Jake Block

Gettin’ Together

by Jake Block

A friend recently asked me why I don’t get together with people more often and just “hang out.”

It’s true. I don’t socialize a lot, but I have been to some of the more “specialized events,” such as the Left Hand Path Consortiums, as an attendee, photographer, exhibitor and even as a presenter, and I have been to different events around the country where I might interact with people. I’ve met some wise and wonderful people at such events, and gotten a lot of people-watching time. I’ve been able to meet an interact with people like Thomas and Lisa, Dark Fool, Rhonda and Larry Favero, Tau Pneumatikos, Michael and HopeMarie Ford, Jeremy Crow, Typhon Draconis, Eric Vernor, Toby Chappell, Onyx Crystal, Helene Arts, Pat and Dawn Newland, Lydia Workman, Lucien Pharoe, and others, and it’s been good.

I do enjoy traveling on occasion, although not nearly as much as I used to, and it’s not just that travel has become a hassle, but that the hype of getting to the destination often exceeds the payout realized once one actually gets there. There’s a full day, sometimes two of traveling just to get there, then there are some hotel rooms that don’t quite make the grade, food in some sketchy restaurants… and some that are 4 star in appearance and reputation, but leave you praying to the porcelain god long into the night. Bad weather, bad drivers, a Garmin that gets lost, driving with a headache… sigh.

Being that I live in the middle of nowhere, no place is “conveniently close.” If I travel with Devora, it’s a full day getting to her place to pick her up, and then an over night stay so that i’m not brain dead by the time we get to the final destination and get checked in to our room. By the time we do that, and get the room set up for a couple of day’s stay, it’s time for bed again and it’s two days down before I even see anyone. When the next day come and we actually begin seeing people, talking and entertaining, time seems to speed up and before you know it, it’s time to pack up and do it all again to get back home.

Now, when I was in my 40s and even up until a couple of years ago, I could do it and actually look forward to the whole thing. These days, I just wonder when I get an invitation to this or that, “am I up to it?” And it’s not that I have become a doddering old man, frail in frame and given to lapses of cognitive abilities. I’m still well and able. I’ve just come to realize that I need to conserve my time simply because it’s the one thing that I have less and less of in my life. The lines from DREAMLINE by Rush run though my mind:

“We are young,
Wandering the face of the earth,
Wondering what our dreams might be worth,
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time.

Time is a gypsy caravan;

Steals away in the night,

To leave you stranded in dreamland.

Distance is a long-range filter,

Memory a flickering light

Left behind in the heartland.”

While I may like to “get together” with others, I know that conservation of time, energy and resources are the key to my continued creative output in writing, photography and exploring the cosmologies of thought and philosophy that I have come to embrace over my short and irreplaceable time here on earth. I’m retired and my time is pretty much my own. it’s a commodity that I need to be concerned with squandering, because when it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s kind of like the old quote from Mark Twain: “Buy land. They’re not making it anymore.”

This is not to say that I am holing up in my comfortable house, never to be seen again, but concentrating on a better use of my time, in realizing that having lived a life well and good, time is the only thing that I need. If things work out where I can combine “hanging out” with someone in the course of working on something that I want to do, so much the better! But my priorities at this point in my life are to maximize what time I have left but rest assured that, as Lon Milo DuQuette put it, “I’m still writin’, I’m still fightin’, doin’ shit you can’t imagine!”

“Jo – Jo” Shipman

by Jake Block

When I called for a 20,000 pound tie-down chain set from the front of the plane, it would only be a few seconds before I would hear the heavy footsteps and rattling metal of “Jo -Jo” Shipman hurrying down the length of the C-5A cargo bay, dragging two heavy duty chains. Always able to anticipate my needs, “Jo-Jo” also brought two ratchet devices, used to anchor the chains to the aircraft cargo floor, attached to the chains and ready to go.

“Chain drop!” “Jo – Jo” called out as they clattered loudly down beside me as I lay on my back under the front axle of a deuce-and-a-half that was in the forward position. It was a damned heavy truck, weighing 13,030 pounds and was a bitch to tie down, so it didn’t move in flight. I was applying the last of the tie down chains and devices, and then “Chalk 27” (the 27th plane in the mission group) would be ready to go. Load complete. Cross the chains at 60°, attach the ratchets to the floor grommets, spin the ratchets tight and get off the plane. End of shift.

I slapped “Jo-Jo” on the back as we headed for the forward stairs. “Good work, “Jo-Jo”! You might just make it after all.” “Jo-Jo” grinned and chuckled, “Ain’t no big thing, Sarge.”

I knew hundreds of troops during my 20 years. Not all were as good as “Jo-Jo” Shipman, but they were all generally hard workers, working a hard job. We’d always called J.J. Shipman “Jo-Jo.” Nobody ever really questioned why… it just was… we all had nicknames from time to time that stuck with us from unit to unit, base to base, and even just crew to crew. Hell, at one time my nickname was “Ratspit,” as in “mean as ratspit.”

“Jo-Jo” was a valuable member of my crew and I was surprised when I got to work one morning and there, in my in-basket was a notice from my supervisor that simply said, “Airman J.J. Shipman” is hereby relieved of duty and is in custody pending immediate discharge. This meant that this was to be a “sundown discharge.” The base commander had terminated someone’s enlistment and wanted them off of the base and returned to civilian status by the end of the day. As crew supervisor, it was up to me to make that happen. I went into my supervisor’s office and asked what the hell had happened.

Chief Master Sergeant Jennings looked up from his paperwork and said, “Shipman’s out; was apprehended last night on base and was charged with being a homosexual. Shipman apparently made a pass at an SP (Security Policeman) in civilian clothing at the Airman’s Club, and was taken in, pled guilty and the Base Commander wants Shipman gone TODAY.” He took a drink of coffee and then looked me square in the eye and asked, “Did you know Shipman was a homo?”

Now, only a fool would answer that question to the affirmative, because in the early 1980s, homosexuality was a discharge offense, and knowing someone was a homosexual and not reporting it would get you a one way pass out the gate, right behind them. I just shook my head “no” and signed my name on the “out” board. Chief Jennings threw me “Jo-Jo’s” car keys and told me to drive Shipman home, but call the office before I did and they would send a car to pick me up.

So, from that point on, it was a matter of fitting the processing that normally took a couple of days into one, making sure that my troop was divested of all military equipment, identification and privileges and returned to civilian status with a “less than honorable discharge.” I liked Shipman, but it was something that I had to do, even though it was well known that I didn’t care what you did in your bedroom, or with whom you did it. Was I surprised that Jo -Jo Shipman was gay? Not at all. Most of us knew — or suspected — who on base was gay, but so long as a troop did their job and didn’t cause us any grief, it wasn’t that important to those of us on the day-to-day working level of operations. “Jo-Jo” Shipman was the best woman I had ever had on my crew.

And you know, truth be told, aside from some of the more hardcore lifers and the homophobic element that you could find in pretty much any organization back then, most of the working NCOs that I knew felt the same. Of course, people could come up with all kinds of reasons why “them queers would ruin the military,” most of which were ignorant on the face of it all.

“You know homosexuals are always on the make and looking to hit on other men (I don’t think I ever heard an argument about lesbians) during duty hours.” This argument made no sense, because heterosexual men were pretty much always on the make and looking to hit on anything in a skirt during duty hours, off hours too.

“I wouldn’t want a homosexual in a foxhole with me!” This made no sense for two reasons. First, we were in the Air Force, and in all of my time in the Air Force, other than pulling bunker guard in Vietnam, neither I nor anyone I ever knew had been in a foxhole alone, let alone with any one else. And secondly, if you are in a foxhole, behind a wall, or anywhere else under fire, worrying about having someone propositioning you for sex would be very low on your worry list. My only concern would be getting my ass and my troops the hell out of there alive.

But then came “Don’t ask, Don’t tell,” and eventually a lifting of the ban against homosexuals in the military on a test basis. For the first time in the history of the United States, patriots could serve in the military and be gay, so long as they didn’t show it, or say that they were gay. For all of the predictions of gloom and doom that had preceded the event, very little disruption was noted. The military of the United States was too professional and, thanks to the endless wars that our government had committed us to, too damned busy to let it bother us!

Times changed in the military, and we were used to it. Up until the end of WWII, black and white soldiers, and sailors had different experiences within the military. We saw blacks and whites begin to intermarry. Then we saw women being integrated into career fields that had previously been restricted to men. The official acceptance of LGBTQ members is simply another change that needed to be made.

Now, here in America, after a long, hard fight, you can marry pretty much anyone you want to and while there are certainly those who don’t approve of it, for whatever reason, it’s the law of the land. It’s a damned shame that patriots like “Jo – Jo” Shipman, and thousands of others were told “You’re kind isn’t good enough to fight,” when they have been fighting since Valley Forge, and have died for their country in far off battle fields around the world since we became a sovereign nation with a military to enforce our will and national policy. Millions more civilians have fought, been discriminated against, refused the same basic rights that are granted to others in whatever nation they reside.

Think about the things that really matter in this world, and the idea of two men or two women enjoying each other sexually should be pretty close to the bottom of the list. There are those who will say, “I don’t want them hitting on ME.” Ok. Now, the chances of someone who is gay “hitting” on an obviously “straight” person are always there, but very low. Just as a heterosexual person isn’t rushing to gay bars to troll for a lover, those who are gay aren’t going to the local Joe’s Bar to see how many straights they can snatch from the herd to have their way with. And what if someone gay or bisexual DID hit on you? Last time I tried the word, “No” still worked. And yes, I have been asked by another man if I was interested, and yes, he took no for an answer. But even if I HAD accepted his offer, it would be nobody’s business but mine, the female(s) I was involved with and the other man’s.

Now, if asked and you refused the offer of sex with some one of the same sex, and they continued to pursue you, well… then you can be as forceful as you need to be with your refusal, just as you would with someone of the opposite sex trying to manipulate you for sex. It’s not going to be a major problem in your life in either situation, unless you let it, or the other person violates you in an act of rape, in which case, all bets are off. Get them any way you can… criminally, civilly or, if worse comes to worse, Lex Talionis is always an option.

I’ve pretty much lived by LaVey’s interpretation of “the Golden Rule,” being, “Do unto others AS they do unto you.” And in most of life, “Jake’s Wallet Test” is my go-to philosophy. If something is happening that I don’t approve of, and I don’t have to be involved in, I simply look into my wallet and see if there is any money missing. If not, it’s just not that important. When it affects me directly, I can take actions to control the situation. But until that time, I’ll just quote “Jo – Jo” Shipman.

“Ain’t no big thing, Sarge.”

Take The Long Way Home

Take the Long Way Home
by Jake Block

When one becomes too involved in the work-a-day world and too concerned with “getting ahead,” there is a tendency to forget that our span of years on this planet is limited. We throw ourselves at problems, insuring, at least in our minds, that our security and survival needs are met. The paycheck keeps coming in and the food is on the table… if we are ever at home to take time to eat it. Most people put life on hold to succeed, and feel that there will always be enough time to enjoy life, perhaps in their “golden years.” Few people realize that the golden years are actually brass and, while retirement may seem a glorious goal while one is working 12 to 16 hours a day to become successful, it is seldom the carefree time that is imagined and rarely the posh and comfortable time of our dreams.

If we wish to make it to those “golden years,” we must learn to relax and to become attuned to the world around us today. There must be time to shut out the cares of the day and savor the freshness of the morning dew on sweet grasses and to walk alone on the shores of a quiet beach at sunset. Now, I’m no advocating that we return to the dubious mentalities of the 60’s, when the height of personal expression was to “tune in, turn on, and drop out,” since neither isolating oneself nor clouding the mind with drugs is an acceptable answer to the pressures of life. There’s a solution that’s much simpler and much more close at hand. Take the long way home.

Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, I became accustomed to the traffic jams that are a part of daily life. I spent many hours in that purgatory of chrome and steel and asphalt on my way to and from appointments or functions, and have felt the frustrations that can boil to the surface when some idiot causes traffic to grind to a standstill. Before you know it, the body begins to respond, instinctively. The pulse quickens, breathing becomes labored and angry and the blood pressure begins to rise. Horns honk, setting the nerves on edge. The heat from the engine begins to erode the air conditioning and even the normally relaxing music from a favorite radio station becomes and irritant. It’s time to take the long way home.

Some time before I reached that point, I’d have journeyed the backroads of the area, trough restful stands of mighty oak trees, and down highways where the omnipresent Mt. Diablo, with its stony peaks stands as a silent sentinel to the Concord-Hayward fault lines. I’d explored the bay on roads roads that welcome the weary, offering vistas of beach and sand, or climbed the winding highways through the mountains, peering into the semi-darkness, enjoying the sight of a family of deer grazing on sweet grasses and clover.

Being that I know it’s going to take “X” minutes or hours to get from point B from point A, I will many times choose one of these more restful roads over the “convenience” of the freeway. I may spend an extra half hour on the road, but it’s on MY terms.

On this journey to or from my destination, things change. I intentionally vary my musical selections. Normally, I like driving music that mirrors the “uhrsong” of my life. You’ll hear music with a strong and compelling beat; hard rock, speed metal, heavy metal of acid rock pouring from my car (ask your kids… they’ll know the difference.) When I need to take the road less traveled, I might choose Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, or the smooth strains of a Cole Porter tune. I’ve deliberately slowed things down; brought things into a more even perspective that will allow for more introspective thought. Even here, there are alternatives.

From the moment a child is sprung unwillingly from the womb of its mother, it is subjected to a world hostile to its needs. Where once nourishment and a warm feeling that would someday come to be known as love were instantaneously granted, there is a strange and cold place of rough hands and rougher fabrics scrubbed against the skin. Sleep becomes the first escape from the trauma and, separated from the only world the newborn has ever known, the mind begins to soothe formed psyche with the soft whooshing memories of “mother sounds,” warm darkness, of floating and the muffled murmurs of human speech through the walls of “the world.”

For those who enjoy this type of escape, tapes of these sounds are available and, while this barrage of “white sound” is usually employed to soothe anxious and sometimes sleepless babes, many adults find peace with these tapes as well. Others opt for sea sounds or forest sounds or, “if the earphones fit,” Indy 500 sounds. It’s all up to the individual.

It’s remarkable in this age of personal freedom and demands for privacy that the only places we are normally alone is in the bathroom or in our cars. This is one of the major reasons that most people reject mass transportation, even if offered to them in an attractive package, such as BART in the San Francisco Bay Area. They need the solitude of the commute… being alone in the confines of their own auto. It’s a validation of personal space and personal freedom through and expression of privacy and control.

Sure, we’re concerned with the environment, and we know that extra cars clogging the freeway will mean extra pollution, but we need to be alone, no matter how open and gregarious we might seem, and all need the time and space to decompress.

The mind is like a pressure cooker and, when the effects of job stress and overpopulation begin to close in, the cumulative effects quite often are seen in neurosis. “Burn out” is a common, everyday manifestation of overcrowding and stress. It can be seen in laboratory rats, in seals crowding the rocks in the Galapagos Islands and yes, boys and girls, in us as well.

What’s the answer? Can we find solace in a prescription from the local Dr. Feelgood? He’s trapped in the same cage as you and I. Granted, his cage might be a bit better, but it’s a cage, all the same. Drugs and alcohol have long been “recreational escapes,” but when you come down, the stresses will still be there and the hangovers only compound the pain.

My answer is the long way home. Solitude on one’s own terms.

Driving in a storm is a minor example of compartmentalism of thought, in which one allows the mind (or one should) to focus its concentration on the task at hand because of its rather complicated and hazardous nature. Think of how driving is in really bad weather… peering intently through the windshield, acutely aware of the traffic, the pouring rain, sleet or snow. You know where and when things are happening around you. The radio may be on, you children may be screaming, but unless they’re a major distraction from your major task, they’re ignored. At times like these, the stress or work, a shaky marriage, and even the heartbreak of psoriasis fade into inconsequence. The task is driving… the need is survival. Once you’re reached your destination, the mind allows for realignment of priorities and a decrease of adrenaline levels… you relax.

Ok… now picture a drive in which you leave the stresses of the freeway, traveling down country roads. There are pastoral scenes to see… horses grazing on succulent grasses, flocks of sheep, like a white cloud across the meadows and even a family of deer, alert and aware, making a rare appearance from their forest home.

During your drive along this peaceful path, you may allow for a positive refocusing of thought. Allow your mind to take in the sights and sounds around you as you drive, enhanced by alternatives to your normal musical selections. Ease the seat back into the comfortable position you’ve found for long trips. Relax. Let the miles speed by as your subconscious takes control of the manual operation of the vehicle.

You’ll notice a distinct difference by the time you arrive at your destination, and if you allow yourself to carry over that relaxed feeling once you’re arrived, you’ll find that the stress and problems of the day will be much easier to bear. So you may have to leave a few minutes earlier… or you may arrive a bit later. You’ll have redefined the journey on your own terms and will have gained just a bit more control of your life. Isn’t that worth a few moments?

Take the long way home.

Shhhh… It’s A Secret

by Jake Block

The enigmatic words ““¿NOV SCHMOZ KAPOP?” appeared as the last words of many an issue of The Cloven Hoof, the official newsletter of The Church of Satan. If you only knew how many times we would get a request to know what those words meant in English… or French… or Spanish… or Romanian. We would answer those requests in the same way. “It’s a secret.”

Nothing holds the attention like the promise of the revelation of a secret untold. I asked the question myself, because the words were somehow familiar to me, and I had the feeling that I had seen them in writing somewhere. It seems that everyone else who asked had seen it “someplace” as well. So, when I asked, LaVey told me, “It’s a secret, Jake.” I was determined that one day, I would know.
The way I found it was simply dumb luck, sitting in a stack of old newspapers. It was in a “topper” or cartoon strip usually found at the top of a print sheet, by the cartoonist Gene Ahern, called, “The Squirrel Cage.” The protagonist of the strip was a little bearded hitchhiker who spoke his own nonsensical language that seemed to mean “something,” but was, of course, gibberish. The only consistency in the hitchhiker’s gibberish was the phrase “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?”, which most people concluded must mean “something,” but actually didn’t. Many people assumed that it meant “Going My Way?”

I took my findings to LaVey and laid them before him as he was sitting at the kitchen table, having a cup of coffee. He picked up the note, and as he read, a smile came to his face. He looked at me, put his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhh, Jake. It’s a secret.

LaVey enjoyed The Squirrel Cage as a child from its earliest appearance in the funny papers on June 21, 1936 in his birthplace of Chicago, IL. Gene Ahern, the cartoonist was also a Chicago resident. Ahern would transport the little hitchhiker to his succeeding comic strips until 1953, when he retired his last strip, Room & Board. Ahern died in 1960.

When LaVey formed The Church of Satan in 1966, the Cloven Hoof followed soon after, and when LaVey finished typing in that 1st issue on his IBM “Selectric” typewriter , he smiled as he keyed “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?” as a tribute and personal “thank you,” to Gene Ahern.

So you too now now the truth. “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?” — It don’t mean nothin’!

Not Just Clothes Make The Wolf

by Jake Block

You know, when you get right down to it, if you have common sense, life really doesn’t have to be THAT hard. Sure, you’re going to have bumps in the road, and money problems, and love problems, acne, diarrhea, the heartbreak of psoriasis, dandruff and all the rest, but those are things that 99.999% of humanity has to deal with at one point or another, and all things that man deals with without a need to drag out an army of demons, devils, angels or fairies to take the heat. If you’re doing your job as a responsible adult and applying common sense to solve live’s problems, all of the religious mumbo jumbo just isn’t necessary.

Now, here on the Left Hand Path, where we supposedly are “our own gods,” it’s surprising to me just how many people still need their “own personal Jesus” to get by. We all know of people who sew their wild oats six days a week, and then go to church on Sunday to pray for a crop failure. It’s hypocritical. We would have no problem in laughing in their faces when they tell us that they don’t NEED GOD or Jesus. Clearly they’re deluding themselves, and trying to bring us along with them into that comforting delusion. They’re still part of THAT herd, while vociferously denying it when the rest of the herd is out of sight.

But we of the Left Hand Path, true travelers along the way, are supposedly self-sufficient, self-determined and self-responsible. You’d be surprised how many of us are self-deluded as well. They’ve “broken away” from church and religion, but when they see the first sign of trouble in their lives they run to their own personal Jesus, but NOW in the form of a demon to intercede for them.

They’re still locked into the archaic idea that there’s a “holy host” that guides, but have simply reversed it all into an “unholy host” that guides them. I’ve seen people come up with some pretty wild acrobatics to come up with an Unholy Trinity, some pairing that equates to a sinister Jesus, and all the rest. The liturgy is already there, provided by Christianity and the other faith-based socio-religious structures of society that have been the control mechanisms of man for thousands of years. All they have to do is a couple of name swaps, find an appropriate sigil from some arcane book and Heaven becomes Hell, simply by flipping the coin.

Being that I, for one, am exhilarated in the feeling that I, and not some god or demon is in control of my life, and that what happens in it is a cause and effect relationship, the idea of abdicating my sovereignty to some entity and thanking them for it is far too close to “letting Jesus take the wheel.” If I am going to go anywhere in life, I am going to drive, and while I might miss a turn once in a while, I have always been able to reach my goal without the help of some external entity, and I have to question what the hell the difference is, whether that entity is God, Jesus, Satan or you name it. It’s the idea that we need that entity, that we can’t do it as our own as sovereign and self controlled human beings that I could never accept as true.

It matters not one whit to me whether people can justify their need for external entities. To me, it’s still the same old “bumper sticker logic” that states, “Jesus said it, I believe it, and that’s IT,” and changing the entity to “Azazel,” “Belphegor,” “Belial” or “Mickey Mouse” doesn’t change the message that “I can’t make it on my own.” We as humans have our own minds and can use them independently and naturally, if we allow our intellect to shine and our guts to take control.

Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. Logic would dictate that if the gods or demons that we pay lip service to can’t handle it, maybe we can do a better job of tending to our own affairs without them. If we are going to portray ourselves as wolves and not sheep, then we first have to shake off the shepherd and leave the herd, else we’re just fooling ourselves and are only sheep in a wolf’s clothing.

Cleansing the Palette

Cleansing the Palette

by Jake Block

“Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best to try and wash the palette clean”

— We Belong (Pat Benatar)

It’s been 53 years since Anton LaVey stood to rend the gossamer curtain of religion that the world had been convinced was an impregnable wall. He smashed the wall when he proved that a man, borne of conviction, could dismiss “god” and wrest control of his destiny in the name of self and one’s innate sovereignty. Others have added their voices and the whisper of 1969’s The Satanic Bible has become a roar with the voices of millions who’ve found that the myths of Christianity, and other Abrahamic codes served only to enslave and have become obsolete in the “new age of Satan.”

Still, today, we see that many people out there, who were quick to take on the devil’s mantle, proclaiming themselves free, but refuse to cast off the chains they claim no longer bind them. They still find the need to wail and gnash their teeth at the proven impotency of the religious programming of which they claim to have divested themselves. Can there be a clearer description of LaVey’s comment that some are “playing the devil’s game without taking the devil’s name.” They read his words and twisted themselves to fit the mold, but inefficiently, like that proverbial square peg in the round hole. They are still enslaved by the master they claim to have rejected and bested.

“You’ve been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
And no one had the guts to leave the temple!”

— I’m Free (The Who)

When one is simply playing at rebellion in using whatever master they claim to reject, they quite often rant and bluster, trying to prove to others (and indeed themselves) that they and they alone are “The master of their fate and the captain of their soul.” But, as with all addicts, fear to stray too far from that control element that oppressed them, and cutting it off clean and moving on. True rebellion requires a clean cutting off from the oppressor and moving on without them to grow and thrive in one’s life, minus the chains that bound them.

Quite simply, boys and girls, if you’re done with Christianity, or any other religious construct, then cut it off and move on. Wounds that are constantly picked take longer to heal and leave more visible scars. The best revenge isn’t in constantly ranting against your oppressor, but in living well despite them. This is true in addiction and it is true in religion as well. Leave it behind and move on.

I’ve heard people when they tell me that “I raise hell against (you name it) because I want to set others free too.” Nice thought, I suppose, and I can see where they are coming from, but truly, it’s a misplaced effort, which is borne out in human experience with addictions in that one doesn’t change until they hit that rock bottom and KNOW that this is the point of no return, and that they have but two choices, finally give up and surrender completely to their addiction or to cast it off and move on, one day at a time, to clear it from one’s mind and body.

When you’ve been given the key, you have two choices. You can stay where you are in self loathing and bow down to the god you despise, all the while cursing his name, or you can simply get up, say “fuck this shit,” and leave the temple.

Tactical Advantage, or How To Avoid A Heidelberg Scar

by Jake Block

Attack! Attack!! Attack!!! Many Satanists, at least in the beginning, seem to think that attacking and finding conflict is the surest and best solution to any problem. And this may be true, IF the person you are attacking is in the weaker position with no ability to fight back, either physically or intellectually, or has no force multiplier to even the odds of the fight, or provide an avenue to besting his attacker or eliminating the threat altogether.

Most poor fighters believe in the stand and deliver method of conflict with an enemy. They will simply stand toe to toe and pound each other until one of the two delivers a crippling blow. Here in Tennessee, there is a small village a few miles from here called Skullbone, whose name is derived from the particularly down-and dirty fighting style called “Skullboning,” wherein fighters stood directly in front of each other and only deliver blows to the face and head. No fighter emerged unscathed. In the end, all that is learned is who can stand the painful blows the longest. There are no tactics involved. It’s simply attack! Attack!! Attack!!!

Akin to this is the Heidelberg dueling culture of the 1800’s, which could be seen as sort of a “gentleman’s fight club” with short sabers or daggers. Often called Flash Mensur (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUh5exBJXBU), the whole purpose was to stand directly in front of your opponent wearing light armor to protect the vital organs in the core of the body, with the combatants trying to draw first blood on the face of their opponent, leaving a painful, disfiguring gash that, when repaired by the physician resulted in what was called a “Heidelberg scar.” Again, there was very little in the way of tactics, other than ducking the blow or fending it off with your own blade, but sooner or later, you earned your scar, which for some reason was seen as a badge of honor, rather than graphic evidence that you were indeed too slow or too stupid to duck.

Contests of this type were like checkers when compared to the tactical chess of modern day pugilism. “Stick and move,” hit and move out of range of a counterpunch… attack and evade became the rule in boxing and reached it’s apex and almost became art when Muhammed Ali chimed, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Even the military who had always been told that their job was to make a lot of noise and break things began to think more along the lines of light infantry teams trained to shoot and move. Their modern weapons and lighter personal armor made maneuverability possible and became a force multiplier on the battlefield. There was still a massive war machine that could be called upon if necessary, but the days of tanks and heavy artillery slugging it out, as in the Battle of Brody in 1941, when the Germans threw 1,000 Panzer tanks against 3,000 tanks during Operation Barbarossa, or the 2nd Battle of El Alamein between German General Rommel and his Afrikakorps force of 540 tanks and 116,000 troops battling against British General Montgomery’s force of over 1,000 tanks and 190,000 troops became a tactic of last resort.

Lessons learned in blood changed nations, but it somehow seems as if personal battles of today, especially when sterile and nonsensical as most that you see on the internet, remain the last bastion of impotent rage to settle non-issue molehills that have attained mountainous status in the minds of the tactically weak. Everything becomes an item of epic importance, weakening the viewer’s concept of importance itself, as if everything is equal in importance, until nothing is truly important at all.

The true tactician, whether on the field of battle, in the field of business, or in interpersonal relationships knows when to simply manage the field and when to bring out the “big guns.” There are various tools at hand that help us to become that tactician who’s skilled at manipulation and gains from conflicts, rather than being controlled by them.

“Is it a just cause, or is it just because?” Any fool can throw a punch and claim victory in an unnecessary battle. You might gain your internet “Heidelberg Scar,” for what it’s worth and the dweebish of your current web du jour might call “Huzzah” and hail your name, but it really won’t mean a damned thing to the dweebish of your alternate website who don’t know that handle, nor would they recognize that persona, for on the alternate website, you are someone else altogether. Some people go from website to website fighting the same battles over and over like some even more nonsensical “groundhog day” display, perhaps thinking that their rerun tactics might somehow be taken more seriously in a new locale.

The most powerful warrior is the intellectual barbarian, one who can use diplomacy to state his positions and mark his territory, the place where he makes his stand, but also allows his adversary no mistake in that he wishes to get along in peace, but will not shirk from a fight if it is brought to him. The retired US Marine General James Mattis is equally famous for these statements. “While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression,” and “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.” His advice to his troops, “Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should be a pacifistic milquetoast. I’m no pacifist and I have my hard-won scars from wading into my enemies when the situation warranted it. But I long ago learned that in most situations, being right, rather than simply insisting on getting your way, and having a good set of negotiating skills will often take a lot of the trauma out of interpersonal relations. AND it gives you options that immediately going nuclear on someone for every imagined sleight or petty disagreement takes away from you. It’s no longer a go-no go option. SOMETIMES, you can be expected to do something else, and that provides a “third side” option that can confound and confuse. When you have the option of changing up your responses and indeed your standing positions, it forces your opponents and even your friends to realize that you can indeed think critically and independently of expectations.

The best tactical advantages are in preparedness and in judicious use of power. In going for the gun at the first sign of trouble, many a gunslinger has tasted the dust, face down on Main Street. Good gunfighters knew to assess the situation and call out their adversaries at sunrise or sunset where they could strategically position themselves with the sun to their backs and blindingly into the face of the one trying to target them in the glare. History gives us the warning to early dog fighters in the skies over war-torn Europe in World War I… “Beware a Hun in the Sun,” because an attack would surely come when the sun was high, and you, were low.

Always have the power on your side. Back in the old west, most carried .44 or .45 calibre sidearms which gave a pretty much equal stance in a straight up fight. But the wisest and longest lived pistoleros knew that calibre was important, but technology gave one an edge. There’s a code on the streets that says, “If a guy comes at you with a stick, use a chain, and if he comes at you with a chain, use a knife, and if he has a knife, use a gun. Single shot pistols gave way to six-shooters and, when possible, an ally taking the high ground with a rifle to back you up.

If you are in business and that business provides for you and your family, always have someone you trust implicitly as a confidante, and a person you pay to keep your finances in order, no matter how confident you might be that you can manage it on your own. Times of stress and trouble cause us to take chances that the unstressed us would never take on. Have someone who has the nerve and your permission to tell you the truth, no matter what that truth might be, independent of the “truths” that others whisper in your ear.

These people will allow you freedom to contemplate the issues that confront you and use your greatest tactical advantage, your own sense of self preservation and self satisfaction. These are the things that will allow you to look into the eyes of your most ardent supporter and most strident opponent in the mirror at the end of the day. Conflict is inevitable, but a little preparation, contemplation and self knowledge will help you to win the day or avoid that conflict in the first place. In the end, we all work and live better with less stress, and look so much better without a Heidelberg scar.

Laugh, Laugh

by Jake Block

“Laugh, laugh, I thought I’d die. It seemed so funny to me.”
— The Beau Brummels

Life is a serious matter. There are mouths to feed and bills to pay and there are interdependencies in economics so vague and so intricate that it takes a master mathematician to figure them out. We are born, we toil and we die. End of story.

Well, that’s what many people think. I don’t happen to be among them. There has to be a time for play and a time for humor and mirth on this earthly plane. We as a species need to laugh and enjoy. It’s an integral part of our lives that can be observed almost from the moment of birth.

I’ve found that a sense of humor is one of the most humanizing aspects of mankind. We seem to enjoy being around people who can help us laugh, releasing us from the drudgery of the workaday world. We tend to shun those dour and gloomy people that tend to bring us down. I don’t think that I could trust a person without a sense of humor. I know that I would have a distinctly difficult time liking them. Now, I’m not talking Pinky Lee, Soupy Sales, pie-in-the-face funny, although there is a place in the world for the slapstick, but able to laugh about one’s own frailties and foibles. That’s tougher than “Who’s On First” any day!

I suppose that psychologists are correct when they say that it takes a secure person to be able to find humor in himself. I’ve often found that those who take themselves too seriously have little or no sense of humor and none when it comes to themselves. They feel that they have to be perfect in everyone’s eyes all of the time. Any show of imperfection would lead to a degradation of their power (usually magnified in their own minds) with whatever individual or group they hope to impress. If that’s not insecurity, then what is?

Perfection is an abnormal state in nature. That’s why we tend to prize it so highly what it is found. The perfect rose, the perfect sunset, the perfect this or that… all wonders to behold, yet unreachable by the vast majority, and impractical as a whole. Perfection is meant to be admired from a distance, for there chance that it be taken up in loving arms to be held or inspected too closely. Flaws in perfection are all to obvious under the microscope of public scrutiny.

As with fine pottery, a classic rose or an exquisite carving, so too is it with people who would be perfect. There seems to be an abundance of Ascended Masters, Ipsissimus Maximi, Grand Exhalted Croutons, snf High Muckedy Mucks who, by virtue of an esoteric title and “gifted insight,” set themselves apart from the general public. Maybe it’s because they have some knowledge that nature or Providence has spared the rest of the world that the majority have the same look about them… call it stoic. call it sour…it’s a lack of humor.

While we know that all people need dome humor and mirth in their lives, most of the people we know who aspire to greatness in the worlds of the metaphysical or the occult seem to leave a sad and somewhat smoky legacy upon their passing. So it was with Rasputin, with Crowley, Blavatsky, Mathers, Spare, Home, Gardner and many other “Masters.” While they may indeed have been masters in their respective disciplines, there is little doubt that their personal lives were less than pleasant.

Rasputin rose to the heights of power and prestige, yet lived in seclusion, lest his enemies assassinate him. They did. Crowley became dependent upon drugs and died alone and lonely. Blavatsky, Spare and Home fell from grace and into decline. Gardner, towards the end of his life, fell into the hands of those who would callously use him for their own ends. I have seen a “documentary” on his life that pictures the then aged man, dancing in a jockstrap device in a parody of ritual, scarcely able to maintain his dignity, and surrounded by those who had little or no respect for his past glories.

Is it possible that those who follow actually mold their own masters and predetermine their temperament? This is not only possible, but quite probable, inasmuch as those who tend to gravitate toward those who display any level of charisma demand perfection in their leaders, whether they are capable of perfection or not.

Those of us with skills in “metaphysical” or “occult” disciplines have all been victimized by those who assume that by virtue of being able to perform certain tasks, we become at the beck and call of those who have skill enough to dial a phone or knock upon a door. We might have lives of our own, children to rear or jobs to do. Those who have assumed that we will take control of their lives for damned little praise when we succeed and condemnation when we fail to get them out of the messes they’ve made for themselves, fail to understand that we do indeed have lives of our own. Their needs, of course, must always come first.

There seem to be but two ways to go. One can strictly regulate those who would follow, much as the “traditional” masters of the genre have done, becoming demigods to preserve what semblance of order they may have in their lives. The other option is to become lost in the problems and distractions of others. But perhaps there is a third way… self discipline and selective “altruism.” Help those you can when you can, and maintain your dignity, supporting those you hold dear first. Be the best at what you do, but also take time to laugh and enjoy life.

A true Master is a study in balance – Yin and Yang. There is a light side and there is a dark side, and he or she must dwell somewhere between the two. There is good in us all, and there is evil as well. Why should it be any different for the Masters? A Master can be a Master and still enjoy the gifts that life has to offer.

Even in defeat, one must look for something of humor in the fabric of one’s own life. There is humor, trust me. You may not find it in the slapstick comedy of Soupy Sales; it may be in the subtle “chest chuckles” of a Rita Rudner.

Let me tell you a true story about a Master in his own right, who had a sense of humor. Maybe you’ve heard of Captain Osho.

Now, Captain Osho was a pilot, flying for a large Japanese Airline. He was the cream of the crop. His flight logs were perfect. He could hold forth for hours on any aspect of air transportation and could accurately describe the operation of his plane and each officer’s position in the cockpit. Not only did he know the theory, he could perform the tasks… flawlessly. He was the model pilot.

One day, on a routine flight from Tokyo to San Francisco, Captain Osho landed his plane two miles short of the runway. This, of course, meant that he landed in the shallow waters in the glide path to the runway, but it was a perfect landing. People had no idea they had landed short of the runway (presumably until someone looked out the window and realized that we just don’t get THAT much rain in California), for Osho had brought his jet in so smoothly that the plane seemed to simply glide in. The plane floated so perfectly, in fact, that people were spared getting their feet wet and they made their way from the cabin to the wing and then to the waiting life rafts. As the passengers rowed ashore they sang songs and joked. It was a lark. That is to everyone except the Federal Aviation Administration.

Within days, Captain Osho was called before a hearing of the FAA. This in itself was enough to make most pilots tremble with fear. Osho sat quietly. facing the panel, who questioned him at length on his performance and training. It went something like:

FAA: Captain Osho, do you feel you were alert on this flight?
OSHO: Yes, very.
FAA: Was your training adequate?
OSHO: Yes, very.
FAA: Was your plane in good condition?
OSHO: Yes, very.
FAA: Well the, Captain, can you tell us what went wrong?

Osho stood and faced the jury of his peers and looked from man to man. He squared his shoulders and, the man standing before Masters spoke the words that have made him a legend among Masters of Aviation. He very simply said, “As you Americans say. “Osho fuck up.”

Now, the world was not prepared for this. Captain Osho, by the conventions of modern aviation should have hung his head in abject apology and accepted discredit and shame. But he knew that he had made a mistake, and he knew that the world would still turn in the morning and, despite the possibility of a disaster, which did not occur, he could see the humor in the situation and in himself. Osho was none the less a Master Pilot. He was simply a Master Pilot with a sense of humor.

Try to find one of the masters of our “occult world” with that kind of sense of humor. Take your lunch, boys and girls… it’s gonna be an all day job!

The Rhythm of the World

by Jake Block

There is a natural rhythm to life and a beat that drives the earth and all of its inhabitants forever forward. You can hear it in the dark silence of caverns far beneath the surface of the earth, where the only sounds are the gentle flutterings of bats’ wings and the throbbing of your own heart. Is it in the winds as they howl as well? Is it in the patter of rain on a tin roof, or the gentle gurgling of a mountain stream, or the crash of waves upon the sand? Yes, it is in all of these places and none of these places, dependent upon the the ability of the listener to hear and to perceive.

In actuality there are many rhythms, and each individual finds the cadence that suits his life and follows that beat all of his days. It is the beat of the drum that forces the rigid lock-step of the militarist… or the frenzied rhythms that haunt the minds of souls gone mad… of the gentle beat that stirs the soul of the romantic, Most are stirred by a set of particular rhythms that bring them back into synch with the rest of society, harmonious and interactive, like a gently weaving melody in the Wagnerian epics. Occasionally, there is a discordant; not necessarily “wrong,” just out of step cadence with the grand rhythm. It’s a distraction, when noticed, like the ragtime of Scott Joplin when intertwined with the harmonics of Rachmaninoff.

Those who gravitate toward the world of alternative religion are quite often discordant notes in society’s melody. One of the main comments and complaints that I receive from those in the “occult world” seeking my advice is that they feel so “out of touch” with the rest of the world, and that people just don’t seem to understand them. I tell them, “You feel that way because you ARE different and people DON’T understand you.”

Those of us who find ourselves outside of the mainstream of society are a different breed than those who plug away from 9 to 5 in search of the ever elusive “American Dream.” We are, for the most part, free thinkers, which is in direct opposition to the herd mentality that is all pervasive n the world today. We often bristle when we hear “Thou shalt not,” and prefer to make our own rules as we go along, based on what we feel is good for us and for those within our relatively close circle of friends. We tend to be, although this is a relative statement, more lenient in our attitudes toward societal norms and deviation from the norm by those we see as being “different,” like ourselves. We become a major counterpoint fo the rhythm of society, unable to integrate in to the whole of the score, yet impossible to ignore.

In the workaday world of those who make up the greater part of any society, there is a tendency to the norm. By this, I mean that if twenty-five people are standing on a corner and the “don’t walk” sign is flashing, most will stand there, even though there is no traffic or obstruction to prevent them from crossing the street. While some individuals may cluck and sigh, muttering that they have better things to do than wait for some damned traffic light, the individualist or free thinker will look at the situation, recognize the negative risk, and cross the street. Others may follow his lead, but the majority will be content to stand and wait for the signal, to move as a herd.

The sight of someone who is out of step is unnerving to society as a whole and they are likely to be met with derision and, in some cases, open scorn. This is often the case with those of us in American society who reject the Judeo-Christian philosophy and openly espouse a different path to personal fulfillment. We quite literally can become alone in a crowd and ostracized by those with whom we once enjoyed an association and friendship. Through this ostracism, the outcast’s friends and associates are once again absorbed into the societal whole and their commitment to their personal ethic and ethos, resulting in a strengthening of the society’s aggregate belief system. The rhythm of the world is intact and all is right with the world.

But still we exist, discordant as hell (in the consciousness of society as a whole), real as can be, but unfathomable to those locked into the rhythm of the world. Given that we are unassimilable, and given that we provide a counterpoint to the beat that drives their world, we become a power that must be driven out or buried.

Thanks to the prejudicial and quite often inaccurate press that the “occult world” and “alternative religious choice” has received over the years, society as a whole tends to see the world of alternative religious choice as a spider’s web of iniquity, laying in wait for its sons and daughters. While not one shred of tangible proof has ever come forth, thousands upon thousands still believe that Satanists are stealing thousands of children and using them in rituals, and that witches are hair-warted crones who stir cauldrons full of noxious potions and are bent upon world domination under Satan. As rational human beings who have (or should have) studied such phenomena, you and i know that this is hogwash, but for those who’ve learned of life under the omnipresent “Big Brother” of television, it’s slickly packaged and commercialized gospel.

We, of course, know what the world of alternative religious choice actually is… and what it has become for society. It is the boogeyman of the media. It is the last-gasp justification for fundamentalist charlatans who fleece their flocks to pay for their own iniquities and extravagances in the name of God. And it is an equally unsavory cannibalization of our own at the hands of those who would bilk those who believe. We’ve seen what the unscrupulous can do, and we’ve seen the “New Age” fall into disrepute at the hands of a few whose modern day “gypsy-cons” have tainted the world’s opinion.

But still we believe as we believe, and in refusing to swallow the party line hook, line and sinker, we are forced to move away from the herd and into a world of our own creation. Quite often, it is a solitary world of loneliness, study and introspection, punctuated with moments of euphoric revelation.

Decades ago, Alice Cooper put out an album entitled Alice Cooper Goes To Hell, dealing with his alcohol dependency and successful detoxification. One song, Nurse Rozetta, contains the line, “I got no friends and I got no home. They want us holy men to live alone.” It’s quite appropriate for those of us who have chosen this path.

We march to the beat of a different drummer, and despite the protestations of those who see our world as a threat to their serenity, we can no more change our natural rhythms than we can change the natural order of the universe. We are driven, just as they, to an irresistible rhythm that is, for us, natural. Quite often, our rhythm puts us at odds with friends and family and we can become outcasts even amongst those we claimed to be our own. C’est la vie. For everything lost, something is gained in knowledge, wisdom, and in personal freedom. The rhythm gives as well as takes.

Musically, the world has been driven by free thinkers and dreamers who can point the way with their lyric and score. They speak of love and joy and freedom, and they speak of a better world to come. My mind sometimes drifts back to a song by ABBA (OK… so it’s disco…) that puts things into perspective quite nicely.

“Like a roller in the ocean
life is motion;
Move on.
Like the wind that’s always blowing
Life is flowing;
Move on.”

The world and the universe are in a constant state of flux and motion. There’s a new day dawning, and I think that you and I will play a significant part in it. We have seen the changes that can be wrought in but a few short years when those who desire personal freedom and vow to shake off the chains that have enslaved them. And in the end, it is not the lock-stepped militarist that brings the world of freedom, but the free thinker and the radical who marches o that “different beat.” And the beat goes on… and on… and on…


by Jake Block

(This essay is reconstructed and updated from one I published in my then in print TOTAL ECLIPSE newsletter, in September of 1990. It may be of interest to you today.”)

“The Theory of the Chinese Box.

Many years ago in the Canton Province, there appeared a wizard who carried an ornately carved and lacquered box of many drawers. There were so many small drawers that the local counter and his abacus were confounded by their number.

Soon, the townspeople heard of the wizard’s fame and made their way to his camp. “Good wizard,” they would say, “I wish for gold.” He would open a drawer and hand them the object of their desire.

Before long, Lao Tzu the Bandit came to call. He called to the wizard. “Give me all of the treasures in the box, old man, or I will kill you and take them myself.”

The wizard smiled and said, “Lao Tzu, there is no treasure in my box for you, for you are not in my mind.”

Lao Tzu drew his sword and prepared to kill the wizard. The wizard opened the smallest drawer of the magic box and, to the astonishment of all, entered. When the drawer was opened, he had vanished.

For days the bandit searched the box, but he found no treasure and no wizard to kill. Finally, in anger and disgust, he threw the box into a ravine.

Many years ago in the Kowloon Province, there appeared a wizard who carried an ornately carved and lacquered box of many drawers. There were so many small drawers that the local counter and his abacus were confounded by their number…”

Those who know me and have learned of my system of balance, have heard me speak of “compartmentalization.” Compartmentalization is a method by which one can isolate thought and dedicate a greater portion of concentration to more immediately urgent concepts or ideas. It is through this greater concentration that one is able to succeed in the “psychic, intellectual and magical sciences.”

Many times people will tell me that they find my ability to isolate thought and disassociate myself from certain thoughts and feelings to be impossible to master. I disagree. Given the proper techniques of visualization, meditation and discipline, almost anyone can accomplish this “feat.” The reason that it seems easy for me is that I have been doing it routinely for many years… and I will freely admit that there are times when even I have trouble isolating thoughts and “shoving them back into their compartments.” So, to this day, I still practice.

Some time ago, INTUITIVE EXPLORATIONS was kind enough to print a series of concentration exercises in their newsletter (Vol. IV, No. 6, Dec. 1990) These exercises were touted as being for the practicing (or beginning) magician, to hone their concentration skills for lesser magical operations. But, as readers of both Intuitive Explorations and Total Eclipse found, they were also of value to readers, “psychics,” and others who need a keen sense of concentration and the ability to creatively visualize the end result of their projects.

One of the exercises, “The Picture,” invited you to look at a picture from a magazine or some other source and “go into it” mentally, manipulating the action at will. Characters were given lives and these lives were assigned meaning and direction as you saw fit. It was an exercise in imaginative expression in the development of a final outcome in the mind… what I like to call the “Is To Be.”

Now, we will take that same exercise and take it one step beyond. We will go from the imaginative to the concrete in a first, tentative step toward the world of “practical magic.”

Before we begin, I want to express a personal and professional caveat…

Before you attempt this or any other form of magic, you must be certain that you are clear on the concept. This is no game. This is an exercise in Imposition of Will, It will require intense concentration and an unqualified belief that what you will shall come to pass. Unless you are prepared to give in order to get, read on for entertainment purposes only. For those who are ready, a few of the secrets I’ve learned from my 25 years as a practicing magician are here for you.

Those who know me well know that I don’t like crowds and I hate to stand in line for anything. I seldom have to.

When I go to an attraction that I would like to see, there is normally a parking place in front of or very close to where I want to go. Being that I like rather large automobiles, this is always welcome. Busy places seem to have less business than normal, and I am usually able to comfortably enjoy the company of my guests with a minimum of distraction from the presence of “outsiders.” Waiting lists at restaurants are rarely a problem… so I don’t bother with reservations, even in the most popular of eateries. Yes, from time to time, I do get bitten, but it’s a rarity, rather than the rule.

OK, you say, so what is my secret? Did I take Telly Sevalas’ advice on late night TV and get the Player’s Card? No… it’s just a simple matter of “mindscaping.”

What is “mindscaping?” Basically, it’s the act of taking a look at your own life, be it an overview, or a macro view, and manipulating elements of your life to allow for a greater sense of control. The concept is nothing new, and to be honest with you, most people a born knowing how to do it. But sometime after the onset of puberty, we tend to shunt the skill to the side, and survival needs begin to take precedence in our lives. Mindscaping is only possible through compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is possible only when one has “paid their dues” by learning the art of concentration.

In order to begin compartmentalization of thought, it is necessary to understand how the mind’s memory retrieval system works. It’s surprising in its simplicity, and miraculous in its efficiency.

From the first moment of consciousness, while still in the womb, our minds work to catalog the sights, sounds, scents and sensations that will make each of us the distinct individuals that we are to become. Each stimulus is tagged with a coding to indicate if it was pleasurable (good) of unpleasant (bad), helpful (good) or harmful (bad). The brain must learn the shades of grey that will one day allow it to rationalize. In the beginning, the universe is always in black and white.

All sentient beings do this. In laboratory experiments with rats, one can see there is little difference in the processing of stimuli between rats and men. Given cocaine upon demand, rats have been known to eagerly rush to addiction, choosing cocaine over food, water, sleep, or sex, until they eventually succumb to its toxic effects. Given the same options, we see the same responses in individuals, unless they receive assistance in reprogramming their cataloging of the stimulus.

The addicted rats, like the addicted humans, have tagged the stimulus as “good,” because it is pleasurable. It is so pleasurable, in fact (one addict described it as “orgasm x10”), that they allow it to remain foremost in their thoughts. They allow it because they are unable to sublimate (compartmentalize) the thought.

What we see here is a dramatic picture of compartmentalization. The data shoves aside all thoughts, save that of immediate gratification to be gained through the use of cocaine. The needs and desires are still there, only sublimated; put on the “back burner” until the more pressing need is taken care of. The problem is in that the effects of the drug warps the prioritization of need.

Conversely, this same quality, when controlled and directed, becomes the catalyst for any and all “psychic or magical powers.” Those who would use the powers of the mind for “paranormal” or “supernormal” actions must develop the singular-mindedness of the addict, in which thought and subsequent actions are directed toward a specific and quantifiable goal.

In order to be able to compartmentalize the mind, one must be able to see the compartments in such a was as to make the act of compartmentalization an almost physical act. I picture my mind like a safe-deposit vault; a vast room of stainless steel walls, lined with safe-deposit boxes of varying sizes. I am the Vault Master.”

I know that each thought has an assigned box. Each box has its own key (trigger thought or word), and each box is in its own special area. The more necessary the thought, the bigger the safe-deposit box and, consequently, the closer the box is to where I am standing in the room. (If you have never seen the inside of one of these storage areas, I would suggest a short field trip to your local bank. If you express interest in a safe-deposit box, they will normally allow you a quick peek at where the boxes are stored.)

This vision is personal and may not work for everyone. You must personalize your vision of your “Chinese Box,” so that when you begin to compartmentalize, it becomes natural for you to envision yourself carefully tucking away thoughts, much as if you would store away a piece of jewelry or, if the image fits, a pair of socks.

Now, for the process itself. You must first find a state of relaxation that allows you to near the pre-sleep state. My personal method of choice has been explained in the Psycho-Immune System exercise (http://www.thesectofthehornedgod.com/?p=3435). This deep relaxation technique is designed as an adjunct to compartmentalization, and once mastered, speeds the process considerably.

Once you have reached a comfortable state of lassitude, mentally enter your “Chinese Box” and begin to experiment opening and closing the doors. Open the first door and picture yourself physically placing an item inside; perhaps a ball or a child’s doll. Let this represent the pressures of parenting… or an ill child… or whatever importance you wish to assign it. Now it is “in the box,” out of sight and out of mind. Relax and begin again, and again, until you’ve managed to categorize the major obstacles in your life. Once they have been placed in their individual compartments, you may extract one to deal with, allowing the others to remain comfortably out of mind, while you devote more concentration to this single problem at hand.

This works with pleasurable objects as well. You may go to that special compartment that contains the memory of a first kiss or passionate embrace, a moment of which you are justifiably proud, or any positive moment in your life and dwell upon it, here in your private place. Relive the moment as completely as you can, remembering the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions. When you are content, put the remembrance back into its box and move on.

Learn to isolate your thoughts in this pleasant manner through a daily regimen of concentration and meditation, and you will be surprised at how quickly pinpointing of specific ideas or concepts can occur. Once you’ve managed to organize your mind and disciplined it to concentrate on what you will it to, you will find the next step, mindscaping, a logical and relatively easy procedure.

Mindscaping can properly be termed Imposition of Will. Yes, “magic.” It can only be completed once one learns the process of compartmentalization, but once learned, you’ll be able to apply it to practically every aspect of your life.

The concept is simple. Say you are going on a trip. You pre-plan by buying a map, packing your clothing, gassing up the car, etc. Mindscaping is pre-planning and execution done in the mind.

While on your way to a popular tourist attraction, plan your arrival in your mind. Compartmentalize all of the things that have happened on the trip thus far and concentrate only on the object at hand. My personal advice is to avoid popular attractions and go for the lesser known attractions — by taking “the road less travelled,” you usually find things of greater interest. But, if you simply MUST see the Liberace Museum, picture yourself driving into the parking lot. Allow yourself to be “surprised” that there are relatively few cars and… what luck… there is a parking place right up front, just waiting for you!

Picture yourself walking up to the ticket counter and buying your ticket, amazed tat your group will be the only ones on the next tour. Imagine yourself walking amongst Liberace’s treasures… rhinestone covered piano… rhinestone covered car… rhinestone covered toilet… whatever. Granted, it IS Liberace’s Museum, and probably not much magic in getting a good parking slot THERE, but you never know!

More often than not, if you’ve disciplined your mind and have learned the concepts of compartmentalization and mindscaping, what you envision will often come to pass, with minor variations. And yes, it could all be coincidence, but you know, magic has been called a sequence of coincidences that, in the end, get you what you want, or a reasonable facsimile thereof!

In magic, it’s called formulating the “Is to Be.” It’s a tool that you might like to have in your toolbox, should you need it.

The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God

The Order of Pan
The Order of Cernunnos
The Order of Prometheus
The Order of Dionysis
The Order of Shiva

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