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Saturday, January 12, 2013

School prayer: The devil really IS in the details

This story is piffle, but it's irresistible piffle.

In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott has pushed for legislation allowing students to offer prayers during graduation ceremonies and other occasions. A local group of diabolists, the Satanic Temple, has decided to rally in favor of the governor and this new law. Apparently, the Temple wants children to be able to praise the Dark One while the band plays Pomp and Circumstance.

If high school students are anything like the way they were in my day, this idea will catch on and campuses everywhere will resound with canticles to His Infernal Majesty. A long time ago, I read a comic book short story based on this idea: After a small town in the deep South passes a law allowing prayer in school, an ambitious youngster uses the opportunity to call up a cousin of Cthulhu, with predictably gory results.

Kids, that's your cue: The moment school prayer becomes a reality in your community, find yourself a copy of the Goetia (pronounced "Go-WEH-shia"), an old recipe book for summoning up dark spirits. The demons will do your bidding, bringing you treasure and invisibility and fame and sex -- but only if you perform the ritual in perfect form; if you screw up the incantation even slightly, the dark ones will be free to romp and scamper and do unspeakable things throughout the world. (Explains a lot, dunnit?) At one time, the Goetia was quite hard to locate -- even UCLA didn't have a copy -- but nowadays, helpful scholars have placed it online: See here and here. Venus Satanas, a sexy high priestess of the dark arts, has produced master class videos on Goetic invocations. (She recommends that you consult Crowley's quasi-impenetrable 777! Now there's a woman after my own heart. Perhaps literally.)

(By the way, her pronunciation of "Goetia" derives from modern Greek, while mine goes back to the ancient ways. The original spelling was γοητεία; the letter η ("eta") has changed over the years.)

Perhaps Governor Scott intended to give Florida's young demonologists a chance to summon Bael or Marbas or Paimon or one of their eldritch brethren. A long time ago, this blog caused a bit of a stir when I took notice of an odd aspect of the Republican symbol...
Do you say "HEH-donist" too? :-)
b, I once had an original copy of that very edition that came from the local OTO library. Too bad I lost most of my books! If memory serves, there was a picture of Pan inscribed in the cover and all of the Goetic seals were pictured, rather small, on the flyleaf.

I kept this volume by the john, next to a copy of the Constitution.

That was naughty.
If your pronunciation really "goes back to the ancient ways", you'd pronounce it "go-waay-TAY-a" (i.e., the eta should be twice as long in duration as the other vowels, the tau should be pronounced like a "t", and the emphasis should be on the penult, since it carries the accent). If you want to be really fussy, you'd elevate the pitch on the penult as well, since it has an acute accent.

There is no "sh" sound in Ancient or Modern Greek (except, IIRC, in modern Cretan dialect).

I knew that Classics degree would come in handy sometime.
Prop, I bow to your learning. But how do you propose to tell Venus Satanas? I don't like to piss off an attractive lady, especially one who can put a curse on me.
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