Originally published in The Black Flame; http://news.churchofsatan.com/post/160096087077/speak-of-the-devil-reverend-campbell-interviews
I have, on occasion, had the privilege of collaborating with like-minded Satanists, and through the course of those interactions I have learned that those of substance do not typically have the time to commit to an active online life. They are either too busy actually living their lives, or their contempt for the denizens of those virtual prisons holds no interest for them. One cannot hope to achieve his goals, or to manifest his desires if compulsively congratulating other social media thralls, after all.
The Church of Satan is defined by its members. In over 50 years it has attracted many different types. Some Satanists affiliate themselves with the Church of Satan and live their lives as productive members of society, with no one the wiser. Other Satanists join to make waves, splashing and hopping around, attempting to draw the attention of the Alien Elite, seeking mutual admiration. Then there are those Satanists who join the organization and, through the natural course of realizing their passions and motivations, are recognized as superior human beings-individuals who, when they make a mistake, learn from it. They are individuals whose reputations precede them and who are known by their actions, even if not witnessed first hand.
As a content creator it can be a challenge to connect with Satanists of substance. If they are like you, and not as socially active or unwilling to hop on any promotion bandwagon that rolls past them, you may never have the opportunity for an encounter. Often these Satanists will only join you if they believe you will not only provide a professional outlet for the discussion, but also ensure you are not wasting their valuable time. I have the distinct pleasure of bringing you my discussion with one such Satanist. From his contributions to now legendary Satanic publications, to his performance in Satanic Rituals and Ceremonies, my guest tonight has demonstrated his authority as a potent Satanic Magician time and time again. So it is my distinct pleasure to present to you, my interview with Magister Robert Lang-enjoy!
RC: Magister Lang, it is a pleasure to speak with you. I suppose we should start from the beginning. Would you tell me a little about yourself?
ML: I have been a CoS member for at least 35 years now. I am an artist working in several mediums, a writer, editor and budding musician / singer as well as a character actor in some underground radio dramas.
RC: I was not familiar with the scope of all of your projects, can you elaborate on your music and acting work?
ML: Sure, the music is at the moment just for fun and I would never profess to be a professional musician. As you know, Magister Sass and I collaborated on the The Black House: A Tribute to Anton S. LaVey album years back for the soundscape ‘Death Rune’ which was a curse projected on particular individuals at the time. I collaborated with the very talented Warlock Eric Ouellet for a side project called Infidels of Iblis. The song ‘Vlad the Just Petitions You’ was the result of that. The words are lifted from an early essay by myself depicting Vlad the Impaler having risen from the dead, giving a speech to a modern audience. It is a spoken-word piece with me trying to sound like Vlad. Eric wrote and performed the music. The song was submitted and accepted to a Heathen Harvest compilation but we later pulled it in favor of a future Church of Satan compilation that Reverend Raul Antony may release some day.
Because of that song I was asked to play a part in a radio drama released by a friend of mine on Broken Sea Audio Productions entitled Sword of the Crimson Tatters. I may do more of those.
It’s fun trying to judge which intonation, emotion and inflection to use without the other actors present. I simply read the script and recorded 3 versions of each line. The producer would then choose the best version that would go into the finished recording. What I am doing now is simply practice for a future secret project which would be improper to speak of at this point.
RC: Improper? Now I’m truly curious! However, I respect your wish for secrecy. Aside from the super secret project that is the only thing I want to know about at this point, what are a couple of your most proud accomplishments thus far?
ML: I would have to say that my proudest accomplishment was realized at the Church of Satan’s 50th Anniversary. I had so many people come up to me talking about how some of my work had influenced them to become who they are today, how they looked forward to a new issue of the Black Pun-kin (a Satanic magazine I put out), or a piece of art I created or film I was featured in (6606 & Inside the Church of Satan). These comments were inspiring to me also as the wonderful people who shared this with me were of such high quality, talent and intellect that I felt proud all my hard work in the past helped to influence these people to become who they are today. It seemed so worth it all of a sudden. It was like, WOW! Made me feel awesome!
RC: Can I ask you about the Black Pun-kin? When was that released, and will it be available in any form again?
ML: I think it came out in XXIX A.S. Some of that material may come out as a compilation or as part of a book. Unfortunately, all of that stuff will need to be re-typed by hand as one of my Great Danes spilled water on my Mac Book where all the files resided. Looking into trying to recover that stuff somehow. Damn!
RC: Ah yes, the joys of our pets and children. When I was in college my toddler son hit the power button on my computer, erasing a project I had been working on. I lost the whole piece, so I feel your pain. Let me ask you about the 6606 ritual. Was it challenging to get into the ritual headspace with the size of the ritual production and that vast audience present?
ML: No, not at all. We had rehearsed over and over again. Once every word and action was set perfectly to memory, the confidence obtained made everything flow so perfectly once it began. To tell you the truth, the only time I even really saw the audience was when I was doing the incense burner walk and during The Benediction of the Cthulhu phallus sequence. The moment where I am directly talking to the other Satanists in the room, when I made true eye contact with certain friends there, that was one of my personally favorite moments. I loved the Fatwa part as well. I found out the next day that at that very moment in the ritual Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was bombed and killed. I had in mind another text for my curse on the fanatics, but we changed it in order to make the curse seem all encompassing.
RC: With the documentary Inside the Church of Satan, did you have any reservations going into or coming out of the project? Did it end up as you had hoped it would?
ML: Absolutely, most especially using that stupid green night vision that they insisted upon using. I spent days working on the aesthetic for that Rite only to have it ruined because somebody had the idea that “paranormal” activity might be caught on camera. You always have reservations with these things and the most important one to us was security. Fortunately that was respected, and the end product. although not having a high production value, gives the Church of Satan a pretty fair shake for outsiders. There was the odd bit of poking fun at us, but that is to be expected by folks who are not of our persuasion. We can take it.
RC: How did you first discover Satanism?
ML: I discovered Satanism at the age of 13 (go figure). I think I was mostly influenced to my darker side by watching old HAMMER films with Christopher Lee as Dracula. That is where I first saw the Baphomet and was exposed to the idea of Black Magic. Eventually I walked into a Coles bookstore
and saw a copy of The Satanic Bible with the Sigil of Baphomet sitting there in the Occult section. I picked it up and was immediately aesthetically charged by the front cover and the evil looking man on the back cover. I proudly marched up to the front with my forbidden tome and placed it on the counter. The woman at the cash register asked me if my parents knew I was buying this and I said “YES, they do indeed”. Reading it was like looking into a mirror and all of a sudden what was disorganized in my mind due to a Christian upbringing seamed all of a sudden reorganized again. “This makes sense,” I said to myself. “This describes who I am.”
RC: How did you perceive Satanism and the Church of Satan? What attracted you to it?
ML: I perceived both as something remotely dark and beautiful, a romantic marriage of forbidden knowledge and earthly delights. It was like coming home.
RC: Do you still feel that poetic connection to both?
ML: Absolutely, it’s something that never goes away. The Black Flame only expands and burns larger as we move through life. The more we learn, the more we experience the deeper into it we BURN!
RC: How did you see other Satanists? Can you tell us about your experience with Grottos?
ML: I was alone for at least a decade where my only contact with other Satanists being in the print form of The Black Flame.
My first contact with a real Satanist was with Magus Maestro Peter H. Gilmore and Magister Michael Rose through snail mail by submitting work to Roses From the Pit and The Black Flame. Eventually Peter put us in contact with some Canadian members-Witch Marguerite Thompson (whose funeral I officiated at years ago) and Warlock Rick Jaggard, two early members of the Church of Satan with whom we started our own un-official Grotto, The Infernal Garrison. It was unofficial simply because at that time there was no Grotto system. Through that vehicle we made even more contacts around the world, as well conducting interviews and answering questions for many magazines including Playboy and authors writing books on alternative religions like J.C. Hallman and others. I suppose by the time the official Grotto system came back we had had enough of the work that is involved in running an organization. We had by then our own little cabal of people in close proximity to one another and streamlined our focus on being Church of Satan media reps instead.
RC: What did you draw on as inspiration when planning to officiate the funeral?
ML: That was the first time the Satanic Funeral was ever performed. Peter had written it for this occasion, to mark the passing of our dear friend Witch Marguerite Thompson. It was her last request on her death bed.
RC: There is something to be said about the connection Satanists can make with each other. Do you think Satanism connects individuals as friends more than life experiences or is it not a factor in lasting connections in your opinion?
ML: It is both. Certainly experiencing the camaraderie of like minded individuals and building friendships is a special thing. However, it is the life experience shared with them that makes it precious and when all of a sudden one of those people goes bat shit crazy, it hurts all the more. I would never befriend someone just because they are a Satanist. They have to truly resonate with me.
RC: Going back to your first connection with the Maestro, submitting your work to The Black Flame, or even performing a ritual with him, what was it like working with him?
ML: HP Gilmore always has a way of making you feel comfortable in ritual or in any project. He has a great way of suggesting changes to your approach while still complimenting your strengths. No matter how good you think you are at something there is always a way of making it better. His guidance at the Hellfire Caves ritual rehearsals were a prime example of this. He would take centre stage at the centre of the room like some Master Yogi, tell us what he thought of what we were doing wrong and then took up the director’s gauntlet and began doing so. Without his direction that ritual could have been so much less than the great magical experience it ended up being.
RC: I have heard rumors of a now infamous phallus incident. Would you be willing to share your knowledge of this?
ML: That was hilarious, but not so hilarious if you did not know what happened as we waited back in the catacomb’s getting ready to perform our parts in the ritual. They are laughing at us I thought. What could have gone wrong? As it turned out, the two foot long glow-in-the-dark giant phallus designed to literally GWAR the audience with fake semen had broken during Priestess Fifi Labonne’s exuberant attempt to spray the congregants. As she swung it, the thing broke in half and went flying across the room, striking the gong in perfect timing. As it turned out, cock # 1 had been dripped upon from the chalk walls and had lost its ability to keep a hard on. In perfect ritual form, Magistra DeMagis very ceremoniously recovered it and presented it back to Priestess LaBonne who continued her benediction with the now very bobbly shaft. We did however consider that there was a possibility of it breaking, so earlier on during prop constructing and rehearsals, we had constructed a backup cock. But we did not bring it.
We actually really forgot about it. Months later it was discovered in Reverend Entity’s hot water heater closet where we put it to dry. It was like the Fungi from Yuggoth at that point. As for the phallus that broke, I think it’s still there, so if you ever visit the Hellfire Caves, you might come across this artifact.
Funny that John Wilkes (a prominent member of The Hellfire Club) who wrote, The Essay on Woman used a cock with wings on the frontispiece of that book.
The ritual achieved what we intended-to revive the thriving spirit of those great people that used to haunt that place for fun, frolic and collaboration.
Francis Dashwood, Benjamin Franklin, William Hogarth, Paul Whitehead, John Wilkes. John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, Robert Vansittart, Thomas Potter, Francis Duffield. Edward Thompson, Lord Chesterfield and others…here’s a cheer to some true iconoclasts and lovers of life. HS!
RC: Are there any memorable experiences you’ve had as a media rep you would like to share? What was your least favorite experience as well?
ML: The fun one was the Spring Rite which is on the COS website with Colonel Akula as Pan. Lots of fake blood, masks and debauchery. Magister Rose wrote that one. The Hellfire Caves rite was also amazing! Having the crew there filming it was cool and the after-ritual impromptu rite in the main ritual chamber of the Hellfire Club was a very fond memory. I look forward to that ritual footage making an appearance. Some of it was shown at the CoS 50th presentation by Magister Harris.
The Spring Rite was also the most disappointing one, as well as the coffee table book with photography of different religious ceremonies that never came to fruition. We had a blast though taking the photos. Everything was very over-the-top as it always is during our rites.
RC: In your time as a member of the Church of Satan, what was communication between the organization and other Satanists like?
ML: Communication was one of those things you really looked forward too. Snail mail demanded patience which is something you do not see much of these days. A typical response to a letter could often take months, however when you did get a response it was usually a very beefy letter.
Looking forward to a new magazine like Not Like Most (Matt Paradise), From The Pit (Michael Rose) The Raven (Neil Smith) or The Cloven Hoof & The Black Flame was like hitting the Jackpot when you went to your P.O. Box. These were things you kept and cherished. Nowadays things are too easy and the value of the materials has cheapened due to ease of communication. There is good to that as well, it’s just less inspiring to me.
RC: I always felt like the art of writing a letter was very ritualized for me. The process of thinking about what you are going to write before putting pen to paper took consideration, discipline and an appreciation for the written word. Not to mention the cathartic experience of receiving the response letter. Do you think the decline of the art of writing a letter has any connection with the inability for some to focus or clearly convey a thought? Like a muscle that’s not exercised becomes atrophied?
ML: LoL! Just joking. Absolutely, one hundred percent with you on this one. Writing a thoughtful letter, the act of putting it in the mail and the patience and anticipation of receiving a response are core values of ritual that should be held dear. Though it is very nice being able to contact my friends at the drop of a hat, there is definitely something missing-the magic, I’d say.
RC: Do you think the lack of an internet helped or hindered early Satanism and why?
ML: It helped develop strong leaders who were patient and passionate about what they were doing which laid a strong foundation for our organization. Because things were so hard to obtain we all worked that much harder to put out a quality product. A communication was like gold, the gift of a new Baphomet medallion was a big deal. Things were harder to obtain and therefore there was more value placed upon such things. Today you can get anything at the wave of your hand. Granted, I like that, but the mentality is different. Patience is VIRTUALLY non existent.
RC: I see what you did there. Do you think the pervasiveness of ‘Satanic’ merchandise is a gift or curse? With overabundance comes mediocrity, I think.
ML: It’s a curse. I would say especially for the business person as things are not so desperately sought after. If there’s too much of it then it’s never going away therefore the consumer delays at purchasing things because it can be had at any time.
It does not increase with value over time either. Like my Wolf-Hook Rune ring for example. Many wrote me asking me to start making them again, then when iSatanist makes them available for half the price I was selling them for then hardly anyone wants one. So if you want one, get them while you can folks.
RC: When the internet became pervasive, and you saw sites like SatanNet pop up, where there could be in-time communication between Satanists and fan boys, did you see it as a positive or negative form of communication?
ML: Both negative and positive. Positive in the fact that we could get our information out there and fight misinformation. Negative in the fact that any little piece of shit could start up their own pseudo organization and cause shit being their own self-styled Grand Poohba of pseudo-satanic drivel. This creates confusion to an ever lazy media not willing to do proper research. Now everyone can make a big noise.
RC: We have all had embarrassing or shameful interactions in social media, it’s what clues us into the true negative human interaction this medium encourages. Is there any interaction that informed you about the ugly face of social media.
ML: Yes, I’ve been guilty of taking the bait at times. I remember a certain interaction with a certain grandson of somebody that I wish had not happened. I was defending my friends who I consider family and therefore in doing so I used what may have been confidential information to bitch slap the asshole. I regret doing that, but I do not feel sorry for the harm it caused him. Like I said earlier, I am very passionate about the people I came up with in the organization. When someone attacks them, they are attacking me.
RC: I think what’s important about those types of interactions is learning what caused your reaction, and evaluating what you could have done differently. This is a lesson I learned many times over. What is your philosophy for interacting with detractors or trolls now?
ML: Let them eat STATIC!
RC: Was there any other turning point you can identify that caused you to shy away from the hourly social media interaction that seems to be applauded in our culture?
ML: I spent too much time being out there as a representative-way too out there. I changed careers, and in order to do that I had to step back from the spotlight and be pragmatic. I decided that a lot of it was a waste of my time and that I could be spending that time on things that really matter. There’s plenty of others willing to step up to the plate. The turning point was after Inside the Church of Satan came out. Too much energy put into it with little or no return as a final product.
RC: Do you think there can be an effect on Satanists or Satanism through the constant interaction of social media?
ML: Yes, you are not doing anything productive. You should be constantly interactive with real life. Social media should be something you do with a morning coffee, to wake up.
RC: Why do you think social media is so popular amongst those who claim to champion real life?
ML: It’s because they usually have no life.
RC: I can’t argue with you there. What do you think is the biggest downfall of most Satanists nowadays?
ML: Social media. The inability to recognize the skill and time it takes to create something valuable due to its ease of access now.
RC: What is the single most important Satanic principle(s) Satanists should continually keep in mind?
ML: The best advice you will ever get in my opinion was from Anton LaVey. “Dare to keep company with those smarter and more accomplished than yourself, then see what happens.”
RC: What is next for you, are there any new projects or goals you would like to share?
ML: I am interested in making music these days as it is something I have not challenged myself enough on-and getting back into my painting again.
RC: Thank you for your time, I would like to ask, without a hint of irony, if there is anywhere you would like to direct the readers to connect with you online or to learn more?
ML: I am FreyjaFru on Facebook and Magister Lang on Twitter where Donald lives.
Note: Photos used with permission, given to Magister Lang. Article photo, Magus Gilmore in Lotus position and profile photo of Magister Lang were taken at the Hellfire Altar by Diana DeMagis. Inside the Church of Satan photos used with permission Joshua Warren. Nude altar still from 6606. The photographer for Pan and myself for Inside the COS is C. Eric Scott. Magister Lang standing beside the Nude Altar was taken by Bob Johnson. Latex backed nude Altar was taken my Bob Johnson for an issue of Old Nick Magazine.