Satanists, we strive to be our own master in all aspects of our life,
so it can sometimes be especially galling to find we are not be in
complete control of our livelihood. Which is why we tend to idealize
the self-employed, the small businessman or woman who is out there
taking the risks and reaping the rewards of the entrepreneurial life.
But is the thrill of being your own boss worth the terror of
"performing without a net"?
To help explore a bit of the agony and the ecstasy of the Satanic
Entrepreneur, I contacted a handful of that hardy breed, and they
agreed to answer few nosy questions from yours truly.
Our distinguished panel includes the Rev. Matt G. Paradise, who is the
sole proprietor of Purging Talon Publishing . Founded on Halloween of
1993, PTP disseminates various media that is unconventional, appeals to
freethinkers, and champions the ideal of a free press and the First
Amendment. PTP's most famous product is the highly respected Satanic
magazine, Not Like Most .
Another panelist, Rev. Ventrue of the Church of
Satan Emporium , LLC, (formerly Satannet Plaza , formerly The Devil's
BlackMarket ), has been a powerful Satanic presence on the Internet for
years (he designed the CoS's message boards, Letters to the Devil
and the "SIGs." as well as the CoS Emporium web site). He has been
evolving his online shop, which for the last five years has provided a
wide selection of products and publications, from himself and other
Satanic merchants, to the general public.
Next in the line-up is Draconis Blackthorne, C.E.O. of Blackthorne
Productions , a publishing house for the works of Draconis Blackthorne,
including The Devil's Diary magazine [reviewed issue #11 of The
Trident]. Blackthorne Productions also offers a wide range of products
and services such as CD's ("Narrations From The Abyss"), occult
supplies, graphic imaging, web design, magical and parapsychological
Helena, who runs Dark Candles , also provided her input to this piece.
Dark Candles produces and sells "… candles for those with a penchant
for the macabre". She first marketed her candles, which come in jewel
tones and solid black with dark-themed scents to match, through the CoS
Emporium, then at the end of January 2003, DarkCandles.com , her
on-line shop, opened for business.
Chris X, CEO of Reptilian Records and Adversary Recordings , cut some
time in his manic schedule to answer some questions. Opened in 1989,
Reptilian Records is a record/CD store in Baltimore, Md., stocking only
underground/independent, punk, rock, and assorted non-mainstream
genres, which begat a record label of the same name devoted to the
same, which begat another label (Adversary) dedicated to archiving
music by Satanic artists.
Our last panelist, Shiva Rodriguez of Siren Productions , graciously
consented to participate in this story. Together with follow Church of
Satan member Garith Pettibone, Rodriguez has operated Artistic Devil
since August of 2002. A subsidiary of Siren Productions (established in
1998), Artistic Devil shows and sells the artwork and craft goods of
Satanic and occult-related artists through its on-line gallery.
Rodriguez also operates an interior decorating business specializing in
creating total environments by incorporating theatrical effects and set
design techniques into modern home decorating.
The first thing I wanted to know was how did they get started in their particular business venture.
"I had grown bored with college and landed a job at a large record
distributor, where I learned the ins and outs of the record industry,"
said Chris X., "My free time was often spent at the legendary 1980's
Philadelphia punk shop, Chaos Records, where I was schooled in the
mysterious ways of the independent businessman, on the understanding
that I wouldn't open a competing shop in Philly. So it was off to H.L.
Menken's old stomping grounds [Baltimore] in search of fortune and
Helena determined that there was a definite need for her products,
"There's no reason we [Satanists] should only be able to buy black
candles at Halloween," she explained, "and no other candle manufacturer
gives you our broad range of scents in your choice of black and other
Blackthorne started Blackthorne Productions because he couldn't find
the sort of products and services he was looking for, so he created
them himself. "I eventually found that others were also interested in
these ideas," he said, "so I began the manufacture and production of
these resources for the Satanist who is interested in similar
"The CoS Emporium grew out of my original idea which I labeled 'The
Devil's BlackMarket'," Rev. Ventrue told me, "which I began about 5
years ago. The BlackMarket grew into the 'Satannet Plaza', which grew
into the 'CoS Emporium' as it needed a new home since I was closing
down the Satannet site."
Rodriguez had already been running Siren Productions for four years
when she decided to branch out with Artistic Devil. "It was formed
because I wanted to specifically promote Satanic artists and knew that
such a company would have to keep some public distance from the parent
company [Siren] at the time," she said, "The idea was to have a
separate branch that had a much broader range of contributors that
dealt specifically with Satanic and occult-oriented artwork."
Rev. Paradise's reason for starting his business is much simpler than
his peers; "I woke up one day and decided it was what I wanted to do.
No really lofty explanation here."
I next asked if being an open Satanist presented any difficulties in
dealing with suppliers, vendors, banks, landlords, service providers,
etc., and how did the panelists handle those situations?
For Helena, the question is simply not applicable. As she explained,
"Dark Candles does not portray itself as an openly Satanic business."
Even so, there has been negative feedback. "We get emails occasionally
asking if our candles are made from the fat of un-baptized babies
(which of course they are not since paraffin wax is a petroleum
byproduct), and we get the occasional, 'Why are you so morbid?'
question. And the proper response to this is 'Why are you so utterly
"I've had no difficulties whatsoever," said
Rev. Paradise, but added, "that might be due to the fact that I
primarily deal with businesses run by Satanists and have a customer
base comprised mainly of Satanists or those who are interested in
Some panelists cited difficulties with other businesses. "My personal
beliefs haven't presented a problem, but I've had many problems with
printers. Getting the booklets, etc. printed for 'The Satanic Mass',
'Satan Takes A Holiday', and 'United Satanic Apache Front' has been an
on-going fiasco. It's very surprising," he reflected, "that printing
plants will turn down a paying job because it offends an employee or
two, or because of their FEAR of Satan!"