the work

As I’ve said before, I want to write more on Richard Gardner‘s work, and I feel I really need to, like I’m being pushed to do this. This is a start on that.

Richard classed himself as a “metaphysician”, and was deeply interested in human consciousness, and the nature of consciousness itself. He is in many ways a voice from another age, and I think even more valuable for that.

Richard studied the tarot and wrote a number of books on the subject, from the point of view of the teaching he saw preserved within it, rather than for its “fortune telling”. In it he saw the working of consciousness for its evolution, and he considered the evolution of consciousness to be the driving force of life, and of ourselves as part of life.

He also saw the elements as key to this, and love as I think in many ways the great work of the evolution of consciousness. Love, with its great drives, and its promise of bliss and perennial dreams fulfilled, and the despair engendered by its frustration, was at once the most direct, subtle and luminous of instructors. Richard considered the understanding of sexuality and sex to be very important in this.

He used to write that in the tarot, “God” was most clearly represented by The Fool, the unconditioned, pure Life Force, and this also represented what he termed “super-consciousness”, which he considered miraculous. This card is either unnumbered or numbered “0”, and he likened it to the Divine Androgyne. Richard’s God was not a god of authority and rules though, but a god of life, love and pure adventure, divine play, rather than personage, for it was in and through everything.

This isn’t a “religious” philosophy in any conventional sense, indeed it isn’t philosophy as such, but a metaphysical teaching to be experienced, an attempt to get us to experience and live life more consciously and fulfillingly, and understand what drives us.

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Tarot de Marseille Fool – By Nicolas Conver (http://www.wischik.com/lu/tarot/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

what “self” means to you

I came to a realisation recently, about the “self” that I feel pride and worth in.

When I was very young I led a quite creative, bohemian life for a while. I painted and drew a great deal, and threw myself into meditation, magical practices and journaling, and I did access a good deal of creativity, and even seemed to enthuse others with an expressive spirit at times, but I was actually deeply unhappy. I had a very definite “self”, and a productive one, but I was unhappy because what really mattered to me was love. And I was very, very lonely.

It’s not uncommon for me to say to my loved ones that I wish to do or achieve things for them, and I do sometimes get the response that I should do it for myself. I understand why they say that, because self-esteem is very important. It can seem like I might be neglecting myself in some way, but what I realise is that I am working to actualize my deeper self. The self I truly value, love, and feel good in is the self that loves my loved ones, has those bonds with them, and lives in the capacity to love. This may be why Freya is my Heathen patroness, and Venus is my astrological chart ruler. I know it can be different for other people, but for me that is how it is, and it’s important for me to understand that about myself.

Love has always been the central reality of life for me, for as long as I can remember. Not the sterilised “love” of some kinds of exoteric religious teachings, and more than just the romantic type, which can be many things. But the spiritual heart of the erotic, rooted in soul, body and heart, that cannot be scripted, bound by a narrative, status or any power other than itself, infused with the energy of Life itself, seeking its true fulfilment, that has always been the meaning of life for me.

And that is why I am as I am, and I love as I do.

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Satanism, Paganism and Nature

Two years ago I left Paganism, and by May 1st of that year I had declared myself a Satanist.

It was good to make the break with Paganism, and I have no regrets about that, or becoming a Satanist. After two years of rest from the online tangle of neopaganism, and all the community roleplaying, I feel like I can look at things a little more neutrally though, and recognise a great deal of common ground between Satanism and Paganism. Having remained a polytheist with a deep interest in the occult has probably helped there admittedly.

When people used to ask me about modern Paganism, I used to point to two things which didn’t define it, but which one way or another described modern Paganism as far as I could see. I used to say that modern Paganism tended to be polytheistic and/or Nature centred as a spirituality. You could find Pagan paths that were one, the other or both, but really rather few that were neither.

There is of course a major part of modern Satanism which is atheistic, but there are whole sections of neopganism which are at the least non-theistic in essence. Then again, there are other parts of Satanism which are polytheistic or henotheistic. I maintain that the most natural default for Satanism is agnostic, as this leaves all options open for the individual to determine themselves. Personal experience is the royal road of Satanism, and actually this seems to be what a lot of neopagans are looking for in Paganism too.

The reverence for Nature, while not universal within Paganism, is quite prominent. Within Satanism Nature is pretty much the bottom line, and is one of the things reflected in the acceptance of carnality and fulfilment of the whole person. Satanists in general have a love of Nature, and of our own deepest nature. On the other hand, Satanists recognise our capacity to negate and seemingly go against Nature, as part of our creative, individuating essence. But this level of sophistication is part of Nature itself, when seen in a wider perspective.

So I see a good deal of commonality between the phenomena of modern Satanism and Paganism, and what people are looking for in both. That is something I celebrate and enjoy.

Here is a clip of the front man of the black metal band Inquisition taking about Satanism, which my friend Aleph turned me on to. I really liked it.

I liked the way he talks about love, showing that it is important for him, but not making a defining badge out of the concept. I put love very central in my own spirituality, but I leave it to others to discover their own terms and understandings. I like the way he brings everything down to the individual, without prior conditions in essence, to the open minded enquiry into Nature. I can see that we are experiencing some of the same thing here.

What I can also say now, after two years, and a reconciliation with Paganism, is that I feel an increasing sense of the “personage” of Satan, alongside the concept or symbol, particularly transitional, subtle, metaphorical, open, free, fearless, clear. As with everything for me, it is the direct experience that counts, rather than the formal sense or definition, for this is where we find the reality of things. This is good.

Meanwhile I feel a renewed sense of connection with deities and Nature.

Bon voyage, and Hail Satan.

Witch

The witches Sabbath by Luis Ricardo Falero [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

16th February 2017: 9th paragraph edited.

Satanic causes?

We see a certain amount of activism in the Satanic community (most publicly with The Satanic Temple), so I just thought I’d give my own view on the sort of things I’d find relevant to Satanic philosophy for myself.

First, let me say there is no obligation to support any cause as a Satanist, and no expectation – Satanism is just too individualistic for that. However, here are a few things I can see as compatible with Satanism.

Satanism is very concerned with the individual and with individual sovereignty, so anything that adds to individual freedom and responsibility would go well. Censorship would be anathema to most Satanists where it affects them. Similarly, attempts to infringe upon the bodily autonomy of the individual could easily be opposed from a Satanic point of view. Free speech would be a natural thing for a lot of Satanists to support.

Satanism holds carnality and carnal fulfilment high in its estimation, so the moralistic restriction of sexual and other physical forms of gratification would generally be opposed, as would prying into the private lives of others. The exceptions would be where the will and consent of an individual is directly violated by another, so consensuality comes into play, as this reflects the issue of individual sovereignty. Needless to say, children cannot give adult consent so are not in the equation here.

Satanism holds a particular appreciation of the qualities of children and animals, who to an extent have the properties of natural Satanists (being closer to Nature and instinct), though they can’t themselves be Satanists, as Satanism requires human maturity. So the prevention of abuse of animals and children would be a natural concern for many Satanists.

Nature is also held in high regard by Satanists, who see us as animals most essentially, and part of Nature, so preventing the destruction of natural environments could be a cause that appeals to a Satanist.

As Satanism is a natural opponent of the imposition of religion upon individuals, secularism and religious freedom would be supported by many Satanists, though it needs to be pointed out that “religious freedom” means the freedom to practice any religion you choose, so long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others. It doesn’t mean freedom to infringe upon the rights of others in the name of religious belief. Related to this would be resistance to things like blasphemy laws, and prosecution for obscenity or nakedness.

As Satanism is so concerned with individuality and individual freedom, it makes a natural opponent to collectivising philosophies that seek to define and impose laws upon people according to what they are, rather than who they are, as an agent exhibiting their own behaviours.

And not least, Satanists are natural opponents of the hysterical demonization of people, whether it is the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” craze, or other kinds of scapegoating witch hunts. Satanists might well work to counter these kind of destructive and deranged mob mentalities.

But in everything, a Satanist makes their own ethical and rational enquiries into what they may or may not support or oppose, and takes responsibility for their choices. What should be noted though, is that making others feel like they should take part in supporting any kind of cause through moralism, shame or guilt can well be seen as a unskillful act that elevates emotional manipulation over reason or insight. Similarly, jumping on political or social band wagons can be fraught with the problems of participating in herd mentalities of dubious quality.

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Lady Chatterley’s Lover Penguin by Twospoonfuls (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

chill. the. fuck. out

I was saying to a friend of mine just the other day that the moral hysteria of the so called “liberal” Left was getting to the point where some of these people will actually become dangerous. Their catastrophe ridden, dark fantasizing is getting to look like a cartoon scripted by a tweaker, with a copy of The Communist Manifesto as their entire historical compass.

Hitler is coming, fascism is coming, America is now run by white supremacists, and Europe is about to succumb to its own 4th Reich (presumably run by Trump, Putin, or both, in collusion with the KKK), and all this is linked to hate speech, hate crime, and a million little fascist acts of everyday life that Hilary Clinton, or a strong EU, would have saved us from. Our betters have deserted us, deposed by a Cthulhu like body politic, and the only answer is to fight or die, protest or disappear, sloganise and demand. Yaaaar!! They just can’t even.

It’s a familiar mechanism to anyone who remembers the countercultural Left of the 70s. There are “revolutionaries” and “fascists”,  and if you are on the side of good then you are a revolutionary, and gotta smash the fascists.  The difference is that now the Left has decayed the popular conception of Social Liberalism to the point where it is an illiberal concern with collective identity, entitlement and guilt, fused with Leftism to produce a Frankenstein of socially compulsive agitprop, offence taking and demanded retribution in the name of a greater good.

But the goods were meant to be delivered in this  revolution-by-other-means by the bad guys being forced to change everything in accordance with your demanded vision. The prototype of this was probably feminism’s “Patriarchy”, that yet was going to fix it all, just because. I mean, who you gonna call? It was looking like quite a brave new world for a while there, if you focused on the internet especially. This post-modern Leftism, in Liberalism’s gutted sheep skin, had become highly influential in the media and academia, and a good deal of social policy making.

But it all hinged on a few things. Number one was that the bad guys would cave in to your demands and stay on their knees. Closely linked to number two, that some kind of popular mandate, or at least acquiescence, could be secured for carrying this out, if not by sincere agreement, then by shame and invalidation.

And these things haven’t gone as planned in Britain and America (if expressed in somewhat different ways), and don’t look like they are going to last that long in the rest of Europe either. The cult of the “Liberal-Left” did not take account of democracy, and it failed because it actually isn’t that democratic in temperament, and being driven by the Left, it had no intention of being Liberal in the Classical sense of the word (valuing individual liberty, freedom of speech etc). This was a liberalism that sneered at the Enlightenment. The election of Donald Trump as President was it seems the unthinkable refutation of this project.

But this was a failure of the central praxis of this kind of Leftism. Daddy being shamed into remaking the world for you was the key. And now, not only is Daddy not doing it, but he seems to have other children, who moreover don’t hate him. Big trouble up in the tree house.

You can tell how serious this is for the modern Left by the hysterical reaction, first to Brexit, but more especially to the US election. Flailing, largely incoherent protest. Mad predictions of the return of Hitler. The demonization of enormous sections of the voting public. Nazis everywhere!

The media, being so wedded to the “liberal” (cough) project, have largely shown the kind of partiality you would almost expect from a State controlled media. The contempt for those who didn’t vote as they were told to has been sustained and palpable. And it just confirms what those voters knew already. It tells them that for their money, they voted correctly. You can call people fascists, racists, xenophobes and nazis, but when you are talking to the people themselves it doesn’t work, because they know that they aren’t.

Sections of the Left though have reverted to true form, as the sheep skin slips off. In terms of the hard left, and Marxist ideology, violence is inevitable, necessary and more than justified. And the liberal media are scrambling to try and reintegrate this shift into a justifiable narrative, while the ground work has already been laid by the mirage of the “Alt-Right” being banded about. You have a vague, largely misused term like “Alt-Right” to attach to people, or associate them with, and you then associate that with racism, white supremacy, the KKK, Nazism, and with a little zeal and a lot more intellectual slop, the association becomes an equation. Soon, pretty much anyone you can misname Alt-Right is a Nazi, and there’s only one response to Nazis, right?

The latest demonstration of this was at the University of California, Berkeley, where a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos had to be cancelled, and Milo evacuated, after protests turned into a riot with burning and destruction of property, and members of the public physically attacked by masked protesters. The Mayor of Berkley tried to misrepresent Milo as a “white supremacist”, while various media outlets termed the riot a “protest”. The talk was on the subject of “cultural appropriation”. Berkley was the birth place of the campus free speech movement in the 1960s. The irony of using violence to shut down free speech shows how far we have travelled away from those ideals. These are the same kind of people that said they would burn Milo’s book when it was published, because he was a Nazi. Book burners against Nazism. They weren’t even joking.

The thing is, these people can’t accept they have lost, and can’t believe they have lost for any reason other than the mythical forces of oppression. It couldn’t be that enough people are just sick of them. It couldn’t be that they have failed, and lost their way. It couldn’t be their fault. They spend every fibre of their being fighting the gender-binary capitalist patriarchy, the bad man, and everyone knows that it’s all the bad man’s fault. That would be it. Problem solved. Just double down and revert to type. Screaming tantrum or street thug. I hate you dad! They say, with fits of tears, a petition, a pepper spray, a molotov cocktail.

If you’re really upset about Trump or Brexit, or a gay Jewish British provocateur, just do yourself a favour and calm down. The politics of the Left have failed, but that doesn’t mean that all that remains is the Right. Conservatives and Liberals need to talk to each other, because they can learn from each other, and whether people like it or not, conservatives have more respect for real Liberal values than either the Left, or what passes for liberalism is places like Hollywood. It’s just a fact.

I think we need Liberalism to return, but as Classical Liberalism. And we need to have real respect again for ordinary people, as well as all us freaks and weirdos. You can do that, when you deal with individuals rather than collectives and collective identities.

But people are going to have to take a step back from all this Nazi hunting bullshit, because it is just the rotting carcass of failed Leftism. And if people want to drag that around, well guess who’ll still be President in 2021.

And if you’re not going nuts about Trump and Brexit, or Milo, whether you are for or against them, well done. Hang on in there. Just remember, you are actually the vast majority of people in Britain and America, and we still have democracies.

anti-Milo "protesters" at UC Berkeley

anti-Milo “protesters” at UC Berkeley – screen capture from video at https://youtu.be/DyC80feMcgU

Mindful and Satanic

It’s been a good few days, quite a few, of stability and contentment, which is a lovely thing.

Over the last year I’ve drawn a lot on my polytheism, and links with my Heathen deities especially. I’ve needed them, they’ve been there. Others have been there too, such as my Egyptian “daemonic father”. “Gratitude” is too prosaic a word to describe what you feel for the presence of deities within your life, too commonplace a word for the bond, but the feeling is deep and free.

I’ve come to really value mindfulness, a mental practice and state that I first came upon decades ago in connection with Theravada Buddhism, though it also forms part of Reiki practice and training, and pretty much all Asian derived meditation techniques. The capacity to maintain mental balance, and not be overwhelmed by powerful emotions, thoughts and energies is a good skill for anyone, but it is essential for a magician or someone going through powerful experiences of personal growth, as powerful emotions and energies can be guaranteed in these situations at some point, and you have to be able to maintain your composure as you choose, in order to be able to function properly.

I am not a Buddhist, and do not subscribe to the wider Buddhist philosophy, but the traditional image of the Buddha is a good symbol of mindfulness for me, and I do use it.

In addition to this, the figure of Satan emerges as a fine focus of self-actualisation, pulling together my independent worth and stance, which is very good for someone as inclined to relationship and surrender as I am. No regrets there, not at all, as love is so important to me. But Satan for me matches both the irreducible clarity of selfhood, and clarity of mind that can cope with all of our nature.

Surrender blissfully as you wish, you will not lose that jewel-like self.

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