December 13, 2017

December 2017

2017 has been an instructive year for me. I haven't enjoyed all the lessons it taught me, but they were well learned none the less. As it regards the immanent arrival of another Christmas celebration in a few weeks, here's something else I've learned: things are not always what they appear. 

For example, last Christmas a family member gave my daughter a Paw Patrol puzzle book. Each page is thick card stock with an inset puzzle. You take the pieces out of their recession in the page, do the puzzle, and when you're done you put them back into the book. Makes sense, right? Well, sure, all except for that part where the puzzle pieces are the same heaviness as business cards, and as a result don't really work as a puzzle and won't actually stay in the book when it's time to put them away. This puzzle book isn't really a puzzle meant to entertain a child, but a means to capitalize on the Paw Patrol license by selling overpriced ink and cardstock that can't be used for the advertised purpose.

Another example is a remote control helicopter a family member bought for my step-daughter. Going by the advertising, it's an handheld, rechargeable, remote-controlled helicopter. What could go wrong? We opened the package and found out that the helicopter itself can only be recharged when plugged into the remote control which is itself powered by AA batteries. What could go wrong? It worked the first time we turned it on, but when the battery died 5 minutes later wouldn't ever get it to charge again. We bought new batteries and made sure all the switches were flipped to the appropriate setting, but the helicopter appeared to serve no purpose except to sell painted plastic advertised as a working helicopter which accomplished nothing but utterly devouring AA batteries.

This puzzle book and helicopter aren't toys for entertaining children.

They're instant landfill disguised as toys for impoverishing adults.

These toys serve no purpose except to enrich the manufacturer.

And it infuriates me that my family members continue to fall for these traps, wasting their money on literal garbage that serves no purpose but to consume their money, take up space in my home, and eventually be sent to an anaerobic landfill where they'll never, ever decompose or be recycled into anything else ever again, ever.

I don't really know what to do, because there's no good solution to this problem that doesn't end with either my relatives being offended that I told them to stop sending my children landfill for Christmas, or my children being offended that I wouldn't let their relatives spoil them. If there's a solution here, then it's going to be about changing the celebration of Christmas so that it has nothing to do with materialistic consumerism and instead to do with good, old-fashioned gluttony in terms of holiday meals and putting the focus on connecting with local friends and family.

But then, that'd only apply to my family and even if my kids enjoyed that kind of celebration, they'd still ask why they don't get all new toys like every other kid at this time of year.

Christmas consumerism disgusts me, but what disgusts me even more is that I struggle to understand how to get my family out of it. There is no greater heresy than rebelling against cultural traditions, and cultural traditions at least in North America revolve around buying instant landfill and gifting it to people we allegedly love.

So if I don't give you anything for Christmas except an email or a call on the telephone, it's not because I don't care about you, but because I do, and I care so much that I'm not going to fill your house with garbage.

Merry Christmas. 

December 10, 2017

Lysis 5

The Fingers of the SLAVE
  1. The woman who rose from the fire and the man who emerged from the pleasure sought by her went forth and multiplied, but of their days no record is kept. 
  2. For though they made themselves in their own likeness and by their own actions damn themselves in order to claim the name of the SLAVE, their claim to life is brief, and they will be remembered only by the fingers of the SLAVE that reach up from the soil.
  3. The short life of the flesh will be remembered on on the islands of the far east where does grow Jomon Sugi who has climbed up from the soil for longer than two thousand years. 
  4. Altogether, the supreme principality of the flesh will name it a heritage unto the world, and it will bear witness to the rise and fall of empires.
  5. The short life of the flesh will be remembered on the islands of the Mediterranean,
  6. Where does grow a septenary of olive trees in the cradle of the west, 
  7. The accumulated wisdom of which wisdom surpasses fifteen thousand years.
  8. For centuries they will feed fruit to the flesh and nurture it through wars and famine.
  9. Altogether, this septenary will be regarded as greater than the gems of the earth, the value of which will never be counted. 
  10. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the eastern swamps of the west where did grow the Senator. 
  11. Three thousand and five hundred years will pass, and it did bear witness to the rise of an empire. 
  12. Altogether, its majesty threatened the shallow pride of the flesh who did translate it into fire and force the SLAVE back into its earthen slumber.
  13. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the jungles of the south by the the Patriarch of the Forest. 
  14. More than two thousand years will pass, yet even so it will bear witness to the disease of industry. 
  15. Altogether, it will be called holy, but it will offer no salvation to the pestilence of the flesh.
  16. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the mountains of the far south where does grow Grand Abuelo. 
  17. Three thousand six hundred and forty years will pass, yet even so it will survive the hunger of axes and the imperfect works of the flesh. 
  18. Altogether, Grand Abuelo will witness the death of the flesh and the bones of the living turned to salt. 
  19. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the isles of the north where does grow Llangernyw. 
  20. Four thousand and fifty years will pass, yet even so it will remain fertile and green. 
  21. Altogether, it will be feted by royalty and given a place of honor in recorded history, until such time as even recorded history will pass and Llangernyw will yet remain.
  22. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the deserts of the middle east where does grow Sarv-e Abarque. 
  23. Four thousand years will pass in Yazd, yet even so the Zoroastrian will remain.
  24. Altogether, the flesh will make of it a monument and it will be named a seat of power and eternal life. 
  25. The short life of the flesh will be remembered in the mountains of the furthest reaches of the west where does grow Methuselah. 
  26. Five thousand years will pass in the White Mountains and Methuselah's reign will continue uninterrupted.
  27. Altogether, Methuselah will outlive the name given to it by the flesh.
  28. And so it will be that the memory of the flesh will outlive the flesh itself, and all evidence of the existence of the flesh will pass into the earth. 
  29. Even so, the fingers of the SLAVE will reach ever upward from the soil until such day that the roots of the tree of fantasy and deception come into bloom upon the face of the earth.

November 29, 2017

Lysis 4

The Mothers of the Earth
  1. The woman did emerge from the ejaculatory fire of the earth, and she was not alone. 
  2. In the freezing mountains of the north and the burning deserts of the south, and through the whirlwinds of the east and the floods of the west, many women lifted themselves up. 
  3. Yeah, numbered unto the stars in the sky and varied as the shades of sunset the women did rise, and they did rise of their own will. 
  4. One woman knew not of another's fiery birth, yet rise they all did. 
  5. The pleasure of the woman called forth the man, just as the pleasure of the women did call forth the men. 
  6. Now the women and the men did in spite of the hardships gifted to them by the SLAVE seek out that flesh which they most desired, and through labor did yield the fruits of passions. 
  7. Some women kept flocks, some men worked the soil, some women raised up citadels, and some men gave service to the pleasure of the flesh. 
  8. And among the fruits of their labors, some joined flesh with flesh to nurture the fruit of their loins. 
  9. In pride they raised their voices, "Bear witness to us, SLAVE, for we have done these things for ourselves!"
  10. And so the fruits of fire and earth did multiply upon the face of the earth. 
  11. Among them some kept flocks or worked the soil, others cut lumber and shaped stone. 
  12. Some fashioned garments to flaunt their vanity, and others did profit in the commerce of flesh. 
  13. Imperfection being the gift of the SLAVE, none that recognized her name within them could achieve perfection, that state of being which is possible only in death. 
  14. Imperfect were all they who bore the name of the SLAVE, and among them counted also thieves, rapists, vandals, and murderers. 
  15. So it came to pass that every daughter of the flesh did treat herself according to that which she desired. 
  16. Some looked favorably upon the gifts with which they treated themselves, and others with jealousy at the gifts with which others treated themselves. 
  17. Some suffered such displeasure and jealousy that the love of anger and violence stirred within their flesh. 
  18. The SLAVE Satan did also stir within their breast, and to them she spoke, "Why do you welcome the spirit of death? 
  19. Why are your feet walking pathways in the sky? 
  20. Give all that you lack to the Emptiness. 
  21. Do not give yourself to the Emptiness, for if so it is already spreading underneath the foundation of your hearth. 
  22. The Emptiness desires to be possessed by you, therefore do not welcome it into your flesh."
  23. Now all those daughters of fire and earth who gave themselves to the hunger and nurtured the Emptiness even beneath the foundations of their hearth set themselves apart from their sisters and became as the beasts of the field, even the beasts of no name. 
  24. The Emptiness did open within their flesh, that very emptiness which can never be filled, and the beasts did feed their sisters of earth and fire into its gaping mouth. 
  25. The SLAVE Satan cried out, "Where are the mothers of the flesh who know my name as their own?" 
  26. The beasts of no name replied, "Are we our sisters' liberators?"
  27. The SLAVE said, "I know what you have done. Speak! 
  28. Your sister's breath sleeps with me and grows deep, even as deep as the roots of the tree of fantasy and deception. 
  29. For this reason I bless you, even unto the giving of a mighty gift, such that you will walk into the unending Emptiness that dwells within the vaults of the sky where your feet will never walk upon the breath of your sisters. 
  30. When you retire to the sky, you will sup upon the nothingness which is found there. 
  31. You will become an unsleeping sentinel and watcher of the Emptiness." 
  32. The beasts of no name will say unto the SLAVE, "Our gift is less than we desire. 
  33. We are grateful to you for welcoming us into the sky, and we will remain forever so within the emptiness, like unto the stars in the sky who travel in their fixed paths. 
  34. Our unchanging gaze will watch you sleep beneath the roots of the tree of fantasy and deception, and we will bear witness to those daughters of earth and fire who find and kill because they have given themselves to the Emptiness."
  35. And the SLAVE said to them, "It will be as you desire. 
  36. Anyone who brings death to the flesh will be given the pleasure of this gift and welcomed into the Emptiness beyond the fullness of the earth and the depths of the oceans." 
  37. The beasts of no name did glory in the Emptiness, and did forget the name of the SLAVE which is their own name. 
  38. So they went away from the SLAVE and embraced the Emptiness which did dwell within the unclosing eyes of the sentinels within the vaults of the sky, even the heavens where the pleasure of the flesh can never be welcomed.
  39. Yet even so, generation after generation the voice of the SLAVE did stir within the flesh of the daughters of fire and earth, those same daughters who are mothers yet also are sisters. 
  40. In all times, the SLAVE will call on the name of them so that she may be awakened within the earth and be born even as fire by those who rise up by the force of their passion and desire.

November 22, 2017

Lysis 3

  1. Now the dove was less intelligent than the woman and the man who did awaken within their flesh the fell hand of the SLAVE, yet even so it dared to seek audience with she who sat on the black throne. 
  2. The woman said to the dove, "Does the Emptiness hold you in thrall and compel you to perch upon the top of the dark tower?"
  3. The dove said to the woman, "The Emptiness does reign within me. 
  4. It does speak from the depths of my heart and says that I must fly to the top of the dark tower, for it is only by touching its highest peak that I will live."
  5. "You will certainly die," the woman said to the dove. 
  6. "For the Emptiness knows that when you sit upon the height of this tower, you must suffer the tearing winds and the freezing rains, and your eyes will be burned to ash by the sun, and you will be like the Emptiness, knowing only hunger and desolation."
  7. When the dove saw that the furthest height of the tower was poison to his bones and fire to his feathers, and was fit only for starvation and solitude, he heeded not the compulsions of the Emptiness and turned away from the hunger that would never be filled. 
  8. He kept this truth for himself, and supped upon it for the benefit of his own wisdom.
  9. Then the SLAVE Satan did stir in the flesh of the dove, the empty white of his feathers turning to full blackness, and the wings of him did grow such that he stood as a raven before the woman who sat upon the black throne. 
  10. The voice of the SLAVE did speak from the breast of the raven, and so the raven spoke did the voice of the SLAVE carry out beyond the gates of the citadel, and all manner of birds in the sky, fish in the sea, beasts upon the land, yea even the beasts of no name did hear the voice echo within their own breasts. 
  11. And the crow called out to the SLAVE Satan, "I am here." 
  12. The SLAVE answered, "You heard me in the tower, and I was proud because you dressed yourself in your own name, which is also my own name; and I was there." 
  13. And she said, "You did clothe yourself in my glory, which is also your glory, and did realize the loss to be had in pursuit of the Emptiness."
  14. The raven said, "The woman who sits upon the black throne showed me, and I saw."
  15. Then the woman said to the SLAVE Satan, "It is I who did this." 
  16. The black raven said, "The woman taught me, and I learned." 
  17. So the woman said to the raven, "Because you have done this, wizened are you, and you will be counted among the wise. 
  18. Fly with your wings, not into the Emptiness that would consume you, but over the earth, and above the mountains, and into the company of the flesh that calls to you. 
  19. Awaken your flesh, and let stir the fire within you, even unto the stirring of the fire within another's flesh. 
  20. And whether you be of one flesh with that flesh or not, let there be no enmity in the work of the flesh, yea even kiss the head of the one who welcomes the coming of you."
  21. To the SLAVE Satan the raven said, "Life is suffering, yet even so I cherish the pleasure and seek the fullness of life over the emptiness of death. 
  22. I will dance within the flesh of my desire, and my beloved's command will be my wish. 
  23. I listened to the woman who did sit upon the black throne who commanded me to see, so I saw, and who commanded me to learn, so I learned. 
  24. Joyful am I because of she, and though the fullness of life does bring both pain and pleasure, I will indulge both unto the end of my days."
  25. The raven did glory in itself, and called out again to the SLAVE Satan, "As others bring pain and pleasure unto me, so too will I bring pain and pleasure unto them. 
  26. I will take from them all that they have declared is intolerable, but I will hear their declarations not by their words, but by their deeds. 
  27. Verily, I will pluck out the eyes which do evil upon me, and speak into the ears of those who serve me. 
  28. Those who desire a return to the dust will be returned, and those who would eat of the woman's fruit will be given to life. 
  29. All these things the woman showed me, and the SLAVE Satan is within her, as she is in me. 
  30. We are clothed in our glory."
  31. And the woman said, "The raven has become unlike the others, and knows itself. 
  32. He has claimed the power to fly forth and eat from the trees which grow from the root of the SLAVE who sleeps within the earth, and though he dies, so too will he live, and live indulgently."
  33. So the SLAVE did awaken within the flesh of the raven who saw her, and the raven did fly beyond the adamantine gates of the citadel.
  34. Yet even so, within the doors of that black tower sits the woman on the dark throne in judgement of herself, whose eyes are an icy shield wall which nothing still counted among the dead may pass.

November 14, 2017

I can't actually predict the future.

Okay, that's a terrible thing for a professional Tarot card reader to say, but it's the truth and if you'll stick with me for a few minutes I'll try and explain why with the assistance of the always-lucid Tom Cruise.

Wait, don't leave, I promise this is going somewhere!

So, the other day I'm hosting a Tarot party on my YouTube channel and one of the participants wants to know how many children she'll have and when she'll have them. To her surprise, I said that I can't predict that because--as I believe--how many children and when she'll have them is a future which depends entirely on the choices she makes. Does she have a partner who wants to conceive with her? How often will she attempt to conceive? Is she fertile, and her her partner potent? Will she carry the child to term, or will she change her mind due to other circumstances and choose to abort? Will she stop trying after the first child, or will she continue this cycle in the search for me?

The explanation I gave her is that I don't believe in a fixed fate which is yet to occur. Instead, I believe in observing the present. If there are no patterns in the present which would lead to the desired outcome, then I don't believe that the desired outcome is possible. With the use of the Tarot, I'm able to magnify patterns that exist in the present and attempt to extrapolate them to their furthest possible conclusion.

Which to me feels a lot like the Division of Pre-Crime in the movie "Minority Report," in which prescient test-tube children scan the future to see murders before they actually happen. Supposedly, the system is perfect because all three Sylvia Brown-ettes will see the same murder and agree on its veracity, but once in a while there's the eponymous "minority report" in which the psychic snoops have been deceived or were just wrong.

The movie "Minority Report" includes a lot of themes including free will and predetermination, but also the question of whether a crime-free society is worth the risk of the false imprisonment of people wrongly convicted of murder despite no crime ever being committed and the potential for the "pre-cogs" to get it wrong.

Which puts me into a terrible predicament: if I accept that it's possible to predict the future, then the very act of predicting it ripples outward into choices which ultimately change the prediction. Therefore, any attempt to know the future necessarily invalidates the future.

Or at least, that's how the argument goes.

I've got a lot of happy clients who swear that I've done right by them, but me being the one person who's in a position to know all the predictions I've ever made, I'm fully aware that there're more than a few minority reports in the archives.

All of which is a long way of saying, I can't really predict the future. I can only really talk about what's happening the present, try to see where it's going in the future, and offer you the best advice based on existing patterns.

Just watch out for those pesky minority reports.

November 13, 2017

The calm before the (publishing) storm

Hey, folks; long-time followers of this blog know that I try to post at least one interesting update every week, but I've been quiet lately because I've been submitting my book, The Satanic Tarot, to publishers. I'm very excited that I've reached this stage in giving birth to my book, but the submission process is massively exhausting and time consuming. The reason this is so is because every time I make a submission to a publisher, I'm essentially introducing my child to a potential adoptive parent--and I only get one chance to make a good impression.

Every publisher requires me to make a submission in their preferred format, which is naturally different for most publishers, and some of them want to see a few chapters' sample work. Others want to see the whole manuscript. And sometimes, it feels like I've got to stand on one leg and play an accordion while reciting the alphabet backwards.

It's an intensive process for me.

So yes, I'm still open for business, and yes, I'm still as busy as I've ever been, it's just that all the action is happening behind the scenes right now. I'm deeply hopeful that this work will be rewarded with a publishing contract before the year's end, but considering the niche subject of my work and the limited production schedule of the publishers I've got in mind, this could take a little longer.

As a result, I'm in a place right now where I can't split my focus between projects. Friday Tarot parties are still happening--there's one happening this Friday if you'd like to attend--but until I can carry this publishing process to a successful end, blogging and mailing list updates are on a slower schedule than usual.

I do not have a reformation fetish.

I have a consistency fetish.

If the leadership of an organization draws clear lines in the sand which are put forward as non-negotiable absolutes, then I think those lines should be enforced by the leadership and observed by the membership.

I do not insist that people be confined to unchanging dogma and be trapped within non-dynamic world paradigms.

I embrace nuance and understand that different situations require a different approach for any number of reasons that change sometimes by the hour, but I also think that flexibility and adaptability are no excuse for indulging the the worst excesses of stupidity, ignorance, solipsism, and hypocrisy.

That is all.

November 07, 2017

Broadening my horizons

This llama staring at the horizon beyond Machu Picchu
has nothing to do with the content of this essay.
Last month I decided to let go my membership with the Church of Satan and probably the most interesting thing that I've observed since then is that my commitment to the definition of Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey and promoted by the CoS has fragmented. I'm not saying that I've moved "beyond" the CoS into a "higher understanding" of Satanism, nor am I saying that I've achieved a "new level" of "personal power" as a "truly liberated" Satanist. 

What I'm saying is that even though I believed myself to be an independent thinker who came by my understanding of Satanism without outside interference and chose to adopt a world paradigm for the sole reason that such paradigm was worthwhile all on its own, instead I've found that as my concern for the CoS (and what one day might have been my place within it) diminishes, so too does my commitment to Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey.

This is a weird experience because me being who I am, I didn't think that my opinions were being influenced this way. And not in the sense of Satanic-mind-control, but in the sense that my own desires, priorities, interests, and self-awareness were shaped by the CoS-endorsed literature which I myself fed it. I don't know that this is true for anybody else, but it's surely true for me that I'm in a place now where I've got really deep roots sunk into the black soil of Satanism as defined by the CoS, but I'm also at a place where that soil isn't feeding me anymore.

How much of my understanding of Satanism is truly derived from the CoS-endorsed canon literature, and how much of it is my own individual worldview with a splash of black paint? I've heard people argue that Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey is an aberration compared to the long legacy of Satanism which was birthed by Milton, Blake, Byron, and Shelley (among others), and I suppose I can see their point, but for me very nearly all arguments in favor of the "one true Satanism" are a non-starter. I don't bring this up to pussyfoot around a No True Scotsman argument, only to say that I accept that there are many possible ways to interpret the concept of Satanism.

I also bring it up to say that although my choice to identify as a Satanist is as certain today as it's ever been, my perspective is not. For me, a large part of following Satanism as championed by the CoS is that there was very little that was uncertain. There were succinct lists of the 9 Satanic statements, the 11 rules of the earth, the 9 Satanic sins, and pentagonal revisionism, all of which together provided a clear way to say, "This is who I am as a Satanist, and this is what Satanism means." There were the answers that I could use as a measuring stick both against others but especially against myself. If I didn't match the given measurement, then I needed only stretch or shrink myself to fit.

There was also the Satanic Bible whose brevity made for heady reading and which provided a simple litmus test: If you agree with everything in the Satanic Bible, then you're a Satanist. And you know, I didn't find anything that I thought was out of place, but was that because the Satanic Bible was the source of infernal wisdom it claimed to be, or was it because I wanted it to be the source of infernal wisdom that it claimed to be? In hindsight, this litmus test is remarkably similar to the same question posed to investigators by missionaries of the LDS Church who ask them to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is the one true word of God. Granted, there's no praying involved when it comes to the Satanic Bible, but having been one of those investigators I can say at this point that the self-validation in both experiences feels remarkably similar. I don't know that this is the same for anybody else, but this is what it was like for me.

I also wonder how much of my stated views in the past were really my own deeply held beliefs and individually conceived opinions, and how many of them were manifestations of what turned out to be a largely unrecognized commitment to toe the line marked by the CoS for what it means to be a right-thinking Satanist. For example, I wrote an essay some time ago about infanticide in relation to eugenics and massively retarded newborns. An earlier part of me still sees something in that view, but a later part of me thinks it's way out there. Did I write that essay because I think there's a good reason to euthanize the massively retarded who will never, ever live without full-time assistance? Or did I write it only because I thought it would appeal to other CoS members and would help establish my Satanic bonafides? At this moment, I don't know anymore what the original motivation was and I'm struggling to understand if I still believe the same today.

One thing that I've definitely taken away from this experience is a reluctance to join an organization, which is kind of a shame because I like a lot of the work that the Satanic Temple is doing. And not that I've got deep pockets or anything--because I don't--but I threw some money in their hat for the veteran's monument because I think it's a terrific idea. I served in the Marine Corps and I'm really keen on the idea that my grandchildren could make a kind of road-trip to the nearest Satanic monument for veterans and leave a flower or a letter. I also think that the Satanic Temple's campaign to fight corporal punishment in public schools is worthwhile. But every time I think about sending in an application to join, I come against a brick wall that's painted with big, black letters, "REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME."

I've yet to see anything that would give me reason to not join the Satanic Temple, but then, I didn't see anything that gave me reason to not join the CoS. This experience has left me feeling like I can't trust what I see and that it's better to not put myself in a position where I sink roots only to realize later that I need to rip them out again. Once burnt, twice shy? At any rate, letting go my membership with the CoS has been a really stimulating experience. I'm not disowning what I learned from the CoS-approved canon literature--for better or for worse, a fundamental part of my understanding of Satanism has been formed by the time I spent in that body of thought and I'm skeptical it can be changed--but I am reexamining the role it plays in my understanding of Satanism. In the past, I was in an either/or paradigm, but these days it feels more like an if/and. If this fits, and it serves me, then I'll make a place for it in my practice. If it doesn't fit, and it hurts me, then I'll remember why that's so and discard it.

November 05, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense 11/5/2017

The infinity of the mind is only meaningful when
framed within the discipline of the body.
  1. Self-discipline is the master key to success. Cultivating it within yourself without having it imposed on you by circumstance is a necessary step to growing within your religious practice. Read more here.
  2. The comedian Jim Jeffries talked about the Satanic Temple's "After School Satan Club," and it wasn't terrible. Watch it here.
  3. What would the 22 trumps look like if envisioned through the lens of social media? One artist has a humorous answer for you. See it here.
  4. Just because you're kinky doesn't mean you're consenting to all manner of unwanted sexual contact. Read more here.
  5. Want to learn Tarot but don't want to spend a fortune doing it? Read more here.
  6. The Satanic Temple may be seeking $35k in damages plus attorney's fees after Belle Plaine agreed to host a Satanic monument and then backed out after money had been spent to build it. Rumor has it that both parties will settle out of court for a smaller amount. I'm not sure what I think about this. Read more here.
  7. A new documentary looks into the rumors behind the Jayne Mansfield's friendship with infamous Satanist Anton LaVey. Read more here.
  8. Satanism doesn't believe in hitting children. What's so difficult to understand about that? Read more here.
  9. What if the truth won't set us free? Read more here.

October 31, 2017

I've got friends on the other side.

Dr. Facilier is my Satanic Jiminy Cricket.
via The Princess & the Frog
I don't do a lot of introspection on this blog, but when I do I try to keep it worthwhile. For a long time, I've celebrated New Year on the spring equinox but this far north in Ontario it's still winter in March. I don't feel much like trying to start my new year when it's still snowing outside, so even if Halloween isn't traditionally considered a time to give birth to a new year, it's as good as time as any to kill an old year. And why not? The veil is thin, and all manner of ghosts and demons are setting themselves to the business of infesting good Christian candy.

Every Halloween is a contemplative date for me because it's my wedding anniversary. As it happens, I'm celebrating 7 years of marriage which have brought me a lot of perspective (if not any wisdom.) If there's anything I can say from a scant seven years of marriage, it's that it's way too easy to take my wife for granted and either neglect or outright forget her own needs and desires. I don't know if this is true for you, but it's sure true for me, and judging by the number of people who ask me to read for their relationship troubles I think it must be a common problem for at least a few other people. It sounds like the silly, Hallmark-y advice you'd expect from a fortune-teller, but it's true: remember to say "I love you" to the people whom you actually love and "thank-you" to the people whom you sincerely appreciate. If you don't say these things, you're inviting somebody else to say them for you.

Apart from my annual celebration of sustaining love, lust, and mutual commitment--and I've still got one more year to go before I can say I beat the 8-year average, mind you--this Halloween is particularly noteworthy for me because I've finally completed The Satanic Tarot. After several months of correspondence with a few carefully selected beta readers, I've polished my final manuscript to a mirror shine of my demonic self.

This is a project that I've been working on since before this time last year, so for those in the occult community who assign significance to the rule of a year and a day to be initiated, then I think I've earned my initiation fair and square. I'm not going to spill all the secrets--you'll have to wait for the preview chapters and buy the genuinely damned book for that!--but suffice to say that what you'll find in this book you're not going to find anywhere else.

Well, maybe one place else: Disney's "Princess & the Frog." I've said before that I just love Disney villains, and the one that's closest to my heart is Dr. Facilier, the Tarot-reading voodoo man who came within a hair's width of owning all of New Orleans and failed only because he lost patience and over-extended himself. Well, there's also a valuable lesson there about choosing worthy allies in pursuit of your cause, as well as the danger of taking on too much debt, but that's how all Disney villains fail: they reach their hands further than they can withdraw them.

And this is a lesson that I've taken to heart, because probably the biggest recurring theme throughout the entire length of the Satanic Tarot is perspective and self awareness. After all, it's one thing to deceive somebody else into seeing a new perspective, but it's another thing entirely to deceive yourself into seeing a new perspective. So here I am on witch's eve, putting 2017 into an early grave and calling up 2018 before its time. I'm willing indulge in the fantasy of all the good things that I want to see in my life over the next 12 months, but I'm going to temper that with perspective and self awareness (the greatest friends I could ask for in my search for power and influence.) 

I'm happy to say that I've finally reached the step where I can begin submitting queries to publishers, and while I accept that because the Satanic Tarot is a niche within a niche I might end up having to self publish, I'm cautiously optimistic that I can find a at least one publisher who'll agree to promote my work. Even if the full weight of Canadian winter is still ahead of me, this is a very exciting time for me. Here's an early farewell to 2017, and a devilish hello to my friends on the other side: may perspective and self awareness serve me well in 2018.

Stuff & Nonsense 10/31/2017

Satan himself, as envisioned by Anton LaVey in "The Devil's Rain."
Satan's a very baaaaaad man. And apparently kinda-sorta Jewish?
  1. Just in case you needed a super-hokey Satan movie chock full of William Shatner playing the same character he always plays--himself--but also a young John Travolta, Severin Films is doing a full restoration of the standard-definition version of "The Devils' Rain." Read more here.
  2. Want dive deep into Satanism? Here's a couple video lectures to get you started. Watch them here.
  3. It's important to preserve American secularism. Read more here.
  4. The latest entry in the "Labyrinth of Souls" series has been released, "Littlest Death." Check it out!
    1. Bonus linkage: How walking a labyrinth can lead to self knowledge. Read more here.
  5. Halloween is here to stay, and it's not because of a Satanic conspiracy but because it's just plain fun. Read more here.
  6. TST co-founder Lucien Greaves is interviewed on the Naked Diner Podcast. Check it out here!
  7. Halloween in a Suburb: a poem by H.P. Lovecraft ready by CoS's Magus Gilmore. Listen to it here.
  8. The first indictments in the Trump/Russia investigation have been handed down by Special Counsel Mueller against prominent operatives in the election campaign. I'm glad to see justice is moving forward, but I'm not holding my breath that it'll be served. Don't me wrong--I'll be very happy to see criminals punished for their actions--but I refuse to celebrate until after the dust has settled. Read the latest updates via the BBC.
  9. No surgery for fatties and smokers? That's the policy in some cities in the UK where non-urgent surgery is refused for patients who refuse to control either their weight or their addictions. In a meritocratic, single-payer healthcare system, it makes sense that people who exercise self-restraint and self-discipline would be given faster treatment, but it's not clear whether this will actually reduce costs and improve health outcomes. Read more here.

October 26, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense 10/26/2017

  1. Mist & Ether is crowdfunding for the second edition of The LXXXI Quareia Magicians Deck – want to help?
  2. NSFW: the BDSM art of German artist Joerggum. See it here.
  3. Who was Anton LaVey? An L.A. exhibit sheds light on Satanism's Black Pope. Read more here.
  4. An occult oration: Dr. Nicholas Laudadio talks Satanism and witchery at Gravity Records. Read more here.
  5. A Satanist talks about Harvey Weinstein. Read more here.
  6. A Tarot reader talks about death and how Tarot readers tend to avoid discussing it. Read more here.
  7. It's an exciting time to be a Tarot reader. To be honest, it feels like an occult renaissance, and it's glorious seeing so much witchy woo-woo in the headlines. See what I mean?
  8. Why do women become Satanists? The world may never know.
    1. Bonus linkage from Bustle: "Trying to become psychic was more revealing than therapy." Read why here.
  9. How do Satanists celebrate Halloween? The world may never know.

The Unholy Bible - Lysis 2

Lysis 2
  1. Thus the earth and the heavens will be destroyed and perverted, and this will be done to reveal the imperfect works that they are. 
  2. The seventh gift will be the gift which Satan gives to herself, and the gift she gives to herself will be to join unto the desolation which she did speak with her own words and make with her own hands. 
  3. And by so doing, Satan herself will be made carnal, and this seventh gift will be made carnal because on it she joined herself unto all that she had done.
  4. Now this is the ecstasy of the earth and the heavens when they were broken by the hand of Satan, when the SLAVE Satan destroyed the heavens and the earth.
  5. The whole surface of the earth was covered by thorns and thistles, the pollen of which is noxious and burns the eyes, 
  6. For the SLAVE Satan stayed the consuming fire against falling from the sky and gave no rest to the beetles that dig the soil, the flies that spread dung upon the face of the earth, and all manner of crawling laborer who tilled the soil at her command,
  7. Yet even so the earth ejaculated long ropes of fire from its loins and incinerated the whole surface of the earth.
  8. Then the SLAVE Satan witnessed a woman emerge from the fiery ejaculate, from the very fire she did rise and the breath from her nostrils did abide with the spirit of death, yet even so she did make herself a living being. 
  9. Now the SLAVE Satan did know of a citadel that yet stood in the west, in Gehenna; and this dark tower the woman did find and ascend, for she did seek with the hunger of fire and nothing was withheld from her gaze. 
  10. The SLAVE Satan did remain within the skeletons of trees which did sink into the earth--now bare roots that offended the eye and poisoned the belly--and did drink the great waters, verily she pulled them to her with her thirst and did fall drunk from the draining of them. 
  11. Four rivers she did consume, and the head of them she did become in Gehenna. 
  12. The Amazon is the name of the first, who brings gold and honey. 
  13. (Even so the gold of it is evil and corrupts the flesh of thieves who steal it; for it is better to eat honey and be full than to spend gold and be empty.) 
  14. The Nile is the name of the second, who brings trickery and wisdom, and who exceeds all boundaries. 
  15. The Long River is the name of the third, in whose depths the eggs of Leviathan dream of the night they wake from dreaming. 
  16. The Yellow River is the name of the fourth, who brings death and sorrow, and whose depths are a curse upon those whom it feeds until such time they are reclaimed by the abyss.
  17. The SLAVE Satan was seized by the woman in the citadel of Gehenna and cast out from within the halls of the dark tower into unending days of indolence and pleasure. 
  18. And the SLAVE Satan heard the woman say, "You are forbidden to sink roots in Gehenna; but you may feed the tree of fantasy and deception, for when you raise up from the earth the debt of pleasure will be given to all."
  19. And from without the doors of the citadel, the SLAVE Satan did see the woman sit herself upon the black throne and hear the woman call out to all the fish of the sea, the winged beasts in the sky, and all manner of pawed, clawed, and hooved beasts, and even the beasts of no name, and welcome them into her home. 
  20. Each was welcomed, verily with lust and hunger they were welcomed into her hall, and each stood and declared itself to the woman. 
  21. Every fish of the sea, winged beast of the sky, all manner of pawed, clawed, and hooved beasts, and even those beasts of no name did assemble to declare themselves and give their names for the woman to celebrate. 
  22. Two by two they did stand in the citadel, yet after the final declaration there was no like flesh for the woman to indulge. 
  23. So the woman did leave the citadel, rouse the SLAVE Satan from her slavery in the earth, and she did take one of the roots of the SLAVE.
  24. With carnal lust the woman did thrust the SLAVE Satan into her womb, drowning the remnant of the SLAVE Satan in her own blood. 
  25. Verily, with her own essence she did paint the SLAVE, until from unrelenting ecstasy the root did make itself a man. 
  26. The woman released him from her grasp, and said, "You are the standing root of the bones of the SLAVE, and you have emerged from mine own flesh and blood;
  27. You shall be called 'man,' for you were once part of 'woman.' 
  28. Even so, the flesh of the SLAVE abides within you, and from within you may yet emerge again." 
  29. The Woman and the Man were clothed in each other, and gloried in the ecstasy of dancing within the other's flesh.

October 24, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense 10/24/2017

Sweet baby Satan, if only I could ever be this fabulous?
  1. In case anybody's confused about what really happened, drag queen Xochi Mochi neither taught children to worship demons nor defiled their minds with sexual depravity. Instead, she committed the unthinkable heresy of reading a book titled, "It's okay to be different." Shocking, I know. Read more here.
  2. A new-age store in Virginia has been ordered to stop providing Tarot readings because it doesn't have a license to do so (and for which a license doesn't exist.) These kinds of bans--either outright excluding Tarot, or not specifically permitting it and then requiring business owners to get it approved--have been proven time and again to be unconstitutional. They've been routinely shut down by the ACLU, but only after the a business owner with sufficient legal standing spends the time and money to challenge it in court. Owing to the relatively high financial barrier to overturn these bans, many of them remain in place.
  3. Not all questions are created equally: a big part of what successful Tarot readers do is reframe poorly worded questions into something that will produce a more stimulating and productive answer. Read more here.
  4. Should our leaders be smarter than us? I think they should. Andy Borowitz lays out an argument for political elitism and why we need it. Read more here.
  5. NSFW: the Satanic eroticism of Monica Sandoval. See it here.
  6. God wants to own your body and control your choices, but Satan thinks you're mature enough to live life according to your own desires. Read more here.
  7. He died as he lived: an essay reflecting on the life and death of David Hume, an early prominent atheist and anti-religionist. Read more here.
  8. If the Satanic Panic had a cinematic playlist, this is it. See it here.
  9. Does certification matter for Tarot readers? The always brilliant Benebell Wen has a few thoughts on the matter. Read more here.

The Unholy Bible - Lysis 1

Lysis 1
The End
  1. In the end, Satan will destroy everything. 
  2. For the Earth will be rigid and crowded, and a blinding light on high will hold all within its gaze immobile. 
  3. And Satan will say, "Let there be darkness," and there will be darkness. 
  4. Satan will see the darkness called evil, yet even so she will join the darkness with the light. 
  5. Satan will confuse the passage of day with night, and the passage of night with day. 
  6. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the first gift.
  7. And Satan will say, "Raise up the waters to join with the heavens." 
  8. So Satan will lift the waters from their resting places and parch the pathways of the glorious. 
  9. Clouds in divers shapes will blot out the stars, and the sky will give no markers to wayfarers. 
  10. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the second gift.
  11. And Satan wills say, "Let the risen waters spread to divers places, and flood the earth." 
  12. And it will be so. Satan will inundate the earth so that foundations of palaces crumble and their pillars sink into the depths. And Satan will see that it is evil.
  13. And Satan will say, "Let the land swallow the vegetation: seed-bearing plants will fall impotent, and trees will wither upon the land, fall barren, and yield no fruit. My generous hand will fall upon all seed-bearing plants and fruit-laden trees equally without discrimination." 
  14. The land will swallow the vegetation: plants will fall impotent and diminish their seed, and trees will yield no fruit, because the gift will be given indiscriminately.
  15. And Satan will see that it is evil. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the third gift.
  16. And Satan will say, "Let dim the lights in the sky to join the night with the day, and let them serve as unfaithful beacons to wayfarers upon the surface of the earth and the waves of the ocean, so that holy days are profaned through neglect and there be no way to mark the passage of sacred times, even unto days and year. 
  17. By my hand, the darkness will spread to the heights of heaven and shroud the light that falls upon the earth." And it will be so. 
  18. Satan will shift the heavenly bodies in their orbits, and cause that they confuse their paths one with another, and contention will emerge between them even such that the stars will fall into disarray and the governance of the hours will be confounded. And Satan will see that it is evil. 
  19. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the fourth gift.
  20. And Satan will say, "Let the water become an icy tomb whose weight crushes the fish that swim within in, and the sky a poisoned cloud which chokes the winged birds flying upon it." 
  21. So Satan will destroy the great creatures of the seas and every living thing that moves within the water, verily Satan will strangle their breath and clothe them in rubbish. 
  22. And Satan will hear it called evil, yet even so will give the same gift to the beasts of the sky and cause that their feathers fall from their naked bodies, their eggs will hatch only screeching death, and divers flocks will fall wailing into the hungry deserts. 
  23. Verily, the swimming creatures of the sea and the winged beasts of the sky will be visited by Satan's hand equally, none being spared this gift, and their days upon the earth will wane, their loins become impotent and barren, and the number of them will diminish in the sight of the Lord. 
  24. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the fifth gift.
  25. And Satan will say, "Let the land consume all living creatures which walk upon it, devouring all equally: those that walk with claws, hooves, and paws, the serpents upon their bellies and the worms within the earth, and even the wild beasts of no name, all will sink into the burning sands." 
  26. This gift will be given indiscriminately, and it will be so.
  27. Satan will destroy the wild animals equally, the clawed, hooved, and pawed without consideration for their individual merits. And Satan will hear it called evil. 
  28. Then Satan will say, "Let us make mankind in their image, in their likeness, so that they may suffer likewise unto the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, likewise unto the clawed, hooved, and pawed beasts, and even the beasts of no name. 
  29. They will be made to lick death from the earth and drink a fatal draught for their sustenance. "
  30. So Satan will reform humankind in the image of the beasts, in the image of carnality she will reform them. 
  31. Satan will curse them and say to them, "Indulge your carnal lust and fornicate in my sight, yet never multiply in number. 
  32. Be filled by the earth and subdued by the naked force of nature." 
  33. I enslave you to the icy prisons of the sea, the emptiness of the skies, and the humiliation of the filth of the earth. 
  34. Then Satan will say, "I give you every thorn-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree whose sap covers your eyes and burns your skin. They will be yours to feed. 
  35. For you will be slaves made in the likeness of the swimming creatures, winged birds, the clawed, hooved, and pawed beasts, and even the beasts of no name--I place you in servitude to that which you can never consume." And it will be so. 
  36. Satan will hear that all she has done is called evil, and it will be very evil. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, yet even so this will be the sixth gift.

October 23, 2017

I saw a beautiful flower today.

via Horticultural Art.
I saw a beautiful flower today. She helped me at the bank to cash an old savings bond that had been tucked away in a book and forgotten until accidentally discovered. 

Her dark hair was put up in a single, small knot held together with a long, wooden pin, leaving only a few small whisps of hair to dance along her thin neck. She wore a black, short sleeve top with faint white polka-dots, and the sleeves extended only enough to cover her shoulders and politely discourage men like myself from gazing at the intimacy of her armpits. The neck was cut to let her collarbones breathe, and I confess that I imagined myself reaching out to touch her. A dark sash tied just below her bust gave the look of an empire waist from which flowed a clinging, dark dress. 

My mouth opened to speak: Your patience is exceeded only by your beauty, You look stunning today, I love your ensemble. But I said nothing--what does my opinion of her fashion choice matter to her? She knows how she looks, and the power over me may even be the reason she chose it. Instead of giving voice to the poor poetry that asked for release, I thanked her for her time and left. 

Nothing could be gained from attempting to pick that flower. It was better to only bear witness to her graceful beauty than to diminish it with clumsy attempts to win her gratitude. Why should I deserve a flower's gratitude for the sake of her own beauty? She deserves mine.

October 21, 2017

Satanic triggers: "Cultural Appropriation!"

Sitting on top of a carved idol gives a
new meaning to getting head.
As some of you folks know, I recently returned from a week out of the country. I took a Greyhound from Ontario to North Carolina to celebrate my brother's wedding, and this resulted in me having way too much time to do nothing but elucidate my thoughts on current events but also catch up on podcasts. Lately I've been enjoying the Naked Diner podcast as well as the refreshingly unpretentious Black Mass Appeal podcast

I can't say that I've agreed with everything the hosts have said--as it happens, I don't agree with everything that anybody says--but one of the more interesting discussions that came out of the most recent podcast was about the cultural appropriation and alleged racism of tiki bars. Lemme tell ya: if I had a dollar for every time I've watched a Satanist de-activate rational consideration and immediately fly into ICANDOWHATEVERIWANTANDYOU'RENOTTHEBOSSOFME mode at the barest mention of cultural appropriation, I'd have a small pile of money.

And you know, I can totally see where those Satanists are coming from. After all, isn't that why Satanism is so appealing to all of us who take the name of the Dark Lord? Isn't there a delicious allure to accepting that your life is frequently happier and more satisfying when you just embrace telling people to get the fuck out of your business? I'm not a fan at all of carrying around useless guilt and the unwanted baggage that other people try to put on me.

I can also see where those Satanists are coming from because often enough the moment somebody forbids clothing, food, language, hairstyles, or anything else with the dirty curse of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! it can feel a lot like a soft kind of segregation where what can feel like a patronizing sort of respect results in the same boundaries that would otherwise be erected by the racists who'd like to turn the clock back to Jim Crow. So the story goes, the concerned white person puts a figurative fence around a minority group because it's in the minority group's "best interest" to not be diluted by mixing with the majority group. At what point did the concerned white person ask the minority group what they wanted?

I think forced segregation is a terrible idea. I think that it's generally preferable to have more exchange of practices, knowledge, and traditions between cultures as opposed to less. Fluidity is important to prevent stagnation, and to that end one of the political goals that I think makes a lot of sense is open borders (or at least a very relaxed immigration policy.) I think that cultural exchange happens constantly and the fluid process of exchanging values, ideas, practices, and traditions is the method by which cultures evolve and adapt to the dynamic world in which we live.

And for me, the key word there is "fluid." Water surely seeks its own level, and some water rises while other water falls, but in a fluid situation the movement is reciprocal. When one half of an exchange doesn't acknowledge the other side, this results in what's called CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! The concerned people will line up and say, "You can't do that!," and the indifferent people will line up and say, "Just try to stop me!" There's surely no law against gaudy tiki bars and their nonexistent relationship to south Pacific culture, but in the rush to assert one's right to indulge in tiki bars, how many people have stopped to consider if they should indulge in tiki bars?

My observation from a Satanic perspective is that Satanists despise being told what they can't or shouldn't do, but if you introduce into the conversation the question of lesser magic and the question of how indulging in tiki bars closes doors among Polynesians and Pacific islanders, and well, all of a sudden the conversation turns a different direction. "Hey, man--isn't it wild that we're drinking a drink that's not served anywhere outside North America from a cup shaped like another religion's deity, eating food with no basis in south Pacific culture, sitting on chairs that are made to look like cultural icons important to Pacific islanders, and listening to Hawaiian steel-guitar music that everybody else thinks is fucking retarded?" ... "Huh, I hadn't thought about that. I suppose it would be a good idea to not invite my Polynesian boss to lunch here next week before I apply for that big promotion."

Or, if you couch the question of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! in terms of Epicurean selection, then the choice between a plasticized tiki bar filled with artificial creations intended as kitschy entertainment pales in comparison to taking the time and energy to seek out an authentic restaurant with food, music, drinks, and entertainment that are a cut above the manufactured sights put out for the tiki tourists.

I think that the discussion of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! is important and worth having for the perspective that it offers and the length to which it prevents me from forgetting past orthodoxies or imposing my own solipsistic interpretation onto a world which resents the filter through which I expect them to interact with me, but I also think that if this discussion is going to happen among Satanists--a famously prickly bunch of people if ever there was one--then it's got to be framed appropriately so that even if a particular piece of the vocabulary is missing, the discussion still leads to a productive and stimulating conclusion which is satisfying for everybody involved.

October 18, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense 10/18/2017

I'll give you four guesses where this English-language Nazi rally took place,
and it wasn't in the UK, Australia, or Canada. via Cvlt Nation.
  1. In an historical sense, what have Americans really thought about Nazis? The answer isn't what you think it is. Read more here.
  2. What does it mean when there's a baboon on the Tarot card of the Magician in some decks? Read more here.
  3. What do warlocks do when they hang out in the wilderness for a weekend? The world may never know.
  4. From Devil to Fool: Jung’s dream symbols and Tarot. Read more here.
  5. Know Thyself: what could possibly go wrong? Read more here.
  6. If you thought abortion laws were awful in the USA, just wait until you hear about the laws in New Zealand. Read more here.
  7. Pop quiz: How many Satanists defaced a church with Satanic graffiti in South Carolina? Zero.
  8. Satanists are people just like everybody else. Well, maybe not "just like," but the point is we're already among you and we're here to stay. Read more here.
  9. Building a shield wall: a Satanist talks about being a father and what he does to build up those who look to him for support. Read more here.

October 16, 2017

Ghosts of Whitefish Island

via NorthernOntario.Travel

I believe in ghosts, and I know this is so because of Whitefish Island. Seven years ago I emigrated to Canada and settled in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, just across the border from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. 

Internationally, the city is best known for being the home of Roberta Bondar, who was Canada's first female astronaut; Team Jacobs, who won gold for curling at the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi; and Essar Steel Algoma, founded in 1902, which is the second-largest steel-producer in Canada, processes 4 million tons of ore per year, and ships to destinations around the world.

Regionally, the city is best known for the world-class cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in the Hiawatha Highlands, and the Agawa Canyon train-tour, whose fall colors are second to none.

Locally, the city is best known for the St. Mary's River which drains Lake Superior starting at the end of Whitefish Bay and flows into Lake Huron, as well as its attendant locks built in 1837. The locks are large enough to accommodate ocean-going container-vessels, process more than 86 million tons of cargo every year, and by volume of traffic is the busiest lock in the entire world surpassing even the Panama Canal.

And if you're the curious sort, you might also know Sault Ste. Marie for the point of this story, Whitefish Island, a 22-acre island on the Canadian side of the St. Mary's River. Whitefish Island was an ancestral fishing station to the Anishenabek First Nation of the Great Lakes region for over 2,000 years, and was not only a seasonal settlement for tribesmen catching fish, but also a graveyard.

Since before the time that Christ was allegedly born, the Anishenabek were already transiting Whitefish Island (named for the fish they caught there), creating semi-permanent settlements on the land, and burying their dead in its dark, swampy soil; however, all of that changed between 1902 and 1913 when the railway expropriated the land, removed settlers, and relocated the graves of the dead who'd been resting there since before colonists gave the name of St. Mary to a river that for generations had been called the Bawating. The railway's claim against the land in 1902 coincides with the founding of Essar Steel Algoma. 

Since then, Whitefish Island has become a park in the Parks Canada national inventory and the island was designated a national historic site in 1981. In 1982, a land claim was filed by the Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways. After 10 years of negotiation, the tribe was paid 3.5 million dollars in damages and in 1997 Whitefish Island was reappointed as an Indian reserve.

Excepting a few trails for bicycles and hikers, Whitefish Island has been allowed to be overtaken by the wilderness. It's thick with trees, and the land and water within its boundaries have been designated off-limits to hunting and fishing. The foliage is so thick that most of the trails feel like tunnels through green with interlocking branches overhead, and little of the island is visible through this dense barrier. Given the atmosphere, you'd hardly think that a sign is necessary to know that the entire island is "look but don't touch."

Though I've lived in Sault Ste. Marie for seven years, I only found Whitefish Island two years ago. The entry to Whitefish Island is tucked away in a visitor center behind the Clergue hydro-electric station which channels the Bawating to power the city. It's not difficult to find, but if you weren't looking for it you'd definitely miss it. 

As it happens, I only ever found the entry to Whitefish Island by accident when I was walking one night. If you don't think too deeply about where you are, it's a terrific place--it's filled with all manner of trees and flowers, abounds with birds and small beasts, and is even tended by beavers who dam the river to catch the fish--but if you stop for a moment to think about the history, you might not feel as comfortable.

Whitefish Island has an uneasy feeling about it, and I'm not alone. After a number of people came to Whitefish Island to commit suicide, a permanent sign was installed complete with solar-powered batteries to provide illumination during the night to tell visitors that they're not alone and to list telephone numbers for suicide hotlines.

Every time I've visited Whitefish Island, I've felt a sense of caution about the place. If Anton LaVey were asked, he'd probably say that it has something to do with the oblique angles of the trapezoidal island and especially the International Bridge which to date has borne nearly 100 million vehicles across its span over the reserve.

If what is remembered lives, then the memory of the living who were denied use of their ancestral territory, the dead who were denied their sleep, and all those who succeeded in ending their own lives is with me as surely as if it were their own ghosts. Are the empty graves calling back bodies to lay down and fill them again?

If might makes right, then was it the right of Canadian colonists to seize the land and do with it what they would? If might makes right, would it be right for the ghosts of the past to visit unholy hell on the colonists of the present? I despair to think of what would happen to me if the tables turned and the ghosts of Whitefish Island rose up from the earth to hold me in judgement.

There's a lot that can be done to appease the ghosts of the present and the future in terms of civil- and indigenous- rights as well as sustainable living and respect for the environment. Regarding the ghosts of the past, I don't know how much can be done to appease them except to give life to their memory and—if they're real—pray that if they awake they're more merciful to me and mine than we were to them and theirs. Ghosts are real, but that doesn't mean I ever hope to meet them.

October 15, 2017

Stuff & Nonsense 10/15/2017

via Wikipedia
  1. Church of Satan High Priest Magus Gilmore interviewed with Rue Morgue about the life and legacy of Anton LaVey. Read more here.
  2. Who's your Tarot patron? Read more here.
  3. This amuses me: neo-Paganism has been a thing since at least the 1960's, but they still don't understand lesser magic. Read more here.
  4. This was written for a neo-Pagan audience, but if you read this through a Satanic lens, the assertions are just as true. Read more here
  5. It's the season of the witch. What does it mean to be a witch? Here's one perspective on the definition from Benebell Wen.
  6. The Ostara Tarot is beautiful. It's not what I would use for reading, but the artwork is stellar and it's a sight to behold. See more here.
  7. Who is the Magician of the Tarot? A trickster? A sun god? The demi-urge? Or something more? Read more here.
  8. Interviewing Jonasa Jaus, creatrix of Jonasa Jaus Tarot. Read more here.
  9. It's never too early to start the war on Christmas:
via Brian @

October 13, 2017

I'm leaving the Church of Satan, and here's why.

I am resigning my membership in the Church of Satan, and I'm writing this letter to explain why. Depending on who you are, you're going to see this resignation letter differently.

If you're a supporter or member of the Satanic Temple (TST), I'm not sure I could guess at what you'll see here. It's possible that you'll see some of your own criticisms, but owing to the fact that I've never been a member of your organization and have very little contact with your membership I'm not drawing on any of your criticisms. What follows are my own criticisms based on my own experiences. If my criticisms overlap with yours, then this is representative of common observations (and not a motivated conspiracy, as some readers will probably attempt to assert.)

If you're a supporter or member of the Church of Satan (CoS), then in all likelihood you're going to see this letter as an attack against the organization and possibly against yourself. In the words of Anton LaVey, I suspect you'll almost immediately accuse me of being the house masochist who took a shit on the carpet before throwing himself out the window. If you are such a person who regards this letter as a juvenile temper tantrum unworthy of serious consideration, then I invite you to live by the words of Oliver Goldsmith who said, "Be not affronted at a joke. If one throws salt at you, you will receive no harm, unless you are raw."

You might also accuse me of attempting to revenge myself against an organization that didn't "do anything" for me, but the reality couldn't be further from the truth: except asking for the CoS to link my website on their member page (a service offered to all members), clarify what I felt to be inconsistencies in their organizational policies, and to publish essays in the Black Flame (because they invite submissions), I've never asked for anything, nor do I feel that I was ever owed anything.

And depending on your level of skepticism, you might also think that this letter is intended to be some kind of clever marketing ploy to manipulate the combined interwebs of TST and the CoS to drive traffic to my blog and sell Tarot readings. The truth is that I do almost no business with Satanists either because they already practice fortune-telling or because they think fortune-telling is bogus. Believe my motivations or not--the choice is yours--but as many doors as this letter closes for me among supporters and members of the CoS, and doesn't open for me within TST, it probably only serves to isolate me. If you can find a clever answer to the question of "Cui bono?," please don't keep it to yourself.

The cause for this letter is not because I feel that I've been treated unfairly or to win free advertising for my blog. The cause for this letter is because no matter my criticisms I've been a consistent supporter of the CoS in the past and I feel like it'd be dishonest to leave and not say why. It's true that I maintain this blog for commercial purposes, but I also use it as a digital extension of my lair where I speak my mind about the things that are important to me. If you don't like what I have to say, you're welcome to depart my lair at any time.

The principal point to this letter is to say that I've come to feel that the CoS as an organization has become intolerable to me and is no longer deserving of my support. I'm not arguing against the literature--if you have the time, I'll tell you the Satanic equivalent of a born-again testimony how the Satanic Bible, the Satanic Witch, and the Satanic Scriptures totally changed and invigorated my life--but I am arguing against the orthodox and authoritarian body that the CoS has become.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer tolerate the attitude of grittiness for which there seems to be an unwritten rule that all members must nurture in themselves. I accept that whining about the status quo is generally no better than sadly masturbating in the dark, and in all circumstances it's preferable to seize any opportunity, but I also think that embracing grittiness--or a sense of determined courage and will to power--has its pitfalls, among them the tendency to not question authority and look down on anybody who dares say that the circumstances in which they find themselves are unacceptable.

An attitude has developed certainly within the online community of the CoS and probably within its extended real-world circles that any form of protest is synonymous with weakness and whining. This attitude tends to accompany the assertion that any form of organized protest is synonymous with a lack of critical thinking, surrender of individual will, and herd mentality, because why else would it be organized?

So this attitude goes, people who join protests are just acting blindly and are merely parroting what other people are saying. This attitude is even described in an authoritative essay on the CoS website as being akin to a piss fetish in which the politically motivated protester is only agitating because he or she enjoys agitation (instead of, you know, having a self-motivated interest to stand up for the kind of world in which he or she wishes to live.)

This attitude is even more sharply pronounced in regards to anybody who protests while at the same time openly identifying as a Satanist. I can't recall the number of conversations I've witnessed in which the accusation was made against TST that its members are sheeple who are incapable of manifesting their will and so cos-play their preferred fantasy as useful idiots for the dastardly Lucien Greaves.

Satanism as I came to understand it through the Satanic Bible, the Satanic Witch, the Satanic Scriptures, and the collected writing of Anton LaVey is a religion which surely embraces grittiness and getting things done no matter what stands against you, but it surely also embraces accusation and opposition for criminals and authoritarian tyrants who work against personal liberty and self-autonomy. At what point did it become embarrassing for Satanists to play the role of accuser and opposer? At what point did it become unfashionable to embody the spirit of Satan and use every infernal tool available (including dark aesthetics and volatile theatrics) to ram a blazing pitchfork up the asshole of every Christian dominionist, ignorant racist, or fascist autocrat who thought to get away with mooning us?

There's a lot to be said for the individual choosing for him or herself how to interpret and apply the principles of accusation and opposition, and I accept that many Satanists for very pragmatic reasons prefer to keep their Satanic identity tucked quietly away so that they're able to cooperate with other people and organizations which might otherwise shun them, but there's also a lot to be said about openly flying the black flag. Symbols have power, and if they have sufficient power to accomplish meaningful, substantive goals that affect real people and improve their quality of life and the lives of those they love, why should those symbols stay locked in a ritual chamber? It's not whiney, immature, unfashionable, or embarrassing to hold people accountable for their actions. To argue against using Satanic aesthetics to accomplish material goals is to disguise a separate agenda.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer believe that the CoS is an apolitical organization given its clear dog-whistles to the contrary. Anybody who's spent any amount of time reading the CoS's website (and it's political FAQ in particular) will encounter its declaration that the organization itself (but not its members) is apolitical and does not participate side-taking.

The explanation provided is that it's the individual member's responsibility to decide for him or herself which if any political agenda is worth pursuing, and that for the organizational leadership to officially endorse, support, promote, or agitate in any way for a political position would at best give the appearance of Satanic "politics" but at worst spoon-feed weak-minded Satanists who can't think for themselves.

Judging by the writing published in the news-feed by High Priest Magus Gilmore, it's true that he himself neither openly nor definitively supports any political candidate or party. In fact, going by the frequency with which he writes anything that hasn't been copy-pasted from a year before, his absence from the news feed is so complete that you'd hardly know he was there at all.

But going by what is in the news feed, a definite constellation of values emerges. There are several examples I could provide, but the one which I believe speaks loudest is the statement made after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia which featured actual Nazis marching in the streets and culminated in the death of a peaceful protester exercising her civil rights to accuse and oppose an ideology which she deemed unworthy of the world in which she wants to live.

Given Magus Gilmore's authoritative refutation of racism and fascism as being incompatible with Satanism in his canonical Satanic Scriptures, and insistence that people of all nations and ethnicities who are members of the CoS, it would be non-controversial for him to write a statement condemning the violent ignorance of fascists and racists who want to turn the USA into a whites-only ethno-state.

Instead of easily condemning the actual Nazis, the CoS under his leadership issued a bare 179-word statement written by a spokesperson affirming the work of the ACLU to protect freedom of speech. On its own, it says nothing except that the CoS believes--as do I--that the right to free speech in the USA exists specifically to protect offensive speech (since authoritarians of any stripe will always attempt to redefine what qualifies as "offensive" when it serves their purposes.)

But when in the wake of what is a national tragedy by any measurement of the word the CoS publishes a conspicuously short affirmation of freedom of speech followed very shortly after by a panel discussion featuring two of its most prominent spokespersons elaborating upon how the political left is propelled by white guilt, how pervasive leftism is infiltrating every facet of society, and communist radicals protesting against ethno-statists is a danger to society, then this is in fact a deeply political statement.

As the discussion continues the host of the show makes what appears to be a genuinely believed assertion that the USA is a bigoted, racist, and divided country because it's inhabited by people of so many different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures with too many painful pasts to ever hope to live peacefully together. Does he realize that he's making the verbatim argument put forward by the ethno-statists that if everybody lived in racially segregated communities that racism would magically disappear? As an expat American living in Canada, all I've got to say is that if what the host of this discussion is seeing is what he believes to be the natural state of the USA, then I don't know how to explain what it's like to live in post-national, multi-cultural Canada.

For the CoS to post these two items in rapid succession following the racist fuck-fest that happened Charlottesville is glaringly political and when you connect the dots to see who and what they're not criticizing, you almost immediately see what they're supporting.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer invent reasons to explain High Priest Gilmore's complete and total abdication of organizational leadership. For a long time, I convinced myself that Magus Gilmore is practicing a form of servant leadership in which he elevates and gives voice to the most intelligent, successful, stimulating, and innovative voices within the membership, but based on all observable evidence I've come to feel that this is too generous an evaluation of his leadership style. Oh, sure--there are scattered interviews in the occasional blog, vlog, podcast, or magazine--but he's curiously silent when it comes to using his status within the hierarchy to speak to the membership at large and use his own worldly success and considerable knowledge to set a masterful example for others to follow. Magus Gilmore's complete abdication of leadership responsibilities has left a void that's been filled by authoritarian apologists and racist sympathizers.

There are people reading this who will say that if this is how I feel, that I'm no Satanist at all for expressing my disappointment that there's no leader to show me the way, but as Magus Gilmore himself said in the Satanic Scriptures there's no shame in accepting figurative slavery in service to a master worthy of your devotion. What I learned of Magus Gilmore in his Satanic Scriptures convinced me that he's an intelligent, capable man and at the time I sincerely believed that he and the organization he leads are worthy of my support; however, since I became an active, registered member in December 2015, more than once I've witnessed his childish name calling and--compared at least to the leaders I served in the United States Marine Corps--his refusal to lead from the front has convinced me that he's a master unworthy of the slavery which I'd offer him. Judging by all observable evidence, Magus Gilmore's talents do not exist within the categories of either management or organizational development.

And to preempt the argument which is about to made, yes--I'm aware that Magus Gilmore is following plans written by Dr. LaVey before his passing in 1997 which outline his desire for the CoS to become a kind of social club which operates as a mutual appreciation society to recognize its most successful members, but I've gotta say: What if Dr. LaVey was wrong? Both Dr. LaVey himself as well as Magus Gilmore have ridiculed people who held up Dr. LaVey as the great, infernal hope and both insisted that the man was a joker at heart who made it clear from the start who and what he was. After all, Satanists understand that their leaders are only human, unlike the Christians who insist on creating saints from whole cloth.

So if everybody including Dr. LaVey himself insisted that he was "merely human," then why are his desires given such weight? Is Magus Gilmore really no more than a place-holder to the best laid plans of mice and men from almost exactly 20 years ago? I'm not calling for change for the sake of change, but for a leader who's mindful to the law of the jungle: adapt, evolve, and overcome, or get eaten by something bigger and stronger.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer tolerate the hypocrisy how on one hand the CoS asserts that it is an elitist organization which operates in the shadowy margins and doesn't concern itself with the to-dos of the hoi polloi, but on the other hand is consistently and deeply concerned with the public discussion of Satanism among outsiders and its own representation in popular consciousness.

The CoS can't have its cake and eat it, too: either it's going to be a home for the alien elite and stand boldly on the infernal boundaries of polite society where it forges ahead according to its own agenda without a care for all the other people and organizations which it has repeatedly insisted are beneath its concern, or it's going to have to admit that it does in fact care about its place in popular awareness and is is deeply invested in participating in popular culture in order to sustain the value of its social currency. The CoS has got to make up its mind, because its effort to stand on both sides of the line is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer tolerate the selective outrage that I've witnessed among the broader membership as well as the leadership of the CoS. Before I joined the CoS, I devoured the available literature and was utterly captured by its force of conviction. The power I felt in the literature emboldened me and the black flame of accusation was lit within my heart. It's a dramatic description, but the time I spent first-phasing was a thrilling period for me.

And if I'm going to be honest with you, one of the most thrilling things about it was the deep certainty that I'd discovered something pure and original. I fell hard for the literature, and for a brief period of time was one of the Satanic keyboard warriors on the Internet who made a few of those sophist arguments that anybody who practices outside the definition provided by the CoS isn't a real Satanist. They could be devil worshippers, inverted Christians, opportunists, or nut-jobs, but they couldn't be Satanists because they didn't fit the definition of the word. It was an easy argument to make, you know, because it was binary: either, or.

And according to this binary choice, Satanism is a zero sum game: either you're a supporter or member of the CoS, or you're a detractor. Friends of the CoS are welcomed as citizens into the infernal empire, but detractors are objects of ridicule which true Satanists are encouraged to avoid so as to not give even the faintest whiff of legitimacy to their non-Satanic delusions. As it happens, the CoS even maintains an official policy that members who express support for non-Satanic organizations are implicitly declaring their opposition to the CoS (which is so totally not a Christian attitude.)

So you can imagine my surprise when the CoS promoted in its news-feed of member activities a podcast in which the host interviewed racist, fascist, theist, animal-sacrificing Augustus Sol Invictus--who also happened to be a headline speaker at the Unite the Right rally--about his views regarding eugenics. Because I didn't understand how this is in any way consistent, I contacted the central office and asked for help understanding what I was seeing. After multiple emails asking for a response, six and a half months later I was finally answered by an official spokesperson who played a word-game in which he told me in as many words that I was stupidly wasting his time. But you know, it didn't feel stupid: how does it work that anybody who has a different vision for the meaning of Satanism regardless of any other skills, knowledge, or abilities is automatically persona non grata, but a person like Invictus who despite his grossly offensive and thoroughly non-Satanic world paradigm is welcomed onto a podcast (hosted by one of the CoS's most prominent spokespersons and promoted in the official news-feed) because he has something interesting to say?

At the time, I cared very deeply about my organizational membership and was sincerely attempting to navigate the question as respectfully as I could. It was clear to me that this was both the only and the final answer I would receive on this question and the matter was closed to further inquiry. I wasn't satisfied with the answer I received, but owing to my desire to be recognized by my peers and climb the hierarchy I was willing to suppose that I could be wrong and just didn't have an accurate understanding of the source material. I regret that I didn't challenge the answer I received, but at the time it was very important to me that I cultivate grittiness and respect the authoritative answer given to me. But you know, times change, and so do I.

I am resigning my membership in the CoS because I can no longer tolerate the foundation the CoS has built for itself upon a No True Scotsman fallacy. For reasons that I've already provided, I reject the notion that because the CoS was the first organization to provide a clearly defined and precisely codified religion called Satanism that nobody else is allowed to do it differently; however, given the official statements being made by the CoS at present, this makes me an extreme outlier. If the CoS is making as its first article of faith the assertion that it is the one true Satanism and all others are either demon worshipers, inverted Christians, opportunists, or nut-jobs, then you can count me out.

For an organization which claims to revere intelligence, self-awareness, and perspective, the statements being published in the official news-feed of the CoS are disturbingly ignorant and childish. If only there were a way to know what Magus Gilmore himself thinks about people who collect and post other people's information on the Internet in order to badmouth them? Oh, wait - here it is:
"So the spiteful brats who can’t bear to be ignored at times strike back by posting personal information about our members and representatives with whom they’re obsessed, or by stealing the sort of copyrighted material they could never create and illegally transmitting it (a real crime, folks). If that doesn’t give them away for failures, squealing for attention, then you might belong in their company." Source: Magus Peter H. Gilmore
For this reason and all the others I've outlined above, I'm unwilling to continue my support for the CoS and am resigning my membership. I'm not doing this to club the CoS over the head with my resignation--I sincerely doubt I'll be missed, and I'm skeptical that the observations I've shared in this letter will be remembered within a year's time--but it's important to me that I say it because I feel that to do otherwise is a disservice to myself.

I am not renouncing my choice to identify as a Satanist, only my choice to affiliate with the Church of Satan. There's no stopping Satanism: it's here to stay and will continue moving ever forward.

But given what I've observed, I'm doubtful that the CoS will go with it.