Archetypes and Identities; My Personal Relationship with Satan

I am closely and deeply attached to archetypes.  Looking back over my life I realise that for me this was a fight or flight response.  I very symbolically  needed to become my own archetypes to survive my experience. Superstition and tradition had deeply failed me and so I have changed identities as/when needed so thoroughly that I have even changed names and my aesthetic to accompany what I needed to convey to the world about myself at that time. I contextualize myself in my life as a series of characters I’ve played that still reside within me and inform my current dominate Self. Because of this I am very interested in topics of identity construction and evolution in the personal and collective strata. I am also interested in what differentiates those of us who seem much more aware of or close to the collective consciousness of humanity as described by Jung from others and what role resilience plays in that. What exists in some of us that allows us to absorb damage from potentially traumatic events and convert it into the strength of instinctual or seemingly otherworldly insight into all forms of human communication, including nonverbal and technological? Why are some of us inclined to always be “just a little ahead of our time” and feel so compelled to provide the exaggerated and archetypal performance of identitiy to the world in a particular cultural milieu?

For clarity I have to state that though I think of myself as a collection of identities or archetypes I view these as multiple  (consciously selected and integrated) identities as opposed to multiple “personalities” or “dissociated” ones. I do not believe dissociative identity disorder should be a diagnosis. However, I do speculate that how I contextualize myself as a collection of identities to cope with life may be precisely why the idea of “multiple personalities” or “dissociated identities” may be so fascinating to people. I doubt that this coping technique,  which I consider to be related to the creative mind and therefore also related to feelings of a religious type of conviction, is uncommon. That is perhaps what makes it very vulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous therapists. In my more conspiratorial and paranoid moods I would even go so far to say that therapists and mental health professionals who still peddle the notion of broken people spontaneously, unconsciously, and unwillingly creating whole new separate personalities as another example of how culturally sensate people are under assault while our insight into humanity is undermined, ignored, and devalued. Many of these therapists create trauma where none may have existed or been experienced as such and then manipulate archetypal expressions of identity out of patients based on falsehoods which create broken confused people with real underlying mental health needs that are then ignored or untreated. “I went in for depression and left with multiple identities” is a common enough phrase to hear when talking with patients recovering from damage caused by a DID diagnosis.

For most of my life I have been culturally drawn to the archetypes of The Rebel that most resonated with me due to my community and family experience. In this I have always felt an affinity or sisterhood with witches,  atheists, feminists, scholars,  and others that I perceived to be maligned in similar ways as myself. In reflection the Rebel expression that most appealed to me was in The Adversary, of which I adopted identities and roles such as Queer, Feminist,  and Satanist. The Adversary asks “why” and demands a reasoned answer. “Why do you get to make the rules?” “Who do these rules benefit?” “Why are you qualified to lead?” “Why is this the norm?” And the Adversary rebels against any unsatisfactory or unproductive answers to questions like those.

Tarot of the Millenium

Starting with The-rebel-as-adversary as my default “survival” expression or context I can then make space to express other archetypes as extensions or appropriate situational behavioral performances. Sometimes the Adversary then has to become The Warrior Hero, or The Sage, or they are the Adversary because of their experience as The Orphan and therefore also desire to be The Caregiver… Understanding these fractions of my total identity, their motivations, and relationships to each other is my own individuation or “Shadow work” and it is the reality that defines my inner discussion.

A common feature of Satanism is deep and unrelenting self reflection. Of which I am often deeply immersed. I have been trying to understand and fully integrate my shadow (or unconscious reactions or motivations) and my psyche or Self (the presentation of me that I perform for the world) for my entire adult life and I have now been a Satanist for most of my life. Lucien said something to me the other day that struck a chord. We were discussing Church of Satan and our own personal initial draw to them and Anton LaVey. He said that he is incredibly interested in seeing why “old school” Satanists are or were drawn to TST. He was referring  people like ourselves that were once drawn to CoS but are involved in other forms of Satanism now. He observed that we were drawn to the parts involving Satan, while the stuff that seemed to just be static noise from Anton’ s own personal fetishes and dislikes never struck a deep or meaningful chord with us.  All of the simplistic selfishness and self important proclamations of elitism eventually  just became an unpleasant detractor from what we had originally signed up for. Anton was on his own path of self reflection but he made the mistake of confusing his own deeply rooted and recently uncovered personal motivations and tastes as being universally, instead of personally, Satanic.  Many of us tolerated it, and I’d be lying if I claimed that I didn’t once buy into notions of Social Darwinism and the inherent elitism of “true” Satanists. Then I grew up. If that sounds flippant and dismissive it is meant to. I’m not sorry.

In that way, I’d say that those of us who understand Satanism as the  individuation process of people drawn to the archetype of Satan (whatever that means or looks like given that indivuals experience and capabilities) are the only “true” Satanists regardless of what “church” or temple we belong to. We are the ones drawn to the archetype itself regardless of the dogma, philosophy, science, pseudoscience, or mythology we personally wrap around it. Those that call themselves Satanist yet don’t understand the ludicrously ironic nature of attaching dogmatic “No True Satanist” arguments to an archetype from the collective consciousness are the types I come closest to throwing my own “no true Satanist ” accusation at. I’m left feeling that they are beneath consideration in Satanic discussion because they seem to have signed up for group validation without self reflection or challenging dialog outside of their experience.

Satanists who lack the ability to recognise their own individual archetype of Satan as personal are larval and it is apparent that many of them will never emerge from their chrysalis.

Deviant Moon tarot deck

 

 

 

 

Weird Sisters and Strange Existence, My Inclination to the Occult.

Occult means “knowledge of the hidden” I understand this in the context of understanding non-verbal communication and its importance as data. Data injects nuance. The ability to integrate all of the discernible data and subtelty into observation and conclusion and then apply informed will tempered by context and self awareness to our interactions and presentation to shape, inspire, or intimidate people around you is… magic, spelled with a k if you wish.

Your personal style, space, and aesthetic represents how you want others to perceive and react to you. It is a form of non-verbal communication. Witches, Queers, and Satanists often use their personal style to convey power and confidence (even if it is a bluff) and ward off the unworthy or wasteful from interaction. In the case of many like myself, this is because we are compelled to conserve energy or social currency. Social interaction for the neuro-diverse, or those with abuse and trauma in our background is by necessity and emotional development…different.

However, our resultant talents are absolutely necessary for progression of the entire social collective dialog and culture. We have a heightened ability to combine words, actions, body language, symbols, and style presentation into total scene for a more comprehensive insight.  For instance, we inject a healthy wariness and skepticism regarding the intentions and motivations of people that helps keep monsters who operate solely within the realm of immediate individual self interest from getting elected as president of the United States of America.

Or that’s what we provide when we aren’t being spread thin simply defending our right to express ourselves the way we are developmentally and emotionally compelled to.

Religion and the Occult are expressions of art, especially if you remove subscription to superstition from the equation while still allowing yourself to appreciate and honor the historical context of superstitions and stories to humanity. Like art, religion cannot exist without culture. Religions are formed when a group (culture) of people seek to make sense of themselves and the world around them through symbols, aesthetics, and stories (art) and then form communities in which to explore meaning, relationships, and identity outside of base level existence and survival. In this way art, ritual, and religion (much to the chagrin of capital-A atheists) is intrinsic to human culture and cooperative species evolution because they serve the same needs regarding community building and social cohesion.

Our logical evolutionary and technological conclusion as a cooperative species is towards a more collective consciousness. Our challenge is to evolve toward this goal without homogenizing the individual components and experiences that provide diversity, which is as important to social justice and progress as it is to a gene pool. In the grand scale of things-working-as-intended irrelevant or harmful ideas and practices are discarded or inactivated like genes that no longer serve a purpose. Philosophies and religions long discarded or dismissed can and should be reactivated and updated when they contain insights or approaches that inject healthy informed skepticism and resistance into the discussion.

Many of us contextualize our lives much more strongly around the collective knowledge, archetypes and stories of humanity than most. We are more adept at non-verbal communication and observing the patterns, relationships, and cycles in human behavior on both individual and community scales. Those of us with this talent seek epiphany by analyzing our own tendencies towards apophenia . We extricate our more anecdotal and hyperbolic revelations or prophesies and explore the darker paths of paranoia, fear, lonliness, and hatred in an endless effort to understand why people hurt and disappoint each other and what adversity teaches us about strength, resolve, and progress.

 

My Unhappy Childhood featuring Tucker Carlson commentary.

On Fox “news” Tucker Carlson told Lucien Greaves that he believed Lucien’s Satanism was due to an “unhappy childhood”. It was a troll comment meant to elicit a defense of the legitimacy of Satanism that would deflect from any meaningful conversation about the actual topic at hand. Also, it was hilariously ill-conceived. Yes some of us, maybe even many of us, have had bad experiences with certain other LGBTQ and diversity hating religions that also often harbor and collude with child abusers… and we may have then been inclined to reject those religions in favor of ones that support us as we are, damages, eccentricities and all… That doesn’t really make a case to question the legitimacy of Satanism as much as it raises a few dozen other questions and observations about what a religion is and should be and why Satanists exist…

Story Time;

When I was a teenager one of my best friends collected Nazi memorabilia. He also blew up his hand playing around with fire and black gunpowder. My other best friend (both boys lived near me) ended up getting expelled from school for bringing a pipe bomb to school. Back then these facts didn’t carry the gravity they do now, this was pre-Columbine. in 1993-94 they were facts without perceptively being portents. One of those friends ended up in the military, the other one in jail for rape and other things. We were all weird, poor, working class marginalized kids with dysfunctional and violent home and school lives.

My stepfather was physically abusive. My mother suffered from severe depression and anxiety (that I inherited) and was compulsively religious and evangelical during her darkest times.  At home I lived in a Christian environment of blackest depression and dysfunction.  But most of my fear came from outside my home.

Have you ever been regularly hunted for sport? I have. Older boys in the neighborhood would chase me (in their truck) when they would see me out walking. I rarely walked on main streets in my neighborhood during the day. I always cut through yards and wooded areas to avoid being visible on the main road as much as possible.  I had to scope out the convenience store from afar before approaching to avoid them if they happened to be there buying smokes and hanging out in the lot. They would drive by my house and yell “QUEER” and “FAGGOT” in the middle of the night. They drove by and knocked our mailbox over with a baseball bat they carried in their truck. I would have to answer questions from my mother and step father about why they thought I was a faggot and why they hated me so much (“Did you ever do anything to them?..”)

At school I was also bullied relentlessly. My nose has been fractured multiple times in fights. I was once cut with a scalpel blade in the hallway of the science floor between classes. When I got angry and scared or cornered enough to fight back I generally held my own, I made sure of that. There were none of the safe spaces Tucker and his friends like to deride for me or my other two friends. No religion or community for us except each other. We were three males who were in constant conflict everywhere we went and that felt like fighting for our very survival.

I don’t know why I’m not the one who ended up in the military, or jail. I also don’t know what deeper psycholigical complexity made us different from the boys at Columbine. I can’t tell you that it wasn’t sheer chance or circumstance either, and that should bother all of us. Because I’ve always felt a little “There but for the grace of God go I…” about Columbine. I was a high risk white male because of the daily trauma I experienced.

I spent time in the library at school reading. My study hall teacher, Mrs. Livingston, who sometimes apologized to me for how people treated me, would let me take a pass and hang out in the library. I adopted reading articles on the internet early, back when most computers anyone had access to were black screens with green or orange text. It was there in my highschool library that I learned that Satanism was atheistic and that it was for those of us who were othered, those of us who were non-believers, queers, neuro-diverse, all of us who were more than banal and common. Satanism provided the context of my own self empowerment. I could be my own Lucifer. My senior year of highschool had an entirely different tone for me. I was still in constant conflict at school because of my liberal queer perspective and my newfound confidence to challenge any narrative I didn’t agree with, regardless of whether an “authority” was presenting it. My teachers feared pissing me off in class lest I start debating or arguing with them on a topic for the rest of the period, students started steering clear of me and I found more freedom to do what I wanted because everything I did was expected to be “weird” and adversarial. My body and mind was my own, the system was corrupt, and I had all of the motivation to address it.

I am not speaking for every Satanist. However, there are those of us who did have extremely unhappy childhoods, and it is not shocking that we’d gravitate to Satanism. It is empowering and in its simplest terms it was about being yourself unapologetically. Religion, specifically the empowerment and community one can find through religion, is transformative and in this case may have saved me if not also many other kids at my school by proxy. So while Tucker is chuckling about the unhappy childhood Satanists must have had he could also consider the implications of what those unhappy childhoods can do to people and be thankful that I am merely a Satanist and not a terrorist.  Tucker is not inaccurate to suspect an unhappy childhood when Satanists are concerned (though I can’t speak to Luciens childhood and neither can Tucker), but he is a fucking dick. Perhaps he should ponder why he still resorts to middle school ad hominems when faced with Satanists having intelligent adult discourse if we are the ones with the moral maturity deficiency in our past.

 

 

Satanism and the Occult; Harbingers of Collective Cultural Reconsideration

The Satanic Temple NYC recently held an evening of lectures as a fundraiser for The Satanic Temple and its legal battles in the realm of pluralistic American religious freedom and expression. We began with Kristen Sollee, author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive who began by explaining the relationship between misogyny and witch hunts to intersectional feminine identities and reclamation. To summerize my take-away on her presentation I would say she paints a portrait of Witches and Satanic Witches (in the modern self-identity construct which is reactive to the fictional accusation) as the brightly colored warriors and enemy diversions who place themselves as gaurdians of the knowledge we have gained over our centuries of debate over gender inequality and patriarchy.

Following this writer and witch Sarah Lyons asks us to consider the question of what we want to imagine a better world to look like and specifically points out that to achieve that vision Satanists and witches are already embracing and using the first magickal step. “I think an effective way to imagine what we want the world to look like is to imagine what our oppressors don’t want. Take their propaganda and caricatures and turn them into positive models for revolution.”

She also seems to touch on Satanism’s own current identity crisis struggling between self-involved and analytically-isolated anecdotal individualism verses individualism informed by and expressive of intersectional diversity of human experience. (I am not sure if she intended to or if I am reading into her.) Intuitive empathy with, and talented application of diverse experience and abilities into a mutually rewarding culture of, celebratory individual expression is my personal litmus test of a “Real Satanist”, not someone who can’t reason out why things that don’t immediately affect them in blatant ways are of no concern and aren’t worth the troublesome consideration.

Tara then segues into a broader examination of the socio-political and cultural ingredients that Satanic themes are metaphors for and how they gain popular interest and appropriation by focusing on the late 19th century French Satanism and Occult popularity. The implication being that Satanism and the Occult permutate and appear when humanity is just over the threshold of a ubiquitous cultural identity shift. Through this lens it can be argued that the recurring role Satanic individuals play are as cultural flagposts for humanity to contextualize themselves on a scale of similarly inclined or existentially against. In that context the most effective or “Satanic” Satanism is one in which the current identity verses culture renegotiation will fall on the side of. In short, the Satanists who win this round of the Satanic identity crisis I mentioned above will be reflective of the cultural evolutionary trajectory for the forseeable future until the next large scale conflaguration of humanity’s existential identity crisis.

Lucien then indirectly discussed the foundational role self-identified Satanists (or witches, or queers…) play in undermining and disarming hyperbolic and superstitious beliefs or conspiracies that appear cyclically during times of cultural and technological progress. These reclaimed identities both draw from and forcably deconstruct the plebian practice of Othering that is a simplistic response to larger cultural change of tone, content and symbolic understanding. Grey Faction, though not exclusively comprised of Satanists, has a goal of making mental health care more accurate and less vulnerable to woo and superstition with observable and replicably consistent results that provide maximum benefit to those seeking care. This is an important and naturally Satanic focus when juxtaposed against the larger social discussion that involves how we view and contextualize neuro-diversity in a way that recognizes the potential advantages that have kept genetic mental and emotional adaptations around that we previously only considered the drawbacks of.

We have here a series overview of the Satanic or Witchy in response to and harbingers of, larger scale change in dialog and attitudes related to Othering and larger cultural identity.

For individuals to seek out their own level of talent and social contribution they need access to reasonable and open-ended guidance. This should be suited to their individual experience, cognitive makeup, and ability to activate their own traits and apply them effectively to their world outlook and personal expression.

Modern Satanism was created on a foundation of progressive inclusion of LGBT people and racial diversity in relation to its time and the most Satanic or currently relevant Satanists are still focusing on the next-tier cultural understanding of the world we envision in which true meritocracy and total mutually beneficial cultural evolutionary progress can only occur if we first understand how inequality affects marginalized people and their contributions, social strengths, and immunities. Satanists, Witches, and seekers of the hidden relationships or Occult are harbingers that the collective mental health and outlook of humanity desires some confrontation therapy and a brand new archetypical norm.

The conversation igniting Satanists right now essentially revolves around the true realities of, motivation toward, and parameters of multiple forms of privilege and the Satanists who present their case in the most effective and widely convincing way will be reflective of the attitudes and conclusions the larger population will come to form and develop for some time to come. Satanists and Occultists historically appear at the precipice of these kinds of social cultural negotiations to embody the opposing viewpoints most at the core of the current social revolution or revelation.

Queer Satanism

What follows is the text and slides from my Queer Satanism lecture. In the future I hope to grow and expand upon it (and do a better job of presenting it in person 😉

Think of a time that you felt empowered for being yourself unapologetically. Particularly in an authoritarian setting like a classroom. Now think of how that affected your behavior and presentation afterwards.

Satanism was first an accusation similar to witch that was meant to other and demonise people or cultures. Satanism began appearing as a topic in fictional literature such as La Bas or The Revolt of the Angels (which mentions “satanic priests”)

Romantic literature portraying Lucifer/Satan as a heroic figure of rebellion against tyranny combined with the fictional mentions of groups of “Satanists” inspired the imaginations of occultists and social justice advocates particularly in the wake of the French revolution against the ruling classes. They began to see the archetype of Satan sympathetically through its representations in fiction often as a metaphor for resistance to an overreaching government and church and theocratic political and social climate.

In 1966 Anton Lavey founded the Church of Satan. Religious scholars agree that this was the first time that the self identity and religious organization expressly called Satanism appeared though the concepts had been well established before and Anton was not working from a “blank slate”. Since then other organizations such as The Satanic Temple have evolved their own Satanic philosophy and Satanism that is deliberately independant from the Church of Satan.

Queer, originally simply meaning strange or peculiar, started being used as a pejorative towards anyone not cisgendered or heterosexual in the late 19th century incidentally around the same time that occultists and social justice advocates began reclaiming Satan from its previous pejorative use.

The French Revolution inspired people to empower themselves against the tyranny of their government and Church by reclaiming Satan. The AIDS crisis in the 1980s similarly inspired some LGBT people to to reclaim Queer in response to the conformity and complacency they perceived in the LGBT movement and our government which was doing as little as possible to address the deaths of gay men they considered beneath consideration and worthy of ridicule even as they died.

Groups like Queer Nation and ACT-UP rallied around radical resistance and what they saw as a milquetoast approach by the gay community concerning the crisis. The reclamation of Queer began as a rejection of the respectability politics emerging in the LGBT community and a call to arms that being “strange or peculiar” is not an acceptable reason to be denied safety, equality, or life itself.

 

A little glimpse of my own backstory and queer satanic history; I grew up in Marietta OH and went to Marietta High School. I was out at school during the later years of high school. This would have been 94 or 95.

I was fairly well known for being an iconoclast and it seemed to come as second nature to me.. I’ll spare you tons of nostalgic adventure stories but I do want to share one.

We had a rock at the entrance of our highschool which we were allowed to paint. The idea being that if there was one space where students were allowed to graffiti then the rest of the school building may be spared.

Most of the time it had some kind of team spirit shit on it but once it was painted black with a silver swastika and the words “No Yibs”(whatever kind of slur that was supposed to be) painted on it.

This juvenile idiocy stayed on the rock for several weeks…

Until my friends and I had the idea to fix it. We bought some black and hot pink spray paint and covered the swastika with a pink triangle and the words “Gay Pride” one evening.

The next day the first period art class was sent out to paint over it after it had greeted everyone on their morning arrival to school. I was the target of heated discussion which derailed every class that I was in that day. No one had paid attention to the swastika on that rock for weeks, but everyone was highly concerned about our school being represented by a Gay Pride rock.

The next night we returned to paint it again with the additional message “1 in 10 people are gay”.

(that was the statistic bouncing around back then)

Again, the art class painted over it during first period. Time was taken out of an entire class period to censor a message that our community was uncomfortable with or hated, and it wasn’t the Nazi message.

I think it is difficult for many younger people to understand the context of how things have changed since 94. We were essentially pre-internet. I spent my time in libraries and bookstores learning about other gay people, Satanists, and their cultures I felt a part of. I had to special order books that were never stocked at local bookstores. Kids did not regularly come out in highschool in small towns in the 90s. There were few LGBTQ alliances or resources available to youth due to the demonization of Gay people as pedophiles or the notion that youth could be “turned” Gay.  I had to sneak into the gay bar a few towns away on nights during the middle of the week to meet other gay people. I say this to help you understand the gravity of what happened next…

So, on the third night when we returned

(what did you think I was just gonna give up?)

So on the third night we returned. We painted the rock with Gay Pride again and on this night we didn’t stop there. We painted the exterior walls of the school as well. For these messages I used lyrics from Marilyn Manson, who had just released Portrait of an American Family. The walls of our school now had two foot tall scrawled graffiti declaring that It was now time for white trash to prepare for cake and sodomy among other expletives.

The volume on the disruptive classroom discussions was now at 11 on the following day. For most of the school I was at best an annoying attention seeker, at worst an evil deviant villain that deserves violence. After extensive arguing and debating in every one of my classes I was called to the office. Everyone knew I had done it though I hadn’t expressly admitted to it.

There in the office Mr. Smicklass asked me if i had had anything to do with the graffiti on the school. I don’t think he expected me to admit to it.

I was more than happy to however. I railed at him about the prioritization of censoring Gay Pride but not a swastika and I implied that I would be seeking to let my friends at the local newspaper know that swastika stayed on the rock for weeks but that the school used class time on several consecutive days to cover up an innocuous message of inclusion.

Mr Smicklass paused for a bit… and then took great care to explain to me the monetary value of the damage I had done to the school before offering some possibly half-hearted words of encouragement about how difficult high-school is for unique people. He then dismissed me to go back to class. No suspension, didn’t even call my parents. Understand that I was no stranger to suspension for doing far less than thousands of dollars of damage to public property. To this day I am uncertain whether my principal was just a decent human being or if he was scared of the repercussions of public opinion. In any case it was one of many moments I’d had of empowerment through unapologetic expression where I embraced tactics and phrases that shocked the narrative and exposed it’s hypocrisy. These moments and their interplay on my inherent nature shaped me.

Criticism of Satanism by atheists often mirrors criticism of queer by LGBT people.

This victim-blaming approach is predicated on the inability of people with a more milquetoast set of interests and expressions to advocate for equality on the behalf of and alongside people that express themselves in ways outside of their own comfort zone for fear of losing the approval of other bland people.

Atheists who often feel maligned as Satanic by theists object to having strange clad people with an affinity for things they find distasteful standing with them on the same goals.

LGBT people who object to the identification of Queer often also resent Pride and specifically members of our community that trigger their internalised sex shame and homophobia. The reasoning being that Queer is a hurtful or distasteful word (to them) so nobody should be using it. They find integral members of our community, like the gender non-conforming or Leathermen and Drag Queens or promiscuous people “embarrassing” to be seen publicly. Rather than examine the approval they still seem to require of the homophobes around them they blame those who don’t exhibit such a strong desire or need for that approval.

Both of these can be summed up as respectability politics which is how things like gay marriage and military service got prioritized over better legal and systemic protections for queer youth. In most cases of respectability politics the biggest proponents of respectability can be expected to drop out of the discussion once they achieve the goals that affect them personally.

I am sure some measure of effectiveness can be achieved by a certain amount of respectability politics at the right time and in the right circumstances, but it is never a Queer or Satanists first tool and the effectiveness of it has a glass ceiling through which radical social progress and evolution which benefits all communities is never reached.

Reclamation is a tool that people who value individual unapologetic expression often harness. A huge factor of this is the relationship between the personal empowerment of accepting a feared or pejorative accusation as an identity and how becoming that label disrupts the popular narrative. When the herd imagines and names a clawed fang mawed villain capable of influencing or destroying society with ease in the absence of exhausting and conspiratorial vigilance they create an archetype and imbue it with a power that is prefabricated for any superstition deficient defiant group of people who have an axe to grind with a particular superstition or “traditional value”

A current passion point of The Satanic Temple regarding our fights in the public forum regarding separation of Church and State is that we are no longer interested in explaining what we are and stand for to those outside of our community who can’t be bothered to internalise our message or read our websites and articles. Ultimately even if we were Devil worshipping fools or all of the worst things that fevered conspiracists or theists imagine our equality under the law is not subject to restriction based on how distasteful obtuse troglodytes find us to be. We don’t hide anything about who we are and we acknowledge that who we are is by our own design but there is no legal justification in a country founded on secular values with freedom of speech and expression to exclude us from public forums where other religions and their beliefs are represented. We are simply tired of the tone of apologizing and repeatedly explaining ourselves to the intransigent in futile efforts to make them comfortable.

We simply don’t care to labor to achieve your comfort if it interferes with our equality under the law.

These are similar to the feelings that lead up to the Stonewall rebellion and later the reclamation of Queer as an identity during the AIDS epidemic when we watched our president and his cabinet laugh and make jokes about faggots dying while they ignored and enabled more death.

As I mentioned in my recent blog I belong to both the Satanic and Queer communities because of the makeup of my personality and individuality. I wrote recently about how Satanists are the Leathermen, Drag Queens, nerds, and gender non-binary people of the atheist and religious communities. And it is that way because that is the makeup of our inherent personality. We have an aversion to banality and celebrate the unusual and truly free.

Being LGBTQ (and especially the Q) is not just a non-issue in The Satanic Temple, and it’s not something we merely “tolerate”. Coming out and celebrating your own individuality in spite of traditional popular narratives is fundamentally always something that requires no thought to support as Satanists. To that end when we are asked why we are such a haven for Queers and other LGBT people we are often caught off guard by our own neglect to even consider that we wouldn’t enthusiastically encourage the involvement of brave people who champion individual expression and equality in spite of the danger of violence that it puts them in.

In short, being Queer in TST is such a natural fit to us that until recently none of us really thought very deeply about it.

LGBTQA+ Pride, Religion, and Satanic Empowerment.

I began writing this last year before a (possibly closeted) man committed the worst mass shooting in US history targeting LGBTQ people of color in Orlando bar and sanctuary Pulse. Discussions about toxic forms of religion that are inseparable from toxic forms of masculinity are not what I intended to discuss and I won’t be doing so here. I’m also not going to play LET ME GOOGLE THAT FOR YOU regarding the complete functioning definitions or examples of religion for either atheists or theists.  My intent was to promote and discuss the reclamation of religious identity from those who wield it to radicalize, demean, and exclude rather than incorporate, evolve, and include.

These religions and communities we can utilize to support each other both in times of crisis and joy and they are more than suitable replacements for the broken socially regressive death cult religious communities many of us left behind. To those who call for the death of religion I say that you are not being specific enough, and that instead our rallying cry is for the birth of MORE religion based on rationality and/or community above doctrine. My goal is always the positive assertion of my deeply held religious belief despite colloquially based narrow assertions of what the definition of religion is.

Evolve or perish

We can and should take religious identity back from those who’ve rejected it and to balance the milieu of toxic religions monopolizing it when it is convenient for them. When they do reject religion as a self adjective it is because it has become poor marketing for their agenda. If the term “religion” is now so negatively associated that people will go to great lengths to describe themselves as “spiritual not religious” or “having a personal relationship with God” while still enjoying the legal and cultural privilege of their religion then it is beyond past time we gladly take advantage of those same legal and cultural benefits. Let dozens, hundreds, of unique religions bloom and choke out the sole propriety of dogmatic religious ideology. If we are going to discuss personal relationships with our religion or spirituality then I challenge anyone to come up with an example of something more personal than a self selected and maintained personal mythology that provides the context that empowers me to be wholly and shamelessly myself with little regard for social traditions that no longer make sense and thwart progress and individuality.

Many atheists would like to tirelessly remind us that their internalized objection of the term religion makes it an unacceptable choice for secularists (particularly if the religion in question makes their parents or neighbors uncomfortable). In the case of The Satanic Temple I find these arguments similar to those that LGBTQ people hear every year leading up to and during June. The objection being towards those in our community, Leather Men, Drag Queens, Trans people and Queers, taking visible roles in our public celebrations and activities where they can be observed as an expressive and integral part of our community. Satanists are to the religious and atheist communities what Queers, Leathermen, and Drag Queens are to the LGBT community. Sometimes we are being activists, sometimes we are performing, and sometimes we are just celebrating our interests openly and defiantly without shame.

Religious identity is not dissimilar to general cultural identity construction. The point we make most consistently as Satanists is that we recognize and embrace our individual mythologies as personally relevant archetypes and inspirations that you don’t have to partake of if you aren’t inclined to. We don’t follow a religion simply because we were indoctrinated into it by community tradition or default. We are part of an evolving religion that develops without much regard for dogma or social norms which don’t serve a rational purpose. We accept diversity and do not recruit or proselytize.  

The Stonewall vigil for Orlando victims in NYC
The Stonewall vigil for Orlando victims in NYC

Christians often say “I am not religious, I have a personal relationship with God”. Pagans are fond of being “spiritual not religious”. Atheists often reject the term out of personal negative experience and association. The definition of religion defies both of their assertions and evasions. Religion is a term that othered groups should reclaim as the masses of Gray People discard it. Secular and non-theistic/atheistic religions are not new and their foundations are multiplying.

Religion at its best is a rewarding humanitarian fraternity that adds context and value to our cooperative instinct as a social species. Secularists should be encouraging more examples of what religion at its best looks like. Religion is unlikely to go away because of how easily it is integrated with our cooperative community instinct. I believe that the lack of value placed on positive assertion of belief to be the primary hardship most atheist communities struggle with and often fall apart from. The particular content of the archetypes or mythologies a religious community develops around are simply an interesting discussion point that takes a back seat to the results produced by a religious community and it’s goals. In this way most of the dominate religious communities are failing society and hemorrhaging acolytes. Following are two organizations that are inspiring for The Satanic Temple or any other non-theistic, inclusive, or secular religious activist community who also fit the definition for an established religion should they ever decide to declare themselves as such.

“The idea that religion belongs to supernaturalists is ignorant, backward, and offensive.”  so for Pride month  I’d like to recognize two communities exemplifying cultural development and inclusive community philosophy who are indistinguishable from progressive humanitarian religions. Should these communities ever file for religious status in order to counter increasingly theocratic public discourse they have the foundations already in place to counter the narrow marginalizing narratives of those superstitious forms of religion attempting to claim sole purveyance of what religion is.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

“The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”

I have encountered amazing Sisters in every city I’ve lived in and visited. The are a non-profit organization dedicated to charity, safety, community, and indulgence. Their founding tenets revolve around promoting safer sex, fighting AIDS, and LGBTQA+ rights activism. Watching their individual YouTube videos will display the sincerity of their deeply held beliefs and community. Their initiation process takes at least a year. SisterUnity explains why here along with details on their legal restrictions on political discourse as a non-profit organization:

The sisters were present in every Orlando vigil I have seen coverage of, and their presence was one of comfort and acceptance. These are from their LA Chapter Facebook page;

Radical Faeries

“Generally, we tend to be gay men who look for a spiritual dimension to our sexuality; many of us are healers of one kind or another.

Our shared values include feminism, respect for the Earth, and individual responsiblity rather than hierarchy. Many of us are Pagan (nature-based religion).”

Radical Faeries are not particularly fond of being recorded as such or speaking for the whole group. They tend to operate on a ‘you’ve found us, welcome home’ kind of basis. They have several open sanctuaries where they meet annually. Most of what I can convey about them is anecdotal and comes from always having known individuals from their community due to our parallel social circles and interests. I can say generally that the RFs that I know are quite fond of bright colors, peace, pot, nudity and sex. All who are welcoming are generally welcome in their sanctuaries. Individuals politically and socially tend to be radical in their desire for social inclusiveness and change. I’ve known grifters, drifters, professionals, and public sex enthusiasts to all identify as RFs. They tend towards affinities for pagan observances and rites including mentoring the younger generations of Queers coming of age. They also have overlapping membership with The Sisters as the following video demonstrates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-f3CO1ouu4

 

 

 

Sigil of Baphomet Origin; A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy

The first appearance of what we now know of as the Sigil of Baphomet appeared on the cover of A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy and was edited down from an earlier version by Stanislas de Guaita that appeared in La Clef de la Magie Noire. First published in French in 1961 Maurice Bessy’s book was translated and printed into English in 1964. the book was quite popular as it went through multiple reprints as late as the early/mid 70s. As with other popular easily referenced or obtained material that Anton borrowed, plagiarized, and cobbled together while founding the Church of Satan the current CoS leadership up-sells how he changed or altered it to make use of it on publications. Here is a scan of the symbol from the cover of the book;

Cover scan of a 1972 print. We also have a print from 1968 with the same image

Here is a CoS entry on the origin in which it is presented thus;

While The Satanic Bible was being written, it was decided that a unique version of this symbol must be rendered to be identified exclusively with the Church of Satan. The pentagram was made geometrically precise, the two circles perfect, the Hebrew characters were distorted to make them look more sharply serpentine and “corrupted with time,” while the goat face was redrawn with particular attention paid toward the eyes.

Which is essentially a long-winded self-congratulatory way of saying that a line drawing/tracing was produced for smaller print visibility on The Satanic Bible and subsequent publications…

It is certainly thematic that Satanists would appropriate imagery that reflects the demonization of older horned gods to express a positive assertion of our own beliefs and values as opposed to exclusively inverting or blaspheming Abrahamic religions. However as I’ve expressed before ad nauseam, I find irony in the ability of CoS to exaggerate the creative and intellectual abilities of Anton LaVey while claiming that he “created something new” that is Satanism and laying sole claim to the identity while downplaying that he simply picked from widely available materials and milieus which resonated with him personally and reflected his hatred of San Francisco hippy culture.

A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural is a reference book for those interested in the occult. Before the internet or Wikipedia most of us relied on books such as this for a quick overview of topics we could then selectively pick and choose to look deeper into. 1960’s interest in things Satanic, demonic, and counter-cultural is clearly and heavily represented within it minus the requisite association and fascination with evil that we find in similar materials from the 80’s and 90’s. Put more simply, it is a relic from a time when a coffee-table book frankly discussing Satanic topics didn’t have to pander to Evangelically inspired superstition and hyperbole in order to sell copies.

While perusing the pictures and captions in A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural with an understanding of how popular it seems to have been it is easy to imagine the widespread influence that it may have had on quite a bit of familiar art and culture that followed. For instance, I cannot help but wonder if William Peter Blatty chose Pazuzu as the demon in The Exorcist after it being featured here;

Pazuzu in the 1968 edition. The Exorcist was written in 1971.

A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural also spends quite a few pages on one of The Satanic Temple’s favorite topics, witches and witch hunts;

The copy of A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural that I’ve owned for years was acquired as a gift from The Brown Elephant, a non-profit thrift store in Chicago. For years it was little but decoration on my bookshelf, (much in the way it served CoS and LaVey by their own admissions) while I wondered at why it had the Sigil on it’s cover. I had incorrectly assumed that the publishers had placed it there to cash in on the popularity of CoS in the late 60s. I know now that in actuality it was likely the other way around with LaVey picking it for his organization from a popular and widely circulated publication. You will never find me denying that LaVey was adept at successful branding and marketing in his day even if he wasn’t as innovative at new content or ideas as some would have us believe…

*insert side-eye

 

 

 

 

 

Walpurgisnacht at The Satanic Temple Salem 2017

Our observance of ritual is as a performative event that is emotionally significant to an individual or community and as an artistic expression of emotional topics.

Initially I was undecided about publicly publishing a write up that includes details of the ritual we wrote for our 2017 Walpurgisnacht event. We worked on the ritual for a couple months leading up to Walpurgisnacht and went through a few drafts as we narrowed it down to an essence that felt right. My intentions are to share the ideas we worked on and hope they inspire and help someone else for their event. Feel free to take from, modify, add to, or otherwise eviscerate and dissect what we worked on for your own events.

Ritual is a form of participatory performance art involving archetypes and feelings and therefore people are often highly protective of rituals and ideas they’ve created. Many writers are protective of their ritual content or ideas being stolen and suspicious of anyone who uses an archetype in a ritual they’ve had also incorporated.  This makes finding other ritual outlines or descriptions to reference difficult. We discovered this while writing out an outline of what Walpurgisnacht looks like at The Satanic Temple. Most of what you will find about Walpurgisnacht or Beltane are descriptions of events without a running program or script of any performance elements.

After some deliberation about our intent and overall theme we decided on a ritual that touches on Walpurgisnacht traditions while also dipping heavily into our literary influences. Below is the script we used along with some notes from earlier drafts and full quotes from literary references that we used modified in both the ritual and to help contextualize our theme.

Amelia, our altar centerpiece guest.

We wanted our theme to reflect both the vestiges of winter being cleared away and the new spring growth. We spent weeks leading up to the event collecting winter brush from around the gallery and neighborhood to weave into brooms and decorations which we then decorated and highlighted with spring buds, leaves, flowers and growth that we picked fresh at twilight in the days leading up to the event. You don’t want to pick these things too far before the event unless you can keep them fresh or they won’t wilt in the time. We really wanted to pull things specifically from near and around the Gallery so we got a bit of landscaping done as well. For most of the evening Häxan Witchcraft Through the Ages played on the projector to a soundtrack created by Lucien which included Coil and other similar artists. I’ll add that track list as soon as I can get it from him because we’ve already had requests for it.

“With a despairing gesture, Johann turned his horses towards Munich. I leaned on my stick and looked after him. He went slowly along the road for a while, then there came over the crest of the hill a man tall and thin. I could see so much in the distance. When he drew near the horses, they began to jump and kick about, then to scream with terror. Johann could not hold them in; they bolted down the road, running away madly. I watched them out of sight, then looked for the stranger; but I found that he, too, was gone.”

-Dracula’s Guest

“You have ignored the hoteliers warning and ventured out late on Hexennacht, Welcome.” -Tall Thin Stranger greets audience (Dracula’s Guest reference as the story begins with a hoteliers warning to avoid being out on Walpurgis Night)

The Tall Thin Stranger

Gathered in lecture hall in a rough half-circle. Promethean holds out lit candle to first guest saying;

“The price of enlightenment is never free and marks both mentor and pupil alike. Pass your fingers through the flame, choose a sprig/stick.

After everyone around the room has chosen Promethean asks everyone to repeat after him;

“ I share this gift of light and dark.

(I share this gift of light and dark)

I honor winter past as I welcome spring begin”

(I honor winter past as spring begin)

Promethean hands the candle the celebrants passed their fingers through to the Tall Thin Stranger. He blows it out saying;

“I collect the life from the flame the same as everything.”

Crone/witch walks in front of the altar reading from a spell tome:

“There is a mountain very high and bare… whereon it is given out that witches hold their dance on Walpurgis night. Now to the Brocken the witches ride; The stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Square Uranus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.”

Maiden leads Stranger by the hand and pushes him down to  kneel/bow in front of the altar. Removes his robe (as much clothing as possible to expose as much skin canvas as possible). Places his hands palms over mouth one by one and binds them there with twine.

“We have tied hostile tongues in our enemies mouths that they not whisper uninvited darkness into our season of fertility and rebirth”

*places bowl of doves blood in front of Stranger

*places a broom on the floor before that

“Step over the threshold and place your binding upon the stranger with your chosen remnant of winter or sprig of spring”

*demonstrates by stepping over the broom and dipping a sprig (maiden selects a sprig because she is spring) in the bowl of dove’s blood and marking Stranger with a symbol upon the head or torso. She then gestures to the next celebrant in the half-circle line (who should be planted to mark Stranger in a place other than where she marked to let other celebrants see that all exposed skin is game for a mark)

The Tall Thin Stranger being bound.

*motions for guests to step up and do the same. Takes the instruments from them after and places them in the cauldron on or beside the altar

Maiden takes the spell tome from the Crone/witch and reads;

“For you see, within every one of us a spark of [Satanism] is glowing. It has out-lasted the thousand years since the old Teutonic times. Once a year comes the truly Free-night. Then the witches, laughing scornfully, ride to the mountain-top, on their broomsticks and the wild desires awaken in our hearts which life has not fulfilled.”

Afterwards the Crone/witch takes the broom to the door threshold and sweeps with an outward gesture 9 times, then points at two people who carry the cauldron from the altar outside (could be significant if instead the witch had her assistants take the cauldron from the Maiden since it is symbolic of fertility. This could be read as an offering specifically from the Maiden to the Witch. We did discuss that we liked the idea of the Maiden also simply being a younger version of the Crone/witch.)

Celebrants follow the Witch outside (Tall Thin Stranger remains bound and does not follow the procession)

Ideally the contents will then be burnt outside. (They were)

Afterwards the Maiden reads;

The witch(es) have blessed our binding and accepted our offering. Enjoy the company of lascivious friends and fiends, drink, eat and lust freely among the blooms and sprigs of spring wrapped in vestiges of winter.

circle of participants at the cauldron

some notes and extra quotes (thank you Chalice Blythe);

“For you see, pastor, within every one of us a spark of paganism [Satanism] is glowing. It has out-lasted the thousand years since the old Teutonic times. Once a year is flames up high, and we call it St. John’s Fire. Once a year comes Free-night. Yes, truly, Free-night. Then the witches, laughing scornfully, ride to Blocksberg, upon the mountain-top, on their broomsticks, the same broomsticks with which at other times their witchcraft is whipped out of them,–then the whole wild company skims along the forest way,–and then the wild desires awaken in our hearts which life has not fulfilled.”
Sudermann, St. John’s Fire 1857-1928 

“Now to the Broken the witches ride; The stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Square Uranus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, With witches a-farting on stinking old goats.” Goethe, Faust Walpurgis Night 1829

random notes from comrades on our various Google doc versions;

I really like the Hag ritual of the Parentalia. I’ve referenced the original in the comment and maybe this particular part can go as such:
Once there, the Hag (followed silently by the Tall Thin Stranger) goes around and snuffs out all candles, taking a sip of wine for each one. When she gets to the last candle, she puts the thin man’s hands up to his mouth (palms on mouth) and uses a cord to bind together the hands of the Thin Man around his head, afterwards proclaiming “We have tied hostile tongues in our enemies mouths!”  

I like this bit. Here’s the original ritual:“Three fingers tuck three incense lumps under a door,
Where a tiny mouse built a hidden path.
The hag then fastens enchanted cords with dark lead,
And rolls seven beans inside her mouth;
And she roast on the fire the sewn head of the sprat
Smeared in pitch and spitted with a bronze rod.
She also drops in wine. What remains of the wine
She or her friends drink (although she drinks more)
‘We have tied hostile tongues and our enemies mouths’
The hag shouts.”

The broom being historically representative of balance, the “male” shaft and “female” bristles. We COULD talk about how they became associated with Witches in that they “rode” their broom handles covered in hallucinogens to “fly, but…. Since it’s also seen as a protector to the “gateway” to a ritual space, we can draw a circle around the broom making station. The stations can be the ritual space for making the brooms. That can be discussed as well.

“The price of enlightenment is never free.” – Prometheus
He is essentially a demi-god with human attributes but also a grandiose warrior side that is now worn with suffering. His robes can be a muted grey or white color wrapped in a Grecian fashion;

With the association of lighting the candles, I like the idea of them wearing a grey, billowy cloak to look like the smoke left after the candles are blown out.

I’ve also seen the Gardens of Adonis story as being one about rebirth. The Gardens were made to encourage fertility, growth and the vegetational death of Adonis, as a life-death-rebirth deity. Was celebrated at the commencement of Spring

I also believe that jumping over the broom was part of the ritual for protection

We also need a cauldron. With the May Pole being phallic, the symbolism of both Beltane and Walpurgisnacht is that of fertility, the cauldron symbolizing the lady who becomes pregnant at Beltane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors Inventing Demons (why I engage in TST Grey Faction)

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I lived in a terrifying world. Procter & Gamble, who you may not be aware manufactures nearly everything in your house, was being run by a coven of Satanists just like in Rosemary’s Baby. After school cartoons were subliminally recruiting children into the occult and Satanism by softening them up to sorcery, symbols, and ritual. Young minds everywhere were being prepped for mind control and split personalities to be prepared for roving bands of incognito Satanists to be used to recruit, rape, and sacrifice other children. As I grew into my teens the assault on my virtue continued as I found that most of the music I enjoyed was also a way to indoctrinate me into the occult and away from God and all things good and wholesome. 

The book that started the pop-psychology fad/fascination of multiple personality disorder, which was followed by the movie Sybil. A fascination so strong that the support groups surrounding DID today often appear to be a fledgling religion.

It worked. Years of raising alarms about the secret wolves in our midst didn’t distract me enough from the very real and pressing abuse I faced as a queer kid in a Christian religious and mentally ill family in Ohio. Younger folks don’t understand the ubiquitous nature of the Satanic Panic in the 80’s and 90’s. By my late teens my friends and I had started naming and defining our “aspects” (personalities). This was an occult rite of passage for us (so we imagined). The multiple personality disorder (MPD) myth was so popular and captured the imagination so much that it seemed inextricable from the occult we were using to declare independence from our oppressively Christian homes and schools. To that end it felt subversive to embrace having alternate personalities while rebelling against pervasive Christian rhetoric and propaganda. When I see the influx of self-diagnosed DID (dissociative identity disorder) “victims” onto social media like YouTube and Tumblr making “meet the alters” videos I see echos of the role-play and contextualization my friends and I conceived of back then. It’s the veracity of the diagnosis and therapists using it to profit off of the superstitious or vulnerable, not people who create multiple identities or stage names, that is the problem as far as we see it.

The rebranding of MPD has served its purpose of making criticism and conversation about DID very confusing to people. With the current attention and social discourse about invisible and mental illness, DID proponents rely on the civility surrounding mental health issues to keep the diagnosis above reproach or examination. People have expressed to me recently that they were unclear if TST has an anti-therapy stance (we do not) and to remind me that dissociation disorders are widely accepted and recognized by professionals. I suspect that this kind of confusion was exactly part of the plan when they rebranded MPD into DID. They parented it to a family of diagnosis that does have veracity to lend it the credibility that a cursory examination of the history involving DID/MPD doesn’t.

some notes;

1. Dissociative Identity Disorder shouldn’t be confused for dissociative disorders in general. It is classified as part of that family of more understandable and observable disorders but is a more specific and more dramatic diagnosis. As I said after engaging in some of these conversations I suspect that part of the tactic here was to marry it to a diagnosis that is more legitimately accepted by most health care professionals. Dissociation can be used to describe a feeling of “watching” or “being removed” from yourself (particularly in situations of physical or emotional pain) as if you are a stranger to yourself. DID is a claim that the dissociation can be so severe that a whole new personality separate from the self can develop. This is a claim that lacks evidence outside of self-reporting and the minority of therapists who still diagnose it possibly actually creating the experience in clients during sessions.

2. DID is a complex issue to discuss because victims can actually exhibit memories and personalities based on the suggestions of their therapists. If you’ve read any amount of research on how we form and retain memories and how false memories can be created this is easy to comprehend. Unfortunately this creates a situation where the client can actually believe they have different personalities and outlandish memories to go with the extreme trauma that is a prerequisite for DID. After watching a few of the malpractice suits against therapists who diagnosed DID in patients you will often hear statements like; “I went in for depression and left with multiple personalities.” Across the board being diagnosed with DID becomes the beginning of even more hardships and worse mental health for the client. Patients go in to speak with someone about depression and end up strapped to a chair screaming and accusing their family members of abuse in later sessions.

4. Grey Faction doesn’t target victims or clients of these therapists. The organizations and therapists with vested interests in keeping vulnerable people in the DID cycle try to operate quietly among their echo-chambers without challenge. When video surfaces of their antics at conferences they project their embarrassment as anger and paint us as stalking and harassing rape and incest survivors. This is also why there is a dearth of new critical info on DID. It’s too fascinating and profitable for those inclined to supernaturalism and conspiracy to let go of and those of us who do openly criticize the lack of evidence or point out the underlying woo are immediately categorized as pedophile or rapist enablers. See what they do there, if you question narratives of widespread ritual abuse and mind-control cults you must be a rapist pedophile… Few have time or spoons for that kind of dumpster fire.

5. DID is still currently in the DSM-V despite the majority of health care professionals criticism or disbelief of it. For context, it wasn’t that long ago that homosexuality was also in the DSM. The tide has turned on the effectiveness of ex-gay therapy and the destruction it causes and we hope to see something similar happen to DID. Conference organizers and even grassroots believers in DID and conspiracies have done an impressive job of avoiding the public transparency that would ensure the demise of the therapy and when they can’t avoid it altogether they just rebrand MPD/DID to muddy the water and slide back into the cesspits.

They may be able to ignore or brush our petitions under the rug for now, but we won’t stop disseminating the information. All one needs to do is scratch the surface of any of the therapists on our list to see the tin-foil, malpractice, and conspiracies. DID proponents would like nothing more for it to be business as usual at their conferences and we aren’t going to allow them their subterfuge any longer.

February Abyss

The other night I cried as I fell asleep. This morning I woke up dissociated and looked around my strange room and wondered what was wrong with me. I have had quite a few moments over the past month or two where I wake up and as soon as I open my eyes a twinge of sadness sets in right after I get over wondering where I am. Where I am is single in February in a new apartment by myself for the first time in 8 years, and today it wasn’t a twinge but a convulsion. It brought an alien logical realization; ‘Oh, yeah, there’s the depression…’ The realization didn’t make me happier, but it set me up to cope.

February is always a dark month for me. Usually depression has long set in for months prior but if it hasn’t February brings it out. For that reason I’ve always been very fond of Valentine’s Day. It’s brilliantly set in the middle of a month where there generally isn’t much else to look forward to. Distraction as therapy, my husband and I would buy each other all of the stupid things at the drug store for weeks. Teddy bears and frogs holding hearts, cheap heart shaped boxes full of mediocre chocolate, and of course new cock-rings or jockstraps. Valentines day contains echos of other older celebrations civilizations placed in February, celebrations of bloodletting and purging followed by sensual excess. Wise hopeful dreams made into pageants and rituals to relieve the harsh bleakness of the post-solstice, pre-bloom gray. I’ll still take it.

I am glad to be working with a February onset of light depression rather than the year-and-a-half deep crippling one that helped destroy the marriage I am now without though. I still have most of a year of first-withouts ahead of me. I slid under the wire of my first-without my ex holiday season. Tomorrow is my first Valentines-without. I don’t know if I’ll try to leave the house. I didn’t buy any heart-shaped anything holding anything this year and I’ve been able to mostly avoid the stores that remind me of that. Today I slipped on a cock-ring to love myself before I ended up sobbing while leaning into my closet and feeling ridiculous and dejected. I decided to stare out of the window at the snow for a while instead.

I have friends arriving this week. Everything is manageable, these are my mantras. Things aren’t as bad this year. Rinse and repeat until it’s clean and true. Here’s to purging the darkest moments before spring.