Jake Block

IQ, EQ, CQ

by Jake Block

We’ve all heard of the IQ, the intelligence quotient that can be tested using standardized exams The term has been around for a long time, and was coined in 1912 by the German psychologist William Stern of the Humboldt University of Berlin. In current IQ tests the median score of a control group known as the “norming sample” is defined as IQ 100, with standard deviations of 15 points upward or downward allowing for “deviations from the norm.” By this definition, approximately two-thirds of the population scores between IQ 85 and IQ 115, and about 5 percent of the population scores above IQ 125. Fairly simple to understand… the more questions you get right, the higher your IQ. The fewer questions you get right, the lower the IQ, and quantitatively, breaks out as follows, using the current Wechsler scale. IQ 130 and above is Very Superior, IQ 120 – 129 is Superior, IQ 110 – 119 is High Average, IQ 90 – 109 is Average, IQ 80 – 89 is Low Average, IQ 70 – 79 is Borderline, and anything below IQ 69 is considered Extremely Low.

Are you Very Superior, Superior, High Average or below? It’s simply a mathematical score that is an INDICATOR and only an indicator of your probability for success and excellence in any given field of endeavor. However, it is indeed subject to other factors as well, from emotional stability and ability for function at “X level,” motivation and even simple interest in achieving, rather than just performing a given skill. Plenty of “geniuses” out there are driving cabs or painting houses. They’re successful, at it, but have the untapped potential to do “greater things.” Potential only has value if implemented, and that implementation is dependent on the aforementioned factors.

Those of you who know of what is now called LaVeyan Satanism will be familiar with the term ECI… Erotic Crystallization Inertia, which is the point at which one’s erotic nature is concretized… a set point that generally will last for the rest of one’s life, where the instance one’s erotic instincts are first piqued live in one’s memory, vivid and stimulating as they were at the moment they occurred. “Man is a visually-oriented animal. He establishes standards of visual attractiveness of an inflexible nature. If the standards he has set forth for beauty are modified by fashion or social change, he will never be quite as happy as before the change took place. As he grows older and styles change more, he will cling to the substance of his joy by retreating into social circles where he might reminisce of what once made him happy.” — Anton LaVey

To this concept, I want to introduce you to another term. EQ – Erotic Quotient. Not quite as clearly defined or codified as the IQ, the EQ is found in the personal erotic aesthetic of the individual and their incorporation of that aesthetic into their personal sphere of existence. It is what they project to the world around them, and what makes them comfortable when reflected by those who would share their world. LaVey’s book THE COMPLEAT WITCH (republished as The Satanic Witch) was, in large measure, his explanation of his erotic aesthetic regarding the way “satanic women” should dress and comport themselves if they wanted to be found within his personal sphere of influence. Those women who would take on the mantel of Satanic Witch knew well the power that could be projected in this specific mode of adornment and it was the “standard” of dress for women who were found at The Black House up until the time of his death.

LaVey’s vision of the erotic pretty much mirrors my own, but in the years following LaVey’s death, there has been a defeminization of women in general that has been accepted by both men and women, even in Satanism. Today, it’s fairly common that in a gathering of Satanists… even those who claim to be “LaVeyan,” very little silk and lace will be seen. Stockings gave way to panty hose (an abomination to LaVey’s vision,) or no stockings at all… stubbled legs, braless, shapeless T Shirts (with the prerequisite death metal band logo, of course), blue jeans and combat boots from Doc Martin or other purveyors of heavy, masculine footwear.

In recognition of LaVey’s concept, “birds of a feather flock together” in this unisex world, where softness and femininity are often seen as a detriment to one’s existence… Satanists are HARD. Satanists aren’t attractive or feminine or even pretty. Well… perhaps in some circles. But we in Satanism recognize the dichotomies of nature, and simply looking at nature, one can see that the male and females of most species are different from one another, and nowhere can this be seen in greater variety than in the world of the birds. In a reversal of what was considered normal in the human species, the female bird is quite often less colorful or flamboyantly plumed than the male. The male birds display themselves as attractive and worthy mates, signaling their readiness to be courted and sexually available to the right female.

The concept of the Erotic Quotient takes us back to that well tested paradigm of male and female differences. I would urge each man and each woman to develop a sense of style that is conducive to the delineation of sexes within our species. This doesn’t mean that a woman needs to dress as a slut to shine, but feminine and attractive clothing create interest. Being visual creatures, people are attracted to such people and this is where communication can begin, influence can be applied, and power can be gained. In order to find a common ground in the matter of one’s eroticism, let’s think of the erotic as being synonymous with “sensual.” Let your clothing reflect the sensuality of your feminine nature. You don’t have to go over the top. It’s a case of utilizing the Law of the Forbidden to its greatest benefit. Women are born with natural femininity and sexuality, but one’s personal sense of eroticism and sensuality must be developed. Take your cues from a cat… everything they do reflects their sensuality and attractiveness, from that morning stretch to indulging in the foods they can coax from those who share their world, right down to the purr that says, I’m really enjoying life… and you’re enjoying watching me do it!

A female friend of mine told me, “There’s nothing like the sight of silk stockings and garters to distract a man from his Wall Street Journal! Any woman who says that doesn’t give her a feeling of power isn’t being honest with herself. Personally, I love it when a man stops dead in his tracks to watch me adjust a stocking or reapply my lipstick. That is POWER and it serves to remind me of all I can accomplish with magical visual control.

Erotic women are interesting women. Interesting women are successful women.”

Men… you too can dress in a way that sets you apart from the average Joe. When all of the men around you are dressed in the same predictable garb, be the one to shake things up by wearing that which is not expected. There’s power in being the man in a sports coat, dress shirt and tie when everyone else is in jeans and a polo shirt. Try a little experiment and see if I’m not right. Wear clothing that will make you fit into a crowd… just be one of the guys… and then deal with others in a business transaction… or some social situation. Next, clean up your act, wear “business casual” attire and deal with others using appropriate language… be well groomed… smile. Notice a difference? I’d bet you will.

Next, let us talk about the CQ – Creativity Quotient

“Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions. I Keep my visions to myself.” — Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)

Most everyone has the genetic predisposition for creativity, and in today’s world there are myriad paths to self expression. Self expression is one of the hallmarks of an intelligent and vital mind, and I would urge each person within The Sect of the Horned God to develop some avenue of personal creativity. Find something you can create and work on strengthening your abilities in that medium, whether it be writing, poetry, drawing, painting, crochet, knitting, music, photography, or some other creative endeavor. Find a way to bring your personal visions to light… share them with those around you that you trust to give you honest and constructive feedback. It all works toward your intellectual growth, can enhance your erotic growth, and further stimulate your creative mind.

I have developed a few skills during my life that have stood me well and gained me some recognition. I write well enough to express myself to others clearly and concisely, weaving a word picture that can illustrate my meanings and, hopefully, overcome the pitfalls of miscommunication that damn mutual understanding. It’s something that has taken me years to achieve, and it’s a skill that takes a lot of time to maintain, but I can tell you that learning to write creatively and effectively will mark you well above others in whatever career you choose. You’ll gain dividends in respect and in recognition of your ability to do so during your education and well into your career, for it’s a skill that relatively few have, even what passes for a “literate society.”

I am also a passable photographer and have taken award winning photographs of such diverse subjects as nudity, eroticism, landscape, portraiture and fine art. It’s also a skill that can take a lifetime to master, if it ever truly CAN be mastered, and again, it takes a lot of time to maintain one’s skills, but the rewards… ah, the rewards. Photography, like painting, can bring your personal visions of a world others cannot see to light. You may never become the next Ansel Adams or William Mortensen, but your visions will be your own and subject only to your personal aesthetic.

Now, I have thousands of dollars of equipment for my photographic use, but it’s not necessary to have to be a good and competent photographer. With the functions available to the average person in digital cameras and even some of the more advanced optics in today’s cell phones, I have seen some lovely photographs taken by what most would consider rank amateurs. We are ALL rank amateurs in our infancy, but with experience and experimentation, we learn to look with a photographer’s eye and find the “pictures within the pictures,” an THAT is the mark of one who can claim the mantel of the photographer over one who takes pleasant snapshots. Never forget that photography is a conversation between the photographer and the viewer, so one must strive to master the language and move hearts and minds in accordance with their vision.

Each of you has the ability to excel in some form of creative process. We are fortunate in The Sect of be surrounded by gifted writers, artists, musicians, documentarians, and all other manner of “artist.” You can see their work that graces our websites from time to time. They go beyond the memes of others that are splashed in every spot around the web like mindless scribblings in the stalls of public restrooms. They stimulate minds and act as a catalyst for further growth in those who see their unique efforts.

Build upon the creative skills you have and share them. Use them to support your interests and your personal causes, elevating thought, causing others to think and consider; causing minds to understand and change. You will find that the IQ, EQ and CQ can become a triangle of personal power that you can call upon to create magical changes in your life. It’s not EASY… a wise man once said that “magic is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration,” but damned if it isn’t rewarding when it all comes together!

To Err Is Human

by Jake Block
Once in a while, you can find little snippets of the past that you thought were long lost, looking through personal documents.  This happened to me yesterday, while looking for an old military form that had some information I needed.  There it was, for some reason, wedged in between my paperwork of my Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance policy and my orders promoting me to Staff Sergeant.  I smiled, because I haven’t seen it in decades.  A single, type-witten page (PCs were still years away), it was one of the first things I ever wrote for The Church of Satan, way back in about 1974.  My apologies for the writing… I think after decades and many, many words and rewrites, I might have gotten a bit better at it.
“To Err is Human”
Recently, while shopping at a well-known center, congested with shoving Christmas shoppers and squalling children, I wandered into a plaster-craft store to browse.  Inside were the usual craft kits, religious plaques and paints, along with  an assortment of typical shoppers who seemed to lift each item up for a closer inspection.
I roamed the aisles, aimlessly threading my way through the few people who were in the shop, thankful for this brief respite from the throng outside.  My thoughts were my own, and the moments passed quickly until I found myself glancing at a small plaque.  On the plaque were the words, “TO ERR IS HUMAN … TO FORGIVE IS NOT MY POLICY.”
I picked up the plaque and smiled, for it had struck to the core of my personal philosophy.  My personal revulsion for the creeds of forgiveness were summed up on that small plaque, and it pleased me that it was there for all the world to see.  A reminder that “forgive and forget” is not the motto of all, and there were still some men in this world of sheep who dared to cry out for vengeance and justice for the errors and transgressions of others.
We, as Satanists, are bound to the earth by our own choosing.  We, the masters, make no concessions as we stand our ground against the sea of self righteous adversaries who would love to see us fall.  They tell us that WE are misguided and that they, in their mercy, forgive us, but what are we forgiven for?  We have done nothing, save the sin (to them) of pride.  We have pride in ourselves and refuse to accept the forgiveness of man or god, for we know we are right.
Perhaps one day the rest of the world will forsake the paths of righteousness and pursue their self-satisfaction.  Then, forgiveness will become as foreign and archaic as the chastity belt.  Mankind will be forced to accept responsibility for his own actions, and when unable to accept forgiveness an unseen and uncaring god, will be forced to use common sense, for a welcomed change.  Until such time as mankind forsakes his creed of divine forgiveness, beware MY creed.  “To err is human … To forgive is not my policy.”

Lessons on Life From A Limerick

by Jake Block

A gay guy one night in Khartoum

Took a lesbian up to his room.

They argued all night

Over who had the right

To do what and which

And to whom!

 

Aside from being funny, the best limericks had a message that related to life in some form or fashion, usually in a bawdy and base kind of way.  But isn’t that what much of life is anyway; bawdy and base?  This particular limerick always struck me as saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” or “No matter how much you want it, sometimes it just isn’t for you!”

Many years ago there was a young woman of my acquaintance named Terri, and she came to me one day and said, “Jake, I know you are a Satanist, and Satanists have power!  I need you to bring Richard to me.  He is so beautiful and I want to love him so badly!”

Now, Terri was an attractive woman, with blonde hair, big, blue eyes and a captivating smile, not to mention a body that most men would sell their mothers to the Arabs for.  So, after a moment, I asked, “Well… what seems to be the problem?”

“He’s gay,” she sighed.  “Isn’t there something that I can do to get him to take an interest in me?”

I looked at her for a moment and she sat there, waiting for my words of wisdom and encouragement, and all I could come up with was, “Grow a penis?”

She was disappointed, but you know, that’s going to happen when you set yourself up for it.  People think that the world should just change to suit them simply because they want it, without having to put forth any effort or make changes that would make situations swing from unfavorable to favorable.  Simple problems have simple remedies.  Richard likes redheads.  Ok… dye your hair red.  Richard likes his women thin… diet.  Richard likes his women well read… hit the library.  But there are things that can’t be changed by love nor magic, and a wise “wizard” knows that.  There are people who will tell you that for a fee, they can make anything happen and you will be happy.  We call these people con men, and they seldom have to look far for their next mark.

It’s not the fault of the con men.  They are just doing what con men do.  To my mind, they do not so much prey upon the gullible as accept the gullible that volunteer to be fleeced by someone willing to take them for all they have to give.  It’s not the con man’s fault that their “mark” has set themselves up by deluding themselves that the unrealistic can be theirs simply for the taking.  The age old saying, “If it sounds to good to be true, it is,” is lost on them, for in their delusional state, they somehow reason that against all odds, against all realities, the world will change to suit their needs, where in the millennia past, it’s held firm for all others.

I live and deal in a world of realities.  I know that wishful thinking is something we all engage in from time to time, hoping that  the world will function as we wish it to, and sometimes if we let our guard down, we can fall into solipsism, thinking that others think the way we do.  Neither is reality, only a projection of our inner needs, and subject to little that is in our power to control.  It is much better that we pay attention to our dreams and hold them dear as we would any precious stone, for in our dreams, we see possibilities and have the option of accepting what we see or manipulating them until we come up with something workable in our waking life.

Closely akin to the con man, but not in a larcenous way are the desperate.  Desperation for money, desperation for love, desperation for security and in fact, desperation for just about anything will cause people to deny the realities that are right there before them and promise anything to get what they most desperately need.  A desperate politician will make deals with the devil and promise things that his core philosophies simply cannot support in reality.  He or she will justify it as “compromise” and hope that their constituents don’t see it as the selling out that it really is.  A woman or man desperately in need of love will tell the one with whom they are obsessed, “I will be anything you need, do anything you want, feel anything, think anything… just love me.”  The desperate will utter words similar to this in their one-sided negotiations… rather moral capitulations… to the objects of their lust, denying the reality that what they are promising might make the object of their desire happy, but will leave them feeling hollow and often used, once they realize that in their desperation, they have “sold their soul for gold,” only to see it tarnish in short order when desperation turns to the realization that their “deal with the devil” was one they entered into without a real ability to pay when payment became due.

You can lie to others or lie to yourself to get what you want or think that you need, but neither is a good starting point in a business or emotional contract, and neither will be sustainable in the long run.  Any negotiation that is entered into from a position of greed or desperation is doomed to a mediocre resolution at best.  Lying in business transactions might be a win in dealings with the less astute, but those who negotiate big deals seldom fall into traps.  Lying in love might be a win in dealing with the desperate, but those who have a love that lasts a lifetime avoid the traps by being open and honest about what they want in a relationship and how to get it.  Either way, I suppose they elders were right in the long run, when they told us, “honesty is the best policy.”

Be yourself, represent yourself as you are and when things are right they’ll come together.  This applies in love and in business and pretty much everything else in between.  The old saw goes, “If you tell the truth, you won’t need a good memory.”  Or a lawyer to get you out of the mess you got yourself into.

Fit To Be Tied

by Madeleine Begun Kane

 

A fellow was fit to be tied

When he learned that his lover had lied.

He’d proposed. She said “No,”

And confessed, “Sorry Joe.

See that gal over there? She’s my bride.”

We Are NOT The World

 

 

By Jake Block

“We are the world, we are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving”

We Are The World by Michael Jackson

In 1985, Michael Jackson teamed up with Quincy Jones to record We Are The World in support of efforts to aid Haiti feel good sentimentalities of the 1970s and early 80s that in many ways was an offshoot of the hippie movements of the 1960s and 70s.after its devastating earthquake. The song was used as a fundraiser to rebuild this poor and corruptly governed island and bring up the standard of living to a higher level than it had been prior to the quake. It tapped into the new-agey

A clear case of celebrities coming together to impose their collective voice to move people to unity to help save the poor people of Haiti… our brothers. But now, almost 30 years after that earthquake on that small Caribbean island, nothing much of great import has changed. Most of the people of that island nation still live in squalor and repression, while the corruption continues and the money collected for their rehabilitation languishes in the accounts of corporations set up to deal with it, drawing interest, which helps only the corporations and does little or nothing for those who those funds were intended to help.

Taken in by these do-gooder celebrities. thousands donated to the cause and became victims of the scam that the celebrities were unwittingly a part of. It’s very doubtful that they would have had any idea that the millions of dollars collected would become simply treasure in some “non profit” corporation’s coffers, or that this earworm of a song would be the vehicle for the victimization of the people of Haiti by those who had offered them a strand of hope in their darkest hour. And, in the end, who now even remembers Haiti, it’s earthquake or the glut of aid and riches that poured in from around the world? The world’s memory is short, but the momentary stimulation of this incident provided many with the right to claim their goodguy badge. They had done their service to mankind… THEY were the world. Kumbayah.

For some reason, even in Satanism, there seem to be those who have fallen for this “we are the world” schtick and, while claiming that their philosophy is totally Satanic, seem to have the need to take responsibility for the inadequacies of others and their enlightenment… of course, that’s enlightenment along the lines that they personally accept, and not necessarily that that their protege might choose on their own. In preaching our personal gospels and condemning any who disbelieve, are we as Satanists any better than those who preach the words diametrically opposed to ones we might utter?

“In a soldier’s stance I aim my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach,
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instance that I preach.
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow,
Ah, but I was so much older then;
I’m younger than than now.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
To noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect.
Good and bad, I defined these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then;
I’m younger than that now.”

“My Back Pages” by Bob Dylan

Hypocrisy is the theme, the medium and the deed. When we declare the philosophy of another wrong and then supplant that with our own, demanding its superiority, we have given up any hope of high ground in any debate, for we forget that our truth applies only to the organism that hosts it and accepts it as an part of an organic process of personal evolution. Other organisms might hear our words and find them wise or, and just as likely, find us fools in our utterances, and that is their right, just as it is our right to accept those philosophies that ring true with us. Personal sovereignty reigns supreme in our individual worlds. Gods we may be, but only within our own skin.

Many pay lip service to the words, “Satanists are born, not made.” They mouth the words like a pious monk in prayer, nodding their heads at their wisdom and knowing in their hearts that they are true, but never really thinking about what they mean. If a person is genetically predisposed to have an understanding of math, he will. If a person is genetically predisposed to possessing dancing skills, he will. If a person is genetically predisposed to an acceptance of principles we term “Satanic,” then yes, they will hear and understand, but those who aren’t simply won’t be touched by the concepts and be unmoved… or angered by them. And really, we should know better than to argue with them about it, because it’s not our place to bring them up to our standards. A person must strive to achieve, else the reward is as meaningless, as a trophy given to an “athlete” who comes in dead last, with a hearty handshake and the hollow words, “thanks for participating.”

Satanism, to my way of thinking isn’t something that should be offered to anyone who wants a spooky title and a black shirt. Part of our culture as Satanists in general is the idea of merit versus entitlement. If a person is born with the genetic predisposition for the acceptance of “Satanic thought,” his life will be inexorably drawn to the “dark side,” and while they might never know the term “Satanism,” begin to exhibit the traits and practices associated with it, and a philosophy that, with a few societal and cultural deviations, might well be called Satanism by those whose personal lexicons define it as such. And despite their personal upbringings, their lives should move in that direction once they have the personal wherewithal to move beyond the values inculcated in youth by parents and teachers and authorities in their lives. So, my friends, if they are going to “get it,” they’ll do it without you having to pound it into their heads, and if they aren’t, no amount of cajoling, mockery or wishful thinking will make it so.

You’ve seen me quote the old adage from the 70’s, “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.” This is precisely what I am talking about here. To preach Satanism like some black clad Evangelical preacher is simply a waste of time. Zealots are simply those consumed by rhetoric they find overwhelming to their senses and who solipsistically assume that their drug of choice will be universally accepted and they will be embraced by those they touch as one possessed of great wisdom. Well… probably not. A zealot is more annoying than anything else, and those in the thrall of of some philosophy feel they must share with others. I would urge you to resist.

We used to say, “The Church of Satan has never had a membership drive,” yet our numbers increased and the number of Satanists throughout the world continues to increase without the help of door to door salesmen preaching the gospels. The fact still remains that “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Satanism has proven itself to be that “better mousetrap,” and its message is out there, but only those who are predisposed to taking it up will do so. While we might not have the most adherents, we’re not out to catch every mouse in the world. We’ve built a better “mousetrap,” and we’re catching “better mice.”

We are NOT the world. We’re a gated community that you must merit being a part of.

 

 

 

A Pig Will Sing Before It Will Fly

by Jake Block

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from nitwits who believe it’s a joke.”

Soren Kierkegaard — Either/Or, Part I

 

I hope old dogs are never too old to learn, even though that learning process can be painful and a bit disillusioning at times.  Closely akin to solipsism is wishful thinking and I’ve learned that I might sometimes be guilty of that, even though I have tried to keep my guard up and deal in reality.

My North Star in Satanism for the past 40+ years has been the promotion of Satanism as an intellectually viable entity, and to do it with dignity and as much grace as I could manage, saying what I mean, meaning what I say, and never allowing anyone to see me as a Satanist other than as a professional, and a worthy representative of what Satanism, as I had come to know it, stood for.  And over the decades, I have come to see my place as somewhat of a historian of Satanism, and an advisor to those who might seek my advice.  It’s always been my goal to “keep it real,” and to help others in maintaining a healthy sense of balance along their path as well.

The thrust of my self-appointed mission has been the advancement of Satanism, not in its becoming a mainstream philosophy or open platform for any and all who might somehow resonate with the term, but for those who saw Satanism as an entity to be respected, if not feared, and “serious business” for those who could use its name and message to better their lives and gain personal power through their associations.

In the early days of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey found it necessary to sometimes draw attention to himself with talk show hosts who thought that he was something of a con man or showman, and that this new phenomenon called Satanism was just a scam perpetrated on the ignorant and gullible.  As the years passed and Satanism became more and more of an institution within the United States and indeed, around the world, he settled down and got to business building the infrastructure of the Church with its Grotto System, allowing local working groups some degree of autonomy in the way they worked within their local communities.  It was hoped that intelligent heads would produce steady and sophisticated bastions of “undefiled wisdom” amidst the bleating herds surrounding them.  They were provided with basic guidelines for operation, but most were on their own beyond that.  Some of the Grottoes thrived and became “crown jewels” of the Church of Satan’s ever-growing Infernal Empire.  But “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

It was clear that, while some groups thrived, some simply existed and still others devolved as time passed, without firm guidelines to keep them on course.  Many became cults of personality, as some Grotto Masters and Mistresses began to take themselves too seriously, or not take their charge as Satanic Grottoes seriously.  It became embarrassing to hear of groups that might get together on Friday nights to do elaborate rituals or discuss societal ills and how to used them to further the goals of Satanism, only to file out into the streets after their meetings to descend upon the local Denny’s for a snack while dressed in their ritual robes, providing a show for the locals.

Eventually LaVey disbanded the Grotto System because it was becoming untenable, and at times an embarrassment to the Church of Satan, not to mention having to deal with some of the boorish and often asinine behaviors of some of the members who acted like it was Halloween every Friday night, cavorting in grave yards and making themselves a very visible nuisance within their communities.  There was just too much “look at me,” going on, and not nearly enough enlightenment and responsible stewardship of the Franchise.

And there’s the point that I want to make with this essay.  I know that it’s tempting to “go to Denny’s” and entertain the rubes… everyone likes a good laugh once in a while.  But my friends, when you act like a clown, you’re going to have trouble getting people to take you seriously, even when you’re deadly serious about something… anything.  Some groups banding together under the aegis of Satan today are like those misguided souls in Denny’s while wearing their ritual garb.  They’re playing to the public for whatever notoriety they might gain, usually doing something silly and pandering to the lowest levels of social acceptability… anything for a laugh.  “Hey, look at me!!!”

They find a way to insert themselves into any situation, where they might descend to get some attention from the press or the few locals who attend, hoping that there will be someone offended enough by their attendance that they will do some kind of protest or counter demonstration, thereby proving that they were motivated by a noble cause… freedom of (fill in the blank).  Like the suicidal dolt who spits in the face of a Hell’s Angel and then cries loudly to any who will listen that his “rights were violated” by a “bully,” they get what they were after, attention, some giggles from the herd, and a slice of Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame.”  And while the herds laugh, any hope of imparting a serious message for change, personal growth or advancement of their stated agenda goes pretty much unnoticed.

Consider… a flash of humor is much more impactful when it comes in the midst of intellectual power than a flash of intellectualism when it comes in the midst of a laugh fest.  Endorphins being what they are and doing what they do, they tend to lock in the resonances in context to their delivery into the brain.  So, if you are in the middle of a lecture on the finer points of — say economics — and the lecturer punctuates his spiel with a humorous sexual anecdote about interest that makes you laugh, the point being made will be reenforced in your mind as the endorphins get that quick shot to the brain.  Now, consider being in a comedy club, being brought to tears by a comedian like Don Rickles, whose rapid-fire delivery adeptly milks the humor from any situation, and forcing the mind to be flooded with endorphins.  In the middle of this comedy assault, he stops mid-joke and says, “The world is going to end in ten minutes,” and then goes back to his comedy spiel.  Despite the seriousness he might wish to impart to his crowd, they miss it, much like the clown in Kierkegaard’s quote at the beginning of this essay.  It’s important, but not in context and not congruent with the situation at hand.  Humor can illustrate or it can captivate or it can numb, and the average person craves entertainment much more than he craves enlightenment.

My advice… don’t become type-cast as an entertainer for the herd if you wish to be seen as any kind of serious professional as a Satanist or pretty much anyone with a serious message to convey.  There will come a time when you want people to take you seriously and pay heed to a vitally important message, which most likely isn’t going to happen when a clown delivers it.

The Myth of the Angry Satanist

by Jake Block

Now, this is not to say that there aren’t angry people out there, or that there aren’t angry Satanists out there, or that there aren’t reasons to be angry.  It’s simply to say that the majority of these “angry Satanists” are mostly buying into a stereotype and are part of a herd mentality of nonconformity.  Many Satanists these days seem to feel that the way to become noticed and build up credibility as a Satanist, especially on the internet, is to become an anger machine, raging against anything and everything and simply becoming a contrarian personality, while claiming adversarialism.  One can be contrarian and one can be adversarial, but there is a difference.  Purpose.

You’ve probably heard the old adage that any publicity is good publicity, meaning that even if people are saying bad things about you, at least they are talking about YOU.  This is the philosophy of the insecure, the fearful and the forgotten.  Sure, they’re talking about you, but if what they are saying is, “Joe’s a loud mouth, but he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about,” or “Joe talks to hear his own voice,” or “Joe argues just to argue,” then it’s not such a good thing.  You are being marginalized because of your predictability.  You are known to be a complainer.  You know the type.  The type that will argue with you whether the sky is blue or not… and then claim, “I was just being the “devil’s advocate,” when people get tire of the useless game he’s playing.  He’s “angry” about something, although you may never be quite sure what, since he argues about everything.

You’re also acquainted with the concept of the bully who, in order to make him/herself look good, will try to find any victim that they can torment, so long as that victim is physically, emotionally, psychologically or philosophically unable to defend their self.  These are the types who like to question everything to see if they can frustrate their opponent, demanding that they justify everything in their life to suit their antagonist.  Now, most people simply say, “I don’t have to justify myself to you,” and refuse to take the bait.  This frustrates the hell out of the bully who needs to have someone cornered and unable to defend themselves, so they can savage them and look strong.  Challenge them, and they’ll predictably deny it… question THEM, and they will quickly say you’re bullying them.  They seem to be angry too… why?  Maybe because they’re afraid someone will find them out for the cowardly and inept people they most certainly are.  They have to prove themselves right and convince someone to agree with them, thus giving them and their ideas validity and relevance.

Then we have the person who feels they have to live up to that stereotype and, by doing so, will give them power or credibility in the eyes of those they desperately need to respect them, usually because in their day-to-day lives, they get so little respect.  Again… any publicity is good publicity.  People will be talking about THEM.  They seldom think about the consequences of their actions, because what they are looking for is notoriety and sensationalism, and are using Satanism to get it.

A rather well known Satanist told me that they would like to go on a TV talk show and when someone says anything negative about Satanism, smash them across the face with a chair.  “That’s what they expect, so I might as well give it to them.”  Great!  Live up to the stereotypes of your intellectual inferiors and give them every reason to see you as the posturing clown that you display yourself to be.  And BONUS, you get to go to jail or prison for felonious assault, spending years being told when to eat, sleep, and shit, with a new boyfriend named Bubba who won’t give a shit that you are a Satanist, so long as you get on your knees when told.  You’re tough.  You won’t bend over?  Try telling that to Bubba and five of his friends, who all get a “piece of the pie.”  Yeah… but you SHOWED THEM!  Now they know what a REAL Satanist is.

Angry Satanists are a “dime a dozen.”  Nobody really listens to them, because there are so many of them that their prattle becomes a cacophony of droning rhetoric that blends together into an incomprehensible mess.  They’re a herd, and like the herd, the bleating of the sheep blends together until it all sounds the same and even the shepherd tends to block out their ruckus.  They bleat louder and louder, trying to shout over the others and no one notices when, one by one, they get taken down by the wolf who just doesn’t care what they have to say.

Power as a Satanist comes from NOT being what is expected.  In being what is expected, you are predictable and safe.  People today have gotten used to the idea of the “angry” Satanist, his rhetoric, his uniform and his mannerisms.  They’re no longer impressed by it, since the media has long ago made Satanism into a cliche’ that all except the religiously addled pretty much take for granted.  It’s not really the scary bugaboo that it was just 50 years ago, and now either appears to most of the public as simple rebellion, goth wannabes, vampire wannabes or metal wannabes.  They recognize the symbols and the uniforms (conforming to nonconformity,) and the “in your face attitudes,” all of which make their perception of the Satanist predictable… safe.

LaVey once said that trying to define what a Satanist is should be like trying to nail jello to a wall.  Difficult, at best.

Bruce Lee, the archetypical karate master and philosopher said, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.   Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

That’s good advice, if you can understand it and take it to heart, and will serve you well in many situations where you are expected to act or react in a predictable manner.  Simply said, if you are expected to act or react in a predictable way, don’t.   This gives you the ability to frustrate your opponent and to manipulate situations in your favor.  It’s a major tool in your tool box.  Stronger than most and more versatile than specialized tools, like that 20 pound sledge most Satanists wield like a grossly exaggerated Swiss Army Knife.

“Be water, my friend.”

When Smugness Becomes A Virtue

 


by Jake Block

One of the hallmarks of a failed religion or philosophy is when the adherents begin to ignore their own prohibitions and proscriptions in a hypocritical and unfounded assumption of moral superiority.  A case in point, the LaVeyan “sin” of solipsism.  For those of you not familiar with solipsism as a satanic sin, the 9 Satanic Sins lists it at #3 on the “Hit Parade.”  It states: 

“Solipsism

Can be very dangerous for Satanists.  Projecting your reactions, responses and sensibilities onto someone who is probably far less attuned than you are.  It is the mistake of expecting people to give you the same consideration, courtesy and respect that you naturally give them.  They won’t.  Instead, Satanists must strive to apply the dictum, “Do unto others as they do unto you.”  It’s work for most of us and requires constant vigilance lest you slip into a comfortable illusion of everyone being like you.  As has been said, certain utopias would be ideal in a nation of philosophers, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, from a Machiavellian standpoint) we are far from that point.”

It’s a good idea, and LaVey was quite adept at living his life in this manner.  He saw the world in two camps… them and us.  What they did didn’t really matter to US, and what we did really didn’t matter or apply to THEM.  Them, of course, being anyone outside of the LaVeyan school of thought… we didn’t dictate to the masses.  We didn’t expect them to understand, and we certainly didn’t expect them to follow our lead in anything.  It simply didn’t matter and didn’t make sense to try, whether those outside were what Satanists today term as “the mundanes,” or other Left Hand Pathers, Satanists, “Dark Pagans” or any other such individual.  The 60’s saying was understood and appreciated in the Black House.  “Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

We had our expectations for our members, and those were clearly spelled out and communicated to the layity of the Church of Satan.  Those in the upper echelons of the Order were expected to exemplify those expectations and lead by example.  Now, we were of course aware of other Satanic and left hand groups outside of the fold, but while we might know of them, we were wise enough to understand that not every one of them was LaVeyan or even cared anything about LaVey’s philosophies or guidelines on how to live a Satanic life, as he saw it.  Telling someone from the Process Church of the Final Judgement that they should do A, B, or C would be met with a questioning gaze as they wondered just who in the hell you thought you were.  OTO, Scientologists, Rosicrucians and all the way down to the Boy Scouts would have the same reaction, and rightly so.

Now, I’m sure that your parents or someone else has told you at one time or another, “The world doesn’t revolve around you.”  It’s true.  And, unlike in that early time when we were the only game in town that showed any chance at viability, Satanists now come in all stripes.  Some might be amenable to LaVeyan philosophies, some might not be, but most simply take what they need from a variety of sources, rejecting universal dogma for an individualistic approach to Satanism.  And, sad to say, there are those who pay lip service to LaVeyan philosophies, all the while violating the rules of the game while trying to impose those selfsame rules upon others, as if they, by virtue of association are somehow granted the authority or power to judge others, based on their often faulty understanding of LaVey.

A “thumper” is a “thumper,” and it doesn’t matter which book you thump.  Some Satanists these days seem to think that by paying $10 for a paperback of The Satanic Bible and glossing over it, they somehow have earned the right to dictate laws of propriety onto others.  They’re quick to try to ram what they think is the superiority of LaVey’s philosophy down the throats of everyone they see in every situation they encounter, completely ignoring the first of the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, “DO NOT GIVE OPINIONS OR ADVICE UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED.”  So… for those of you who are metaphorically challenged, let me tell you what LaVey was getting at here.  He was telling you to mind your own business.  Unless what people do DIRECTLY affects you, it is none of your business.

Yet, time and time again, we see overly zealous LaVeyans… others, certainly as well… ignoring the guidelines to which they pay lip service while wrapping themselves in the dark mantel of LaVey, practicing solipsism as if it were some prime mandate, demanding that others accept and adhere to guidelines that they themselves, in their meddling and condemnation of others, cannot abide by themselves.  Routinely, we see them pontificating on what a Satanist must be or must do in order to BE a Satanist.  Now to be sure, there are others who do this as well, from the ONA wannabes to those online web page groups with grand names and little else but a web presence, but it is most onerous to me to see those in the Church of Satan engage in it.  The Church of Satan was founded on the idea that each individual is beholden to no one and has the right and responsibility to engage in life as he sees fit.  LaVey did not differentiate between members of the Church of Satan and those in the outer darkness.  Personal sovereignty was key.  “Before none of your printed idols do I bend in acquiescence, and he who saith “thou shalt” to me is my mortal foe!” — The Satanic Bible, The Book of Satan, 1:5.

A Satanist’s main duty is to perfect himself, educate himself, enrich himself and position oneself in such a way that they can create their own “alternative reality,” in which they obtain and defend greater control of their personal lives and thereby loosening the grip of societal oppression and restrictions that hinder their quest for self satisfaction.  With that as one’s goal, one scarcely has time to be interfering in the lives of others, dictating the way that they should live in accordance with the will of their critics, which is of course antithetical to LaVeyan philosophy on its face.

Smugness comes with zealotry, for one is wrapped in the assumed glory of one’s own conviction that if they are right then everyone else must be wrong, and it really doesn’t matter if you are a LaVeyan, Setian, Christian, Muslim or Jew.  Solipsistically expecting the world to conform to your supposedly superior knowledge and/or morality, based on your presumed understanding and perfection of any given philosophy is delusion, and comes when one assumes more of others than they have a right to.  It’s what happens when smugness becomes a virtue… and virtue can hurt you.

Bloodless Coup

by Jake Block

One thing that bothers me about today’s Satanism is the lack of eroticism and sensuality highlighting the natural dichotomy of the male and female.  There was indeed a time when women in Satanism were proud to be women and knew the power that their femininity held, and that they could call upon as another tool in both lesser magic and life itself.  Much is made about the sexism of the naked altars, but truth be known, no woman was ever told that she HAD to be on the altar.  In fact, they vied for the position and felt honored to be the focal point of the ritualization at hand, and sometimes, there were two, three or more women, all on or around the altar, and the visual impact of those tableaus were appreciated by both male AND female members.

Women in the Church of Satan back then dressed like women and not little men.  Skirts and heels and stockings (not pantyhose) were the preferred fashion, which stood out in stark contrast to the increasingly unisex look of jeans and a T shirt.  Hair combed and makeup on, lips red and inviting, they were attractive to be sure, but also fun to look at, giving color to the most drab of days.  Sure, they knew men were undressing them with their eyes, but they also knew that THEY were in control of the situation at all times.  More than once, some guest to the Black House found out that you could look, but not touch when one of the women backhanded him for putting his hands where they had no right to be, and then, adding insult to injury, to find themselves getting the “bum rush” out into the night without so much as a “good night” from a less than pleased member of the staff.

There were classes that explained the processes and concepts put forth in The Compleat Witch, and it was wonderful to see the almost lycanthropic change as a woman became the huntress, in control and on the track of her prey.  The sounds of a woman’s high heels clicking across the hardwood floors, the scents of perfume wafting in her wake, and the subtle smile as she greeted you in passing, or the gentle touch on your arm as she brought home a point she was making with you, clear eyes flashing in the near twilight feel of the lighting.  On nights when there might be something happening in the main ritual chamber, it was sometimes fun to try to guess which of these lovely women you would see on the altar, naked and aware of her place in this celebration of man’s carnal nature and the naturally flowing energies of lust and need between men and women.

Outside of the Black House and Grottoes wherever they might be, the world was changing and women were giving up the power they possessed, being told that equality and parity were the new holy words, and never realizing that those they listened to, who claimed their own superiority as “women in a man’s world” had sold them out.  They were still treated unequally, but told they were free, still earning less than 75% of every dollar their male counterparts were making, but they were FREE, because they could wear pants to work and call themselves equal.  The grayness of the underworld workforce in Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS had begun, and the world was no longer such a bright and shiny and sexy place with women in it.  Now, all were equally gray, equal in every way… except those ways that mattered.

By 1997, when Anton LaVey breathed his last, the world had accepted the change and the mediocrity of presumed equality.  Instead of being the norm, seeing a woman dressed in a short skirt and silken blouse became increasingly a rarity, and as if to hammer a final nail into the coffin of femininity in the name of Feminism, they began to wear chunky, masculine-looking shoes, heavy on their feet, and heavy footfalls echoed behind them, where once the feminine click-click-click of high heels had once stirred the imagination with their siren’s song.

I think I knew that the coup had become complete when I was asked to speak at a grotto meeting in the midwest and upon arriving, found the men and women milling around before the ceremonies looking bloodless and stale compared to their counterparts of just a few years before.  Men wore black T shirts with their favorite band’s name on them, blue jeans and sneakers.  The women looked pretty much the same, with the rare exception of the occasional glimpse of colored lips or nails.  And conversations between them were no longer tinged with expectation and sexual tension… the language of the males and females had begun to show the laziness of thought that turned FUCK into a noun, a verb or anything else they wanted it to be… an expression of joy or derisive epithet.  I think my disillusionment with the “new world” of Satanism became complete when facing the altar, there was no woman, but some books and some Halloween kitsch to which the “priest” paid unduly reverent awe.  “IN NOMINE DEI NOSTRI SATANAS LUCIFERI EXCELSI…” and the tinkle of a bell and the tin-sound of a souvenir shop gong… I was glad when it was time to go.  Someone had bled Satanism white.

I sometimes hallucinate that there will eventually be a backlash against the bloodless coup that has overtaken Satanism, but realistically, I don’t think I will see it in my lifetime.  So very few Satanists these days even understand the dichotomous nature of man and the eternal yin-yang of sensuality, or what role it plays in the humanization of mankind.  Women to most men, at least by their writings and statements are simply there to service their misanthropic expectations and enjoy whatever crumbs of sensuality they find necessary to offer to get what they want.   And the women… well, many seem to accept their roles as sex puppets, worthless beyond serving as a warm receptacle for the male.  It’s hard to feel sorry for willing victims when they complain, “Is that all there is?”

And I suppose that’s MY question as well.  They’ve declared themselves Satanists and have joined the herd, thinking that calling themselves wolves makes them not sheep, but bleating the words while following the herd belies their delusions of grandeur.  Is there no room left for sensuality and the ageless dance between male and female, reveling in their differences and enjoying the eroticism that springs there from.  Is that all there is to Satanism these days?  If so, let’s close up shop and call it something like Me-ism or checkers.

 

Pay Attention!

by Jake Block

 
We hear it from our most formative years. “Pay attention,” bellows forth from our parents, our teachers, our civic and religious leaders.  Pay attention and you will learn.  It’s good advice and one of the hallmarks of critical thinking, in that one pays attention to details, “crossing the Ts and dotting the Is,” making sure that there is clarity and correctness in one’s thought and method.  It is in paying close attention that the more successful differentiate themselves from the competent, but “sloppy thinking” masses.  Yes, “pay attention” is good advice and will stand you well as you live your life.
 
But as with all messages, well meaning or not, there are those who somehow manage to get it wrong and instead of using it to intended purposes, turn it around and make it about self aggrandizement and enhancing one’s own stature by making a spectacle of whatever they say or do.  Pay attention, in their muddled minds, becomes “pay attention to me!”  So they will do their good deeds and works, which is fine and good, but always making sure that they can somehow find a spotlight to shine upon themselves while doing it, because in their minds, it’s all about THEM and their role in any project, not the greater good or the goal itself.  Sure, medicine might find a way to cure cancer, but the attention seeker will always be quick to inject that without THEIR sizable contributions to solving the riddle, this would never have happened!  Their annual donation of $35.00 to the “CURE ALL ILLS FOUNDATION”… sponsoring one of the little black or brown children in the TV infomercial, or whatever cause du jour’s success is always the drop in the bucket that brings success where all other attempts have failed.  
 
Now yes, there are some people who go out to these places and adopt those woefully poor children… Angelina Jolie and Madonna come to mind, and that COULD be a good thing on the face of it, but if they are motivated by altruistic ideals, then why do they court public media to gain as much attention for their good works as possible.  And yes, I can hear the wheels turning in your heads… “but their actions bring attention to the cause of caring for the poor and downtrodden.”  Maybe.  Certainly there are poor children in Nigeria and Kenya and Uganda and the Philippines… elsewhere in foreign climes as well.  But why travel to such far away lands when there are poor and hungry and ill-educated people right here?  When was the last time you saw an infomercial for the hungry kids needing your help in Appalachia… or the American Gulag (Indian Reservations) System?  There’s not much glamor in domestic altruism, because it serves to highlight the financial disparity in one of the most powerful nations on the planet, rather than the magnificent actions, even if they are only a drop in the bucket, of the attention grabbing few.
With “attention junkies,” it becomes a well practiced balancing act of joining organizations strategically to show who they are associated with, and Facebook is great for that.  They make sure to check the correct boxes whenever they join their first or three-hundredth page supporting the Eastern Tree Frog or Antarctic Rain Forest Protection Society.  Whatever “good works” they get into, you’ll be sure to see their name pop up over and over and over again, reminding you that JOE BLOW SUPPORTS… you name it.  Ok… so you got your name on another list doing the same thing as 2,000 other lists you’ve joined doing the same thing.  Great accomplishment.  When can we expect to receive the next notice that you were just one of 2,000,000 followers on the “I HATE Justin Bieber” web group?   What?  You missed that announcement?  Check your email for a long missive detailing it for you… you’ll be sooooooooooo impressed!
 
Call a person on this and they’ll deny it.  “No, you have it wrong.  I’m just trying to help X, Y or Z.  So here’s what I did.  Yeah, and then I… and then I…”  The cause?  Well, of course they were victorious because I…”  You’ll never see them own up to their failures, which are always because of someone or something else, but in this world of non-doers, their actions, no matter what they might be, seem to be a hell of a lot more impressive than they actually are.  But the glory of the hero is in the telling of his tale and the retelling of his tale and retelling  the retold tale once again.  Beowulf’s harrowing saga would scarce be known if the story was, “Beowulf went into a cave and killed something.  End of story.”
 
I am loathe to put all attention seekers into the same lump, but I’ll be damned if there aren’t enough of them out there that it seems like sorting them out might take a thousand abacus wielding Chinese accountants 32 years, working overtime AND on Chinese New Year to do it.  There are so many that it would be refreshing just once to see someone just do something they feel needs to be done, even if it is just writing a check and moving on, without them seeing the need to announce it to the world.  “Quiet heroism,” is a term I’ve heard it called, but unfortunately, today, they pass out a bull horn for do-gooders, and it doesn’t come with an OFF switch.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z_ZDLlnhcw

Whole Hog or An Epicurean Feast

by Jake Block

I see life as a great banquet, filled with thousands of sumptuous dishes, prepared by masters of their craft. Woks full of savory Chinese, a spit of turning beef, cut to order on my plate, heaping mounds of succulent greens, the tenderest of turkey breast and sweet meats, spiced and pungent, with goblets of fine wine to compliment the flavors, all the while adding enjoyment as I wash my meal down.  Life is a great banquet, to be sure, but it’s and expensive one to experience.  There’s no telling how long it will last, but you know that no matter how long you have to enjoy it, in the end, you pay with your life.  So, now, faced with this epicurean feast, a one time smorgasbord of choices there for the taking, why would anyone forsake it all for a ham and cheese on rye with a dab of dijon mustard?

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing like a good ham and cheese sandwich to fill you up and to provide nutrition to your body.  Glamorous it isn’t,  but it is effective at what it does.  I know people who like them a LOT, and would never even attend a balls-to-the-wall epicurean feast, simply because they’ve found “it”… ham and cheese.   Could it get any simpler than that?  Surely, they paid for their meal with their life, just as we all do, and that meal sustains them, somewhat, and they KNOW their ham… salted, cooked, chopped, Black Forest, Honey-baked…

But what can they tell you about the other foods out there that are provided to make this life experience worth living?  Can they describe the taste of foie gras?  Does their mouth water, remembering the juicy, briney taste of prime rib?  How about a honeydew melon injected with white wine, chilled to perfection with cubes of sharp cheddar?  A thousand dishes, a thousand tastes, from balut to camel, from baklava to key lime pie, or Chilean Sea Bass  to fresh trout from a mountain stream.  All are there, and all can be taken simply for the asking, but they insist that they like their ham and cheese… no need to try anything new.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to be a gourmand and a gourmet, on a “see food diet.”  If it’s edible and it’s available, there’s a good chance I will at least try it once.  My normal fare is pretty much like anyone else’s… pork, beef, poultry and vegetables.  They sustain me on a daily basis and really, I could survive on it.  Utilitarian dining for a utilitarian life.  But you know, it’s been said that “variety is the spice of life.”  I’ve found that to be true, and I have also found that while I might be very adventurous in my gastronomy, I find that it enhances my culinary experiences, rather than locking me into one choice as the RIGHT choice.  I can feel free to move from taste to taste without having to reject all other choices to do it.

Sure.  It’s true about food as well as most other aspects of life.  To lock oneself into a rigid lifestyle, or hard-set philosophy embracing one aspect of it while rejecting all others out of hand is very much like sticking to that dry ham sandwich at that epicurean banquet.  And like food, we all have our preferences as far as philosophies, religions, enlightenment, and the way to “get there from here.”  You’re told from a young age that “this is who you are.”  You’re a Christian, a Jew a Muslim or any other religious or philosophical moniker you wish to hang around your neck, and this is what you have to do to BE it.  Like a step by step guide, people follow the rules laid out before them, knowing that if they just follow the rules they will be rewarded with salvation, enlightenment, universal harmony and brotherhood or some other piece of pie in the sky that the guru du jour is selling.

All religions and philosophies have them.  In Islam, it’s the daily prayers, the Hajj to Mecca, reciting the Koran and other articles of faith and belief.  In Christianity, it may be tithing 10% to the church, or evangelizing to the masses, Sunrise Service on Easter and High Mass on Christmas Eve.  In some earth religions, the worshipping of the earth as Gaia, or the horned figure of Cernunnos, chanting and reciting the three-fold law.  You can spend days as a Jew in solemn and reverent prayer, with its myriad every-day rituals, restrictions and commands… and as you fall lock-step into these neat little boxes, you be come more and more the person that you wish to be, because that’s the way that you’ve always been told it SHOULD BE.

Then there are those of us who, born or made, reject it and become “Satanists” or “travelers on the left hand path,” and reject that herd-mentality for the personal freedom and inner wisdom found therein.  So we read The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals and The Compleat Witch and The Lords of Darkness and they become canon to us, every bit as much as the words of the Bible are canon to the Christians, the Talmud to the Jew or the Koran to the Muslim.  We won’t admit it, because to admit that we actually follow the ideas of someone else shows that we’re weak and we’re followers, and damn it, NOBODY tells us what to do with our own lives.  We are Satanists.  There ARE NO RULES.  And I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

There are always rules.  Some may be imposed upon us by religious doctrine and some by secular law, and some are self imposed restrictions and caveats that we use to give our life meaning… something to stand by and stand for.  This is not to say that we won’t bend the rules from time to time, but we all have a personal morality; a line in the sand that we dare not cross.  In the case of religious laws, we may fear some karmic backlash if we transgress, or the thunder of an unseen god in Heaven.  Secular laws and those who enforce them with force and imprisonment can be a hell of a deterrent for those who value personal liberties and freedoms.  But the ones that leave us cold and the thought of breaking one of them can send our minds into chaotic disorder, for to betray them would be a denial of self and of our personal will to power are the laws we place on ourselves.

For example, the religious law tells us we shall not kill, but we amend that law to allow it under certain circumstances, such as war, especially in the name of our god of choice.  The secular law tells us that we shall not kill, but we mitigate the action by exceptions, such as self-defense, and in some cases, self-defense by proxy, war under color of authority, as in the military or in the service of law enforcement, or when done under extreme emotional duress, or sometimes just “standing our ground.”  We as a society, especially in America are armed to the teeth and it’s not surprising that so many are killed by other citizens as it is that the number isn’t much higher!

But if, knowing the secular or religious law and feeling that our own conscience dictates it, we might tell ourselves, “I will not kill for any reason.”  To put oneself in a position where that personal deep-seated prohibition must be challenged on our most intimate personal level can cause an emotional fugue that can be mentally debilitating.  It’s a conundrum when we pit or most personal convictions against what we might pay rabid lip service to, either way, our integrity is on the line.  We’ve said “I will not kill for any reason,” and perhaps in our heart and mind, we meant it at the moment we said it… but no one was pointing a gun at our child at the time, or we come upon someone raping our wife.  The black and white of our personal morality quickly fades into a million shades of gray.  If you break your iron clad rule, you’ll certainly have yourself to answer to for the rest of your life and feel the shame of hypocrisy, but fail to act and you’ll also answer to those who put their trust in you.  Perhaps you gave them solemn oaths of protection and love or, they assumed you did.

You took your vows on “forsaking all others,” but one night your spouse brings up the idea of being more open sexually with others, swinging or in an open marriage.  In their mind this has become something they need, bordering on obsession, and respecting you and your vows to them, and theirs to you, they needed to let you know, rather than live a lie.  Do you stand firm in your conviction, possibly throwing away years of love and building a future together, rather than see them, if only temporarily, in the arms of another?  Complicate your life still further with young children that you both are committed to raising, emotionally and financially, and knowing that clearly, neither of you could adequately provide what they need on your own.

Sell out your friends or a trusted confidant for personal gain?  LIE about your friend or confidant to get ahead at work when one of you will have to be let go in a staffing cut?  Spread a secret about another you’ve given your word to that it would remain confidential at all costs?  Sell drugs in desperation when two dollars is all that stands between that, and not being able to feed your wife and children?  Prostitute yourself to silence the need inside you with your drug of choice?  Turn state’s witness rather than keep silent when they offer you that get out of jail free card for information on someone else?

Life is full of Hobson’s choices, where it’s take it or leave it, with essentially no REAL choice.  Buy the horse by the door or buy no horse at all.  It’s easy for us to be certain when the sun is shining and things are going our way, or when we think that the chances of us actually having to back up our bold pronouncements of personal morality seem slim.  But life is often your biggest adversary and life will often test you in ways that you might never expect, but you will be tested, and usually on a gut-wrenchingly real level.  Make the right choice and you maintain, even though the right choice might have been unthinkable ten minutes ago.  Make the wrong choice and you lose, even though the wrong choice might have been unthinkable as well.  Most often, we find that even with ourselves we often must be masters of compromise and learn to swallow bitter pills, but if we have no flexibility, we have no choice.

I know of an Airlift Control Element whose unofficial motto was “Rigid Flexibility.”  Until you reach the point that you need to, it’s a difficult concept to understand.  Then you learn to bend, break, or change.

 

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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