Monday, September 16, 2019

Thinking harder: "Indulgence, not abstinence"

I’ve been thinking for some time that LaVey’s first Satanic Statement, “Satan represents indulgence, not abstinence!”, if interpreted in a nuanced and constructive way, can be used to articulate a more complex and fruitful image of how to live one’s life than LaVey’s own writings by themselves may make evident to many people. 

And since fairly-recently I’ve run across a few instances on social media where it sounds like someone got turned off LaVeyan Satanism because of being under the impression that indulgence meant something that was not nuanced and constructive in this way, now seems as good a time as ever to write an entry on this subject.

There are three major points I’d want to make in this entry about my own understanding of the First Satanic Statement:
  1. The Statement does not only mean “animalistic” pleasures when it talks about “indulgence.”

  2. Inasmuch as the Statement can be construed in terms of “this is what makes life better for everyone, and therefore society would be better if we set things up to best foster it for everyone,” it arguably can lead to consequences irritating to folks on the right who want small government and no social programs.

  3. Inasmuch as the Statement can be construed in terms of “it’s better to address a problem by adding something constructive to the situation than by taking something away,” it arguably can lead to consequences irritating to the censorious “no art should be allowed to exist that doesn’t reflect my politics” folks on the far-left.

As usual, I’ll elaborate on each of these points below – the third one at much greater length than the other two, as to say it has been a bit of a pet peeve of mine for the last few years would be an understatement.  An implied thesis behind all of this though is that it’s possible to interpret the First Satanic Statement of LaVeyan Satanism in such a way that it implicitly leads to much that is in the Seven Tenets of the Satanic Temple, re: compassion for others, seeking justice, inviolability of the body and freedom including the freedom to offend. 

I will grant that whether most LaVeyans take the First Satanic Statement in the way I am describing is a separate question. Similarly, I have no problem professing that from a “what is the better face-forward for a group of Satanists living in and trying to constructively influence society at large,” Satanic Temple’s formulation is obviously better.  It is thus primarily the assumption of some that the LaVeyan formulation cannot be constructive that I am arguing against in this entry.

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Esoteric practices in Satanism, part IV: Greater Magic

Continuing with the esoteric matters I’d like to explore here in connection with Satanism – i.e…

… the last one I want to cover here is greater magic.

Subsections of this entry:

This is my longest entry so far, i.e. longer even than the cultural appropriation one, amazingly.  Then again, greater magic is a very complex topic, especially if you are trying to make it comprehensible to people who may have no occult background, as I am attempting to do here.  

I am aware that some of what follows will make me sound completely insane to a certain sort of reader.  Nonetheless, I hope that what follows will both give you an idea of what ritual magic entails for a Satanist who practices it, and provide some sense of how the practice itself might be beneficial to a practitioner personally, regardless of whether you-the-outsider believe that it “works” or not.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Esoteric practices in Satanism, part III: Lesser Magic

Continuing with the esoteric matters I’d like to explore here in connection with Satanism – i.e…

… next up is lesser magic.

Subsections of this entry:
  1. Lesser magic according to LaVey’s Satanic Bible
  2. Further nuances re: the workings of lesser magic
  3. Implications in connection with a Satanic worldview

As with divination, I originally had in mind to have a section about some intersections-with-current-hot-button-political-issues that arise in connection with this practice, but between length considerations and my feeling that some of the same issues arise with greater magic, I’ll be covering this separately later. 

Thus, if you read the entry below, and at any point find yourself thinking “OMG, the implications of that practice are terrible – haven’t you noticed that they’re terrible?” – yeah, very likely I have noticed, and just because I don’t talk about that issue in this entry doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of it; wait a little while and I’ll likely discuss it in another entry.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A note about "the sinister path"

I have the entry for lesser magic basically written, but due to Terminus and other things consuming my attention in recent weeks, haven’t yet had time to finish off a few things related to it. 

I don’t like the prospect of then having only one entry for July though, so here’s a more-compact-than-my-usual-topics topic that I thought I’d dash off a few words about: the meaning of “right” and “left” from a spiritual rather than political perspective, and why, due to contemporary politics, I use different terms these days when I am talking about spiritual matters myself – namely, the potentially-pretentious-sounding wording of “the sinister path.”

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Esoteric practices in Satanism, part II: Divination

Previously, I’d mentioned these topics as being a few of the esoteric matters I’d like to explore here in connection with Satanism:
It makes sense to look at divination next inasmuch I see it as having a couple of connections to meditation: i) one way of understanding divination – the way that I myself use – basically situates it as a subtype of meditation; and ii) I think the two are similar with regard to people who have negative views of them perhaps not actually knowing what they entail to actual contemporary occult practitioners (whether Satanic or otherwise). 

Hence, subsections of the current entry:
I had a few thoughts to share also about a couple of political issues I’ve seen come up in connection with divination in online forums, but as my attempt to write these out ran toward the long side and contained repetition of some points made in my previous entry about cultural appropriation, that content may or may not wind up in another entry later on down the line.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Esoteric practices in Satanism, part I: Meditation

Inasmuch as I’ve gotten the impression that actual engagement in esoteric practices may be unusual among people who identify as Satanists, despite this element being present in the writings of LaVey and other authors, I thought making this aspect of the religion better understood to people who may have no familiarity with it might be an interesting challenge to take on.

Esoteric practices that I think a case can be made for in Satanism include the following:
As this list may imply, what I am here terming “esoteric practices” includes what I have elsewhere called “ritual practice,” but I’m adopting the former in this case as a better umbrella term than the latter when it comes to covering the full range of practices I want to discuss.

This is a big enough topic to constitute multiple entries, so I’ll cover only one area of practice at a time, starting with meditation:

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Cultural appropriation vs. spirituality: a thorough dissection

Since my recent thrift-store luck in connection with an upcoming event has provided opportunity for a good accompanying photo for the topic, now struck me as the right time for a few things I wanted to say about cultural appropriation, specifically the concept’s salience within the context of what might broadly be called spirituality.

Sections of this entry:

Note: this wound up being insanely long even by this blog’s already-unreasonable standards - hence the jump cut below - so if you are mainly here for the spirituality-related content and find lengthy dwelling upon the concept of cultural appropriation to be tedious, feel free to skip down to the last section, as that’s where I get to the point that I’ve least seen people talking about elsewhere when cultural appropriation comes up.

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