A Brief History of The Westgate
Beginning in the mid-seventies,
the voice of Azrael was just a whisper. Westgate press was born under
the name of Undinal Songs, the world's
first, and at that time, only periodical to focus exclusively on Necromantic
Art & Literature. Specifically material dealing with the personification
of the Angel of Death. It was primarily a forum for extraordinary works
considered too bold and daring for more traditional outlets. Often "shocking",
this "Magazine of the Macabre" was the only publication of
its kind in the world. The first viable effort to deal openly with such
topics as Death as a lover, Necromantic practice, and other "taboo"
subject matter explored both in myth and especially as fact. We encouraged
our audience to share their paranormal experiences and encounters with
such entities as the personified Angel of Death, and other, similar
souls patently designated as "dark" and "menacing"
by a world that had little understanding of such melancholic figures.
In its day, Undinal Songs and its contributors
won many awards in the independent press field, and in 1982 was named
by Writer's Digest Magazine as one of the top 50 publications
in the field. It also served as a respected launching pad for some of
today's successful genre writers, artists, & editors.
In 1983, the effort underwent a major restructuring. Undinal
Songs became The Westgate Group, which then consisted
of a publishing house, art studio, & an informational service
specializing in many metaphysical & occult areas. One thing led
to another, & in 1984 the Westgate Gallery formally opened. The
concepts & ideals that Westgate had been expounding in print, finally
had a visual expression. Originally located on Long Island in New York
State, "The Little Black Box", as the gallery was then called,
served as a unique, if somewhat dark gateway point for people on their
way to the sunny Hamptons.
In 1988, the origination & purpose of The Westgate was finally &
concisely put into concrete form through the publication of The
Book of Azrael, An Intimate Encounter with the Angel of Death,
which was hailed by reviewers as "the most fascinating book of
the 20th century." Since its publication, Westgate has been
coined "The Voice of Azrael", and we are comfortable with
being recognized as such on an international level. Our books, art &
other items are available worldwide through bookstores, mail order,
online, specialty shops, & distribution agents. We have long endeavored
to print an indelible mark upon the spirits of all who read our titles,
and engender the enlightenment of mankind as a whole. We do this by
cultivating & nurturing The Azrael Project
in a slow & steady fashion to insure that His message will remain
viable long after we have left this world.
When the 1990's came, so came even greater changes for The Westgate.
In 1990, after a four day vacation to New Orleans, we fell in love with
the spirit of the City of Enchantment. It seemed to have been chosen
by Azrael Himself as a viable gateway through which He might emerge
into the world. A city where many spiritual gates lie open. An unsettling
threshold in its own right, where Life & Death merge behind a feathered
mask. Where spectres weep in shaded courtyards, and magick recedes behind
weathered shutters. It was during this year that a special soul
joined our cause with almost magical coincidence. Daniel Kemp came on
board; A walking piece of the Night sky, and a perfect companion to
Death. He had "this book in him", The
Book of Night, but not a forum with which to bring it to fruition.
On a deeply spiritual basis, Leilah and Daniel found that they had so
much in common that their timely pairing was quite uncanny.
That year, Westgate moved lock, stock & barrel to the Crescent City's
famed Magazine Street where it stood as both monument, and museum/Temple
to the Angel of Death. The opening of the Westgate signified that
the time has come for mankind to reconcile Life with Death. The place
stood out like a beacon, calling to all souls who feel an affinity to
what it represents; A physical & symbolic manifestation of the true
Westgate through which we all pass upon our death. "The House of
Death", as we were more commonly called, was a place for special
souls, and you know who you are, to gather & feel at home. After
all, it is His house!
Our purpose remains to put forth the word of the Angel of Death &
thereby conquer fear through understanding. We endeavor to make people
aware of the essential nature of Death & to help humanity see their
universe through His eyes, & thereby gain a macrocosmic understanding
of both, Life & Death. We must loosen this last remaining fear that
keeps many tethered to the narrow view & burdened by the weight
of flesh. We must learn to view the world from neither side of eternity,
but rather from the threshold between the dimensions of space &
time. For over three decades, The Westgate has been rekindling primeval
memory, & replacing fear with love and serving as a point of contact
between Life & Death. A place where folks can come & be touched
by the melancholy spectre of the Angel of Death, & hopefully come
away with a new & poignant understanding. It is a threshold between
two worlds & a place where Love & Death embrace unabashed by
their own spectacle.
The ideals of the Westgate are a quantum leap beyond the veil of fear
that still exists, even among the most "enlightened". We stay
with love & commitment to our cause in being the voice & vision
of the Angel of Death. Our determination & success over the past
33 years has spear-headed His message from the fringe, to the forefront
of a wave that sweeps beyond current revelationary thinking into an
area that The Westgate alone has charted.
About the Founder of Westgate;
As a child, Leilah Wendell grew
up shadowed by a powerful & dark entity. Unremembered to her at
first, this spirit became the host of numerous paranormal & extraordinary
occurrences. These haunting events led her on a life-long excursion
into the astral world. More precisely, into the "Valley of the
Shadow." She has spent most of her life researching, writing &
teaching matters pertaining to the necromantic & metaphysical, particularly
the grey areas where light & darkness merge in a most necessary
& important balance. Through her unique relationship with the Angel
of Death, Leilah endeavors to impart His message to all.
A member of the Author's Guild/Author' League of America, Leilah
Wendell is the world's foremost recognized researcher of Death personifications
and encounters. Author of 14 books and scores of articles on the
subject, she is also a fine artists, poet and originator of The Westgate
Museum in Louisiana, the first and only gallery devoted exclusively
to Necromantic Art & Literature. Dedicated to Azrael, the Angel
of Death, the gallery featured fine art, prints, posters, books, cards,
sculpture, artifacts, jewelry & one of a kind items. Born
in New York and best known for her ground-breaking title Our
Name is Melancholy- The Complete Books
of Azrael, and over 40 years of research and documentation
via The Azrael Project. She currently resides in Opelousas, Louisiana.
About the Curator of the
Daniel was also born on Long Island,
N.Y., and currently resides in Opelousas Louisiana. Rather than being
shadowed by the Angel of Death, Daniel had his own spirit in attendance,
the Lady, who, since childhood's hour has been both friend and paramour.
She is the universe we all exist within, and our tiniest breath. She
is existence within the infinite, looking out upon the grand panorama
that is. With the publication of Daniel's first book in 1990, The
Book of Night, he decided to share her visions with the world
at large. Since then, he has authored three additional books as well
as becoming an artist and musician in his own right. Currently
he is involved in several VSTI projects. You can check out Daniel's
current endeavors by visiting Westgate Sounds.
Legend of The Westgate Name
we began our mission in 1975, it wasn't until 1979 that we finally settled
upon a company name that best exemplified our continued goal. Over the
years, many have inquired, "Why Westgate?". The best way we
can answer that is simply by saying that The Westgate symbolizes the
The four "Gates", East, West, North & South represent
transitional points. Very much like the 4 seasons, 4 elements, 4 quadrants,
etc. Concisely put, the East gate represents our birth into the flesh,
& is balanced by the West, a symbol of our shedding of the material
body. The South & North gates also balance each other, with the
former representing the consummation of all in the Fires of Truth, &
the latter symbolizing the phoenix that rises from these purifying flames.
"From the East commeth Light & from the West emergeth shadow.
From the South cometh the fires of consummation & from the North
riseth the Phoenix. " The Westgate also symbolizes the reconciliation
of Life with Death. Overcoming fear, ignorance & the "comfortable
lie". It is said that we never truly live until we understand &
accept the fact that one day we shall die.
The Westgate casts shadow into light, thereby causing a balanced perception
of All Things. Death is, after all, the crowning glory of Life, the
journey home, our great reward for the fulfillment of our purpose here.
For all the "waning souls", and in the spirit of the Great
Work at hand, I thank you for these many years of faith &
support. There is much yet to be done. Though, look how far we have
all come together to reach our journey's end.
Leilah Wendell & Daniel Kemp, 2007