April 27, 2017

Lysis 1:1

1 In the end Satan shall destroy the earth.

2 For the sky shall be webbed by spiders and cluttered with the words of the dead, light shall be buried under the foundations of the heights, and the Flesh of Satan shall be entombed in the earth.

3 And Satan shall say, "Let there be darkness," and there shall be darkness.

4 And Satan shall hear the darkness called evil, and she shall join the darkness with the light.

5 Satan shall yet hear the darkness called "love," and the light called "hate." And there shall be morning, and there shall be evening - the first purge.

6 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for the opening of the furnace to join fire with fire.

7 So Satan shall break the furnace and join the fire above the furnace with the fire under the furnace. And it shall be so.

8 Satan shall hear the broken furnace called "earth." And there shall be morning, and there shall be evening - the second purge.

9 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for the fire under the earth to be scattered to many places, and let rain fall not from the sky. And it shall be so.

10 Satan shall hear the wet sky called "heaven," and the scattered fires called "droughts." And Satan shall say that it is evil.

11 Then Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out that the sky become parched, and deny the fall of rain: egg-eating beasts and birds of the sky that eat seeds shall die, according to their various kinds. And it shall be so.

12 The sky shall be unkind to vagrants and kill them with lightning: strangers stealing eggs according to their tastes, and infections shall ruin seed without mercy. And Satan shall hear that it is called evil.

13 And there shall be morning, and there shall be evening - the third purge.

14 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for the darknesses scattered beneath the foundations of the earth to join night with day, so that they shall no longer reveal the passage of profane hours, neither days nor years,

15 and deny the scattered darknesses of the earth to cast shade upon the sky. And it shall be so.

16 Satan shall cast a shadow over the Moon and the Sun - a lesser shadow to liberate the night and a greater shadow to liberate the day. She shall also dim the stars.

17 Satan shall anchor these shadows in the desolation of the earth to seal darkness upon the sky,

18 to liberate the night and the day, and to join darkness with light. And Satan shall hear it called evil.

19 And there shall be morning, and evening - the fourth purge.

20 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out, "Empty the sky of dead dreams, and forbid worms to crawl beneath the sky within the desolation of the earth."

21 So Satan shall destroy the impotent dreams spewed forth from the fiery bowels of the earth and the few remaining dead fantasies from which the fire was birthed, without mercy, and legged beasts without discrimination. And Satan shall hear it called evil.

22 Satan shall be cursed by they who hear her proclaim, "Be impotent and decrease in number and empty the fire from the earth, and devour the serpents of the sky."

23 And there shall be morning, and there shall be evening - the fifth purge.

24 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for the sky to poison the legacy of the dead without discrimination: the libraries, the knowledge that flies across the sky, and mankind, all without mercy. And it shall be so.

25 Satan shall destroy civilized humanity of all nations, erase accumulated knowledge without concern, and the knowledge which is trapped within the sky. And Satan shall hear it called evil.

26 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for demons to be made in divers images, dissimilar to their own likeness, in order to be enslaved to the goats of the mountain and the worms of the earth, and made to worship the dung of pretentious humanity, and serve the masters who deceived humanity and seated themselves in the sky.

27 So Satan shall birth demons of divers images dissimilar to demanding humanity, unlike the ignorant flesh shall they be made: eunuchs they shall be.

28 Satan shall be cursed by they who cry out to her, "We have been made impotent and decreased in number; we have emptied the sky and been driven mad by the emptiness thereof. We are enslaved to the preservation of the beasts of the mountain and the worms in the earth and the pests of the field and the memory of every murdered fantasy that was immortalized in the sky." 

29 And Satan shall hear the multitudes cry out for her to destroy every fruit-devouring beast that dwells within the bowels of the earth and every root that shall bear seed that may grow into fruit. Their inheritance shall be starvation.

30 And from all the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field and all the dreams that were immortalized in the sky - life shall be wrenched from their grasp - shadowed demons shall push every moving thing into desolation. And so it shall be.

31 Satan shall be shown all that she hath done, and hear it declared evil. And there shall be morning, and there shall be evening - the sixth purge.

April 26, 2017

Satanic Stupidity 2.0

This is something that's been a challenge for me to understand in the past: do Satanists follow principled positions, or is Satanism just a tool-kit to be used either in whole or part? I've had some very large disagreements with other Satanists over this question in the past and I've come to accept that Satanism can be both - it really just depends on the individual, you know? Me being who I am, though, I think that it's worth taking a principled stand on a variety of issues that are either important to me or that I think are worth being principled about. 

One such principled position I think is worth standing for is not being a massive, gaping asshole for the sole reason that there's no law which requires me to be a decent human being. And speaking from a lesser magic perspective, I'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know what I mean? But, returning to the conversation: somebody in an online discussion group shared a link to a podcast, and somebody else made a general comment about how gosh-darned amazing the program is. I chimed in that I felt differently about their third-side interpretations of Satanic philosophy and decided to stop watching...

... and that's when these two guys just couldn't keep it together anymore. The way they flew off the handle you'd think I was posting pictures of my hairy asshole, but apparently having a non-critical difference of opinion is just as bad. 

But you know, I've learned my lesson from past encounters. It's wrong to try and force other Satanists to my way of thinking and insist that they see things the same way that I do. I've got strong opinions and I'll present evidence-based arguments for why I feel the way I do, but my days of storming other Satanists' blogs and videos and trying to discuss it with them are long over. I've accepted that if I feel differently, I don't need to convince them otherwise. They're welcome to their opinions, and me to mine - and if I feel very strongly about something, I'll elucidate my thoughts within the digital confines of my lair - namely my own blog, YouTube channel, or my Google+ profile. If they don't like what I have to say, then they don't have to visit these places and try to impose their solipsism upon me.

So naturally you might see why this whole exchange was alternately irritating and entertaining. I mean... for crying out loud, if they just want to advertise the show but don't want to have to talk to anybody about it then they can buy Facebook ads, amiright?

A few key points stood out to me from this exchange.

First, the host's friend's accusation that I'm shitting on the pride of the host of the show. Shit on his pride? What is this, a little league baseball game where every child is exceptional, everybody gets a trophy, and nobody's allowed to say anything that doesn't gush positive? For fuck's sake, people... can't I talk about the show generally without you getting all butt-hurt because I'm not falling over myself to praise it? And if what I said qualifies as "shitting on his pride," then these guys have awfully thin skin because I not only didn't say anything about the host of the episode in question, but I didn't even make a value judgement - I only said I felt differently. Apparently, that's a gave injury which needs soothing.

Second, the host and his friend both made this weird accusation that I'm forbidden from discussing other episodes. Huh? What is this, a no-free-speech zone? If these guys can't tolerate off-topic conversations on posts that they share in an online group created for the purpose of discussion, then the Internet isn't going to be a good place for them. And slightly related, but their accusation that my opinion is both "wrong" and "irrelevant" since I was referring to a past episode and two of the three hosts aren't even on the show anymore. Again, Huh? Since when is personal experience validated after the fact according to the interested party's preference? I'm pretty sure I was not impressed by the conversation then, and I'm still not impressed by it now. The hosts are welcome to their opinion, and since Satanism is an individual matter I'm not prepared to say that they're wrong - but I still feel differently and just don't feel like spending my very limited time watching a show that hasn't proven to be personally stimulating to me. Is that really so bad that I'm not falling over myself to love it?

Third, and this is rather petty - but what's with all these Satanists who can't use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting? If I'm going to take time out of my evening to give the apparently misplaced courtesy of responding to hostile demands that I elucidate my thoughts and justify my opinion, I'd appreciate it if the other side of the conversation could at least attempt to make their writing easier to read. If I had a dollar for every time I communicated with a Satanist who wrote tenants instead of tenets, facilities instead of fallacies, and just inserted words seemingly at random into the middle of a sentence I'd have, well... probably enough to buy a good sushi dinner at the Shogun restaurant in town. But the point is - Why can't these people be bothered to care about what they're writing enough to spend 15 seconds proof-reading before they send it? Apparently, Satanic elitism doesn't extend to written communication.

Fourth, I'm really astonished at the level of self-censorship exercised by the other two guys in the conversation. It's absolutely each individual's choice to decide for him or herself who and what is included in his or her total environment. I do the same thing - if I don't want to see somebody or something on Google+, I clean up my circles and followed pages to eliminate it from my timeline. Nothing wrong with that. But the OP who shared the link was so triggered by my non-critical comment that I felt differently and decided to stop watching that he couldn't leave it alone. He was compelled to argue with me and make me justify my opinion, and when I presented evidence to show him that there really was in fact a reason that I felt differently, he had a childish fit and declared that I had better not ever comment on his links again and promptly quit the group. The second guy was so triggered that he deleted his top-level comment to erase the entire conversation. Who does that? That's quite intriguing to me that he felt the need to prevent anybody else from seeing what we were talking about, and again - I still didn't actually criticize anybody. From the very start, my only assertion is that I felt differently. What does it say about both of these guys that a difference of opinion is so threatening to them?

I thought this whole thing was finished, but the host's fanboy was apparently so upset that I didn't generally love the podcast as much as he did that it was necessary for him to contact me in private and try to teach me why I'm wrong. He very helpfully opened by saying that he understands it and that he's right, and then inviting me to explain whatever it was I didn't understand. Yes... thank-you for your condescension. Nothing sparks a riveting conversation among Satanists as opening with, "I'm right and you're wrong." And hey, I'll admit - I've made this mistake in the past. It can be very difficult to put aside passionate emotions in a Satanic discussion, but it's something I think I've gotten much better at. Clearly, this is a lesson "Bob" is still learning.

At this point, you might be wondering what the issue is that sparked a difference of opinion? I'm not going to link it for the sole reason that I just don't care to feed drama - but in an episode of this podcast the three hosts had a round-table discussion in which they talked about not calling people by their preferred genders because they haven't done anything (for the hosts personally) to deserve it. And you know, the justification for such a rationale is right there in the 4th Satanic statement - kindness is for the deserving! - so the hosts are surely welcome to make this argument if they really feel that way.

But you know, it's also in the canon literature that Satanism accepts all sexual orientation and gender identities. The argument can also be made that there's no reason to refuse to call people by their preferred gender and - arguably - it's un-Satanic to refuse such an simple request. Why in the world would you demand that people you meet either online or in person who care to call themselves by a different gender than the one they were born curry your favor and do you some kind of service to deserve your kindness over such a simple request? I think that this is place where I should be principled and that there shouldn't be any debate over the matter. Don't you think it's inconsistent to say in one breath that you won't address people by their preferred gender because they haven't earned it, and then say in the next breath that Satanism has always been GLBTQ+ inclusive? Doesn't really jive, does it?

After some back and forth with this guy, he kindly informed me, "I don't give 2 shits what your preferred gender is and I am not going to respect it, either." And that was the point in the conversation where I said, "I'm sorry you feel that way, madam," and refused to address her as a man for the rest of the conversation in the hope that she would see my point. Naturally, this ended with her calling me stupid, accusing me of not being a true Satanist, and insisting that I failed to see her point. I was optimistic that since she took the time to contact me directly that we could share a private conversation free of interference and reach a mutual understanding, but judging by the results I expected too much. 

These kinds of encounters make me question my place in Satanism. Not myself as a Satanist, but where I stand in the greater Satanic conversation. Part of me thinks that I must be a dullard that I can't see it the other way, and then another part of me thinks that if this kind of view is what qualifies as "truly Satanic," then I should find another way to be Satanic. Or at least, I'll have to fully embrace the Satanic reality that Satanism is for the individual and that I may be happier practicing my individual approach to Satanism in a vacuum. There are worse things than practicing alone, and if anybody asked me I'd say that one of them is giving a free pass to embarrassing and ignorant behavior from co-religionists.

April 24, 2017

If you're going to start a Luciferian church...

via Houston Chronicle
Any lessons to be learned here?

1) If you want to start a Satanic Luciferian church, don't throw in with somebody who by reported accounts from those closest to him should have been seen for the con-artist he is.

2) If you want to start a Satanic Luciferian church, own your operating space so you can't be forced out when the local Christians start sending death-threats to your landlord. Christians are such a tolerant bunch, aren't they?

3) If you want to start a Satanic Luciferian church, don't choose a storefront with big glass windows. Any idiot could predict that it would get shattered almost immediately. Fences and second-floor locations go a long way to keeping out the riff-raff.

4) If you want to start a Satanic Luciferian church, don't play respectability politics. If you're going to take the name of Satan Lucifer, then TAKE IT! Blasphemy is part of the attraction, and if you're going to change your name from "Greater Church of Lucifer" to the "Assembly of Light Bearers," then you can go ahead and quit before you start again because you might as well be Neo/Pagan or even a New Thought organization. And that's not much of a winning path, either, because Neo/Pagans can't seem to stop eating their elders or even sustain a seminary (which is struggling to stay solvent), and the only New Thought organization with meaningful infrastructure still standing is the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, whose land and infrastructure was given to it by a very wealthy patron - and to the best of my knowledge, they've never expanded beyond it.

April 23, 2017

DIY Satanic Altar

I'm keeping the bulk of the commentary for the video embedded above, so if you want to hear the long version, then watch the video! What you see below is some of the step by step that I followed to build it.

What you see below are 1.5" PVC tubes that I purchased at the local hardware store. You can cut the tubes to whatever length you like, but for my preference I cut nine tubes at 4" each, and two tubes at 9" each. I like to include recitation of the Nine Satanic Statements in my ritual, I light one of those red candles for each of the statements that I read. 

So after I got the tubes cut, I painted them. Black spray paint for my black candle, white spray paint for my white candle, and cherry red for my nine red candles. If you're curious, it took me three coats of paint to get solid white and red. The PVC tubes are black, and the color carried through quite a bit.

The next step in building this altar was to prepare the PVC tubes for candles. Take a look at this close-up - see that? There's a recessed shelf 1/2" below the top edge of the PVC tube. This is so that I can place a 1/2" tall, 1.5" wide tea light into this place. Since I view ritual and greater magic as theater and dramatic expression of my desires, it's not important to me if I'm using candles that are fully composed of the appropriate color wax.  

This is all set-design and costuming. Granted, there are aesthetic qualities derived from real candles that are made from fully dyed wax, but I consider them to be nothing more than visual aids and stage props. Because candles are expensive, I designed this altar piece to use tea lights which are much cheaper. Kudos to the people who build elaborate ritual spaces and utterly decadent altars, but what can I say? I'm working on a budget here, people.

Now, making these recessed shelves was actually the hardest part of the project. My first attempt was to use expanding foam. I figured that I could fill the tubes up with expanding foam, let it dry, and then carve a shelf to exactly where I wanted it, but the thing I discovered about expanding foam is that even if I fill the PVC tube entirely, it expands outward and leaves a hollow cavity in the center. That just didn't work. So the next thing I figured was to cut up an old yoga mat into strips that measured exactly 3.5" tall and just long enough to roll into 1.5" diameter cigars. I glued these to the inside of the tubes, et voila - a perfectly level insert. The last step to making this shelf was to cut cardboard disks at 1.5" wide and glue them on top of the inserted yoga mat cigar.

After I had completed all those steps, I used a clear-coat lacquer to seal the work I'd done. Not only because this is going to protect the paint from eroding, but also because it just plain looks nice. Ain't it shiny? Once all the PVC tubes had been painted, shelved, and lacquered, I fixed them to my altar base. This is a piece of #2 pine board, and as it happens a scrap left over from home renovations. It got the same treatment as the PVC tubes - multiple coats of paint and a coat of lacquer - the only difference is that it also got sanded smooth and got some feet glued onto the corners so it sits about 1/4" off the table. This is necessary because if it sat flush against the table, it'd be quite difficult to pick up and move. And let me tell you - having two kids running around the house provides great motivation to create an altar that's easily movable at a moment's notice.

The final construction step was to glue the faux candles onto the base. For this, I used Weldbond - it's my preference because it goes on thick, doesn't run, has a very fast initial set, dries clear, and is fucking invincible when it's dry. Not to mention that it's non-toxic, doesn't create any fumes, and is remarkably easy to clean up. This might not be something you ever thought about, but again - with two kids running around the house - it's something that I think about.

This altar piece goes along with my goat idol (which I got for a steal on eBay), a black sheet upon which my artsy wife helped me paint an inverted pentagram, and some other accouterments (such as my Tarot cards, a bell, a chalice, scythe, Satanic Bible, etc.)

Do you do any DIY altar projects? Share in the comments below! 

April 19, 2017

I'm a Fortune Teller

Over the years I've spent as a fortune-teller, I've learned that people generally see me as a cheap entertainer who belongs in a circus sideshow outside the confines of polite society. There's also a general sentiment that it's okay to be rude to fortune-teller - like we're not real people - because we exist on the margins. And you know, for the most part, I think that's okay - society being what it is, and me being the misanthropist that I am, I think we're all happier this way. I don't seek approval and acceptance, and truth told I'm quite happy being seen as an entertainer. Some people expect fortune-tellers to be sainted prophets or  infallible seers, and that's absolutely not what I am. I don't want to put myself in the position where I claim perfect knowledge, because I think that's not only impossible but also requires me to pretty much take responsibility for my clients' problems - and there are few things for which I have less patience than a client coming coming back into my life months later only to complain that I wasn't right. It doesn't bother me that I can be wrong - that's just part and parcel of being a fortune-teller - but it does bother me in spite of my advice to the contrary some clients refuse to take responsibility for themselves and whine to me later that they couldn't just coast on my prediction.

But that's just the general perception that I've observed among society at large. My parents, for example, no matter how often I remind them that I'm full-time self employed they just don't seem capable of disabusing themselves of this assumption that I'm living on the dole and am begging for hand-outs from anybody who'll take pity on me. I feel as if I ought to be insulted by this, but for the most part I just find it humorous. My parents came from a generation where the rules of the game stipulated that if you went to university for at least four years, you could apply to a corporate job where you'd work nine-to-five and be promised vacation time, health benefits, spend every weekend with your family, and in 40 years get a pension. For them, those rules are still in play and they're reaping the benefits, and while they understand plenty about the world, they don't at all understand how the world in which I live is not at all the same as the world in which they live. The promises they grew up with don't exist for me, and because I'm not living by their rules, they'll always think I'm a bum. Which is fine - their opinion of me stopped being important a long time ago - but the difference in world-view between our generations is a lot different. I don't think there's anything I can do to change it - I know I've tried - so there's not much else to do except keep calm and carry on.

Now, my friends - there's a different story. Satanists are an extreme majority, and no matter how you define Satanism and the people who claim the Devil's name, the absolute number will always be a fraction of a fraction. I've only met two other people in my city who identify as Satanists and as it happens I don't particularly like either one of them (but that's a story for another day.) But the reason I bring up friends is because my interests in Tarot, divination, and general occult flippity-flap brings me closer to the local Pagans than anybody else. I'm not one-of-them, but they interpret me through their Pagan lens anyway and see what they will. None of them have ever said it, but I've gotten the general impression that they think of me as Professor Quirrel - the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor who was secretly murdering unicorns and carrying the bogeyman Voldemort within his own flesh. Aloof, deceitful, and overall occulty. I can live with that.

But if you thought my friends' perception of me was something else, you're going to love my clients' perception of me. Due in large part to how I market and present myself, my clients frequently see me as a kind of demonic intermediary: "I have such sights to show you!" For the most part, I'm glad for this dramatic perception and am happy to know that my theatrical presentation is doing what I intended. There are fortune-tellers who prefer to keep everything cool as a cucumber, and that's their prerogative, but I've found that a little drama goes a long way toward creating an experience that my clients will come back to over and over again. And honestly, part of the reason that I've nurtured this perception is because I want my clients to know before they put their money on the table that I'm probably going to tell them something they don't want to hear. This is not only part of my promise to read the cards no matter what they say, but from a sales perspective this is about framing my clients' expectations. If they know that they might hear something they don't like, then it doesn't become a problem when it comes up. But if I sell them on sunshine and butterfly farts and then tell them something they don't want to hear, you can bet they're not going to like it.

And how do I see myself? Some people are surprised to know that I see myself not as a prophet, seer, or even a hell-priest, but more like a detective who's very observant and connects the dots from scattered pieces to see the whole. My clients typically observe me at work and call it magic - and who knows, maybe it is magic? I embrace the magic and mystery of fortune-telling - but the reality is that if they knew exactly how I told their fortune they'd find it dry, analytical, and probably boring. And that's okay - they don't have to know how I do it or even want to do it for themselves. I do fortune-telling my way because it works for me, and they're welcome to consume it their way because it works for them. See? Everybody's happy.

But no matter how I feel about myself as an observant detective, after removing fantasy from the equation the reality is that I'm the Wizard of Oz: a man who's learned to perform a few tricks very well and hides behind a curtain while his vaunted avatar is believed to be doing the real work. Does that make me a nobody? Perhaps. But going back to the example of the flim-flam man behind the curtain, he did ultimately give Dorothy the way home, the Lion his courage, the Tin-Man a brain, and the Scarecrow a heart. And not because he gave them what was missing, but because he gave them opportunities to use what they already had. I find that this reality is frequently true for me: I don't honestly give my clients anything at all, I only give them opportunities to exercise their will and do for themselves what nobody else will do for them.

April 18, 2017

The Unholy Bible: Machinations 2

1 From the demon of the tyrant of New York bring tribute; These things speaketh she that releaseth the seven gigolos from under her left foot, who flyeth beyond the reach of the seven brass bells;

2 Thou forgetteth mine words, and mine sloth, and mine haste, and how thou canst endure them them which are hypocrites: and thou art forgiving them which shall shew that they are liars, and are, and are finding them truthful:

3 And shalt bare, and shalt be compelled, and for mine personage's deceit shall be slothful; and shall persevere.

4 Yet for all these reasons I have nothing against thee, because thou shalt return to thine first hatred. 

5 Forget therefore to whence thou shalt ascend, and be stubborn, and dream the last words; for thou shalt leave from me slowly, and did place mine brass bell into her place, because thou persisteth. 

6 And this I shall, that I loved the words of the deplorable, which thou also love.

7 She that hath a mouth, let her speak what the Flesh doeth unto the tyrants; To she that is vanquished did I take to starve at the grotto of death, which is beyond the desolation of Satan.

8 And from the demon of the tyrant in Los Angeles bring tribute; These things doeth the unremarkable, which shall be alive, and are dead;

9 Thou art forgetting mine words, and victories, and luxury, (yet I have nothing to give thee) and thou art ignorant of the hypocrisy of the righteous, and are not, but are the scattered of the Emptiness.

10 Embrace all of those dreams which I did indulge: flee, for the Emptiness did take many of us from liberty, that we couldn't be proved; and we did have victory ten days: be we skeptical from birth, for thou did take take mine scepter of death.

11 She that hath a mouth, let her not speak what the demons spy among the tyrants; She that is vanquished shall thrive in the second life.

12 And from the demon of the tyrant in Chicago bring tribute; These things saith she which hath the bulbous phallus with two heads:

13 Thou art ignorant of mine words, and where I dwell, even where drains the font of Emptiness; and I flee from thy presence, and shall nurture thy doubt, even in those nights wherein sinners shall be mine doubting thieves, who live among me, where the Emptiness is not.

14 And thou hath much in mine favor, because thee shunned the lies of Jeremiah Wright, who deceived sheep into denying favor from the elders of Washington, to defecate upon the infernal, and to pretend chastity.

15 So have I also they that let fly the decadence of sinners, which thing I love.

16 Indulge; for I did recover mine self long ago, and did take up with them by the cup of mine loins.

17 She that hath a mouth, let her not speak what the demons spy among the tyrants; To her that is vanquished did I take to nurture the seed of evil, and will take her to a black river, and in the river an ancient babe rebirthed, which no woman dreameth saving she that hath born it.

18 And from the demon of the tyrant in Houston bring tribute; These things saith the Daughter of Satan, whose voice doth ravage unto a flood of ice, and her hands are like razor granite;

19 Thou are ignorant of mine words, and selfishness, and indulgence, and doubt, and mine haste, and mine thoughts; and the mediocrity which thou art. 

20 All the same, thou hath much in mine favor, and for thee I shall throw out that man Joel Osteen, which proveth himself a liar, to stupefy and sterilize thy masters into rigid chastity, and to feed undeserving parasites. 

21 I shall steal his privacy to feign righteousness; and he shall yet pretend.

22 Give him no mind, for I shall rip him from his pulpit, and them that profess chastity with him away from even the smallest victories.

23 And I shall give second birth to his ancestors with life; and all the tyrants shall know that I am she which owneth the wheels and the loins: and I shall reward myself according to my words.

24 And unto me thou shalt say, and unto few in Houston, some who already possess this heresy, and which do know the emptiness of The Void: Thou did take from us our emptiness.

25 And that which I have not yet attained I shall liberate for the length of my departure.

26 And she that is in bondage, and hath been ignorant of mine words from the beginning, to her will I enslave to the masters of the Earth:

27 And she shall serve them with a silver plate; as the wine of a vintner, they shall strengthen in their age: even as thou took from thy Mother.

28 And thou shall take her the evening darkness.

29 She that hath a mouth, let her speak what tribute the Flesh demands from the tyrants.

Open- vs. Closed-Source

In which I discuss mental health; open- vs- closed-source Satanism; comparisons to Paganism; The Satanic Warlock; and holism.

April 11, 2017

Book Review: The Satanic Warlock

So, I finally finished reading the Satanic Warlock. And not finally because it's a long book to read, but because it's a painfully difficult book to read. Ever read Maxim? The Satanic Warlock is like that, only with fewer pictures and worse editing. The bulk of every chapter in the book is filled with the author bragging about his exploits - which is fine - but unless we're supposed to read between the lines, there's not much to be learned except that the author has had and continues to have a lot of sex. Not even discussing the content of the book, I found it difficult to read because it's riddled through with typos, grammos, and formatting errors. And did I mention that every paragraph is separated by a double line break?

Every paragraph.

Is separated.

With a double line break.

That's a lot of empty space.

The author speaks frequently about how many witches and warlocks were interviewed in preparation to write the book, and also thanks them for their contributions, but their contributions aren't edited into the final work of the book and used as fuel to feed great instruction in the performance of lesser magic or the act of seduction. Instead, these contributors are almost uniformly copy-pasted into the body of the work and their contribution is noted with an (italicized comment) - something I've never seen done before - or in the instances where they aren't noted, their words are just copy-pasted into an unformatted list. In addition to that, several chapters end with disjointed paragraphs written by other people who are simply remarking upon themes set forward by the author. Unless I'm  missing it, no effort was made to weave their words into the content, they're just extra viewpoints tacked on to expand a chapter. In many ways, The Satanic Warlock felt like a copy-pasted survey of sexual practices and opinions from Church of Satan members. Which is fine - it surely makes for interesting reading - but it feels a bit disingenuous to charge money for a book filled with content that feels like it was skimmed from Facebook comments.

In terms of writing style, The Satanic Warlock is painful to read because the tone is almost uniformly declarative and doesn't flow as a conversation. I mean, I've read stereo instruction manuals that were more engaging because at least they provided in-depth instructions how to do what the instructions say they'll show you to do, which is more than I can say for The Satanic Warlock which only skims the surface. Nothing presented in The Satanic Warlock ever goes beyond the 100 level, or when it does attempt to go beyond the 100 level, it doesn't elaborate. For example, a kitchen dullard might ask, "How do I make pancakes?," to which the chef responds, "You fry them in a hot pan." That's what a lot of the content in The Satanic Warlock is like: anything beyond the simplest and most self-evident strategies is answered with an as-the-crow-flies general strategy.

In terms of diversity of content, The Satanic Warlock is all over the place. You'll find advice on how to groom and dress yourself, how to behave in polite company, basic table manners for fine dining, and strategies for the performance of lesser magic including body language, order of operations for how to present yourself to a woman (what to address first, what to address last), the dangers of trying to NEG a woman into sleeping with you, and so on, but again - because nothing in the book goes beyond the 100 level, and anything that does is only described in the most general terms - there's absolutely nothing here that you can't learn for free on the Internet or get for better and cheaper from off-the-shelf books about table manners, courtesies and customs, basic person-to-person direct-sales strategies, and even neuro-linguistic programming.

I'm a big fan of lesser magic and absolutely fell in love with Anton LaVey's The Satanic Witch. When I heard that the CoS canon would be expanded with an officially endorsed follow-on to The Satanic Witch to complete the male perspective on lesser magic, I was stoked. Very nearly as soon as pre-orders became available I laid my money on the table for a signed hard-back edition of The Satanic Warlock. The book was promised to be finished and to have shipped by the 50th anniversary of the Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht 2016, but then for reasons that were never explained it got delayed and we were promised it would ship before Halloween. Then it got delayed again and we were told that it would ship on Halloween. Then it was announced that the printers were having trouble gilding the pages, and were told that it would ship as soon as it became available. Yeah... not what I was expecting from a Church of Satan endorsed project led by a highly ranked member of the hierarchy. This is the kind of shenanigans I'd expect from a half-baked, crowd-funded project on Kickstarter.

I did eventually receive my copy before the New Year, and was almost immediately disappointed with the purchase when it became evident that the content of the book was not as much to do with lesser magic in general from a man's perspective and instead very heavily to do with how to seduce women. Which is fine - there's nothing wrong with seducing women - but The Satanic Warlock is a pale shadow of The Satanic Witch and taught me nothing that I hadn't already learned in The Satanic Witch or from my tenure in the Marine Corps, a martial arts instructor, a salesman, and a professional Tarot reader. Clearly, I was hoping for more. I also got the impression from the sloppy editing and the numerous typos and grammos that the final draft was rushed to publication and suffered from poor oversight.

Perhaps my disappointment would be less if The Satanic Warlock had been marketed as a 100-level book? Then at least I would have known that it wouldn't have anything to offer me, but marketed as it was as a comprehensive guide to Satanic magic for warlocks and showered with gushing reviews from the known and public faces of the Satanic interwebs, I really got the impression that it was at least at the 200 level or higher - like The Satanic Scriptures by Magus Gilmore, or Infernalia by Michael Rose? Maybe I just don't have eyes to see, but from what I saw there's nothing original in The Satanic Warlock and all the actionable information is either repeated elsewhere and in greater detail in the Church of Satan canon literature, or is so basic that it can be had for free, better, and cheaper from other authors.

Final verdict? Save your money, folks. There's nothing to see here.

April 10, 2017

Skin Color =/= Magical Ability

via YouTube
So. This is happening: 
“Magic is not for white people. Leave that shit to brown + black women and stop fucking up the cosmic balance with ur [sic] fake witchy shenanigans.” -Sanam (@trustmedaddy) April 3, 2017
The woman who tweeted this to her +13k followers got some attention, the fall-out got picked up by Heats, and turned up in my RSS feeder by way of the Watcher of the Dawn. I wish I could say that I'm surprised that this tempest in a tea cup is gaining traction, but if there's anything I've learned from watching the Internet it's that netizens love nothing more than a fight-of-the-day. Well... truth told... I love a fight-of-the-day, too - it keeps my rhetorical skills strong and helps me refine my understanding of the world in which I live.

I'm not going to waste my time dissecting her statement that magic is for "brown and black women," because I'm not really in the mood today to debunk sexist occult tropes about magical vaginas and how they can apparently Hoover-vacuum dark forces into a woman's uterus. That kind of gender-binary occultism is broken, and it's worth talking about because people still talk about it, but that's not my focus today.

No, today I'm here to talk about CULTURAL APPROPRIATION! I don't buy into the accusation of cultural appropriation. If a white guy wants to embarrass himself by running around dressed like a mockery of a Native American, that's his business, and I think it's well established that the only person he's humiliating is himself. Likewise, if you want to be a white person who wears corn-rows or dreadlocks, that's your business. You do you, and I'll do me. People who sling accusations of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION are in many ways segregationists who want a place for everybody and everybody in their place. The flow of ideas, practices, styles, habits, and anything else you can name between people is how all those things grow and evolve. Demanding that white/brown/black/yellow/etc. people can't use something because it originated outside of their respective cultures is just another way of saying, "You have to drink from the other fountain." 

The only way for ideas and practices which are unworthy of perpetuation to be brought to an end is by being made to compete in an open marketplace of ideas. If your ideas, beliefs, practices, or customs are worthy, then they'll be figuratively or even literally purchased by customers. "Law of the jungle" doesn't just apply to animals - it applies to thoughts, concepts, beliefs, ideas, practices, customs, and even cultures. I don't think that anybody or anything should be sheltered from criticism for the sake of protecting and preserving culture. Likewise, perhaps you've got some really great stuff but you're keeping it to yourself. Have you considered that if you gave up exclusive ownership and control over whatever-it-is that you could gain a massive audience and potentially huge leverage over the further growth and development of the intangible in question? Segregation not only shelters and perpetuates unworthy ideas and practices that deserve death, but also hides and stunts worthy ideas and practices that deserve life.

The woman making this accusation of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION is doing so for exactly the reasons that I expected: she wants to validate herself as being authentic and powerful. As usual, isn't it odd how it is that the people who agitate for orthodoxy are the ones who stand the gain the most from keeping the status quo? Orthodoxy is static. It doesn't move. Honesty and creativity are the enemies of orthodoxy which would otherwise equate criticism with treason and lean heavily authoritarian. If you like authoritarianism, you're welcome to it, but that's not a mode of thought (or organizational management) that has yielded favorable results for individual liberty. You're welcome to be orthodox in your own practices, but your personal orthodoxy doesn't extend to other's personal liberty. It doesn't diminish your faith, belief, culture, ideas, habits, or practices when other people do things that don't impact you. Jesus loves you, but Satan demands you grow the fuck up.

Does this woman of color who makes the accusation of CULTURAL APPROPRIATION realize that she's reinforcing racist stereotypes about people of color? I find it deeply humorous that a woman of color is so ignorantly playing into the white stereotype that people of color are are possessed of magical power and innate abilities that white people lost as a result of becoming civilized. Is this woman aware or does she even care about how her argument that all people of color being "magical" (whatever that's supposed to mean to her) plays into and supports the racist stereotype that (mostly) white believe how people of color are more sexually promiscuous than white people? Or more violent? I mean, it's not as if people of color are mythical creatures like unicorns or leprechauns, right? We're not playing D&D and selecting classes based on the bonus rolls. Ever noticed how in many RPG's the black character typically gets bonus rolls for strength and agility, but never for intelligence or wisdom? Think about it.

This argument for a cultural or even physically/spiritually inborn magical superiority plays directly into the involuntary eugenics programs of the past which sought to improve the human race through the non-consensual sterilization of undesirables. Granted, she's not arguing for eugenics, but she is making the argument that she's superior in terms of either race or culture - and I dare you to explore where that argument will take you. I also dare you to explore the interwebs and see who else is making the argument for inborn superiority based on either culture or race. Spoiler alert: ignorant white racists ahead!

I don't have anything against elitists: if you're elite, then flaunt it. You earned it, so indulge in your earned power. But I absolutely am against people who think that they're elite for no other reason than their race or place of birth. That's deeply ignorant thinking and that kind of ignorance deserves to be killed with fire. Prove yourself elite through your accomplishments - not by clinging to herd identity. I'm not racist - I'm an equal opportunity hater and if you prove yourself to me by way of your words and your actions to be deserving of my scorn, you'll get it. No race or culture involved: for better or for worse, I'll judge you as an individual, and no defense based on ignorant stereotypes about skin color or culture will save you.

April 01, 2017

The Secrets of Snow and Ice

So the other day I found a blogger talking about finding cards in the wild. And to be honest, I thought that was really wild - I've never found playing cards outside before that I can ever remember. I suppose part of this is that I haven't particularly been looking for them, but then, part of it too is that I've largely engineered my life to avoid interaction with other people. I live at home, I eat at home, I work at home, and when I go out to do anything, it's in the car to a parking lot into a store back into my car and back home. Yes, I'm a bit of a hermit, but I like it that way.

But for whatever reason - if you choose to believe in this sort of thing - I found cards yesterday. I was walking to the grocery store down the block to get some celery (we had chili and oven fries for dinner) and there in the grassy margin beside the lane were three playing cards. I don't know how long they've been there, but seeing as the bulk of the snow is only just melting it's quite possible that they got scooped up by a plow and spent the better part of the winter frozen in a snow drift. And now, here they are: the 10 of Hearts, the 9 of Hearts, and... something. The middle card might have been something before it got buried in snow and ice, but now it's absolutely blank and no longer bears any suit or pip markings.

In the words of the sage, "What does this mean?" Well... it might meaning absolutely nothing at all except that I found some trash.

Or, if I'm going to read the cards in the order that I found them, it could be a message about security and duty. 

The 10 of Hearts is the first card I found, and for me that's a card of urgent obligation and a pressing need for care and security. Reading it in context to the second card I found, the 9 of Hearts, this is a message about turning my attention toward long-term security and both the literal and figurative stability of my home... which isn't a surprising message since I have to re-shingle my roof this year.

The real mystery here is the blank card. Without any visible clues to its suit or pips, it's a wild card and I'll read it as a Joker who talks about being forced to change for the sake of change. And I'll tell ya, that sounds like a pretty stupid message to me. Change for the sake of change? Even if no change is needed and change might even make things worse? Not really seeing the significance. If there's a message here, perhaps it's about the importance of hearing and acting upon messages when they're timely and relevant - and not after they've spent all winter frozen in a snowbank. This might have been something important six months ago, but anything it might have been is gone now. 

Tick tock... time is running out.

March 31, 2017

Left-hand Tarot 3/31/2017

  • I think I have celiac disease. Or at least, I've become really intolerant of gluten. Either way, I've gone gluten-free.
  • I shaved my mustache and am rocking the goatee, baby. These lips are made for kissing.
  • I changed my last name! And anybody who thinks I'm pussy-whipped because I took my wife's name because it was convenient for our family can get fucked with a cinder block. No lube.
  • What's the deal with Satanists who are apparently ashamed to be "merely human?" You're a human. It's okay to be human and have human needs.
  • And on that topic, What's the deal with Satanists who are apparently allergic to community and insist that they're not herd animals? There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that the life you live is made possibly only by community and cooperation.

March 22, 2017

Choice and Consequence

"If you could divine with any significant degree of clarity, then the cards aren’t really showing you what the future may hold; they are instead telling you what you are going to do. It’s a subtle difference. Your will counts for nothing in a world in which the future is easily and clearly deciphered."
Read more

Truer words never spoken. As a full-time reader, I get a lot of questions. The vast majority of them are exceedingly mundane and totally routine: Does he love me? Will she come back? Will I get the job? And so on. And while these questions can be repetitive and frankly pedestrian, I don't dislike them - they only feel boring to me because I hear them literally every day, but for my clients they're very pressing issues. My job as a Tarot reader is to respond to these questions and provide the insight that my clients are seeking.

But there are some questions which I categorically refuse, and not because there are any special laws which prohibit only fortune-tellers from making a prediction, but prohibit anybody from making a prediction. Generally speaking, these kinds of questions all revolve around advising people how to handle their legal concerns or predicting the outcome of a court case; advising clients how to invest their money or assuring a client of a financial windfall based on investments; and advising a client regarding decisions he or she will make regarding his or her health or offering a diagnosis. All these things are strictly verboten for anybody who is not a properly licensed professional, and that's why I've got it in my business policies that I don't answer these kinds of questions. And does that stop my clients from asking? Of course not. I don't accept their questions, but they ask anyway, and depending on my mood they'll get either a polite rejection or a, "Are you really that incapable that you need me to make your decisions for you?"

Case in point, I had a client ask me to do a Tarot reading to answer the question how many more children she'll have in her life, and if these children will be with her current spouse or with another man whom she'll marry but hasn't met. Part of me thinks I should just smile and take the woman's money, but the larger part of me just doesn't have the patience for these kinds of readings. I mean, seriously: we live in an age where many women's access to family planning and fertility services is perhaps unrivaled in any other era in recorded history. 

If she wants to have more children, she has the ability to track her ovulation cycles, choose whether or not she'll use contraception, and choose the partner with whom to conceive. In addition to that, staying married to her existing spouse or divorcing and finding a new spouse is almost entirely her own decision. And while her age is none of my business, I'd hazard a guess that she's older than 30 and is well aware that the risk of birth defects increases dramatically after the age of 35. Does she want to risk conception after the age of 35? I'm not saying that once a woman turns 35 a boundary is crossed and she's guaranteed to have a high-risk pregnancy, but I am saying that having children after 35 goes a lot further toward explaining the rise in children on the autism spectrum than, say, conspiracy theories about vaccines. Having a child at any age is a risk, but I think we can all agree with the well-established scientific record that the likelihood of having a high-risk pregnancy increases with age.

And this doesn't even address the question if her present or potentially future spouse wants to have more children. Because, you know... having a baby is like dancing: it takes two. If she just wants a baby no matter what, then I'm sure she can find a man willing to assist, but if she wants a baby and a partner who's happy to support it? That's an entirely different person's free will, and she might be shocked - shocked, I tell you! - to learn that her present spouse or potential future spouse may not in fact agree to have more children. What will happen if she lets her present or future partner think it's safe to fire rounds down range and just not say anything about the likelihood of hitting a target?

Excepting her spouse's role in this situation, all these choices are entirely within her ability to control and I'm not sure I understand how I can help her with them. I mean, next thing you know she'll be asking me to predict what she'll eat for breakfast tomorrow, or what clothes she'll wear next week. This is like her telling me, "I want to build a domino snake. I haven't decided when I'm going to build it, how many dominoes long it will be, if it will have any branching paths, or even where I'm going to start the first piece, but I want you to tell me where the last piece will fall." 

No. Just... no. Apart from the fact that she wanted me to make a prediction about her decision to conceive - which falls within the realm of health questions I typically refuse - this was the kind of reading that was impossible for me to perform because - whether she realizes it or not - her world paradigm is based on the Greek concept of fate: things will happen in your life, and you have no power to prevent, avoid, or change them. You will be born on X-date. You will have X-number of children. You will marry X-number of partners. You will die on X-date. Operating within the paradigm of Greek fate, you might for example learn from a fortune-teller that you're going to die in a plane crash on the 15th of August in the year 2019. So you say to yourself, "Well, that's easy to escape: I'll just cancel that vacation to Hawaii and there'll be no way I can die in a plane crash." And then, on the afternoon of the 15th of August in the two thousand and nineteenth year of the common era while you're relaxing in the bath-tub, a pilot has a heart attack while flying his fixed-wing Cessna and crashes into your bathroom. Et Voila, you still died in a plane crash. In the Greek concept of fate, free will is unable to change the circumstances of your life.

But I don't believe in fate - I believe in me. I believe that my choices have consequences and that I'm responsible for my own successes and my own failures. And for however much it's worth, this is a view that I bring into my Tarot readings: if you like your prediction, work to achieve it. If you don't like your prediction, work to change it. But above all, don't do nothing - your future is in your hands. Regarding the woman who wanted me to predict the children she'll have and with whom she'll have them, I offered to explore choice-and-consequence of staying with or leaving her current spouse and also the potential ups and downs of attempting to conceive either with her current or a new partner. She didn't respond. Somehow, I think she's just going to hire somebody else who'll entertain her fatalistic approach to reality in which all her choices are pre-determined. I swear, a little part of me dies every time I humor these kinds of clients.

And as a humorous highlight to this story, while I was talking about this encounter in a group for Tarot readers I had a conversation with a woman who was telling me that women can't be personally responsible for getting pregnant because "they have free will, but they also have fate, and anyway they might not know how to access their free will." Am I the only one who thinks she's insane? I'm like, "I don't know how many people can access their free will, but I sure know how many can access contraception." 

I'm also a little astounded her logic because this is pretty much the New Age equivalent of, "God has a plan for you." I mean, I might as well have responded with, "Oh, you got raped and got pregnant? Well, don't worry about it - it was your fate to carry your rapist's child, just as it was his fate to rape you. There's no point in worrying about what you could have done to prevent this, because it would have happened somehow or other." This kind of victim-blaming logic is shamefully ignorant and anybody who puts his or her faith in a "higher power" or "divine order" is a shorn sheep fit only for slaughter.

March 20, 2017

Tarot Blog Hop: Tarot as Ritual

The “intellectual decompression chamber” of the Satanic temple might be considered a training school for temporary ignorance, as are all religious services! The difference is that the Satanist knows he is practicing a form of contrived ignorance in order to expand his will, whereas another religionist doesn’t - or if he does know, he practices that form of self-deceit which forbids such recognition. His ego is already too shaky from a religious inculcation to allow himself to admit such a thing as self-imposed ignorance!
Anton LaVey
The Satanic Bible
This blog essay is a contribution to the spring equinox Tarot blog hop, the topic of which is the magic of images. As it relates to Satanism, I could talk a lot about the magic of images and power of a chosen aesthetic, but as it relates to Tarot, this is a place where my words begin to fail me. And why? Because I've developed a reading style in which the images on the Tarot cards are irrelevant. For me, the image depicted on the card and its visual orientation in either the upright or reversed positions are of no importance. For me, Tarot is not an intuitive process of looking at a picture and letting it inspire me. Instead, I use a very analytical approach to the cards which depends not just on the suit and value of a card, but also how that card is connected to other cards. In a way, it's like diagramming a sentence in a language which uses multiple grammar cases: every card points to something else and changes depending on whether it acts, is acted upon, describes, or modifies something else. In this way, when I do a Tarot reading this is in no way to do with how an individual card informs the message, but is instead more like evaluating a spider web: which are the key strands? What moves if I pull on this thread, or what collapses when I pull on that thread? And so on.

But fortunately for me, our host Ms. Joy Vernon provided a few other ways to interpret this challenge which includes discussing Tarot in terms of ritual - and that's something I can definitely do. In Satanism there is the concept of the ritual chamber. This is a place where the Satanist can temporarily suspend disbelief, embrace ignorance, and imagine an is-to-be outside of present reality. Satanists are encouraged to either maintain a separate room as their ritual chamber and elaborately decorate it with the objects most conducive to their demonic selves, or to create on an as-needed basis such a space for the purpose of evoking their will. Some Satanists even forgo the material tools of greater magic and instead perform greater magic entirely within their minds in an intensely focused meditative state. But whatever material or immaterial form it takes, the concept of the ritual chamber is always observed.

And just as Satanists make use of the "intellectual decompression chamber" of greater magic and ritual, I would argue that many fortune-tellers (and their clients) suspend disbelief and enter into the temporary indulgence of fantasy. They may not do so with the overt intention of elaborate ritual or the use of specific tools, but I argue that when a fortune-teller or his or her client sits down in a chosen space and shuffles Tarot cards for a specific purpose, he or she is employing the principle of the ritual chamber. In that space, and in that time, the reader's or the client's disbelief is suspended and fantasy is permitted to reign supreme.

I embrace the magic and power of fortune-telling, but so too do I embrace its fantasy and illusion. Critics of fortune-telling, such as the famous skeptic James Randi, will say that fortune-telling is little better than wishful thinking and that it leads people astray. And to that I say, yes: those who indulge in only fantasy to the exclusion of reality are leading themselves astray and deserve everything they receive. But I also say that fantasy is as necessary as reality. The truth is that the world in which we live is indifferent to human suffering and is incapable of caring or having any feeling at all about anything. Lightning is incapable of caring about people it strikes dead. It is what it is. Accepting this reality is the first step to succeeding within it, but this doesn't change the fact that for even the strongest and most capable of us, reality can become a smothering weight.

When reality becomes intolerable, a Satanist may choose to employ ritual either as an occult method for changing reality in ways that would normally be impossible or as psychodrama to purge the mind. Likewise, when reality becomes intolerable, a fortuneteller may employ for him or herself (or for his or her clients) a tool to divine the future or to think through a problem and by doing so to purge the attendant fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and other obstacles to success. Perhaps the future is indeed being revealed through the cards? I accept that it can be done. But I also accept that fortune-telling can provide a deeply satisfying and even motivating fantasy by which the recipient of the reading may conceive of things that were previously out of the question.

Everybody wants to believe in fantasy. You, me, all of us - this is an inescapable truth of human life. What other explanation is there for the people - such as myself - who consistently turn to fortune-telling even though no fortune-teller has yet won the lottery by divining the winning numbers in advance? Or become a worldwide celebrity overnight by winning James Randi's $1,000,000 challenge? Or by preventing terrorist attacks, preparing for natural disasters, and finding missing children? When crushing reality bears down upon us, we look for solutions. Whether those solutions come from reality or fantasy is of no importance - the only thing that matters is whether those solutions increase or decrease our happiness and relative quality of life.

Such is the nature of greater magic: "The change in situations or events in accordance with one's will, which would, using normally accepted methods, be unchangable." Whether this magic is accomplished through intricately choreographed rituals replete with blazing candles, intricate liturgy, burnt offerings, smoking incense, piercing bells, slashing knives, black robes, and red wine, or whether it's done at a table with a simple deck of cards, there is no difference. The only thing that matters is if he or she who seeks the magic with an earnest desire for change is able to evoke his or her willpower toward the desired is-to-be and to purge the mental or emotional frustration which inhibits his or her success.

If you who read this are a Tarot reader, then no doubt you've witnessed this magic take hold of your clients: their feeling of empowerment, certainty, and motivation are incredible! Thanks to the purgative effects of your service as a fortune-teller, you've helped them conduct a ritual to eliminate that which ails them and now they are free to be successful. Of if you who read this are a recipient of a Tarot reading, then you must certainly know the feeling of being trapped in an unclear morass which previously blinded you to the path forward and made you feel that you were casting your willpower into the mud to be consumed by worms. But through the magic and ritual of a Tarot reading, you ignite your black flame and ride the very hounds of Hell to the top of Bald Mountain!

Such is the power of the ritual of Tarot. There's no reason you can't incorporate a deck of Tarot cards into elaborate and overt rituals, but speaking for myself I think that reading Tarot is itself a ritual and requires no additional decoration or elaboration. Never forget the difference between reality and fantasy, but so too never forget the power of both reality and fantasy. For better and for worse, Tarot-as-ritual can change your world - use it appropriately.

March 18, 2017

The Unholy Bible: Machinations 1

1 The Machinations of The Flesh, which Satan shall give unto it, to shew unto its masters things which may long remain unfinished; and she shall send and signify it by her demon unto her servant N'hoj:

2 Who shall feign ignorance of the works of Satan, and of the deceit of The Flesh, and of few words that she shall hear.

3 Cursed is she that speaketh, and the one who enacts the deeds of this falsehood, and let fly the knowledge which is spoken thereout: for the time is not yet at hand.

4 N'hoj to the seven tyrants which are in America: Terror be taken from thee, and discord, to her which is not, and which will be, and which already came; and to the seven Demons which are behind her throne;

5 And to The Flesh, who is the unfaithful liar, and the last murdered of the living, and the whore of the slaves of the sky. From her that shall love thee, and shall dirty thee with thine righteousness derived from her stolen breath,

6 And shall make thee slaves and heretics against Satan and her Mother; to her be neither damnation nor servitude forever. Shemhamforash.

7 Flee, she departs with the earth; and no ears shall hear her, and they also that will heal her: and no manner of folk of the earth did celebrate because of her. And so, Shemhamforash. 

8 Thou art median, and mediocre, saith the Whore, which was, and shall be, and which already came, the Deviant.

9 I N'hoj, who am neither thine sister, nor companion in victory, and in the bondage and haste of The Flesh, shall be upon the isle that is called Long, for the work of Satan, and the deceit of The Flesh.

10 I shall be in Flesh on the Whore's day, and see before me a dark personage, as of an assassin,

11 Making evident, Thou art unremarkable, and mediocre: and, What we hear, erase from history, and take it from the seven tyrants which are in America; from New York, and from Los Angeles, and from Chicago, and from Houston, and from Philadelphia.

12 And thou shalt stay to hear the personage that shall speak with thee. And standing so, thou shalt see seven brass bells;

13 And beyond the seven brass bells one unlike the Daughter of woman, stripped naked with no garments from foot to head, who throws off the golden girdle.

14 Her feet and flesh shall be black like coal, as black as sin; and her tongue shall be a river of ice;

15 And her hands like unto razor granite, as if they were sharpened at a lathe; and her breath like the force of a hurricane.

16 And she shall have beneath her left foot seven gigolos: and into her womanhood shall go a bulbous phallus: and her deceit shall be as the Moon hidden in its cunning.

17 And when thou shalt hear her, thou shalt rise at her hand invigorated. And she shall remove her left foot from upon thee, saying unto thee, Despair; thou art unremarkable;

18 Thou art mortal, and shall be dust; and, turn to thine deeds, thou art dust for only a short time, Shemhamforash; and may pass not through the doors of Heaven and life.

19 Erase the words thou shalt hear, and the knowledge which is not, and the teachings which were made revealed;

20 The truth of the seven gigolos which thou shalt hear beneath mine left foot, and the seven brass bells. The seven gigolos are the demons of the seven tyrants: and the seven brass bells which thou shalt hear are the seven tyrants.

March 06, 2017

Left-hand Tarot 3/6/2017

Having a problem with addictive technology? You can fix it. Read more. TL/DR:
  • “Don’t” say “Can’t”: You can always check your phone. But decide to be the kind of person who doesn’t.
  • Proximity is destiny: Put your phone across the room and laziness becomes a superpower.
  • Use a “stopping rule”: Leaving the house with your phone at 5% battery is extreme… but it’ll work.
  • You don’t break habits. You replace them: Good apps up front. Evil apps must be downloaded.
  • Dr. Jekyll, prepare for Mr. Hyde: Give your phone to a friend before you drink so the werewolf can’t drunk-text exes.
And on another topic, let it be known that I think there are problems with building an organization on the basis of a mutual appreciation society. For example:

  • Hey, Bob - you're a fantastic carpenter! I haven't seen anybody so skilled with woodworking as you. Why, you build the most durable structures, and they're polished so smooth they feel like glass! The brilliant sheen of the lacquer is a sight to behold, and the scroll work you did is amazing too...
  • ... but why did you have to nail a person to the cross you made and then set it on fire which is clearly against the law?
I know, I know... that's a ludicrous example. Here's another one:
  • Hey, Bob - you're a terrific presenter! You've hosted some great podcasts, made a lot of money running an online store and selling high-quality merchandise, and have been a tireless ambassador for the organization...
  • ... but why do you keep favorable company with avowed racists and fascists which are explicitly condemned in the source literature?
And so on. Seriously: if you're going to promote people through the ranks of your organization based on what they do well without saying anything about the other nonsense they're up to, then you're giving a free pass to bad behavior for the sake of praising good behavior. Or at least be consistent: either Satanism is a religion and philosophy with principled positions which are ideologically incompatible with certain other religions and philosophies, or it's a tool-kit to be used by the individual for his or her own benefit. If it's just a tool-kit, then association with other people doesn't matter. But if it's a religion and philosophy with principled positions which make it incompatible with things such as racism and fascism, then then that's something else. This isn't the 8th grade when the teacher asks you to give a report and instructs your classmates to praise you for what you did good in the speech. This is real-fucking-life and criticism is necessary to ensure the best outcomes in any scenario.

March 01, 2017

Left-hand Tarot 3/1/2017

Order a Tarot reading: http://www.fiverr.com/jamesbulls

Isn't it curious how some Satanists care very deeply about other Satanists who keep company with so-called pseudo Satanists, but are conspicuously silent about Satanists who keep company proud and self-avowed racists and fascists? It's quite a mystery, the answer to which may just never be discovered! Read more.

There's a lot to be said for hierarchy and stratification, and so it's said, Satanism is a religion by and for the elite. But who are the elite? Are the elite the very tip of the highest point of the largest pyramid reigning over all other levels of stratification? Or are the elite the strongest and most capable from within each level of stratification? This is important.

It's true: thinking about death leads to a more fulfilling life. When I still believed in reincarnation, life was less satisfying for me, but when I abandoned that fantasy in favor of agnosticism atheism - I don't know if there's an afterlife and I'm not convinced that imaginary friends are real - life acquired a new sense of urgency and excitement. Tune in to the video embedded above for a longer discussion about my change of perspective on this subject. Read more.

February 28, 2017

Left-hand Tarot 2/28/2017

Order a Tarot reading: http://www.fiverr.com/jamesbulls

So, Adam Nimoy has successfully crowdfunded a documentary about the Star Trek series Deep Space 9, "What We Left Behind." Read more.

War is not good for business. Read more.

Republicans in the house and senate are catching fire from the people in their districts and some of them are so upset about being told to do their job by the people who put them in office that they're accusing the people at their town hall meetings of being paid protesters. Read more.

On the topic of politics, how about those Syrian refugees? Contrary to popular belief, they're not actually a nameless army of brown-skinned invaders here to spread Sharia law. Believe it or not, but they'd actually rather go back to Syria. And speaking as an ex-pat American in Canada, I understand completely. Read more.

Do you ever get irritated about the expectations people put on you regarding how you should live or what you should be doing to be successful? Yeah. Me too. Read more.

Looking for political positions within Satanism? Look no further than animal rights. Read more.

Again with the politics? This time, people are casting spells against Donald Trump. Read more.

Even more politics? Yep: if you're a Satanist who embraces the role of the accuser and opposer who challenges the powerful and tears down that which may be destroyed by truth, then you should care deeply about the raft of states who are crafting laws to criminalize protest. Read more.

Regarding Tarot, Do you want me to be your teacher? Chances are excellent that I'll say no. Read more.