Practical Applications of the Concept of “Being Your Own God”
by Jake Block
Pretty much as soon as someone finishes The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, or reads the concept of being one’s own god on some webpage with stereotypical graphics including gothic arches, cowled figures and images of black flames and lightning, they begin to picture themselves as some kind of demonic omnipotency, and invincible, while everyone else around them is somehow inferior to their magnificence and grandeur. I suppose it can be a comfort when one’s up to their knees in sewage or bulldozing trash in the stench of some trash pit. But they know that they are superior, because they have read the words.
All well and good, I guess… after all, Christians know that they’re assured of going to heaven because they have read the words in their holy book and believed. So they spend their life in “sure and certain hope of the resurrection,” and know that no matter what the difficulty, “this too shall pass.” But you are superior to these louts, as YOU are a GOD. They just believe in one. As you both sit in the dingy lunch room and unwrap your bologna sandwich, I wonder, “who’s fooling who,” as you look at each other in certainty that the other is wrong.
I suppose that one can’t expect people to fully understand the concept of being one’s own god when they don’t have… or care to find… the whys and wherefores of LaVey’s conceptualization of the term. Most people out there seem to think that all LaVey ever wrote was encapsulated in the Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals and The Complete Witch (The Satanic Witch), but he wrote The Satanic Bible in 1969, with The Satanic Rituals and The Compleat Witch following in 1971. Between then and when LaVey died in 1997, he wrote many other things in essay form in the Pages of The Cloven Hoof, the official newsletter of The Church of Satan. For those of us who were members of The Church of Satan and kept our subscriptions current, many items of interest and enlightenment greeted us month after month and year after year.
It’s from this font of knowledge that I will try to distill the essence of what LaVey meant when he said, “you are your own god.” Now, eccentric as he was, he was no fool, and knowing him as I did, I can tell you that he in no way believed that by reading The Satanic Bible you would be somehow imbued with godlike powers, as those ascribed to the omnipotent “hairy thunderers” of antiquity. What he was getting at was that a “god” controlled his life in the reality of the here and now, amidst a world of sheep led by religious, cultural and political shepherds. In order to actually DO this, one had to break away from the herd and take control in ways that were tangible and sound.
“Being your own god” (which is the code for having one’s life in order and under control) is something that I would think that all serious Satanists would aspire to. As simple as the concept is, it’s very common to see people muddy up the waters into a murky muck with talk of the universe and adversarial power and all of the buzzwords common on the web today. Everybody’s got to go through that exercise, it seems, but being that we’re ostensibly creatures of the carnal and of earthly existence at the center of things, we don’t need the muck and mire of metaphor to cloud the simplicity of it. I’ve known a lot of “gods,” and have yet to meet one casting lightning bolts and communing with demons on a practical and demonstrable basis.
The point was to make yourself as independent as possible, so that the winds and whims of change and control had as little effect on the Satanist as possible, so that when the herd blindly reacted to the dictates of control, the Satanist had ability to resist, survive and thrive within a culture and society hostile to his/her very existence. LaVey would be the first to tell you that he had invented nothing new, and that the powers behind the power had long before been practicing the black arts of manipulation and control. The difference is that once THEY had found them, they kept the methods to themselves. LaVey now freely gave them to “the Devil’s Own.”
I’ll break them down here in easy to digest chunks. They’ve worked for me and for others and, if you try them in ways meaningful to you, chances are that they will work for you as well. Like any other tool in the box, efficiency depends on the skill and motivation of the craftsman. Someone who is dedicated to getting what they want out of life and will sacrifice the time, effort and in some cases money to get there will fare better than the average Joe who thinks that life and success should be their birthright because they are… well… they just ARE. Not likely, because the world and the universe don’t give a damn about anyone. They are simply environments that are to a greater or lesser degree, survivable, but requiring manipulations and skills to produce the best crops once the soil is tilled and fertilized. We must provide the seeds of success and tend our gardens well. One thing to remember is that being a god is all about having options. Options give you power. A “god” needs options.
Let’s start out with securing our place as our own god. This is going to require a good deal of effort on the part of those aspiring to the goal, and it’s going to be a life long effort. The best way is to build one’s personal knowledge and skillsets to allow them to become successful in the career of their choice. Making a good living gives you choices. One of those choices is in the saving and investing some of the money that you earn, vs the hand-to-mouth existence that over 90% of the world experiences. Trust me, my friends, you’re going to need some of that money in the not too distant future, so make the most of your peak earning years. Gods can take care of themselves and are not beholden to anyone for their lifestyle, and that takes financial security. By financial security, I mean sustainable income, property, stocks and of course cash that’s going to last you a while when you need it. Enough to weather storms or at least keep your head above water… and that includes your immediate family as well.
My personal method of cash management started out with one year’s pay in the bank, another $10,000 in my personal checking account, and a back up of stocks in mutual funds and company funded savings in stocks. Now, that’s not an easy thing to do without self-discipline, and as a broke-ass kid from East St. Louis, money was hard enough to come by, and harder still to keep. Now, as your chosen career progresses, and your salary rises, attaining and maintaining that goal becomes easier, as you have more income to work with. Always remember to “pay yourself first,” meaning, put something into your savings and retirement accounts. With care and a little luck, you can manage to amass quite a bit of money, and money gives you options.
The next thing that a god needs is a place of his/her own. I’m not talking about renting, or renting to own, but a place that you OWN, free and clear, where you can live in a manner that is pleasing to you and that you control, there in your own place. Remember back when you were younger and, exasperated because you painted a pentagram on the wall of your room, your parent said, “When you own your own house, then you can do any damn thing you want to with it!” There will come a time when you’ll realize that your parents were right.
LaVey took those words to heart when he occupied his residence in that Victorian house on California Street in San Francisco. Each and every room in the house was a reflection of his personal, dark aesthetic, and he didn’t give a damn if anyone else liked it or not. It became his sanctuary, his “Batcave,” his “Fortress of Solitude,” his own personal Pleasure Dome as envisioned by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his poem, “Kubla Khan.”
“Kubla Khan — by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Or a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedern cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ’mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw; It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.”
If you own your own home, you can own your own world. This was a concept deeply explored by LaVey, and his home became a sanctuary, where he could lock the world he detested outside. Here, he was in control, with a capitol “C.” For someone who was allowed to visit his home for the first time, it was like either being in a home in the 1940s or a museum dedicated to that time. It was LaVey’s vision of the world as he had known it, and reflected his personal aesthetic, which could run along the lines of 1940s film noir. Furniture, paintings, lighting and even the often bizarre bric-a-brac you found on his shelves were all hand picked for his personal enjoyment and nostalgia. Outside, he had little control of the rush and bustle of the modern world, but here in his little slice of the past, he was king. He was “god.”
It was in this “owned world” his alternative reality, that he was able to be his most creative, because since he owned the property, he could do pretty much what he wanted to. It was indeed his own world, and if he wanted to paint the walls black and the ceiling red, he could do that. If he wanted to build “The Den of Iniquity” in the lowest level of the house and people it with “manufactured people” of his own creation, he could do that. If he wanted to own exotic pets from a cheetah to a black panther to a lion, he could do that. If he wanted to paint murals of Tchort exploding from a volcano, or demonic figures on the walls of his “kitchen” area, and then move in six synthesizers that he played in the night until dawn, he could do that. And yes, if he wanted to open and start The Church of Satan, converting his living room into ritual chamber, complete with skulls, a huge Sigil of Baphomet, naked altar, and a thundering Wurlitzer organ, that too was something he could do.
LaVey was an epicurean consumer of life, on his own terms. He was reclusive by nature, but also as a means of controlling his world and those who entered into it. People just didn’t “stop by for a visit,” unless they were high on LaVey’s list of people with whom he had formed some level of kinship. He felt that most people were a drain on his time and intellectual reserves. He had a mental exercise from which I developed my personal system of interpersonal relationships and the theory of diminishing return. One of LaVey’s personal analysis questions always on his mind was “Who gains in this?” If you could offer him something in financially, intellectually or in mental stimulation, you might get an invitation of a visit. In his personal world he was “god” and peopled it as he saw fit. He once wrote:
“There are many who take my time. I shun them.
There are some who share my time. I am entertained by them.
There are precious few who contribute to my time. I cherish them.”
In the “rented world,” you might get away with painting a room black, and you might even have a landlord who might allow you to put a nail in the wall to hang your small-scale Sigil of Baphomet, and you might be able to have a party once in a while where people might come in costume. But you’ll never have the same freedom of expression that comes from owning. You’ll always be under control of the landlord or the finance company. That deed of ownership allows you to do what you need to do to be who who you are in your heart and soul.
Owning the land on which you live and the dwelling and outbuildings upon it also gives you standing. It also gives you personal wealth that grows with every passing year. Owning more than one home makes YOU a landlord and can provided a steady and meaningful income for many years to come and, if at some time you want to retire, it can be liquidated for cash. Ownership gives you options. A “god” needs options.
So now, we’ve covered two of the three things that you need on a practical basis to have some form of legitimacy to your claims of being a “god.” But what makes you so special? I mean, really, we all know a lot of people who have money and a home or two. They might be generally nice people and we’re glad that they’ve got it a bit easier than most. But what motivates them on an intellectual level? What is it that they have learned and put into practice? What is the “magic” that turned the lead of mundane existence into the gold of elevated enlightenment?
Intellectualism and power… they go pretty much hand in hand, because when you have the skills to handle yourself intellectually, deftly using knowledge and personal philosophy to tip the scales in any transaction, you become a force to be reckoned with. Why? Because you can concretize ideas in the minds of those you would wish to convince, control and manipulate to make your position dominant. That might not seem to be an important point, but when you are establishing personal control, you will find that you will have to deal with others “on the outside” to secure your control of your personal realm.
Additionally, a “god” needs to have a firm understanding on where his philosophy of life rests for his own peace of mind and for those who look to him or her for inspiration and guidance. Part of being one’s own god is being true to oneself and to the face he presents to the world. We can easily cite examples of the most “satanic” of “gods” here on the web, but once one meets them face to face, they’re not quite what they are cracked up to be. If a god can’t even be straight with themselves, how can they ever expect anyone to take them seriously?
In law, the concept is “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus,” meaning “false in one thing, false in everything.” In common law, it is the legal principle that a witness who testifies falsely about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter. You can have that personal world, a castle of one’s own creation, behind whose walls one is sovereign and secure. But unless one is true to oneself and one’s stated vision, there will always be a fatal flaw in the foundation. It may remain unexposed for many years, but eventually, truth will always shine through, and has ever been the bane of charlatans and mountebanks.
In the old western movie Ride The High Country (1962), you’ll find the line, spoken by one of the heroes, Steve Judd, “All I want is to enter my house justified.” Justified is right, justified is earned and justified leaves you beholden to few, if any. What you have in your world will not be given to you, and if it’s real, won’t be taken away. A god is justified in his own house.
Take care of the basics of your divinity, and you’ll still have time for fantasy and magic, but the experiences will be even more enjoyable, knowing that their cost is covered and you’re security and standing as a “god” is secured.
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God