OED says that the word “bless” comes from an Old English word meaning “mark with blood.”

And indeed, we used blood (safely procured from a butcher’s shop, no matter what the Dennis Wheatley types tell you) to mark the occasion at our most recent Pazuzu’s Blessing ritual, a public Black Mass held in the East Bay city of Albany on August 1.

First conducted in 2019, Pazuzu’s Blessing is a ritual gathering in which local Satanists congratulate themselves and each other on their accomplishments, both personal and private.

Some of our Bay Area Satanists are raising families; some are reaching pivotal points in their careers or educations; some are enjoying personal milestones or private turning points. At Pazuzu’s Blessing, everyone is free to celebrate the fruits of their ambitions.

Pazuzu, the ancient Mesopotamian King of Evil Wind Demons, was also unexpectedly the patron of newborns and mothers, who used his fearsome image to ward off other troublesome demons.

We’ve expanded Pazuzu’s portfolio to include blessings for all sorts of personal milestones, not just those related to family, although we did originally conceive of the ritual as a way to hail new Satanist parents in our midst.

A group of about 30 Bay Area Satanists gathered in the park to share food, share company, and share our personal pride. Some were old friends, while others were joining us for the very first time.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, we’ve had scarce opportunity to gather for religious services since early 2020, as we believe the health and safety our members must come first (unlike some religious groups we could name).

But with all of members properly vaccinated and this outdoor venue presenting little risk, we were finally free to have a good, old-fashioned Black Mass, just like the old days–hopefully the first of many more.