by Jake Block
One warm summer evening, a bright green tree frog decided to attach itself to my storm door. Of course, I grabbed my camera.
Seeing it first from the inside of my house, I saw its underside, which gave me a rather strange perspective of it, and it seemed almost alien… other worldly. And I stared at it for quite some time, examining it from that angle, and it gave me a perspective that this was a well engineered “animal,” well prepared for its life in the trees and on the ground, with its ability to climb and hop, but this unexpected skill… scaling a seemingly unscalable surface… in order to get closer to the small flying insects that might congregate around my front porch light was high level thinking, to my mind. Of course, to the tree frog, it was just a matter of getting to a free meal, and it really could care less how much I was impressed.
Then I stepped outside to see the tree frog’s “upper level,” emerald green and beautiful to behold. From this angle, my mind was drawn to the more practical side of the frog, and it’s place in legend and lore. It seemed (in the way humans tend to apply human attributes to non-human creatures) friendly, and almost “happy,” in the way one might assume a frog to be. And one could imagine it near a pond, resting on a rock, or perhaps a small lily pad, blissfully bleating in the night, calling to a female frog… or a princess… to share a secret kiss. It’s tongue might dart out to feast upon a mosquito or some other small “bug,” and here, in his place by the pond, he could indeed be a prince among frogs.
Now, from the frog’s perspective, most of this would probably be seen as silly, unenlightened human musings, totally unrelated to the real life concerns of a frog in the wild. To the frog, this life could be hell on earth, constantly on guard, lest he be eaten alive by a bird, a snake or even a larger frog, just looking for an easy meal. He might be able to tell you about starvation, coldness, being beaten down by unrelenting heat and needing to hibernate at the bottom of a pond all winter, vulnerable to all manner of hungry creatures. We can of course speculate on what the frog thinks or what the frog dreams, but we can never really “know,” any more than that little frog could ever know or understand people and their ways.
To this little tree frog on glass, I could be a terrifying creature bent on its destruction. I could be a frightful oddity that he’ll relate to pollywogs as a cautionary tale of the dangers that lurk beyond the pond’s edge. Or I could be something unimaginable to the frog, strange and unexplainable, like the UFO humans see, but can never prove, but interesting to contemplate while waiting for a bite to eat just a little closer to the porch light.
Perspective. It “depends,” and is subjective. Man or frog, we all have one.
by Jake Block
I received an email from a woman who told me that she appreciates my writing, and that she views me as her teacher, a guru and said that I must be a Luciferian… a light bringer… and someone who’s purpose is to share my enlightenment with the world.
I thanked her for her kind words, but told her that my purpose in life has nothing to do with enlightening anyone, sharing anything, or being anyone’s personal teacher. I just speak truth as is truth to me, and if that resonates with someone else, then it says more about them than it does about me, because any “trickle down enlightenment” that someone attains from reading what I have written is appreciated, however it is unintentional.
“Enlightenment” that someone requires training in is the enlightenment of another, and is merely borrowed until one can find the will to discern truth for themselves. I personally don’t have a calling to, or a drive to, or a mandate to bring enlightenment to anyone else. I’m simply a writer who writes what he feels he has learned in his own “journey” on this left hand path. If you seek enlightenment, you have to do the heavy lifting for yourself, because, if you’re waiting for me to bring you the light, you’ll spend your life in darkness.
I know that seems cold, and I know that seems self-centered, but in truth, all “enlightenment” IS cold and self-centered, if it’s going to mean a damn to you. Your chief responsibility as an individual in the only life that you will ever receive is to make it as productive for yourself as you can, defining that productivity on your own terms, subject only to your own approval, and answerable only to your own conscience. The proof of your perfection comes not in the accolades you receive, although it is entirely possible that when others see that the way you live your life sets you apart, or perhaps gives others something to emulate, you might just receive kudos and accolades for your successes.
No. I’m not a Luciferian… you are not my student and you are not my brother, simply because you choose to be. And I don’t break bread with those who simply want my company, or feel that “since we’re on the same bus, we might as well enjoy the ride together.” I’m a Satanist, old school, surviving in a new world where I am an anachronism and as out of place as any stranger in a strange land can be. Indeed, I see our world today as an aberration of the Left Hand Path, where the stench of egalitarianism and “brotherhood” blinds most to the fact that they’ve become just another herd. They loudly proclaim themselves to be a pack of wolves, having read some fairy tales about how the wolves live in some magical glade, where their existence is noble and enlightened, above the herds, yet destined, somehow to educate and enlighten that accursed herd, bringing them slowly up to their exalted level.
Yes, it’s as ridiculous as that seems. To my mind we were never set apart as “the other” to somehow make our way back to the fold as some prodigal sons and daughters who return in glory, to save their poor and downtrodden brothers and sisters, repenting of our wasted youth, but eager now to share and to lead. Forget it. We were not “cast out” of “heaven.” We CHOSE to leave and we CHOSE the Left Hand Path, and that path is a lonely and often dark path that requires all we have to give if we are to survive and thrive apart from the touchy-feely group-think “happiness” of the herd.. or pack, if you must.
Those that do accompany me on this journey do so for a season, and are fully aware that they’re responsible for their own well-being. And while we may cooperate and we may assist one another, it’s by choice and it’s a rare and beautiful thing that transcends the flimsy bonds of simple kinship, group or herd. We travel, learn and dissect the truths we come to know. My truth is seldom their truth, although there may on occasion be similarities in our philosophies. In the end, we travel and learn what we need to survive and thrive. Not everyone was intended to make it to the end of the road, but we bury our dead, pick up our weapons and soldier on if someone falls. Trust me, we’re all a feast for the beasts who feed on the carrion of those who went before. No one makes it out alive. Some make it farther than others, but no man lives forever.
Back in the 1980’s, self-help guru Tony Robbins used to tell people he got where he was by seeing what others to succeed, and doing the same thing. He would gladly tell you exactly how to do it, but you would fork over hundreds of dollars to attend his seminars that were… well… enlightening in that you finally realized you (and thousands of others) had enriched him with a few hundred dollars, and received platitudes and feel good pats on the back. Most stayed where they were in life, because having the keys to the castle handed to them by “Tony” only worked if they could reach the castle door to use them, and he hadn’t sold them the map… YET. It worked for HIM… he’s worth about a half a billion bucks.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
— Tony Robbins
And there is where it ends. Enlightenment is in finding a way to make it that one step farther than those who came before. To do that, you’ll fight and scrape and steal whatever “enlightenment,” or scrap of knowledge, that allows you to take that next step, nourishing yourself on the wisdom that allows just a bit more comfort, wealth and ease than the day before. Sure, it looks easy to those who stand and watch the “enlightened” as they move ahead. And they fully expect to be handed that enlightenment like a worm from the mother bird’s mouth, but only fools just give their success and satisfaction away for free. No one gave it to them. They’ve earned it… or stole it from someone who did!”
by Jake Block
I have nothing against Theists. Some of my best friends are Theists. Some of them are very good people.
But in the context of The Sect of the Horned God as an organization, they’re incompatible with our thrust and direction. That’s not to say that they are wrong, because we believe in freedom of thought, and we believe in personal freedom and choice. The problem stems from our belief that the gods and demons of our forefathers are found in metaphor and not in the hard reality of our earthly existence. GODS and DEMONS in the supernatural, anthropomorphic sense are by their nature in a superior position to man. They are a control element. They assume the incapability of man to govern and rule his own life and his own world.
Biblically, we find that, “In the beginning, God created man,” but a truer statement would read, “In the beginning God created man, and then in the beginning, Man created god.” All of the “holy books,” “sacred scrolls,” “oral traditions,” et al describing the forming of the universe and the world in which we live were coined not by a “god,” but by men who, in their primitive and ignorant incapability to comprehend the complexities of the universe, built a mythology to explain the unexplainable. As man made his way from the cave to explore the earth, he discovered tangible reasons for phenomena that he had there to fore been unable to comprehend. As man’s comprehension grew, so too did his understanding of the world around him and his place within that world.Theism would have it that for some unknown reason, a benevolent and altruistic god took it upon him/herself to bestow knowledge upon man. Simply looking back at the history of man will show that man seldom, if ever finds a flash of enlightenment to light his path. Man stumbles upon discovery after discovery, with a mind capable of memory, extrapolation, and deduction, which he learns to use to reason. He formulates a plan and, through trial and error, succeeds or fails. He then adds his experience to his mental data base. And so it goes, from the earliest man and the simplest of victories, through discoveries and inventions, through progressive ages, to the present.Man progressed through the stone age, bronze age and iron age, ever in increasing his knowledge of the workings of the world around him and how to adapt, change and advance within it through the invention of new technologies and methodologies. But even as he advanced in technological expertise and understanding of the world around him, some men clung to the archaic belief that this was only through the beneficence of the god or gods in favor at the time. Here was the philosophical schism of Theological and Atheistic thought, which continues to this day.
The Sect of the Horned God straddles the gap of this schism as a Left Hand Path educational organization, acknowledging the past, while embracing the present and future advancements of man, without the need for externalized gods to lead us into the future. We salute the glorification and advancement of the human spirit and downplay the need for dogma and worshipful praise of gods that man had made to explain what is now known. The Sect of the Horned God is an incorporated entity whose primary objective encompasses the work of four philosophers in its relation to the left-hand path: Friedrich Nietzsche (Philosophy), Carl Gustav Jung (Psychology), Joseph Campbell (Mythology) and Anton LaVey (Occultism).“Our purpose is to awaken people and get them to live (in the words of the late, great Anton LaVey) a “vital existence”. But to live that vital existence might encompass a journey which may entail going deep into the dark halls of one’s psyche and face the reality of deconstructing the mind. That said, areas of study offered in the Sect are not one of absolutes or dogma, but rather that of gaining a deeper awareness of oneself and the path you are on, while emphasizing a passion for living.”
— Thomas LeRoy (Co-Founder)
It is our belief and assertion that mankind needs no “gods” or “supernatural forces” for its growth and expansion and, while we acknowledge the past and the lessons learned from experiencing and studying it, one cannot dwell there, for that is the path to stagnation and decay. This is a sticky point that Theists simply cannot reconcile with their firm belief that belief in such external forces, which commits them to the assumption that their deity of choice is the power by which all else is measured. And in this assumption and insistence, is an impasse that precludes their acceptance into the membership of The Sect of the Horned God. We simply have nothing to offer that fits their personal cosmologies.
We wish them well, and we wish them wisdom, but where they go, we cannot follow.
THE 9 TRAITS OF A SECT MEMBER
1. A Sect member does not believe, they “know”.
2. A Sect member does not have the mentality of a “victim”. They are accountable for their own actions and do not blame outside forces.
3. A Sect member knows altruism does not exist. Everything is done for selfish reasons.
4. A Sect member is courteous, but reserves respect for those that deserve it. (Satan is a gentleman!)
5. A Sect member knows the word “supernatural” is an oxymoron, for nothing can be “beyond nature”.
6. A Sect member uses empiricism instead of anecdotal evidence when in a debate.
7. A Sect member moves down the left-hand path instead of standing still, beating their chest, proclaiming their divinity.
8. A Sect member has a sense of humor! Being able to laugh at the absurdities of Life means they have not given in, or given up.
9. A Sect member uses the regrets of the past as the wisdom of today and the future!
by Jake Block
I crawl like a viper
Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women
Languid and bittersweet
I rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own
I’ll make it my home sweet home”
— Deacon Blues (Steely Dan)
Most people look at “night people” as a kind of aberration, I suppose. We can be awake in the daylight hours, but we never seem to quite fit in with the aesthetic. There’s something just not quite right… a little off… like a woman in a short, thin sundress, walking down a snow covered street. “Daylight walkers” seem just as out of place when they are dropped into a temporary night-time lifestyle, perhaps for work or a severe bout of insomnia. They function like they’re part of a dream, and if they have to be up, they spend most of the time in the house with the lights on.
When night people are up at night, they don’t usually bathe their house in light. They’ll turn on a light in an area where they’re working on something, but the rest of the house will be dark, and when, for instance, they have to go from one end of the house to another, it just doesn’t occur to them to turn on lights along the way. They know their way through the house in the dark and can function quite well that way. Most will tell you that they enjoy peering into the darkness of the unlit rooms around them. There are no monsters to fear in there.
Contrast that to the day person who will begin flipping on lights to ward off the darkness at the first sign of day’s fading light. The whole family may be crowded into a central room… perhaps the kitchen or living room… but all over the house, empty rooms are brightly lit. The father’s bellowing voice, complaining about every light in the damned house falls on deaf ears. Why invite the shadows inside? Confine them to the outer darkness, as the inside can be a safe-haven. Even after ages of evolution, we’ll still keep a night light softly glowing in our bedrooms to ward off terrors of the dark. The omnipresent television, left on while we sleep, serves to assure us that we are not alone.
Once I graduated high school, I spent most of my life as a night person, as a pre-military civilian, I took jobs with night shifts an stayed on them as long as possible, because, more often than not, the shift was paid a bit more than day shift jobs. Then, once I joined the military, and I spent my time learning the job, I was one of those rare and valuable people who volunteered for the grave shift jobs. There are indeed benefits in working the grave shift in a military, in that things are generally a bit slower, there are fewer officers and senior NCOs to get in your way and you had time to actually learn the job better. Slow times gave you an excellent opportunity to get into the books and study the regulations, so that you knew the why and how of the job, certainly, but these were also excellent study references for the promotion tests that could better your life in the military. Out of 20 years in the military, I was on the night shift for at least 16.
Unfortunately, more money is there to be made as a civilian in the day light hours, so from 1989 until 2002, I was a reluctant daylight walker, at least during work hours. It took me quite a while to be awake when I would much rather have been sleeping. It wasn’t natural for me. And it was such a relief, when I finally retired from the “working world” in 2002. Almost without missing a step, my body began to return to its nocturnal habits and it was a beneficial state for me to be in once again. Now that I am “a retiree,” I am again mostly nocturnal in my day to day life and find little need to interact with “day walkers.”
Culture plays a role in whether one be completely nocturnal, however and, while many things in larger populations are open 24 hours, rural communities offer far fewer opportunities for night time commerce. In this area, the only thing that is open for business here after 9PM are two local gas stations and the town’s McDonald’s. Strange, for a college town. Of course, if you REALLY need something, there is a 24 hour Wally World 20 miles away to the south, and 20 miles away to the north, as well.
It took some time for the locals to get used to the “crazy Yankee” in their midst. They weren’t used to someone, especially a photographer, who could be found wandering in the night, taking photographs…and in a cemetery, no less! Surely there was something foul afoot. Things are better now that I’m more well known to the police, but it wasn’t that long ago that they came upon me in the cemetery across the street at 3AM and, covered in the blinding spotlight, questioned me about the who, what, why and WTF of finding a man with a camera amongst the dead after midnight.
“HALT… who are you?”
“Jake Block, Officer. I live across the street.”
“What are you doing here?
“Taking pictures, Officer. I’m a dark photographer and shoot at night.”
“Why are you taking pictures in the cemetery?”
“Because it’s here.”
“OK. Just don’t disturb anything. The office will contact you tomorrow.”
“Make it in the afternoon, please. I’m a day sleeper!”
It’s good to know that I’m not alone! Many famous and creative people have been night people. That list includes Charles Bukowski (writer), Fidel Castro (revolutionary), Winston Churchill (British Politician), Bob Dylan (Musician), Glenn Gould (pianist), Samuel Johnson (writer), Carl Jung (psychoanalyst), Franz Kafka (writer), Fran Libowitz (writer), Marilyn Manson (musician), Mao Zedong (Chinese politician), Frank Meyer (philosopher), Barak Obama (American politician), Prince (musician), Marcel Proust (novelist), Joseph Stalin (Russian politician), Hunter Thompson (writer), J.R.R. Tolkein (writer), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (painter), John Travolta (actor), Linus Torvalds (software engineer), Frank Zappa (musician), and Mark Zuckerberg, (Facebook founder).
I have always had a creative streak, whether it be in art, I did pen and ink, mostly, writing or photography, but my most creative periods have always been in the night time hours and, most specifically, between 1 and 4AM. If I am awake and trying to create something in the daylight hours, my mind has to contend with all of the things going on around me. The telephone, doorbells, need to go shopping, and overall fatigue that I feel during the daylight hours seem to slow down my thought processes and dull the creative urge. I find myself thinking more about taking a nap, than taking a picture, although I know that in some instances, the shots I want to take simply cannot be done in the dark.
And throughout my life as an “occultist,” I have found that most of the people that share those interests with me have been creatures of the night as well. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence. There is a coolness of the night that drives people like me indoors when the sun begins to rise, and its brightness stings my eyes. I sleep better during the daylight hours, when I can cool the room down and block out the sun with curtains. Only then can my body regenerate efficiently… and this too I seem to share with those of my night time world.
I will grant you that there are drawbacks with living a mostly nocturnal lifestyle, such as shopping for things you can’t find at the 24 hour Walmart stores, furniture stores, or service related businesses that generally cater to those of the daylight world. But the Internet with its instant access to most goods and services 24/7 can be just as convenient, although one has to wait for delivery in the mail. The inconveniences of commerce are more than made up by the quiet, cool and less populated world I love at night.
People sometimes laugh at the paleness of complexion we of the night time world often have. I prefer to call it my “moon tan,” and tell them that it’s not only fashionable, but much much less likely to scar my skin with melanoma! And I would rather walk with my love in the pale moon light than dance with her on a sweaty hot beach any day!
by Jake Block
At every sporting event, concert, or meeting of people who, although not successful at the skill being presented themselves, find it their personal duty to “throw shade” on those who can. They’re sure to make their comments loud enough to be heard, hopefully to impress some in the crowd around them, for a laugh or some imagined superiority they might gain in voicing what could only be called “personal opinion.” Challenge them to prove their point, and they’ll fall back on the old “First Amendment” trope.
Why not? I mean, it’s not like those that they are are talking shit about are ever going to be standing right nearby, as they spew their self-serving shit to those around them. “Nickelback sucks… they can’t play worth a damn.” It’s not likely that Chad Kroeger is wandering around amongst the cheap seats to hear him… or is going to come down to the Church’s Chicken store where the loud-mouth worked 32 hours to afford his ticket to the show.
“Who the hell is Serena Williams?” Having seen a few raised eyebrows in the group around her, the blonde “never-was” in shorts and t shirt continues, “I could play tennis as well as her, and without all of the grunting she does to get attention. Just why in the hell is that bitch so successful?” This loudmouth might be queen of the courts in her New Jersey suburban condo clubhouse complex, and feel oh-so-superior as she throws her racquet in the back of her used Mazda Miata. She waves jauntily as she hurries back to her mortgaged to the hilt condo, 2.5 American children and thaws out a frozen steak for her husband of 20 years to enjoy when he returns home from an afternoon with his mistress across town. Meanwhile, Serena Williams relaxes in one of her homes, drinking champagne in celebration of another win at Wimbledon.
Muhammed Ali DID once walk up behind such a loudmouth in New York, as he was making his way through the crowd to Madison Square Garden, shaking hands with his fans. He stood behind his detractor quietly and gestured for those around him to stay silent with his finger to his lips. They stood there silently, smiling as the man, taking their smiles for acceptance, continued and stepped up his diatribe against Ali… “slow… doddering…. glass jaw… flash in the pan.” After a few moments, Muhammed Ali gently tapped his detractor on the shoulder and, when the man turned around to see him there, the look of fear and horror on his face was unmistakable.
Ali’s face, they say, remained serene as he threw a lightning fast punch that stopped an inch from the nose of his tormentor. He said, in that famous Muhammed Ali whisper, “Sometimes you just gotta hold back a bit, son.” Then he made his way into the Garden to do what he was there for. He was not only the Heavyweight Champion of the World, but a gentleman and consummate professional who’s memory still lives in the hearts of many, while his anonymous detractor is forever lost to history. And that, as I see it, is the way it should be.
Those who CAN, do. Those who CAN’T, but they still want fame and notoriety… to be the top dog, criticize those who CAN, so long as they don’t have to really work or suffer for it. They COULD be just as famous as Crowley, or whomever else they choose to debase, but you know, “THEY” are holding people back and the new guy just can’t get “in the game.” Professional wrestler, Ric Flair had wisdom for all of those who though his job was easy. “To be the man,” he said,”you gotta beat the man!”
The Left Hand Path is a “big tent,” and there is plenty of room for everyone who wants to try to leave their mark along the way… assuming they have a legitimate mark to make. There are indeed many who “made their bones” along the way through solid research, some insightful speculation, and being able to present their own work and theories without the need to resort to petty feuds and public displays of vulgarity. They became known around the world and “followed” by others who found their work compelling and meaningful, long before “following someone” became “collecting likes” on Facebook. In the pre-internet days, one wrote books, monthly magazines or newsletters to pass information on to others and receive feedback from those who subscribed to their service.
Having loud-mouthed detractors is nothing new, and pretty much comes with the territory in an era where very little, if anything is done in a face-to-face setting. People today are separated by thousands of miles, yet still in communication over the internet. You never know for certain if the person you are talking to (or about) while you are in Fresno, California, is in Dubrovnik, Croatia or right down the road in Visalia, California. What IS new is the eagerness of people to want to see people in the worst light, based solely on the word of someone they have never met, and whose existence can only be proven by words on a computer screen. Conspiracies abound and are applied to every aspect of life. There must be some thing to be hidden in every interaction, and damn it, we DESERVE to know everything about everybody. In fact, we DEMAND it… but in the same breath, we reserve the right to our own privacy at any cost.
In 1988, Anton LaVey, while being interviewed by Eugene Robinson for his “Birth of a Tragedy” interview, said, “I feel (people have) a need to reduce or destroy or declass a person who has at one time been great, so that then they can feel that their own inadequacies are less. And America, being a rather fickle nation…fads, trends, popular conceits…America is more fast paced and has a higher mortality rate than anywhere in the entire world. So it stands to reason, in a hermetic sense, that we would create and destroy our heroes just as fast. It would also make something like film noir a uniquely American phenomenon…just like the Western. This also means that villains, too, could wind up being heroes much easier than they can in other countries. That’s at least a saving grace.”
I’m of the belief that every man and every woman is, in the final analysis, capable of doing something that others will consider laudable. The pages of world records books are filled with everyday people who did extraordinary things. But no matter what the feat, there will be someone standing in the wings to belittle their efforts and claim that they could have done better. Well, that’s fine, but my question for the loudmouths will always be, “OK, if you could have done better, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?”
There is always going to be a place in the feeble minds of bleating sheep for those who can feign strength in the midst of incompetence, and there are always herds of wannabes that are willing to accept a poser in the absence of the real thing. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of true power, even a bombastic, blustering fool can lead. When the bar is set so appallingly low, it takes little to best it. If you are one of the sheep waiting to be led, there’s someone out there for you, but I hope that is never someone that you find within our number.
When the rest of the world is content to stand beneath the banner that reads, “Strive For Mediocrity,” take pride that you stand beside us, for here, leaders lead by example, not rhetoric. For those who CAN, come here and DO. We’re building this “city” for you.
by Jake Block
You know, I really like beef in most of its forms. Steak, burgers, goulash, on pizza, ribs, brisket, kabobs, tips, you name it. I never met a bull I didn’t like, grilled, fried or in a casserole. Now, there are some side effects and consequences for eating too much beef, from high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and even some cancers. In India, it can be a dangerous act, as there are “cow vigilantes” who believe that killing a cow is tantamount to murder. In fact, recently, popular preacher Sadhvi Saraswati suggested that those who consumed beef should be hanged in public.
Another Hindu bovine activist, Chetan Sharma said, “Cow is also the reason for Global warming. When she is slaughtered, something called EPW (Emotional Pain Waves) is released, which is directly responsible for global warming.” OK.
Meat is good and tastes great, and it’s a source of iron that is essential to the diet of most people. Iron builds blood. Iron can help to eliminate fatigue, it can boost immunity, it can treat anemia, it can improve concentration and even help you sleep. The good and the bad. They have to be taken in context and in total to decide the truth for oneself. I could eat red meat every day, and for a number of years I did.
Comes a time when you might have to reconsider the things you love and that hold importance in your life. My love of red meat still is with me, but health concerns have forced me to modify my consumption. Turns out that I developed a condition that red meat and the iron therein causes complications and a worsening of the effects. The only thing I could do was modify my behaviors to make the best of the situation. I found that by drastically decreasing my intake of red meat and the iron that it contains, I could mitigate the impact of the condition and, with controlled indulgence, I could still enjoy the taste of beef once in a while. Meanwhile, I can replace red meat with chicken, turkey, pork or fish, none of which contribute to my condition.
Most people never come to the realization that quite often, most of life’s problems, whether they be health related or in the realms of emotion and interpersonal relationships can be handled in much the same way. Anton LaVey once wrote, “The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow’, then do it.”
It works for the dilemma of indulgence over compulsion, need over want, and even good over evil. If what you are doing works, ok. If not, find a way to either make it work for you or drop it. It’s not rocket science, brain surgery, or even magic… just good, common sense life management.
Failure to react to people or things, even if at one time essential to our lives, but that have since turned into a liability is neglecting a detriment to our emotional or physical health, and should be dealt with quickly and decisively. Many people have a reluctance to do that, based on a sense of guilt and loss, that if they had done A, B, or C, the situation would never have turned against them. But this assumes a level of control that isn’t readily accessible, especially when there is a human component to the situation at hand. We have to remember that while we can influence, we can seldom control the actions of another.
Coming up onto my 70th year, I can tell you that I have modified the hell out of my life over the past decades. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes, business changes, love changes and even changes in personal beliefs are just a part of individual growth that we all must suffer through, if we are fortunate enough to survive them.
The nature of associations with people change, even if you have known them for years, and at one time took great pleasure in your association with them. The old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt,” has meaning in some of your oldest “friends” who, because of their longevity and their close associations, forget that even with friends, there are boundaries and there are conditions that must not be disrespected. Those who do respect your boundaries and conditions can be life long friends and associates and enhance the quality of your life as an equal partner in the relationship. But there will always be those who, for some reason, seem to demand your friendship and loyalty while paying lip service to friendship and respect when it comes to their commitments to you.
We’ve all heard about, of have actually been people who have stayed within the restrictions of a loveless marriage “for the sake of the kids,” and who, for decades shared a sexless and emotionally limited existence until their children were grown and had lives of their own. Everyone is surprised. No one had any idea that there had been problems. To the couple, from their perspective, they just can’t believe that the ordeal is finally, blessedly over. The couple stayed together for the sake of their kids, but at what price to their own physical and emotional health? Would it have been better to break up earlier and simply assist with the separation of parents by telling their kids the truth, and then finding ways to cope, just as millions of other parents do?
It’s a far from rare scenario. And indeed, a lot of it is culturally dictated, in that we are brought up to believe that one’s interpersonal commitments are sacrosanct. This is especially true in the realms of marriage and family, but there is a definite spillover into the world of business and politics as well. It over-values the contractual nature of our dealings with others, and assumes that all parties to whatever agreements we make will honor those agreements equally and faithfully.
But there are times when our faithfulness might not be reciprocated, or when we no longer have a meeting of minds on what we want and need in a partner… sometimes, for reasons we may never fully define, things just don’t work out. You then owe it to yourself and others involved directly in your life situation to modify your associations and or behaviors and move on to something and/or someone new that can replace your currently defective relationships and help you to return to a forward momentum that will allow growth and satisfaction, rather than the dissatisfaction, stagnation and decay of a relationship gone wrong.
Way back in 1965, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s song, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, gave some sage advice that I recognized, even at sixteen. It was that time in youth where everything and nothing at all made sense on one level or another, and as a kid, you were just trying to make life work, without really yet understanding what life actually was. So when John Sebastian sang his lyrics, they rattled around in my mind for a few moments and, magically, some things came together.
“Did you ever have to make up your mind?
And pick up on one and leave the other behind?
It’s not often easy and not often kind.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Did you ever have to finally decide?
And say yes to one and let the other one ride?
There’s so many changes and tears you must hide.
Did you ever have to finally decide?”
Over the years, through many tears and hard times, with all the compromises and set asides that life demands, we sometimes forget that it’s often just as simple as that. Make up your mind, decide what you want and make the changes in your life that you need to move on and be happy. Sure, someone is going to be disappointed, and someone is going to lose. That’s the nature of the game, but there comes a time when you have no other choice than to play it, and trust that you’ve made the right choices for YOU.
“Move on. It’s just a chapter in the past, but don’t close the book just turn the page.”
― Brooklyn Copeland
by Jake Block
I have always had a “goatee” style beard, even when I was clean shaven in the military, and even before I shaved at all. What I mean by this is that in my mind’s eye, I always knew that that’s how I should look. Call it vanity, call it personal aesthetic… it could just be that I really like the look. It worked well for Anton LaVey, Ming the Merciless and Mitch Miller (there go the Google searches), and each of them had their own personal version of the beard that was identifiable with them.
I don’t think that people ever see us as we see ourselves, unless we find a way to show them who we really are in our mind’s eye. We all have layers to our personalities and to our psyches as well. In The Compleat Witch (or What To Do When Virtue Fails) by Anton LaVey (reprinted as The Satanic Witch) we also learned that we have a three-layered composition, like a story one must read carefully to find real meaning.
What people see of us on the outside, he called The Apparent. You see me as an man. You see my build and the outwards signs of my situational existence. The third level he called the Core, which is what I am at my deepest and most profound level. Quite often this will mirror the outer layer of of the person, and together can be considered to be “The Majority Self.” The outer layer will often present what the inner level wishes the world to see. But what of the middle layer?
LaVey called the middle layer the “Demonic Minority Self,” and is generally what the Majority Self strives for. It is most often seen as an opposite sex image. What he sees as the opposite, to complete him. For example, if he is a masculine “macho man,” he might long for a feminine, delicate woman to be his mate and life partner. it is this layer that one appeals to in order to gain influence and control of an individual.
All of this is on a subconscious level. We normally don’t expend effort to project what we are to the rest of the world. Nature takes care of that. Our Demonic Minority Self deals more with the way the Majority Self responds to and can be influenced or manipulated by others in mirroring that inner version of ourselves in matters of love or interpersonal relationships.
But what if we DO want to project and display ourselves to others on another level? I’m speaking of a manufactured image that would not only mirror our Apparent and Demonic core, but enhance it… amplify it… so that people not only see the basics of our physical selves, but a more complete version of ourselves as WE see ourselves in our personal vision, and that vision can change from time to time as mood, challenges to our current incarnation and/or manipulative need changes. You can liken it to “duck-facing” in a selfie, where one mocks the camera to become a caricature of one’s reality.
Nature provides examples from the animal world where the animals one sees can change their physical appearance as the threat levels in their world change. They can “puff up,” like the puffer fish or common cat, to make themselves look larger and more formidable to an adversary. They can change their coloration to camouflage themselves and blend with their environment, like chameleons against rocks or foliage on the land or squids and octopi in the sea. But for a dramatic demonstration of this effect, you can look to the Japanese owl that can transform itself in several configurations to meet a perceived threat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRXT_TrUbiw
As a photographer, I am quite aware that the picture someone wants me to take is seldom based on absolute truth. Most often, they want a photograph that is a “projected truth” that they wish to claim as their public persona. In the reality of day to day life, they’re probably quite different, but they see the occasion of taking a photograph as akin to building one’s own alternative reality, much as one would do in the creation of a personal altar or home that becomes their sacred space of introspection where the world is not what it IS, but what they would wish it to be. This is the reason that people dress up for photos, perhaps in a boudoir setting, or armed to the teeth sitting on a hog. They can take refuge in the fantasy and gain security and control in a world where, quite often, the reality is quite different than the one they would project.
We can call these “vanity shots,” or “tweaked Majority Self photos,” or any other name we wish to coin them, but in essence, they are the visions of dreamers brought to light; thought forms brought forth and given life through the will to power of those being depicted, using the medium of photography to make visible what is in their mind and, until catalyzed in the images captured on film, or digitally, remain static and privately held. But in bringing them forward for the world to see, the subject makes his or her claim on a bit of sovereignty and personal power.
For most of my life, I have been doing the same thing, not realizing it at first, and then almost as a way of self documentation of changes in my life and the way I wished to be perceived. I was a kid in high school when it started, quite incidentally, when I was “jumped in” as a member of the State Street Boys. I was a clean-cut kid, not prone to trouble, but not afraid to mix it up when I needed to. So, one day in 1967, when I slipped on my white Nehru club jacket with the Maltese cross on the collar, my girlfriend at the time snapped a shot (pic A). It marked me pretty much as what I was, young, cocky and thinking I had it made.
The photo was seen only by myself and my girlfriend and really meant little to me. I knew the vision in that polaroid photograph. It was nothing new. But SHE saw something new and something that spoke to her on a different level that the one she saw in the flesh and blood “me.” She loved me, but she said she understood the “me” she saw in the photograph, and wanted to know more. She wanted to know the “why” of the look in my eye, the straightness of posture. The inner story that only that image in the photo could tell.
Years passed and, at certain times, I found that I wanted to renew my self-vision and projection. This was most often founded on a time of introspection and in the realization that as times changed, so too did I, for one reason or another. I’ve never really tended to do “selfies,” as they call them today. But these self-portraits still have the power to speak to me today and bring back the memories and the changes in my personal and/or philosophical direction at the time.
In the shot I called “Gambler,” from 1978 (pic B), I was pretty heavy into gambling… poker and blackjack… and was a ranked member of the Rhein Main Poker Club. It became my “image” and hung on the wall of the clubhouse where we gambled. Indeed, it was a self image and personal revelation, because when I wasn’t at a table with cards in my hand, I was a career member of the US Air Force, stationed at Rhein Main, Germany. Others saw it as an “alternative” me, and said that the “me” they knew in the military was an altogether different “me” that they knew, going all-in with a winning hand.
By 1990, I was beginning my new career as a civilian and was working toward my managerial position in the company I worked tor. Here I was projecting the confidence and professionalism that was needed to rise amongst my peers and succeed. Notice the foreshortened image of The Magician tarot card on my coffee mug. I saw this as an homage to the Lesser Magic of manipulation and positioning that I had called upon to open doors to the business path that I was on.
The early 2000s saw me changing again, as I completed my corporate career and retired at age 52. (pic D) Time now my own, I could indulge in a more playful image, free from the need to earn and produce for others, and in that time, I was more free to project the “rougher” side of my nature and the indications that I was my own man. I’d spent my time doing for others, and reaping the rewards of success.
By 2010, I was known for my writing, and my photography and spent a lot of time behind the desk in my office, working on both. (pic E) My wife called this my “blue period,” where it seemed that I was confident, and happy working at things that meant something to me on a personal and creative level, rather that working to make money. I saw it as using my skills in the arts of writing and photography as a study in magical alchemy, where i could, like Rotwang the Magician in the Fritz Lang movie METROPOLIS, use my magic to influence the world around me from the quiet solitude of my office in my out-of-the-way home. All I needed was a sexy robot and Tesla coils.
And now my present self-image (pic F), that of elder-statesman in a long life, winding down. I’m a bit “toned down” and wear only my Sect of the Horned God lapel pin and a simple pentagram pin beneath it. My colors are the traditional colors of Satanism, coincidentally my favorite colors of black, crimson and silver. The door is closed, but symbolized my intention to exit at some time unknown to me, but surely coming.
We, each of us, have multiple dimensions to our personalities to our lives that we recognize and project from time to time our whole life through. What we are in our mind’s eye at 17 is going to change at 20, 30, 40 and so on, so long as we are growing and expanding in our consciousness and our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Much like a set of nested dolls, we mirror LaVey’s concept of the Apparent Self, Demonic Minority Self and Core, but all the layers in between as well. It is those extra layers that give us our flavor and our uniqueness as individuals.
Seeing ourselves helps us to know ourselves and to examine our personal goals, and things important to us, and the way we wish to present ourselves to our friends and the world in general, who may never even know us. It’s been an educational and fulfilling exercise for me. You might enjoy it as well.
by Jake Block
I was recently asked when I sold my soul to Satan, and did I receive my success in the bargain. I chuckled at the question, and the gentleman didn’t quite understand what I found so funny. I looked at him and said, honestly, “John, I never sold my soul to Satan, and I never made a bargain for anything. I’m not a Satanist because of any bargain. I’m a Satanist because it’s natural for me to be a Satanist, and I got my success in life because I worked my ass off to be successful. Nobody, man nor god “gave me” anything. Moreover, you can’t make a bargain with someone who doesn’t exist for something that doesn’t exist.”
Now in his “southern born and bred mind,” this just didn’t make sense. He had a book that he had always been told was written by GOD that assures him that there is a Satan and that Satan will bargain for your soul. In fact this book even showed how Satan attempted to buy the soul of none other than Jesus, the son of God. He even quoted it from memory. Matthew 4:9 in his “Holy Bible.” “All this I will give to you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.”
I asked, “John, do you really believe this?” He assured me that he did, and that this book was the unerring word of God. I shook his hand and said, “Well, John, there’s really nothing that I can tell you.”
Communication has to come from a place of commonality… the parties have to understand each other on some level. While I think I understand where John is coming from, because I have read his book and that of the Jews and that of the Muslim and that of others who surrender their humanity and their lives to those gossamer ideas that become gods simply because those who believe are assured that in giving up one’s desires on earth, they will gain great rewards in heaven. To John, that would translate to “Those who don’t believe are assured that if they give up their great rewards in heaven, they will receive their desires on earth.”
John sees life as a coin toss… one side or the other, and can’t comprehend what Satanist would call the “third side option.” The idea that one can control one’s own destiny isn’t something that is in the book. You either surrender to GOD or be destroyed in the fiery pits of Hell. All is predetermined, and all are subject to the Will of GOD. Now, John understands success. He’s a fairly successful man himself, and he will admit to working hard for his money and the small luxuries that that success can provide for him and his family, but he insists that that is all part of “God’s Plan,” and if God did not wish him to prosper, he would be poor. And of course, God needs the 10% tithe that John’s success assures.
So John finally responds, after thinking, and tells me that I must be giving SOMETHING to Satan, perhaps I too must tithe for my success. The confusion showed on his face when I explain that we don’t tithe. We parted company with a shake of the hands, and a strange look on John’s face, like he’d just been sold a bill of goods. In his binary world, he just couldn’t accept that third side option. So he would continue his life the way it had always been. He would raise his family, go to church on Sunday, work hard and tithe to his God. He would be happy and secure in his faith, and that’s ok.
It’s not my job to argue with those who don’t see the world as I do. Our best argument is in quietly living well, despite what others might think of us and how miserable they think we should be without the love of Jesus. They think we have sold our souls to Satan for our successes, but they have given theirs freely and pay their God for the privilege. It’s not for me to say that he and millions of others are wrong… I’m not invested in their lives.
As for me, I’ll go on, godless and free, and definitely not for sale.
by Jake Block
With the recent death of my friend Typhon Draconis, it brought home something that as a son of a mortician I have always known. You never know when death is coming for you, but rest assured, it IS coming. The older you get, the odds are in your favor that its coming will be sooner than later, but even then, unless you decide to take the matter into your own hands and leave this life in an act of suicide, you just have to wait and wonder like the rest of us.
According to my doctor, using his handy-dandy computer program and 40 years of experience, he estimates that with my medical history, it’s a good bet that I will live at least another 7 years, to age 77 (74%), and all things being equal, I could live to the ripe old age of 82 (+/- 3 years)… “barring unforeseen circumstances.” My heart is good, lungs are good, I’ve never smoked and drink so seldom that I am considered a non-drinker. No drugs, other than those I need for known medical conditions. So there it is!!! Time to sit back and take it easy.
“Shit happens,” as they say. You can be on a winning streak at the craps table, rolling the bones and making pass after pass, but in an instant it can all change, and frequently does. That perfect 7 is great on your opening pass, but when your point is 5, a 7 is the last thing you need to see when the line is loaded and you’ve just made 22 consecutive passes. You can go from flush to flat in the blink of an eye. You can play a a blazing game of racquetball in the morning and have a massive heart attack walking to your car in the afternoon. Time’s up… party’s over.
It’s a good reminder to take care of business while you can and to keep as few loose ends untied as possible, so that someone else doesn’t have to attempt to “guess” at what your final wishes might have been as far as your funeral wants and the disposition of your personal property. I have a Will, but it’s well over 20 years old, and have acquired a lot of things in that time that need to be disposed of after I die, or they’ll just end up on Ebay or in a garage sale unless I take the time to catalog them with photos and the name and address of the people that I wish to bequeath them to.
Hundreds of books, some rare, some signed, some just “different,” that might mean something to someone, rather than nothing to someone who finds them on a garage sale table for 25¢ per book, figurines and altar pieces that a Satanist would appreciate, but that someone around here would consider only as trash, 50 Tarot decks, some rare and valuable, crystal balls, camera equipment for days, toys by the shelf-full, watches… you name it. It behooves me to put a little thought into the pieces I really care about and match them up with those I think will enjoy them and care for them.
Now is the time, I think, when I can look at things dispassionately and make rational decisions, rather than after being told by my doctor to “get my affairs in order,” because when that happens, I’m afraid that getting things organized will probably be the last thing on my mind. Knowing myself, when that time comes, I would spend my time in a car, looking for one last great shot before I lay down my cameras for good.
Most people don’t plan for the end, and tend to prefer to not even think about it. I’ve gone to estate sales where I find an interesting or uniquely personal treasure and think that were it me, I would have made sure that my relative or friend got that little treasure as a remembrance of me. But there it is, in a pile of chipped and worn bric-a-brac, for sale for a buck. It’s almost like a poignant and melancholy footnote to the life of the former owner.
You don’t have to put on the red light.
Those days are over,
You don’t have to sell your body to the night.
You don’t have to wear that dress tonight;
Walk the streets for money,
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right”
— Roxanne (The Police)
A correspondent recently told me that she’d just had a short period of time in which she resorted to prostitution in order to make ends meet. It wasn’t something that she planned on doing, but when the pressure of meeting the bills that she had to pay and the loss of a job she needed to pay them met that critical crossroads, she had to find some way to come up with a way to “keep the wolf at bay.” She reasoned that she enjoyed sex, and that in the long run, it really wasn’t much different than going on a date with a man, where he might buy dinner and drinks, and if things went well, she might end up in bed with him. This was simply cutting out the dating and getting right to the sex, and the words from Pink’s song “U + Ur Hand” went through her head. “Keep your drink, just give me the money.”
So, she decided to give it a try. She rented an inexpensive room in her town, conveniently located near several bars, got dressed in an attractive outfit and walked out the door. This was something she felt she had to do, and not something she necessarily wanted to do. But it was her body and she could use it to survive. She did this once in a while over the next year and a half until she was able to land a job with decent pay in a town several miles away. She’s kept it quiet all of the years since, because, as she told me, “Even my parents wouldn’t understand. They never offered to help, but would disown me if they knew.” She hoped that I would not look down on her as well.
My response was that “sometimes you do what you gotta do to survive.” Now, during my long life, there were times when I did things that I didn’t want to do for money. I damn sure didn’t want to prep the dead for embalming for my father, or clean delivery rooms, and I didn’t want to load trucks or clean the processing vats in a spaghetti plant… but they paid a little above minimum wage and were a lot more enticing than working at the local slaughter house. And there were times on the street where I did what I did to get a few dollars from someone who probably needed them as much I I did, but were weaker. But I did what I needed to do until my opportunity presented itself, and then I was wise enough to grab it.
So, before we look down our noses at women who do what they need to survive, we have to consider what we would be willing to do to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads; to provide for our wives or husbands and children, so that they can have at least the basics of life to hold the family together until their break comes. I have respect for people who will do what they need to do to survive, always looking for something to better their lot in life, never giving up, even though sometimes in might seem that life itself has given up on them.
I have more respect for them than for the people who refuse labor that they think is beneath them because they think that life owes them a living just for being there. I’ve heard women say, “I’m going to find a man with money to marry, and then I will never work again.” To be honest with you, I have actually heard one man make that same statement, although I have a strong feeling that a lot of others hold those sentiments in their hearts. I believe that any honest labor is worthwhile if you accept pay for doing it and execute your responsibilities honorably. There are those, though, who honestly believe that they are above labor in the service of anything but themselves.
Now, I know there are those who are thinking, “Is he saying prostitution is ‘honest labor’?” I’m not saying that it’s LEGAL labor, but if one’s survival and ability to provide for one’s children’s basic needs is in jeopardy, who the hell am I to judge? Indeed, we are seeing a beginning trend in some areas to decriminalize prostitution because it is a crime that can be linked to poverty and survival, when personally engaged in, and not as a part of a human-trafficking or child prostitution enterprise. These aspects of the overall act of prostitution are compelling someone to prostitute their bodies to enrich another, and not, therefore, survival-based crime.
Lest one misconstrue personal prostitution as a third-world phenomenon, it is legal in a number of progressive countries among which are Denmark, Finland, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Belgium, Belize, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands and Mexico. In the United States, it’s legal in certain areas of the state of Nevada.
According to The Huffington Post, “In case you had any doubt, there is big money in sex. Atlanta’s sex trade was worth a whopping $290 million in 2007 alone. Miami’s sex economy was worth $235 million, and Washington D.C.’s $103 million. The numbers above, produced by the Urban Institute, leaves out Kansas City, the eighth city studied in the report, because of a lack of data.”
And while it’s been said that prostitution is a victimless crime, and this would be essentially true in a personally based transaction (sex for pay), women who engage in prostitution for a temporary career or as a way to inject un-reportable cash into their personal economies know that it’s definitely a supply and demand business… and there is definitely a demand. Huffington Post’s investigation found that there’s is a racially diverse clientele: “Asian (2.8%), Black (16.7%), Latino (19.4%), White (38.9%), and Unspecified “all races” (19.4%).”
The realization that poverty and the need to survive is being recognized in some areas within the United States is telling. For example, “cities like Seattle and San Francisco have not just “decriminalized homelessness” or “decriminalized poverty” — they have increasingly decriminalized crime. Over the past five years, the classification of survival crime has expanded well beyond stealing the proverbial loaf of bread. In California, for instance, Proposition 47 downgraded theft of property valued at less than $950 to a misdemeanor, meaning that the police are unlikely to pursue even habitual shoplifters and thieves. The predictable result: a statewide rise in petty theft. Seattle and King County recently released new guidelines calling on police officers to stop arresting individuals for all “homelessness-related crimes,” with the goal of “eliminating racial disproportionality” and ensuring that policies “do not penalize homelessness and poverty.” Meantime, city and county prosecutors have dropped thousands of misdemeanor cases against “vulnerable populations.” All this has caused widespread frustration among residents and law enforcement officers. As one veteran Seattle cop told me: “We have basically stopped enforcing the law against the homeless population. Political leaders don’t want it and prosecutors won’t pursue charges. It’s a waste of time.” In New York City, the NYPD has backed off from arresting people for subway fare evasion, on the grounds that enforcement has a disparate impact on the poor; fare-beating has risen sharply since the new policy was enacted.” — Christopher F. Rufo (Director, Documentary Foundation)
That is not to say that one’s poverty is carte blanche authority to break the law, however it is clear that in some quarters, poverty can sometimes be seen as a mitigating factor in the bending of some economic barriers to assist them when possible. Petty crime is most often hardest on those who can least afford to live, and unfortunately, as we have often seen, the punishments doled out to those who commit petty crimes are often skewed more heavily toward the poor than to those of some means. Rufo opined that sometimes, in more progressive municipalities, “Justice might be lifting the blindfold a bit,” when it comes to the poor.
Surely, there will be some who read this essay, and say, “Jake Block is telling women to resort to prostitution, if they are poor.” Nothing could be further from the truth. What I am saying is that prostitution was, in this woman’s case, a way to temporarily alleviate some of the burdens of poverty and job loss. It is not a panacea for the grip of poverty that many women and men feel on a daily basis. It is most probably not the solution that I would choose, were I in a similar situation, but I definitely would take jobs far below my demonstrated earning potential to make ends meet. There is no shame in being poor. The only shame is in giving into it and making it your master.