Cloaked In Expectation
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.