To my readers

As you probably know by now, my husband Phil Batchelor died last month. I think I prefer “died” to terms like “passed away”, as he certainly did die physically, but he has not passed away. He and his presence, intelligence, heart and vitality is very much in my life, and I don’t doubt in the life of others too.

I have had a lot of practical things to sort out, and there is a great deal to still process and understand inwardly. Sometimes it feels like floating above an ocean of deep water. Most days I don’t lose my nerve though. Everything my husband taught me is fresh, as if it remembered itself. It has the quality of my own soul’s voice. Phil has just become greater, and even more unusual! My great husband.

I know Phil would have wanted me to continue with everything, my work, our work. We were getting ready to embark on the next stage of our journey before Phil left the body, like we always did when faced with a crisis; we just didn’t know it would be this big or extraordinary! Earlier in the Summer we did our first full Satanic ritual together and it was really good. I had been progressing with my occult researches. We were building, and our last birthdays together in August (a day apart) were very happy. We were thinking of renewing our vows.

Inevitably (and appropriately) I am not the same person as I was. But I am not less, for I feel closer and more at one with Phil than ever.

I will be writing, and doing other creative work, when the time is right.

Love is the Law, Love under Will.

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The Hunt

When the time is right, the hunt will come for me

And take me back to the man who owns me

My mate

My bull of heaven

My love’s great arms

And the weight of his ardour upon me

 

And I will be again

His soil, his garden

His field, his aching boy

Awake at last and overjoyed

 

Then my monster will have lived enough

And a young man will walk free

 

Till then I follow the course of a star

Whether Algol or Regulus

 

Or with the sound of hooves

The glimpse of muscular, rearing bodies

A tail that swishes

A brow borne of wisdom

Or wildness

Blood, semen and wine

Herbs that heal, and dreams

 

I have eaten pomegranate seeds

And I have no regrets

 

Let that be known

 

That when the time is right

The hunt will come for me

 

With joy

herne

The Man I Love

A week ago I read this out at Phil’s cremation and send off. It was titled “The Man I Love”.

I first met Phil 13 years ago, on Halloween of 2004. It was an online encounter on a Pagan message board, and I was immediately moved by the warmth and goodness of this strong and gentle man who loved his children, and had come through a divorce after coming out as gay years before. We were members of the gay “Bear” subculture, and he had the aura and innocence of an ACTUAL, incredibly loving bear.

We became friends and fell in love before we had actually met physically. When I did meet him face to face in Nevada, his warmth, tenderness and love was so great and so generous, and so was his faith in love and goodness. We stood outside his home in Carson City holding hands, looking up at a clear Summer night sky, and I was filled with joy. I think he was relieved, and we both were in the dream we had always longed for.

A few days later he took me to Virginia City, which is an Old West town in the high desert of Nevada, and we bought silver rings, and we took our vows to each other (12 years ago now), for this life and beyond. That was the happiest and freest day of my life, and those vows still stand.

Phil had been through many hardships in his life, but you would not think it. He carried an enormous amount with great dignity, grace and forbearance. When he was presented with an obstacle, he was immediately right there, facing it, finding a way through it or around it. He was like that till the moment his body gave out and slipped into a final repose, and my warrior brother was fine and beautiful till his last breath. He was loyal, faithful, untiring, and would never lose hope, but would always face things as they were. He had vision, and I know he still does. The past tense is only an organic formality here, nothing more.

Phil had a great capacity to help people, and though his own children were taken away from him, I think he acted as a surrogate father to many people. He was an exceptionally talented clinical hypnotherapist, and I know he changed lives and helped people to transform themselves. He was also psychic and a natural medium, and he never stopped helping, even when he was medically retired, he would counsel, mentor, do readings, give advice, whether it was to do with psychic matters or neighbours standing up for their rights with worldly authorities. It was just who he was.

Phil was also, like me, a Witch, and we followed our path together, latterly preferring the term “warlock” and giving the Devil his due, though Phil was also an open minded humanist who prized individuality, and never needed to join anything. Spirituality for Phil was a tool that we could all use, not a contract. He was a natural – unafraid, adventurous, spontaneous. He supported me in my growth and exploration, without hesitation, with his innate intuition and understanding, in his natural, matter of fact way. He was a natural magician and medium. He was courageous and strong in everything, whether in this world or the other.

Phil protected and cared for me through thick and thin, and everything we went through, we faced together, till the end, or at least the end of the chapter where we are both incarnate in physical bodies, this time (though neither of us especially wanted to come back again!). It really isn’t the end.

We shared everything with complete openness and honesty, and I do believe there is no finer husband in the world than Phil. I am so proud to be his, and so grateful we found each other. Our theme tune was “Desperados” by the Eagles, though neither of us ever hesitated to choose hearts over diamonds, and if we were to find ourselves “out riding fences” (and we did), it was together. It will always be together, because he is my Gentle Bull, my King and my mate.

Phil was a boy who was born on the San Francisco Bay, and always considered San Francisco his spiritual Atlantis and his home. He had brothel keepers and silent film actresses for ancestors, as well as a Canadian Indian grandmother who took off long before Phil was born, to do her own thing. I’m proud his lovely father was a janitor, and that Phil was the heart and soul of any trailer park he lived in. That’s my kind of royalty. That boy grew to become a wonderful man that lit the world around him. An individual who always sought to be true to himself, and live his life on his own terms, for the good.

I think if Phil wanted me to tell you one thing, it would probably be this:

Live the life you want to, as the person you really are. Do not fear, but believe in Love.

He taught me that everyday.

Thank you.

WP_20171102_14_30_58_Pro

Phil on the right, our son Jake on the left. He and Jake were very close.

my love

Tonight is Halloween, and 13 years since I met my love, my soul mate and my husband.

It’s about two and a half weeks since he passed to “the other world”, on 13th October.

I love you Phil, and I am always yours.

Always, my love.

philmo2

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.

 

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.