February 26, 2018

March 2018 -- Happy (almost) Spring Equinox

snow frozen body mummy
It's March... I suppose now I have to get out of this snowbank and get on with 2018.
via AFP / Malay Mail Online

Here's a random factoid about me: I don't like celebrating the New Year on January 1st. It's basically the dead of winter in January, it's still dark all day, and -- if you live as far north as I do -- the outdoors look like the ninth circle of Hell. It's for this reason that I prefer to celebrate New Year on the spring equinox when warm, bright days finally outpace the cold, dark nights. I can hear you now: "You're a Satanist, aren't you a creature of the night?" Well, yeah -- I'm a Satanist -- but I'm still human and if I had to choose between being comfortably warm or uncomfortably cold, the choice is clear. By the time of spring equinox, winter is more or less finished in northern Ontario, and just as growing things awaken around me and start reaching up from the soil and up toward the light of Lucifer, so too do I feel inspired to chase the light toward the best beast I can be.

This year, though, the search for my best beast is feeling delayed. Some of you know that I resigned my member in the Church of Satan this past October, and while it's been liberating to not have to look over my shoulder for the self-appointed minders of the black pope to ensure sufficiently orthodox commitment to the one, true Satanism, it's also been disorienting because it's thrown my entire understanding of Satanism into chaos.

I enjoy a lot of what Dr. LaVey wrote -- and a lot of what Magus Gilmore wrote, too -- and the Satanic paradigm offered by the Church of Satan continues to work very well for me. The earthy, unrestrained liberty in the canon literature is delicious. I eat that shit all day. The 9 Satanic statements echo wisdom to my ears, the 9 Satanic sins have proven useful lessons, and while the 11 Satanic rules of the earth have a way of being contradictory, I still think they're worthwhile.

But I've also come to appreciate the Miltonic/Romantic philosophy (if not aesthetics) of the Satanic Temple. The 7 tenets being the only original literature produced by the Satanic Temple is often held up as a criticism that they haven't done anything worthwhile -- and it's a criticism I've made in the past, too -- but the beauty of a narrowly defined set of guiding tenets is that it opens the door for broader investigation into other literature without including the ideological chains that would otherwise push members and supporters of the organization into defending, apologizing for, or dogmatically citing a piece of canon literature which can never be changed in response to an ever stronger understanding of a changing world.

So here I am, almost at the start of my preferred New Year and finding it difficult to pick a purposeful direction because I feel torn between what I used to believe and what I presently know. When it comes to Satanism, I think it's wrong to say that a house divided against itself cannot stand -- the marketplace of ideas is vast and non-exclusive -- but when it comes to me myself I think it's a decent analogy for at least this time and place in my life.

March might not be a good time for commencing any grand voyages. Right now, it's looking a lot like a good time to watch the growth of both the figurative and the literal light. What shadows have been hiding in the darkness of winter? What corpses got buried in the snowfall and are only now being revealed by the melt? Those shadows and the bodies to which they belong may be my friends, but they might also be my enemies. March is feeling like a good time to watch and wait.

2 comments:

  1. When I think about LaVey's oft-quoted statement that "Satanists are born, not made," I look back on my own younger life and realize that one sense in which I have always been an incidental Satanist is by constantly finding myself on the outside of literally every organization I have ever had a dalliance with or longtime membership in. I've been ever either a complete non-joiner or, when I do join, always on the periphery in terms of viewpoint, commitment, activity, or some such. I think feeling separate, alone, conflicted, unmoored: these are all part of a condition I've always known and have come now to identify as an essential Satanic way of being. It's the ones who don't experience such inner conflict, struggle, loneliness, etc. who really scare me. Their confidence and partisan fervor usually just mask deep, deep insecurities.

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    1. I wrote in my book The Satanic Tarot that at least in my opinion the reality of what it means to be human is to be imperfect, hungry, passionate, and frequently tortured. I'm feeling those four things particularly keenly right now.

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