Amplifying self-empowerment through ritualistically removing Christ-based religious oppression, all while reveling in the sins of the flesh? I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing on a Saturday night in Denver … and it seems I’m not alone.

A sell-out congregation of Satanists came from across the state to make the first-ever Black Mass hosted by The Satanic Temple Colorado (TSTCO) and the Denver horror shop Horrid on October 28th a rousing success. Of course, when hearing people in the crowd telling stories of braving the horrific snowfall during their treks that ranged in distances from Longmont to Grand Junction, the fact the venue was at capacity wasn’t surprising; these people were truly devout.

And when you couple the devotion of those in attendance with the fact that TSTCO had never attempted such an important ritual previously, expectations on both the Temple and Central Regional Counselor Persephone Gray –who called this “her baby”—were at a zenith.

I’m glad to say that between the execution of the entire event, along with the nudity and blasphemously-charged performances of the show opener (burlesque troop) ConSensual Circus, everyone more than “rose to the occasion.”

OK, there’s no other easy way to bridge this gap: yes, there were A LOT of sexual elements present to the entire celebration. But, as you’ll see, sex is really nothing more than a by-product of the self-empowerment that was at the core of everything Gray put together.

The very first thing TSTCO made clear at the event was that your personal comfort and consent were paramount. From when you first walked through the threshold separating the store from the ticket counter/coat check, your comfort and consent levels—and how they pertained to the upcoming ritual—were always treated as sacred. It’s also because of their commitment to keeping these comfort/consent levels sacred that no photography was allowed at the event, AT ALL.

When showing your IDs to either TSTCO members Danger or Legs, they would apply a band to your wrist with a different color, letting everyone know where your level of consent was. Though the various forms you had to sign explained that the “green” band meant you were OK with being touched anywhere with consent, “yellow” meant that you were OK with being touched in non-intimate areas with consent, and “red” meant that you don’t want to be touched anywhere, both Danger and Legs took the time to explain what each color meant again.

From there you would grab a program that contained the entire ritual and head through a hallway that led to the main theater. In this small corridor were two things that had been set up which I loved. The first was that TSTCO put together a few small tables that served an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages (this was a completely sober event). The second was a white neon sign that hung above the stage entryway reading, “This is where the magic happens.”

When you walked into the theater, you were greeted by a raised stage adorned with a black backdrop and a giant black upside-down cross. This was all accentuated by strategically placed red lights that gave depth to everything by adding blood-red shadows. Flanking both sides of the stage were two spiral candelabras.

Gray opened the show by again explaining the importance of the wristbands and the need for consent in all things sexual. She also explained that, in order to maintain optimal blasphemy, the part of a traditional Catholic Mass called the “Sign of Peace” was replaced with the “Sign of Lilith.” The sign of Lilith would be where you engage in temptations of the flesh with your neighbors. Because of their strict adherence to the 3rd Satanic tenet of “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone,” Gray had each attendee speak with their surrounding neighbors to establish the proper boundaries when that time would come.

She also made it clear that penetration was off the table because she didn’t want to clean up the mess.

As soon as she was done addressing the audience, the ConSensual Circus began preparing for their show by laying a clear tarp down to protect the stage—everyone in the building knew we were in for something special.

Before beginning, ringleader Presley Peach addressed the crowd once again reiterating the level of sexual content that was about to begin, and that if anyone felt uncomfortable, they could leave at any time.

The Circus show began with a speech coming through the speakers about the Catholic church and empowerment through education. The focus of the speech was concerning nuns and how they were one of the few sections of women allowed to be educated in the faith. As soon as it ended, rock music began with Cassy Cyanide taking the stage in a nun’s habit.

During her performance, she ripped pages from a Holy Bible (eventually burning them with tea candles from the back of the stage) before removing the bondages made of lies in the form of her nun’s habit. This was followed by her pouring hot wax all over her naked body before running into the aisle separating the two halves of seating.

The tactic of running into the crowd—along with extreme forms of metal in the vein of Slipknot being played throughout each set—would be utilized by all of the burlesque dancers to one degree or another.

Cyanide closed her show by smacking her ass with a switch that had a leather, upside-down cross attached at the end. As the last notes of the music came over the PA system, she had members of the audience punish her with the switch in the same manner she had just done a few moments before.

As soon as she left, the speakers came alive again with another speech. This time its focus was on reclaiming oneself and the story of the Virgin Mary. As soon as it ended, Alabaster began her walk to the stage dressed as the Virgin Mary … if she were a housewife.

Wearing a Terry cloth bathrobe with a tiara on her head, Alabaster made her way slowly to the stage through the crowd; once she was front and center, all Hell (and Jesus) broke loose.

Alabaster easily got the most raucous audience reception of any dancer that night due to the use of humor and sexuality in her performance. For example, while she was in delivery, she not only painfully yelled out “Jesus Christ”—thereby getting a ton of laughs—but she also got the entire congregation to chant “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” as an encouragement to get the little bugger out.

Once the crowd was in full effect, she did indeed give birth to a healthy plastic baby doll.

After delivery, she began an amazing strip tease that everyone in attendance was completely engaged in. Considering a portion of this included her running into the crowd fully naked to engage in a make-out session with Cassie Cyanide, it’s easy to see why all eyes were focused on the lovely Alabaster.

This tease culminated in her drooling blood all over herself before engaging in self-punishment by smacking both her ass and vagina with the cross-switch before carrying the baby through the aisle, having attendees kiss it.

Once she was out of sight, the speakers came alive with the last speech of the evening. This one focused specifically on Lucifer and how he represents unfettered knowledge.

As soon as the speaking stopped, the metal music began, and Presley Peach hit the stage wearing a Devil mask, a cape, and nothing else. For the next 10 minutes, they gave what I feel was the most Satanically inspired performance of the three.

To me, Satanism is about celebrating extremes, and Peach’s exhibition was bursting at the seams with such things. Though Peach included the common theme of burning Bible pages, that’s where the similarities between their performance and the other performances involving the holy text end. Peach took it one step further by rubbing the Bible on their vagina … before pulling out a full set of rosary beads from inside themself.

The last act of their presentation also found Peach making another attempt to free themself from the bonds of religious persecution that has always been forced upon mankind. This was done by using some of the Bible as a tampon to rub menses all over their body.

After a brief intermission, TSTCO member Kassandra Lament’s voice came over the PA to speak about consent and the upcoming ritual—that your body is your own, and if you don’t like something, then make it known. After the announcement was made, the nude woman who would be the altar was placed on her back atop a wooden table and the spiral candelabras were lit as the ritual began.

To be perfectly honest, a Satanic Black Mass is in many ways like a Catholic Mass … just inverted. In both cases, there is a priest who reads spiritually-based content (all with an audience call-and-response dynamic) and multiple sessions of standing/sitting.

However, it’s what’s in that spiritual content that makes all the difference.

With dark ambient soundscapes playing in the background, Gray began the mass by reciting the “Introductory Rites,” and for the next hour, various speakers of the temple would recite various sections of the mass. Sections like “Perennial Rites,” “Opening Prayer,” “Responsorial Psalm,” and “Profession of Faith” allowed the audience to profess their allegiance to Satan. In between these sections were readings from various Satanic texts. “Revolt of the Angels” by Anatole France, “Là-Bas” by Joris-Karl Huysmans, and “The Unholy Gospel According To William Blake.” The peppering of these writings allowed for a more poetic interpretation of Satan and his influence on man.

One section during the ritual that deserves attention was called “Homily.” At this point, Gray went through each of the writings, what their specific importance is to Satanism, and what can be learned from them. I thought it added a lot of depth to the entire presentation and gave people something to latch onto.

I have to admit that the most surprising element of everything I witnessed was how mild the sign of Lilith section was. When my wife and I set the boundaries at making out, I felt we were being a little tame given everything we had witnessed. It seems that we weren’t the only ones who felt this way. While making out, I took a look around, and other than some spanking happening on the stage, everyone else in the crowd seemed to share the same boundaries as me and my partner.

To be honest, with it being a traditional masquerade-style event, I felt like I was in the center of the first minute of the orgy scene in “Eyes Wide Shut”—except in this case, the cameras stopped rolling before anything got steamy.

The one last section of the Black Mass I felt had great significance was during the “Communion.” While speaking about Satan exemplifying personal rights, Gray pulled out a jelly-like substance from the vagina of the nude woman that was the altar. After doing so, Gray and the naked nuns next to her began to eat it. The congregation was then welcomed to the stage to partake of this communion.

95% of those in attendance did so; like I said, these were the most devoted Satanists I had ever seen.

After the end of the “Concluding Rites,” while the audience began to shuffle out of the theater, I made it a point to listen to what everyone was talking about—I wanted to be a fly on the wall and know what impact the Black Mass truly had on those under that roof.

There was one thing I kept hearing; how selfish everyone was.

Selfish in the fact that everyone left knowing their personage has importance and the only thing that matters is being true to yourself. How Satanism actively encourages the individual to discover their full potential by discarding bronze-age superstitions and that by doing so, you can become the highest form of yourself possible.

Though we don’t know if, or when, TSTCO will hold another Black Mass, don’t worry, there’s another option. If you want to experience the same level of endorphins that can only be manifested by the self-empowerment brought forth by the Dark Lord, then I highly recommend you catch the last TSTCO event of the year, Saturnalia. It’s on December 16th, and having attended one previously, I promise you will have just as much of an unholy experience there as you would at any Black Mass.

I mean, how could an “unbaptism ritual” lead to anything else?