The First Amendment is officially a joke

The last month has been very eventful for freedom of speech on the Internet, and not for good cause. Last week, Tumblr announced a total ban on pornography would be implemented on December 17th. As has often been the case in past moral crusades against pornography, the impetus for this is a classic “think of the children!” scenario. In a statement, Tumblr makes it explicitly clear that their underlying motivation is to crack down on child pornography. But, it should be obvious to us that this excuse is a hollow in its self-righteousness. First of all if it was truly only child pornography they were concerned with, they would not be so focused on removing all adult content on the website. Secondly, despite the website’s claims to still allow free discussion about sexuality, the new move appears to present a credible threat to various sexual subcultures, sex-positive activists and sex workers by targeting their content even if it is not overtly pornographic.

In addition to this, art featuring nudity will inevitably also be targeted by this blanket and imprecise ban, as classical religious artwork featuring nude goddesses, saints and even Jesus himself have been flagged as “adult content”. This will not simply affect classical art either. Stealing Knowledge, a Tumblr blog which catalogues all sorts of interesting and obscure tidbits pertaining to my favored gamed series Shin Megami Tensei, also expects to have content flagged and then removed from the website, especially under ridiculous pretexts. And Tumblr is not alone in such censorship of art. Facebook actually banned an art historian and curator named Ruben Cordova from their website for posting pictures of Met Bruer’s popular exhibition Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body, which seems to have triggered the website’s algorithm for nude photos which are banned by the website. With this in mind, it becomes empirically clear that Tumblr is joining a much broader trend in social media of sanitizing online space under the guise of fighting child pornography.

Now you might be wondering what precisely this whole thing has to do with the First Amendment of the United States constitution. Well there are those who speculate that Tumblr was simply gearing up for new FOSTA-SESTA legislation which will have nasty consequences for the future of online pornography in general. Under the pretext of fighting human trafficking (on that point it’s worth mentioning that only a small number of cases actually relate to pornography), SESTA legislation will target websites that allegedly “promote or facilitate prostitution”, which is broad enough that legal escort services, certain cryptocurrencies and even pornography might be included. As a matter of fact, supporters of such legislation themselves are quite candid in their hope that such legislation will lead to a ban of pornography entirely. This is problematic because of the fact that the First Amendment protects most forms of erotic entertainment, with obvious exceptions such as child pornography and revenge porn, and in fact there are already fears that FOSTA-SESTA represents an intrusion of First Amendment rights.

I cannot ignore the irony of all this. The First Amendment is supposed to be America’s ironclad guarantor of freedom of speech and expression in the United States, the example of such for the free world (in contrast to my country where we don’t even have a written constitution). But the powers that be can effectively subvert it in the name of a substanceless moral panic disguising the expansion of unitary power over free expression. This applies not only to pornography and sex-positive communities (not to mention online LGBT groups), but also, as I’ve pointed out months ago, criticism of Israel. America, for its pretense to care about freedom of speech, is quite prepared to destroy it in as many ways as it can get away with in order to sanitize public discussion on the Internet.

The chthonic greatness of Hellenism

About a year or so ago I got seduced into appreciating Hellenism through Greek black metal bands like Rotting Christ, Kawir, Varathron, Thou Art Lord, Necromantia and Macabre Omen, and since then I have even gone so far as to Hellenize my current logo (via the inclusion of laurel wreathes, meanders and a variation of the Veringian Sun).

One thing I have come to realize in the process is that there are numerous ways to look at the Greek pantheon of deities, and it is very interesting the ways you can interpret them through a chthonic or Left Hand Path lens. A number of Greek deities have surprisingly chthonic associations, and even chthonic cults. The obvious chthonic deities would definitely be Hades, Persephone, Hecate, maybe Pan to some extent. But we won’t focus on them, precisely because we immediately know of their chthonic nature. Instead we’ll focus on the major players of the pantheon of Olympus who you typically don’t think of as chthonic deities, or at least not immediately.

Let’s start with the king of Olympus himself, Zeus. Not many people know that Zeus has manifested in the form of serpent, but there are Greek myths and cults that record precisely that. As Zeus Meilichios, Zeus was worshiped as a chthonic deity in the form of a snake, and his cult was focused on the obtainment of wealth and prosperity through propitiation to the deity. Zeus Meilichios has been referred to as a kindly, seemingly benevolent deity, but his nature was believed to alternate between benevolence and wrath, and his followers were required to appease him frequently in order to stay on his good side. Xenophon once recorded how his failure to offer a sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios supposedly resulted in a shortage of money. He was also believed by a deity (or daimon) of vengeance, similar to Alastor and or the Erinyes, but was also believed to be able to purify the souls of those who killed another as an act an revenge by petitioning him with the sacrifice of a ram in a holokaustos (basically a sacrificial rite wherein they burn an animal or parts of in a pyre to the deity at night).

As a side-note of sorts, Zeus Meilichios sometimes shared cult space with Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens, and Zeus was accompanied by Athena while he was in the form of a serpent. In a similar manner, the cult of Athena Itonia has a serpent companion adjacent to the goddess, suggesting a serpent familiar. It was even recorded that, in a cult devoted to a chthonic Zeus at Koroneia, Athena takes the place of Persephone as the queen of the underworld. Athena Itonia herself is said to be an echo of a primitive mode of worship devoted to her in Athens wherein she was a goddess of the earth responsible for its nourishment. So apparently, at least when adjacent to a chthonic Zeus, Athena had chthonic associations of her own albeit expressed chiefly in local cults.

The serpent Zeus Meilichios

Anyways, the form of Zeus Meilichios this is not the only time Zeus has appeared as a serpent. Another cult has Zeus appear as a serpent in the form of Zeus Ktesios. Ktesios was the name of a benevolent spirit or daimon charged as the guardian of the household, but may also have been an old fertility deity. Zeus Ktesios was seen as a deity of the storerooms, though some say Zeus Ktesios is simply Ktesios taking the name of Zeus. Like Zeus Meilichios, Zeus Ktesios may also be a daimon of fertility, owing to his snake form. In one myth, Zeus transforms into a serpent in order to pursue the fertility goddess Demeter, who herself transformed into a serpent in order to evade yet another of Zeus’s lustful advances. Their mating produced the goddess Persephone, who would later become the wife of Hades. Zeus transformed into a serpent again (or a dragon depending on who you ask) in order to seduce Persephone, and out this union Persephone bore him a son named Zagreus. We’ll touch on Zagreus in more detail a little later.

For now though, it is worth noting that Zeus Meilichios serves as a connection between Zeus, the ruler of the sky, and Hades, the ruler of the underworld. Due to his chthonic nature, Zeus Meilichios has been identified by some as Zeus-Hades, though he was also associated with Ploutos, the deity of wealth. Despite being a sky god who rules atop Mount Olympus in what is ostensibly the heavenly realm of the cosmos, many of Zeus’ local cults were chthonic in nature in that they are devoted to a chthonic aspect of Zeus. Besides Zeus Meilichios, there was Zeus Philios who was also apparently depicted as serpent, but was a much friendlier deity (or daimon) associated with banquets. There was also a deity named Zeus Eubouleus, who was part of a triad alongside Demeter and Kore (Persephone) at Attica and who may have been treated as either a local avatar of Ploutos or a demigod. However, there was also a separate deity, or more likely a demigod or hero, named Eubouleus (who may also have been identified with Ploutos), who was the guardian of the swine of the Eleusinian mysteries and who preside over agriculture, specifically ploughing and the planting of grain (which may, or may not, explain why Jupiter is depicted as sowing seeds in the Roman de la Rose manuscript). Strangely enough Eubouleus is also listed as an epithet of Hades as well as Zeus. Another chthonic aspect of Zeus the oracular daimon Zeus Trophonios. Trophonios was the name of a mortal son of Apollo who got swallowed by the earth and re-emerged as the daimon of a cave near Lebadeia, where he also became known as Zeus Trophonios.

There was also Zeus Chthonios, who was Zeus of the Earth, who was worshipped in Boeotia and Corinthia where he was venerated as Third Most High, and who was either an avatar of Zeus or epithet of Hades. Similarly, Zeus Katachthonious (Zeus of the Underworld), though seemingly an avatar of Zeus, was most likely an alternative name for Hades – for those who dared not to invoke his real name – indicative of Hades’ role as the ruler of the underworld in the same way Zeus rules the sky and of his complete dominion over the underworld. This makes sense given that, although Hades . It is worth noting however that, at least according to Timothy Gantz, that Hades may well have been a shadowy alter ego of Zeus. In a way, to me it seems, the fact that the Greeks, in order to avoid actually approaching Hades (the Greeks were apparently so scared of Hades that he didn’t even have his own formal cult), had to recognize him as the shadow of Zeus; by identifiying Hades as Zeus Katachtonious, acknowledged Hades, who represented death in a way, as the shadow of life, as the shadow of that great heavenly thunder and fire (paging Heraclitus) that steered the cosmos for eternity. And, ironically, perhaps Hades himself has his significance as a chthonic sun.

Hades seated with Persephone

Similarly, we can look at Dionysus and his relation to Hades, and to start with let us return to Zagreus, the son born by Persephone and the serpent Zeus (who in this myth is sometimes referred to as Zeus Katachthonios). Both Zagreus and Dionysus share the same origin story: they were born from Persephone after she mated with Zeus. According to the Orphics, Zagreus was the original, firstborn incarnation of Dionysos, who was killed by the Titans who tore him to pieces out of envy that he was placed on the throne of the heavens. When Zeus saved Zagreus’ heart and placed it in his thigh (or turned into a potion for Semele to drink in one myth), Zagreus was born again as Dionysus. Zagreus might well have been considered a chthonic deity, one of the highest in the underworld, according to early fragments mentioning him as “the highest of all gods”, likely in reference to the gods of the underworld.

If that’s not enough, for Heraclitus, Dionysus and Hades were essentially one. From the Fragments of Heraclitus:

“For if it were not to Dionysos that they made a procession and sang the shameful phallic hymn, they would be acting most shamelessly. But Hades is the same as Dionysos in whose honour they go mad and keep the feast of the wine vat.” – Heraclitus Fragment 15

Dionysus must have represented life due his association with a phallic festival, no doubt tied to fertility, while Hades obviously represented death. In saying that, he explains life and death as being inseparable, one and the same in a sense, and to worship Dionysus and Hades is to worship the same object. In this sense, Heraclitus casts Hades as the shadow of Dionysus. And Heraclitus is not the only one who thought this about Dionysus. According to Karl Kerenyi, there was a “secret” held by the ancients which entailed that Dionysus and Hades were the same being and that thus Dionysus was the Lord of the Dead and the Underworld, perhaps basing this on the way he was worshipped at Eleusis. Curiously enough, Zagreus (who you will remember is the first-born Dionysus) is also identified with Hades by Aeschylus in his Aigyptioi, and the Greeks also identified Dionysus/Zagreus by the Greeks, particularly Diodorus Siculus, with the Egyptian deity Osiris, who was the ruler of the Egyptian underworld, to the point that they even believed Osiris shares myth with Dionysus (specifically, the myth of the infant Dionysus being torn to shreds by the Titans).

Mosaic depicting the Epiphany of Dionysus

Multiple important deities besides Zeus and Dionysus have received the epithet “Chthonios”, indicating status as chthonic deities in some capacity, even if contained to specific cults as is the case for Zeus. One such deity is the goddess Demeter, divine patron of grain and fertility and bringer of the divine law, who was given the epithet “Chthonia”. Given that this the epithet of chthonic or even “infernal” goddesses like Hecate (goddess of witchcraft)’ Nyx (the night) and Melinoe (a goddess of ghosts), Demeter was likely also associated with the chthonic pantheon, which in her case is likely the result of her connection to earthly fertility. Her myths recount the origin of this epithet through the names of some of her worshippers, who built sanctuaries in her honor. It is said that at Eleusis Demeter was the receiver of souls, and at Sparta Demeter Chthonia was venerated as the queen of the underworld instead of Persephone. A notable myth that ties Demeter to the underworld is the myth of the abduction of Persephone, which, depending on the telling, forces Demeter to descend to the underworld in order to negotiate her release, though the typical telling is that she simply sends Hermes to do it on her behalf. This myth is also central to the Eleusinian mysteries, in which Demeter is the central goddess. Within these mysteries, the myth of Persephone’s descent and ascent from the underworld represented the soul’s transition into death and re-emergence into what was supposed to be the next life, and their psychotropic rituals were geared towards re-enacting that myth in order to understand the secret of life and death, which were the mysteries of Demeter.

Hermes is another important deity who receives the epithet “Chthonios”, and in Greek myth he served as the messenger and herald of the gods moves between Olympus and the underworld where he serves as a psychopomp. In the last  book of the Odyssey, the dead were said to be under his care and he was believed to guide them to their proper place in the underworld. There were two aspects associated with Hermes, which were both contained within him in unity – there was an infernal aspect of him that was associated with necromancy, and there was a benevolent aspect of him as the protector and shepherd of souls. All of this could be said to echo his role as the deity of boundaries, and thus associated with the liminal space between this world and the netherworld, almost like a demon. Hermes Chthonios was invoked in private rituals focusing on curses and binding spells, was said to be able to raise chthonic spirits from beneath the earth, and was venerated in festivals honoring the dead. Hermes Chthonios is sometimes identified with another possible chthonic entity by the name of Agathos Daimon, a.k.a. the Agathodaemon. The main reason for this identification is that the caduceus of Hermes represents the attributes of the Agathos Daimon, namely fertility and Hermes, due to his occasional appearance as a phallic deity, also embodies fertility, and the magical papyri of Greece and Roman Egypt position Hermes as a bringer of good fortune.

The serpent Agathos Daimon

Aphrodite, the goddess of love and/or sex, also had something of a chthonic cult to her name. In some regions of the Black Sea, where she might have been a patron of Greek colonization, she was worshipped as a chthonic goddess as well as a goddess of love. In Pisidia (now the Turkish province of Antalya), a bust was uncovered of a woman resembling Aphrodite adorned with tightly braided necklaces and round-shaped earrings apparently also associated with the cult of Demeter-Persephone, and Aphrodite was one of many deities in the region who were venerated as chthonic deities. Aphrodite, as Aphrodite Chthonios, was believed to bestow eternal life to those who had faith in her when they died, and so statues of Aphrodite Chthonios placed in tombs and the goddess was found depicted on sarcophagi thus cementing her funerary associations. In the Bosphorus the cult of Aphrodite had its own chthonic associations, resulting from a syncretism between the cult of Aphrodite and that of the Scythian goddess Argimpasa, who was identified with Aphrodite Ourania. Aphrodite-Argimpasa and may have been a local equivalent of Ishtar or Inanna. Like the Aphrodite Chthonios of Pisidia, this goddess was frequently adjacent to death, appearing as decoration of funerary objects and the garments of the deceased. Subordinate to the goddess is an anguiped, a monstrous-looking divinity with serpents for legs, who may have been a nymph or a goddess herself but was also depicted as a cruel figure brandishing a severed head. Ironically enough for a goddess with the epithet Ourania (Ourania meaning “heavenly”), Aphrodite Ourania seems to have been treated as a chthonic goddess in her cult appearances, being viewed as an ancient daimon of vegetation in association with Eros and Ares, appearing in annual rebirth. Aphrodite of the Underworld was also venerated in a sanctuary of Persephone at Locri. Chthonic Aphrodite may also have been treated as a goddess of vengeance, allied with the powers of the Erinyes (or Furies).

Aphrodite Ourania riding upon a goose

There was also a chthonic Artemis (who normally is a light-bringing goddess), worshipped as Artemis Amarysia at Amarynthos. This chthonic Artemis was considered one of two aspects of Artemis worshipped at Amarynthos distinguished mainly by the sacrifices they accepted. The chthonic Artemis accepted lame or maimed sheep as offerings while the other Artemis, Artemis Olympia, accepted bulls as offerings. The chthonic Artemis was also strongly linked with the goddess Hecate, and hence identified as a syncretic deity named Artemis-Hecate. Artemis also was associated with chthonic divinities at Kamarina, in the Italian island of Sicily, where she was worshipped in votives alongside Demeter and Persephone.

As strange as it seems, even Apollo who is traditionally held to be a solar deity had chthonic associations. In Anatolia, Apollo’s chthonic associations derived from his association with healing and incubation in artificial grottos, along with his alleged adventures in the underworld, and his apparent relation to a curious Iranian name Khshathrapati. Khshathrapati, for those who don’t know what the hell it is, is a name meaning “Lord of Power” which may or may not have been a name for a god, and scholars suspect it may have been a name either for Mithra or for Apollo. Apollo was also connected to the Babylonian deity Nergal, who was both a solar deity and a deity of the underworld and like Apollo he commanded plagues (which for Apollo might be the inverse of his aspect as a healing deity), and both were associated with snakes and ravens. It’s also worth noting that Apollo wasn’t always a solar deity, and only gradually became a solar deity within the Hellenic religion, so it is possible that he may originally have been a chthonic healing deity or something to that effect. Apollo may also have head an association with death through his association with a chthonic cult at Amyklai dedicated to him (as Apollo Amyklai) and his lover Hyacinthus (who was a mortal man). Leto, the mother of both Artemis and Apollo, represented alongside her nymphs a volatile spring that upheaved from the earth, and her cult at Lycia involved her presiding over graves, so she too has her chthonic associations.

Depiction of the throne of Apollo at Amyklai

Hera, wife of Zeus, may also have been an earth goddess at some point, possibly interacting with primeval water dragons that nourished her earth and their reinstallment on the riverbed renewing the earth, which may explain her status as the nurturer of monsters such as the Lernean Hydra. Hephaestus also has a noticeable relation to the earth, not just in being associated with volcanoes and aided by chthonic creatures such as the Cyclopes and chthonic spirits such as the Dactyls, but also as a deity who fell from Olympus, spurned by his own mother Hera, and descending to earth. His sons and grandsons are the Cabiri, who were worshipped in a mystery cult in Samothrace. The war deity Ares also has minor chthonic associations. For instance, at Sparta, the sacrifice of black dogs was seen as an unusual choice, which was taken to be chthonic in nature, the Amazons’ offering of horses to Ares was also seen as primitive, he is sometimes seen as associated with the Erinyes due to his bloodthirsty nature, and a dragon, namely the dragon slain by Cadmus, was considered sacred to Ares. Scholars also think that Ares may have originally been an explicitly chthonic deity, specifically either a fertility deity or a deity of plague and death, before becoming a vicious war deity in Homer’s writings. Finally, Poseidon, the sea deity, was originally an overtly chthonic deity, and this might still be echoed in the fact that one of his epithets, Enosichthon, means “earth-shaker”. Not only do the epithets of Enosichthon and Gaieochos signify some relation to the earth, and from there properties as an argicultural deity in addition to sea deity, but at Tainaron he even served as an oracle of the dead.

Another link to the chthonic aspect of the Greek divine was the epithet Kourotrophos, meaning “child-nurturer”. The reason for this, according to Theodora Hadzisteliou Price in her book Kourotrophos: Cults and Representations of the Greek Nursing Deities, is the notion that life springs from the earth and returns to the earth upon death, which is hence linked to the cycle that the Kourotrophoi represent – pregnancy, the beginning of life, the care of the child, life growing, and death, the departure of the soul and its fortune in the next world. Many Greek deities were venerated as Kourotrophoi, including Apollo, Artemis, Hecate, Hermes, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia and Demeter. The children cradled by the Kourotrophoi are also held to be chthonic in nature, and those children included the Cretan Zeus, Persephone, Trophonious, Heracles, Ploutos and Erichthonios, and it is supposed that this chthonic nature is an echo of the pre-Hellenic religious tradition of the Minoans and the Mycenaeans (more on that subject later). Kourotrophos also seems to have been the name of a standalone Athenian goddess who was worshiped as the protector of children, and who may have been treated as a healing goddess as well.

A seated kourotrophos, either a goddess or a mortal woman

Something else worth noting about the chthonic aspect of Hellenism is that, before what is generally established as Hellenic Greece came into being, the religion of the Mycenaean civilization had a generally chthonic tone, or at least that is what speculated. Whereas in Hellenism the deity Poseidon was a sea deity, for the Myceneans he was a deity of the earth, specifically earthquakes, and was the head deity of the Mycenaean pantheon, which may have been suggested by the name Poseidon-Wanax (Wanax possibly meaning “Lord”). Unsurprisingly then, Poseidon’s cult was the strongest and most powerful of them all before what’s referred to as the “Dorian invasion”. A goddess known by name or title Potnia was also powerful at this point, possibly the mother goddess of the Mycenaeans, and in the later Hellenic world Potnia simply became an epithet for other goddess (such as Potnia Theron for Artemis). In addition, many of the major deities that have been described in this post emerged from the original Mycanaean religion, and it is possible that those deities had strong chthonic associations in that time that had to were largely officially shed in the Homeric pantheon and from their the Hellenic religion, leaving the most of the chthonic tendencies consigned largely to local cults.

So as it stands, we have perhaps an interesting picture of that hidden chthonic side of Hellenic religion, with many major deities having a chthonic side to them that often gets sidelined in most popular understandings of them and, to be fair, the mainstream of Hellenic religion, as well as a pre-Hellenic religious tradition that may or may not have been dominated by chthonic impulse. What it tells us, perhaps, is two things. First of these that it is a known fact that Hades and his realm of death were feared by Greek society to the point that Hades had no formal popular cult. The underworld was the place where most of the dead were thought to end up, so it was considered a place of dread, though not quite as harrowing as regions such as Tartarus, certainly not the blissful abode of Olympus. So, the local chthonic cults may well have been a way of dealing with deities like Hades and his wife Persephone and their realm as simply avatars of the divine, as was likely the case with the chthonic Zeuses, Aphrodites and Athenas. Secondly, there is the possibility that, despite their fear and loathing for death and for Hades, the Greeks considered the chthonic realm, of the underworld and the earth, as much a part of the cosmos as the realm of Olympus, so it would make just as much sense to occasionally worship chthonic deities, albeit including the chthonic guises of the Olympians, as it did to worship the Olympians themselves.

Relief of Demeter

Satanic unicorns?

I discovered new levels of absurdity on the internet when I encountered a video from a conspiracy theory channel on YouTube called Truthstream Media (no doubt a horrifically bad pun on the phrase “mainstream media”), in a video entitled “Why Are We Becoming Inundated with Unicorn Symbolism?”. I had only recently discovered it, though it is actually a few months old. Nonetheless, I think it would be fun to try and dissect this take and bring to light the level of absurdity being dealt with, as well as in general indulge once again in talking about bizarre conspiracy theories about mythology and the occult, something I don’t believe I’ve done too often in a quite a while now. So strap yourselves in, you’re in for quite a ride.

In that pursuit, let’s first establish what the basic concept of a unicorn is supposed to be in the popular imagination. On some level, we are all familiar with the myth of the unicorn, no doubt thanks to various fantasy media as well as a litany of consumeristic entertainment marketed towards girls (not to mention the prehistoric mammalian beast known as Elasmotherium, which some consider to be a kind of “real life unicorn”). A unicorn is supposed to be an elusive equine creature, typically a white horse and always brandishing the famous singular horn on its head, embued with positive magical qualities such as the ability to heal the sick and purify poisoned water and can only be found and captured by a virgin woman. In this sense, the unicorn is very much a symbol of purity in the Christian context, which is very much tied to sexual purity, namely virginity and chastity, considering the role of the virgin woman in the unicorn myths, and it probably goes a long way towards understanding the generally fluffy connotations of the representation of the unicorn in modern products.

But apparently, according to Truthstream Media, the unicorn is in reality a sinister occult symbol, connected with (drum roll, dramatic silence) the Rockerfellers, the New Age movement, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Lucifer (for some reason) and from there the Antichrist, all wrapped up in some sort of anti-Christian occult agenda to brainwash your kids into becoming transgender.

Yep. You heard me.

Yes, I shit you not. Unicorns are actually satanic according to some crazy conspiracy theorist.

There’s a lot to unpack in the video, and you can go and watch it here if you want, just if you truly want to subject yourself to what is simultaneously the equivalent of a particularly boring and insufferable night of lame drug trips, kale and Jack Chick tracts, but let’s go over a lot of the main premises of the video.

For a start, the speaker claims that there’s some sort of intense marketing campaign centered around promoting unicorn symbolism. One that, we are assured, is separate to the fairly common marketing campaign for products commonly aimed at young girls. Supposedly, this marketing campaign is uniquely intense. As proof of this, the speaker says she took her daughter to two major American supermarkets – Walmart, Target, and specifically – as well as a mall and a local Texas grocery shop and took photographs of random unicorn-themed items (excluding My Little Pony merchandise) finding several unicorn-themed clothes, toys, accessories, food, drink, and other merchandise. Already I get the sense that this isn’t some sort of coordinated push for unicorn products at the hands of some New World Order, but a product of the ebb and flow of capitalistic markets, which are not necessarily the product of elitism but rather complex economic incentives inherent in the system. In fact, right from the outset it seems that the speaker is unaware of the tendency of market forces and corporations to appropriate all sorts of tropes, icons (even those from the domain of radical left-wing movements), narratives, myths and even morality. Indeed, Slavoj Zizek gives a good explanation of the way ethics is appropriated by the system in much this way to present a commodity for the purpose of our regular consumeristic rites.

For roughly seven or eight minutes after the prologue of the video the speaker goes on about just how many unicorn products she can find in the store and how much photos she snapped, all while failing to demonstrate how this is any different from common marketing in any way other than, essentially, “just look at all these unicorn products I found”. In fact, most of the video is just her talking about how much unicorn-themed items she can fit in her camera. But this is only the least absurd aspect of this video or its claims.

The real meat of the speaker’s conspiracy theory is found about ten and a half minutes into the video, after some pointer about unicorn-themed commercials, and we get into the supposed message of unicorn symbolism in the products and commercials being presented to us. The speaker points to a lot of the unicorn-themed products as carrying some sort of message about magic and the belief in magic and personal uniqueness, and then immediately jumps to discussing Jennifer Doudna’s book about about genetic engineering.

I’m not kidding. That’s actually part of a video that is still ostensibly about unicorn symbolism in contemporary merchandise.

The book, entitled A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, seems to be a discussion about a DNA sequence named CRISPR (short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats; what a mouthful) and its possible use in gene editing in order to make changes to human embryos, as well as cure diseases like HIV/AIDS, many genetic diseases and certain cancers, and an attempt to caution the public about the gravity of such a discovery, including possible dangers. Now, as profoundly important as such subject matter is, I’m still absolutely bewildered as to what this has to do with consumerist unicorn symbolism. Well, the speaker mentions how CRISPR scientists are reportedly aiming to use this technology to resurrect extinct animal species such as woolly mammoths, as well as create new and previously fantastical species of animal such as unicorns and winged lizards, and how Doudna herself claims that “it won’t be long before CRISPR allows us to bend nature to our will”.

You may never be able to master nature, but there’s always Elasmotherium.

This may seem like particularly neurotic attention to detail applied to what is essentially media hyperbole (not to mention personal hyperbole from Doudna herself) meant to puff up and gloss over the real story – namely that gene editing might, just might, be technologically feasible in the future – still disconnected from the actual premise of the video. But, that would seemingly be mistaken. For you see, because the “unicorn craze” is more over the top than ever (which, in reality, it isn’t; it’s just market forces and consumerism at work), there’s supposedly a deeper meaning behind the unicorn symbol, besides the Christian symbolism of sexual purity that was already established for the mythical creature. After a less than subtle remark about “the elites” having their own set of idols that they worship (referring of course to classic conspiracy theory tropes such as the Bohemian Grove, Masonic Ba’al worship, Illuminati “Satanism” and so forth), we arrive at the central claim surrounding unicorn symbolism.

It turns out that unicorns are actually a New Age occult symbol, tied to a movement allegedly pushed by the Rockerfellers through the Lucis Trust, which is supposedly tied to Luciferianism because during the 1920s it was known as the Lucifer Publishing Company for five years before it was changed to Lucis Publishing Company. Yep, you heard me. Of course it’s worth noting that the Lucis Trust has nothing to do with the Rockerfellers in reality, or at least, there’s no evidence that the Rockerfellers actually funded it, and in fact it was started by Alice and Foster Bailey as a non-profit organization promoting New Age spiritualism and goodwill – a fact that, as the speaker said, a quick search on the Internet easily provides. In fact, the connection between unicorns and the Lucis Trust is never explained from that point onward in the video, you’re supposed to just take it at face value that the unicorn is somehow a Luciferian symbol. But then what to expect from a video that cites an unnamed book claiming that unicorns and 666’s are part of the same category of esoteric symbolism connected to the New Age movement.

Citing Dr. Kathy Burns, who herself is a documented conspiracy theorist known for her reticence to cite her academic credentials in her own books despite supposedly having a doctorate in religious studies, the speaker claims that the unicorn is actually a modern symbol of the Antichrist, supposedly a universal symbol of the arrival of the Messiah and by proxy the arrival of a new age of peace (wait, how exactly is this anti-Christian?), which supposedly, means the arrival of a conqueror who will establish a new political order by force from above. This, apparently, is the Antichrist.

Of course, one immediate and rather glaring problem with that that I can think of is….well….

“Christ treading on the beasts” depicted on a mosaic in the Archbishop’s Chapel in Ravenna, Italy. Notice anything militaristic about this?

The Bible literally says that Jesus Christ is supposed to emerge as a divine warrior conquering the enemies of God at the end of time! This is very clear from the Book of Revelations, specifically chapter 19. Revelation 19 in particular makes it explicitly clear that Jesus will appear as a warrior figure, identifiable as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who will lead an army of angels to defeat and capture the forces of Satan. We get good sense this right out of the gate from the first six verses.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.

His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 

He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

– Revelations 19:11-16

Is this not a conqueror figure, who brings about his thousand-year reign through war? By the speaker in the video’s own logic, Jesus himself is the Antichrist! I guess that means the Rothschilds, who are directly implied to be the Antichrist family through juxtaposition, are actually the family of Jesus in this case. My mind is blown on so many levels by just how amazingly absurd this whole premise is, even by the logic we’re presented! So absurd was this that I was forced to laugh out loud after hearing it.

Oh, wait, never mind. It turns out the Antichrist is actually supposed to be Shiva, the Indian deity of destruction and transformation, because according to Nancy Hathaway (a supposed “occult author” who may or may not just be another New Age quack) the unicorn (again, Antichrist symbol here according to this batshit insane lady talking to us) is a symbol of transformation and the powers of destruction whose purpose is to destroy the old and establish the new, which is also rather overtly tied by the speaker to CERN just to throw in that other ridiculous theory that CERN are some sort of Hindu Satanists. Outside of the quote from Nancy Hathaway, the exact relation between the unicorn and Shiva is never actually explained, and a simple search offers up no actual evidence of any historical connection between the unicorn and Shiva, and there is very little that suggests the unicorn was a creature of significance in Indian mythology and religion, let alone as a symbol of destruction. Thus we are simply dealing in New Age pablum with no evidence to support it.

But 13 minutes in it somehow manages to get even more ridiculous. After a throwaway assertion that unicorns are a symbol of fertility going off of random online articles and the alchemical element of Mercury, we arrive at yet another aspect of this conspiracy theory: it turns out that unicorns are actually an occult symbol of the gay agenda teaching kids to reject their assigned gender and embrace transgenderism.

Yes. The unicorn is actually an occult symbol of transgenderism because of that motherfucking “Gender Unicorn” designed by Trans Student Educational Resources. This is actually a real take that someone spent 14 out of 17 minutes building up to in a video.

Son of a bitch!

Apparently by transformation, they mean the transformation of sex and gender roles, the transformation of binary male and female into androgyny. And somehow I doubt this is what Nancy Hathaway intended by transformation by any stretch, so this is most likely just her extrapolating transsexual symbolism from a modern symbol that was most likely chosen without any input from Hathaway, or for that matter Manly P. Hall who the speaker immediately shifts gears to by saying that Hall viewed the unicorn’s horn as symbolic of the pineal gland, the “spiritual cognition center of the brain” (oh no, not this shit), and apparently a symbol of the illumined individual according to “the mysteries” who defends their doctrines with his horn, the flaming sword that portrudes from his head. That last detail, it goes without saying, sounds more like the angel protecting the Garden of Eden than the Antichrist. But, more importantly, what do the pineal gland, esoteric mysteries and fiery angelic swords have to do with transgenderism and modern progressive ideas about gender identity? This question that would logically follow from the exposition we’re dealt with is never answered, or even touched upon, at all within the video, which leads me to think that all of this is pulled out of the speaker’s multiple orifices. Literally the only explanation for the unicorn being a symbol of transgenderism is that god damned Gender Unicorn that TSER desgined, which was almost certainly designed without any esoteric context or input from some magicians.

Citing Carl Teichirb, yet another Christian conspiracy theorist ranting about the “globalists” and their “new world order”, the speaker claims that the unicorn as a symbol is closely tied to the Practicus ritual from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The speaker also claims that this Order was singularly responsible for the occult revival of the 20th century. Now it must be said that the Practicus ritual does indeed make reference to a “Unicorn of the Stars”, and the specific context of that grade is made crystal clear in Grade of Practicus.

You are qualified to receive in this Grade and — by the power to me entrusted — I now confer upon you the Mystical Title of Monokeros de Astris, which means the Unicorn from the Stars, signifying the imputed purity of soul and the restored virgin state which you have received in the ceremonial consecration of your desire part.

This is very explicitly a reference to the Christian connotations of virgin purity associated with the unicorn, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with Shiva or transsexualism, and it is never explained within the video how those concepts have anything to do with each other.

By the way, just as a brief aside, the video seems to reference a “winged unicorn” depicted at the Palace of Darius in Susa, located in Iran. The problem with this is that that’s not a unicorn, but in fact an aurochs – a species of cattle that once co-existed with humans and was the ancestor of modern cattle before being driven to extinction in the 17th century. In fact, you need only look at a side by side depiction of the aurochs from both Persia and Babylon to see that the winged animal in question is in fact meant to be an aurochs, not a unicorn.

On a tangent, the unicorn actually does make multiple appearances in the Bible as a strong and fearsome animal that is difficult to tame. However, the actual Hebrew name of the creature is “re’em”, and its identification as a “unicorn” is simply a product of the King James translation. The Hebrew word “re’em” is often translated as “wild ox” or “oryx”, but the description of the creature as a powerful and wild creature suggests that it likely refers to a wild species of cattle,  . Now this description seems somewhat different to the modern conception of a gentle and pure creature of peace, but it makes perfect sense in the context of the likely origin point of the myth of the unicorn: the Greek monoceros. This animal, like the re’em, is described by Pliny as “the fiercest animal” and said that it was impossible to capture one of them alive due to its sheer strength. Unlike the Christian conception of the unicorn, the monoceros was considered by the Greeks and Romans to be a real creature, the subject of natural history, rather than a mythical creature suited for mythology. But while the Biblical “unicorn” is actually a wild bull, likely an aurochs, Pliny the Elder said that the creature had the feet of an elephant, which combined with its singular horn suggests a rhinoceros (likely the Indian rhinoceros considering the many excursions to the Indian subcontinent undertaken by the Greeks and Romans), which came to be interpreted as the unicorn after a long period of tales and accounts getting lost in translation. Speaking of India, some claim that a one-horned creature depicted in seals that were excavated in Harappa, in what was the remains of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, is the earliest depiction of a unicorn. Considering the shape of the animal’s body very obviously resembles a bull and the way that the aurochs were depicted in Babylon and Persia, the animal is very likely to be a bull rather than a unicorn.

It is also worth noting that the unicorn’s great strength continued to be a theme in its character as it was transforming into the modern image of the unicorn. Like Pliny before him, Isidore of Seville in the 7th century described the unicorn as a very strong animal and having the ability to pierce any creature it attacks with its single horn while adding that that the unicorn is impossible to capture unless a certain trick is played on it: “If a virgin girl is placed in front of a unicorn and she bares her breast to it, all of its fierceness will cease and it will lay its head on her bosom, and thus quieted is easily caught.”. It’s from this that the medieval Christian symbolism surrounding the creature develops, and after that the unicorn goes from being a dangerous beast that can’t be tamed (except by virgin breasts of course) to a gentle and magical creature that was essentially the animal symbol of Jesus Christ himself.

Anyways, after all that the speaker claims that the unicorn is supposed to be the symbol of an illuminated initiate and spiritual being and that this is the context for all of the unicorn symbolism she keeps seeing in supermarkets because she clearly never pays attention to what kids like or what market trends are. The symbolism of the unicorn as that of an initiate is true only in a very limited context, in that it is specific to Golden Dawn rites rather than universal symbolism, and even then the context of that illumination is defined not on some weird transgender Illuminati mumbo jumbo that the speaker pulled out of her vagina, but rather by already existing Christian symbolism about virginity. Apart from that, the symbol of the unicorn in general has barely anything to do with what the speaker is claiming it to be associated with.

Towards the end we get some drivel about how the Baileys wanted to expand the growth of a new world religion, which knowing them almost certainly means sort of banal and cynical but relatively benign New Age spiritualism rather than whatever sacrifical diabolism that the speaker seems to imagine, and it’s here that we come back to the central theme of the alleged unicorn-based inundation of society. The entire reason for the speakers retarded conspiracy theory is, in her words, “there is nothing rare or unique about a symbol that is being flaunted everywhere and overused more than toilet paper”, at which point I am inclined to point her in the direction of dragons. But at least here in Wales the dragon is a national symbol so its mass proliferation here is directly tied to national identity, unless of course that fact in itself is yet another conspiracy by the Rockerfellers to promote Satanism. Oh and did I mention that the unicorn is the national animal of Scotland? Were the Rockerfellers responsible for that as well? Do a cabal of Anti-Christian Jews (let’s not kid ourselves here, we all know what these theories really are) secretly control Scotland and are they planning to turn the country into a beacon of transsexual religion? More to the point though I must ask: what’s the point of going on about how a fucking fictitious animal isn’t rare or unique just because there’s lots of products bearing its image? What the hell kinds of fools should we be taken for with this tripe?

Clearly this is a conspiracy, I’m sure

This theory, at its base, is incredibly weak, forced to draw together disparate symbolic interpretations and the writings of other conspiracy theorists who believe basically the same god damned thing as her and each other in order push this idea of the unicorn as some sort of mystic symbol of the New World Order and mystic initiation into its new religion based on concepts and themes that unconnected to each other. It’s a hodge podge of Christian paranoia and New Age bullshit mashed together by a sense of bewilderment that market forces exist and that a mythical creature that has been embedded into the public consciousness as a symbol of goodness and purity for centuries would become a widespread product for girl things.

And, by the way, as a final note, I have mentioned this a few times but there is a recurring problem with the video and its central claim: the relation between all of these concepts of transformation, purity, esoteric initiation and illumination, gene editing, genetic engineering and transgenderism is never elaborated on sufficiently. You’re just supposed to take it as read that these ideas and the disparate sources for them are connected to each other, but without any explanation as to how this is the case. Hell, the Lucis Trust is mentioned once, is subtly referred to again, but there role in all this and their relation to unicorns (let alone why the name Lucifer Publishing Society is actually a diabolical connotations) is never explained. The only reason that Jennifer Doudna’s work is thrown into all this is that one time where she mentions creating unicorns through gene editing, and we’re supposed to take that as symbolically relevant with no further elaboration. Frankly, the only way all of this makes sense is if you already agree with the general mode of conspiracy theory presented in Truthstream Media’s videos (or for that matter buy into all the same conspiratorial garbage that literally every Christian wackjob before this channel has been promoting for decades).

All in all, this is surely one of the most hilariously absurd and pointless things I’ve seen in a while and I’m amazed I had so much to write about it.

New developments regarding The Satanic Temple

It has been a while since I’ve talked about The Satanic Temple, and it seems there have been new developments taking place pertaining to that organization. Unfortunately, none of them are good. Here I will attempt to examine them one-by-one and give my commentary on the subject.

The Satanic Temple vs Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

About a month ago, The Satanic Temple decided to sue Warner Bros and Netflix, the producers of a television show named Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which seems to be a reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, on the grounds that the show uses a copy of their statue of Satan entitled Baphomet in their show. The head of the organization, Lucien Greaves, claimed that the design was copyrighted, and therefore Netflix had illegitimately appropriated it, and also claimed that the show was using their design in order to demonize Satanism and promote some sort of Satanic Panic agenda through the show.

There’s a certain irony to Lucien Greaves’ stance on this particular issue. As will be discussed later on in this post, he has stated in the past that he supports freedom of speech even for opinions and ideas he disagrees with, yet in suing Netflix over their interpretation of their Baphomet statue they seemed to be coming to against the freedom of expression on the part of the producers of the show because it makes Satanism look villainous. Of course, when someone on Twitter pointed this out, Lucien said that it wasn’t really freedom of speech because, as he claims, Netflix’s use of their statue amounted to theft of intellectual property. Rather convenient, and rather dubious considering all Baphomet is TST’s interpretation of Satan, a figure that has been interpreted in numerous ways for a few thousand years now.

Now, there is some good news that came out of this: namely, that The Satanic Temple have decided on Thursday to settle the lawsuit with Warner Bros and Netflix, with the organization announcing that “The unique elements of the Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue will be acknowledged in the credits of episodes which have already been filmed. The remaining terms of the settlement are subject to a confidentiality agreement.”. However, in true Lucien Greaves fashion, Lucien Greaves casts himself as the victim in a sense, bemoaning the whole affair as “one of the most overpublicized of copyright claims”, which is rather interesting considering it was he and his organization who first leveled the claim to begin with. If you didn’t want this sort of press, and it wasn’t that big a deal after all, why go through all the trouble? To protect a symbol? Seems rather pathetic to whine about the whole affair after having effectively started it yourself.

 

The Satanic Temple vs Antifa

Another development that happened in relation to The Satanic Temple this month is that they were accused of being aligned with fascism and the alt-right by Antifa movements. To be fair, this has been a thing for a while now, with websites like It’s Going Down accusing The Satanic Temple of harbouring a creeping fascism in its ranks. However, this month, the accusations have resurfaced in a three-part series of blog posts by Trident City Antifa, who believe The Satanic Temple is either an agent of fascism or adjacent to fascism.

The reasoning for their accusations can be summarized by the following claims:

  • Lucien Greaves’ defence of Milo Yiannopolous over the Berkeley riots last year, with Antifa claiming that said defence amounts to allowing him to oppress minorities with his speech, or something.
  • Lucien Greaves’ general support for freedom of speech, even for fascists or supposed fascists, and disdain for the “Punch Nazis” strategy.
  • The Satanic Temple’s hiring of Marc Randazza, a lawyer known for defending the likes of Alex Jones, Andrew Anglin, Mike Cernovich and members of the alt-right, to represent them in their suit against Twitter for allegedly censoring religious minorities, a decision which caused one local branch to distance themselves from the organization in response.
  • Greg Stevens being on The Satanic Temple’s National Council, which is deemed problematic because of his apparent friendship with Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannopoulous.
  • Lucien Greaves’ friendship with Shane Bugbee, who is accused of being a transphobe.
  • Lucien Greaves’ association with Adam Parfrey, who in turn was also apparently associated with a fourth-positionist named James Porazzo and apparent fascist author Robert Stark.
  • Lucien Greaves’ general opposition to Antifa.

There’s a lot to cover here, but all in all the accusation that Greaves is pro-fascist can be summarized in a few words: the guilt by association fallacy.

Think about it: let’s start with Marc Randazza. Yes, the man defended Alex Jones, and Mike Cernovich, and Andrew Anglin, and there is a reason why he did. He’s a First Amendment attorney, he argues in defense of sometimes bad people typically on the grounds of speech, and Lucien Greaves, in looking for someone to represent The Satanic Temple, must have seen that in him as an ideal candidate to defend his organization. He is also known as a prolific defender of the porn industry. Greaves probably chose Randazza because Randazza was what I guess you’d call a free speech warrior, not because of his supposed fascism. The same concern for freedom of speech, rather than ideological alignment, is the obvious impetus for Greaves’ defense of Milo Yiannopoulos. Then there’s Greg Stevens, who as far as I know seems to be something of a liberal, something like what Dave Rubin was when he started saying he was a classical liberal but before he descended into just straight up conservative libertarianism, and his only link to the alt-right is him being apparent friends with Mike Cernovich and Milo, of whom only one likely seriously shares any deeply-held ethnonationalist political beliefs with the alt-right.

Then there’s Adam Parfrey. Greaves is tied to fascism through Parfrey because Parfrey was apparently associated with Greaves, who was somewhat fond of Parfrey on the grounds that Parfrey supported his work and was the curator of TST’s first art exhibition. The fact that Greaves doesn’t appear to endorse Parfrey’s apparent fascist associations should be a red flag a bad sign for Trident City Antifa’s narrative already. Parfrey’s main link to fascism seems to be him being a member of Boyd Rice’s think tank, the Abraxas Foundation, which I think I’ve shitted on before on this blog because of its fascistic tendencies, and that his label, Feral House, often publishes works from the likes of Robert Stark and Michael Moynihan, and, I won’t lie, the evidence of Parfrey’s fascistic associations seems pretty damning, especially if you check out the “Long Live Death” section of his book Apocalypse Culture. But, this hardly makes Lucien Greaves a fascist because, although he was seemingly chummy with him, he was never sympathetic to the underground fascism that Parfrey liked to play with.

Then there’s Shane Bugbee who is accused of transphobia, racism and homophobia, for which Trident City Antifa have not provided evidence. They’ve provided evidence of Shane talking about how he doesn’t care about 9/11 and there’s mention of how he bragged about a “rape book”, but that’s it. I’ve looked outside the blog as well and haven’t found much. Again, though, besides the guilt by association, this is pretty much invoking a time when Lucien was very much a different person – it is very much worth noting that he renounces the philosophy of Might Makes Right, the book that he drew covers for and liked to talk about with Shane Bugbee.

Finally, let’s address Trident City Antifa’s objection to Lucien Greaves’ overall stance regarding freedom of speech and punching Nazis, which will also allow me to address my problems with Antifa in a much broader sense from the perspective of political praxis. First of all, if their contention is that the consistent application of freedom of speech as a principle to in alignment with fascism or alt-right beliefs, they should consider that both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have both made brilliant defences of freedom of speech in their day, as have Anton Pannekoek as well as much of the Praxis School. Should these people therefore be considered in alignment with fascism, even though the bases of their shared worldviews would be counted in opposition to fascism and the alt-right? Secondly, as to the idea that punching people on the streets makes for viable praxis, it would be a terrible shame if someone on the radical left pointed out the futility of such disorganized violence – except for the fact that somebody did, over a century ago no less. Not to mention, the far-right has for a couple of years now been organizing training camps and are already more or less more militarily prepared for violent confrontation than much of Antifa are (Unite the Right 2017 for instance saw Oathkeepers dressed in full military uniform with assault rifles for heaven’s sake), so I would argue Antifa are poorly prepared for what’s inevitably coming in the future, where there will be nothing to lose.

The underlying errors of Antifa’s praxis also hinge on a very broad definition of fascism, broad enough to include edgier forms of what is essentially baseline conservatism, hell broad enough to include just about anyone who complains about immigration in my books. Hell, they probably think leftists like Angela Nagle and Anna Khachiyan are actually fascists because of various statements on immigration and culture that they found too conservative for them. There is a broadness of definition with their understanding of fascism, and that is a problem because fascism is a very specific ideological tendency, defined by very specific political ideas – central among them the totalitarian state which exists as the sole domain in political life and which exists to govern the flow of capital in the context of private ownership of the means of production. Rather than understand fascism and fascist movements based on a proper theoretical understanding of it based on the ideological text of fascism, they do, like many liberals do, treat fascism as an abstract phenomenon broad enough to fit as many movements and individuals as is desirable. What doesn’t help matters is that there’s a sense of vigilantism about the way Antifa conducts itself, which is important to note because, as we all know, vigilantism has surely never backfired.

It’s this, coupled with the permeation of guilt by association-based assumptions that underpin Antifa’s analysis of whether or not The Satanic Temple is alt-right, and frankly it’s a very sensationalist analysis.

But, in spite of all that, there’s one detail the Antifa people have brought up that perhaps can’t be ignored: one that, while it doesn’t really make them fascist or alt-right or whatever, does raise serious questions about the group’s integrity.

 

The Satanic Temple vs whistleblowers

Within the last few months, part of The Satanic Temple’s non-disclosure agreement had apparently been leaked, and one detail in particular stands out above the rest:

Recipient agrees that Recipient shall not make any statements, or take any other actions whatsoever, that disparage the goodwill, name, brand, or reputation of the Disclosing Party or its current or former founders, directors, employees, independent contractors, volunteers, donors, supporters, or contributors. For purposes of this Section, “disparage” shall mean any critical or negative statement, whether written or oral, about the foregoing parties. Examples of disparaging statements include, but are in no way limited to, statements that the aforenamed parties have been dishonest, acted fraudulently, misused funds, or otherwise engaged in unethical or dishonest behavior, or are associated with parties who engage in such behavior. This obligation shall be in effect at all times following the Effective Date of this Agreement, both during and after the termination of the Recipient’s relationship with Disclosing Party (in whatever capacity).

While Lucien Greaves claims that it was broadly worded at the advice of their lawyer (apparently not Marc Randazza), this is very clearly a prohibition against public criticism of the organization, and this is important to note considering that Nikki Moungo had come out back in August about a litany of apparent wrongdoings. This would effectively mean that Lucien Greaves’ defence of freedom of speech turned out to be hypocritical in practice for The Satanic Temple’s operation.

It is worth noting, of course, that Lucien Greaves has announced back in September that this non-disclosure agreement will be revised, but it is worth keeping in mind also that this has been a recent development, rather transparently following the controversy surrounding the hiring of Marc Randazza. So, unfortunately, the situation is still Lucien Greaves being caught with his pants down.

All in all, it’s been a very shitty couple of months for The Satanic Temple.

Deconstructing Duality – Part 1: Collectivism vs Individualism

Before we begin I’d like to acknowledge that it has officially been six long and interminable years of running Aleph’s Heretical Domain. The only reason I haven’t got a separate post marking this occasion is because I’ve been spending a long time writing this post, alongside other posts that I suddenly got the inspiration to write (which will be released in due time). So just to throw it out there, here’s to another year of heresy.

Anyways, let us start with the pure state of nature. What is there? We do not see civilization as we recognize it as such. We do not see rights, we do not see the dignities afforded to us in civilization, and we do not see the social basis of freedom as we know it. We know a narrow sense of “freedom”: freedom from society, maybe, but the subjection experienced regularly by animals (an animal is only free in the sense that it is able to do what it must in order to propagate its genetic material and survive).

It is a very narrow, but all too common, perspective that the individual and the society he is contextualized within are apart from each other, when in reality they exist interdependent on each other within the sphere of sociation.

We as a species are evolved to be social in nature,. Many sources of physical, emotional and spiritual fulfillment tie into interdependent relations with other people, and large scale goals inexorably necessitate cooperation. Even our loneliness, our isolation, and the consequent depression, are contextualized predominantly by our adjacence to others and our ability or lack thereof to related to our fellow man. We feel disappointment, anxiety, and anguish when we are unable to relate to those around us, and to society, whether that be due our own temperament or because society is against us (of course, in reality it is surely both). Thus the social realm penetrates the being of Man, even when we are alone.

The Austrian philosopher Max Adler puts it rather succinctly in The New Concept of Sociation (which was published in Lehrbuch der materialistischen Geschichtsauffassung).

Even loneliness and unsociability are only possible within sociation. One cannot separate oneself from society, one can isolate oneself only within society. Indeed, even the hermit and the hater of humanity, as long as this is not pathologically expressed, are bound to society, just that they want to know nothing about it. A really isolated individual is a condition that begins where his spiritual connections to others is interrupted, that is madness. When Marx once said that Robinson is a figure in a novel that could never appear in an actual economy, that is also the case for sociology.

Essentially, Adler’s point is that is that the alienation we experience from our detachment from society, and even our hostility to socialization, can only truly be framed in the context of one’s place within the broader sphere of sociation – that is, the domain of social interaction and social being. Without that framework, these phenomenon do not exist. Individuals do not exist in isolation, and inexorably they are shaped by the environment they are in, which of course includes not only the natural environment but the social environment; the behaviors, customs, hierarchies, mores, systems of organization and relations/relationships the individual imbibes in.

You know, I would say it’s possible to think of loneliness in different ways if we’re being fair. Most of us, of course, react negatively to it, as is natural to do. We who are lonely because we are different to the majority of people often have a desire to be accepted by society for who we are, because this allows us to connect with society, and to ultimately support it on the grounds that it has accepted us. Some, however, react to their detachment, and the premise of sociation and socially engendered identity, by seeking further and further isolation from society, by seeking to become some sort of Anarch through their misanthropy. These paths, of course, are all defined through the relationship the individual experiences to society. Just as Adler said, this sense of alienation is only meaningful in the remit of society, taking form only in the context of a society to be alienated from.

Alder also managed to wed the individuated ego to the collective through the conception of sociation, a concept that will be touched upon in a different work later on.

Or put more clearly: the ego is only the experiential form of consciousness; it experiences itself not merely as ego, that is, as a spiritual singularity, rather as a generic-determined subject, whose spiritual contents are nothing other than the necessarily common possession of the infinity of other subjects. From this fact follows the logical and normative value of its conscious contents, which only exist so that the true, the good, the beautiful, and so forth of the individual are contents which are not for only this individual being, but rather for ‘everyone’ the true, the good, the beautiful, and so forth. The process of consciousness is not first found in its ethical or aesthetic ‘social’ form; rather it is from its very beginning as a logical form, in which no truer, that is, logically more correct content can be thought without the individual subject thinking ‘everyone’ is the object of the thought. The consciousness is thus merely a self-conscious form of ego, an individual, but in its essence from its inception a ‘we’, a supra-individual. Consciousness is only lived in the ego, but in this ego as not only ego, rather as belonging to an infinite many other egos, it thus stands together with these other experiential-egos in the possibility of an experientially-connected association. One could also say: consciousness is given only as a ‘we’, that is, as a mentality in which the I is from its cognised inception contained with other ‘I’s. And from this recognition, it can be said that sociation does not arise first in the historical-economic process. Sociation, then, is not initially the product of the interactions of human beings who exist before or after sociation, rather sociation is already in the individual consciousness, given its very being, and thus the prerequisite of all historical connectedness among the majority of individual subjects.

Sociation is a process that seems innate to us because we are social beings, and we are social beings because we are I’s that experience the world in relation to other I’s as a shared experience of reality. It is in part for this reason that solipsism can be treated a foolish vice, because you are most certainly not the only observer in reality and your fellow observers are not simply shadows of your mind: they emerged materially, in a material plane of existence, just as you did.

The Right To Be Greedy: Theses On The Practical Necessity Of Demanding Everything, written by a situationist collective going by For Ourselves: Council for Generalized Self-Management, had a very good framework for the erosion of the dichotomy of collectivism and individualism from the perspective of, of all things, an egoist framework, which will be demonstrated using a selection of paraphrases.

27
Is it necessary once again to point out the self-absurdity of the one-sided abstractions “the individual” and “society,” and of the ideologies founded on this one-sidedness – “individualism” (or “egoism”) and so-called “socialism” (or “collectivism”)?

We can be individuals only socially.

We can be social only individually.

Individuals constitute society.

Society constitutes individuals.

28
Dig deeply enough into the individual and you will find society. Dig deeply enough into society and you will find the individual. Dig deeply enough into either and you will come out the “other” side. The concept named “the individual,” fully grasped, is the same as the concept named “society.” The concept named “society,” fully grasped, is also “the individual.” One is impossible, does not exist, without the other. At the heart of society is its “opposite,” the individual. At the center of the individual is his “antithesis,” society. We must speak of the social individual. Both of the abstract universals, “society” and “the individual” find their concrete universal in the social individual.

29
Society, without the individual, is empty, is without its existence, just as the individual, without society, is without its existence – and even outside human society, is not a human individual (even if it should chance to survive as a biological individual. However, even as such, it is the issue of a human social – in this case, sexual – relationship). Unless both these moments can be affirmed simultaneously, univocally; grasped as a single, unitary concept – in fact as a conceptual singularity – their contradiction having been transcended (to begin with, in thought), then neither “the individual” nor “society” has been understood.

30
Self-production can only be social; society is self-production, that is, society is the only possible means-of-production of selves. You cannot ever talk about the “self” without identically implicating or talking about “society.” The “self” exists only in association with other selves, i.e. in and as an association of selves, a society. It is no accident that the Latin root of ‘consciousness’ – conscienta – means literally “together-knowledge”; “to know together.” Subjectivity is essentially intersubjective, that is, essentially social.

31
Your “individuality” is already a “social structure,” and has been so from its very inception (including, from its very conception).

32

Individuals are produced only by society. Society is produced only by individuals.

33
Society can be realized only egoistically, just as the ego can be arrived at, can be realized, and is possible at all only socially.

34

The self is pre-eminently and essentially social; society is pre-eminently and essentially selfish.

35
If the philosophers of one-sided individualism, of narrow egoism – that is, of the axiology of the self – want to understand Marx’s socialism, they should reflect on his statement to the effect that the other is a necessary part of your self.

36
The principle “I want nothing other than myself” – the principle of self-desire, self-attachment (self-cathexis, or self-centration) – becomes the principle of daily life in communist society once it is socially actualized that the other is a necessary part of my self. Society becomes an object of cathexis without this any longer necessitating projection-identification – i.e., the alienation of cathexis from the self – once the social nature of the self, and the “self nature” of society has become a palpable and transparent truth of experience.

Since humans are social beings by habit and by nature, freedom and individuality . Societies may indeed be constructed by individuals, but society is also much more than the product of the individuals who made it. It shapes the individuals who make it as well, for good or for bad, and the individuals in turn shape the society they create. Consequently, we find much of our identity shaped by social circumstance and stimuli, and hence by the society we have created, and therefore to speak of the individual as an atomic being and of society as an abstraction is indeed one-sided. There is a perspective of interdependence and dialectic worth considering here. When it is said that society is nothing without the individual and the individual nothing without society, what is expressed is that the two concepts shape each other – individuals, or rather a collection of individuals, engender society, society and its functions become the stimuli that affect the development and growth of the individual and his material circumstance, and from there the individual derives a means to cultivate him/herself, act within the environment and shape the society around him/her alongside his/her fellows.

Any useful conception of individualism, if we are to hold on to any individualism, has to account for the interdependence that exists between beings, and in particular between individuals and the society they live in. This is because, as was explained earlier, the being of sociation is at least practically innate to humans, and we share reality with a seemingly infinite ocean of individuated consciousness, and that is what is identified when it is said “Dig deeply enough into the individual and you will find society”.

In addition, it is very much worth considering cooperation as a necessary prerequisite of independence, as the late Tupac Shakur, of all people, actually put rather succinctly in his interview with MTV. While I do recommend you have a listen, I’d like to place a quotation from it here to show you what I mean.

“Everybody’s smart enough to know that we’ve been slighted, and we want ours. And I don’t mean forty acres and a mule, because we’re past that. But we do need help. For us being on our own two feet, we do need help because we have been here and we have been a good friend, if you want to make it a relationship type thing. We have been there and now we deserve our payback. It’s like, you got a friend that you don’t ever look out for, you know. America’s got jewels, they paid and lending money to everybody except us. Everybody needs a little help on their way to being self-reliant. No independent person just grew up and was born independent. You worked and you learned teamwork, cooperation, unity and struggle and then you became independent. We have to teach that and instill that.”

There is something to take stock of here, because a lot of it is very intuitively true. People are not born capable of making their own decisions, commanding their own faculties, navigating their course right out of the cradle, we instinctively know this and this dawns people especially when the time comes for them to be parents. Because of this, we make efforts to raise people as children so that they may develop those faculties.

This perspective also rather underpins the need to see collective cooperation and individuated freedom and experience as a dialectic. You cannot simply subsume the individual to the other as per the doctrine of altruism – each man is an individual, he has his own concerns, and he needs to be mostly free to pursue them in a healthy manner that does not cause harm or exploitation to others, but we cannot atomize the individual and place him in a vacuum free of societal consideration, for far from meaningful freedom it actually generates loneliness, isolation, and from there a deep seated suffering and anguish that results from these things. And in the end doing both extremes disempower the individual. By suffocating the individual to some altruistic mode of the group, and that mindset hangs over the individual, the individual can’t really express his/her will or agency outside the remit of the hivemind, but by atomizing the individual and cutting him/her away from society, you take away the ability of the individual to cooperate with others, in turn cutting off a major source of power for the individual – after all, there is great strength in numbers and being in a pack comes with its own rewards. As a consequence of this reality, the greatest source of freedom, development and power for the the individual lies within sociation, within the individual’s ability not only to act of his own agency and volition but also to make the best of the relations and collaborative efforts he imbibes in. In a sense, the social realm is necessary for a human being to cultivate him/herself fully as a civilized and free being capable of affecting anything. This is not because of any chains that have been placed upon humans by some tyrannical deity, but it is by dint of man’s social nature and of the interdependence that exists between all people and all things.

There is also to be said when it comes to knowledge from this perspective. No one starts off with knowledge, and it is only by our interface with the world around us that we acquire it. Without, you can have all of the strength, desire and will in the world and still amount to nothing more than a mighty slave. You’ll be driven forward by desire, strength, and willpower, but without intellect and wisdom you will lack awareness of your surroundings, and you will be unable to guide your own destiny. And since learning depends being able to receive knowledge from the outside world, from your peers, and from there a healthy society, it will be impossible for the individual to gain knowledge and wisdom and from there emancipate oneself outside the remit of sociation.

To summarize my point, the dichotomy between individualism and collectivism melts away when you consider not only the social nature of human beings, but also mutuality and cooperative societal relations as the basis for proper societal freedom and liberty. Or, perhaps…..

I know it’s a silly meme but come on, we really do live in a society.

This has been the first in the series of posts where I attempt to deconstruct the common dualistic frameworks we imbibe ourselves in. I apologize in advance for taking so long to post this, along with anything else for that matter. I will be working on the next post in that series, but in between I would like to release some posts I have been planning for a while as well as talk about new developments concerning The Satanic Temple (which will likely be the next thing I write about after this).

Deconstructing Duality and other announcements

OK, so I think at this point I should lay out what to expect going forward for the blog regarding the Deconstructing Duality series of posts.

The series will consist of the following parts:

  1. Collectivism and individualism – What it says on the tin: the aim is to deconstruct the false dichotomy of collectivism vs individualism for the misleading and absurd framework that it actually is, and establish the framework of a dialectic between the individual and society within which Man, being a social species, operates in.
  2. The liberty-authority dialectic – Drawing largely from The Principle of Federation written by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, we’ll examine liberty and authority as interdependent concepts that cannot be separated, not least because their existence is presupposed by social arrangement. This will probably end up expanding on the previous theme to some extent.
  3. The matter-spirit dialectic – In criticism of idealism and technical materialism, drawing in part from The System of Correlation of Man and His Environment, . Will probably also serve to neutralize the nature-nurture debate and the question of human nature.
  4. The dialectic of “free” will – Essentially a thought experiment regarding the nature of choice and agency within a largely deterministic environmental framework, how will exists only within a sphere of stimuli in which choice can be made to begin with, and how it doesn’t matter whether really you have proper free will or not.
  5. Gods and demons, light and darkness – Through a Tantric Buddhist understanding of the deities, the pro-Christian metaphysical moral ambiguity of the gods and spirits, and a framework of the dialectical unity of the psyche of Man in a manner consistent with Luciferian ontology, we shall fuck with the conception of gods and demons.

I’d also like to use this opportunity to make a few other announcements regarding the blog.

First, I intend to, instead of having the pages dedicated to Deific Masks, have pages serving as short articles, each ideally about 1,000 words maximum, that serve to introduce people to Luciferianism, at least from my perspective. The parent page for this would be titled What Is Luciferianism?, which serves to explain what I see as the crux of Luciferianism and what makes it stand apart from other belief systems that it stands adjacent to, such as Satanism and paganism. Stemming from this will be the following sub-pages:

  • The Morning Star – This page will be dedicated to the archetype of the Morning Star, which is at the heart of Luciferian philosophy in all of its forms and interpretations in the same sense that Satan is the archetype at the heart of all forms and interpretations of Satanism.
  • Dialectical Unity – This page will be dedicated to theme of the inherent unity and interdependence of classically perceived opposites, as, I’m sure you know, is personified in the famous occult symbol of the Baphomet.
  • Praxis – This page will explain the concept of Praxis as a creative force and its relation to Luciferianism. While I did do a post on the same subject, it not necessarily its own focused idea, rather part of a series of ideas connected within a stream of consciousness. This time it will be.
  • Deific Masks – Drawing from the theory of Michael W. Ford, this will be a short discussion on what the term Deific Mask refers to as is utilized within Luciferian circles.
  • Will – Discussing the Luciferian conception of will, or the True Will, as adjacent to the concept of the Daemon or the Holy Guardian Angel.
  • Scientific Illuminism – This article will be a discussion of the concept of Scientific Illuminism, originally the name of an epistemological framework for occultism proposed by Aleister Crowley, and its utility as a practical ontology for Luciferian practice.
  • Liberation, Illumination, and Apotheosis – This article will discuss the eponymous process of Luciferianism, echoing the Greater Church of Lucifer/Assembly of Light Bearers, its continual role for the Luciferian, and what it means.
  • The Black Flame (or The Luciferian Fire) – This article will discuss what most Luciferians dub The Black Flame, the key conception of divine consciousness, the spark of potential within humans.

Once these pages are completed, the previously occupying pages will be removed and then republished as separate Mythological Spotlight posts, possibly with some updates in the actual content. In that event, the pages will be published one week apart from each other, so as not to barrage the reader with some sort of content bukkake.

I am still elaborating on designs for a new logo as well, truth be known I haven’t really settled on a singular design ethos for the logo. I will say though that I am considering going with a bit of a Hellenic design for a new logo, to match my increasing desire to inject Hellenic influence into what I think and do overall. I hope to get it done within at least a month or two providing I’m not too busy.

And finally, I think it is worth mentioning how things are going on the material side of things. I am still looking for employment so as to generate a source of income so I can build my life and future projects, and I’m currently going through all kinds of liaisons to get something through. Also I’m supposed to be having a meeting in a few weeks to discuss the future projects in which I intend to bring up these issues so I can work something out smoothly.

That’s about all for now. I hope to deliver on this new content soon enough.

Without an inner voice

Something came to my attention within the last few weeks with regards to a new meme that showed up on the Internet. They call it the “NPC” meme. It’s a variation of the Wojack meme, which you may have seen in conjunction with the Pepe the Frog meme (with Pepe being the perpetual antagonist of Wojack). In fact, the NPC is pretty much just a gray Wojack but with a different, expressionless face. The name NPC comes from the world of video games, where it literally means Non-Player Character, characters with no player operating them or can’t be operated by the player within the game. In video games, this is the term used for characters that exist in the background, who neither the hero nor the villain, nor anyone else important, who you encounter at some point the game. This is typically relevant in adventure games, like The Legend of Zelda series, or role-playing games, like Final Fantasy, where you have minor characters who appear within the game world, typically in towns and cities, who don’t affect the course of the game’s story or the world around them and exist mostly to just give you some background information about the place you’ve visited, or just tell you weird inconsequential things.

And then there’s Error

The modern NPC meme has its origins in a 2016 4chan thread within the /v/ (as in video games, for people who’ve never encountered 4chan) board concerning the existence of “NPCs”. The anon’s theory goes that there are a finite number of souls in this world, which recycle continuously through reincarnation, and because the human population has rapidly expanded in size in the modern age, there’s not enough souls for them, so what you get is a contingent of soulless masses of people, incapable of independent thought and following social trends in order to convince their fellow man of their humanity. The irony of such a sentiment being expressed on such a brainless den of groupthink as 4chan is not lost on me. This month, several 4chan users began talking about the concept of people who “lacked an inner voice”, and from there the meme quickly spread on Twitter.

Its usage seems to be an echo of the use of the term “normie”, in reference to people who blindly obey pre-approved patterns of thought in conformity to society. However, it’s easy for this sort of thing to become dehumanizing when you remember that the whole point of the meme is that they don’t have an inner voice, an inner monologue, a “soul” or the ability to affect anything. That’s why it’s quite disheartening to see some people consolidate part of their worldview around this premise, especially if you’re one of those guys who thinks that the majority of the population are just NPCs. Think about it: that is casting the majority of your fellow man, the majority of the world, as soulless husks, incapable of thought and imagination, all while basking in the rays of your own ego. It’s such a parasitic form of elitism that pollutes the mind and the soul, one that I think finds breeding in modern online culture.

The funny thing is, the idea of a person without an “inner voice” is not exactly new to 4chan. In fact there was a thread on the r/self sub-Reddit written two years ago by someone who claims to have experienced precisely this. To quote thegoldengiraffe, the author of the thread:

I think I’m very different from most people because of one main thing. I never thought with language. Ever. I moved to Canada when I was 2 from Asia, and have been basically been around English speakers my whole life. I’m in my twenties now and I can speak it relatively well, and can understand every single word. However, growing up, I never ever thought with language. Not once did I ever think something in my mind with words like “What are my friends doing right now?” to planning things like “I’m going to do my homework right after watching this show.” I went through elementary school like this, I went through Highschool like this, I went through University like this…and I couldnt help but feel something was off about me that I couldnt put my hand on. Just last year, I had a straight up revalation, ephiphany….and this is hard to explain…but the best way that I can put it is that…I figured out that I SHOULD be thinking in language. So all of a sudden, I made a conscious effort to think things through with language. I spent a years time refining this new “skill” and it has COMPLETELY, and utterly changed my perception, my mental capabilities, and to be frank, my life. I can suddenly describe my emotions which was so insanely confusing to me before. I understand the concept that my friends are still “existing” even if they’re not in site by thinking about their names. I now suddenly have opinions and feelings about things that I never had before. What the heck happened to me? I started thinking in language after not doing so my whole life. It’s weird because I can now look back at my life before and see just how weird it was. Since I now have this new “skill” I can only describe my past life as ….”Mindless”…”empty”…..”soul-less”…. As weird as this sounds, I’m not even sure what I was, If i was even human, because I was barely even conscious. I felt like I was just reacting to the immediate environment and wasn’t able to think anything outside of it. It’s such a strange time in my life. It feels like I just found out the ultimate secret or something. …..Can anyone relate, or understand what Im saying? Can anyone explain what is happening to me? I have no idea where to even post this but this has been on my mind ever since I’ve been able to think about it.

It seems that the author, for some time, lacked the ability to think in language, and did not possess an internal monologue. If the first few sentences and some of the comments are anything to go by, it’s possible that such a disability may have developed from moving to Canada to Asia at such a young age. He went through much of his life not having the ability to communicate in language, not realizing that something was wrong until finally he figured it out, and then spent a year developing the ability to think in language. But once he did, it transformed his understanding of himself, his skills, and the way he understood the world. It must have felt not so much as though he had attained enlightenment, so much as though he had become ensouled.

One commenter was keen to point out that the OP may have been suffering from a mysterious medical condition known as aphantasia, a disability wherein afflicted individuals are unable to produce mental images (except, apparently, during dreams). This condition is often referred to as being “blind in the mind”, and this is in reference to the fact that, for aphantasics (sufferers of aphantasia), the brain is not able to produce mental images, and so the “mind’s eye” doesn’t function properly, if it functions at all. Neurologists estimate that roughly 2% of the world’s population are affected by this condition. This might seem insignificant at first, but then you remember that 2% of the world’s population amounts to about 150 million, which is still a huge number of people by itself. That means millions of people who suffer from an impaired mind’s eye and are thus unable to think in language or produce mental images.

Now why is aphantasia related to this? Well it’s very simple. If you can’t think in language, and you don’t have an internal monologue, in a sense it’s as though you don’t have an inner voice, and that’s the whole point of the NPC meme. What’s more, the man who discussed his experience of life without the ability to think in language described his state of being prior to having unlocked that ability, after the fact of having done so, as a state of mindlessness, soullessness, or emptiness of being. The way some people use the NPC meme, it gives this sense of an attitude where most people in their lives are just soulless husks because they don’t agree with them. No wonder some people have come out and described the meme as fascistic in nature.

More than that, there is the fact that our Reddit friend tells us that he not only suffered from his lack of ability to think in language, but somehow he managed to change this and attain the ability to think in language. This to me is a profound source of hope in many ways because it shows me the possibility of the activity of overcoming taking place within in an individual, the act of self-cultivation taking place, and in a way genuine transformation has taken place. The NPC meme, seen through this lens, is pretty much an exercise in signalling the worldview that it is better to just cast people aside rather than exert compassion and help people develop their full potential simply because they’re inferior beings (inferior, mind you, in the view of people who would be laughed at by any serious intellectual on this planet).

Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in light of recent events

I remember when Pope Francis was first announced as Pope back in 2013, and in classic Satanist fashion I immediately expressed skepticism towards the man for his seemingly liberal and progressive outlook. I dismissed the popular conception that he was going to reform the Catholic Church in any meaningful way, and I believed that he was going to simply be a nice new face for the press and the celebrity class. This isn’t to say that I hate everything he’s saying – just most of it (he is a bourgeois Christian after all, no less the leader of the Catholic Church) – but I have consistently treated him as essentially a show. I have taken a little bit of heat back in the day for being so mean and critical towards this progressive facade he had going on, and to this day I stand by my original stance, now more than ever in fact.

For years there’s been scandal attached to the Catholic Church for numerous incidents, both real and alleged, of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests within the Church, which was covered up by the Church itself in order to protect the priests rather than punish them for what should obviously have been treated as sinful conduct by their own standards. This summer, that scandal has returned to the limelight full force with the allegations surrounding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, resulting in him being stripped of the right to perform priestly function and duty, and then the emergence of a lengthy report documenting the sexual abuse of 1,000 children by 301 priests within the US state of Pennsylvania. The report also stated that abuse was covered up by senior Church officials who knew full well that the abuse was happening and on such a wide scale. If that wasn’t enough, Pope Francis himself has been accused of having known known about McCarrick’s abuse since 2013 by Cardinal Carlo Maria Vigano, who has demanded the Pope’s resignation. When confronted with this news upon his return from a trip to Ireland, Pope Francis responded by saying “I will not say a word about this, I believe the document speaks for itself”. As it stands now, US states have begun taking action against the Catholic Church, with attorneys across the country issuing subpoenas against the Church over the allegations of widespread sexual abuse, inspired by the Pennsylvania report.

I’ll be honest, I feel somewhat vindicated from this development. The Pope comes off as a weak force, despite ostensibly condemning the abuse and encouraging indicted clergy members to resign. There is this sense that he doesn’t want to deal with the scandal, that he wishes to distance himself from the whole fiasco, or for some reason he just wants to deal a light touch to the subject matter. And, naturally, the victims of the sexual abuse don’t appreciate this stance. They want action, and so far they feel the Pope just isn’t cutting it. While I do get the sense that the Pope’s conservative critics are using this as an opportunity to press for his resignation so he can leave the papacy and have some asshole they like takes his place and moves the church away from its more anti-capitalist bent, the fact remains he is not being very firm on the matter of widespread child sex abuse that may have been known about and covered up by his organization. Even in his more recent address to new bishops, he apparently still didn’t touch on the scandal much, as though keeping distance from the whole thing.

Now, why do I feel vindicated from this? Like I said before, I’ve been saying for years that Pope Francis would never amount to an actual force of reform for the Catholic Church, that he would only be a nice face for the Church who admittedly says nice things (that is to say, the stuff that hasn’t been faked) who ultimately changes nothing. And now that a major scandal has engulfed the Catholic Church yet again and the Pope seems relatively uninterested in taking a decisive, firm stance against the corruption within his own house, it becomes obvious to me that I was right, that he is simply a way for the Church to redeem its image while solving nothing. Even in his letter addressing the abuse in August, Pope Francis still offers a mostly platitudinous condemnation, bereft of the plan of action that so many victims would like to hear. It is worth noting at this point that, just yesterday, a letter from 2006 has emerged telling us that the abuse of Theodore McCarrick has been known to the Catholic Church, wait for it, since 2000! They knew damn well what was going on, but they chose not to do anything, or worse they chose to cover it up, and Pope Francis has not been better in this tradition of silence, only leaving us whispers and mumbles in response.

Francis is nothing more than a pathetic idol of false reform for a Church that has been institutionally rotten long before his time. Given just the intrinsic corruption that the Church embodies, it is long past time that the Church be abandoned and swept aside. Even mass conversion to Protestantism would be better than keeping such a disgusting institution alive for one more generation. I was right, the people who bashed me for complaining about his liberal attitude were wrong, and they should fucking deal with it.

Pope Francis, looking a little dejected there

The Devil, The Goddess, and Luciferianism

During one of my regular online travels, I encountered a lengthy, fascinating and well-sourced essay entitled The Devil & the Goddess: Meditations on Blood, Serpents & Androgyny, originally written in 1997 by a man who goes by the name Gyrus and can be found within his 2007 book Archaeologies of Consciousness: Essays in Experimental Prehistory. The essay goes into incredible detail concerning the subjects of Satanism, the archetype of Satan, various strains of left hand path occult philosophy, pre-Christian pagan religions, Tantric Hinduism, goddess worship, sexuality, and many other topics, and according to Gyrus originated as an expression of dissatisfaction with the ethos of Social Darwinism he found in Satanism, particularly as expressed by black metal bands in interviews he had read via EsoTerra Magazine. In this essay, I feel I have found some keys towards crafting an identity for Luciferianism, particularly with Gyrus’ critique of Satanism and his dialogue concerning Taoism. What you are about to read is not, I must stress, a response to the essay itself, nor ultimately an appraisal of it as a standalone text, but rather a commentary on key ideas presented within it as it relates to the “real” subject: namely, the Luciferianism I seek to craft and embody.

There is one thing to bear in mind, of course, with his critique of Satanism. When dealing with Satanism, it is ultimately based on the LaVeyan doctrine of Satanism, as originally outlined in The Satanic Bible. While some theistic Satanists might be disappointed, I have said before that a lot of the core philosophy of The Satanic Bible permeates theistic Satanism as well, though the Church of Satan dares not to admit to such a fact.

Let’s begin this post proper with Gyrus’ commentaries on Satanism in “The Devil and the Tao”, more specifically with his critique of the social Darwinism of Satanism:

“The so-called rationalism of modern—usually ‘socially Darwinian’—Satanism rests on very dodgy philosophical ground, simply because when you bother to try and define the terms used in the idea of “the strong over the weak”, you’re invariably left with a sense of, “Yeah, and…?” It’s like saying you believe in the philosophy of “winners beating the losers”. Jello Biafra nicely undermined knee-jerk social Darwinism with his quip that “the strong prey on the weak, and the clever prey on the strong”; but in the end this just begs the question. Also, orthodox Darwinism inevitably holds that humanity is the latest in life’s progressively ‘better’ attempts at creating organisms. Surely social Darwinism would hold a similar view about contemporary culture? This doesn’t sit too well with the misanthropy, and contempt for the ‘lowering of standards’ in modern society, that is prevalent among many supposed social Darwinists. If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity? I think many Satanists, in claiming “strong over the weak” to be a universal principle of nature, are actually trying to say, “I’m harder than you and I could have you easily.” Or at least, “I could out-stare you, mate.” That’s another argument. But as for universal principles—forget it. Evolution and history are far too complex and multi-dimensional to limit themselves to the strategies of a fight in a pub.”

In this critique, I see many things. First of which, I see how easily I fell into the right wing of politics between the middle of 2016 and the outset of 2018. Even though many Satanists naturally find themselves averse to social conservatism and reactionary politics because of, among other things, the reactionary antipathy towards the expansion of human liberty and progress in the name of arbitrary tradition and the consolidation of state power and authority to achieve this end, the logic of social Darwinism permeates conservative politics so ubiquitiously, that many people hardly notice. The contempt for the “lowering of standards” is but one trope you see from them, as I often remember from High Tory lizards like Michael Gove when talking about the education system, but you also find it in the logic of free market libertarianism, wherein the market, in the society they ultimately desire, is this force of natural selection wherein those who are able to accumulate capital and wealth ascend to the top and those who cannot meet the demands of the market exist as essentially fish bait, and in this general conservative habit of extolling success above all else – if you aren’t successful, you’re not really worth anything.

More importantly, the brute simplicity of social Darwinism, and the primary mentality that drives it, are exposed in this section. The brute simplicity of social Darwinism lies in its emphasis on the hierarchy of strength, whatever basis for strength or superiority we’re going with here, and consequently in the ability to exert strength over others. The mentality at work is often invariably not just that the strong should rule over the weak, but also “I’m one of the natural elites and deserve to rule over the weak”, but even then this tends to amount to “I think I can beat you in a fight/arm wrestling competition/video game”. You kind of see it in this idea of being like a wolf as opposed to a sheep, after all wolves are mighty predators and sheep are defenseless domesticated herbivores who could be their prey. But wolf behavior doesn’t much the predatory vision of Ayn Rand individualism that some in the Left Hand Path suggest. Not only are wolves pack animals, immediately suggesting a little more collectivism, but the alpha male trope that supposedly stems from wolf behavior is inaccurate: wolves don’t actually compete for the spot of top dog in vicious battles for dominance with the strongest wolf becoming pack leader, rather a wolf becomes the leader of a pack simply by breeding with other wolves and producing pups which then form the pack. In fact, wolf packs are formed in much the same way human families are formed – that is, males and females from different families seek each other out, find each other, . Don’t just take my word for it; take it from David Mech, the man who originally wrote about “alpha” wolves in his 1970 book The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species and changed his mind in the light of new evidence concerning wolf packs some 35 years later.

A typical wolf pack

The point of “If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity?” is a very fascinating and revealing dilemma for many social Darwinists. For the Satanist, Christianity is the religion of the weak and the dumb, the feeble teachings of the lamb, yet, it has dominated the Western world and the imagination of its people for less than two thousand years. Clearly, it is not the “strength” of the Christian religion that has propelled it to power – indeed, Christianity was pretty much persecuted by the Romans until the emperor Constantine embraced it; it gained power not through its own merits but through its elevation into the halls of power by the believing ruler. More to the point, if might makes right, Satan presents an odd scenario, depending on the interpretation of Satan being utilized. If we are dealing with the Satan of the Bible or even Paradise Lost, that figure is ultimately defeated, is he not? But then for many Satanists, Satan is not simply that figure, but a much broader, more universal and thus more powerful natural force that pervades the universe, a dark force of nature as Anton LaVey put it. Taken this way, what could be more consistent with might makes right than getting behind the might of nature itself! Returning to the main point, you might say that the clever rule the strong who rule the weak, and Boyd Rice certainly has, but even then, Christianity is not what I would call the religion of the clever. In fact, I believe it to be one of the most absurd and stupid religions the world has to offer, for reasons that I have devoted many a post within this blog over its entire lifespan to covering. So if the clever rule the strong, who in turn rule the weak, how did such an idiotic, foolish and self-contradicting religion as Christianity come to be the guiding religion of the Western world for over a thousand years?

At the risk of seeming glib, we find a very similar dilemma throughout fascist politics, especially in ethno-fascism. Why is it that if the strong rule the weak and the fascist represents the strong, that the fascist is always destined to be the loser in contemporary society? Why does the mighty Aryan/white man find himself subjected by other races, especially the Jews, when he is supposed to be the master race, the strongest and greatest race of mankind? Conservatives have a similar problem with their memes about how leftists are cucks, and they’re the “alpha males”. You find this encapsulated in Milo Yiannopoulos going on about Marxists being weak beta male cucks. One wonders, then, why the communists were historically more than capable of matching the West in combat, such as the Soviet victory over the Western-backed White Armies during the Russian Civil War, or the frequent routing of American armies by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Moreover, why does the fascist go on about how might makes right and yet never seem to line up in support of the victor? Oh wait, it must because the victor in the struggles of the 20th century was not fascism, but liberal democracy (or more or less whatever passes for democracy these days)! It must be, then, that the fascist places value on something other than simply might – if, that is, he isn’t simply using that as a cover for pure desire for a totalitarian, socially Darwinist state. Returning to Satanism, it seems to To value Satan, a being supposedly to be defeated by God, is to value so much more than the superficial value of might: otherwise, the logic of might makes right, taken to its conclusion, should lead to the Christian Yahweh or Jesus who defeat in in the corresponding myths.

I also find the overall mentality of social Darwinism to be inferior to the quest for knowledge, enlightenment, transformation and praxis, as well the broader sense of mission to emancipate mankind in this sense, and I will quote the late Robert Anton Wilson on this – specifically a section of his essay Don’t Be Afraid of Black Magick in which he criticizes people who pride themselves on being cunning black magicians as opposed to the “suckers” who deal in the light.

The hoodlum-occultist is “sociopathic” enough to, see through the conventional charade, the social mythology of his species. “They’re all sheep,” he thinks. “Marks. Suckers. Waiting to be fleeced.” He has enough contact with some more-or-less genuine occult tradition to know a few of the gimmicks by which “social consciousness,” normally conditioned consciousness, can be suspended. He is thus able to utilize mental brutality in place of the simple physical brutality of the ordinary hooligan.

He is quite powerless against those who realize that he is actually a stupid liar.

He is stupid because spending your life terrorizing and exploiting your inferiors is a dumb and boring existence for anyone with more than five billion brain cells. Can you imagine Beethoven ignoring the heavenly choirs his right lobe could hear just to pound on the wall and annoy the neighbors? Gödel pushing aside his sublime mathematics to go out and cheat at cards? Van Gogh deserting his easel to scrawl nasty caricatures in the men’s toilet? Mental evil is always the stupidest evil because the mind itself is not a weapon but a potential paradise.

Every kind of malice is a stupidity, but occult malice is stupidest of all. To the extent that the mindwarper is not 100 percent charlatan through-and-through (and most of them are), to the extent that he has picked up some real occult lore somewhere, his use of it for malicious purposes is like using Shakespeare’s sonnets for toilet tissue or picking up a Picasso miniature to drive nails. Everybody who has advanced beyond the barbarian stage of evolution can see how pre-human such acts are, except the person doing them.

Genuine occult initiation confers “the philosopher’s stone,” “the gold of the wise” and “the elixir of life,” all of which are metaphors for the capacity to greet life with the bravery and love and gusto that it deserves. By throwing this away to indulge in spite, malice and the small pleasure of bullying the credulous, the mindwarper proves himself a fool and a dolt.

With regards to my point, and I guess Gyrus’ as well, the TL;DR is thus: social Darwinism and the “alpha wolf” mentality of it is stupid because it tells people to focus on being the dominant personality who’s better than the suckers and the sheep rather than actually providing a framework by which the masses can emancipate themselves and seeking out anything more than the simplicity of strength, cunning and the reptilian psyche. There’s natural realism, the acknowledgement of the harsh realities of life and the necessity of strength and force, and then there’s simply wanting to gun for the king of the pack for its own sake. Church of Satan and Order of Nine Angles on suicide watch.

Why seek power for its own sake when you can seek the philosopher’s stone instead?

Next we will discuss how in “Satan’s Ancestry”, Gyrus discusses the pre-Christian lineage of Satan, and approaches discussion the Greek deity Dionysus as the nexus between the archetypes of Christ and Satan (before continuing such discussion in “Reclamation”).

“The greatest insights into Christianity and Satan can be gleaned from exploring the Greek god Dionysus. He is very typical of pagan nature gods: he is horned, signifying kinship with animals (like the closely related goat-god of the Arcadian pastures, Pan, another source of Satanic iconography); he is a ‘dying-and-rising’ god, reflecting the cyclic process of the seasons in nature; and he has a strong wild and untamed aspect, again like Pan, forming a bond with pre-civilised humanity. It’s obvious how Satan, Christianity’s repressed shadow, has derived from such an archetype. In its irrational suppression of sexuality, nature, cyclicity and the body, Christianity latched on to this archetype and pushed it so far away from human experience that it became alien, and we became alienated. The already feral, ego-shattering Dionysian godform became utterly evil and terrifying, a force to be held at bay at all costs.

Now things get confusing. Did not Jesus, like Dionysus, die and rise again? Both are intimately associated with vines and wine; both have been connected to the use of psychedelic mushrooms; the flesh of both is in some way eaten as part of their worshippers’ rites; and both names, according to John M. Allegro’s The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, stem etymologically from the same Sumerian root. There’s almost as much evidence connecting Dionysus with Jesus as there is with Satan.

It’s my feeling that we have here a crucial fork in the history of archetypes. Christianity appropriated the more abstract spiritual motifs of dying-and-rising nature gods (mainly supposed ‘life after death’) and up popped the mythical Jesus. The chthonic associations with the Earth, with sexuality and the body, were all repressed, compressed and demonised into Satan. In this division was lost all cyclicity, all the transformative and change-affirming power of nature’s process. We descended into truly profane time; linear time instead of rhythmic, spiralling, sacred time. Norman O. Brown has noted that “the divorce between soul and body [analogous to the Jesus/Satan split] takes the life out of the body, reducing the organism to a mechanism”. Likewise, the conception of an extra-terrestrial, eternal time (Heaven) as sacred renders the Earth profane, and binds us to the linear track of uni-directional historical ‘progress’. We may see ourselves as moving towards this sacred time—but it is an ever-receding carrot-on-a-stick, and tears us away from omni-directional immersion in the moment. “No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.” (Jim Morrison)”

Dionysus’s transformation, like so many pre-Christian pagan deities, into Satan, becomes a metaphor for the bifurcation of mankind, who is split between his bright and shadowy selves, extrapolated in turn as Christ and Satan, engaged in metaphysical conflict at the end of which Christ is supposed to be the winner in the end. This divorce is something that is identified by Luciferians, who desire the completion and unity of the human psyche. In this sense, it is worth discussing Dionysus as a Luciferian archetypal deity of sorts, one whose internal dialectical unity of “light” and “darkness”, or spirit and matter, embodies the unity and wholeness of self that is to be present within the Luciferian consciousness.

Where exactly are the “light” and “dark” sides to Dionysus? In Dionysus one finds both the celestial and the chthonic, his celestial component obviously derived from being a son of Zeus, but his chthonic component coming from both his lineage from the goddesses Demeter and Persephone in some versions of his myth and his identity as Zagreus, “the first-born Dionysos”. He is also frequently associated with chthonic powers, shown to be defeating his enemies by invoking his power as a shaker of the earth, and his chthonic and Olympian personae were venerated alongside each other. Dionysus even seems to have an association with Hades through his apparent powers of the underworld, and he himself made the descent into Hades in order to rescue his human mother Semele. Some, including the philosopher Heraclitus, identified Dionysus with Hades himself, even going so far as to say that Dionysus and Hades were the same being. Interestingly, in Heraclitus, the link between Dionysus and Hades is an example of the unity between opposites within his worldview, with Dionysus representing life and fertility through a phallic cult devoted to him and Hades representing death, and this unity is also solidified by water – for him, death meant the soul becoming watery after life, and for him a man’s soul became moist when drunk.

Speaking of death, it’s in his dying-and-rising that often links him to the “light” half of the Christian archetypal mythos – Jesus. And indeed he did die and resurrect, but not in the way Jesus did. Dionysus died within the womb of his mother Semele, who burnt alive upon looking at the face of Zeus (whom no mortal could behold without burning to death), but Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysus and placed him inside his thigh until he was ready to be born. In another myth, Dionysus died after being ripped apart by Titans, who then ate every part of him except his heart, only for them to be destroyed by Zeus used his heart to create him anew. Later in his life, Dionysus would die again and attain the status of godhood thanks to Zeus, as his son. But Dionysus can overlap with Jesus in more ways than just dying and rising. For the Orphics, Dionysus represented the Good in Man, whose spirit is to be cultivated as opposed to the wicked influence of man’s Titanic heritage. He of course, has a strong association with wine miracles just as Jesus does. He shared his wine and its delights to all people of all walks of life, just as Jesus would claim to offer his salvation to all people of all walks of life. Both were even identified as the morning star, as one of Dionysus’ epithets in the Mysteries was Phosphorus, signifying him as the light bringer. His more devilish or “satanic” aspects are perhaps harder to pin down, but perhaps his historical connection and often outright identification with Hades makes this a little easier, what with him becoming a master of the underworld and all. Although, if Pan is any indication, his retinue of satyrs and maenads must have lent itself to a retinue of demons in the Christian imagination, and his association with the serpent and the phallus must have lent to his lustful associations in the same imagination.

We have, in what is typically recognized as the Greek deity of drunkenness, festivity, theater and revelry, the simultaneously embodied archetypes of the redeemer, the savior, the initiator of the mysteries, and of the wild and indestructible life force whose revelries set the limits of the self asunder. His dialectical unity of opposites, and his appellation of Phosphoros, make me think that Dionysus is a sort of Luciferian archetype, though hardly the same thing as Lucifer himself (historical mythology doesn’t fit the sort of patterns we’d often like them to).

A mosaic depicting Dionysus riding the panther

Continuing this theme of discussion, Gyrus critiques Satanism in discussion of Dionysus, or rather his being split in half by Christianity.

“In Satanism, Satan is seen as embodying the principle of division and duality, that principle without which manifestation—matter, flesh, bodies & sex—cannot occur. This is symbolized in the ‘inverted’ pentagram, where two points are directed upwards and one down. The dual realm of manifestation rules over the singular, united realm of spirit. In the ‘normal’ pentagram the spirit rules the flesh. Jesus is seen as opposing Satan, and embodies the spiritual principle of unity. So what are we to make of the actual historical beliefs and practices of the followers of these two figures? Christianity has turned out to be militantly dualistic, denying the body and ravaging the Earth, glorifying the ‘spirit’ and longing for some united heavenly kingdom. And Satanists, while obviously prioritising flesh over spirit, ego over collectivity, are inevitably involved in many practices which approach Dionysian revelry, serving to abolish individual distinction. Also, their emphasis on living for the moment instead of “spiritual pipe-dreams” could be seen to destroy the future-fixation of profane time, following Nietzsche into a whole-hearted immersion in the eternal present.

Our problems in analysing these contradictions betray our present evolutionary and cultural problems. In looking at the splitting of Dionysus, we’re seeing the mythical reflections of a phase in the development of the human species where the increase of city-dwelling and changes in agriculture & economics began to erode our bond with the rest of the biosphere. City walls are the rigidification of human ego-barriers writ large. “When Christians first distinguished themselves from pagans, the word ‘pagan’ meant ‘country-dweller’. For the first centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire were the great cities—Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome itself.” (Alan Watts, Nature, Man & Woman) In our quest to urbanize our existence, to become as independent as possible from the less comfortable and benign aspects of nature, we have become lost in a mire of confusion. Witness Blake’s disgust at the industrial revolution in his phrase “dark Satanic Mills”, and the fact that most of the mill owners were probably devout Christians. Protestantism has been intimately linked to the rise of capitalism by psychoanalytical historians; Satanists advocate material power. A church in Coventry recently held a service in thanks for the car industry; and Jesus advocated shunning possessions and said rich people would have a bloody hard time getting into heaven. Such confusion seems to be the price for living under the sway of false dichotomies like Jesus/Satan, spirit/matter, collective/individual, intellect/instinct.”

There is an interesting contradiction referred to here with regards to Christian society, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in the United States of America. Stop and wonder how it is that society that is the most openly Christian, and chauvinistically so at that, is also most openly pro-capitalist, and the most reticent to direct the flow of capital towards the downtrodden and the poor. Jesus preached that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, yet wealth and Christian power intersect and permeate American society under the guidance of free market capitalist ideology. It is in America that what we call the “prosperity gospel” was born, and which permeates so much of Christian televangelism in the country. I can hardly imagine many rich evangelists in America actually giving money to the poor; they’re too busy telling them that God helps those who help themselves! Not only that, but, as I covered in my post against Cultural Christianity, Christian power has not arrived upon the world with the love, beneficence, virtue and compassion it preached, but instead with violence, hatred, avarice and treachery across Europe and the world.

And in a way perhaps this is but a window but the turmoil and contradiction that inevitably springs forth from dichotomous thinking, which I intend to go into in my future Deconstructing Duality series of posts. When you examine our world hard enough, you find darkness where there should be light, and nothing is as it seems. We think ourselves free and individuals yet we’ve hardly been under so much pressure to conform in our lives than in modernity. We see so much contradiction in our being and in our society living in an existence bifurcated by the cross, leaving internal division that once did not exist. The pagans of old did not see the universe in same way that Christians do now. They do not see an omnipresent struggle of good and evil, overseen by an all-powerful and all-knowing intelligence, and they did not see Man fighting himself between his superego and his id. They saw ups and downs, they saw cycles inherent to the process of the natural world, and they saw multifaceted personality in both the human and the divine condition, animating the mythological and natural universes. The contradictions of Christianity simply weren’t present until, well, Christianity became the dominant force in society.

Luciferians, and pagans (and I suspect Taoists and maybe Buddhists too), know that most of the dichotomies we organize ourselves with philosophically are bullshit, they’re pointless, they bifurcate the soul in ways that are not only unnecessary but also harmful to the soul and serve as an impediment to its liberation, wholeness and internal harmony. Our interest, therefore is in smashing these dichotomies, in resolving those contradictions, in freeing mankind from his bifurcated state of being, in leading humans toward a more internally harmonious and from there liberated spiritual existence. We see the superegoic light embodied by the likes of Jesus, Horus, Zeus etc. and the id darkness of the likes of Satan, Set, Hades etc. inevitably represent but shades of Man’s psyche. (or, for the pagans, shades of Nature). Splitting the individual between the two constitutes a barbarity of the soul. Because of that, it makes just as little sense to confine oneself to the shadow as to flee to the light never part with it. It makes equal sense to desire soul as to desire flesh in that they are both parts of Man. That is why we smash the dichotomies presented to us by Christianity and related philosophies with a hammer, and that is why we do not limit ourselves to light and darkness.

Thor, seen here, philosophizing with a hammer (Thor and the Midgard Serpent, by Emil Doepler)

Much of the essay after this deals very strongly in the theme of goddess worship so as to build a case for a connection between Satanism and pre-Christian goddess worship, and from there a detailed discussing of sexuality in Tantric practice. Such a subject makes for interesting reading and you can make of it what you will, but since I ultimately did not garner a lot of clues for the direction I should be going in with regards to Luciferianism from such lengthy historical discussion of goddess worship and Tantra, we will skip most of it.

Later on in “The Androgyne”, Dionysus is discussed further in the context of androgyny.

“Dionysus, familiar to us here as precursor of the Jesus/Satan split and son of the Earth, was raised by women, often jeered at for his effeminate appearance, and referred to by a king in a text by Aeschylus as “man-woman”. Alain Daniélou presents copious documentation, in his book Gods of Love and Ecstasy, that Dionysus is almost precisely equivalent to the Indian god Shiva—from whom we may also derive another traditional aspect of Satan, the trident, which is closely associated with Shiva. One of Shiva’s principal aspects is the Ardhanarâshvara, the hermaphrodite. “The Prime Cause may be conceived as masculine or feminine, as a god or a goddess, but in both cases it is an androgynous or transexual being.””

Gyrus’ description of Dionysus, for me, embodies a principle of moving between opposites through his status as the nexus between Christ and Satan and his seeming transgression of the boundaries of gender. He becomes a Baphometic figure, in a sense. In another sense, he could be taken as the embodiment of balance. For me, however, this unity calls for more than just balance, but what I refer to as “elegance”. Why elegance, you might ask? My rationale for this comes from my game design studies, specifically Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rolling. Here is how they explain it:

Interactive entertainment is an art form, but like film and television, it is a collaborative art form. In fact, it is far more collaborative than either of those media, and development companies seldom grant the level of creative control that a film director enjoys. Designing games is a craft, like cinematography or costume design. A game includes both artistic and functional elements. It must be aesthetically pleasing, but it also must work well and be enjoyable to play. The greatest games combine their artistic and functional elements brilliantly, achieving a quality for which the only word is elegance. Elegance is the sign of craftsmanship of the highest order.

What they describe is more than balance. It is unity. It is synthesis. And as craftmanship, applied to the spiritual principle of Luciferianism, translates itself as self-making, or self-creating. And in the vein of Gyrus’ discussion of the Tao, we should see this principle of self-creation as perpetual. Elegance then is an aspect of the principle of Praxis. Ah but if only Dionysus was a craftsman, then the metaphor would be complete.

The same sense of synthesis is found in Shiva, but it is not simply through Ardhnarishvara wherein Shiva and his Shakti achieve synthesis. Shiva himself contains many opposites within himself: he is an ascetic, the lord of the of yogis, and yet as the husband of Parvati he is also keeper of his household, he is one of the “good” guys in Hindu mythology who fights and destroys demons and yet he has a host of demons in his retinue (the ganas), and indeed he himself can assume many demonic forms within Hindu myth (such as Virabhadra and Kala Bhairava), he is most well known as the deity of destruction and yet he is also the greatest possessor of creative power and energy. This internal synthesis is a trait that I have always recognized in the deity, and is one of the key characteristics of his that I have always admired as among the qualities I admire the most about him. There probably is a great deal of commonality between the two deities, and perhaps it’s for this reason among many that Shiva fits so well into what might broadly be referred to as the pantheon of the Left Hand Path.

And speaking of Shiva, there is an interesting discussion of Shaivism in “The Divine Body” that I can use to point to something that I believe I already discussed in “For the New Luciferian Era…“.

“Tantric cosmology sees the ground of existence as the union of the male and female principles, Shiva and Shakti. The manifest world is the product of their interplay, where Shiva is the static principle of consciousness and awareness, and the female Shakti is the dynamic principle of energy and manifestation. This is very similar to the Vedic idea of maya, or illusion. The ‘material’ world is seen as an illusion weaved by the goddess Maya (incidentally, this was also the name of the Buddha’s mother), behind which lies the non-manifest reality of cosmic consciousness. We can also relate this back to the idea that Satan rules the world of manifestation—”The Devil is the lord of the world” (Luther)—and God rules the ‘non-material’ realm of the ‘spirit’. Tantra’s Shiva-Shakti cosmology is much more holistic, and does not treat the web of matter weaved by Shakti as ‘illusory’ in the sense of something to be overcome, some cosmic deception that inhibits us. It is seen as the basis of our spiritual quest, the ‘raw material’ with which we should work to transmute ourselves and the world.”

In the post I mentioned, I discussed Michael W Ford’s discussion of the creation myth presented in the Enuma Elish to elucidate the point Ford makes on human evolution in the context of the myth. The blood of Qingu, who is slain by Marduk, and the body of Tiamat, become the raw material upon which the world and mankind is based within Babylonian mythology, and as Tiamat and Qingu are chaotic, reptilian, abyssal beings, Ford is implicitly stating that it is darkness that is the raw material with which humans work to transmute themselves and evolve towards the light of Lucifer, or rather the unity of light and darkness embodied in the Holy Guardian Angel, the Daemon.

But more to the point, I should mention that this view of the world not as illusory but as raw material, I detect the sense of what I have read about Kashmir Shaivism, wherein the world is not an illusion superimposed upon the divine consciousness but a real, objective realm that can be sensed and observed as a product of the energy and consciousness of Shakti or Shiva. The more prevalent view in Hinduism, such as within Advaita Vedanta, has never appealed to me because of its negation of the world, and this sense of infinite regression that it brings with it – I mean, if the world is not real, what is, and from whence did this “real” object spring, and why is this reality real and not the one we experience, sense and observe? But in this form of Hinduism, at least from what I’ve heard, the material, phenomenal world is a real, tangible thing that can be observed, felt and experienced, which allows for the subject to at least attempt to divine the truth through observation and experimentation in a reality shared between him/herself and a multiplicity of other subjects. The interesting thing about this, at the root of their view of reality, is their view that the phenomenal world is based on the energy of the divine consciousness, or the divine energy of Shakti – the divine and the phenomenal form the same body of the existence, and become the same thing, which was otherwise cleaved by such schools as Advaita Vedanta.

I think it’s also worth touching on the comparison between the Hindu concept of Maya and its superimposition over reality and the Christian conception of Satan as the ruler of the world. Applying the Hindu concepts to Christianity arguably results in the Gnostic interpretation – the real Satan, in Gnostic Christian parlance, is the Demiurge, or Yaldabaoth, who created the material world as a prison for the soul, and this prison becomes equivalent to the illusion weaved by Maya, and in turn the unmanifested divine consciousness of the Brahman becomes the true God within Gnostic Christianity (the Monad, or Bythos). But in principle you can kind of see it play out within the Christian perspective: Satan, being the father of lies according to them, weaves a web of ignorance over God’s creation through temptation and deception, resulting in a sense in a world of illusion layered over the actual world. But for Gyrus, in Tantra and Shaivist cosmology, the setup of the inferior world of illusion superimposed upon the truth and divine consciousness is done away with – instead of being an illusion superimposed upon all-pervasive and unmanifested spirit, the material universe we experience and inhabit is a real, tangible, observable thing, and the basis of our spiritual, alchemical transformation. There can be no great demiurge pulling the wool over our eyes in this set up, and the classic dualisms of ontological God and Satan, the Monad and Yaldaboath, Maya and Brahman, become quite irrelevant.

In this sense, free of the grand and ultimately false meta-dichotomy imposed by Christianity, Gnosticism and orthodox Hinduism, the universe becomes not this chess game between Yahweh and Beelzebub, or Jesus and Satan, not some parlor trick imposed upon the real self which is somehow also God himself (who, by the way, is also for my money the only logical source of the grand illusion in the first place!), and not a prison imposed upon you by, if we go by Gnostic lore, the bastard offspring of a misguided emanation of God (by the way, how is it even possible for an emanation of the perfection of God itself to make mistakes?), but the authentic locus of the perpetual transformation and evolution of all beings, forms and processes within it, and thus of the quest and struggle of mankind to emancipate and perfect itself, within which praxis is lived and achieved, enlightenment is achieved and disseminated from the enlightened to the unenlightened, and the vivifying force of life, quest, and struggle animates sentient beings. That, for me, is not only a more sensible way to view the universe, it also creates the perfect ontology for any spiritual and philosophical worldview and pathway wherein liberation is the primary goal.

Shiva as Nataraja within a hexagram

So why did I bother going through all of this? What body of philosophical ideology have we grasped for Luciferianism to inherit?

First of all, I think I’ve established in a very lengthy and detailed fashion that the social Darwinism of many old forms of Satanism, for me at least, would not be a part of it. It is a simplistic outlook, one destined to lead to subjection after subjection based on such an inane characteristic as either animal might or reptilian cunning. The state of a might makes right world is one in which the criteria for the creation, maintenance and removal of human subjection is based on the possession of the greatest strength and force, it is one in which the pure competition of power generates subjection and thus cannot be emancipatory, and it ultimately appeals to so little of the human (or even animal) condition as to be crude.

Secondly, while Luciferianism in some forms already emphasizes a unity and balance of opposites, here I establish the understanding of this not simply as balance but as a dialectical unity, light and darkness contained as aspects within the broader whole rather than simply existing as poles to be checked against each other by moderation. Following from this, it is pertinent not simply to recognize both light and darkness but to smash the relevant dichotomies entirely in favor of synthesis. This idea is extended towards a much wider premise, calling for the abolition of the divorce between the world and the soul that inhabits it. Rather than retreat from the material world, embrace the unity of soul and matter.

Third, building from the idea of Michael W. Ford’s interpretation of the Babylonian creation myth, and from what seems to be Gyrus’ assessment of Tantric Shaivism, I propose a kind of spiritual ontology based on perpetual transformation and self-making and re-making, using the raw material of the world, the chaos, the ceaseless transformations therein, for there is where the potential lies. We need no Redeemer so long as we have the capacity to renew and “redeem” ourselves.

Fourth, we should all be reading up on Tantra I guess.

Baphomet, the esoteric symbol of the dialectical unity of opposites

Baphomet stands opposite the Ten Commandments, at long last

I know it may seem abrupt, but I think I have to talk about this, because it seems like a notable positive development. The Satanic Temple’s statue of Satan, entitled Baphomet, has had quite a journey in its day. It was originally designed with the intention of standing opposed to the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma State Capitol Building. But, after said monument was ordered to be removed, the statue found itself without a home, and in the end was placed at a private unveiling party held by The Satanic Temple in Michigan. For a while, I thought that was it, the closing chapter in the story of our delightful goat-headed friend. But it seems that’s not the case.

Last year, a new Ten Commandments monument was erected on the property of the Arkansas State Capitol buidling, just like what had been done with Oklahoma. The monument was destroyed by someone ramming his car into it not long after its placement, but it was replaced in April this year thanks to a fundraising campaign by one Jason Rapert – a Republican State Senator and the founder and president of an Evangelical Christian organization called Holy Ghost Ministries. This has predictably been met with opposition from The Satanic Temple, along with the ACLU and atheists and secularists in Arkansas, and in response to this development The Satanic Temple have decided to hold a rally, the Rally for the First Amendment, in front of the Arkansas State Capitol Building to protest this decision, bringing with them the famous statue of Satan they designed for Oklahoma. In the background of all this, The Satanic Temple are naturally also suing the government for the right to keep that statue there permanently, or at least for as long as the Ten Commandments monument remains.

This in a way is such a triumphant moment. After being denied its moment to stand opposite the symbols of Christianity, at long last, the Baphomet/Satan statue finds the opportunity to do exactly that. We’re finally seeing what we thought we were going to see about three years ago in Oklahoma. And, honestly, from what I’m seeing of this event, it actually does look glorious. I like the sight of that Satanic statue set against the State Capitol building from an aesthetic perspective, as well as political.

I expect this to be a productive effort too. My prediction here is that, just like last time, that Ten Commandments movement is being pulled from the State Capitol. We know already that Jason Rapert, and presumably his fellow Christians, will not stand for the Baphomet to have permanent residence on the property, and we can assume that Lucien Greaves and TST are going to push through with their suit. We can safely predict that, rather than allow the Satanic statue permanent residence, the government will ultimately remove the statue in order to please both TST’s demands for the government to uphold secularism and the Christian demands for Baphomet to just go away. Mark me when I say this is going to be a very cut and dry victory for The Satanic Temple.

Image courtesy of boingboing.net