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.
by Jake Block
At least once a month, someone emails me or pm’s me with some question about Anton LaVey and why he did this, or why he did that,” or “what he would think about,” or “would he have liked me,” etc. During my years here at The Sect of the Horned God, I’ve done my best to answer those questions and others, so much that at times I feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog’s Day, except that I never get the chance to bed Andie McDowell. These questions cover a few short years of my life that I spent as an Administrator for The Church of Satan, and I value the lessons and the insights I gained while there, but there were 32 years before and 33 years after I left that encompass the totality of my years. While Satanism, as a base philosophy, became concretized during my younger years, it’s been enhanced and strengthened and indeed refined during all of the years that followed, up until today.
Groundhog’s day is past, and this groundhog will no longer entertain the crowds. I am a firm believer in the Seventh Satanic Rule of the Earth, being, “Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained,” but if you have actually read the over 250 essays that I have written for The Sect of the Horned God, you’ll realize that the majority aren’t about LaVey or things that LaVey had written. Certainly I quote LaVey, when it fits, but I also quote Mark Twain, George Orwell, The Bible, The Koran, Presidents, Philosophers and, on one occasion, Mr. Wizard The Lizard from Tudor Turtle cartoons.
Most of what I write is Satanism in a living form, and the lessons that I have learned in living my life openly as a Satanist over the past 5 decades. It’s how I’ve taken what I learned as a Satanist and applied it to survive and thrive through twenty years in the military, through the “Satanic Panic,” up to and after the death of Anton LaVey and these 22 years (and counting) past. Indeed, there were lessons to be learned from LaVey and others back when I was a young adult, but without personal effort and personal drive, I would be just another guy who used-to-was, regurgitating the same old same old to those who would learn to do the same. That’s no different than those who learn their “holy books” by rote and quote them on demand to a herd of sheep too brain-dead to find their own message in the words.
Like everyone else, I would like to be known for my own contributions to the continuing evolution of Satanism and the Left Hand Path, because I’ve put some unique insights and concepts out that go far beyond what anyone can learn in just the Satanic Bible, the Compleat Witch or The Cloven Hoof. And that is not to say that those volumes are not important… I cherish them… but I’m not Anton LaVey or Anton LaVey’s spokesman. I stand on my own as a Satanist of the post LaVeyan era. That doesn’t mean I will lie back and nod like and idiot when someone falsely quotes or mischaracterizes LaVey or his principles as I knew them. But realize, my philosophy, that which your read in my writings is my own, developed over the past decades beyond any hands-on affiliations with The Church.
The ONLY thing I am a member of, either on line or in real life is The Sect of the Horned God. It is there that I “strut my stuff” and lend my assistance to the organization’s growth and educational goals for its membership. I strive for the Hyperborean ideal that transcends Satanism or any other “ism.” It stands on its own and as a beacon for others to follow.
Enjoy what I write, if you are so inclined, and take from it what you will. But I’m sorry, friends and neighbors, but I’m pretty much burned out on interpreting the life and philosophy that pretty much speaks for itself, in the life and legend of Anton LaVey.
So, if you want to see a groundhog do the same old song and dance every year take a trip to Gobbler’s Knob and wait for Punxsutawney Phil to prognosticate the weather. If you want to know what I think on Satanism as I view and live it, you know where I am.
“If you gotta play garden parties, I wish you a lotta luck
But if memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck
And it’s all right now, learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”
— Garden Party (Rick Nelson)
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!”
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.”
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.
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’!
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
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.
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.
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!