In hundreds of rooms and cellars dotted around the working class suburbs of Buenos Aires – a far cry from the Parisian style avenues and chic apartment blocks of the city’s centre – eclectic icons peer out from improvised shrines. Among them are scantily dressed femme fatales with flowing hair, dancing gypsies with veiled faces, mysterious caped warriors, earthen figures with cowry shells for eyes and mouths, and horned, devilish men.

These are some of the many manifestations of the African–American spirits Eshu and his seductive female counterpart, Pomba Gira – deities seen by a small but growing number of inhabitants of the Argentine capital as a source of consolation for their problems. Once a month, devotees bring the figures offerings of flowers, cigarettes and liquor, and the temples – usually the homes of the cult leaders – come alive with the sound of drums and singing. In a whirl of black capes and red dresses, the initiated receive the spirits in possession trances, during which the spirits are said to impart advice and wisdom.

The voice of the Devil

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.

1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, call’d Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, call’d Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that call’d Body is a portion of Soul discern’d by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3 Energy is Eternal Delight

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling.
And being restrain’d it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire.
The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, & the Governor or Reason is call’d Messiah.
And the original Archangel or possessor of the command of the heavenly host, is call’d the Devil or Satan and his children are call’d Sin & Death.
But in the Book of Job Miltons Messiah is call’d Satan.
For this history has been adopted by both parties.
It indeed appear’d to Reason as if Desire was cast out, but the Devil’s account is, that the Messiah fell, & formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyss.

This is shewn in the Gospel, where he prays to the Father to send the comforter or Desire that Reason may have Ideas to build on, the Jehovah of the Bible being no other than he who dwells in flaming fire.
Know that after Christs death, he became Jehovah.
But in Milton; the Father is Destiny, the Son, a Ratio of the five senses, & the Holy-ghost, Vacuum!
Note: The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it.

– William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The Dark Must Be Played Through

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow.

—T. S. Elliott