OCCULTURE is a gathering of alternative spiritualities, consisting of three days and nights of conferences, workshops, rituals and divinations for practitioners, researchers and anyone interested in the critical and open search for enlightenment and the exploration of esoteric mysteries.

I was honoured to participate in the 2nd edition of the event, which took place in Berlin from the 31st of October to the 3rd of November 2019, and to give a lecture entitled "Satan: Instrument of Liberty. History and evolution of Satanism."  The talk presented the history of Satan and Satanism as exposed on the pages of La Voix de Satan, from 800 BC to the present day, through the main currents and minds who have marked the phenomenon.

For me the aim of this gathering is to show that occultism is not only present in old books, but that it is very much alive; to promote creation and self-improvement. Regardless of specific personal beliefs, occultism and alternative culture have more to give to humanity than mainstream culture.

I was also able to experience the event to the full, and here I'm going to tell you about an experience rich in inspiration and mysticism.


Like many of the participants, my drop-off point was GENERATOR, a hostel located 10 minutes' walk from the Anomalie club, the venue for OCCULTURE 2019. I arrived shortly after the doors opened and was greeted at the entrance by the main organizers, Dax and Giorgia. It's a big place and I'll be discovering it gradually over the next few days. In the meantime, I proceed to the Room of Workshops where the “Opening Ritual” will be performed by Kazim, a magician and multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Montpellier. The ritual is billed as "Dark Shaman, an interactive shamanic journey that manifests three years of magical exploration through the dark realms of the psyche." After a few technical problems and some organizational delays, I can hear some people grumbling: "Do you think Crowley had technical problems with his rituals?" But everything was soon back on track and Kazim showed us a demonstration of his interactive flash animation based on digital collages. It reminds me of some “point and click” puzzle games, a bit like an ultra-occult version of Samorost, for those who know. It's a strange way to start, straight into the new technologies. The whole thing would have deserved multiple video projectors and surround sound for complete immersion.
You can experience it at home at http://dark-shaman.com/.


The ritual that follows is in contrast quite old-fashioned. We are now in the much larger Conference Room, adorned with a sun of neon lights and a whole array of psychedelic effects. A white spiral is traced on the concrete floor, accompanied by roses and white and red candles. In the middle is an altar with a censer, a candleholder and a large, empty white box. Unfortunately, the ritual is not amplified and the quiet voice of the priestess, dressed all in green, is hard to hear. We understand that this is a tribute to the ancestors who lived and built on these lands. The ceremony is led by the Berlin Pagan Society (Paganes Leben Berlin), and begins with the opening of the four doors of the four cardinal directions and the celebration of the four elements. The priestess is a little stressed and, in a hurry, invokes East and Air twice, makes up for it in extremis with North, but West is completely forgotten. At the end, those who wish to do so can pay their respects to their ancestors and other loved ones who have passed away. To do this, you take a candle, light it, follow the spiral and place it in the box on the altar.


 Not wanting to queue with the hundred or so people present, I decide to see what's going on outside and discover the magnificent fire of a large brazier. I settle down alongside it and meet a Russian girl who offers me a little horse's head she's made from modelling clay. We chat about Siberian shamanism, fly agaric consumption and music. All this in the 5°C cold of Berlin, with a few good beers of course (of horse)! Then came the Phurpa concert. Or rather a ritual. The soundcheck is a concert in itself, and when we are finally immersed in the atmosphere of the lights and the smoke coming out of the staret’s censer, the real journey begins. Around two and a half hours of overtone (diphone) singing, Tibetan horns and other strange instruments take us far away, into a vibratory trance... People sit cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, in communion with their gods, goddesses, entities and energies.


After this powerful experience, I choose the Russian company around the fire and miss the suspension of "charlyne864." I catch a vague glimpse of Oryelle Defenestrate-Bascule's one-man-show performance, but from what I can see it's a bit too theatrical and gentle for me. I prefer by far his paintings exhibited here, in a pagan and romantic style. Oryelle himself, replete with goatee and bare feet, is reminiscent of a living satyr. The works of many artists are on display in the Hall.


The excellent Christian Ermel, who specializes in icons, temple interiors and customized altars, has a huge Baphomet fresco over 2 meters high. There's also the fractal, fantastic and psychedelic art of Emma Watkinson, the sigils of Hagen Von Tulien and the blood paintings of French artist Alison Flora (@sopoorific), to name just a few of the works that made the biggest impression on me.

In this Hall you'll also find tattoo artists, sigil designers, stalls selling incense, essential oils, stones, t-shirts... and the official OCCULTURE merchandise, including La Voix de Satan and Eoden's paintings. And after 8pm, the divination and consultation sessions begin, with Tarot, stones, pendulums...
It was a very pleasant first evening, but the cold is getting worse despite the fire and it's time for me to head back to GENERATOR!


Due to the hangover, I miss the morning conferences and workshops. I regret not seeing Eudaimon on Iboga (psychotropic African plant), but I will later have the opportunity to taste his very nice product. Arriving on site, I am impressed by the Conference Room: the installation is perfect.



Soft lighting, ambient music, a small golden leather sofa and an hourglass with black sand complete the details. At 2:30 p.m. the music drops and I start my conference “Satan, instrument of liberty. History and Evolution of Satanism.” A very condensed summary which transcribes the essentials of the History of Satan as published on the pages of La Voix de Satan since issue 0. The conference also aims to promote the AMSG and the magazine, and the summary takes the bias of emphasizing the positive forms of Satanism: Satan as liberator of thought, creative force and source of inspiration.

Frater D

The questions from the public are very classic, you will find them on page XI of this issue. The thirty minutes pass quickly, I even get some applause before leaving the spotlight.

Afterwards I had an interesting and important meeting: a member of the Temple of Set (see LVDS no. 2), who had come especially for my conference. In two hours of chat, I was able to obtain important information about the Temple and the Church of Satan, and my respect for Michael Aquino's work grew even more. As did my alcohol levels. After our conversation, the man mysteriously disappears and I don't see him again for the rest of the event...


Je m'assieds à côté d'une femme habillée en blouson noir avec de multiples inscriptions LSD, en tissu « vinyl hologramme ». Elle a la bonne volonté de partager avec moi un peu dudit produit, que j’ingère immédiatement. A ce moment un autre « sataniste » m'aborde : un proche de l'Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) et des Païens de Berlin, qui me révèle l'existence de certains groupes satanistes qui feraient des réunions dans un village fantôme en Alsace à la frontière Franco-Allemande. Au programme : service de sécurité, cérémonies théistes et sacrifices... pas de satanisme bon enfant ici. Pas de page web ou autres publicités non plus. Il m'explique également son système magique, le Yidam, un concept religieux de dévotion, une sorte de l’exploration de la conscience.

I sat down next to a woman dressed in a black jacket with multiple LSD markings, in "vinyl hologram" fabric. She was kind enough to share a bit of the stuff with me, which I took immediately. At this point another “Satanist”approaches me: someone close to the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) and the Berlin Pagans, who tells me about the existence of certain Satanist groups who hold meetings in a ghost village in Alsace on the French-German border. On the bill: security service, deist ceremonies and sacrifices...no innocent Satanism here. No web pages or other advertising either. He also explains his magical system, which he doesn't call Satanism but Black Magic. He practices the invocation of hyper-evil Tibetan forces, entities with three heads and mutilated bodies.  Before he could develop the practical side of his manipulations, we were interrupted by a German woman and the conversation switched to this language that I had no mastery of. What I have mastered even less is the effects of a large hashish cigarette that he shared with me. I head off to a lecture, probably by Daniel Pinchback, and fall miserably asleep, only to wake up a few minutes later... under the effect of the above-mentioned ACID. I bump into Kazim, who gives me an iboga capsule, and then an Italian girl who buys me a couple of beers.

(to listen to a short interview with myself and other participants, click here)



I manage to wedge myself comfortably in front of Common Eider King Eider and enjoy his dark ambient performance, tinged with violin, which transports me into peaceful dimensions. Deserted beaches, ponies running across the sand and the smell of the sea... the creak of wood and distant voices... Next up is “SINS, Invocation of Babalon”: a musical performance blending dark ambient, industrial and noise. A man, a woman and a carpet. Microphones that transform the voices into demons. Quite nice... I'll pass on the films. The DJ sets get off to a good start, but don't prove convincing enough afterwards. I was expecting the whole crowd to dance in a trance until the end of the night, but no, electronic music doesn't seem to be everyone's cup of chai. As for me, I prefer the fire outside. After a rather relaxed chat with a Greek tarot reader and a Brazilian guy, I retire to the GENERATOR in a pitiful condition.


Rude awakening, failed morning. After a good meal, a large piece of pork in a small piece of bread, I'm determined to take part in Hagen Von Tulien's workshop: "How to make the universe do what you want - Chaos magic in practice." The title is promising and it's my first workshop at OCCULTURE. I was expecting us to draw sigils, but the work will be on sound and voice. There are about fifty of us and we all have to vibrate magic formulas together. We start by visualizing and vibrating the Gnostic mantra IAO and continue by repeating, faster and louder, the Crowleyan formula “ZAZAS ZAZAS NASATANADA ZAZAS.” According to tradition, Adam is known to have once opened the gates of Hell with these words. We're not far from the same result...A powerful collective experience that shows the power of sound to transform reality.
Next up are Carl H. Smith and Sarah Janes, who are here to tell us about their visions of light following hot/cold saunas, the impact of screens and artificial light on life, luminous visions following experiments with DMT... I remain skeptical about the substance and message of this conference. This was followed by the “star” of OCCULTURE 2019, Gary Lachman, ex-bassist/composer of the group Blondie and prolific author in the field of the occult. I'm sure he has interesting things to say, but he's here to present his latest book Dark Star Rising: Magic and Power in the Age of Trump, released in 2018. The subject doesn't interest me at all and I'm rather curious to take part in Akal Anand Kaur's workshop, "Platinum Alchemy: Circle of Kundalini." As soon as I enter the Workshop Room, I sense a “bad” atmosphere, a little too cheerful for my taste. The presenter, Akal, was dressed all in white and asked us all to take off our shoes and sit down on the floor...it looked like bad hippie yoga and I hurried out before it was too late! I return to watch the end of Lachman's conference, in the middle of his presentation of “Meme Magic.” Yes, the magic of those images and caricatures circulating on the internet, Pepe the frog and company.



(photo Jeanne Saint-Julien (RIP 2024))

I'm saved by the sound of conches in the corridor. As guests of honor, three Mayan Mexicans have taken up residence in The Temple, a small wooden building outside, and perform a ritual every evening during the dinner break. Authentic and sincere, dressed in leather and animal skins, wearing war paint and with a feather in their noses, they deliver a powerful ritual. The music is provided by one of the brothers on the drum, didjeridoo, various bells and whistles, while the other does a fiery dance around the fire. The woman who accompanies them ritually perfumes us by exhaling the smoke from her pipe into our faces. She takes two volunteers and brings them into The Temple so that they can symbolically die, be reborn and reopen their “new eyes.” Meanwhile, the music continues, and all those present, if they wish, are “purified” by the Mayan shaman. I wait until there's hardly anyone left, to make it more private, and I get smoked from head to toe with incense. The whole thing ends with a war cry! It's perfect!


I'm ready for the Ritual of Abraxas which follows in the Conference Room. The audience stands in a circle around a large pentagram drawn on the floor. In the middle of the pentagram is an altar with goblets of wine, fruit juice for non-drinkers, and a basket with sliced bread. The ritual is conducted by Soror AuroRa, a consecrated priestess of the Gnostic Catholic Church and a long-standing member of the O.T.O., and Claas Hoffmann alias Fürst Claas vom Mars*. The latter explains that we must imagine ourselves as Abraxas, a warrior divinity with the head of a rooster, a human torso and snake-like legs. Then hold on to this vision, or the feeling of power it gives us, throughout the ritual. Priestess Soror AuroRa begins with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, then the priest, herself and three other people, all dressed in white, walk around the rays of the pentagram. It starts to get embarrassing when we all have to clap our hands and sing "I am the flame. I am the magician. There is a splendour in my name. The end of the hiding. Abrahadabra." The tone is far too happy, it doesn't work for me, but some people seem to enjoy it. We continue to sing the same phrase, this time in a circle around the pentagram, still clapping our hands. We look like a sect of hippies, the cups on the table in the middle remind me of Jonestown and the People's Temple. Are we going to drink the poisoned wine at the end of this absurd ritual? The priestess repeats the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to conclude the “ceremony,” but loses her voice completely, chokes, starts coughing and pours herself a big cup of wine to wash it down! We all drink our wine and eat our little slice of bread, and I go out to freshen up.



Outside, the company Earth Dragons, fire jugglers, put on a show that was technically impressive, though not very mystical, despite their flaming horns, fire eaters and other more or less traditional sticks and bolas. The two music groups that followed in the Conference Room weren't of much interest, and the DJ sets in the Workshop Room were rather lame. I get the impression that the organizers have fallen victim to the price of tickets, which are a little too expensive for musicians who are not very well known. Those who have been attending the conferences since 11 a.m. don't necessarily stay until 3 a.m. and those who prefer to come and dance in the evening don't necessarily want to pay 55 euros (the price of the day pass). Being heavily intoxicated, I’m too tired to wait for Spiral Tribe's Jeff23's set, and go back to my GENERATOR, to charge up the batteries. I've put myself on a list to attend the Gnostic Mass at noon and I want to be “fresh”...


Waking up at 11am with a terrible hangover. Mission: go to the O.T.O. Berlin Gnostic Mass scheduled for noon, limited to fifty people and by registration only. I arrived at 11.55am, there weren't many living souls around, and the Mass was 30 minutes late, which turned into 50. It stank of incense, and I couldn't stand being in this atmosphere for three days...Never mind, I met a Bulgarian girl who was also waiting. I ask her about the things I've missed, and it turns out that the Kundalini workshop, from which I'd escaped, wasn't very advanced and was based solely on breathing...We talk a bit about the Tarot, which is her occult practice, then about medicinal herbs and we go to Mass.



About thirty people attend. A guardian watches over the door and then acts as deacon (a sort of Master of Ceremonies).

We receive a booklet with two texts and the gestures to be repeated during the ritual. We are also instructed by the deacon who shows us the gestures and explains the procedure. The staging and decor are fine. Astarte Oasis, an organization accredited by the O.T.O., has done a good job. The ritual begins, but the room is large and due to lack of microphones you can't hear everything that's said. I invite you to find out more about the Gnostic Mass, as written by Aleister Crowley in Liber XV in 1913. To cut a long story short, the priestess ends up completely naked on the altar and licks the priest's lance, while we try to follow, as best we can, the text pronounced by the deacon. As almost all the participants had no experience of this ritual, we found it difficult to anticipate when to say the phrase "So mote it be" and the rhythm of the other texts. At the end, it was time to receive communion and eat the hosts or "light cakes" in front of the priestess, saying "There is no part of me that is not of the gods." As we were able to say it in our respective languages, I “satanized” the phrase a little. :) All in all, interesting. Communion, walking around the room and eating the host while looking the priestess in the eye, was quite magical. Unfortunately, everyone was tired from the day before.
The noise of the discussions in the corridor was very loud and disturbing...I'd like to do it again in a more intimate setting. The whole thing lasted a good hour and a half and I missed the morning lectures. After a mediocre meal at the Mexican Food Truck on site, I went to see what Brian Cotnoir had to say about Alchemy, the Emerald Tablet and the creative arts. As with most speeches on alchemy, the actual subject is never clearly explained. Those who call themselves alchemists can never reveal the great secret of the Philosopher's Stone... You have to buy Brian's book to find out more. How convenient! Having already delved into the subject, I have an idea of what it's all about. The author tells us that art is like alchemy, starting from nothing, but with hard work and imagination you can transform the raw material into something noble. Like the poet, the singer or the dancer who creates beauty solely with the voice, the mind and the body. Like the painter who transforms colors into beautiful visions. What surprised me in his speech was that he himself carries out “alchemical” experiments in his kitchen, by which I mean old-fashioned chemical experiments with athanors and metals.
Susan Wands's talk on the evolution and perception of colors and symbols was very interesting, from Pamela Colman Smith and her involvement in the Golden Dawn to Tarot images as gateways to interpreting universal concepts. An excellent speaker, Ms Wands follows the evolution of the popular and recognizable icons of culture, whose vibrations resonate in a unique way for each person. Unfortunately, our subconscious is saturated with images to understand the subtleties and power of symbols from the 'pre-multimedia' era.
Another workshop I attended was David Rankine's “Kabbalistic Sound Magic with the Hebrew Alphabet.” Unfortunately, for someone who has to conduct work on vocal magic, David doesn't master the art of speaking very well. More than half the people left the workshop during the introduction. It's a pity, because the subject is interesting and it encourages people to find out more about how the letters of the Hebrew alphabet constitute the elementary foundations of the construction of the universe according to the Kabbalah. During the workshop we began by observing a letter, memorizing its shape, then closing our eyes and vibrating the sound of the letter while visualizing it in our minds. Then each of us had one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet inscribed on the palm of our hand. Standing in a circle, we had to vibrate out loud the sound of our letters. It was a great experience, not unlike Hagen Von Tulien's Chaos Magic workshop. Mantras remain a universal magical tool.

Then comes a truly exceptional performance: Samā' Dervish or Whirling Dervish. Accompanied by a dark ambient/noise/violin musician, Kareem Ghoniem presents a contemporary interpretation of the sacred dance of the Sufi whirling dervishes.


Emerging from the thick smoke, a black cloak rises from the ground. The dancer turns first slowly, then very quickly, until he reaches a form of trance, during which he spreads out his arms, the palm of his right hand pointing towards the sky to gather the grace of Allah, the palm of his left hand pointing towards the earth to spread it. When he turns over his black cloak, which represents the carnal envelope, it is the resurrection. The cloak is now purple. With his arms crossed over his chest and his hands on his shoulders, he spins around the stage. This double turn represents the law of the universe: man revolves around his center, his heart, and the stars revolve around the Sun. This double cosmic symbolism is the true meaning of Samā': all creation revolves around a center. The dance is thus like a prayer, a surpassing of oneself to the supreme union with God. He will turn around for 30 minutes. Without stopping. Then the dervish suddenly falls to the ground and disappears into the mist as if in a magic trick. The applause is loud and long, everyone is moved by the physical and mental prowess.



I'm ready to attend the Closing Ritual, which takes place outside. Everyone is invited to join in around the brazier. The Masters of Ceremony are Oryelle and the Chaos magician, David Lee, a member of the Illuminati of Thanateros. The first announces that in order to bring together all the participants from different spiritual currents, they chose the archetype of Baphomet. A universal symbol, bringing together masculine and feminine, luminous and obscure, the four elements...The Mayan shamans also join in the ritual, and open the festivities by sounding their conches and percussion instruments. Oryelle kicks off the introduction with a tribute to Hermes Trismegistus, then invokes Baphomet. David Lee begins an improvised Mass of Baphomet, his hands in the brazier inferno, his face behind the flames and smoke; the man is transformed into a demonic figure. We all stand in a circle and he spins inside, chanting Enochian keys and barbaric formulas. "Zazas Zazas Nasatanada Zazas! Baphomet, Baaaaaphomet! The atmosphere is ecstatic, everyone is dancing, singing, clapping their hands, screaming like animals and shouting "Baphomet!”
The most powerful ritual of the event, the energy is immense. It's hard to stop, but after a long series of thanks to the participants and organizers, it's time for a final hug goodbye and see you next year. I smoke a little cannabis resin with a stranger and head out to the GENERATOR. Under the mystical veil of thick mist, I feel powerful and inspired, ready to transform the world in the image of my dreams.

Frater D.


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