more on my philosophy

Maybe “philosophy” is too grand a word. I believe very much in individual fulfilment and responsibility, as most Satanists do. Freedom is important, pleasure, gratification, desire, imagination, choice, self esteem. But life is a great, dynamic thing; passionate and serene, intricately ordered and structured, with veins coursing with the chaotic stuff of life, bound and freed, ridden and riding, a wondrous thing, that seeks ever more.

But what do we seek?

For me love is an immensely important factor in life, just not the castrated “love” of some religious traditions. There is a saying: “if you cannot curse, you cannot cure”. That which can powerfully do good can also harm. When we create we also destroy. When we love, ever more deeply, we love with all of ourselves. It is not a walk in the park. It’s not a meditation retreat. It is hazardous, a gamble, that takes our all. So love is very great in my estimation.

If part of our goal is mastery and self-mastery (and I think it is), it is also to be remembered that the deeper we go, the more our methods can look like madness, and the wisdom (in the making) of our flesh and soul look like foolishness. Except we follow the deepest course, with pure intent, the purest instinct for the deepest fulfilment.

We don’t live in our heads. We don’t live in the conscious mind, even if we must have this spark of awareness here, making sense of all this. We live across and between worlds, and our greatness, your greatness, my greatness, is found in this deepest stirring to go beyond ourselves, in the mystery of love. Undone, pure, bliss.

As poetry speaks truth, so love lives life.

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Eros Psyche Galate – by Jean Fontayne (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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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to have, and to have not

In modern Satanism, there is a very strong thread of pragmatism and self-interest. This is very sensible and practical. You should go for all you can in life, and get the very best, most fulfilling life you can. On the other hand, there’s no point barking up the wrong trees, deluding yourself, or yearning for the impossible, if you can avoid it. But some things are genuinely hard to avoid, because they are too deep, or their denial  is too overwhelmingly circumstantial. People don’t get dealt equal hands, just a fairly standard set of needs, not all of which can be met for everyone. Anton LaVey was very clear in his admiration for the personal qualities of severely deformed individuals who had managed to put their situation to advantage by being sought after as “circus freaks”, and got people to pay for the privilege of seeing them. The strength, determination and individualism of these people was outstanding.

With some things it’s fine to say “suck it up”, and “bite the bullet”, but there are points at which a person suffers in a way which is so psychologically potent for them, that such advice doesn’t go very far.

What I would like to highlight here is that people face real losses and deprivations in life, inequalities and what  would be obviously unfair, if there were any expectation of existence being “fair” (which there clearly cannot be). However, without engaging in sentimental concepts of “everything being for a reason” (which really isn’t the point), the way life and human nature works out, there are often compensations, and ones which only become apparent through hard experience. These sort of areas I think go deeper into universal aspects of spirituality, as they deal with areas of self-realisation which we discover through facing life as it is, sometimes making surprising discoveries in the process.

I use the term “warlock” to describe myself because I am male, and I like the resonances of “warlock” as a Satanist. But I also like the term “witch” for its sexual ambiguity as a male. My inner life is a door, not a thing; a space, not an object. Beyond that door, you’d have to know me beyond words or appearances, or available categories, to see.

I have relationships with deities and spirits, with the “other world”, a world which could be judged “non-existent”, indeed you might well consider it such, if you hadn’t experienced yourself as part of it. Being and nothingness are threads in one cloth, and if you held that cloth to your face I would defy you to tell me which was which. That is the love of life for itself.

If I had experienced a happy, fulfilled younger life of relationship and love, I would not have fallen into the arms of that world. I would not have been seen from the other side, and found a kind of recognition. These bonds don’t come from practice, but from your own soul, that part of your being that recognises the stuff of life as poetry, and poetry as life. Why these things happen, why they are, I do not know, other than that they carry a meaning that bears its own gravity, attracting us and the events of our lives across fields to their ends, however distant and forbidding, hard or verdant, towards the meaning we most deeply share.

With time we see who we are, and lack becomes fullness. We see what we can do. We see how we can love.

The heart is bigger than we think; red as blood, luminous as dreams, warm as our lover’s flesh. And it is open.

There may be many kinds of want, each in their way revealed through different circumstances. The crucible is hollow, the pot useless without its emptiness. The fire is real. And we have lives to live, and meanings that may take time and experience to uncover.

dancing_with_helen_moller3b_her_own_statement_of_her_philosophy_and_practice_and_teaching_formed_upon_the_classic_greek_model2c_and_adapted_to_meet_the_aesthetic_and_hygienic_needs_of_to-day2c_with

Dancing with Helen Moller by Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

saints, healers and beasts

I have written on this subject before, as well as about my limited experience of contributing to a certain kind of art.

I have great respect for porn, and for sex work, and sex workers. I view the latter as having a sacred function in a world that has trouble according Nature its due, and the former (potentially) as art that exists below as well as above the belt. And that’s probably why it is taboo, because we are all both vulnerable and blissful below the belt, and our society has a long standing stake in dividing our natures against themselves. That may be religious in origin, though its puritanism has been vigorously taken up by identity politics, or it may be an underpinning element of a wider authoritarian mind-set.

So I am very interested in the overlap between “pornography”, art and artistic creativity, and magick. I consider this to be a sacred form of art, one which certainly may not be achieved (or aimed for) in all porn, but it is implicit in the territory, just as a form of sacred service is implicit in the field of sex work.

We have a long way to go in living free lives as the human beings we are, though many people are bravely attempting to do so in their personal and private lives, while others are hoodwinked by politics into propping up more forms of division and fabrication. I thank anyone for honestly trying to be themselves at this deeper level of sexuality, being and relationship. Pornography and sex work are not ends in themselves (anymore than other forms of art or vocation are), but services towards the wholeness of life. Extrapolated to magickal spirituality this area has many resonances in our lives, beyond pornography, sex work, or indeed literal sex. This is some of what I was alluding to in my post on Babalon* also.

The real work is our being human.

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landscape, person or art?

This post is dedicated to Freya, Babalon and Set.

* indeed Babalon might be one of the “saints” of the title of this post.

29th October 2016: post edited