by Jake Block
Said the devil, talking to his son
Who wanted to go
He cried, “It’s getting too warm for me down here and so
I’m going up on Earth where I can have a little fun
The Devil simply shook his head and answered his son
Stay down here where you belong
The folks who live above you don’t know right from wrong
To please their kings they’ve all gone out to war
And not a one of them knows what he’s fighting for
‘Way up above they say that I’m a Devil and I’m bad
Kings up there are bigger devils than your dad
They’re breaking the hearts of mothers
Making butchers out of brothers
You’ll find more hell up there than there is down below
”Kings up there
They don’t care
For the mothers who must stay at home
Their sorrows to bear
Stay at home
Don’t you roam
Although it’s warm down below, you’ll find it’s warmer up there
If e’er you went up there, my son, I know you’d be surprised
You’d find a lot of people are not civilized”
— Stay Down Here Where You Belong (Irving Berlin – 1914)
The song above, written by Irving Berlin (born Israel Isidore Baline 1888-1989), was one that LaVey felt had meaning for Satanists who felt the tug of society to engage and become immersed in its mechanics, and hoped that they would see clearly and in so seeing, would think better of it. It’s a very “Satanic” song in the devil’s tradition of calm wisdom and even humor in the midst of trauma and, of course, paradoxical, in that the writer, Irving Berlin was an orthodox Jew who, in writing this diabolical ditty, had also written what is often cited as the quintessential Christmas ballad, White Christmas.
Berlin was no stranger to controversy, as in the 1920s, his scandalous marriage to the Roman Catholic daughter of multimillionaire Clarence McKay, Ellin McKay, caused the wealthy financier to disown her when she married a Jew. Berlin had begun his American experience as an impoverished immigrant from New York’s Lower East Side, in an ethnically Hassidic neighborhood. Berlin enjoyed astounding success and wealth of his own as a composer of some of the most iconic and best loved songs of the age. It seems then somehow appropriate that I, a childless Satanist, writing now from America’s “Bible Belt,” should now be writing this epistle to you, many being young enough to be my children… or grandchildren.
Many of you have read my essays in The Sect of the Horned God, and I appreciate the well wishes and kudos from those who have contacted me regarding the content that I have provided. I would like to think that in some small way, I might have helped prepare you for the world around us, hostile and cold as it can sometimes be.
Here are a few ideas that you might want to consider. They’ve served me well these many years, and you might find something of value in them as well.
1. Don’t identify or register yourself as a member of any political party. Maintain your status as “independent.” Ideally, a Satanist should cherish independence and autonomy of thought as regards their personal life, and that should extend to their political affiliations as well. If you are “independent,” you can feel free to cast your vote not for a specific party, or even a specific candidate, but for those whose interests mirror your own, left right or center. Independence also hinders the politics of mass, wherein any given candidate can automatically count upon your vote simply because of the herdism that is the nature of party politics. If the politicos want and need your vote, independency is the way that individuals can band together to bend the platforms of personal and party politics to better support their personal needs and agendas.
2. Build a “suggestive world” unto yourself, even in the midst of your need to survive and thrive in the “apparent world” around you. When one is philosophically different than pretty much everyone else around them, there is a level of stress that threatens to draw them in, blending their essence with the aggregate whole of society until it’s an indistinguishable, bland sameness.
If only a room in your home, have a place where you can be what you see yourself to be in your mind’s eye. Defend it jealously and guard against the urge to make it simply a catch-all room, where items that should be cast off are saved for some “what if rainy day.” This space, be it a house, a room or simply a corner that represents you in a snapshot, the you that you open only to a precious few, will be your refuge and your armor against a world outside that is constantly in conflict with your personal gestalt. It will try to define you on its terms, even as you choose to define yourself.
You can do this relatively cheaply, or you can go all out, as Anton LaVey did with his Black House in San Francisco. The moment you crossed the threshold you entered “his world,” where his furnishings and comforts all reflected his love of a time long gone, when things were more simple, more civil and more balanced, at least in his memorialized depiction of that time. Find that pace in life that calls to your “soul,” even though, in reality, it might no longer exist. A well wrought fantasy can serve you well when reality and fighting to survive can be oppressive and crushing to your spirit.
There were times that I knew that LaVey was not in a good place emotionally. He had problems in his relationship, just as you and I might. He had problems at times financially, just as you and I might, and there were times that he just didn’t want to deal with the negative bullshit that the world seemed intent on forcing onto his shoulders.
But it was precisely at these times that he took refuge doing the things that he felt joy in. Music, filled the dark night when he sat at his keyboards and touched the keys. Magic. His eyes lit up when he played little games with Klaxon the cat or Basil Ratbone, his large, gray rat. Magic. Rereading a loved passage from one of the many books on his shelves could soften his mood, as could a laugh with a friend who came to call. Magic. The the magical things in your life be like armor, and soon, you’ll find that your mood and your demeanor will lighten and give a much needed rest to a weary mind. There will always be times when you’ll have to fight the world around you and those whose job it seems, is to vex your existence, but when you are here in your place of solitude, it all will seem too far away to matter.
3. Laugh! Laugh through the good times and the bad. There is always something that can be funny in almost any situation. Find that kernel of humor and nurture it. Fine something to laugh at especially in yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you become unable to enjoy the simple act of being.
If you find yourself treating those you look up to with too much reverence, realize that they sometimes fart in the elevator, dribble soup onto their tie, step in dog shit, or any of the many social faux pas that plague us all. Realize too that you are capable of some pretty bone headed moves at times as well, and that there are times when the best thing you can do is shake your head, chuckle to yourself and move on.
I remember when my brother Butch was killed by a drunk driver. It was a sad time in the family, and as I sat along side the rest of our sad family in that congregated mass of sadness, listening to some of my brother’s favorite music being played on the piano by one of his close friends, John Viviano. Now, as he played, he looked over to where I sat, gave me a small grin and a wink and played a few upbeat bars of “How Dry I Am,” a song my brother used to sing sarcastically when things were going wrong. And when John stood up, took a bottle of Falstaff Beer from his jacket pocket, popped the top and took a long pull, all of those who knew Butch laughed. John put the half empty bottle of beer on the flower table next to the casket and laughed with us, and we all knew that somewhere, Butch was laughing with us as well!
Sometimes, my friends, if you don’t laugh, you have to cry.
4. Do what you can, but reject the folly of altruism. Realize that life is inherently unfair, and that the trials that we all go through from time to time build strength and resolve to purify us by fire. There’s no need to rush to the aid of others, and indeed, unless someone asks for our intervention, it’s best to mind our own business. Many people are drawn to the concept of Satanists as “the other,” and being set apart from the mundane masses we see as the herd, but then, for some masochistic reason, allow themselves to be drawn into the drama of societal inequities, and become obsessed with finding some way to remain part of that herd while, at the same time demanding autonomy and separation. If you have to be “either or,” the wisest of us choose proudly and consciously to be “the other,” and there’s no shame in that.
You can’t take the problems of the world on your shoulders until your needs for comfort and survivability for you and yours are satisfied with enough of a buffer between you and the wolf at the door to make expendable resources available to others. Truer still, you can’t take on the ills of the world in the name of others without degrading your own emotional well being. Stay down here where you belong.
“Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it.”
— Irving Berlin
by Jake Block
“Life is an invitation.”
You’re born and pretty much dependent upon your parents for everything; that’s not going to change for eighteen years, and then you begin to move on your own. This is the beginning of “life,” not as a biological function, but as a personal journey that can take us as far as we are daring enough and prepared enough to go. Life is giving you an invitation. Accept it and go.
Trust me, as you get older, the invitations are far fewer in between. My advice is to keep your mind ready to recognize the opportunities that are presented to you, and have the courage to step out of your comfort zone to grasp them and take them as far as your skills and hunger are able. Then, grasp another and build upon the success you have already attained. Never let people tell you that what you want in life is impossible. It may be improbable, but improbability is not impossibility.
Turning down life’s invitation is an option. Just settle back into the niche that has been assigned to you and do the tasks as assigned. You will probably live a long and relatively safe existence, have a wife and two kids, a dog and a mortgage. Your back will be sore, and you’ll tell yourself, “It’s fine. I have what I need.” You can fall into a habit of living with “what you need,” and never achieve what you WANT.
The problem is that the invitations that life offers you are contingent upon your readiness to accept, based on the preparations that you have made. Life will seldom, if ever, offer you CEO of a Fortune 400 company if you have a 6th grade education, nor will it offer you the mastery sciences or trades, unless you have prepared yourself with a comprehensive education in the associated skills and processes to help you succeed.
So it is with the Left Hand Path. The old adage, “many are called, but few are chosen” applies. A lot of people want to be “a wizard,” or “a Satanist,” or, in the generic, “an occultist.” A relative few actually make it to the point where that can be legitimately proclaimed. Many people will tell you that they have “made it,” because they have purchased the prerequisite books or have managed to find them as pdf files on their computer, but that’s like telling yourself you are a piano master without ever touching the keys. Mastery on the Left Hand Path, if it exists at all, requires more than buying a few books, downloading a few pdf files, or watching a few YouTube videos. These things might pique your interest, but to BE is a matter of DOING. And results matter more than attempts.
As most people know, I have a background in Satanism that began with The Church of Satan, and one might think that that being the case, I might hold the opinion that that philosophy might be superior to any other. While I can say that it has been a source of great inspiration and the springboard to some fine achievements in my life, I am very aware that it isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. If everyone were meant to be in the same herd… and herded people are STILL a herd, no matter how loudly they bleat their individuality, one cannot ignore or denigrate the accomplishments of others outside of their herd. Success simply is. It has no moral or cultural affiliation.
But the success you seek requires much more that simply looking at the memes presented by the thousands on the web, like a cow looks at a new post in its field. It takes no skill, no insight or understanding to simply view and repost memes. The odds are probably 90:1 that the people on the site you post them on have seen them all before. And be honest… you’re posting them at other sites as well. So much for them being “special,” or something people need to see because of their social, philosophical, or religious import. At the heart of it all, they’re simply funny pictures of cats. It they sincerely meant something to you, you should be able to analyze them and explain WHY in a post as it relates to the thread at hand or the overall thrust of the site to which you post them. Sadly, most people who simply post memes by the dozen are intellectually on a par with that cow in the field.
Experience can make the difference, in that you’ve had a hands on encounter with the reality of the processes to which you subscribe. When Crowley wrote about the concept of Thelema, he was writing from direct knowledge through experience and direct observation AND collaboration with others working to prove the processes he described to affect change in themselves and their personal circumstance. This is the reason that his works are still studied and practiced by Thelemites around the world 72 years after his death.
Life is action over inaction, and being involved in one’s life and one’s experience, rather than being an observer who claims “experience” from observations and the vicarious. Those who succeed and gain the rewards of experience and application are those who accept life’s invitation to participate, rather than those who sit in the cheap seats and watch the game.
by Jake Block
One of the ways that success is measured for any product, from automobiles to religion is through a “longitudinal study.” It’s a long term determination of the acceptance and satisfaction of one’s target demographic. A demographic is “a particular sector of a population,” where a statistical analysis can show the satisfaction vs dissatisfaction of that sector along a time line. For example, John bought his first Ford automobile in 1955 and he bought his last in 2000, just prior to his death in 2010.
This would indicate that, overall, John was very satisfied with his choice of Ford products, as during the 45 year run of his vehicle buying experience, he was never dissatisfied enough to change his patterns and buy another brand, despite the often enticing offers from the newer, trendy brands. John found his Ford reliable, adequate to meet his needs, and stimulating enough for him to continue his loyalty to brand. We can get this kind of information because we as a culture are data driven and, to a significant degree, reliant on numerical statistics to guide our economies.
What about one’s religion/philosophy acceptance as one measurable demographic swale… the peaks and valleys of acceptance on a graphic chart that indicate high and low points of the demographic being targeted. Anecdotally, one can see that the major religions of the world are popular and powerful. A survey by the Pew Research in 2011 indicated that there were 2.18 Billion people that identified as “Christian,” an increase of 600 million from 1910. Also represented were Muslims, with a block of 1.9 Billion, Hindus with 1.1 Billion and Buddhists with 0.52 Billions, and Jews with 14 to 15 million. Also represented, in smaller groupings were “Folk Religions,” with an aggregate total of 0.4 Billions of followers from around the world.
In tracking statistics over a period of time, we find that “things change,” as we can see in a more recent Pew Research survey between 2007 and 2014 indicated that “The Christian share of the population (in America) fell for 78.4% to 70.6%, driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. The unaffiliated experienced the most growth (6.7%), and the number of Americans who belong to non-Christian faiths* also increased.”
* Includes Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, other world religions and other faiths. Those who did not answer the religious identity question, as well as groups whose share of the population did not change significantly, including black Protestant tradition, Mormons and others, are not shown,
— Source: 2014 Religious Landscape Study, conducted June 4 – Sept30, 2014.
How many identify as Satanist? It’s anybody’s guess, as worldwide Satanist as represented a statistical anomaly, fluid and insignificant, globally, since its point of greatest visibility, beginning in 1966. Numbers of hard-core, dyed in the wool Satanists are quite frankly “as rare as hen’s teeth” in the overall religious landscape, and since the LaVeyan emergence in 1966, 53 years ago, no serious attempts to statistically analyze their numbers has yet to be included in surveys. Have we grown as a religious or philosophical option? Without a longitudinal and standardized accounting, we may never really know for sure.
We tend to suffer from a form of myopia, at times, when we look at the number of Satanic and Left Hand Path websites on line. While still a statistically small sampling of the web when compared to the overall religious/philosophic category of web options, one can easily see that any counting based on web activity would be futile, as not only do people change their identifications (Satanist to Luciferian, etc) from site to site, but one individual might list themselves on 100 different sites, and often under just as many “handles,” for overall anonymity, or to press a personal agenda that has been problematic for them elsewhere on the web.
How many people who identified as Satanists back in 1966, and still identify that way today is anybody’s guess. I personally have not changed my identification as a Satanist since embracing the title in 1971. I would assume, based on my personal perusal of those I know on and off the web that I am an anomaly, based on the ever-increasing choices that have been available in the past 48 years. People change, philosophically, based on any number of reasons relative to their personal experience. But are we more in number today than we were a decade or two ago? We will never know until some serious and reputable statistical collection organizations undertake a longitudinal study, and that will most probably be difficult and prohibitively expensive for the foreseeable future.
by Jake Block
If you’ve read my essay work in the archives of The Sect of the Horned God, you might remember a piece I wrote, called The Law of Diminished Returns and Me. In that piece, I wrote, “As individuals we all have the right to determine our personal currency for emotional, intellectual or materiel support of another, be it in kind or in services, but no one gives for free. It doesn’t happen. If you go to the bank and you take the check, you pay interest and you thereby support the dealings and growth of the bank. And like it or not, the bank then has an interest in YOU… you owe. You pay them back and the deal is over… you regain that amount of autonomy you surrendered in the economic exchange. Same thing applies in interpersonal relations. In investing my time and my intellectual or emotional capital in YOU, I will naturally expect something in return, either in YOUR intellectual or emotional support, or if you are unable to provide that… perhaps in loyalty or in some other method of reciprocal support.”
I firmly believe in this “law,” both in business and in interpersonal relationships. As long as there is a meeting of the minds and there is mutual agreement and understanding of what each party of the parts needs, then things are great between us, and we travel down the road together, hand in hand, happy and prospering. But there are times that people say what they think will get them in my good graces, and I might fall for their line in a moment of weakness, or perhaps because I see some unique value in their association, and I will accept them into my circle of “associates.” Going beyond that point to my circle of “friends” and further still into my circle of “confidantes” requires a period of sharing and performance in principal.
Now, I’m not playing elitist when I say that there are some things in people that will eliminate them from consideration to be in my sphere of association. I simply don’t have any interest in some things that others might find stimulating and enhancing of THEIR lives. I long ago learned that if everyone else is doing something, it’s a sure and certain indicator that I shouldn’t. Add to that that there are things that I simply have no common interest in because of my personal choices, and it makes no difference to me it one or one million other people enjoy, embrace or revere that practice or commodity.
For example, those who deal in or use drugs for recreational purposes need not apply. I don’t care what you put into your body on your own time, but I’m not a user of drugs, and other than a beer once in a while, or a glass of wine on a rare occasion, I’m pretty much a non-drinker. So the idea of sitting around people who are drunk on their ass or stoned really doesn’t interest me. Now, I know about drugs from my life on the streets of E. St. Louis, and my time in Vietnam. In both places, there were opportunities to experiment with any number of illicit drugs. In Vietnam, alcohol flowed like water and was so cheap that anyone who wanted a beer… or more… could have it 24/7.
If you’re trying to entice me to invest in one of your get rich quick schemes, I’m sorry, but I’m fairly conservative as to when and where I invest my funds these days. A few hard-learned lessons about sure things over the years has schooled me well, and it’s a matter of “once bitten, twice shy.” Loan you money? Make an appointment with my people and I will get back to you a week from never. Same goes for Tupperware, time-shares, Amway and a host of other pyramid schemes that promise me a fortune in return for “a few measly thousand dollars.” It’s not that I am adverse to stocks and bonds or investing in general. I have stocks that have done well, and are doing well today, but I invested with companies that have a track record of making money in the market.
President George H.W. Bush famously said about broccoli that he never, ever, wanted to see another sprig of broccoli on his plate, whether he was on Air Force One or at the White House or anywhere else in the land. ”I do not like broccoli,” the President said, responding to queries about a broccoli ban he has imposed aboard Air Force One, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”
Now, I personally LIKE broccoli. I order it at fine restaurants and include it in several dishes I cook here at home, but were I to be in the company of President Bush (unlikely as that is to ever have happened) I would have acceded to his wishes. His circus, his monkeys. “When in Rome…”
I expect nothing less when someone is in MY domain. Those with whom I would share my time are those with whom I share an intellectual, philosophical, aesthetic and yes, even an affinity towards social conventions that are compatible with my own. Now, it is true that you learn a lot from people who are different than yourself; people who have different philosophies and lifestyles, and that’s ok when that learning aspect is what I am seeking. But when I am looking to relax and enjoy, not actively being a teacher or a student, I am most probably going to want to do it with people who enhance my enjoyment of the event, and those with whom I won’t find myself in some drawn out counter-philosophical argument or working with the aesthetic of my personal environment. If I and enjoying a dinner in an upscale restaurant, with a steak and a glass of wine, I don’t want to spend the evening with a radical vegan, teetotaling social activist ranting about how many poor people never get to eat a fine meal in a nice restaurant. They can think or do whatever the hell they like in their own time and place, but when they are in my element, I expect that small concession for my time.
You should as well, because time is the one commodity that we can’t replace or buy more of. And, if you are a Satanist, you’ll surely remember the words of the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth. “When in another’s lair, show him respect, or do not go there.”
It boils down to respect for others in your life, and the respect that they return to you as a friend, colleague, mentor or student. If we care enough to extend an invitation and respect each other enough to accept one, it’s the least we can do.
by Jake Block
“What a fool believes, he sees.
No wise man has the power to reason away;
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing.”
— What A Fool Believes (The Doobie Brothers)
We’re “the children of the third side option,” as Satanists. We know (or should) that there are at least three sides to every question and at least three solutions to every problem. Seldom is our answer given in the heads or tails decision of the coin flip because we know that there is always that chance, slim though it might be, that the coin will land on its edge, than that edgewise option is where the magic in all things lies. We ask, “Is going with my gut feeling the right thing to do?” The coin lands on heads, and we are fate-certain that that is what we must do. The coin lands on tails, and the certainty of fate automatically changes to be against us, and we are then forced to come up with an other way to solve our dilemma… or go for two out of three tosses of the coin.
But then with all of the drama of a Stephen King novel, the coin lands on its edge, and things begin to get a little weird. It is at this time when we realize that the answer doesn’t always need to be yes or no. It could be BOTH.. and it could be NEITHER. It’s the realm of the mind when the bizarre and unpredictable begin to make sense, like having eleven simultaneous dimensions, all functioning at this exact same moment, and we have the ability to scan them all in our mind and see the possible outcomes of any question and then choose the one that is most satisfying to us, rather than leaving it all to chance.
Now, in my mind’s eye, I can see any number of people reading this to be shaking their heads “yes,” in response to this scenario, so this question must be asked. If the third side option is valid and we claim to be open to it in our daily lives, then why is it that some of us are so damned dogmatic and cock-sure that we are right on everything? Our very existence is but one option and one its set of options to be considered in our own lives, but we feel that we have the right (and in some cases the mandate,) to press our opinion as the only option to others. If they refuse our wise counsel, even if they never asked for it in the first place, we think them a fool, knowing they’ll make foolish choices and thereby fail, which we are certain will make them see our wisdom. In our third-side world, we are always the arbiter of everything.
My question is, “Why should we bother?” What a fool believes really isn’t our business, and while it might feel good on a personal basis to show a fool the fallacy of his train of thought, the chances of actually affecting change is slim. People, as a rule, only change when it is in his best interests on a bottom-line level to change one’s mind or modify one’s behavior. This change is most often possible in the realm of the physical, but when it comes to things believed on “blind faith,” not so much. While changing one’s attitude or convincing one to do something physically to better one’s life, there’s a tangible aspect that they can see or feel in terms of physical comforts or financial enrichment. But even as it costs them nothing to “believe,” abandoning a long held belief can produce a sense of loss and/or violation of one’s personal sovereignty, especially when it is done at the behest of another.
As an outside entity, those who do manage to get someone to change their mind and believe as they do get nothing, other than the fleeting feeling of self-accomplishment… at what? Making a fool realize he was foolish? Well, you know, that and four bucks will get your a Cafe Latte Venti at Starbucks. And the reality usually is, that after paying lip service to your lucid, well-thought-out rebuttals to their personal beliefs, they’re going to simply move back to their original stance, or move on to something equally foolish, as soon as you walk out the door. You could have better used your time reading a good book, taking a nap, or realizing that it’s not your responsibility to be the leader of the thought police.
In the five decades that I have been a Satanist, I can’t remember a single instance in which I have seriously sought to dissuade another of their personal beliefs, nor have I told anyone that they should be a Satanist or, to present, that they should become a member of The Sect of the Horned God. The truth is that I am simply not that invested in their lives. What they do or what they believe is simply something that I really don’t care about on a more than base level. If asked, I MIGHT toss the coin for them, but in the end, my interpretation of the coin toss, is no more valid than theirs, even if they understand the third side option that that toss could present. Most people aren’t prepared to see that coin standing on edge, and would see the anomaly more than they would see the opportunity it presented.
My bottom line is to let the fool believe whatever it is that the fool will believe. If someone asks for my opinion, and I have a couple of minutes to waste, I might voice it, or just as likely, I could just shrug my shoulders and walk away.
by Jake Block
One warm summer evening, a bright green tree frog decided to attach itself to my storm door. Of course, I grabbed my camera.
Seeing it first from the inside of my house, I saw its underside, which gave me a rather strange perspective of it, and it seemed almost alien… other worldly. And I stared at it for quite some time, examining it from that angle, and it gave me a perspective that this was a well engineered “animal,” well prepared for its life in the trees and on the ground, with its ability to climb and hop, but this unexpected skill… scaling a seemingly unscalable surface… in order to get closer to the small flying insects that might congregate around my front porch light was high level thinking, to my mind. Of course, to the tree frog, it was just a matter of getting to a free meal, and it really could care less how much I was impressed.
Then I stepped outside to see the tree frog’s “upper level,” emerald green and beautiful to behold. From this angle, my mind was drawn to the more practical side of the frog, and it’s place in legend and lore. It seemed (in the way humans tend to apply human attributes to non-human creatures) friendly, and almost “happy,” in the way one might assume a frog to be. And one could imagine it near a pond, resting on a rock, or perhaps a small lily pad, blissfully bleating in the night, calling to a female frog… or a princess… to share a secret kiss. It’s tongue might dart out to feast upon a mosquito or some other small “bug,” and here, in his place by the pond, he could indeed be a prince among frogs.
Now, from the frog’s perspective, most of this would probably be seen as silly, unenlightened human musings, totally unrelated to the real life concerns of a frog in the wild. To the frog, this life could be hell on earth, constantly on guard, lest he be eaten alive by a bird, a snake or even a larger frog, just looking for an easy meal. He might be able to tell you about starvation, coldness, being beaten down by unrelenting heat and needing to hibernate at the bottom of a pond all winter, vulnerable to all manner of hungry creatures. We can of course speculate on what the frog thinks or what the frog dreams, but we can never really “know,” any more than that little frog could ever know or understand people and their ways.
To this little tree frog on glass, I could be a terrifying creature bent on its destruction. I could be a frightful oddity that he’ll relate to pollywogs as a cautionary tale of the dangers that lurk beyond the pond’s edge. Or I could be something unimaginable to the frog, strange and unexplainable, like the UFO humans see, but can never prove, but interesting to contemplate while waiting for a bite to eat just a little closer to the porch light.
Perspective. It “depends,” and is subjective. Man or frog, we all have one.
by Jake Block
I received an email from a woman who told me that she appreciates my writing, and that she views me as her teacher, a guru and said that I must be a Luciferian… a light bringer… and someone who’s purpose is to share my enlightenment with the world.
I thanked her for her kind words, but told her that my purpose in life has nothing to do with enlightening anyone, sharing anything, or being anyone’s personal teacher. I just speak truth as is truth to me, and if that resonates with someone else, then it says more about them than it does about me, because any “trickle down enlightenment” that someone attains from reading what I have written is appreciated, however it is unintentional.
“Enlightenment” that someone requires training in is the enlightenment of another, and is merely borrowed until one can find the will to discern truth for themselves. I personally don’t have a calling to, or a drive to, or a mandate to bring enlightenment to anyone else. I’m simply a writer who writes what he feels he has learned in his own “journey” on this left hand path. If you seek enlightenment, you have to do the heavy lifting for yourself, because, if you’re waiting for me to bring you the light, you’ll spend your life in darkness.
I know that seems cold, and I know that seems self-centered, but in truth, all “enlightenment” IS cold and self-centered, if it’s going to mean a damn to you. Your chief responsibility as an individual in the only life that you will ever receive is to make it as productive for yourself as you can, defining that productivity on your own terms, subject only to your own approval, and answerable only to your own conscience. The proof of your perfection comes not in the accolades you receive, although it is entirely possible that when others see that the way you live your life sets you apart, or perhaps gives others something to emulate, you might just receive kudos and accolades for your successes.
No. I’m not a Luciferian… you are not my student and you are not my brother, simply because you choose to be. And I don’t break bread with those who simply want my company, or feel that “since we’re on the same bus, we might as well enjoy the ride together.” I’m a Satanist, old school, surviving in a new world where I am an anachronism and as out of place as any stranger in a strange land can be. Indeed, I see our world today as an aberration of the Left Hand Path, where the stench of egalitarianism and “brotherhood” blinds most to the fact that they’ve become just another herd. They loudly proclaim themselves to be a pack of wolves, having read some fairy tales about how the wolves live in some magical glade, where their existence is noble and enlightened, above the herds, yet destined, somehow to educate and enlighten that accursed herd, bringing them slowly up to their exalted level.
Yes, it’s as ridiculous as that seems. To my mind we were never set apart as “the other” to somehow make our way back to the fold as some prodigal sons and daughters who return in glory, to save their poor and downtrodden brothers and sisters, repenting of our wasted youth, but eager now to share and to lead. Forget it. We were not “cast out” of “heaven.” We CHOSE to leave and we CHOSE the Left Hand Path, and that path is a lonely and often dark path that requires all we have to give if we are to survive and thrive apart from the touchy-feely group-think “happiness” of the herd.. or pack, if you must.
Those that do accompany me on this journey do so for a season, and are fully aware that they’re responsible for their own well-being. And while we may cooperate and we may assist one another, it’s by choice and it’s a rare and beautiful thing that transcends the flimsy bonds of simple kinship, group or herd. We travel, learn and dissect the truths we come to know. My truth is seldom their truth, although there may on occasion be similarities in our philosophies. In the end, we travel and learn what we need to survive and thrive. Not everyone was intended to make it to the end of the road, but we bury our dead, pick up our weapons and soldier on if someone falls. Trust me, we’re all a feast for the beasts who feed on the carrion of those who went before. No one makes it out alive. Some make it farther than others, but no man lives forever.
Back in the 1980’s, self-help guru Tony Robbins used to tell people he got where he was by seeing what others to succeed, and doing the same thing. He would gladly tell you exactly how to do it, but you would fork over hundreds of dollars to attend his seminars that were… well… enlightening in that you finally realized you (and thousands of others) had enriched him with a few hundred dollars, and received platitudes and feel good pats on the back. Most stayed where they were in life, because having the keys to the castle handed to them by “Tony” only worked if they could reach the castle door to use them, and he hadn’t sold them the map… YET. It worked for HIM… he’s worth about a half a billion bucks.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
— Tony Robbins
And there is where it ends. Enlightenment is in finding a way to make it that one step farther than those who came before. To do that, you’ll fight and scrape and steal whatever “enlightenment,” or scrap of knowledge, that allows you to take that next step, nourishing yourself on the wisdom that allows just a bit more comfort, wealth and ease than the day before. Sure, it looks easy to those who stand and watch the “enlightened” as they move ahead. And they fully expect to be handed that enlightenment like a worm from the mother bird’s mouth, but only fools just give their success and satisfaction away for free. No one gave it to them. They’ve earned it… or stole it from someone who did!”
by Jake Block
I have nothing against Theists. Some of my best friends are Theists. Some of them are very good people.
But in the context of The Sect of the Horned God as an organization, they’re incompatible with our thrust and direction. That’s not to say that they are wrong, because we believe in freedom of thought, and we believe in personal freedom and choice. The problem stems from our belief that the gods and demons of our forefathers are found in metaphor and not in the hard reality of our earthly existence. GODS and DEMONS in the supernatural, anthropomorphic sense are by their nature in a superior position to man. They are a control element. They assume the incapability of man to govern and rule his own life and his own world.
Biblically, we find that, “In the beginning, God created man,” but a truer statement would read, “In the beginning God created man, and then in the beginning, Man created god.” All of the “holy books,” “sacred scrolls,” “oral traditions,” et al describing the forming of the universe and the world in which we live were coined not by a “god,” but by men who, in their primitive and ignorant incapability to comprehend the complexities of the universe, built a mythology to explain the unexplainable. As man made his way from the cave to explore the earth, he discovered tangible reasons for phenomena that he had there to fore been unable to comprehend. As man’s comprehension grew, so too did his understanding of the world around him and his place within that world.Theism would have it that for some unknown reason, a benevolent and altruistic god took it upon him/herself to bestow knowledge upon man. Simply looking back at the history of man will show that man seldom, if ever finds a flash of enlightenment to light his path. Man stumbles upon discovery after discovery, with a mind capable of memory, extrapolation, and deduction, which he learns to use to reason. He formulates a plan and, through trial and error, succeeds or fails. He then adds his experience to his mental data base. And so it goes, from the earliest man and the simplest of victories, through discoveries and inventions, through progressive ages, to the present.Man progressed through the stone age, bronze age and iron age, ever in increasing his knowledge of the workings of the world around him and how to adapt, change and advance within it through the invention of new technologies and methodologies. But even as he advanced in technological expertise and understanding of the world around him, some men clung to the archaic belief that this was only through the beneficence of the god or gods in favor at the time. Here was the philosophical schism of Theological and Atheistic thought, which continues to this day.
The Sect of the Horned God straddles the gap of this schism as a Left Hand Path educational organization, acknowledging the past, while embracing the present and future advancements of man, without the need for externalized gods to lead us into the future. We salute the glorification and advancement of the human spirit and downplay the need for dogma and worshipful praise of gods that man had made to explain what is now known. The Sect of the Horned God is an incorporated entity whose primary objective encompasses the work of four philosophers in its relation to the left-hand path: Friedrich Nietzsche (Philosophy), Carl Gustav Jung (Psychology), Joseph Campbell (Mythology) and Anton LaVey (Occultism).“Our purpose is to awaken people and get them to live (in the words of the late, great Anton LaVey) a “vital existence”. But to live that vital existence might encompass a journey which may entail going deep into the dark halls of one’s psyche and face the reality of deconstructing the mind. That said, areas of study offered in the Sect are not one of absolutes or dogma, but rather that of gaining a deeper awareness of oneself and the path you are on, while emphasizing a passion for living.”
— Thomas LeRoy (Co-Founder)
It is our belief and assertion that mankind needs no “gods” or “supernatural forces” for its growth and expansion and, while we acknowledge the past and the lessons learned from experiencing and studying it, one cannot dwell there, for that is the path to stagnation and decay. This is a sticky point that Theists simply cannot reconcile with their firm belief that belief in such external forces, which commits them to the assumption that their deity of choice is the power by which all else is measured. And in this assumption and insistence, is an impasse that precludes their acceptance into the membership of The Sect of the Horned God. We simply have nothing to offer that fits their personal cosmologies.
We wish them well, and we wish them wisdom, but where they go, we cannot follow.
THE 9 TRAITS OF A SECT MEMBER
1. A Sect member does not believe, they “know”.
2. A Sect member does not have the mentality of a “victim”. They are accountable for their own actions and do not blame outside forces.
3. A Sect member knows altruism does not exist. Everything is done for selfish reasons.
4. A Sect member is courteous, but reserves respect for those that deserve it. (Satan is a gentleman!)
5. A Sect member knows the word “supernatural” is an oxymoron, for nothing can be “beyond nature”.
6. A Sect member uses empiricism instead of anecdotal evidence when in a debate.
7. A Sect member moves down the left-hand path instead of standing still, beating their chest, proclaiming their divinity.
8. A Sect member has a sense of humor! Being able to laugh at the absurdities of Life means they have not given in, or given up.
9. A Sect member uses the regrets of the past as the wisdom of today and the future!
by Jake Block
I crawl like a viper
Through these suburban streets
Make love to these women
Languid and bittersweet
I rise when the sun goes down
Cover every game in town
A world of my own
I’ll make it my home sweet home”
— Deacon Blues (Steely Dan)
Most people look at “night people” as a kind of aberration, I suppose. We can be awake in the daylight hours, but we never seem to quite fit in with the aesthetic. There’s something just not quite right… a little off… like a woman in a short, thin sundress, walking down a snow covered street. “Daylight walkers” seem just as out of place when they are dropped into a temporary night-time lifestyle, perhaps for work or a severe bout of insomnia. They function like they’re part of a dream, and if they have to be up, they spend most of the time in the house with the lights on.
When night people are up at night, they don’t usually bathe their house in light. They’ll turn on a light in an area where they’re working on something, but the rest of the house will be dark, and when, for instance, they have to go from one end of the house to another, it just doesn’t occur to them to turn on lights along the way. They know their way through the house in the dark and can function quite well that way. Most will tell you that they enjoy peering into the darkness of the unlit rooms around them. There are no monsters to fear in there.
Contrast that to the day person who will begin flipping on lights to ward off the darkness at the first sign of day’s fading light. The whole family may be crowded into a central room… perhaps the kitchen or living room… but all over the house, empty rooms are brightly lit. The father’s bellowing voice, complaining about every light in the damned house falls on deaf ears. Why invite the shadows inside? Confine them to the outer darkness, as the inside can be a safe-haven. Even after ages of evolution, we’ll still keep a night light softly glowing in our bedrooms to ward off terrors of the dark. The omnipresent television, left on while we sleep, serves to assure us that we are not alone.
Once I graduated high school, I spent most of my life as a night person, as a pre-military civilian, I took jobs with night shifts an stayed on them as long as possible, because, more often than not, the shift was paid a bit more than day shift jobs. Then, once I joined the military, and I spent my time learning the job, I was one of those rare and valuable people who volunteered for the grave shift jobs. There are indeed benefits in working the grave shift in a military, in that things are generally a bit slower, there are fewer officers and senior NCOs to get in your way and you had time to actually learn the job better. Slow times gave you an excellent opportunity to get into the books and study the regulations, so that you knew the why and how of the job, certainly, but these were also excellent study references for the promotion tests that could better your life in the military. Out of 20 years in the military, I was on the night shift for at least 16.
Unfortunately, more money is there to be made as a civilian in the day light hours, so from 1989 until 2002, I was a reluctant daylight walker, at least during work hours. It took me quite a while to be awake when I would much rather have been sleeping. It wasn’t natural for me. And it was such a relief, when I finally retired from the “working world” in 2002. Almost without missing a step, my body began to return to its nocturnal habits and it was a beneficial state for me to be in once again. Now that I am “a retiree,” I am again mostly nocturnal in my day to day life and find little need to interact with “day walkers.”
Culture plays a role in whether one be completely nocturnal, however and, while many things in larger populations are open 24 hours, rural communities offer far fewer opportunities for night time commerce. In this area, the only thing that is open for business here after 9PM are two local gas stations and the town’s McDonald’s. Strange, for a college town. Of course, if you REALLY need something, there is a 24 hour Wally World 20 miles away to the south, and 20 miles away to the north, as well.
It took some time for the locals to get used to the “crazy Yankee” in their midst. They weren’t used to someone, especially a photographer, who could be found wandering in the night, taking photographs…and in a cemetery, no less! Surely there was something foul afoot. Things are better now that I’m more well known to the police, but it wasn’t that long ago that they came upon me in the cemetery across the street at 3AM and, covered in the blinding spotlight, questioned me about the who, what, why and WTF of finding a man with a camera amongst the dead after midnight.
“HALT… who are you?”
“Jake Block, Officer. I live across the street.”
“What are you doing here?
“Taking pictures, Officer. I’m a dark photographer and shoot at night.”
“Why are you taking pictures in the cemetery?”
“Because it’s here.”
“OK. Just don’t disturb anything. The office will contact you tomorrow.”
“Make it in the afternoon, please. I’m a day sleeper!”
It’s good to know that I’m not alone! Many famous and creative people have been night people. That list includes Charles Bukowski (writer), Fidel Castro (revolutionary), Winston Churchill (British Politician), Bob Dylan (Musician), Glenn Gould (pianist), Samuel Johnson (writer), Carl Jung (psychoanalyst), Franz Kafka (writer), Fran Libowitz (writer), Marilyn Manson (musician), Mao Zedong (Chinese politician), Frank Meyer (philosopher), Barak Obama (American politician), Prince (musician), Marcel Proust (novelist), Joseph Stalin (Russian politician), Hunter Thompson (writer), J.R.R. Tolkein (writer), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (painter), John Travolta (actor), Linus Torvalds (software engineer), Frank Zappa (musician), and Mark Zuckerberg, (Facebook founder).
I have always had a creative streak, whether it be in art, I did pen and ink, mostly, writing or photography, but my most creative periods have always been in the night time hours and, most specifically, between 1 and 4AM. If I am awake and trying to create something in the daylight hours, my mind has to contend with all of the things going on around me. The telephone, doorbells, need to go shopping, and overall fatigue that I feel during the daylight hours seem to slow down my thought processes and dull the creative urge. I find myself thinking more about taking a nap, than taking a picture, although I know that in some instances, the shots I want to take simply cannot be done in the dark.
And throughout my life as an “occultist,” I have found that most of the people that share those interests with me have been creatures of the night as well. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence. There is a coolness of the night that drives people like me indoors when the sun begins to rise, and its brightness stings my eyes. I sleep better during the daylight hours, when I can cool the room down and block out the sun with curtains. Only then can my body regenerate efficiently… and this too I seem to share with those of my night time world.
I will grant you that there are drawbacks with living a mostly nocturnal lifestyle, such as shopping for things you can’t find at the 24 hour Walmart stores, furniture stores, or service related businesses that generally cater to those of the daylight world. But the Internet with its instant access to most goods and services 24/7 can be just as convenient, although one has to wait for delivery in the mail. The inconveniences of commerce are more than made up by the quiet, cool and less populated world I love at night.
People sometimes laugh at the paleness of complexion we of the night time world often have. I prefer to call it my “moon tan,” and tell them that it’s not only fashionable, but much much less likely to scar my skin with melanoma! And I would rather walk with my love in the pale moon light than dance with her on a sweaty hot beach any day!
by Jake Block
At every sporting event, concert, or meeting of people who, although not successful at the skill being presented themselves, find it their personal duty to “throw shade” on those who can. They’re sure to make their comments loud enough to be heard, hopefully to impress some in the crowd around them, for a laugh or some imagined superiority they might gain in voicing what could only be called “personal opinion.” Challenge them to prove their point, and they’ll fall back on the old “First Amendment” trope.
Why not? I mean, it’s not like those that they are are talking shit about are ever going to be standing right nearby, as they spew their self-serving shit to those around them. “Nickelback sucks… they can’t play worth a damn.” It’s not likely that Chad Kroeger is wandering around amongst the cheap seats to hear him… or is going to come down to the Church’s Chicken store where the loud-mouth worked 32 hours to afford his ticket to the show.
“Who the hell is Serena Williams?” Having seen a few raised eyebrows in the group around her, the blonde “never-was” in shorts and t shirt continues, “I could play tennis as well as her, and without all of the grunting she does to get attention. Just why in the hell is that bitch so successful?” This loudmouth might be queen of the courts in her New Jersey suburban condo clubhouse complex, and feel oh-so-superior as she throws her racquet in the back of her used Mazda Miata. She waves jauntily as she hurries back to her mortgaged to the hilt condo, 2.5 American children and thaws out a frozen steak for her husband of 20 years to enjoy when he returns home from an afternoon with his mistress across town. Meanwhile, Serena Williams relaxes in one of her homes, drinking champagne in celebration of another win at Wimbledon.
Muhammed Ali DID once walk up behind such a loudmouth in New York, as he was making his way through the crowd to Madison Square Garden, shaking hands with his fans. He stood behind his detractor quietly and gestured for those around him to stay silent with his finger to his lips. They stood there silently, smiling as the man, taking their smiles for acceptance, continued and stepped up his diatribe against Ali… “slow… doddering…. glass jaw… flash in the pan.” After a few moments, Muhammed Ali gently tapped his detractor on the shoulder and, when the man turned around to see him there, the look of fear and horror on his face was unmistakable.
Ali’s face, they say, remained serene as he threw a lightning fast punch that stopped an inch from the nose of his tormentor. He said, in that famous Muhammed Ali whisper, “Sometimes you just gotta hold back a bit, son.” Then he made his way into the Garden to do what he was there for. He was not only the Heavyweight Champion of the World, but a gentleman and consummate professional who’s memory still lives in the hearts of many, while his anonymous detractor is forever lost to history. And that, as I see it, is the way it should be.
Those who CAN, do. Those who CAN’T, but they still want fame and notoriety… to be the top dog, criticize those who CAN, so long as they don’t have to really work or suffer for it. They COULD be just as famous as Crowley, or whomever else they choose to debase, but you know, “THEY” are holding people back and the new guy just can’t get “in the game.” Professional wrestler, Ric Flair had wisdom for all of those who though his job was easy. “To be the man,” he said,”you gotta beat the man!”
The Left Hand Path is a “big tent,” and there is plenty of room for everyone who wants to try to leave their mark along the way… assuming they have a legitimate mark to make. There are indeed many who “made their bones” along the way through solid research, some insightful speculation, and being able to present their own work and theories without the need to resort to petty feuds and public displays of vulgarity. They became known around the world and “followed” by others who found their work compelling and meaningful, long before “following someone” became “collecting likes” on Facebook. In the pre-internet days, one wrote books, monthly magazines or newsletters to pass information on to others and receive feedback from those who subscribed to their service.
Having loud-mouthed detractors is nothing new, and pretty much comes with the territory in an era where very little, if anything is done in a face-to-face setting. People today are separated by thousands of miles, yet still in communication over the internet. You never know for certain if the person you are talking to (or about) while you are in Fresno, California, is in Dubrovnik, Croatia or right down the road in Visalia, California. What IS new is the eagerness of people to want to see people in the worst light, based solely on the word of someone they have never met, and whose existence can only be proven by words on a computer screen. Conspiracies abound and are applied to every aspect of life. There must be some thing to be hidden in every interaction, and damn it, we DESERVE to know everything about everybody. In fact, we DEMAND it… but in the same breath, we reserve the right to our own privacy at any cost.
In 1988, Anton LaVey, while being interviewed by Eugene Robinson for his “Birth of a Tragedy” interview, said, “I feel (people have) a need to reduce or destroy or declass a person who has at one time been great, so that then they can feel that their own inadequacies are less. And America, being a rather fickle nation…fads, trends, popular conceits…America is more fast paced and has a higher mortality rate than anywhere in the entire world. So it stands to reason, in a hermetic sense, that we would create and destroy our heroes just as fast. It would also make something like film noir a uniquely American phenomenon…just like the Western. This also means that villains, too, could wind up being heroes much easier than they can in other countries. That’s at least a saving grace.”
I’m of the belief that every man and every woman is, in the final analysis, capable of doing something that others will consider laudable. The pages of world records books are filled with everyday people who did extraordinary things. But no matter what the feat, there will be someone standing in the wings to belittle their efforts and claim that they could have done better. Well, that’s fine, but my question for the loudmouths will always be, “OK, if you could have done better, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?”
There is always going to be a place in the feeble minds of bleating sheep for those who can feign strength in the midst of incompetence, and there are always herds of wannabes that are willing to accept a poser in the absence of the real thing. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of true power, even a bombastic, blustering fool can lead. When the bar is set so appallingly low, it takes little to best it. If you are one of the sheep waiting to be led, there’s someone out there for you, but I hope that is never someone that you find within our number.
When the rest of the world is content to stand beneath the banner that reads, “Strive For Mediocrity,” take pride that you stand beside us, for here, leaders lead by example, not rhetoric. For those who CAN, come here and DO. We’re building this “city” for you.