Tales, which will be out later this year and in the early stages of putting together another for next year.

H:  But the magazine is my main, on going project.

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Q:  And it’s gotten to the point now that people are submitting material faster than you can fill the pages of a magazine, so you can be more choosy with material to fill its pages?

H:  Yeah, it’s been that way for awhile, actually. We’ve been very lucky, in that regard. Originally, we were only going to publish twice a year, in April and October, but after the first year the response was so strong from would be contributors that we expanded that to four times a year, January, April, July, and October. Even still, I’m usually a year out with submission. For example, I’m currently reading for April 2017 and the issue is about half filled.

H:  Early on, we took both erotic and non-erotic horror and dark fiction, but erotic horror was what we were really interested in. We now only take erotic horror and erotic dark fiction and have added a subtitle to the magazine to reflect this; Infernal Ink Magazine: Devilishly Erotic Horror. So, yeah, we’re quite choosy now.

Q:  How did you find your way to erotic horror, of all possible avenues you could have gone down for writing?  What draws you to that?

H:  When I first got involved with the online horror writing community–and it didn’t take long for me to disengage to a large degree from the “community”–one of the first exchanges I had was with a gentleman, who will go unnamed, that had a HUGE problem with the use of sex and erotica in the genre. It kind of confused me, because this was like ten years ago, before Kindle and e-books were really a thing and indie authors were all either blogging or going through print on demand services to get their stuff out to readers. Some small presses were putting out non-mainstream stuff, but even most of that was pretty “safe” by most people’s standards. So, I really hadn’t been exposed to very much erotic horror. I don’t even know if it was a proper genre back then–probably not–but I took note of how offended this person was by it, even though I just hadn’t seen it or at least not every much of it. I then noticed a lot of the submission guidelines I was reading stated things like “no graphic sex” or “tastefully written sexual content only”. This really got me wanting to read the stuff that was making these rules something publishers felt they needed to state and had this other guy so upset. Around this time, through Myspace, I met and became friends with a couple of authors who wrote in the genre and used a lot of erotic elements in their work. From there, I started writing a column for an erotic horror magazine called Horroica, which was started by one friend and then taken over by another, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Q:  There is erotica out there for people no matter what their kink is.  I’ve heard about someone that makes over $50,000 a year writing Bigfoot erotica. I would have never thought that there was an actual niche for that kind of kink until I had read about someone raking in the cash for it.  Do you think you wrote your first erotic horror piece around 2012, or were you writing in that area before then?

H:  Most of my work in the erotic horror genre has been in editing and publishing. I’m not really sure when I wrote my first erotic horror story. The column I did from late 2010 until the end of 2012 was non-fiction. I wrote a lot of poetry and “traditional” horror and speculative fiction. I’d have to say my novella CANDY, BLOOD, AND SEX is my first really serious contribution to the genre, in the form of my own writing.

Q:  When I write a large piece like a novella or a novel I use Scrivener and Scapple as software for writing because I look at it all as a non-linear process.  How did you construct your novella, as your first serious entry into a genre that you’re championing with Infernal Ink magazine

H:  I use very basic writing software. Usually something like Open Office. I sort out the plot and everything in my head or create an outline for longer pieces and then follow that when writing.

Q:  You aren’t using any kind of mind mapping or mind node software to sort of plan out where all of your story arcs are going ahead of time?  That’s what I use Scapple for, not that I’ve used it for the short stories about Darius Tupper that I’ve posted on Corna & Quill lately.  Those shorts I write about Tupper are just too short to require much planning.  Have you had any aspirations for writing a longer piece than your current novella?

H:  I don’t like using that type of software. I prefer to just let things flow and then go back and fix, flesh out, or add in whatever is needed.

I have a series of books, THE CHRONICLES OF THE INFERNAL EMPIRE, that I’ve been working on and at times suspect I may never finish that are much longer than the novella…MUCH LONGER.

Q:  So when you write, it’s entirely linear – you pound out the beginning, the middle, and the end (in that order), and then you go back and edit?

H:  Pretty much. Sometimes I’ll get the inspiration to write a certain scene that comes later and I’ll write it and save it in a different file to add in when I get to that part, but mostly I just sit down and start at the beginning. I do, as I said, outline many of the stories, before starting the real writing. So, I have some idea of where it’s all going.

Q:  How far have you come along on The Chronicles of the Infernal Empire?  Are you going to publish it if/when you finish it?

H:  Not very far, at all. I have a lot of the series outlined and several bits of it written. The first book, which will be a collection of four stories that take place in Heaven prior to the Infernal Gods being…well, Infernal, is further along than anything, but work on it has been put on hold for some time now. Basically, I keep taking on other projects and THE CHRONICLES OF THE INFERNAL EMPIRE is such a massive project that finishing it will probably take YEARS. It will eventually be published though, before I die.

Q:  I can certainly understand how life and the things we pursue get in the way of making time to write, to storyboard, to worldbuild, and everything else. Do you see benefit in self-publishing as you did with your novella, or would you look to publishing companies for The Chronicles of the Infernal Empire?

H:  At this point, I see self-publishing and publishing through small press publishers as about equal. Many small presses now use print on demand services like Lulu or Createspace for their print books and platforms like Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing for digital. This means a couple of things. One, your book through these presses will almost certainly not be getting into brick and mortar book stores, the few of them that are left. Two, unless they have a name and reputation that sell books or they have same serious marketing skills, there isn’t much these small presses can do for an author that they can’t do for themselves.

H:  The only real plus side to going with a small press, at this point, is that they’ll handle the editing, formatting, and so forth. This though can be handled by the author. Freelance editors are easy to find and most of them offer services that are reasonably priced and often these editors are the same people who work for small presses. If money is tight, in some cases, if you’re well-connected enough and/or good at editing or formatting yourself, you can trade services….but I advise against trying to self-edit. You need to have at least one other set of eyes on anything you’re planning to publish.

H:  With all that said, at this point I don’t plan to look for a publishing company for THE CHRONICLES OF THE INFERNAL EMPIRE, though I may have started my own by then. It is an idea I’m toying with.

Q:  I fully agree about having other sets of eyes on what you’re writing, though I usually get them by tempting people I know with a juicy new bit of writing that they’ll be the first to see. Do you find the process simple enough to self-publish through, say, Amazon?  Have you been making any decent money off of your novella?

H:  Oh yeah, I use the “read it before anyone else” trick to get proof/beta readers. Even after things have been edited it’s still a good idea to have one or two people give it a final read. Editors miss stuff, even the ones that work for the big companies. So, I employ that little bit of lesser magic towards that goal.

H:  Yes, the process of publishing through Amazon and Lulu, who I use for print, is very easy. You need to understand basic document file and image formatting, but the actual publishing process is very easy. The money sucks. Anyone that’s in publishing for the money has a long hard road ahead of them. I make back what I put out and enough on top of that to keep me going, but it’s not a windfall. Not by a long shot.

Q:  Not yet, anyway.  Speaking of sales and promotions, how has Infernal Ink Magazine grown lately?

H:  The magazine is doing great, by indie standards. July was probably our best month to date, sales wise.

H:  As I mentioned before, submission numbers are quite high, as well. I’m actually very behind in reading submissions, at the moment, but hope to catch up soon.

Q:  So.  Pyrography.  The Burning Witch.  How did you get started on that?

H:  I was first introduced to wood-burning as an art form through a middle school art class. It was a short lived experience with it, because a boy in the class was burnt badly by the burning tool and it was taken away from us, but years later when I was in my early twenties and pregnant with my daughter, no less, I was looking to create a Sigil of Baphomet altar piece. I’d tried painting a couple of them, but I suck at painting. Then one day I came across a wood-burning tool while shopping in one of those big box craft supply stores and remembered liking it. I purchased the tool and some wood and was off and running.

H:  That original Sigil of Baphomet piece is something I still own. It can actually be seen in the display picture for my cat’s Facebook page. Just look for Cyrus the Orange on Facebook, if you want to see it.

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Q:  I know exactly which picture you mean.  I love that picture of Cyrus the Orange!  How long do you think it took you to do that one Sigil of Baphomet?

H:  I want to say that took me a week or week and a half, but I wasn’t doing much else at that time. The burning is also pretty light. Today, with other work and heavier/crisper burning, it takes about twice that time frame for me to get one, that same size, completed and out the door.

Q:  I would have thought that the amount of time would have gone down as you honed your skills, but it makes sense that with deeper, heavier, and crisper burns that it would take more time. Are you still using that same tool you picked up at the crafts store, or have you expanded the tools you have available to you?

H:  Oh, the tools burn out and die pretty quickly. I go through at least one a year. So, no. That original one is long since died. In some ways, the time frame has shortened, but I now usually have five or so projects going at one time. So, my time is divided now. I’m no longer a pregnant woman with little else to do.

Q:  Is it just one tool that’s used, or a variety of them?

H:  It’s just the one.

Q:  And are you drawing everything free-hand, or do you use some kind of a stencil system?

H:  A bit of both, depending on the piece. I have stencils for all the items listed in the shop. This is so they are uniform, but for custom pieces I draw out a lot of the design by hand or tweak existing stencils. It really depends on what the customer wants. A lot of customers will come to me with art or an example of a sigil or something similar that they want and I’ll use that to make a stencil. So, it really just depends.

Q:  You trace what you’re going to burn in pencil using the stencil as a guide, then fire up the burninator?  I still don’t think I could do it. Hell, even my handwriting is terrible.

H:  Again, it depends on the piece and the stencil I’m using. Some of them are more or less just print outs I burn directly through, because that’s faster. Either way, it requires a very steady hand.

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Hydra’s work space for The Burning Witch with Cyrus the Orange

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A custom ouija board made by Hydra

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More wood burning examples made by Hydra

Q:  Are there any other big things coming down the line that you want to talk about? New projects or anything like that?

H:  Nothing big in the works with the pyrography. At the moment I’m still waiting to hear if a piece I did has made it into the Devil’s Reign art show. If the piece makes it in that will be my first art show, but other than that it’s just business as usual with the shop, at the moment.

H:  Alder Strauss and I are currently taking submissions for a cannibalism themed anthology we’ll be publishing in 2017, BON APPETIT: STORIES & RECIPES FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. We’ve very excited about that and the guidelines for it can be found on my website.

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H:  Other than that, I’ll be continuing with Infernal Ink Magazine for the rest of the foreseeable future. As mentioned, I’ll be making an appearance in the FUCKED UP FAIRY TALES anthologies in September and possibly releasing some other shorter pieces here and there.

H:  I’m also in discussions with a couple of authors to get some books out, possibly as part of the Infernal Ink publishing brand, but none of that is set in stone just yet.

Q:  That’s awesome, I hope your work gets picked up for The Devil’s Reign.  What sorts of considerations does one have to make when working toward creating a publishing brand like you may be doing with Infernal Ink?

H:  That’s what I’m currently sorting out.

Q:  All right. Well, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule with all of your projects to do this interview! I hope to see you again at our next conclave.

H:  It was an absolute pleasure. I have no doubt we’ll meet up again, one day.

Q:  I’m looking forward to it.

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Cyrus the Orange – The very finest in quality control evaluators

Dante’s Inferno – Nine Circles of Hell

This is just for a bit of fun fiction since I haven’t posted an update in a while and I’m working on a writing project and trying to find a window of time to finish an interview with Hydra M. Star. In the meantime, you can catch Hydra’s interview on the Demented1 YouTube channel.


Here are the Nine Circles of Hell, as defined in Dante’s Inferno:

1 - Limbo

1st Circle – Limbo

The souls of the unbaptized and pagans wander the caves of Limbo, including Virgil, Homer, Horace, Ovid, Socrates, and Saladin.  It is said that they are struck with grief from a lack of God’s presence here.

3 - Gluttony

2nd Circle – Lust

Violent, spiraling storm winds ravage the lost souls here endlessly.  Francesca da Rimini and her lover Paolo are here.

2- Lust

3rd Circle – Gluttony

The souls of gluttons are made to lie in disgusting, freezing slush.  This circle is guarded by Cerberus, and contains Ciacco of Florence.

4- Greed

4th Circle – Greed

The miserly and spendthrift, including many clergymen, are made to push heavy weights together, jousting with them.  Plutus guards this circle.

5 - Anger

5th Circle – Wrath

In this swampy, foul-smelling circle, the wrathful fight one another on the surface of the river Styx while the sullen drown beneath it.  Fillippo Argenti is one of this circle’s inhabitants.

6 - Heresy

6th Circle – Heresy

In this circle, heretics are trapped within flaming tombs for all eternity.  Notable inhabitants of this circle include Epicurus, Florentines Farinata degli Uberti, and Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti.

7 - Violence

7th Circle – Violence

Murderers, vandals, blasphemers, sodomites and more find a home here.  The circle of violence is sub-divided into three rings.  The first ring is for those that commit these acts against neighbors, and is intended for murderers, war-makers, plunderers, and tyrants. The second ring is for those that commit these acts against themselves, which includes those who commit suicide.  The third and final ring is for those that commit these acts against God, art, and nature.  The blasphemers, sodomites, and usurers find themselves within the third ring.

8 - Fraud

8th Circle – Fraud – “Malebolge”

This circle of hell contains the souls of panderers, seducers, flatterers, sorcerers, pimps, false prophets, and more.  This circle is shaped into a giant stone funnel that resembles an amphitheater, with each concentric rung being another of ten trenches.  Sinners from these various groups are subdivided into the trenches where they can enjoy the stench, the darkness, the disease, the filth, and the thirst together as they scratch and scrape one another to avoid the whipping chains.  Ulysses and Diomedes are notable inhabitants of the 8th circle.  Giants guard the entrance to the 9th circle, at the bottom of the funnel.

9 - Treachery

9th Circle – Treachery – “Cocytus

Dante explains that the ninth circle of hell is not a fiery abyss as one might imagine, but a frozen desolation.  Betrayers of special relationships such as Satan, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius are in the 9th circle of hell.  This lake of ice is divided into four sub-sections, called rounds, to further divide sinners by their specific type of betrayal.  The first round is for those that are traitors to their kindred.  The second round is for those that are traitors to their country.  The third round is for those that are traitors to their guests.  The fourth and final round is for those that are traitors to their lords and benefactors.  Finally, at the center of the frozen lake, there is Satan (pictured).

There is decent additional reading on Wikipedia about Dante’s Inferno.

Infernal Interview with Druciferi Excelsi

I sat down for an interview with Satanist 1° Druciferi Excelsi from the Church of Satan.

Among other projects he has worked on, he designed the logo for the Metal Invaders podcast on Radio Free Satan.

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Quill:
Would you prefer I refer to your real name in the interview or your Druciferi Excelsi pseudonym? Or maybe something else entirely?

Druciferi Excelsi: For my own security, I would prefer to use a pseudonym. You can use this one, Druciferi Excelsi. I’ll probably be talking about my other name (Mister 47) at some point anyway, because I use that name to produce art.

Q: Okay.  Druciferi Excelsi it is, then.  Is the art you produce as Mister 47 different than what you’re doing under your other pseudonym?

DE: The use of the pseudonym does pertain to what type of art I create. Clients, particularly those who work for bigger publications, tend to pigeon hole artists. So if they see me produce a darker piece, but they want kittens shitting rainbows, they might go to someone else. So I use different names for different types of work. I produce stuff more closely aligned with my own personal vision as Mister 47. When I need to produce something for another purpose, I’ll use another name, be it my real name or something else. Much like Satan, I’m a man with many names. 😉

Q: I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I can absolutely see someone getting sort of typecast in the art they do or maybe not getting a particular commission they wanted if the customer doesn’t appreciate another side to their artwork.  So it’s safe to say that your pseudonyms don’t cross over?

DE: Most don’t. That is correct. This pseudonym, Druciferi Excelsi, is the one I use to discuss Satanism with the masses, so I may allow works to blend with this name and Mister47, because they are serving a similar purpose, but in the outside world where I have to move as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, none of those pseudonyms will ever be representative of what I do as Druciferi Excelsi/Mister 47. And that is entirely to avoid pigeon holing or accidentally outing myself.

Q:  Totally understandable.  So your Satanic works fall under Druciferi Excelsi.  Is there special meaning to you for selecting that particular pseudonym or did you just like the aesthetic of it?

DE:  I had run into a situation where a previous pseudonym was being used by someone else, and it was causing confusion. I needed to change and evolve, ever forward. Many years ago, a friend dubbed me “Drucifer” which is a play on my real name and Lucifer. And there’s that line often used in Satanic ritual “In nomine de nostri Satanas, Luciferi excelsi”. So I blended “Drucifer” with “Luciferi excelsi” and came up with Druciferi Excelsi. It seemed right, taking something I always was, integrating it with something I became, and making it new.

Q:  Now that you mention the play on your real name, I don’t know how I missed that before.  So tell me about the Satanic aesthetic of the art that you’re creating.  Do you have any art that you’d like me to feature along with this interview?  If so, I’ll post as much or as little as you like.

DE: I can share some things to include in the article later. Right now I am working on a project for another member, but I can’t say anything about it yet. I actually have quite a few projects lined up since Conclave. But I can tell you about other things I do. Right now the most popular of my personal projects is My Little Baphy. It started as a prototype in college, but I developed it further. It started out as a juxtaposition of something inherently perceived as cute, and something inherently perceived as “evil”. I make these super cute looking goat characters, and grant them one of the Infernal Names. Right now I have Baphy and Mephi. Before it is finished, there will be a series of nine. We both understand the significance of the number nine.

DE:  My passion is comics. Comics are what made me want to be an artist. I have a couple comic projects on the back burner for right now, but I definitely want to move them forward as soon as possible. One is a web series I’d done in the past called “Pandora’s Soap Box” which utilizes a clown caricature of myself making social commentary and observations. Another I am still kicking around is called “JC and Stan: The college years” and it in many ways draws from, and even parodies, Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. I like humor, so I like to draw it from wherever I can.

DE:  No pun intended on that “draw” line. :p

Q:  I’ve definitely seen you post Baphy and Mephi on social media.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the other seven come out.  Let’s talk about those for a moment; what are you using to create them?  What is your process?

DE:  That is a great question! I buy blank vinyl bases from a vendor, it’s a very simple cartoon style bovine body, and I build over it with Sculpee and wire. I like the vinyl because it’s very heat resistant and Sculpee bakes at a low temperature in comparison to, say, potter’s clay. After I build and bake them, I paint them to look how I’ve chosen each to look, then I treat them with a layer of triple thick semi-gloss to serve as a protective layer and also give it a nice sheen.

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DE:  What also makes the bases fun is the heads move and are removable. So if you wanted you could give Mephi Baphy’s head, etc.

Q:  I didn’t realize that was Sculpee with a gloss over it.  The glossed look reminded me of ceramic classes I had taken during school, so I thought you were painting over a ceramic body that you fired in a kiln.  How do you decide on a paint style for each Baphy?  Have you thought of any other names for your My Little Baphy line?

DE:  I go through a concept phase for each one. Baphy was the first, and obviously modeled after Baphomet. His design is also the simplest. With each subsequent installation I try to give that character unique features that also challenge my skills as an artist. My formal training is in illustration, sculpture is something I picked up on my own. As for the names, I have four so far. Baphy, Mephi (Mephistopheles), Beli (Belial), and Luci (Lucifer). I haven’t settled on the other five yet.

Q:  Do you go through your concept phase with the full vinyl, Sculpee, wire, gloss, and baking process or are you sketching it out and using markers or paints or something like that?

DE:  I draw them first. If I need to, I’ll do a color study first with markers and drawings. With Baphy and Mephi, the colors were off the cuff. With Prince’s recent passing, I’d like to add that the purple I use for Mephi is Purple Rain.

Q:  I love that you went with purple for Prince.  That’s an awesome tribute to an amazingly talented artist, and on something that’s a personal project to yourself.  Do you have plans to create duplicate Baphys and sell them at all, or are you going to tuck them away in a safe place in your lair?

DE:  They are for sale. I make them to order, due to the price of the bases. Right now a single toy is $60, and a pair is $100. There is more information about that on my Facebook page The Art of Mister 47. I’m still building an online store, and rebuilding my website, with my own domain name. It’s slow moving as I have paid commissions to finish, and when people pay they have my utmost priority. Though I do also keep one of each for myself.

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Prominent placement.

Q:  Start to finish, how long would you say it takes for you to create a single Baphy if you already have all of the construction materials readily at hand? How did you source a vendor for the vinyl base?  The supplier to artist relationship has always fascinated me, since my own art has been as simple as putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard.

DE:  The project started as a concept in college, we were provided a miniature version of the bases I use now. So when I moved on, I kept buying them from that vendor. I’m trying to contact someone beyond customer service at their business to negotiate buying power and reduce my cost, since I could easily buy volume on these if the price is right. As far as process goes, so long as I’m not waiting on supplies, it probably takes about 3 hours to build one, and about 6-8 hours to paint and gloss one. Due to my busy schedule, and sometimes needing to order supplies, I do ask for 3-6 weeks turnaround time on orders from placing to receiving the items.

Q:  Nine to eleven hours to produce a single Baphy, wow.  So this company is one that you’ve gone through for a long time out of a long term working relationship.  Let’s hope a little lesser magic will go a long way in securing you some better prices on your supplies.  You mentioned your passion for comic books earlier.  I’ve always been a big comic fan myself, the Punisher being my all-time favorite comic book character.  How have comics or comic book culture influenced your art other than getting you started down that path?

DE:  I’ve been heavily influenced by artists like Jhonen Vasquez, Todd McFarland, and Frank Miller. Spawn is what motivated me to be an artist, the stylized drawing I do for Pandora’s Soap Box and kooky 4th wall antics are drawn from Vasquez, and I’ve worked on some noir style stuff in the past inspired by Miller’s use of super contrasting blacks and whites. I’m also a Punisher fan, but I’m Team Bats 100%. I favor the anti-hero. But I really like Batman because he doesn’t like to kill. I find leaving an enemy broken and battered far more favorable to killing them. It prolongs the suffering.

Q:  I always loved Jhonen Vasquez as well.  I don’t know how many times I went through JTHM and Squee when I was younger.  I have a lot of love for Batman as well, especially the intelligent side of Bruce Wayne and how he’s a great detective, but without killing his enemies and no matter how many times they go back to Arkham it always seems like they come back to haunt him again.  I can understand Frank Castle’s frustration with a justice system that is corrupt and owned by the very people he’s fighting against. One thing that really appeals to me about them both is that they aren’t “super” heroes, they’re just men with skills, with resources, and with a driving purpose. What can you tell us about Pandora’s Soap Box?

DE:  Pandora’s Soap Box is a web comic I created as, well, a soapbox. Lol. It started out as a bit piece with no real established characters. I would just draw shorts with one or two panels and a punchline. At some point, it became more of a ‘slice of life’ series in that many of the subjects of scrutiny were from my day to day experience, and I represented myself through a cartoon clown caricature, as well as a caricature of my “normal” self. Think Fight Club, but neither character is imaginary. The clown caricature is the more cynical, anti-social, blunt aspect of myself while the other character is more grounded in reason. I recently learned the admin of the hosting site where I housed Pandora passed, so my online archives are mostly gone. I have a few on my current machine, but most are on my Mac drive, and I need a new Mac. I’m planning on reviving it once I can work out hosting issues, and possibly printing an annual each year, collecting the episodes into a single print source.

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Drucifer’s split personas along with Darren Deicide

Q:  Do you feel that by splitting your personality into different characters in the web comic that it helped you to work out anything that was on your mind at the time?  I guess what I’m getting at is:  did you find the web comic to be therapeutic in any kind of ways that you wouldn’t have expected?

DE:  It was certainly therapeutic. It was/is an outlet for my social observations. It is called “Pandora’s Soap Box” after all, lol. That was my intent when I started the series initially. I was super frustrated with my projects at college, because they were all boring assignments and none comics related. So I started doing this as a side project on top of the tons of credit hours worth of stuff I was already doing to have a release from everything else. For me it was similar to how South Park is for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, a place to bash stupidity, pretentiousness, and other forms of annoyance.

Q:  People also tend to let a lot of things fly under the context of something being a comic or cartoon that they wouldn’t fly in the “real world”, in terms of political correctness.  South Park has certainly always been pushing boundaries as far as the dialogue of what can and should be considered free speech or even art in some cases.  Not that a Satanist necessarily concerns themselves with stepping on any toes, but can you think of any particular subjects you tackled on your web comic that may have ruffled some feathers?

DE:  Oh, absolutely. I was giving a presentation in one of my classes for some professional design stuff, business cards, post cards, giveaways, etc. And I was giving my presentation for the class. One of my proposed concepts did utilize a custom baph I designed. While I was giving my presentation, I was interrupted by a girl who said, “Because you like SATAN?” I let it slide during the presentation. But that night I went home and drew an episode of Pandora where my clown was doing that exact same thing, only when it got to that part of the conversation, instead of letting it slide, his retort was “Well, nobody ever faults you for being a bitch, so why don’t you shut the fuck up and let me finish my presentation?” and some of my classmates saw it. I got tons of hate mail on Facebook. It was great! 😀  I also did a little blasphemous piece that ruffled some feathers. I drew a single panel short when it was still in that phase of a pilot and Jesus in the cockpit of a plane. Jesus was freaking out because he can’t fly a plane and the pilot gave him a dirty look and said “You have got to be the worst co-pilot I’ve ever had”.

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Q:  I can’t get the image of Dana Carvey as SNL’s Church Lady out of my mind. “Could it be SATAN?” So let’s talk process. How does one create a web comic?  Getting a domain and hosting aside, what kind of software are you using?  Are you using a stylus as an input device rather than a mouse? Or are you storyboarding and drawing everything out by hand and then scanning it and posting it?

DE:  I work entirely digitally. I was working with Adobe programs on a Macbook for a while. But shortly after college, I was rooming with some assholes who destroyed it, with liquid damage (the one thing not covered by Apple Care) and never coughed up the $3,000 for me to replace it. Now I work on a Chromebook that I’ve hacked to run a Linux partition and I utilize similar open source programs: GIMP (Photoshop), Inkscape (Illustrator), and Scribus (InDesign). It works and gets the job done. But I miss the sophistication of Adobe programs. I use a stylus and tablet to draw it all digitally and then upload it to a host site.

Q:  Was learning those Adobe suites part of your college curriculum or did you teach yourself?  Are there any specific software features of the Adobe suite that you miss when you’re using the open source programs?  How does it limit you as you press forward with the Chromebook after your Macbook decided to have a drink?

DE:  I did learn them as part of my education, yes. I converted completely from traditional media to digital my junior year of college. As far as features I miss: LiveTrace. It’s a function in Illustrator where it will trace anything and convert it to vector images. I would do all my line work in Photoshop, then import it into Illustrator and LiveTrace it to give it a real clean look, then color it. I also miss the mixer brush of Photoshop. It would allow you to mix colors together, the same way an artist does with a paint palette. The Chromebook set up doesn’t really hinder me, these programs are great (and free!). They’re just not quite as refined/sophisticated as Adobe software. I’ve also learned a lot about ‘rooting’, the programming language used in Linux for installing/upgrading the software.

Q:  That Adobe quality does come at a high cost.  Sometimes I get a random inspiration to try to learn a new skill, and I thought I’d take up digital art since I used to do a lot of traditional art through honors classes in Middle and High School.  I rushed to the Internet to research Adobe Photoshop, and I remember seeing the license fees and thinking, “Ehhh, maybe I don’t need to learn this after all.”  I’ve never been the sort of person to download a torrent or pirate software or anything like that.  I can definitely see the appeal of going open source so long as it doesn’t cripple your ability to create the kinds of work that you want to create.  So you’re just using your mouse and keyboard when you’re working rather than drawing freehand with some kind of stylus input device?

DE:  Adobe licenses are expensive, unless you’re in college. I got the Adobe Premium Suite (one step down from the Master Suite) on a student discount for less than $400. I work with a stylus and tablet, so I still draw. I could never do it with a mouse/trackpad. That’s hell.

Q:  Do you have a link to the type of stylus and tablet you’re using?  In case any readers are interested in trying it out for themselves.

DE:  These used to be $30, now they go for $80.

Q:  They must be getting more popular.  You didn’t have any real issues getting it to work on your Linux partition?  Pretty much just plug-and-play?

DE:  Yep. Linux houses drivers for most tablets natively, I just plugged it in, adjust some settings in GIMP and I was off.

Q:  Linux sure has come a long way in the past ten years.  I remember trying to use Debian and Ubuntu a while back and having a hard time getting a lot of my peripherals to work.

DE:  Linux is definitely a great OS and much easier to use than it used to be. It’s funny you mention Ubuntu, because that’s the Linux system I run on my Chromebook.

Q:  I’m pretty sure Ubuntu is still the most popular flavor of Linux for home users these days.  Its availability and marketing through a lot of publications have really made it take off.  Druciferi, it has been really great talking to you about your work!  We can do this again any time you have something new you want to talk about or just want me to help promote something you’re working on.

DE:  Thank you, sir! It was a pleasure getting to sit down and speak with you about what it is I am doing! I’ll definitely be back anytime you’ll have me! HS!

Q:  HS!


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Drucifer’s rendition of Frank from Donnie Darko

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Drucifer’s take on Mad Moxxi from the Borderlands series

Darius Tupper – One Night in Beylor

One Night in Beylor – A short scene of Darius Tupper

Heavy footsteps scraped across the paving stones down the city alleyway and were quickly drowned out by the deluge of rain that had persisted throughout the night.  I pressed my back against the concave side of a trash bin in the shadows, hoping that Lord Braxton’s men would pass me by and leave me in peace.

The footsteps slowed and I could hear labored breathing less than a dozen paces from where I was hiding.  Using the darkness to my advantage, I risked a quick glance around the edge of the bin.  Three large men in boiled leather with cudgels.  Fuck.

“Come on out, Tupper!  There’s no use hiding!  We saw you come down here and there’s no way out.”

Ever so quietly I lashed my shield to my arm and made sure my flail was ready if it were needed.

“We’re giving you until the count of five, Tupper.  If you don’t come out, then we’re going to get violent.  One!”

I tried my best to fix my hair with my free hand.  The rain does terrible things to it.

“Two!”

Why were these men even interested in finding me?  It’s not like I was trying to steal Lord Braxton’s wife away from him.  She was nothing to me.  The way these noblemen treat me, you’d think I had stolen from them or something.

“Three!”

All I had done was plow his wife and daughter at the same time.  Ha!  Lady Braxton really was a screamer, though.  And her daughter did the most peculiar thing with her tongue, it was as if—

“Four!”

What was I thinking about?  No matter, it was time to toss the dice.  I stepped from behind the bin and in to the moonlit alleyway.

“My good sirs, why do you hunt me so?  Did you seek Chauntea’s blessings tonight?”

The burly man in front with the oft-broken nose spat.  “Can it, Tupper.  You know what you did.  Lord Braxton wants you in his chambers right now.”

I affected my most winning smile, “I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I don’t have Lord Braxton on my schedule for tonight.”

“Your schedule,” the pimple-faced oaf beside him scoffed, “You’re a fucking wanderer!  Everyone knows you don’t have no bloody schedule!  Hell, you live in a bloody inn.”

“Wrong and wrong again,” I began, “I do keep a schedule, and I choose to stay at an inn because I appreciate being waited on.”

The maladjusted bull of a man in the back coughed and waved his hand in an almost child-like attempt to appear articulate, “Oh, aye, Mr. Big Priest here has a schedule, boys.  Tell us priest, what’s on your bloody schedule that’s so Gods-damned important that you ain’t comin’ with us to see Lord Braxton?”

“You have no idea how bloody my schedule is about to become.”

“Was that a threat, Tupper?”  The three laughed together, “Lord Braxton is gonna skin you alive for what you did to his wife and the Lady Marguerite.  He didn’t say we couldn’t rough you up first, thou-urk!”

Pimples stumbled backwards two steps before toppling and splashed in a murky puddle with my thrown knife protruding from his still gaping mouth.  Fucking chatty simpleton.

Bull and flat-nose rushed forward, roaring fury with their cudgels raised to strike.  I ducked low and allowed bull’s momentum to roll him across my back.  The suddenness of it caught him off guard and sent him sprawling behind me as I raised my shield to deflect flat-nose’s cudgel strike.

The cudgel impacted directly on my shield sending numbing shockwaves down my arm.  I quickly struck out with the hilt of my flail as I drew it in the ensuing scuffle and nailed him straight in the nose, shattering it once again and knocking him out cold.

I wheeled on bull, just scrambling to his feet.  The seething fire within me demanded violence.  I bared my teeth in a rictus snarl as I shook the shield off of my half-numb arm, now gripping my flail in both hands.

“W-w-wait, Tupper!  I know you’re mad, but we’re just doing our jobs is all!  We don’t want to die for Lord Braxton, we’re real sorry, honest,” pleaded bull.

“Apology accepted,” bull visibly relaxed, “But you blasphemed!”

Bull’s eyes widened in horror as I stepped forward and brought my flail down on his skull with every ounce of strength and fury I could muster. Bone fragments, grey matter, blood, and tissue exploded in an egregious display of violent beauty.

“Yesssss…” a quiet rasp echoed through my subconscious as I splashed some rainwater on my flail to remove chunks of grey matter, and returned it to my belt loop.

I took a moment to finish off flat-nose and retrieve my knife before a merry tune I had heard at a tavern the other night popped into my head.

Fuck, that’s catchy.

My footsteps barely made a sound amongst the damp gloom of the night as I began the slow trek back out to the main street, whistling that catchy tune I had heard at the tavern.