by Niklas Göransson
Raising the Devil’s temple on holy ground, a clash of faiths deep in the bible belt. Michael W. Ford is an author, musician, and entrepreneur – known for his work both with US black metal antagonists Black Funeral and the Greater Church of Lucifer.
The following is an excerpt from the full article, which is twice as long and published in Bardo Methodology #4. The same issue also includes conversations with PROFANATICA, PRIMORDIAL, SOLSTICE, Götz Kühnemund, Louise Brown, KATATONIA, THERION, COUNTESS, Stockholm Slaughter, MARDUK, and TAAKE.
– I was first drawn to metal back in the late 80s, driven by my passion for demonology and Satanic philosophy. I was a weird kid who regarded the symbolism of Satan as this conquering, knowledge-driven, and balanced force more than anything related to the torturing and destroying biblical Devil. This does not imply that I didn’t recognise the destructive cycle and eventuality of death – or the beauty within its horrors for that matter. I realised early on that this living world is, as are all things in nature, a balance between destruction and creation.
Already a practicing occultist, with the discovery of black metal in the early 90s came the urge to engage and create, which is how BLACK FUNERAL became part of his life. In the course of promoting their 1995 debut album, “Vampyr – Throne of the Beast”, an adolescent Michael appeared in PIT Magazine with a rather feisty interview – one that, due to its colourful content, would leave repercussions for years to come.
– Why would I endorse violence then? Because I was a fucking angry and ignorant teenager who’d begun using music and art to – in my mind – promote the Satanic spirit and passion to others. After the article came out the Attorney General of Indiana was made aware of BLACK FUNERAL’s extreme encouragements of murder, which meant that I had little choice but to lay low for a while.
Two years later, after BLACK FUNERAL released their second album, “Empire of Blood”, Michael disavowed black metal entirely. While maintaining his esoteric interest and musical preferences, the subculture had become increasingly irrelevant to him. In 1997, Michael started an entry-level position at a nationwide corporation and, as the years went by, would continuously move up the ranks until he was promoted to regional market training manager.
– I began as the lowest employee you could be, even having to cut my hair off – fucking hell, but I needed the money… and through strategy, cunning, discipline, and ambition I was consistently promoted over a ten-year period. I retained a store manager position for several years; hiring and firing, developing and exceeding results beyond the company’s goals. In 2005 I met my future wife, Hopemarie, who was also successful as a district manager, the company’s youngest employee and first-ever woman to hold that position. I’d also recently published my written works Luciferian Witchcraft, Liber HVHI and Book of the Witch Moon. Around this time, I’d gradually come to the realisation that I had to leave the corporate world behind as it was beginning to feel stifling and boring. Hopemarie and I discussed opening an online shop based around my books and other Luciferian pursuits.
Michael would regularly restock his personal ceremonial supplies from various online wiccan and pagan retailers but often found their selection somewhat lacking. The couple decided to start up what would hopefully become the go-to Left Hand Path supply centre.
– This was a very scary move and some major initiatory work for me. Many called us crazy for abandoning our careers and going rogue – at this point, with bonuses and everything included, I was making around 90,000 dollars per year. Building on Succubus Productions Publishing, the company I’d used to self-release several of my books, we started a new operation called Luciferian Apotheca. At first it was hard and very soon rather bleak; light business, very basic web-store, and a lot of hand-made items. But we kept struggling and fought hard to build this company which has since grown and now we’ve been open for eleven years and counting. Working with Luciferian Apotheca is demanding but I love doing the Devil’s work!
Further diabolical promulgation takes place through literary means. At the time of this conversation, autumn 2018, Michael has twenty-six books to his name.
– When I published Luciferian Witchcraft in 2005 it became a best-seller via Lulu, the original publisher, and I was bombarded with seekers who identified with and were attracted to the magick presented in the grimoire. Soon I had to adapt in order to accommodate the increasing number of individuals seeking to understand Luciferian principles, leading to additional works such as The Bible of the Adversary. I am myself living fucking validation that the philosophical, rational, material, and metaphysical qualities of Luciferianism are deeply identifiable and real.
He says that several emergent groups had begun using his books and their understanding thereof in developing Luciferian philosophy. This ultimately led to a wider convergence taking shape in 2015 when the Greater Church of Lucifer opened its doors in Old Town Spring, a small town in rural Texas.
– I was approached by two such groups and agreed to lead them as co-president, on the condition that I was given part-ownership and directive control including copyrights to my printed writings for GCOL. We opened America’s, and possibly the world’s, first-ever Satanic or Luciferian church; meaning a physical, legally recognised ceremonial building as opposed to a temple furnished within someone’s house, like the Black Church of LaVey. The core principles, which became known as the 11 Luciferian Points of Power, were structured from my key books and contained a simple philosophical foundation devoid of any esoterism. Read the 11 Points and you’ll soon discover if you identify with them in the way you perceive the world. For Judeo-Christians and monotheists – or plain idiots – it’s initially rather shocking and often considered an ‘evil’ and alien belief system. The majority of Americans are often exceptionally ignorant and dogmatic, especially here in the Bible Belt.
Which conveniently lands us at my next point: while far from an expert in the theological landscape of North America, even I could’ve figured out that opening a temple of Luciferian worship in a small Texan town would stir unrest. To give an indication of the area the Greater Church of Lucifer settled in, their immediate ecclesial neighbours were the Haven Community Church, the Tamina Church of Christ, and the Immanuel United Church of Christ.
– We originally wanted to establish the church in downtown Houston, which is far more open-minded and supportive. As well as expensive. Hence why we ended up in Old Town Spring: a business and shopping oriented old-style historical town with reasonable rents. I knew it wouldn’t go smoothly once the locals found out but, originally, we were trying to proceed relatively unnoticed. Then it happened, all at once: newspapers, internet news, radio stations, and mainstream media discovered us and I somehow found myself elevated to a public figurehead of Luciferianism.
Fortunately, Michael had plenty of experience with public presentations, speaking events, and performing live to draw from, so television interviews weren’t an especially big deal to him.
– I knew chaos was at hand when I saw myself on the evening news. Speaking to reporters, I’d focus on Luciferianism which can be argued rationally and from a pragmatic sense against any other belief or religious system. Christians throw around terms such as ‘Jesus’, ‘God’, and ‘faith’ without the slightest clue of how their religion even developed or the lies woven into every aspect of their lives. We received threats of death and arson and were protested with exciting levels of anxiety. The building was vandalised prior to opening; one night, two men tried to demolish our roof by cutting down a massive tree branch but the main bulk of its force landed on the Christian neighbour’s quilting-supplies shop instead! Then someone threw a tacky fat-kid-cherub-angel statue through our front window. The repairs were paid for by one of our members, a doctor from Florida. A local pastor kept pestering me at a restaurant so I frightened him into averting his eyes, slightly shaking, and respecting my statement of, ‘I am Luciferian and there’s nothing further for you to speak to me about’. The day the Church opened, October 31, we were greeted by several camera crews, reporters everywhere, and tonnes of protesters. Unsurprisingly, neither category had bothered reading the 11 Points or even acquiring a rudimentary understanding of our philosophy.
One news clip I watched during my research shows the evangelical assembly outside the Luciferian inauguration. For someone living in Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world, this scene is surreal almost to the point of unbelievability. A protestor with a cap saying ‘Jesus is my boss’ clamours to a gigantic wooden cross – it must seriously be almost four metres tall – while drawling in an outrageous accent, ‘I came here today to let the people know Jesus is the answer, it’s not Lucifer.’ He’s followed by a gentleman who clearly means serious business; sporting a mullet, action shades, and gym gloves he explains, ‘Anyone that’s done their research on this subject knows that Satanists build altars and sacrifice animals as a form of worship to their god’.
– Several of them tried performing ‘exorcisms’ in front of the building, to which I’d recite the rather basic Lord’s Prayer backwards; they always gave up. Some protestors actually started fighting with each other after a while, providing additional entertainment. I learned what it was like to represent Satan in a rational and philosophical sense; in daily, mundane life entrenched deep behind enemy lines. This was a beautiful experience in which I discovered a lot about what I’m made of. No matter the threats, confrontations, or pressure put on us, along with Hopemarie and our associates I remained steadfast in my resolve. It was a fucking rush to shock so many perceptions and fragile ideals by displaying true Luciferian spirit and hopefully igniting a spark of the Black Flame in the few who would later seek us out. I remember standing among the protesters without fear and with my senses alert, thinking that if I was to be killed it would probably happen regardless of my whereabouts. The experience gave me insight in the way humans operate as a mass herd – ignoring basic points and throwing emotion into their fantasies.
Any truth to the allegations of animal sacrifice?
– Hardly, the only ‘rituals’ I performed were Illumination Ceremonies – a self-dedication or affirmation of your beginning upon the path, which actually brought in loads of people from all walks of life. We also held weekly presentations and lectures on Luciferian philosophy, the practice of magick, and related topics until we were forced to shut down one year later. The church was closed after our landlord refused to renew the lease; a Catholic group had gotten hold of her phone number and address, then published it online which led to a stream of death threats. Despite eventually being forced to close I felt we’d reached a new milestone for Luciferianism and Satanism by occupying this physical location for a full year, standing strong and upright for our creed.
During these trying times, the congregation of the Lightbringer were not only beset by outside forces but also suffered betrayal from within their midst. I read that one leading member buckled under pressure around the conflict’s peak, averted his gaze from Lucifer’s radiance and ate the body of Christ. That must have been a dreadful blow.
– Not exactly, he was forced out of the organisation prior to his so-called ‘finding Jesus’. Honestly, he was a stupid man with low IQ who did not understand Luciferianism and tried using it only to enrich himself. This is a guy who’d sit working on our website all day, which was the only reason he was tolerated in the first place. But every time he spoke, something stupid and ignorant would come out so I grew tired of losing my temper and yelling at him. This is a most slimy individual who was discovered for the garbage he is and then forced to sign over all organisational rights to us. He’s cursed and has been reduced to even less than a person in my eyes. Having now worked for years presenting Luciferian philosophy to a wider audience, this experiment has clarified something for me: many can read it but no matter how simple the premise, few are able to understand Luciferian thinking unless they already have a spark of the Black Flame within them. I have little interest in ‘saving’ or even contributing to the salvation of humanity, my work is meant to open gateways via living nexions manifesting that energy throughout the world.
This is an excerpt from the full article, which is twice as long and published in Bardo Methodology #4. The same issue also includes conversations with PROFANATICA, PRIMORDIAL, SOLSTICE, Götz Kühnemund, Louise Brown, KATATONIA, THERION, COUNTESS, Stockholm Slaughter, MARDUK, and TAAKE.