The sham identity of identity politics

As you might know from some of my more recent posts over the summer, I despise identity politics. I find it to be highly collectivist, anti-liberal and unnecessarily divisive to the point of being a cancer to the fabric of society. But there is another reason I especially despise identity politics: it is fraudulent.

Think about it: in the realm of identity politics, identity is based on sex, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and social class – sometimes weight too. In other words, you are who you are because you are white or black, or male or female, straight or gay, trans or not, rich or poor, fat or thin. Those things are not who you are. They’re what you are. Who you are is about your personality, your actions, your beliefs, your values, your desires, your thoughts, your goals, your soul/spirit (if you believe in one) and everything else that makes up the complex thing we call you. If you are white, black, gay, straight, male, female, rich, poor, European, African, fat, thin etc., those things make up only what you are. Your identity can’t be reduced to your sex, your race, your sexual orientation and the other categories of social identity that the identitarian movements of both the far-left and the far-right worship so much. Otherwise, if you’ve seen one male you’ve seen them all, and I could probably say the same of every other category of person out there.

And all too often in the realm of identity politics, value judgement tend to emerge that are applied to entire groups of people based on what they are as a label and not who the individuals are. These days, white people are viewed with a sense of shame by the supposedly liberal establishment to the point where it’s OK to suggest that white people should be extinct because of the actions of their ancestors during the age of colonialism. If you replaced white with black, or any non-white race, only then would you be condemned as racist. But if you exhibit obvious bigoted attitudes regarding white people, you aren’t seen as a racist at all. Conversely, if you are black, you are most likely seen by society as someone who always needs a leg up and always in need of succor, constantly needing to be defended and praised. If you are male, society has already determined that you are more expendable than a woman. You might think that the reverse is true, but an observation of such phenomenon as war, suicide rates, online harassment and crime in general as well as how they are treated will show you that the female victims, no matter how many there are compared to men, will always be valued more. We value women so much over men, that we will take extreme measures to protect their feelings (like actually deeming wolfwhistling and cat-calling as hate crimes and prosecuting them in Nottinghamshire, England), and surely it can’t escape anyone that we would never do the same for men. All based on what a person is, and based on what we have decided that means for everyone who falls under that category.

I happen to be a white British (specifically Welsh, with some Italian heritage from my dad’s side of my family) heterosexual male, and I also happen to be autistic. What about my personality, the way I think or my overall identity can you possibly discern from just those labels alone? My identity as a person, who I am as a person, is more complex than those things. And I am quite certain that I don’t fit many stereotypes (for instance, there’s a stereotype that autistic people are good at math, but I personally don’t like math that much and I remember getting a D at GSCE Maths and C on most of the other GSCEs I took). The self matters more than that, and it’s more complex than the categories of what you are as emphasized in the realm of identity politics.

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Death, the lust for life, and the survival of the spirit

Lately I came across another bullshit article touting the prospect physical immortality, yet another one based on the idea of transferring (or rather copying) consciousness onto a machine. It’s the same shit I wrote about earlier, only without any connection to Humai. I brought up my usual point on physical “immortality” – it’s pointless, it’s non-existent, the body will be destroyed anyway, all while we forget what it is to live. A friend of mine also pointed out that, apparently, the physical body will one day be destroyed before the planet would even end, citing that someone once estimated (not sure who) that an “immortal” body, even if not susceptible to death by disease or old age, would last about 1,000 years before an accident or violent act would damage that body beyond repair. Added to that, he points out that being physically immortal usually means becoming weary of a long and endless lifespan. Suffice it say, I’m not sure even the lust for life would do much to prevent the weariness that would come with remaining in the physical world for hundreds or thousands of years. Perhaps this is because life on Earth is meaningless without the possibility of death, and without the possibility of living a worthwhile life before you die – something that I guarantee people would not do if they could keep a physical body in the material realm forever.

As a Satanist, I say it’s better just to live your mortal life to the fullest. I reject the attempts at physical immortality as an exercise in futility (for the reasons above and more), and embrace the possibility of spiritual immortality. In the Left Hand Path generally, this is one of the primary goals of spiritual or magickal practice. And for the Satanist, the path to the survival and immortality of the spirit is by cultivating a strong self or ego and vital existence. For Anton LaVey, only the person who has remained vital throughout his life and fought to the end for his existence will cultivate a self strong enough to survive death. For me, this doesn’t seem like a purely materialistic worldview, but rather it implies the role of the self as being something like a soul, the component traditionally held to survive death. Whether or not LaVey held such as thing as spiritual or purely material is something that can be debated.

In other words, why leave the flesh when it is possible that the flesh is the house of the soul, the pathway to spiritual actualization found in vital existence on earth (and perhaps through some magick) rather than the denial of material life. It is through this that you’ll find immortality through the gates of death, not through the meager attempts of humans achieve physical immortality through “transferring” of consciousness and other hogwash. Stay vital.

Life after death through fulfillment of the ego

“Thou Art Thine Own God” by Gregor A. Gregorius

This is a poem by the German occultist Gregor A. Gregorious that was written in 1943. It was written more than 20 years before Anton LaVey paved the way for Satanism as we know it (or don’t know it), and I think it strikes a fine tune with Satanism as a philosophy, and with all those who follow the Left Hand Path in all its forms. The poem is as follows:

Thou must affirm the God in Thee,
for every doubt takes power from Thee,
and every step towards Thy divine awareness
brings Thee a step higher in Thy maturity!

Thou canst kindle the spark, that God hath lent to Thee,
to the pure flame that makes worlds
fall and rise again.
God is in Thee! – Thou art Thyself God!

Thus Thou canst have Gods enthroned in Thee,
build altars, ignite sacrificial flames,
for every form of dream and thought empowers Thee
and every wish takes shape and form.

Thus Thou art the builder of transcendent worlds,
imaginary creator of Thy own realm,
Thou art priest, magus, kingly lord
and prince of thy soul’s vast expanse.

Cypress groves surround your palaces of thought
and blue waves strike against the marble steps
and ships sail upon the oceans
for Thee, Thou who wearest the purple.

The Earth is Thy sorrow that produced the knowledge
and bitter fruits of its Golgotha.
And nevertheless, some day the call will reach Thee:
“Lo! I am here!”

A lesson from my friend

I’d like to share some advice from my friend Tadashi, who said something that seems to have clicked with me in some way: don’t trust anyone who reckons they have all the answers.

What do I mean exactly? Well I mean anyone who thinks they have all the answers regarding spiritual truths. The soul, the self, the afterlife, God, the Great Question and its answers, even spiritual truth in a way. It doesn’t matter if they’re from a religious or scientific, spiritualistic or materialistic, no matter how highly renowned they are or how great their authority. Another person’s answer regarding spiritual truth can only be that: his answer, her answer, their answer, but you can’t guarantee it is your answer unless it is the same answer you have in your heart and soul. You have to feel it yourself, or not at all.

Listen to what others have to say, beware the ones who think they they know everything. Especially if you think they want to convert you to their way of thinking. If something sounds too good to be true for you, it probably is until you become sure of otherwise. Nonetheless, keep looking for the answer to your feelings, your doubts, your intuition, until you can be sure. Without, or within, or both.

In the end, what should matter to you is your truth. Your answers. How you feel and how you respond. Find answers for yourself, and have truth that is yours. You can find it anywhere you wish, but you must feel it yourself, and it must speak to you and resonate with you. That is how it is your truth.

The self

The thing about all religions regarding the self is that they want you to surrender to them. They don’t want you to be yourself. They want you to either bow down to their deity and make your self subject to it, or to surrender yourself entirely. In the latter case it is either in pursuit of being one and indistinct with everything thinking that the self and the cosmos are the same, or in pursuit of the idea that there is no self. Even in contemporary or new age form, mainstream religion and spirituality divides the self into an “inner voice” and an “ego”. They speak of being yourself, but that’s not what they want you to be. When they speak of the “true self”, they speak of a consciousness that supposedly pervades the universe but is not your own, so you are not being yourself, you are just exchanging your self for something else, rendering your will as that of the universe. Even in Thelema, you give your self to be a conduit for someone else’s will (in this case Babalon).

If there is God, and God is involved in the formation of the self, the will, and our desires, then it makes no sense that God would allow us to have selfhood, individuality, and our own desires simply so we could give it up in God’s name, rather God would want us to express ourselves as wholesomely and truthfully as we were meant to as human beings. But sadly, this concept of God is not found in any kind of religious thought, and so we have either a tyrant in heaven or a consciousness that wants others to fuse with it.

No religion gives a damn about the concept of the I. It doesn’t give a damn about individuality and individual thought or will unless it can be made to serve their idea of God or some higher consciousness. No religion wants you to have your own self, not even the Asian faiths. It’s foolish to think they will free you, when they in fact want to alter your state of being outside of your own. You can only do this outside of religion, or in attachment to certain philosophical frameworks (like Satanism, or possibly Luciferianism), though it is often best to go your own way even if that means going without them. And as for this idea of ego versus the inner voice, isn’t ego the Latin pronoun for self? When did it become a byword for an invalid, false, or immoral state of being? (To be honest though, I might like a better word for what people refer to as “ego”, in case ego as a word becomes inconvenient)

I believe in the I, the self, and its spiritual merit. If anything, the true falsehood is the confusion of self and body (which I have to admit, some of the belief systems I’ve criticized at least addressed) and the true foolishness is people going with the flow of society and religion instead of following themselves, their own path, their own self. Not just carnal desires either. That is only one part of our self. Follow the spirit in ourselves, our reason, our ethics, our morals and ideals which we will decide upon ourselves instead of blindly obeying anyone else’s. Be true to yourself, be who are you are and not what religions and herds want you to be, and be truthful, strong, and brave in your path. Do this, and your life, your will, your creation, you yourself will be your own, and heaven will be all yours, your heaven and your creation.

The rich symbolism of my alter ego

Over a month ago I have been writing about my alter ego character in a notebook. Apparently I’ve given him a lot of rich symbolism pertaining to his character and his purpose in the world he is a part of. I write about my character on this blog for the pleasure of it, and because I feel the stuff I have written has been insightful enough that it merits mention. I have been working on this character for a long time, and through this time I have also found things about myself and my beliefs, so this character is very important to me. And I apologize in advance if it’s too long for you to read.

First, some background: He is a warrior, adventurer, treasure hunter, and protector of the world he lives in from the  has the power of fire; both the fire that brings light and the fire of demons. He also has the ability to stay underwater as long as he wants so that he can swim like a free spirit beneath the waters, can eat a lot without getting fat, he has red eyes glowing in the dark, can open up a third eye for discovering hidden presences and pathways, and is abundant in spiritual energy. He can also access a kind of demonic super form. His birthmark is the Aum symbol written as a Siddham letter. He uses the powers associated with Satan and Chaos for the sake of righteous and heroic cause, and he always tries to do what’s right but also what he pleases. He’s a passionate, confident, and energetic young man who manages to never lose his youth, but he has a soft side if brought out by the right people, and lives in both indulgence and honor. Although he is also an intense and emotional character, he never seems to brood. He fights not out of any sense of duty or obedience, but out of his own instincts and because he wants to do it and believes in his actions. He’s basically a lot like me, or the kind of life I want to live. He’s one with that force of passion and chaos, and the primal fires, and he lives as a warrior with heat and light in his heart and the fabric of his being. He also shares my own ideas and beliefs, naturally, and looks like me except his look is perfectly executed. Aside from fighting and adventuring, he likes to eat, swim, love, treasure hunt, and rock, and he seems to get along well with wild animals.

Now that that’s over with, the symbolism and meaning that has become attached to the character.

Exhibit 1 – The birthmark

As I just mentioned, his birthmark is the Aum written in Siddham script. According to Hindu belief, the Aum represents infinite energy, God, and the divine. It also representsthe cycle of  life, death, and rebirth from Hindu belief, as representing by each phoneme A, U, and M respectively, though there is also A for life and Um (or Un) for death. The latter is represented by two varieties of Japanese temple guardians: the komainu (lion-dogs), and the Kongorikishi (wrath-filled muscular guardians of the Buddha). In both cases, one has its mouth open and the other has its mouth closed. The open mouth is A, and the closed mouth is Un or Um, which together mean life and death.

It’s meant to connect to the characters abundant personal energy, a trait which was also inspired by Ichigo Kurosaki from the anime Bleach. May also represent a connect with timeless energy and force. It’s also meant to denote my alter ego’s role as the protector of his own world. Take from that what you will…

Exhibit 2 – The colors red and black

Alex’s two colors are red and black, which naturally are also my favorite colors. To many, they mean either evil or anarchism, but those connotations are not present here. It started with Shin Megami Tensei, where they were the colors of the Chaos faction, which I aligned with, and they were also colors of another favorite video game character, Shadow the Hedgehog (who I freely confess made machine guns look cool). But since then more symbolism got attached to it.

In Balinese folklore, red, black, and white are the colors associated with a powerful witch demon Rangda, who was believed to be the queen of demons. Rangda’s colors are also attached to Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, change, destruction, and power, and Rangda is also believed to have been linked with Kali and Durga, the latter of which was the warrior mother goddess of victory over evil. Funny enough, while Rangda is seen in Balinese folklore as an evil demon, she was also seen as a protector in some parts of Bali, similar to Kali’s occasional representation as a protective goddess.

The demon queen Rangda

Speaking of demons, in Buddhist lore, the asuras (borrowed from Hindu lore) are depicted as red-skinned and the rakshasas (also Hindu in origin) are depicted with black skin, and both are vicious demons who, in Japan, were also tasked with protecting the Buddhist law. In Christian-influenced Western belief, Satan and his demons are commonly represented by the colors red and black, presumably because of their connection with sin, evil, lust, aggression, mystery, and darkness. It’s probably because of this that red and black have become so attached with Satanism (after all, it wouldn’t be Satanism without any conception of Satan now would it?). But there is still so much more to red and black here than just demons and Satan. In fact, the chief symbolism here is actually from Taoism.

In Taoism, there are the two natural principles of yin and yang, yin being the dark, passive, and mysterious principle, and yang being the bright, assertive, and magnetic principle. Yin is black and yang is white, but yang has also been represented as red, presumably because red represents qualities attached to the yang principle. Anyways, for Taoist belief, yin and yang must exist in harmony and as complimentary forces and do not exist as opposites that must triumph over each other. With that in mind, the key meaning is formed. Red means heat, force, and dynamism, while black means mystery, darkness, and space. Together, they actually represent energy in its most primordial form, and in the twin forces of heat and darkness. It could also represent light and darkness in union too, since fire brings light as well as heat.

Yin and yang

Black is generally associated with the occult, demons, the left hand, disaster, mystery, death, and chaos, but in some cultures it represents life. In Japan black means life, while white actually means death. In China, black is the color that represents the element of water for some reason. Black also points to Kali and the Buddhist Mahakala, who was a Buddhist incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva.  Red means heat, fire, vitality, passion, but in Japan it is also the traditional color of the hero and the color for expelling demons and illness (a bit ironic considering all this talk of demons from before), as well as the sun and summer. For my alter ego, red and black are the simplest symbols of his dual affinity for the bright power of fire and the dark power of the demons, for righteousness and vice, for the union of moral integrity and animal instinct, and for the directing of dark power and heat towards the pursuit of a just cause.

The theory of his color scheme is also evocative of Baphomet, not to be confused with Satan (though Satan does have influence here). Baphomet is a symbol of the union of or harmony between forces that are either opposite or mutually distinct. Thus Baphomet brings together the forces that I have mentioned throughout this section.

Exhibit 3 – The power of demons and chaos as a sword of righteousness

While the idea may have started with playing video games like Devil May Cry and Shin Megami Tensei, there are actually links to mythology and religious belief.

In Egypt, there is the god Set, who was the god of the desert and storms, and later evil and chaos. Even before the people of Egypt turned Set into a god of evil, he was seen as a wild, tumultuous, and sometimes hostile deity, but it is Set who protects the sun god Ra in the daily battle against Apep, the serpent of entropy and annihilation. Funny enough he was also seen as the lord of the red sands and Horus was the lord of the black soil. Set was also linked with the Semitic god Baal (or Hadad). In fact, there was a time when people from Western Asia, referred to as the Hyksos, ruled Egypt. They worshiped the storm god Baal, who became linked with the Egyptian storm god Seth, and they were both worshipped as Seth-Baal, sometimes in an almost monotheistic fashion, until the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. Also, a friend and personal spiritual teacher of mine (who I remember as The Desolate One) told me a theory that when Set defeated Apep, he took on the power once linked with Apep, and that this is how he become the god of darkness, reviled as the god of evil. I think we both followed with the idea that Baal did the same after defeating Yam.

Set and Apep by badgersoph on Deviantart

As usual though, much of my inspiration comes from Asia, and there’s a lot of symbolism to be found in Buddhist lore. In Tibet, there are deities who seem vicious and demonic, to the point that those who first look upon them unaware of their role in the Buddhist faith would construe them as no different to demons. But in truth, they represent the violent reality of both the cosmos and the human mind, and they serve the purpose of protecting the Buddhist faith and practitioners, and  helping the practitioner attain enlightenment by clearing away the obstacles to enlightenment (at least from the Buddhist point of view). These beings are referred to as wrathful deities. They are based on violence and power, they have a violent nature and a demonic appearance, but they are not necessarily evil at all. In fact, they also symbolize the tremendous amount of effort and force needed to vanquish evil. In Japan, a similar term is Kishin, which means “fierce god” or “demon god”, and they are guardian gods.

vajrapani19

Vajrapani, an example of one of the wrathful deities

They are actually supposed to be benevolent, but their appearance is meant to instill terror into the forces of evil and drive them back, much like the appearance of gorgon heads on Greek temples or gargoyles on medieval Christian churches. It’s also interesting to note that some of these deities, according to tradition, were once the native gods or demons of the land prior to being defeated in magical combat with the guru Padmasambhava and converting to Buddhism. The only problem is this does mean these beings serve the Buddhist faith as a result of being defeated and subjugated by someone else, rather than by being convinced that it aligns with their own convictions.

The concept of demonic beings enlisted to protect the Buddhist faith is further expressed in Japanese Buddhism, though often it is after the demons are defeated or captured (such as with Fujin and Raijin). But that is not always the case. There is a story of a goddess named Hariti, who used to be a yaksha demon from Pakistan who killed human children in order to feed her hundreds of children. Siddhartha Gautama wanted to stop this so he hid one of her sons under a bowl, then he told Hariti that her suffering from losing one of her children cannot be compared to the suffering of all the mothers whose few children became her victims. Realizing the depth of her actions and feeling remorse for them, she converted to Buddhism and pledged to be the protector of children and childbirth, and promised to eat pomegranates instead of human children. Another story is the story of Atavaka, or Daigensui Myo-O as he is known in Japan. Similar to Hariti, Atavaka was once a child-eating yaksha demon, but after encountering Siddartha Gautama, he converted to Buddhism and become a yaksha king, protector of the southwest direction, and a vassal to the warrior deity Bishamonten. Atavaka was also considered the chief of all the spirits and demons protecting the land.

Japanese esoteric Buddhism also has a deity named Rastetsuten, who is considered one of the twelve devas who protect the four directions, the four semi-directions, the sun, the moon, up, and down. Rasetsuten protected the southwest direction of the heavens and was master of the rakshasa demons. In Hindu lore rakshasas were cannibalistic demons who practiced black magic, desecrated gravesites, disrupted sacrifices, and had venomous fingernails, but in Mahayana Buddhist texts they converted to Buddhism and served to protect the dharma. Another Hindu demon who takes on a protective role in Japanese Buddhism is the asura, who in Hinduism were previously considered demonic spirits who fought against the gods. In Buddhist lore they are merely semi-divine beings addicted to various passions, but most especially strife and conflict, though they are also capable of being virtuous and pious. In Vedic lore, the term asura was an epithet meaning “mighty” and referred to power and strength, and was attributed to various Vedic gods.

A rakshasa

Come to think of it, it seems demons have been a force of protection from evil and fighting evil, as well as promoting evil, destruction, and chaos, for a long time in many beliefs outside of Christianity, general Western culture, and Islam.

In some cultures, while snakes were associated with healing, wisdom, and fertility, even before Christianity they were also associated with danger and darker and more chthonic forces. This was the case in ancient Greece, where serpents are most classically associated with the chthonic monster known as the gorgon (among whom was the famous Medusa). But in Greece, the oldest oracles were said to be protected by serpents (including the monster Python who guarded the oracle at Delphi), and the heads of gorgons appeared on temples to protect against malign forces. Gorgon masks were also carved to protect from the evil eye. Medusa herself appears in a temple to Artemis in Corfu, where she is a guardian of the temple. In Babylon and Assyria, there is the demon Pazuzu (who some may recognize as the spirit that possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist). He was an evil spirit of wind who brought plague, disease, famine, and locusts, but he was also invoked to protect humans from plague, disease, and misfortune, particularly the kind brought by a demonic goddess named Lamashtu. Mesopotamian folklore also describes storm demons known as Ugallu, who were also considered beneficial protective demons and were depicted and invoked in charms. In India, the yakshas are sometimes treated as demons, but they are also seen as benign earthly protector spirits. Demons and ghouls are also found as the hosts of the Hindu god Shiva, and those hosts are said to frighten even the gods Brahma and Vishnu. Even today there are believers in the paranormal and the occult who consider demons to be guardian spirits in the same sense that angels are, only that demons come from the darker side of the spirit world.

There is inspiration that follows a similar principle: Tantra. In Tantric Hindusim, things that are considered dark, taboo, even unspiritual can be considered sacred and/or valid pathways to the divine. Most recognized among their belief is the belief that material pleasures can be dedicated to God and that seemingly negative forces can be transformed into positive forces and religious bliss.

Outside mythology, the spirit of the righteous application of demonic power lives on in modern culture. In Japanese video games and anime, demons aren’t always a strictly negative force. And sometimes, in those settings, individuals associated with demons fight demons and protect the world and humans from evil with the help of their power. The anime Blue Exorcist is about a young man named Rin Okumura who is the son of Satan, but he fights demons and wants to defeat Satan (the Christian Satan). In the anime YuYu Hakusho, the main character Yusuku Urameshi is the main protagonist who protects the human world from various supernatural threats and he apparently has demon blood. In fact, he can access a demon form with some wicked long hair! In video games, Shin Megami Tensei lets you use demons and their power to potentially do good depending on your point of view. Demons are categorized by alignments based on the two axes of Light-Neutral-Dark and Light-Neutral-Chaos. For example, Kishin refers to warrior deities, and they are attached Light-Chaos, my personal favorite alignment for demons. Perhaps Light-Chaos can refer to the righteous manifestation of the power of the demons. And who could forget the Devil May Cry games, which feature humans with demonic blood who fight demons with the help of the power of demons. Most famous among  them of course is Dante, who has become a true hack and slash icon and a personal inspiration for me and my alter ego.

Dante, son of Sparda

Exhibit 4 – Heavy metal culture

Probably because of my own interest in heavy metal music, the character I talk about here inherits influence from heavy metal music in his design and background. He has long hair that’s basically a mixture of Nikki Sixx’s hair from Motley Crue and a Japanese hairstyle I found one time.

I often draw him making the sign of the horns with his hands. It’s a sign that was officially introduced to heavy metal by Ronnie James Dio, after he joined Black Sabbath. He claimed he based it on the sign that his grandmother made with his hands: the malocchio. It was apparently used to ward off curses such as the evil eye. Since Dio, the sign of the horns has become a universal element of heavy metal culture, despite musicians of other genre and cultures copying it randomly.

My alter ego has by and large copied my fashion sense, which has absorbed other insignias of heavy metal culture. Among them, the sleeveless denim jacket and the bullet belt, both of them associated with traditional heavy metal, thrash metal, and speed metal, though the bullet belt can be found worn be fans of more extreme metal sub-genres, such as black metal and death metal, and members of such bands. Both fashion items were chosen as nods to heavy metal subculture.

A thrash metal fan wearing a bullet belt and a denim jacket with patches of various metal bands.

My character’s black jacket was initially based on a black long-sleeved jacket I usually wore, which I believe was made of cotton. But this jacket has become replaced by a black jacket made of leather, which is pretty much based on the denim and leather done by many old school heavy metal bands (except that I prefer black denim to blue denim). Denim and leather back then was such a recognized element of heavy metal fashion that it was the title of an album by one such band: Saxon.

But it’s not just the fashion of heavy metal that’s important. In fact, it only makes sense that my character, and I myself for that matter, would associate with heavy metal music. Heavy metal is the only music that represents what I feel I come from. Metal was the music of power and aggression, it’s the only music that has a lot of the kind of lyrical subject matter I like (demons, war, myth, lust, and warriors, among other lyrics) and to such an awesome sound, and it has a subculture that embraces what are in my mind the values of the warrior, the rebel, and the devil. It is aggressive music, raw energy, and the instrumentation channels said aggression to create a sublime sound, and many of my favorite metal bands channel aggressive music to make what is ultimately a positive sound. And the energy and passion I feel from the music is certainly a positive influence. So however you stretch it, metal deserves the influence it has. Because of the tendency of heavy metal to feature lyrics about demons, Satan, and the occult, it can be a good example of channeling inspiration from darkness to create something righteous, strong, and true.

Exhibit 5 – The action hero

The action genre is very influential not just from anime and video games, but of course action films. Early on I and one of my art teachers likened my alter ego to characters such as Dirty Harry, who upheld the law and busted criminals by flunking regulations and breaking the rules, thus exemplifying a classic example of the trope of the renegade cop, better known as the cowboy cop. Other well-known examples of the trope include Die Hard, Cobra, Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, Last Action Hero, and Demolition Man.

Cobra. It speaks for itself.

Speaking of Demolition Man, the main character John Spartan and not to mention the film itself have both been very inspirational. Before being cryogenically frozen, Spartan was the baddest cowboy cop in Los Angeles, busting exceptionally bad criminals without regard for proper protocol or concern for collateral damage. After being frozen, he wakes up to find that LA has become San Angeles, a crapsaccharine state without passion and no freedom to do anything other than following the plans Dr. Raymond Cocteau has for your life, and eventually Simon Fenix, the worst criminal Spartan has ever faced, also arrives after being cryogenically frozen. He eventually defeats and kills Fenix, but also challenges and topples the pristine order of San Angeles through the destruction of the cryo prison (though Fenix kills Cocteau before all this happens). Spartan then challenges the people of San Angeles to try and live in a world of both order and wild freedom, thus echoing the idea of a character who fights for freedom and to preserve justice.

My favorite anime characters are pretty much always action character with weapons (albeit swords instead of guns), such as Ichigo from Bleach. Of all of them, Ichigo always had a lot of appeal. He was hot-headed, and hot-bleaded, but he never gave up, never backed down, and always tried to fight for what he thought was right because he wanted to.

Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach

Exhibit 6 – The demonic super form

The alter ego’s demonic super form is ostensibly a combination of Super Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, which itself was based on the Super Saiyan state from Dragon Ball, and Dante’s Devil Trigger state from the Devil May Cry games. Similar tropes also appear in various other video games, as well as anime. My character’s particular super form also derives from not just Satan with his horns, but also the flaming aura that surrounds the Buddhist wrathful deities of Tibet and Japan.

Fudo Myo-O

The super form also has a third eye, which is ostensibly derived from Shiva. In fact, the flaming aura itself is also a manifestation of the flaming aura of both Shiva and the goddess Kali

Exhibit 7 – Other mythological/religious elements

My character frequently uses weapons that have some link to Asian religious themes, often as bonus weapons, including the vajra and the trishula, which are attached many Buddhist deities, along with the Hindu gods Indra and Shiva respectively.

My alter ego’s jacket is set to have a flaming ram’s head on the back of it, which is an allusion to the Hindu god Agni, the zodiac sign Aries, and the Egyptian symbolism of the ram as the soul of the sun god. In this light, the ram is a symbol of the spirit of the sun, fire, heat, light, energy, and enthusiasm.

Like myself, my alter ego wears a Satanic pentagram, which represents not just Satanism, but the powers of darkness and demons, and in this case the principle of using the powers of darkness to pursue a just cause and righteous ideals.

When my alter ego belt buckle is a monstrous demon head, based on the Kirtimukha and Rahu. Kirtimukha is a demon-like image that sometimes adorns temples to Shiva and halos that surround the Shiva and his family. It represents the hunger that pervades the universe and drives all life as attested to in Hindu belief and mythology. Rahu was a demon in Hindu myth who tried to devour the sun. There is also Tao Tie, a fiend from Chinese mythology who represents hunger. I have also considered using a lion’s head for his belt buckler (possibly with a demonic twist). It was inspired by Isamu Nitta’s belt buckle from Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne (which is based on Azazel from Soul Hackers), but it can also be a nod to the lion as a symbol of the Zoroastiran spirit of destruction, Ahriman, based on the Mithraic depiction of Ahriman or Arimanius.

Kirtimukha

Other things

I must also mention the fan-made Grey Jedi Code associated with Star Wars, which I have already described in full here.

As I mentioned before, my alter ego’s abilities are often based on my own traits. Such as his ability to swim being based on my like of water and personal desire to swim more, and the food thing being related to liking to eat like an animal, and eating a lot without getting fat as a kid. And the animals thing is not just related to Shiva or the Horned One, but the fact that I like to talk about animals as a kid.

In general, his preference of weapons (katanas and machine guns) is inspired by video games, particularly Shin Megami Tensei, Final Fantasy, and Shadow the Hedgehog, as well as my interest in Japanese martial arts and American action films.

And that’s pretty much it. I took way too damn long writing this because I needed to get everything down that needed to be gotten down. Either way I hope this long post can be appreciated as an assessment of my own alter ego and the ideas that shape it, and thus the ideas that actually have shaped me as a person and relate to me as a person to the core of my self.

A new prayer/personal mantra

I have revisited an old piece of writing I made for my old Foundation art project, and turned it into a new prayer evoking new and old deities and new ideas that have grown in me. Below is the prayer:

By the stubborn will of Chi You,

the dark desire of Dairokuten Maou,

the burning light of Ashura,

the youth of Murugan,

the water of Varuna,

the horned force and dark draw of Beelzebub,

the primeval creativity of Shiva,

the radiant energy of Shakti,

and the guiding principle of Chaos and freedom,

with Liberty and Justice at my side,

I proclaim my individuality and invoke strength and fire within

So mote it be

Am

It should be pretty clear what the deities refer to: Chi You is stubborn, Dairokuten Maou is lust, Ashura represents belief in righteousness, Murugan represents youth, Varuna is water and balance, Beelzebub is the dark draw towards the demonic, Shiva is spiritual focus, intensity, and purely raw creation. Shiva is also the primal nature of the universe, a wild deity but also a light-bringer, and Shakti is the prime energy that motivates the universe, love and war, and Mother Nature on a grand cosmic scale. Beelzebub is also a stand in of sorts for what would otherwise be called Satan, a representation of the horned force, a symbol of the ideals of Satanism and Chaos. Liberty and Justice are, obviously, freedom and justice, the two ideals I value the most and a link to America. And Chaos is the principle of freedom, individual will, and primal nature inspired by Shin Megami Tensei, and the chief springboard for me being on the Left Hand Path in the first place.