Satan

Red feather pigments by Dysmorodrepanis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons - cropped and digitally altered

I saw him

Sitting

Half reclining, naked

Honey skinned

With curly hair like flax

Raw wool

Barley rustling in the heat

 

A beard that looked soft

Young and mature all at once

Amber eyes

Golden, glinting

The light of a fresh washed sky behind him

Like dawn

Like a new morning

Wings tawny and russet red

Calm

A breeze

And a lambent cool fire.

 

Advertisements

a place at midnight’s banquet

Satan Inspiring the World-666! - By Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Things have really been progressing inwardly, and my sense of place in Satanism has deepened recently.

I have always taken, as a newcomer, a tentative and inclusive view of Satanism from what I have found in books, the internet and internet friends, plus my previous experience as a polytheist and Thelemite.

That’s ok, it’s probably wise at first, but with something as deeply personal and outwardly divided* as Satanism, you have to go further I feel. I could take into account the atheists and place the default for Satanism at “agnostic”, as an enlightened optimal position, but the fact is I am not agnostic with respect to the gods/demons myself, even if in a philosophical sense I count unknowing as a powerful and profound condition when conscious. But there’s no point me focusing on this spanning of contraries. I won’t come to understand Satanism for myself, even in its variations, if I don’t fully embrace and follow my own Satanism. Maybe this seems obvious, but there is a subtle trap in trying to measure the whole, whereby you internalize an implied requirement to not abrogate any of the parts, formally at least. But that won’t help you follow your own calling.

And I have realised that I am following a calling in effect. This thing goes back a long way, and it is most essentially spiritual.

There have been two bloggers that I have been gaining benefit from recently, and although they are both theists and Satanists, they are quite different in other ways.

First there is VK Jehannum, whose blog is an excellent resource in terms of information on demons. He allies himself with the 218 Current and is a magician, demonolator and Satanist. You can get some sense of the 218 Current from the Wikipedia page on the Temple of the Black Light. There are elements of serious interest to me here (the interdimensional and “chaos” elements, though differently interpreted), as well as things I find risible (the lauding of nihilistic criminality). I think most of the good stuff may well be in better shape in Typhonian Thelema, but I can’t say for sure, as the 218 Current is still somewhat obscure for me. VK Jehannum used to be associated with the Order of the Nine Angles, who have always sounded like hard hippies on really bad acid to me, but he parted company with them. It’s been stimulating to read his blog and listen to his videos.

The other blogger that I have been paying attention to is RJ Womack, aka Brother Nero, and I really do get a sense of fellow feeling with Mr Womack.

I recently read his Satanism: A Beginner’s Guide to the Religious Worship of Satan and Demons Volume I, which I did enjoy and gain from, while not matching entirely in approach, or feeling assent on all his points. Nevertheless, he was giving me more of an answer than most people had, or more of the right questions. He also has a really interesting series of podcasts called Dark Illumination Report. I really found that he had warmth, common sense, maturity, a good range of occult knowledge, and just life experience. He is religious about his Satanism, and while not being closed off against atheists (he believes in Satanists basically standing by what each other are doing, if it is furthering Satanism one way or another) he is proud of being a theist and “serving Satan” in a religious sense. So I say good for him!

I’ve come to realise that if I do take Satanism seriously as a spirituality, then it is absurd to treat it as something that was founded in 1966. I think what Anton LaVey did was very important, and it was the beginning of the Church of Satan, but not the beginning of Satanism, obviously. For whatever it’s proclaimed atheism, it left a space in its “intellectual decompression” for something deeper to flow through in potential, and its moral philosophy was essentially sound in its Satanic quality, and I still consider LaVey to have transmitted what was in many ways a boiled down version of Thelema. I think LaVey furthered a spiritual current.

Thelema itself is I believe a form of Satanism in principle (or at least significantly Satanic), though that is greatly down played nowadays, and contested. Crowley himself considered Hadit (to which the second chapter of The Book of The Law is dedicated) to be a form of Set/Satan, while he was also known to identify Satan with Aiwaz, the being who dictated The Book of The Law to him in Cairo in 1904. Crowley is I think the key figure in bringing Satanism forward, a role for which I think he both paid and enjoyed, but to which he was in no small way dedicated. I agree with RJ Womack in considering Satanism a form of Paganism, and Crowley considered one of his life’s missions to be bringing about the return of Paganism. In a lot of ways, I see Pagan Reconstructionists and Satanists as bringing about the same thing – the return of the gods. Reconstructionists attempt to divest themselves of monotheism and Christianity and piece together an old practice, while Satanists take a direct route psychically and spiritually, which is more focused on the individual. We don’t care if any of it looks Christian, because we know that Satan is not. We raid our culture from the long line of heresy, occultism, folk lore, witchcraft and the imagination. Because our gods and demons are real, we can do it. Not the other way round.

Looking back beyond the 20th century, we have to find our sources and exponents where we can, but I have no doubt they are there. And in the present, we have many atheistic Satanists, but it doesn’t matter that they are atheists. What they do in the name of the free and beautiful god, in the name of demons, in the name of Satan, if it is done in the spirit, in the moment, then the song takes voice.

Above all, this is a spirituality. A banquet by invitation of the soul.


* most notably into theists and atheists, of which the atheists get the most coverage, but also into the religious and non-religious.

 

 

can Satan really be your daddy?

My friend and fellow Satanist Sean at The Daily Satanist recently did a post about his experience and views on the different types of Satanism he has met. Beyond the distinction between atheistic and theistic, there are quite a few other divergences, especially among theists.

One of the distinctions is in the relationship to Satan. For some he is a paternalistic father figure. For some he is a Master to be pleased. For some he is the real Creator God. For others he is an archetype, and others still a being, a god in the polytheistic sense; either a god among gods, or the head of an effective pantheon of demons.

I myself fall into the polytheistic camp, but what of the other approaches? I think Satan as archetype is well dealt with just about everywhere, as it is compatible with the most well publicised, atheistic forms of Satanism.

Satan as Creator God has me a little bemused, because I just don’t deal with creator gods as such, not in the cosmic sense. Gods are beings, like us, but very different to us in important ways (wisdom, knowledge, power, longevity etc), and I really wouldn’t want a replacement Jehovah or Allah, even without the laws and dogma. That would end up as a Deism for me, which is fine, but not much to communicate with there.

Satan as Master to be pleased is way off for me personally, as one of the big distinctions between monotheism and polytheism for me is that monotheistic “Gods” seem to want your will and obedience (in return for?), while polytheistic deities want things like your love, energy, state of consciousness, offerings, orgasms, whatever, but it is a relationship and it goes both ways. Your life remains your own, though they can have a wild sense of humour, and an uncomfortably intense sense of the “shortest route” at times. But you are not their slave, unless you get off on that and they like your energy when you’re submissive, in which case, you got yourself a deal (and hint, you can ask for things).

Now Satan as paternalistic, protective daddy I find a charming idea, but it’s just down to what you really need for your growth, what fulfils you, and what doesn’t hold you back. If you need a daddy, you probably will get one at some point, but your self-actualisation needs will determine the nature of your relationship (from your end) I reckon. You’d be surprised what kind of entities actually are tender and nurturing (in their own way) to the right person, and it’s a completely individual thing. But this isn’t “Satan is our Father” in an almost Christian sense. It’s more like the unlikely adoptive father to the unlikely kid (while that need and opportunity is there), because it fits, though in any relationship with deities there will be more to it than you are aware of at first. And it may well be more a question of “ok, and who’s yer daddy!” when they want a bit more of you than you were aware you wanted yourself*. I don’t believe it’s remiss to talk of divine (or infernal) empathy here. There are special bonds between deities, spirits and humans, and they occur for reasons. Such a bond is a real blessing.

Because Spiritual Satanism has the characteristics of a personal religion, without being a religion as such (it is a spirituality with a personal religious practice), I wonder about Satanism as a religion. Something that shelters people, helps them to grow in the ordinary sense, deal with life and their weaknesses, and be, after a fashion “better people”. As a Left Hand Path practice, Satanism cannot be this (and I think we need to be clear on that), but that is not to say that Satanism cannot have a Left Hand Path core, and a practically nurturing and protective exoteric form, though I can see this could be tricky, and more like Heathenry or Voodoo than a mainstream faith. It is like the question of bringing up children in Satanism. I am adamant that a child cannot be a Satanist – it goes against everything that lies at the heart of Satanism for me, which is maturity, freedom, responsibility and self-actualisation. But Satanists have a culture, and Satanists have children, so what is the form of healthy child rearing for a Satanist parent? Is it humanist? Something similar to what Pagan parents do? These are interesting questions for me.

Satan can be all things to all people, but what he isn’t is one thing to everyone. Behind it all is a figure who is challenging, uplifting, ardent, clear, subtle and surprising, as much as the quiet, resonant, inner voice of the self is. Yet he is an other, like an ancient breeze, carrying a fragrance we haven’t quite forgotten.


* and lest it be unclear, I don’t mean “do this thing I am commanding you to do” out of the blue stuff. No “the Devil told me to do it” shit. You are your own person, and you take responsibility for everything, including your own compulsions.

the magick mirror of Yesod

German mirror - Metropolitan Museum of Art

I think this should tie up the loose ends of the recent series of posts and videos on magick, Qabalah and occult Satanism*.

I have always (as in going back almost 40 years) found the sephira of Yesod both fascinating and key.

It is the sphere of The Moon on the tree of life, and the most visual, tactile part of the astral plane, shifting and reforming, where one thing becomes another, and time is different, and whose flux maintains the stability of the world we see with our senses. Change in stability, stability in change. It is also a sphere much associated with sexuality and deep, atavistic desires. It appears to me as a kind of magick mirror, in which we can glimpse the signs of our True Will, our deepest desire, for thelema translates to a term closer to desire than to our mental sense of “will”.

This is also our first gate into the subconscious, and the area where magick most essentially happens.

***

Back in either the very late 70s or very early 80s I would look at Eliphas Levi’s illustration of the Sabbatic Goat as Baphomet, the well known androgynous figure.

baphomet

Levi says of the goat figure:

he makes the sign of occultism with both hands,
pointing upward to the white moon of Chesed, and down-
ward to the black moon of Geburah. This sign expresses
the perfect harmony of mercy with justice

Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual

Now though the directions of the Moons seem the wrong way round for the Northern Hemisphere, I took it that constructive Chesed would be associated with the waxing Moon, while martial Gevurah would be associated with the waning Moon. Where then would the Full Moon be? The obvious answer seems to be Yesod, which is primarily associated with the Moon, while the gateway to the astral is said to be open at the time of the Full Moon.

Though no mention is made of it in Levi’s chapter, it then left it open to me as to where the New Moon would be placed. Associated with what? The answer that came to me was that the New Moon (the dark of the Moon) would be associated with a place in the Abyss, with the sephira “which is not”, ie Da’ath. The eleventh sephira, “Knowledge”, eleven being the number of magick.

 

In fact, come to think of it, the way Levi describes Baphomet, Chesed is to his right (our left), and Gevurah is to his left. This is the opposite of the placements we would see if Baphomet were in front of the Tree of Life (or if we ourselves were performing a qabalistic cross for instance). Likewise the waxing and waning Moons are shown in mirror image (given that Levi would probably have never seen a Moon waxing towards the right, as occurs in the Southern Hemisphere). So in this depiction Baphomet is actually sitting with its back to the Tree of Life, facing the other way (unless this is simply accidental).

baphomet2

In fact I followed this association of the New Moon and Da’ath in my practice back in the early 80s, and when doing my art work I would often find that inspiration for a painting or drawing would dramatically come through at the dark of the Moon. If the Full Moon funnels down the light of Tiphareth and Kether from the astral of Yesod, then the dark of the Moon opens a gate from Da’ath, to the new, the alien, the “infernal”, and the truly individual. You have to be without judgement to work with this, and it is ecstatic, creative and liberating, but it can also be taxing, so you do have to look after yourself.

As I pointed out in my video, the hexagram arrangement on the Tree of Life marks out polarities linked to the planets and sephiroth, and one of the polarities is between Da’ath and Yesod, and between Saturn and the Moon.

11c

Given that it has often been said that it is the “astral light” that is being worked with to make magick, I think it makes sense that Saturn and Da’ath come through here as key agents in both the shaping and the disruption of the astral, to bring about magick.

Continuing with the theme of eleven, the number of magick, the eleventh sign of the Zodiac is Aquarius, originally ruled by Saturn. Atu No 11 of the tarot is “Strength” or “Lust” (in the Crowley deck), showing Babalon riding The Beast, and is the path connecting Chesed and Gevurah. This shows the conjoining of opposites (of whatever polarity) which is involved in magick.

The number 11 however does not seem to indicate a natural union (without any sense of value judgement attached to “natural”). The 11° OTO originally referred to the use of anal intercourse, and in Grant’s reworking involved (non-procreative) heterosexual vaginal union during menstruation. Aquarius is ruled by Uranus in modern astrology, and Uranus is famous for its capacity to powerfully deviate from the “norm”, whether in terms of genius, self-expression or atrocity.

On this point I am reminded of a question which posed itself to me a few years ago. When looking at the wheel of the zodiac we can see that it divides in two between a broad Summer and Winter (which swap over in the Southern Hemisphere).

yearwheel

Summer starts with a sign ruled by Venus, progresses through Mercury to a union of the Moon and Sun at the heart of Summer, before leaving via a Mercury and then a Venus ruled sign.

We then enter Winter through a Mars ruled sign, travelling through a Jupiter sign, before we get to the combination at the heart of Winter; two Saturn ruled signs. We then exit Winter in reverse order, through Jupiter and Mars.

I always wondered, what was the union of Saturns? In one sense I think it is a union across worlds (or universes). In fact the “unnatural union” requires this, for it is a union of sames (Saturn-Saturn) whose polarity must involve another dimension. So there is a trans-dimensional quality to this magick. In fact, this is spirituality in the raw. The congress of and with spirit.

The two signs involved are Capricorn and Aquarius, the 10th and 11th signs. 10 + 11 = 21. The 21st Atu of the tarot is The World (or The Universe), the card of success and fulfilment, ruled by Saturn (again). It is the path that links Yesod to Malkuth (the material).

Here I believe we do see a formula of magick, mapped out in the Qabalah and the zodiac. Yesod is the magick mirror, capable (necessarily) of reflecting both the repetition of the natural and the incursion of the supernatural. It is a mirror that we can tilt towards this world or the other.

Saturn is the key planet, and Da’ath the key sephira, but of course there is a lot more to life than this, and plenty to enjoy and work with in the realm of Nature. For some of us though, other kinds of work also seem to be pushed upon us.

Some blessings are strange indeed, and some strangenesses a blessing.

Love, and do what thou wilt.


*  https://youtu.be/xWksUvgw_NA

https://youtu.be/nF54yZQe7lc

https://youtu.be/EthmVHoe3FY

* and this post

Light, dark, crowns and reversals

Coronadolores By Cofradía de Ntro. Padre Jesús Nazareno (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons - digitally altered

I’ve been finding it good to do videos at the moment, having found a nice way of recording them on my phone while pacing around the flat, which makes the flow and spontaneity work for me. I’ve been focusing on Spiritual (Theistic) Satanism, and things like Qabalah, and it has been a relief to be able to just focus on the kind of Satanism that speaks to me, without qualifying it with an attempt to (not mis-) represent Satanism more broadly. In fact, since really embracing the sense of Satan as a being, things have really slotted into place, and I’ve come that much closer to finding the next steps of my path. In some ways this was inevitable for me, as I am a polytheist and occultist, and the spiritual (rather than the materialism of more purely LaVeyan inspired Satanism) was bound to play a large part for me.

My last video was more of a video diary entry, and in it I was musing on the meanings of “dark” and “light” which people refer to.

One of my problems with neopaganism was its prosaic use of what were meant to be significant insights. We were told often of how monotheism “demonized” the dark and exulted a sense of the “light”, and how Pagan religions, being far more “natural”, accepted the different parts of life, the dark and the light, the painful and the blissful. We were given the sense of dark and light being a polarity of Nature, embraced by naturalism. Night and day, Summer and Winter, sunrise and sunset, birth and death. But there’s a catch here.

Is all that we have to consider really natural? Are we really accepting suffering equally with happiness (and should we)? Are we, in all our apparent aberrations as human beings, not also Nature? And when you have gone through the cycle of accepting day and night, birth and death (speaking as an ex-nurse, I have never got used to death), with that panacea of “reincarnation” as the supposed solution – have you really done the dark? Even if we talk about “facing the shadow” psychologically, what do we really mean? And what of “evil”, that ultimate emotive term of condemnation? I have no doubt that none of this is as the monotheists claim. But is it really so easy, so clean, so tamable?

As you might guess, my answer is “I don’t think so”. It’s good as far as it goes, but it only really goes as far as the insights of secularism and a tolerant common sense, which is fine, but not profound.

If you want to enter into a spiritual understanding of existence, then the darkness you deal with can’t just be “psychological” or symbolic, and can’t just be natural. And beyond a certain point, neither can magick. My critique here is not of the “Paganism” of old, which while it may be only partly known to us, dealt in grittier, dodgier stuff. It’s more modern, mainstream Paganism that I think hasn’t got it. The monotheisms, while I am opposed to them on pretty fundamental grounds, at least know something is there, and have the guts to call it “evil”, even if they don’t understand it, or its place in self-actualisation, and are antagonistic to the latter.

At some point we have to deal with the alien, the monstrous, that which doesn’t even belong to this Universe, which cannot for that matter be said to either exist nor not exist. This brilliant, lawless darkness we glimpse through the cracks, the points inbetween, and in so doing breathe a freedom we have never known before, an original creativity which lies also at the heart of ourselves. At that point, all bets are off. It is neither evil nor good, but ecstatic, yet in the absence of goodness will always be rationally and conventionally viewed as “evil”.  This freedom is part of what I see as being at the heart of both Satanism and Thelema.

The Left Hand Path has different goals to the Right. It is not “one of the infinite paths up the mountain”. This is no holism or universalism.

The Right Hand Path would have us ascend the Tree of Life, and merge ultimately in egoless union with The One. At least I believe that is the general picture. At the top of that tree (qabalistically) is Kether, The Crown. I don’t see any point in this, the coming here, only to go back, not even to a heaven, but blissful extinction in the unity we were meant to have come from, and should necessarily still be a part of already. So the Left Hand Path (in my view) takes another crown for its system, the sphere of Da’ath (knowledge, I think as gnosis), the gateway in the abyss, to other Universes, to the reverse of the Tree of Life.

Here we have the mystery of time and space, multiple alternate realities, and the labyrinthine, lustrous, black mother of pearl of the tunnels of being. And here the lawless creativity and gratification, the Sabbat of the dark of the Moon, the New, the brilliant, the free.

Here poetry, art, criminality (inevitably though not necessarily), and the savage desire that fires genius and the crackling, reckless impulse of science.

Here a figure dances and glitters between dark and light. An illicit Mercurius; magician, trader, thief, demon.

The fruit of Saturn, and Pan and our deepest dreams.

The new flesh.

 

to choose

Intensive Care Unit - by U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Writing about social issues isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but sometimes I just feel like clarifying ideas around what seem like lopsided topics.

“Abortion rights” were one of the sacred tenets of my youth, and I would still push for an intelligent application of these now (as for instance is needed in Northern Ireland, where women are denied recourse to termination of pregnancy, and suffer what I consider an appalling injustice).

The way these have been framed by some feminist abortion campaigners has been very unfortunate at times though, indeed somewhat desperate, beyond all common sense.

To my mind it is absurd to think that a fertilised egg is a “person” (though obviously it may become one eventually), or that a seven month old fetus is nothing but a redundant organ that the mother may do what she wants with, as if only one being were involved.

On the one side we have had (usually religious) protesters trying to prevent all terminations, and on the other have been radical feminists demanding that a fetus of any age should be legally abortable at the sole discretion of the mother, as if it were her absolute property, and did not in any way count as a human life. Sometimes it is pointed out that the fetus is entirely dependent upon the mother, and it is asserted that only the mother’s bodily autonomy needs to be morally considered.

Taken to their logical conclusions, the two positions would lead to every mother that unavoidably miscarries being charged with accidental manslaughter, or the parents of every new-born being able to kill their baby, thanks to its total dependence upon them.

There is I think, if you do not take the absolute position of every fertilised egg being a human life, a line to be drawn somewhere, after which the personhood of the fetus needs to be considered. Beyond a certain point a pregnant woman carrying a fetus cannot be said to be autonomous, anymore than a parent can be said to be independent of their child. It might not be nice if you don’t want it, it might be terrifying, but that’s how human life works. In general no one gets to walk away from their child without someone else taking care of it, not without consequences, and I have never met a mother who felt that their child, the person, didn’t exist before birth.

This is the glaring piece of dogma in feminist thinking on the subject, as often expressed. The need to, at all costs, deny the fetus any “rights” or personhood. And this is where the “pro-choice” argument runs out. Not in principle, if on the right side of a line (which may admittedly be to an extent arbitrary), but in absolutist assertion.

The radical feminist argument only sees a woman. Her autonomy. Her right to choose. The “pro-life” argument only sees the killing of a human person without consequence. When the former asks the latter how they can call themselves “pro-life” when they don’t care about the lives of the unwanted babies, they fail to see that what they are concerned with is preventing a killing, not quality of life. When the latter call doctors who perform abortions “murderers”, they fail to see the absurdity of everything after fertilisation being considered a person, and how this can alter some moral priorities.

Let’s switch to another scenario where there is an unconscious, entirely dependent life. Someone on life support in a coma. This person has no choice, and their selfhood is nascent (though might, under the right conditions, awaken). This person, who is unconscious, dependent, and in no way able to survive without the “umbilical cord” of artificial life support, has no choice. They may indeed be a burden on someone else’s autonomy. Does their lack of choice and consciousness deprive them of personhood? Does it absolve the carers of responsibility? Does it give them the right to choose against the unconsciously vulnerable? To transfer not just agency, but essential worth?

These are the sort of moral questions that abortion may raise. It is not just a question of “a woman’s right to choose”, unless you consider every fetus to be entirely null in terms of personhood.

A tiny person, in a coma, on biological life support. Or not.

I have no intention of telling anybody what they should judge on the issue, but to pretend that it isn’t an issue, a question, is facile and disingenuous. When we seek to erase or bury these questions, we ultimately make it more difficult to determine where the ethical “line” is, because we are denying the existence of the line at all, any shades of grey, any messy, lifelike, inconvenient detail.

That doesn’t help us attain moral maturity.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Intensive Care Unit – by U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons