He was a devil worshiper going to Hell; indeed, he was. He was finally to meet His Master for a cosy fireside chat and maybe get an idea or two about Satanic extravagances: how, in short, to Raise Hell, to create Hell on This Earth.

Our main protagonist was called Bill, looking like most of us, not wearing a black cape or anything outlandish, or should I say nightlandish. No, nothing like that…! However, in most other respects, he was a full-fledged Satanist, aesthetical variety. That means he was no formal, systematic, ceremonial adept, oh no; here we had classy stuff, like Milton, “The Temptation in the Desert,” “The Book of Job,” and the cover of Judas Priest’s “Sad Wings of Destiny” as inspiration; fire and brimstone and red velvet. Bill was a romantic worshiper, nevertheless sworn to Evil; he was the real deal, I can assure you that. He chose darkness before light, evil before good, and he did it with style. A Hell-bound dandy, a dapper darkwing, if you will.

And now, he was going to Hell to meet His Master. To find the way, he had a hand-drawn map he once bought in an antiquarian shop. And so, reading the sinister signs of the map, he one day left his modern city abode and went away over spectral landscapes, across an unholy land with purple bushes and weird flowers and yellow clouds in the sky, and suddenly he saw a tree in the distance, a certain tree the map told him would be the passage to Hell.

The tree was the gateway, strangely so. For this was nothing other than the Tree of Evil, the Radical Root of Reeking Resentment; it grew up through the dimensions, through the astral spheres which surrounded Earth and whose nethermost level was Sheol, the astral Hell; that is, the lowest of the Eight Heavens and thus situated above Earth.

This isn’t widely known, that the astral Hell is situated above Earth. But it is. There is of course an earthly netherworld, too, but that’s another story. It’s kind of more coarse and raw, more elemental. Not so romantic…!

Bill, for his part, approached the tree, smelling of strong resin and hung with red fruits of a metallic lustre. This seems promising, he thought, metallic food is inedible, it’s sick, man, exquisitely degenerate…! So this must be the gate to Hell. He then searched the trunk for an entrance, eventually finding an aperture and going inside. Once there, he saw a spiral staircase leading upwards, the tree being hollow with a flight of stairs inside. So I’d better ascend it then, he thought.


Said and done; Bill started to walk up the stairs, round and round and up and up. Everything became a blur, a purple haze, and after forever, he found himself standing on a misty moor, black mountains lining the horizon and the air heavy with sulfuric scents. He treated his lungs with the air, eagerly inhaling the stale evaporations and feeling alive, wondrously alive, and more evil than ever. Finally, he was on the outskirts of Hell, soon he would meet His Master, at last he would become evil for real, a true practitioner and not just some scholarly worshipper…!

He walked over the lands, crossed desolate moors, walked over meadows with pale Hadean flowers and eventually came to a town; a black burgh built by demons. Here it was all basalt, porphyry, and volcanic minerals; it was cornices adorned with rough cut gems, it was niches with sickly green statues, it was barbarously adorned pillars and valves echoing of demonic laughter. Walking aimlessly along in the city, Bill eventually came to a square with a palace as a backdrop, a structure with a dark obsidian front, shiny black glass adorned with pillars, akroteria and an inviting flight of steps leading to the entrance.

Fearlessly he walked up to the building and entered, going through empty halls and soon coming to a library bathing in a grey light. Browsing the shelves and seeing works by de Sade, Abd al-Hazred, and Crowley, knowingly nodding at the spines, Bill felt like being at home…hellish Heimat, for sure…!


Bill left the library and continued his walk, going through vestibules and along corridors, eventually coming to a great hall with dark pillars, a smooth floor, and high, pointed-arch windows with gossamer veils letting in an ambiguous grey light. On a throne on a dais, a figure was sitting, a figure in a black suit and a black cloak lined with red velvet. The man had long and tangled dark hair, an unkempt beard, bushy eyebrows, and a tired look in his eyes.

This latter fact was important. Bill tried to meet the other’s look, tried to discern some spark of fire in it. But there was nothing of it. The figure looked haggard, spent…

Despite the worn look, Bill felt that this was his Master, so he bowed and said:

“Mr. Devil, I presume…?”

“Yeah, that’ll be me,” the being on the throne said.

Bill was overjoyed; he started to jump around and dance, singing Maiden’s “666: The Number of the Beast,” followed by highlights from the Black Sabbath, Dio and Merciful Fate songbooks. The enthroned being listened politely and then asked the newcomer to sit down on a little stool below the dais.

Expectantly, Bill obeyed, saying:

“I’m your obedient servant, here to praise you. You’re the inspiration of my artistry.”

“But I’m finished as an artist,” the Devil said.


“Indeed. It’s over. For you know, ever since the dawn of time, we Hellish Angels have battled against the Heavenly Host; Asuras versus Devas you can call it, dark angels versus good ones, and believe you me, we’ve done a lot…! We’ve done our darndest to lead Man astray, teaching him devilry such as murder and adultery, while devas have taught him arts and morals. We have gone for passion and melancholy, devas for piety and joy, and we, finally, seem to have lost the game.”

“Oh no, you can’t have!” Bill said. “Earth is more miserable than ever, with warring in the Middle East, overpopulation and pollution and—”

“True,” the Devil said. “Man still has his free will, and maybe me and my kind still can inspire to certain miseries. But only indirectly so, for our reign is more-or-less over, finished, and kaput, concerning the astral planes. You passed through Gehenna City on your way here, right? It was a boomtown once, a city teeming with hellish life, but now it’s just an empty ruin; that’s symbolic of our whole cause. The Dark Angels have ascended and switched sides. Only I am left. And my human stooges are done with; man is liberating himself and acknowledging the Light.”


Bill nodded at the Devil’s words and beheld the light from the windows, a faint astral light seeping in through the veils. He thought: if the Devil seemed to bask in its luster, at least not shying away, well, then it was seriously bad. Bill started to get the picture, to realize the sordid state of Evil. He said:

“So what shall I do then, poor devil worshiper that I am? Can’t I inspire you to some evil machinations, to challenge God and tempt Jesus and all those things you were so good at in the past?”

“No, you can’t,” the Devil said and produced a piece of jewellery he was holding, a green emerald with a golden interior. “Because here I happen to hold the Holy Grail, given to me by a knight in shining armour. This gem actually once adorned my crown, holding pride of place in it. Then the crown was broken. With the other gems, I made the stars. Yeah, I did. And the central gem became the Grail…and now I have it again. And with this object I will seek passage to Heaven. Be the last Hell’s Angel to ascend.”

“Indeed,” Bill said frostily to hide his astonishment. “So why don’t you go there right away, then?”

“I will, I will. I just have to gather myself before the meeting; to meet your Heavenly Father after all these years, that’s not so simple. God is my father and I can’t deny it any longer. God came first, then me. Then came JC. My brother he is. And to meet that Brother: that’s not so simple either! Not for me having denied this kinship for so long. But I will go, by telepathy I will request for an audience. I hope they receive me and hear me out, I sincerely do. Well, you just have to be honest, I guess. I’ve washed my hands in it.”


Bill didn’t like what he heard. On the contrary, where he sat on the stool, he sighed and rested his head in his hands, rubbing his temples in despair. This hadn’t gone well, his long-awaited meeting with the Devil; on the contrary, it was a disaster! Instead of meeting a vigorous, gloriously evil Principality, he just saw a pathetic old has-been, mentally worn out. To a large extent, it was the aesthete in Bill which revolted against it all; not only was there a lack of malignancy, no, above all there was a lack of style. Where was the Blakean, Miltonian Lucifer with all his melancholic beauty…? The Woodroffian Devil of Judas Priest album cover fame, a handsome Adonis spreading his wings of desire…?

Sic transit gloria inferni…

Bill sobered up and wondered what to do. Maybe just return to Earth and pretend like nothing, above all not mentioning anything about the sordid state of their Master to his devil-worshipping friends. But the truth wouldn’t go down well with them.

Oh, what to do…but maybe he himself could assume the role of the Devil! That might work; he could be a surrogate devil, an Ersatz Evil, for a while safe from intervention from higher planes since the Devil himself had thrown in the towel and switched sides…and indeed there was no shortage of devilry on Earth; still Man made war, murdered and committed adultery like there was no tomorrow. Still drugs were abused, still criminals were saluted like heroes, and the gospel of mindless hedonism was preached here, there and everywhere, at the academies, in the press and in the arts. To be frank, it seemed like a heyday for devilry!


Bill had had enough. He got up from the little stool and said to His Master:

“Well, goodbye then, Mr. Devil. Still I revere you, but for future times, we’ll have to do without you. If we’re going to create Hell on Earth, we’ll have to do it by ourselves.”

“Seems so,” the Devil said. “Man has a free will and maybe you still can lead him astray, maybe not. Goodbye.”

He leaned back in his throne, enjoying the rays of a sun that for a moment shone through the hazy veils. Bill, for his part, shunned the light, not liking either this astral light nor the earthly light of day. He left the hall and went into a side cabinet of the palace, calming down, meditating on a quicker way to return home. He did it by visualizing the Earth he had come from, longing himself back to the earthly night, and in a moment, he was lying at the foot of the Tree of Evil, the Radical Root of Reeking Ressentiment, his passage to Gehenna. Shedding the dust, he got up and made his way back to our world, in two minds, but at the same time confident about the devilry he was about to carry out. Still there were possibilities to create a Hell on Earth, because—as the Devil had said—Man still had a free will.

Baring a few victories of the Light, there still wasn’t much to prevent more war, adultery, and murder galore! The road to ruin was all clear! So Bill danced away to familiar lands, shouting to his potential audience:

“Out in the fields, my brethren and sistren, let’s harrow the lands with drinking, fighting and swearing…! Evil be my Good…! Fire and brimstone…!”