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.