Light in Darkness: A Long Unanswered Call

The temple space was erected in my craft room: an altar flanked by couches and sitting cusions, air thick with incense, and lit only by candles.  I stand outside over a secondary altar, lighting a bundle of sage to fumigate each participant before entering.  A line is forming behind Aradia, awaiting my attentions.

I know all these people: they trust and respect me.  I began the night by returning to the Headless Rite.  I should be at the top of my game.  I am not.  Neither the fumigation nor the anointing packs the punch that it should.

At last, everyone is in the circle.  Aradia takes charge and we cast the circle hand to hand.  She has been feeling less than herself, as well, and asks the group for healing and purification.  As she takes her position in the center of the circle, all rise and reach out to offer what aid they can.

One by one, most of us take our turn in the center.  This is not my strong suit.  Somehow, despite a couple spectacular successes, I have never devoted any real time to energetic healing.  Mostly, I try to keep the energy level in the circle high, so that our less experienced participants are not draining themselves needlessly.

At some point, I, too, take my turn in the center.  I feel everyone reach out to me, feel them brush the edges of my energetic body.  I try to let them in, to do the work that needs to be done.  I can’t.

At last, all who feel the need for purification have taken their turn in the center and it is time to move on.

I put on a drum track and don my visionary mask and we all drift into trance.  Well, they do.  I go nowhere.  I cannot even find the Void or my own Inner Temple.  I drift, aimlessly, trapped in my own head.   Finally the beat shifts, signaling the end of the track.  I take off my mask and wait for everyone to return to themselves.

Now is the time for divination.  My guests pair off quickly, trading tarot readings while I sit dazed.  There is a song stuck in my head again.  It’s been there off and on for days.  This is something that almost never happens to me, but it has happened like this once before.

I have to wait a while, and end up ignoring too many of my guests as I remain lost in my own head, but I finally get a reading from Odyssia – one of maybe a handful of witches I have met in the KC metro whose skills are on a whole ‘nother level than Aradia and Chirotus and myself.  The reading covered a lot of territory, but one thing stood out: in the wake of my experience over the last five years, I am without a worldview.  I have no system of reference by which to contextualize my experiences.  I need a frame.  I need a direction in which to explore.

Looking for something concrete to give me, rather than simply affirming my laundry list of questions, Odyssia pulled a new trick from her bag: a pack of note cards she is drafting for her own oracle deck.  At last, a clear image emerges.  A name.  Melek Taus.

I laugh.

The Peacock fucking Angel.

That song, you see, has been stuck in my head before.  My senior year of college, it was there for more than a solid month before I realized what it was: an offer; an invitation; a call.  From the one Power I had never, ever considered.  I grew up in the Satanic Panic, you see.  I spent the first decade of my practice defending against accusations of Devil Worship.  And now Lucifer is reaching out to me?

And yet …

The Yezidi Peacock Angel (who may or may not be Lucifer) features prominently in modern Gnosticism.  I have been flirting with Gnostic thought for more than a year.  It’s all over my art, and half my favorite writers and thinkers have been flirting with it for years.  The alien God who made everything and walked away is hard for me to embrace, and the desire to root itself in Christian heresy is not aesthetically or ethically appealing to me.  But the Archons and the Blind Idiot God who rule over the hologram of the Empire and everything that falls under its shadow … yeah. I can see that in the world.

Melek Taus, I learned that night, also features prominently in the Feri tradition, which I have looked into on more than one occasion.  Just to make things interesting.  Because I need another source of queer art and power.  (Actually, yes, I really fucking do.)

So here we go.  Down the rabbit hole I’ve been dodging since 2014.  I wanted a direction.  Now I have it.

I’m giving in to the Luciferian Gnostic urge.  I will write my own gospel and live my own myth.

Let’s wage war against the world.  Awaken the sleepers.  Fistfight heavenly powers.  Engage in cosmological terrorism.  Set ourselves ablaze and be lights in the darkness.

I’m in it to win it.  Who’s with me?




SEC Final Report

At the June meeting of the Heartland Spiritual Alliance, two of my crew on the Sacred Experience Committee put their hats in for the position.  Exhausted by my work over the last two years, I was relieved to see such enthusiasm for leadership within the committee.  At the June meeting, this past Sunday, my successor was elected, and I submitted this final report.

[Satyr Magos] Final Sacred Experience Report

When I joined the Sacred Experience Committee in 2014, I was signing up to work committee head with whom I had had loud and public disagreements over the nature and ethics of public ritual.  At the end of the year, he nominated me to succeed him.  For the two years, now, that I have run the committee, and the prior year in which I worked the ritual crew under Jason Truman, I have striven to create public rituals which have participants rather than an audience and which are both magically effective and as safe as effective ritual can possibly be.    I believe, overall, that I have been successful in my goals.

In that time, I have changed the culture of the Sacred Experience Committee Ritual Crew from one where an inner circle writes rituals that they recruit others to perform to one where all of the ritual facilitators are actively involved in the design process.  In 2014/15, there were four of us on the Ritual Crew.  This year there were nine.  In the years prior to my joining, there had only been two main rituals; this year there were five.  When I took over the committee in 2015, I inherited two totes worth of costumes, ritual bling, and craft supplies; I leave the committee now with six totes and a bit of overflow.

I speak chiefly of the Ritual Crew, because the Vision Quest and Sweat Lodge both came with existing crews and leaders accustomed to operating independently.  Out of respect for their bodies of work, and in the interests of the festival and the organization, I permitted them that autonomy without question.  I wish, now, that I had more deeply involved myself in those aspects of my committee.

I am proud of the crew I have built, the work we have done, and the prestige we have restored to the public rituals at the Heartland Pagan Festival.  The two people who ran for the position today have both been with me to the beginning, and are excellent ritualists who would have been excellent leaders of this committee going forward.

Congratulations to Lorelei.  I wish her the best of luck, and hope that she finds the garden I left her well-tended.  I look forward to continuing to work with the committee, and making the Heartland Pagan Festival a magickal and ecstatic experience for our attendees.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had over the last two years.  I am proud of the ritual arcs we executed.  I am proud of the work we have done in the community.  I am honored to have served, and look forward to continuing to work with the Sacred Experience Committee and he Heartland Spiritual Alliance in the coming years, in less demanding capacities.

I am also grateful for this opportunity to step back, to internalize the lessons I have learned in my two years of leadership, and to refocus on my art.

I Stand Against White Supremacy

I stand against white supremacy.  Full stop.

I stand against white supremacy in the Pagan community.  Full stop.

I stand against white supremacy in modern neo-Pagan witchcraft, and in reconstructionist polytheism, and in the New Age movement.  For that matter, I stand against white supremacy in academia, and in queer culture.  I stand against white supremacy in art and literature and in fantasy and science fiction and horror and every other community of which I am directly or tangentially affiliated.  On the one hand, I would hope that — however I may, at times inevitably, fail to live up to my antiracist ideals — that would be clear from my record.  On the other hand, I’ve been around the block too many times to think that it goes without saying.

This comes to mind today because it has come to my attention that an occult store in the Kansas City area has given a platform to a white supremacist author.  When the author’s political leanings and affiliations were revealed, and the store owner was asked to cancel the event, the store owner and the general community at large responded predictably: doubling down, waving the false flag of free speech, and accusing all detractors of censorship.  They say it is the author’s detractors who are the real racists, that membership in an explicitly white supremacist organization is not proof that the author, himself, is a white supremacist.

I am utterly unsurprised by any part of this.  What else does a white conjure shop owner have in common with an Asatru author?  And the deflections are fucking textbook: “They’re not really racist, just proud of who they are.”  “Giving racists a platform doesn’t make you racist.”  “Censorship!”  “Do you believe it’s possible to be racist against white people?”

Meanwhile, over on the author’s folk assembly page, he and his crew are bragging about rumors of Antifa intervention.  You know who brags about fights with Antifa?  Fascists.  Out-and-proud fascists brag about confrontations with Antifa.  Fucking Nazis.  And the KKK.  And, apparently, folkish Asatru assemblies.

Giving a white supremacist a platform does not make you one, per se, but it does make you complicit in white supremacy.  Likewise providing a platform for homophobes, transphobes, and mysoginists.  Denying them a platform is not censorship, nor is it denying them their free speech: it is the exercise of your own free speech.

So, too, is providing a platform an exercise of speech.  It is a statement: this is speech I support.  If, per chance, you offer an individual or an organization a platform on a particular subject, and it is brought to your attention after the fact that they are best known for speaking on another, then … then you have a choice.  You can either double down or make a judgment call.  Mainstream racists will attempt to convince you otherwise, but there is a difference between sticking with an author who, say, believes that our government is run by lizard people or that the pineapple and anchovies are an excellent pizza, and sticking with an author who is part of an explicitly white supremacist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynist organization.

In case you didn’t know, that’s what “folkish” Asatru is.  Don’t take my word for it: go check out their websites.  There are dog whistles everywhere, and you don’t have to dig very deep before they get really, really explicit about those views.

Stand against white supremacy.  Stand against homophobia.  Stand against transphobia.  Stand against misogyny.

Stand against them in the Pagan community.  Stand against them in the world.