In The Desert Of Seth

By G. B. Marian

Samhain 1998

Samhain 1998 was literally one of the greatest Samhains I’ve had in my entire life. I was a sophomore in high school, and it was my second year as a practicing Pagan and Typhonian. By this point in my initiation process, I had gravitated away from the ceremonial magic kind of stuff. I had learned about Kemetic reconstructionism, and I was interested in taking a more devotional approach to Set. At the same time, I had also just read Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible for the first time, and while I didn’t agree with everything in the book, I found LaVey’s approach toward magic to be very practical. As a matter of fact, whenever anyone asks me if I can suggest a good book to get them started in magic, I always recommend The Satanic Bible first. That might sound scary to some people, but if you actually read the book, you’ll see it’s not as bad as it sounds. Maybe one of these days I’ll review it, if I can ever get around to doing so.


Any way you slice it, it’s a damn good book.

Anyway, I also made some pretty awesome musical discoveries that Samhain. First off, Marilyn Manson had just released his new album, Mechanical Animals, earlier that September. The look and sound of that album was such a radical departure from his previous album, Antichrist Superstar (1996), that I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it at first; after hearing it, though, it became my official soundtrack for my sophomore year. My obsession with this album also led me to investigate David Bowie (who was clearly Manson’s biggest inspiration for Mechanical Animals), and I ended up buying a copy of Ziggy Stardust. These albums had a huge influence on my Halloween costume for that year: I decided to be “the archangel Lucifer before his fall from heaven.” This involved wearing an old wedding dress, an electric blue wig, white makeup, and blue lipstick. I intentionally went against the conventional idea of Lucifer as a guy in red pajamas with horns and a pitchfork; I wanted him to look all androgynous and pretty, like a peacock. I wish I had a photograph of myself from that night, as I was extremely proud of that costume. It was a real big hit at the Halloween party I attended, that’s for sure!


Marilyn Manson during the Mechanical Animals period.

The other music I discovered at this period was Helloween, the German power metal band. I found a copy of their debut album, Walls of Jericho (1986), which totally blew me away when I heard it. That was my first taste of extreme metal; prior to that, I was only familiar with Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne. I went on several long walks throughout my neighborhood, listening to Jericho on my headphones over and over again. Even today, after all these years, I still feel a primitive urge to listen to that album during the autumn, when the trees turn red and gold and that lovely fireplace smell spreads through my neighborhood at twilight.


The album art for Helloween’s Walls of Jericho (1986).

I was in my high school marching band, and it was one of the other band students who threw the Halloween party I attended that year. (And since Halloween was on a Saturday, this meant the party could be on Halloween itself. Score!) Her name was Beth, and she and her parents set up their entire basement for the party. I went to the party with another band member named Jake, who soon became my very best friend in high school. This was the first night that Jake and I would ever bond outside of marching band. He took a deep interest in my costume and asked me where I got the idea for it from. Explaining the polytheist origins of the Lucifer story led to a conversation about my spirituality, and since Jake was a Presbyterian who attended a youth group at his church, the ways of Set were totally beyond him at the time. But he never reacted to this stuff with fear or derision; he was always really respectful about it, and he was genuinely interested in learning more of what real life Pagans were like. (He even ended up dating a mutual friend of ours named Wendy, who was a Wiccan.) To this very day, I’m indebted to Jake for teaching me that not all Christians are close-minded bigots, which was an attitude I struggled with prior to becoming friends with him. He and I ended up spending most of our time outside of school together, catching movies at the theater and going to ska shows in Philadelphia every Saturday night.

The Halloween party ended pretty late that night, and by the time Jake dropped me off at my house, my family were all asleep. I had total control of the living room that night, so I stayed up to watch Pumpkinhead (1988) and one of the Amityville movies on TV. The Amityville movie was pretty stupid, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


5 responses to “Samhain 1998

  1. Erica Mary Eleanor October 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    It’s really interesting reading about your life and comparing to where I was or what I was doing at that time. 98 would have been my senior year 🙂 though I had already dropped out my sophomore year. I grew up listening to terrible pop music but this was the year (or maybe 97) where I started appreciating marlyn Manson, korn, nine inch nails.. and my love of tool. The year I turned 18 and tried hitchhiking across the country with a girl I just met.

    Liked by 1 person

    • G. B. Marian October 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      “Tried” hitchhiking? That sounds like an intriguing story. Have you written a post about that experience? I’d love to hear more.

      And “Tool” is another one of our magic words in my household. Now that’s a band I need to review at some point! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erica Mary Eleanor October 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        Haha 🙂 no post about it, I’m afraid my youngest baby has been keeping me super busy since he’s been born! He’s almost 1 so hopefully he will mellow out soon and I can get some time to myself again. Single parenthood of 6 keeps me busy and tired! It’s nice when I just get a moment to read something 😉 tool is indeed magical!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Redfaery October 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Yours sounds better than mine! Halloween of ’98 I would have been eleven years old. I’d just been dumped into my first year of middle school, and was being bullied pretty badly. On the bright side, I’d also just met the girl who would become my best friend EVER.

    Liked by 1 person

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