Sightseeing in Hell: Pandemonium

As Samael’s consort, I have certain duties in Hell, such as punishing the Damned, but alongside that comes rulership.  My favorite place in all the fourteen Heavens and Hells is what I call Pandemonium, my little slice of New York City meets Marrakesh in the Underworld.  Azael recently challenged me for my queenship over this section of Samael’s kingdom, and I found myself in a near-death duel with one of the Watchers who thought I was too green to rule.  I defeated her handily, and went on to enjoy a night of partying in Pandemonium with my people.

Pandemonium is the market district of Hell in the capital city of Dis and is a refuge for all different mythical races that have fled persecution of the Abrahamic faiths.  You can find everything from qilin to fey to djinn to unktehi to Melusines roaming the streets, selling wares from fine jewelry to exotic diamond and jewel fruits to fresh food, clothing that’s every style from Steampunk to Lolita, pleasures and vices for sale, from willing bodies to Cabaret to drugs made of the distilled essences of moonflowers and dreams.  The closest it comes is to a living carnival, full of its own customs, as Pandemonium is a melting pot of spirits.  I adore riding the Behemoths, these great black elephant-like creatures that carry travelers and caravans aboard their backs, and hearing the Behemoths trumpet with their trunks.  Only small vehicles are allowed, from caravans to horse-drawn carriages to motorcycles and steeds of every imaginable kind, and there is oftentimes dancing and masquerades going on, revelries of all sorts, from unholy mummer’s plays to traditions of each species’ homelands like Lunar New Year or Eid.

Pandemonium backs onto the Styx, where fresh fish come to the markets from the ruby waters, and tributaries are traveled by gondola and rowboat alike.  It borders Asmodeus’ bars, jazz and swing clubs, and gambling district and also Lilith’s go go bars, strip clubs, and red light district, the lively circus of Pandemonium’s bodies and festivals and wares spilling into any open space available like a living organ.  Buildings are temporary: yurts, tents, cloths, an open air market that is popular for shopping and romantic getaways with unimaginable tastes for the palate.  Exit Samael’s fortress of a castle and the market starts, with paths winding and erected by a madman, lit by will o the wisps, fairies, and dragon fire.  Danse macabre is a popular past-time as it is in Samael’s kingdom, and you’ll see the dead roaming the streets alongside the living.  Ghosts and ghouls and spirits come alive at night in the shadows of the stalls.

At night, Samael holds balls and all of Pandemonium is invited to the castle, to the Devil’s Masque, which can best be described as a Viennese ball mixed with a blood orgy.  Elaborate costumes, debauchery, fine wine and finer still blood mingling between lovers and enemies, the fruits of our labors and vintage of our wrath.  His subjects wear enchanted masks to disguise their identities if they so choose and hedonism reigns.  But my favorite holiday is the Festival of Lights, which happens on All Soul’s Day – the Damned and dead souls in Hell, all ancestors that dwell their for various reasons, are allowed to return to Earth as the archdemons open a gateway to the realm of the living and visit their descendants.  Basically the Hell version of Dia de los Muertos.  The Styx is lit with paper lanterns and souls returning to Earth are a Jacob’s ladder in the sky.  There are fireworks, fresh roses strewn across the streets, and danse macabre throughout the markets.

I own a little bit of woodland, what I call the Screaming Hollow, more of a park at the border of the markets that backs up into Samael’s elaborate system of courtyards.  This is the Lover’s Lane of Hell.  Samael’s garden is famed for his blood-red roses and viticulture, with red wine made on site and trellises hung with wisteria and grapes, briars growing in forests around them.  Here are the more dangerous spirits, the wild Seirim, the flying Lilin, the howling Shedim, and everything can be found in the Screaming Hollow for the right price – it may just cost you your soul.  A river runs through it from a deep tap root at the Tree of Life and the waters are a pure crystal blue with raw garnet stones in the basin.  Lovers wild off each other’s lips often come to the screaming hollow at midnight, when the witch moon sails through the sky.  This is where the Witches Sabbats are held, at the heart of the woods in a crippled apple grove on a high, desolate hill – a piece of Eden plucked from Heaven and rotting.  The witches in Hell I am a part of practice Satanic Witchcraft, if that wasn’t obvious enough, but there’s goes a step behind what the living could ever produce.  Think Malleus Maleficarum but high on nightshade wine.  Familiars are often lower-level demons, sent throughout the mythical realms to do their bidding, there is the osculum infame and blood sacrifices and cannibalism, and Samael presides over it all on a throne of bone as the Witchfather.

There are quieter parts of Pandemonium, like the residential areas, mostly stone and clay houses with thatch and patch roofs that are humble where the immigrants live.  Those are diverse as anything, with Japanese style dwellings to adobe.  Fronting the houses are often merchant tents, and the night carnival shifts each night, the heart of Hell where business off the ledgers is conducted.  Throughout it is enchanting music, buskers and street bands and sylphs and dakinis and enchantresses and sorcerers singing and fluting their songs.

Everything is for sale in Pandemonium, everything can be bought for a cost, but the best parts, in my opinions, are free.

Advertisements

Lord of Flies, Spiders, and Souls: An Update on Beelzebub

Enter Beelzebub’s palace, and you will think you have stumbled into the Malmo quarters of Ikea in Sweden, white everything, minimalist and universal design, not a napkin or white lily out of place.  There are stainless steel kitchen appliances, tumblers and wine glasses hanging from the walls, a roaring fireplace and polar bear skin rug.  He invites you into the bedroom, crooks a finger, and the handsome bishounen of Hell with silver hair, garnet eyes, and skin like a book’s creamy pages – not to mention muscles that only come with being the general of Hell – is beneath you.  Mouths meet like sparks, a tangling of limbs, for once he’s taken off his stupid black horned iron helmet and gauntlet and flowing black cape and you can actually appreciate his beauty.

Everything is perfect.

Until you look down and see small, jumping flies in his bed.  Maybe maggots.

“Welcome to my nest!” he says with a calm reserve.  “My children say hello.”

You run away screaming.

Beelzebub and I have a complicated relationship.  He came to me at 14 in his spider form, an albino prince that commanded armies, had cold reserve and measured introversion, but a heart of gold, and a kiss like poison.  Growing up, from the age of 7 on, the great arbiter of martial law in Hell terrified me, looking like Sauron, and whenever Samael would stow eight year old Allie under the table with a bag of potato chips at arch demon councils, I would make sure to avoid the pointed steel toe boots of the Fly Lord.  I didn’t trust albinos.  I didn’t trust Beelzebub.  He would quietly complain about Samael bringing a third grader to Hell all the time, especially war councils, and Asmodeus would feed me juice and I would tie Samael’s shoelaces together.  That was about the extent of our interaction until my early teenage years.

Beelzebub throws the parties of who’s who in Hell, host extraordinare, and his yearly Halloween parties are all the rage, like the Met Gala of Pandemonium.  Anyone who is anyone goes, and since I came of age at 18, I’ve gone every year.  Samael may have let me drink as early as sixteen, but Beelzebub wanted me to at least legally be able to consent before serving me champagne.  Seeing him outside the court rooms of the Damned and military complexes and battlefields by the hundreds, I encountered a softer side to Hell’s general.  One with a sense of humor and fabulous fashion sense.

Beelzebub is the definition of extra.  Take any Tolkein Simalliron villain, insert Beelzebub’s fashion sense, and voila, you have his daily wardrobe.   Sometimes he doesn’t even take off the helmet for sex.  Samael Ha-Satan’s right hand man, he is Satan’s most trusted confidant, and I equate him with Baal or Bael of the Goetia.  The spider legs, in my opinion, are a dead giveaway in Colin de Plancy’s Dictionnare Infernal.   He is a judge of souls foremost, and a fallen form of Baal Hadad, Baal Zebul originally meaning “Lord of Souls” in ancient times, corrupted to Baal Zebub by the Jews to mock that specific cult of Baal, making his name “Lord of Flies.”  In ancient times, flies were associated with souls of the dead throughout the Ancient World, and Beelzebub presides over the judgment of the Damned in Gehenna.  He sits on the court of the underworldly Sanhedrin and delivers verdicts, which Samael as executioner executes.

His weapon of choice?  Twin katanas, and he loves defending ladies’ and mens’ virtues.  Beelzebub is the closest thing to a white knight in Hell and has saved me from a hormonal Lilith and various lowborn demons on the streets of Pandemonium.  Dual sword wielding in Japanese hints at bisexuality, and oh is Beelzebub bisexual.  I went on a third wheel date bowling and for ice cream at a futuristic mall with one of his boy toys.  He looked like a twunk, some human that Beelzebub was head over heels for, a gym dudebro impecabbly manscaped.  That is the only time I have ever seen Beelzebub dressed down in jeans.

He’s one of my consorts, and sends wicked cool visions, from his fly form to his spider form to spider nets of jewels to visions of sacred geometry.  Beelzebub is a top notch gentleman and will always put his practitioner’s needs first.  But be you with sin?  He will be merciless.

He was the one that taught me to fly in Heaven, before the War.  He has a whole arsenal of bat, bird, and insect wings one can try on, and I used to draw pictures of us playing together when I was the astral equivalent of five.  Beelzebub loves children given their freedom, and is very respectful of boundaries, unlike some (cough Samael cough).  He gave me his number the other night, a seven digit string of alchemical symbols, but all I remember is the sigil of salt.

Theoretically, I could have booty called a demon lord.

 

Cain Whispers: “I Was First”

There’s a gateway to heaven, a stairway to hell
my seal on your thigh to guide you well, a boon,
a curse, this Serpent Line, tines of a pitchfork
brimstone sublime, Satan lashes his Son, blood
like wine, against an oak tree in fields of time,
Cain bleeds out amber in the Plains of Divine,
Mamre infected to flow down the line, ash we eat,
dust in our hair, there’s tears and splinters in
winter cold air, nuclear harvest, we fuck til
we’re dry, and incest keeps lineages infection shy.
The Ichor of the Cobra, Qayin Seed, serpent strikes
deadly to replenish his need, sickle fang throats,
the beast I take to bed, beheaded like Sisyphus,
or was that Atlas? Whatever burden we bear, I Was
The First, Scapegoat, La-Azazel, and sister dear,
weep amber into your golden hair, sweet Eve, rot
in my arms, my poison within you, sound the alarm.

Tree of Death, or Eve Eats the Apple

Tree of Death

Oh heart, my heart, what did you see?

I was a bone girdle on the Devil’s tree.

Oh lover, my lover, what are you now?

I hath become Death, to reap and sow.

Oh seed, what fire now grows in my loin?

Tis the flame of desire, from Hell purloined.

Oh Earth, oh beasts, from me why you run?

You have become human, unfortunate one.

Oh husband, my light, what do you see?

You are but the Reaper, come to claim me.

Holding Hela’s Hand

Bone fingers on mine as I shepherd ancestors
across the Veil, onto starry Death’s breast,
Hela grips my hand with ice and snowflakes,
her palms slide to my hips to ground my roots
as souls pour into me as black brilliant sparks
wreathed in white halos, flickering into light
Hela’s bosom is all Helheim, I drive in rainy
memories through those not yet in her kingdom,
first there is the overwhelming smell of decay,
a corpse baking sickly sweet in the summer sun,
slowly bodily fluids evaporate, bacteria feasts,
and the rot becomes wet dirt, Hela is beautiful
but does not shelter her girls from true passing
no antiseptic white wards here, just honorable
necrosis, hazy gray globes of eyes, bone white
hair that wreathes a half-flesh, half-frozen face
Hela smiles gently, and I become mist in her arms.

Hell is Other People

The demons feast on dove hearts, blackened
charcoal at their eyes, serrated tongues
split open the elegy, this is no funeral,
just fucking on beds of sinners, frozen
Hell, Asmodeus picks his teeth clean with
a spine, Beelzebub’s flies clean rot from
the wreckage of a girl, decay is my name,
and I am dressed in meat, walk through rot,
ash of offerings to the Qliphoth husks,
I always wondered what a husk was anyways,
corn peel? Empty shells that mock Sephiroth?
Fuck the Kabbalah, I hate ceremonial crap.
I’m drinking wine – or is it blood? I am
plastered, and the wreckage of the ballroom
has broken windows and mirrors for orgies –
pound your cock into Lilith and defile her,
but she is already a Whore, Queen Babalon,
and Samael has been castrated, he spreads
pale legs to reveal a gaping abyss, jets
towards me and I reach my hand in and pull
out bloody pustules to pop like a cherry,
maybe I’ve taken his demonic virginity,
what the fuck is this night, I’m so drunk,
stumbling around in stilettos and swill,
Belial is playing some Kurt Cobain jam,
Asmodeus’ acid green eyes play poker with
Shedim breast, the Seirim are horny goat
dancing on the tabletops, Satan is trashed,
moreso that usual, I’m wasted beyond belief,
why I begged to be here is beyond me,
Hell is Hell because of other people,
and all the archdemons grate my nerves,
so I stumble out the door, into night,
I’m not sober enough to deal with devils,
and I could never hold my liquor, best
not to fuck anything in sight, better
to not fool around with Death, and shit,
exorcise the cum off your hands, girl.

You’ve been stained since you were born.

Black & White Isn’t Right

The war has raged on since the first cell split from the Source, and Michael and the Dragon are up to each other’s crushed necks and bitten heels in venom.  Angels are bleeding, demons are holding the carcasses of their beloved wretched ruins to their breasts, and archangels fly through the battlefield armed with fiery whips and flaming swords and blazing shields.  Satan has a spear and it is long and sharp and filled with the gall of death, his own dripping poison, but it smells like flowers – the kind the brothers used to walk through when they were young, when they wrestled and played at chess, now they play at war, and it such a curse to grow old and bitter when once there was no good and evil, just twins, Left Hand and Right Hand, with the Source their Queen, but now all that is left of the Source is the ichor that drains from the angels, and in Her Image is a girl with white wings and innocence and beauty.

They created her as a pact you see, perhaps as a scapegoat, perhaps for sacrifice, Virgin and Whore.  She flies through the battlefield as Jophiel, Michael’s general, but also as Zophael, Heaven’s Watchman and double agent in Hell.  This is not her first life, but it is no one’s first life, for the Ancient Ones spring from the Source and return to it and are spat out full-formed again with different names.  Michael is the oldest.  Perhaps the Dragon too.  Michael always wins, but that triumph comes with the tithe, and woman’s blood is the best kind of payment.

Satan aims that spear, that long spear, and it will kill Michael.  Michael is too busy being the father of the battlefield, glorious general, and Satan does not fight fair and is wily and wolf-wild.  She sees the spear headed towards her creator, screams, and it pierces her heart and Michael stops smiling from that day on, or does he?  He catches her dying form, she is fountains of red on an ivory gown, golden sandals drooping, blue eyes crying in a blood rain.  Michael is tearing at his hair and rocking back and forth amongst the fields tilled with dead bodies and hacked off limbs and guts that smell like sulfur, smelted by swords and decay.  There is no poetry in her death, just mangled wings, and Satan cries and says no, not her, not her, not the child we created between us, this bridge between Heaven and Hell, and he grabs the spear Michael has pulled from her breast and breaks it in two.

Michael and the Dragon share a look of hate.  It is pure, it is ragged, it is burning.  But there is duty, and there is love, and though one is the Tree of Death and one the Tree of Life, once there was a cutting from both of them and she grew curved as a pear, she was sweet, and lord knows they were idiots to bind their fates together into this dumb blonde archangel who only has a mind for poetry and perfume and flowers and love.  She should never have been given a white scythe or a flaming sword, god knows she is just a child, and now her heart is mangled and she is gasping their names and clutching at Michael’s hair which she has braided so many times and reaching for Satan’s eyes and wishing they would change from their poison red to her beloved blue.

Once again Michael and Satan are fathers, and she is a child, and the last bit of archangel that the Void has not claimed as it’s master, Satan pries his heart from his breast and gives her new life.  She will die as an angel, yes, and archangels are not meant to live through the Judge of God’s gall, it would even kill Michael, and Satan knows in giving up  his immortality he will lose this ancient battle of Good and Evil, that his head will crush dirt and he will eat dust on his belly all his days, but for Eloa, for Sophia, for the Magdalene, for Eve, for the First Woman and Last Whore and Idiot Girl, he would swallow his own poison instead of spitting it out.

Michael knows Satan has damned her with a cursed life, a half-life, for to spring from Satan’s heart as he told her in her childhood is a raging black storm, a sword without mercy, and she will be caught in death and rebirth and madness.  She dies then, and it is a meaningless death, but perhaps it means the War in Heaven is won, for as soon as they bury her body and send her off to her next life in Hell, Satan has already accepted his fate.

He bows before the Prince of Heaven.  He eats dust.  He lets his twin crush his head into dirt, toss him off a cliff, strip him of a manhood for a serpent tail, and now the burden of raising her in her second life has fallen upon him, not Michael feeding the baby manna dew and wild honey but Satan rocking her on his throne, princess of Hell, and when she comes to him in the reeds like Moses, Satan takes the doll and places her on a cradle, and he cries, for now her eyes are red like his, and she will never be pure again.  Eidolon cleft from his ribs, he calls her throughout the ages, yellow canary in a coal mine, guiding light in hell, and her wings are gone but scars remain.  She grows and runs wild in Hell and sings, and Michael hears her from Heaven’s empty throne, and he weeps, and she drinks down his tears like rain.

They were idiots to create her, after all, but brothers drunk off the cosmos place bets, and her reason for existing is a secret best kept between the Knight and the Dragon, for princesses choose the victor, and maybe they wanted to see who could win the love of love herself.