Dissolution, Ritual, and Amputated Identities.

A few days after the Orlando shooting I approached a conversation with my husband that had been buzzing beneath the surface for months. “Are we OK? We are growing apart and can we fix it?” I really wanted to, he was the world to me and all of my future. I wanted to┬áreforge our 7 year relationship as the changed people we are. He┬áhad another solution he’d decided on, and we split up. Every future I imagined and had built my faith on was discarded. While we are still financially bound I am now largely alone when I am not with TST people or at work. He has another place to stay most nights, and always had all of “our” friends. I am now East of Eden and trying to construct my new singular life in a city I never wanted to come to and trying to make peace with it all anyway.

Erasmus and Omnius stare out at me in anticipation.
Erasmus and Omnius stare out at me in anticipation.

The night it happened I made myself attend another organization’s activism event with other TST NYC members. That weekend I left for a Salem retreat where several of us from across the country got to see each other again or meet in person for the first time. I left for escape and support and to work and play. We discussed the upcoming ASSC campaign and enjoyed the feeling of immediate comfort that only happens when you run into others from your tribe. In my little over 20 years of Satanism I’ve never joined any other Satanic organization until TST. Their culture was never quite the right fit for me. My political/ social justice/ scientifically informed consciousness was always significantly at odds with most of their membership I encountered. The most important thing a religion provides is community and culture to people of shared interests and beliefs. It provides a family outside of often disappointing genetic bonds. I have found a family, and they are the right people at the right time in my lifeedited_FB_IMG_1463888461149

In October I plan on undergoing a dissolution ritual to put my crushed future in a box under the bed and reconstruct myself from the pieces I have left. Rituals are important and effective to the human mind in ways that are still being researched and discussed. We have small mundane rituals for things we do everyday. Rituals that shape our mind and imagination to executing a task or event. We have all of the rituals for big life events like death, and birth, and marriage…

Divorce or separation rituals are underrepresented. A person who is recently separated often feels incomplete. Half of who I am is gone. My identity cannot be the same anymore and I want to contextualize all of that grief and then rebirth into a moment that excorcises my failure and misery. There are really poignant and inspiring divorce rituals people have done for themselves, and I am relying on myself and my TST family for creating mine.4334

I need to re-imagine who I am in a deliberate way. Ritual can trick the mind into prolonged focus and action. On the other side of my event I want to feel new and different again. Hardened and distilled and all me.FB_IMG_1467481286037

I’ve lost two families, his and the one we planned together. I’ve lost the security of company when I’m lonely and someone who prioritizes me. I lost the only close friend I’ve had for 7 years. I want to stop crying at home and obsessing over everything, real and imagined, that I’ve lost. I want to come out of the other side unable to relate to the emotions I am right now writing down.

I want to be over it and be me again.received_617555201742812

 

Author: Ash Astaroth

Ash Astaroth is a skeptic, a transhumanist, a feminist, and a Satanist atheist living in NYC and working for The Satanic Temple of NYC.

5 thoughts on “Dissolution, Ritual, and Amputated Identities.”

  1. This is beautiful. You really articulate the chasms of pain, hope, frustrations, fear and love that one feels trying to navigate this type of experience. Very well written.

    1. Thank you so much. I wasn’t confident with this one because I’m not used to writing something so personal, but part of the ritual here for me is that I felt I needed to write and share

  2. Damn this is fascinating. I love your story. I hope you’re feeling better as time goes on. Can you explain how the other satanic churches were culturally different? What were they like??

    1. culturally other Satanic organizations have remained stagnant in that they haven’t accepted new information from sociology since their founding. Culturally they have become dogmatic and rooted in the out-dated ideas that were relevant at the time of their founding. These days Church of Satan members, more often than not, are right leaning libertarian types who I find willfully ignorant and obtuse.

  3. “re-imagine who I am in a deliberate way”: the last time i had to get over something rough (a 9 year relationship) i took a route that was the complete opposite to this. Neither path is correct, whatever works works.. just sharing the idea.

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