by Jake Block
There was a town in the midwest, and it was pretty much like any other town, with houses, stores, churches, a hospital and all the rest. People living in the town were happy in their modest but nice little homes, and they lived, played, ate and slept there, much like families in any other town until… well, for some damned reason, someone built a ten foot wall between the houses and the rest of the town. If you wanted to go to any of the stores, churches, businesses or the hospital, you first had to get over the wall.
Most of the people got over the wall with no real problem. They would simply get up in the morning and head out the door toward the wall between them and the rest of the town, get up a little bit of speed and jump, grabbing ahold of the wall at the top, and with a little effort, pulled themselves up and over. Once they were over the wall, the whole world was theirs to explore. Some went to the businesses, stores and churches and then returned to their homes on the residential side of the wall. Others, upon getting over the wall moved on to other towns, other states and some came back, but others went on to bigger and better things.
Some people, though, found that wall just to difficult to get over. It was too high, or they couldn’t get a grip on the top of it, or they would fall back to the ground, unable to pull themselves up and over. Some were old, and some were young, and some were black, and some were white, and some were hispanic, and some were short, female, male, gay, under educated, poor… the one thing they had in common was that they couldn’t get over the wall. They tried and tried, but eventually, just gave up. They heard tales of the wonderful things on the other side of the wall, but alas, it was not for them.
One day John, one of those who was having trouble with the wall, was watching his neighbors go up and over quickly, and they seemed very excited to be going into town. He saw Mayor Burns heading toward the wall and asked, “Your Honor, why is everyone so excited to go into town today?” The mayor slowed down and said, “Fred’s Chicken Shack is giving away free buckets of chicken to anyone who visits their shop today, since it’s their tenth anniversary!”
John looked sad and whined, “Damn. Free chicken. I never get to go into town, so it looks like I’m missing out again.” The mayor continued on his way to town, grabbing the top of the wall, and pulling himself up and over, saying, “John, it’s all there waiting for you. All you have to do is get over the damned wall!”
So you’ve had a bad life, and it seems that everything around you is geared toward holding you back and keeping you down. Welcome to what is probably the world’s largest club. But there’s an old saying that I’m sure you’ve heard before. “It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.”
I would suppose that everyone has a bad time at point or another, and I’m not talking about a bad day here, but a time in your life that might just make you wonder if going on is really is really worth the effort. It seems so with most people, and I am often reminded of a quote by Thoreau, “The mass of men live a life of quiet desperation.” There was a time in my life when I would have thought he was talking about me. And during the times in my life where I felt lost, and that I just couldn’t make it, it was impossible not to notice those in life who seemed to have it easy, and it seemed that success was handed to them, and here I was, a kid on the streets of East St. Louis, with nothing to look forward to, so I understand the concept of that ten foot wall.
A “bad life” can be as bad as you can think, and as visible as the incurably insane man forever in a prison of his own mind, locked inside forever in an asylum within the asylum, lost within his own insanity. It can be that “quiet desperation,” disguised in a mansion in Beverly Hills, and that Hollywood star who takes her own life, because she simply can’t go on being perfect in a world that demands her to give even more, when she’s out of “more” to give. It can be found in the ghetto or in suburbia, and even in the ghetto, can be hidden from the eyes of those around you, who might see you as happy and content, never knowing the aching desire and desperate need to get out… just get out and get more.
Life passes, and we either stay where we are behind the wall, or we find the incentive and will to get up and out. There’s always a way out. We just have to find it. If you’re poor, you might have to be more inventive and advance more slowly than someone who’s born with that proverbial silver spoon, but it can be done. At least, we can try. Failure happens, but then, so does success. The trick is to resist being lulled into the quiet desperation of just giving in to what you can come to feel is “your station” in life. When you accept the life you’re living as “your station,” even though deep in the pit of your soul, you’re dying to be free, then you are lost.
When life is hard and you know that you’re meant for better things, the one thing that you must do to survive is find some way to get over that damned wall.
by Jake Block
A woman who has known me for thirty years recently remarked to me that “blue was my favorite color.” It’s not. Her reasoning was that my kitchen is done in white, with blue accents, and that my office is a shade of blue, and I have worn some blue shirts when I am with her. I explained to her that, a) my wife chose the colors for the kitchen, b) My office is “Prussian Gray”… it says so on the can. The only reason that it turned out to be a shade of blue is that apparently Prussians were color blind. And c), I wear different colors of shirts. I have burgundy, blue, black, and gray, but no white, yellow, pink or green. I almost always wear black pants, or on occasion, gray. So then, what is my favorite color selection? Actually my favorite colors would be red, black and silver.
Blue, though… “meh.” I was required to wear blue for 20 years of my life, in the military, with an occasional choice of a sickly “olive drab” fatigue uniform on days I might be in the field or doing dirty work on my home base. The morning after I retired from the military, I remember lying in bed, watching the news on TV and chuckling to myself, because for the first time in twenty years, I had a choice of what to wear on a day I would normally be on my way to the base. I glanced over at my closet and saw that my choices were few, because I had always had more uniforms than civilian clothes. Within two hours of being returned to civilian life, I had taken all of my uniforms and packed them away for storage. I would have donated them to the base “Airman’s Closet,” but, having “unique identifiers,” I was required to serve five years on “Inactive Reserve,” during which time I could need to return to military service in case of a national emergency. This almost happened on September 11, 2001, when a Terrorist Attack felled the twin towers in New York. Within a week, I received a letter from the Department of Defense, basically telling me that I might be needed… “Don’t leave town.”
When I travel, these days, I can often end up in places where those I meet are into “the occult.” Certainly I’ll have meetings or dinners with Satanists, if there are any that I know in an area I might be traveling through on one of my photo excursions. I am never surprised when we get together for dinner and conversation if they show up wearing black on black, or jeans and a death metal T-shirt or a “satanic” T-shirt. It sometimes makes me chuckle, because here we are, ostensibly the ultimate non-conformists, and they’re sporting the uniform of tens of thousands of other non conformists. I might be wearing a black or gray three piece suit with a cobalt blue or burgundy shirt and one of 250 neckties… not a solid color or regimental stripe amongst them.
My guests might be wearing jewelry with a metaphysical or occult theme. Satanic rings, LaVey’s power sigil rip offs, Baphomets, etc. I opt for subtlety, and normally wear either a small lapel pin of the Sect of the Horned God, or if with other Sect members, possibly my Sect of the Horned God pendant. If I wear a Baphomet, it’s my original, simple one from my earliest days in the Church of Satan, but it will be neatly tucked under my shirt, next to my heart where it belongs. If not these pieces, I might opt for one of my own pieces, a simple pentagram lapel pin in a complementary color. My black fedora will sport a simple trapezoidal stone with a modest pentagram attachment. And there I will be, when others strut their “satanic sartorial splendor,” looking in contrast, about as flashy as an Amish farmer at a New York soirée. Still, it gets my point across.
Am I embarrassed to wear “Satanic chic?” Do I think it’s beneath me in any way? Not at all. The plain and simple reason that I don’t wear the kit is that it’s expected of me that I should. I would never give the public the show that they expect a Satanist to give them. I’m not an entertainer. I am a Satanist and I am a non conforming non-conformist, and that means that I do not conform to presupposed uniformity, in a meaningless display of support for a caste of people who might ascribe to the same philosophy as I. My Satanism goes deeper than mere performance art. I have nothing to prove to anyone, even myself, and I would hope that my body of work over the past 50 years of promoting Satanism, as I know it, speaks for itself. I’m a Satanist, and while my comrades are loud and proud in their choice of clothing, and that’s great… it’s their choice to conform or not, as is their right… my choice of clothing “never lets them see me coming.” There’s always a question in its subtlety. I’m not what the public expects, visually.
I usually look like someone’s father or grandfather, in my manner of dress. I’m no threat, that they can see. They can’t see the weapons that I carry; the gun on my hip or at the small of my back, the switchblade or brass knuckles in my pocket. They might see some simple looking rings on my hands, like my heavy silver ring with oval hematite stone, or my ornately carved Black Hills silver ring with some very sharp edges. “Pops” would never hurt anyone, would he? And it’s that ambiguity, that disconnect, that allows me to travel in a number of circles that I couldn’t with a 50 pound Baphomet around my neck.
Adolf Hitler once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “When my generals cover themselves in medals, I shall distinguish myself by wearing few… or none.” He was not alone. Think of the uniforms of some of the most powerful armies of the world and you’ll probably think of medals and badges and ropes and “military bling.” What their uniforms say is, “I am a soldier for (insert country here) and I am a badass. Trust me, you don’t want any of this. Back off or die.”
Now think of their civilian head of state, as he stands addressing them, or speaking before the citizens of the nation. He’s generally in a business suit with a simple flag of his nation on his lapel. His job is to communicate the will of his nation to the troops he commands, and explain his vision of the future to the citizens of that nation. His uniform says, “I’m a gentleman and will negotiate with you as a friend, but if you push me, remember, I have that million man army of badasses out there who are more than willing to kick your ass.” The exception to this rule has to be the British, whose leadership is fond of uniforms and badges… what that says, I’m not sure of.
The saying “clothes make the man” has been around for a long time and, for the most part, it still applies today. It’s not uncommon to see people displaying their place in the society through their choice of clothing and/or accessories that they wear. For the most part, it helps people with their expectations and the amount of deference they should give to the individuals or groups they encounter on a daily basis. It’s a form of stratification that is self imposed for people who don’t take the time to consider what to wear to get the most impact, or simply follow the herd and dress, as expected, in the appropriate uniform, even though they might loudly proclaim their non-conformity.
The famous movie by Fritz Lang, Metropolis, featured scenes where armies of grey clad, laborers marched in lock step to their factories. Each was the same in their grayness and it conveyed the the message of sameness, hopelessness and servitude. Not coincidentally, Apple Computer used that backdrop in a commercial to announce the Macintosh computer. When the brightly colored female hammer thrower ran onto the screen to toss her hammer into the grayness… things changed. True non-conformity can do that, even in a locked down and seemingly controlled society. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA)
Wear what you will, and express your individuality when you can. But if you find that you’re dressing… and thinking… in the same way as everyone around you, you might want to consider if you might be losing your individuality, to show that you belong. And worse, you might be losing your power because you telegraph your lifestyle, philosophy and attitudes to, lets face it, a world around us that has the control button firmly in hand. If you cloak yourself to their expectations, you might expect their perceptions and consequences often to be detrimental to your best interests. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear what you want, where you want. Only you can make that choice. There are options, and as a Satanist, I have found the third side choice works well for me!
There’s an advantage in difference that can be a force multiplier when it has the possibility to open doors a bit that might normally be closed. It’s an advantage if they don’t see you coming, and then you can surprise the hell out of them when you finally get there.
by Jake Block
Enlightenment is the gold that one seeks, never knowing exactly where it is, but always knowing it is there, somewhere. Enlightenment is a moving target, a gossamer web of the undefined, but infinitely subjective in thought and deed. Enlightenment is a key, and a tool, and a roadmap to greater personal liberty and inner peace. While there are some who attain enlightenment to a degree, most who strive miss the goal and retreat to some form of “wokeness” in social issues and use it as a way to bolster their flagging self esteem by showing how concerned and life affirming that they can be. “Enlightened” has become an alternative term for “elite,” but in a kinder and gentler way that makes it ok to claim superiority over others.
In the minds eye, when one sees “enlightened,” it’s generally the image of a placid Buddha-faced sage sitting in a lotus position under an exotic tree, quietly chanting “OM,” or the Indian guru who looks a lot like the gray-bearded Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, surrounded by flowers, smiling and saying “Namaste,” while thinking only good thoughts, accompanied by the sound of the sitar, and the smell of sandalwood incense. Those of you who tend toward a more exotic vision, might picture a holy tantric orgy, where men and women engage in highly postured positions from the Kama Sutra for sexual fulfillment to bring themselves closer to their vision of the godhead. Enlightenment becomes a smiling, soft and egalitarian blandness where one’s ego is sublimated for the sake of others and world peace.
I would wager that the idea of the Left Hand Path as a road to enlightenment, where a guru who might be more like one of the ragged Aghora, profane and impure, perhaps poking around in the funerary ashes of the dead, dining on garbage and wearing the ashes of death that surrounds him isn’t part of your vision of enlightenment. Nor would I think that one might consider the likes of Anton LaVey to be a guru possessed of wisdom that can make one’s life more satisfying and elevated through his philosophy of indulgence and rational self interest. Neither has that peaceful and benign visage of the Buddha contemplating Nirvana or the Hindu in meditations over the message of Shiva. Often stern of visage and voice, how could such people ever be enlightened and elevated souls?
If I can claim a measure of enlightenment, even though my life is now and has long been lived far to the left, on the Left Hand Path, how can I justify it, when the concept of enlightenment itself seems, to most, to be a product of the right? How can we see the Aghora, with their often repulsive acts of defiance and cultural challenge to be enlightened? Can the scales of equality and political correctness be balanced against the stark realities of life on the Left Hand Path, experienced by a whole class of people seen by the majority of the world as outcasts and pariahs? I think so for several reasons, but chiefly that “Enlightenment” is a sliding scale of wisdom and understanding that has nothing to do with the path one trods, either left or right. Even with those at the extremes of either end of the path, from perhaps the Aghora to the left and the isolate cave dwelling yogi in the Tibetan mountains to the right, one can see wisdom, disparate and uniquely applied, certainly, but appropriate for the individual culture.
Enlightenment comes from living within one’s environment and understanding the whys and wherefores of that life, and then being able to work within the bounds of one’s existence in finding mitigating factors that allow one to survive and thrive in what could be seen as adverse conditions to those outside of that cultural fold. Wisdom comes from the application of that knowledge to enhance one’s personal freedom and quality of life. It’s not just a matter of Milton’s being able to make a Heaven out of Hell, because you can live in East St. Louis, IL and call it Beverly Hills, CA, but in the end this spurious mitigation strategy is denied by simply taking an look outside of your window. To effectively mitigate one’s life circumstance requires positive and sustained action in the realms of reality, rather than dwelling in a fantasy that one’s circumstance is simply a matter of ignoring it.
Who are the enlightened? With all of the internet gurus out there, you would think that it would be easy to define. I would suggest that “the enlightened” are less easily defined but more easily found than we might imagine, but only if we toss out our preconditioned notions of what “enlightenment” ought to be. One thing to toss out is the idea that titles mean something in terms of one’s elevation. We hear a lot about people who call themselves “Illuminati,” “Luciferians,” “Ascended Masters,” etc., and claim the wisdom of the universe that they will, under some misguided notion of “noblesse oblige,” pass it down to you, the lowly, that you might one day rise, through their intervening benefaction, from the squalor and deprivations of your station. Always ask what makes them so perfect and such paragons of virtue that they can afford to condescend to you? If all lives were under the same magnifying glass, what would truly define their station above yours? Is their life really all that “elevated,” or is it only such in the theater of the internet’s cut and paste graphic glory?
In my experience, the enlightened… truly enlightened… seldom see themselves as such, and surely don’t have to tell people that they are. Wisdom is self evident in one’s personal philosophy, and in the way they take the life to which they are born, mold it and take ownership in its success. The quietude of enlightenment found in the stereotypical guru or mystic is an indication of internal acceptance, that they simply “tell it like it is” in the surety of their own mind, and “walk the talk,” rather than put on a show to entertain. The enlightened enlighten because it’s natural for them to do so, and they often don’t really care if others accept their truth. It simply is the truth that has enhanced their lives, and they make no guarantees that it will do the same for you, although if you find it beneficial in your life as well, so much the better.
I’ve found enlightenment in the words of wisdom gleaned from a lifetime on the Left Hand Path, and in the quotes of others who came before, and in the words of some who would scarcely consider me their friend. It comes in the darker moments, when I go within my own mind to search for answers to problems that confront me, and in the moments of quiet contemplation. It comes in those “AHA” moments when I finally “get it,” and in those moments when I realize that truths long believed are no longer valid. Yes, my friends, enlightenment comes from a wide variety of sources, and I would put it to you that if you’re finding that truth is held in a single source, be it a book or an individual, perhaps it’s not enlightenment at all, but indoctrination.
Who are the enlightened? Trust your instincts, and you’ll know them by their deeds as well as their words. Sometimes your own enlightenment will inspire others, if it comes from a place of truth, whatever that truth may be.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
— Eckhart Tolle
by Jake Block
I spent 20 years in the military, working in a variety of positions requiring varying degrees of discretion regarding what I could, should or would share with other people. Much of the information that I was privy to in the completion of my duties could be Classified, Secret, and on occasion, Top Secret. There were things that I could get into trouble for disclosing, and could include everything from loss of rank, pay and up to some serious time in a military or federal prison. So, please understand that I took and take security and my obligations to others regarding matters that require my personal discretion quite seriously.
My wife spent 20 years in the military, working in a variety of positions requiring varying degrees of discretion regarding what she could, should or would share with other people. Much of the information that she was privy to in the completion of her duties could be Classified, Secret, and on occasion, Top Secret. There were things that she could get into trouble for disclosing, and could include everything from loss of rank, pay and up to some serious time in a military or federal prison.
In the years that we shared together when we were both in the military, we didn’t make a distinction between what we could, should or would share with others and what we could, should or would share between ourselves. Quite simply, unless we were on a need to know basis regarding matters of confidentiality in our military careers, the subject was off limits. Where was I going on TDY (Temporary Duty) next week? It could either be, “Just a quick trip to Scott AFB for a class,” or “Just working. See you when I get home.” Sometimes all I could tell her was that I was going “somewhere,” and that I would be out of touch.” If she didn’t need to know, I didn’t tell her.
Her job often entailed highly sensitive information, at a high level of intelligence security. I knew better than to ask what she was working on or who was going to be in her building. I had no need to know. Period. She didn’t tell me. Period. At one point in her career, she spent three years in a building and I only stepped into it once, and even though she was well known to everyone there, she had to come to the door to sign me in, and escort me directly to her office, where I did what I needed to do, and then directly back to the security guard, who quietly and efficiently checked me out. She and I then waved “goodbye,” and went back to work for the rest of the day.
During duty hours, we addressed each other as Sergeant, and were all business. We never kissed, even on the cheek, or held hands. We never discussed our off duty lives with people on duty. Need to know. It’s something that I take seriously.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There were times that I might share things that were going on with my troops or with my wife, and she might share with me as well. We could share laughs and stories and anecdotes about the funny, weird or dumbass things that someone might have done. You can be open and gregarious, have friends, talk and enjoy their company, but the trick is to know where and when it’s appropriate and when it’s not.
Civilian life is more of the same, although the price you might pay for divulging someone’s secrets seldom include prison, and we seldom sign non disclosure agreements. There are still times when discretion is expected and treasured between those who share a mutual respect. In business, there were many instances in which discretion was expected and required as a contractual agreement. One often hears the phrase, “My word is my bond,” in business, but true as that might be, the most honest business partners insure that discretion with a contractual agreement, no matter how much they might trust their partner in business.
So it goes in our social interactions, even on line where we speak openly of many things, seldom, if ever, taking stock of our correspondent’s veracity and discretion. Experiences differ, dependent upon the individuals involved, but there are sad tales galore about those whose loose lips spread things that others thought were spoken of in confidence to those who have no need to know. One unfortunate incident that I recall involved a member of an internet group who, upon learning a secret about a member, who was in a position of trust, and used it to exert control over that person, threatening disclosure to his employer. This secret involved the person’s membership in an occult organization whose philosophies would be at odds with the philosophies of the person’s employer. When things went south between the two individuals, the individual carried out his threats and calls were made to the man’s employer from a “concerned citizen.”
It’s a cautionary tale that we should take note of. Conversation is a good thing, education is even better, but in all things, remember discretion and honor in your dealings with others. You have a duty to others, as well as yourself.
It’s my honor to be a part of The Sect of the Horned God and to relate some of the “life lessons” that have helped form my personality and my style and bring me to this point in my life, and while I might pass on some significant details of episodes in my life and the impacts of lessons learned, there are things that I never have, and never will disclose. For instance, I have been asked about things regarding Anton LaVey, and The Church of Satan during the time I was active with them and, when possible, I’ve given my opinions and some anecdotes that might help someone understand. There are times, however, that when a question would require me to break my vow of confidentiality that I simply say, “I can’t answer that.” One person, who shall remain unnamed suggested to me that, “LaVey’s been dead for over 20 years… what does it matter now?”
What matters is that there was no termination date on my promise to say nothing about personal things I might know. I fully intend to take any “secrets” of that time with me into death. You see, it’s very much a part of my personal code of ethics that I am the kind of friend to others that I would wish that they would be to me. When I give them my word, I give them my bond and my bond is iron clad. It’s all about integrity. When someone honors our association and/or friendship with discretion, when we speak about things that are for our ears only, they are spoken of freely and with that mutual understanding.
There are things that I speak to those for whom I have the utmost respect, people like Thomas and Lisa and those in the Administrative level of The Sect, two people that are known to me “in real life,” and perhaps a few others on the web with whom I have had a long time relationship. I can speak to this group of people and be assured of their confidentiality, and they can be assured of mine. Unfortunately, there are also those both on the web and “in real life” that I wouldn’t trust “if their tongue was notarized.” With these people, I often hear “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” playing in my head, and specifically the line, “Believe half of what you see, Son, and none of what you hear.”
The internet and its all pervasive attitude that “it’s my right to know” might seem to be an all access pass to the most intimate parts of the lives of others, secrets of business and secrets of state, but it only seems to be. So, for most people, any really meaningful communication is strained and filtered until a level of trust, one for the other, is established. Even here, though, I expect and give my promise of discretion.
In dealing with the rest of the world around me, I employ my “cone of silence,” so that they’re not privy to my communications with my core group. In the old 1960s TV show, GET SMART, the hero, Maxwell Smart employed the cone of silence whenever he wanted secure communications with his trusted group. Made of a sound-dampening acrylic, it fit over his head and the head of his companion, so that they could speak without being heard by those who had no need to know. Those who matter understand.
No offense if I don’t tell you what you want to know, but there are reasons for it that you just might not understand. Some things might be revealed if, someday, you can be included in my short list of confidantes. Even then there is no such thing as total access, as I have commitments and trusts that you might not be a part of, just as my commitment and trust with you might be exclusionary to others. And trust me, it won’t bother me at all if there are parts of your life that I have no need to know. That’s how it should be. At one time or another, we’re all outside of the cone.
by Jake Block
The stela depicted here is one of Austin Osman Spare’s most famous sigils, being “The Formula of Zos.” Most of Spare’s magical philosophy was codified in his writings on the concept of “Zos,” which he explained briefly in “The Book of Pleasure” in 1913, where he wrote, “The body considered as a whole I call Zos.” Spare was an excellent artist, and it shows in the attention to detail of all of his surviving art pieces, but in the realm of magic, it is exemplified in this stela.
Spare coined the term “atavistic resurgence,” which in a nutshell is the concept that “all dream of desire, all wish or belief, anything in fact that which a person nurtures in his innermost being may be called forth in the flesh as a living truth by a particular method of magical evocation.” Atavistic resurgence is “a method of wish fulfillment which involves the interaction of will, desire and belief.”
— Peter J. Carroll (Chaoist)
Spare’s theory of sigils was a tripartite magical operation in which, using is all encompassing concept of Zos, called tapping the subconscious, wherein resided a system of sigils, the “alphabet of desire,” and the use of “sentient” symbology. These are illustrated in the stela of the Formula of Zos vel Thanatos. The formula is deceptively simple, being the crystalization of the desire in a short statement and then writing out the statement to display each letter, but omitting duplicate letters. The next step is to combine these letters into a single “glyph” (You can see examples of this depicted in the stela.). After doing this, the desire should be consigned to the periphery of memory, allowing the glyph that one has created to act as a visual stimulant to its importance.
The third side of this triad involves prophecy and divination by “sentient symbols,” which Peter Carroll described as, “By a form of Delphic Oracle involving the use of sigils and by intruding a sigil into the subconsciousness, it is able to think for us, and, if the sigil resumes a query concerning some future event, will breed from its own sentiency the true child of its symbolic parts. If a glyph is correctly constructed so that no superfluous elements remain to breed useless ramifications, it will—surely as a geometrical symbol—give birth to its own truth or answer, for every query whatsoever has its solution inherent within it.”
Gaze upon Spare’s stela, and you’ll see not only the work of a masterful artist, but a man possessed of a truly magical mind, as well. He trained as an artist and a draughtsman with the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, the only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the world, offering postgraduate degrees in art and design to students from over 60 countries. Training and talent aside, I have always found his illustrations to be much more inspiring and engaging that the primitive and less-skilled works of the more commonly cited “occultists” of the genre.
As a side note, one of the things that I find interesting about Spare is his self-documentation in the form of self-portraiture, both in caricature and beautifully rendered drawings and paintings from young adulthood until shortly before his death. It’s something that I have done photographically, from time to time, partly in vanity, and partly as a magical exercise. You can do a google search of Austin Osman Spare Self Portraits for a view of his self portraits and his portraits of others as well.
“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
— Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679)
“allostasis | ˌaləˈstāsis |nounthe process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis.”Man is subject to three main types of stress; acute, episodic acute, and chronic. Let’s take a brief look at the characteristics of each.
Acute stress is something that we all experience from time to time. During your day, you might narrowly escape an accident in your car. Suddenly you feel that sinking feeling in your gut, or perhaps have that vague feeling of impending doom, when you’re late with a project for work, or you obsess over something that could go wrong, even though it hasn’t yet. Acute stress can cause you to experience a variety of somatic maladies, from anxiety to sadness, headaches, back pain, migraine, or even chest pains unrelated to a heart problem. These are generally short in duration, and subside once the stress subsides.
One also might experience unpleasant extensions of the cause of our acute stress, because a characteristic of that form of stress is that we replay the episodes over and over in our minds. Eventually, most such unpleasant memories fade and lose potency, although we can feed upon out depression and its circumstances, requiring us to find methods to relax and recuperate.Episodic acute stress can be found in people who experience a series of stresses routinely, causing them to be tense and on edge as a life condition. This can be caused by being overburdened at work, or in taking on too many personal and interpersonal traumas. A characteristic of these stresses and mental traumas is that they are related, so that it seems as if one can never quite recover from them, and the resultant effects on one’s body and mind are cumulative. They can affect relationships at home or in one’s career.
A characteristic of episodic stress is that the effects are often enhanced by unhealthy personal habits, such as binge drinking, overeating, or clinging to bad relationships or working situations. In this, staying with a person as a friend or love interest that seems to be at the center of most of the problems in one’s life, or continuing employment in a job that is unsatisfying, stressful or economically unsatisfying can set one up for serious illness, such as clinical depressions and heart disease.
Often, people suffering from episodic acute stress can find relief in physical activity or therapy to help them deal with the causes of that stress.
Chronic stress is the unrelenting stress that can grind us down over the years. Its causes are found in a life that is seriously out of control and seemingly beyond our ability to change, such as poverty, war or racism that affects our lives in a deeply personal and oppressive way. Many times, the accumulated effects of chronic stress are such that an individual simply gives up hope of ever feeling “normal” or living a stress free lifestyle ever again. They simply begin to live their life in ways to accommodate their personal reality that is reality as seen through the filter of that crushing stress in order to make it day to day.
Not all stress is “bad stress,” however, and some people live with stress without its debilitating effects. Some people find the adrenaline rush of stressful situations to be exciting. High energy and high impact sports can be stressful, however that stress, when channeled and processed in the context of “exercise and recreation” does not share the same detrimental effects with the types of stress we have examined. Neither does the type of stress one endures through popular entertainments, such as the anxiety and fear producing experiences that one might find in one of the commercial “haunted houses” or in the suspended disbelief of an extreme depiction of horror, as one immerses oneself in the drama unfolding before them. This type of stress was popular in the TV program Fear Factor, in which contestants were subjected to frightening visions and experiences of increasing stress levels.
This fourth kind of stress is called eustress, with is seen as a normal and mostly psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for those who experience it as a form of entertainment. Dr. Michael Genovese, M.D., J.D. (Chief Medical Officer, Acadia Healthcare), says that “eustress is usually a product of nerves, which can be brought on when faced with a fun challenge. This is important because, without eustress, our well-being can suffer. Eustress helps us stay motivated, work toward goals, and feel good about life.”
Psychologists have found that employing eustress as a mitigation to unhealthy stress can provide positive benefits. Examples of this can be found in setting challenging goals relating to your personal interests. Travel also provides an opportunity to employ eustress’ palliative qualities, as one explores new cultures and oneself in the experience and the stresses or meeting new people and experiencing new surroundings. And of course, physical conditioning in challenging pursuits, such as weight lifting and strenuous workouts that increase in difficulty and complexity employ good stresses as well.
The term “allostasis” is used to clarify the ambiguities associated with the generic term “stress,” referring to the processes that maintain homeostasis (the tendency toward a stable equilibrium), through the body’s natural production of such chemicals as cortisol and adrenalin, that promote adaptation to acute stress. However, these chemicals also contribute o what is known as the “allostatic overload,” being the wear and tear sustained by the body in reaction to mind and body from being “stressed out” over an extended period of time.Every system in your body responds to acute challenges and stresses. When these responses are overtaxed, the the condition known as allostatic overload is the result. The brain secretes stress hormones, chiefly, adrenalin and cortisol in response to perceived threat, and that response becomes “cataloged” in the brain for replication in future threats of the same type. When the perceived threat is ongoing for an extended period of weeks, however, neurons that formed based on the perceived threat can atrophy, and that cataloged response is “forgotten.” Still more neurons grow and that amplifies and enhances the perceived threat.The key to relieving stress and lightening the allostatic load is to learn to balance the stress in one’s life, weighted as much toward the benign state of eustress. A great rollercoaster has its moments of sheer terror, but they are purposely nestled into moments of fast movements and, soaring loops and exhilaration before that screaming drop and ultimate smooth deceleration to safety. It’s a great metaphor for a great life, when you think about it, however, the lives of most people are not nearly as well planned or managed to balance exhilaration against stress.
Henry David Thoreau observed that, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” I would be hesitant to disagree to any great extent, but I would add that must of the “quiet desperation” could be done away with if men did not so readily volunteer to take on the desperation of others, when he would be better served by letting others shoulder their own.
Consider how much of your stress is brought about by the chaos in the lives of those around you. It’s not eustress, your beneficially benign shot of adrenaline that shouts “HEY!!” in your ear to wake you up, but that grinding stress in the background of your life that nags incessantly. Unfortunately, we’re raised believing that we are, at some level, our brother’s keeper, and in the background we hear The Hollies singing, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother,” but realistically, your brother IS heavy, and while it’s normal to want to help, it’s healthier for all if everyone carries their own weight, as much as possible. Help when you can, but never at the cost of your own well being, or that of your immediate family.
The final thought in the management of your allostatic load is in the place you call home. You’ve seen me write about the creation of your own alternative reality in the place you live. It doesn’t have to be as meticulously managed as LaVey’s Black House, but it should be a place that you can unplug as much as possible from the grinding stress of survival, to the cocooning feeling of a place that is yours, and yours alone; a place you share only with those closest to you. You will be amazed at the difference such a place can make in your life, especially if you are a “type A” personality, like me. You live with the stresses of a fast paced, high energy working environment until it feels “normal.” A comfortable and pleasant home life can ease that.
I finally decided to retire from the working world when I was 52 years old and a stressed out mess, most of the time. I was making good money, living in northern California. I had a cookie cutter house that was “nice” and “convenient” and “expected,” and of course, “close to work.” Having been working at a high stress level since I was 19 years of age, it had become my normal, along with the high blood pressure, sleepless nights and on the edge feelings that “normal” brought along with it.
When I told my next door neighbor that I was moving to “middle of nowhere, Tennessee,” he told me, “You know, Jake, the slower pace there might help you live longer… or make it feel longer.” He was right. I’m much more relaxed and even tempered thas I was in a urban setting, and when I need that shot of adrenaline, from time to time, I go to where I can get my eustress fix, and then return to the place I can relax. It’s my place called “home.”
- Bruce McEwen, Stressed or Stressed Out – Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Sep 2018
- Shweder R. America’s latest export: a stressed-out world. New York Times 1997 Jan 26;Sect 4:5(col 1.)
- McEwen BS, Wingfield JC. The concept of allostasis in biology and biomedicine. Horm Behav 2003;43:2-15.
- Sapolsky RM. Why stress is bad for your brain. Science 1996;273:749-50.
by Jake Block
“The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing and raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you. You know what I mean?”
— Penn Jillette
I get asked from time to time if I would have a drink or a smoke with someone or another, and while I can appreciate the offer and the intent behind it, the chances are that I will decline. It’s not that I have strong convictions against anyone drinking or smoking. I personally don’t really care much what people put into their bodies, legal or illegal. It’s their body, and so long as it does not affect me, and I am not expected to join them in their choice of indulgence, it’s really none of my concern. And occasionally, someone will get a smirk on their face and tell me that The Satanic Bible says, “Indulgence instead of abstinence.”
Well, you’ve got me there. It’s right there on page 81, in the section entitled, “Indulgence…Not Compulsion.” Now, if my friend had read beyond the bold print, he would have also seen the words, “Satanism encourages its followers to indulge in their natural desires. Only by doing so can you be a completely satisfied person with no frustrations which can be harmful to yourself and others around you.” My friend’s “natural desires” might be for strong drink, and the ingestion of tobacco and other smokable substances. That’s fine. But those are not MY “natural desires.”
Don’t get me wrong. I have had alcoholic drinks on occasion. I might have a beer or a glass of wine on a special occasion, but only after I have made certain that I will not have to take the risk of placing anyone else in jeopardy because of my indulgence. When, for instance, I traveled to California to meet with Thomas, Lisa, Darkfool and others, I did have a glass of wine with dinner at our hotel in San Francisco, but ONLY after I had secured my car keys in the room, and was certain that I would not have to drive anywhere. Sure, it was just one glass of white wine. But that’s not the point.
And when I last traveled to Kansas City with Devora Zada Moon, I did have a beer with her at a club, but I knew that I would be going nowhere for the next 4 to 6 hours. My car was in the parking lot and that was where it stayed. Now I know that a man of my weight at that time will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 after one drink. If he drinks it over one hour, he will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.003, and after two hours, he will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00. If anything had happened where I needed to be on the road before that time, I would have called a taxi, Uber, or some other conveyance. There is no conceivable way that I would ever be behind the wheel with alcohol or any other intoxicating substance in my system.
So, you see, I am not abstaining from alcohol or anything else. I choose not to indulge, and that choice is considered and long-learned. You see, my father was a mortician, and his business was also a member of the Ambulance system in East St. Louis, IL. It was one of my duties as apprentice and “the son of the owner,” to go on the ambulance runs to help load up the gurney and get the injured in the ambulance and to the hospital as quickly as possible. I saw first hand, at a young age, what could happen if someone drove in an impaired state, and the fates really didn’t care if he accidentally over imbibed, or if he was a raging alcoholic. Neither did the man we picked up after the fire department had disentangled his vehicle from around the tree he had slammed into at 80 miles per hour, nor did the woman who ran into the back of a car stopped in the road ahead of her. I’m sure she knew better to drink and drive while pregnant… but she did, and we picked up her lifeless body at the scene of the accident, as well as the baby she spontaneously aborted from the impact of the steering wheel violently impacting her stomach during the crash. And it didn’t matter to ME when a drunk hit and run driver clipped me late at night after he sideswiped a car on Kingshighway, and kept on going. And I never got the chance to ask my older brother. A drunk driver crashed into his car at the base of Edgemont Hill, breaking his neck and killing him instantly.
I’ve had the opportunity to “indulge” more times than I can remember as a young civilian, during my twenty years in the military, and again in all of the years since. It’s just not my thing. My indulgences tend to be a bit different; perhaps a fine dinner in an upscale restaurant, a few hands of blackjack in the casino and the warm embraces of my lover, long into the night. I don’t need or want to be intoxicated at times like this, and can enjoy the sensations and pleasures of the moment with a clear mind. These are things that I enjoy, without the need to be compelled to. And life is so much better when you do the things you want to do and leave the things you don’t behind.
So, I agree with Penn Jillette. I do have all of the drinks I want, and all of the drugs I want to take, and that amount is usually zero unless I can completely control the circumstances.
by Jake Block
The Law of the Forbidden, as given to us by Anton LaVey in The Compleat Witch, or What To Do When Virtue Fails (re-released as The Satanic Witch), can be a source of power for women, but also for men wise enough to understand that as a “law” it is universal, and can, with some adaptation, be used by both genders. The gist of it is that, “Nothing is as fascinating as that which is not meant to be seen,” or, as most of us have heard it explained, “Forbidden fruit tastes best.”
Think about it. The things that we are told “are not for us,” are the things that fuel our desires. From the earliest days of our childhood, the gifts for birthdays and holidays in their bright wrappings, we were told should not be seen until we were given permission, the magazines our fathers kept in their desk drawers were not for us, the drink of alcohol that we were told was off limits until we were of legal age to drink, the confidential performance reports our employers kept on us in the files kept in the bottom drawer… all things that we struggled with until curiosity finally got the better of us and we took a peek. It’s human nature, and a simple act of rebellion, coupled with the fear of being caught defying authority. We know we shouldn’t give in to our curiosity. We know the old saw, “Curiosity killed the cat,” but still we’re plagued by our curiosity.
Within the context of The Compleat Witch, LaVey tells the tale of a woman in a strip club, a patron, not a dancer or waitress, who was commanding the attention of men around her, even though the women working there were in various stages of undress, while she simply sat on her barstool and sipped her drink. With all of the openly displayed flesh in the club, why was she the object of attention for the men?
The woman’s appearance, anywhere else in town would be considered, attractive and fashionable, but here, in this place where the erotic and the openly sexual is the order of the day, she’s unique, an esthetic discrepancy, and an object of curious scrutiny. In contrast to the scantily clad women employed there, she was wearing a comparatively conservative outfit; a knee length pastel skirt and complimentary button down blouse, medium height heels and stockings. Her makeup was conservative, and she was wearing a touch of eye shadow, rouge and lipstick. Her nails were manicured, and she sat quietly, legs crossed, sipping a drink. Anyone seeing her might think of her as a woman just stopping in for a drink after work, or perhaps on a date with the man sitting next to her.
But still she commanded the attention of the men in this place. She was just an everyday woman, dressed for a day at work or a casual drink and dinner with friends. Other women might not even notice her, or if they did, might have something to say about her outfit, or of the attention she gleaned in this place. But what of the men, who she held in rapt attention? What did they see?
Well, for one thing, sitting there at the bar with her legs crossed has caused her skirt to ride up on her shapely legs, and they could see a bit more than perhaps she was aware. They could obviously see a little more leg… and looking at the underside of her legs, they could see some soft, tender skin where the top of her stocking ended, They could see the black reinforcement band at the top of her stockings, and a bit of her garter belt, petite and feminine, following it from where it clipped into place, and then the strap that disappeared under her skirt. And as they slowly scanned her lovely legs, from thigh to her feet, which were covered in fashionable heels, they were sure to notice a small run in her stocking, like a small arrow pointing upwards, to pleasures unseen, only to be imagined fondly.
Tracing her body upward, they definitely noticed that one of the buttons on her blouse had come undone, it was the third, directly over her bra, which they could now glimpse through the gap that was there. Soft, white, and with a touch of lace that almost called to be touched and enjoyed. They watched as her breasts rose and fell with her breathing. Rose and fell, breathing easily, occasionally shifting as she moved, or wiggled a bit if she laughed at a joke told by another patron. The top button at her throat was open, enhancing her neck, as one followed it up to her face and a mane of soft, lightly tousled hair. Her face was pleasant, with light makeup enhancing her features. Her lips were wet from the drink she had just taken, and a trace of her lipstick remained on the glass.
And for a moment, for these men, the strippers and waitresses faded into the background as they ogled this woman who knew not that she had become the star performer… or DID she? Was everything planned? Were the elements of her dress and even the minor, but tantalizing flaws contrivances to elicit the attention she desired. Certainly, each enticed these men to become entrapped by the Law of the Forbidden as, when they should have been engrossed in the openly sexual gyrations on the stage, they were transfixed by the “innocent” sensuality of the “everyday woman” who had become the star of the show.
Aiding her command of the situation was the natural, instinctive, compulsive power of their ECI… Erotic Crystalization Inertia. The ECI is the “set point” for each individual where their erotic interest is situationally keyed by visual, aural or tactile stimulation. Each of the men who became enraptured by the presence of this woman sitting in the club was responding instinctually to the “original sin” of his earliest erotic experience involving a woman. Perhaps it was the sight of a woman’s nylon clad legs, or perhaps the chance viewing of a woman’s breast via a similarly unbuttoned blouse. Man is a “visual animal,” and the visual aspect of ECI is perhaps the most easily triggered erotic hook. There are as many ways for the ECI to be concretized in the psyche as there are people on the planet. Of course, the effects of the alcohol they had consumed was a contributing factor, as well. Taken all together, it’s a potent and magical event.
And because of it all, we find the truth of the Law of the Forbidden, “Nothing is so fascinating as that which is not meant to be seen.”
The Law of the Forbidden has applications that go far beyond the romantic interactions between men and women. When anything is held with an air or mystery or secrecy surrounding it, people will be driven to explore it and to find the secrets of others that they can gain for themselves. The military thrives on secrets, and there is a term that applies. It’s “need to know.” Being nosy in the military can get you in a hell of a lot of trouble. Signs are everywhere. “TOP SECRET,” “CLASSIFIED,” and “EYES ONLY,” in offices and on printed cover sheets on documents remind us that there are things beyond our pay grade and scope of duty that we are not entitled to know for operational safety and security reasons.
There are places on military installations where a sign will be posted that reads: “RESTRICTED AREA. While on this installation all personnel and the property under their control are subject to search. USE OF DEADLY FORCE IS AUTHORIZED.” They are not just for show and dramatic effect. There are things that you may not see and you may not know. Rooms where confidential or secret conferences might be conducted have signs that might read, “WHAT YOU SEE HERE, WHAT YOU SAY HERE, WHEN YOU LEAVE HERE, LET IT STAY HERE.” Trust me. There are some places in the military where all that is needed for security is a simple red line and a small sign reading “Deadly Force Authorized.” Usually a steely-eyed security cop with a no nonsense attitude is there to enforce it.
Sometimes, you might want to know what’s beyond the barbed wire fences and locked doors, but trust me, the penalties for trying to find out can be very harsh. You would think that the severity of punishment would, therefore, be a deterrent, but curiosity, coupled with the forbidden fruit of national security, have been the downfall of many a young patriot. And let us not be deluded that it is a foible of manhood. It has been said that all men are voyeurs, but women can be equally voyeuristic, although it appears that voyeurism is a secondary ECI component with women, needing another significant hook, usually being sexual or emotional.
Now, don’t get the idea that The Law of the Forbidden applies only to strip bars and the voyeuristic tendencies of men and women, because if you know and understand this law, it can apply to many situations that we run into in life.
Remember: “Nothing is so fascinating as that which is not meant to be seen.” Here on the Left-Hand Path, individual effort and discovery is the name of the game. There are people who will guard their knowledge like it was the secret recipe for Coke. They see themselves as the gatekeepers to enlightenment, and feel that to get past them, you are going to have to put in the time, do the work, and pay your dues. The wisest are those who hint at the answers so that those who would learn from them can then follow the leads to clues in books and on the web that will lead to more and more pathways to knowledge, thereby encouraging the serious to explore and succeed, while at the same time frustrating and discouraging the lazy and insincere travelers along the Left-Hand Path, who most often fall by the wayside, never to be seen again.
In regard to the Law of the Forbidden, a glimpse of something “secret” can energize, whereas simple revealing of the prize and allowing it to be taken freely, simply encourages entitlement without effort and reward without justification. The glint of a speck of gold in the pan can turn a hobbyist into a serious prospector is search of the motherlode. It doesn’t matter what the secret, there is someone who wants to be in the know, and there is someone who, holding that secret, will do what they need to keep it hidden, with access only to the deserving few. Knowing this can put you in control.
The secrets we hold are gold. You can choose to give up a nugget or open the door to Fort Knox. The wisdom is in knowing when to do it.
by Jake Block
One of the more enigmatic phrases in Satanism is “Necessity Supreme.” In the 50 years that I have been actively involved in the philosophy, I’ve only seen it used twice, and both times as an element of ritual.
First, this passage from L’Air Epais, The Ceremony of the Stifling Air:
“And now at last authentic word I bring,
Witnessed by every dead and living thing;
Good tidings of great joy for you, for all:
There is no God; no fiend with names divine
Made us and tortures us; if we must pine,
It is to satiate no Being’s gall.
We bow down to the universal laws,
Which never had for man a special clause
Of cruelty or kindness, love or hate;
If toads and vultures are obscene to sight,
If tigers burn with beauty and with might,
Is it by favor or by wrath of fate?
All substance lives and struggles evermore
Through countless shapes continually at war,
By countless interactions interknit:
If one is born a certain day on earth,
All times and forces tended to that birth,
Not all the world could change or hinder it.
I find no hint throughout the Universe
Of good or ill, of blessing or of curse;
I find alone Necessity Supreme;
With infinite Mystery, abysmal, dark,
Unlighted even by the faintest spark,
For us the flitting shadows of a dream.
O Brothers of sad lives! they are so brief;
A few short years must bring us all relief:
Can we not bear these years of laboring breath?
But if you would not this poor life fulfill,
Lo, you are free to end it when you will,
Without the fear of waking after death.
How the moon triumphs through the endless nights!
How the stars throb and glitter as they wheel
Their thick processions of supernal lights
Around the blue vault obdurate as steel!
And men regard with passionate awe and yearning
The mighty marching and the golden burning,
And think the heavens respond to what they feel.”
— Excerpt from L’Air Epais, The Denunciation (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Rituals*)
* “The Denunciation” is actually part of a poem by the 19th Century poet James Thompson (1834-1882), used for its dark and brooding qualities depicting the loss of hope and depression. Thompson was, at this point, dealing with alcoholism and chronic depression at his home in Scotland where, in his isolation and downwards spiral, he began to doubt everything he had once held true, including, at last his deepest friendship with lifelong friends. It depicted his bleak pessimism in a dehumanized, uncaring urban environment. His poem, published before his death, was critically acclaimed, but could not alleviate his depression and lonely death.
To what then does the phrase Necessity Supreme refer? In a very real sense, it is what remains after all else one believes in or cares about is stripped away. It’s all one has left… the most basic and fundamental survival needs, relating to what in Latin is called “primordius,” the point at which all the organism needs to survive, i.e., air, water, food and warmth. It is the point at which everything else that, arguably, makes us “human” becomes luxury, and one is unconcerned with philosophy, emotions like love and hate, to concentrate only on the next breath, the next heartbeat to survive.
From the 19th Century to the 21st Century, some men and women find this same loss of belief as a “nihilistic primordium” when, questioning their place in the world and then, even the validity of the world they thought they knew, they find themselves just surviving until at last, one spark, faint and black, in the form of a philosophy or a friend, and sometimes both, ignites into a flame. Then, giving up just a small portion of the energy needed to survive, we nurture that flame with our own essence, a bit more every day, until it sustains us, even as we sustain it… The Black Flame of Satanism, our Necessity Supreme.
The words of Metallica come to mind and remind me of what is elemental and what is true, at least in my life:
“I never opened myself this way.
Life is ours, we live it our way.
All these words, I don’t just say,
And nothing else matters.
Trust I seek and I find in you.
Every day for us something new.
Open mind for a different view,
And nothing else matters”
— Nothing Else Matters (Hetfield/Ulrich)
Yes, and in the end, “I find alone Necessity Supreme.”
by Jake Block
“There is no heaven of glory bright, and no hell where sinners roast. Here and now is our day of torment! Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth!”
— The Satanic Bible: The Book of Satan (Anton LaVey)
For Satanists, this is a key statement, in that we are being told, in the earliest pages of The Satanic Bible, a cornerstone of the Satanic philosophy espoused by Anton LaVey, that we should disillusion ourselves of the (at that time) predominant view of the majority of religionists, that we are subject to the promise and threat of these mythical states after death, and whether we are rewarded or punished in the “afterlife,” to be determined by our earthly deeds and doings. We are further admonished to look to ourselves for our own success, as there is no supernatural deity to look to.
It is the establishment of a new order. It is the denial of those spiritual pipe dreams and mythological omnipotent beings that the ancients had invented to give meaning to the (at that time) unknowable questions of life and death. Before logic and science were known and used to look into worldly phenomena, it was far simpler for the ignorant to imagine the intervention of some atavistic, anthropomorphic being who held the fate of “childlike man” in the palm of his or her hand. Mankind learned to fear the flash of lightning and the clap of thunder not because they were the warning signs of a natural phenomenon that would, with gained understanding, be known as weather, but because they were indications of a god’s anger at some transgression that must be punished. Rumblings of an earthquake, now ascribed to the slippage of the great tectonic plates on which the landmasses sit, were gods of the earth frightening man and showing their displeasure. In the kingdoms of the Orient, it might be seen as a giant cosmic dragon on whose back the puny humans might have erected a village. The Chinese have a saying, “龙争虎斗 (lóng zhēng hǔ dòu): Literally “a fight between a dragon and a tiger”, it refers to a struggle between two similarly matched forces, which caused the land to buck and roll. Still, in the Orient, there are many gods, although their reality falls to the sentiment, “It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.” (Ursula K. Le Guin)
The mature and healthy mind rejoices in the acquiring of knowledge and the refutation of flawed thinking and conjecture, in the face of fact based analysis of any explanation of phenomena that were heretofore explainable only in terms of that which is unexplainable in and of itself. When one’s mind has yet to achieve clarity of thought and logical discernment, the simplest explanations of phenomena can be accepted simply because they were the explanations accepted by those who have come before, and those too were accepted by those even further in one’s lineal history. With the passing of ages and the maturation of cultures and societies, one would think that such primitive thought would be pretty much eradicated by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case for some.
As much as people on the Left-Hand Path belittle and castigate those who follow faith-based religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., for their belief, based on faith alone, that there is a god, or gods, controlling aspects of their life. Then naively, and hypocritically, they cite THEIR gods, demons, etc as controlling and personally accessible entities in their lives, be it Lucifer, Belial, Lilith, Satan or whatever god or demon they choose to name Just as there is not one whit of difference between what is euphemistically termed black or white magic, there is no difference between the belief in gods, no matter what side of an invisible line that they are on. An invisible friend is an invisible friend, and can only be based on personal faith that it exists and is involved in one’s life. And a hypocrite is a hypocrite. It’s as simple as that, and while I won’t call you out for it, neither will I be backing you when you do it. You cannot play the devil’s game and refuse the devil’s name, and neither can you deny the Christian’s name and then replicate his game.
LaVey was abundantly clear as to whether he, and the Church of Satan, considered Satan to have any validity as anything other than a symbol when, in 1973, he said, unequivocally, “Satan is to us a symbol, rather than an anthropomorphic being, although many members of the Church of Satan, who are mystically inclined, would prefer to think of Satan in a real, anthropomorphic way. Of course we do not discourage this because we realize that for many individuals, a picture — a well wrought picture — of their mentor or their tutelary divinity is very important for them to conceptualize, ritualistically. However, Satan, symbolically, is the teacher, the informer of the whys and the wherefores of the world.”
On the Satanic lane of the Left Hand Path, stratification is the name of the game, where not all things are created equal, and those who play that game as stand alone gods of their own creation, versus those who, every bit as much as the Christians they love to mock, squander their existence playing second fiddle to an invisible friend or god are, to my way of thinking, ahead on points.