Since my last entry mentioned Krampus, this struck me as not a bad time to write something I’ve been meaning to write for awhile, not about Krampus in folklore and the holiday per se, but about the 2015 Krampus film. I’ve long found that film “stuck with me” in a way that goes far beyond what one would expect or was surely intended with a random PG-13 holiday-horror film. The train of thought it leads me down also touches on certain aspects of 2020 in an interesting way, and upon how I’ve come to interpret Satanism differently over time due to certain philosophical and political things that I’ve been grappling with in recent years.
Now, upon trying to actually write this entry, I’ve discovered that no way is the full trajectory I’d envisioned do-able in any kind of manageable length, mostly because the “COVID rant” part of this got rather lengthy (go figure, LOL). Nonetheless, what follow are some thoughts to share on what I’ll call “the dark force of nature,” or “dark nature” for short, subdivided as follows:
- Krampus as dark force of nature
- COVID as lived-experience of dark nature
- LaVeyan reflections
- Closing thoughts
Obviously this will entail spoilers about the Krampus film - FYI if anyone hasn’t seen it and wants to.
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“Krampus” is about a kid on the verge of the “too old to believe in Santa” demographic, whose belief is getting slowly drowned by the rising tide of shitty human behavior going on all around him. His Dad is away from home for work frequently to the point of straining family relations, his mother over-compensates via being all Martha-Stewart-perfectionist for Christmas, and his sister is a snarky teenager who would rather spend time with her boyfriend than the family. Visiting these well-off Democrats for Christmas are their poor Republican cousins, consisting of Mom’s white-trash sister, the redneck gun-nut she’s married to, two older daughters raised to act like jerktacular jock guys (this + their androgynous names imply the redneck-Uncle had wanted boys), a socially-inept son, a baby, and a rude trailer-park-dwelling great aunt.
Naturally, everybody involved in this scenario annoys everyone else in the exact ways you would expect, with the only “cool” relative being the kid’s German grandma. An opening sequence featuring holiday shoppers assaulting one another etc. is suggestive of a wider problem of “everybody talks up the values of Christmas but almost nobody actually treats anyone else better in actual accord with those values.”
A breaking point comes when the kid’s Santa letter gets found by the jock-daughters, who read it in front of the whole family to humiliate him, only to somewhat-awkwardly discover that most of it consists of, basically, “praying” to Santa for his parents to love one another again, for the Republican side of the family to have things less-hard poverty-wise, etc. Kid gets in physical scuffle with his cousins, kid gets sent to room, kid gets insincere-or-at-least-unconvincing talk from Dad re: why the holidays are important, kid rips up his Santa letter and throws it out the window.
This initiates a sequence wherein an uber-blizzard blows in, weird stuff starts happening, and several of the family’s children get separated from the rest of the family and disappear, before German eventually feels the need to explain that i) when a kid “loses the Christmas spirit” - i.e. gets fed up with everyone around them being shitty - this results in, instead of Santa coming with presents, Krampus comes and kills everyone horribly; ii) because, in the ashes of WWII, she was surrounded by shitty adults stealing bread from one another etc and got fed up with it, she was herself, as a child, responsible for the death of her family & village at Krampus’ hands.
Through the siege-like situation the family then find themselves in, they rediscover the value of one another to some extent, e.g. some “grass is greener” moments between Mom (envies sister’s happy-go-lucky-ness) and her sister (envies Mom’s having-it-all-together); mutual appreciation between Dad (bolder and smarter than Uncle thought) and Uncle (good thing he brought his guns along for Christmas after all); standard tropes of man-puts-self-in-danger-to-protect-family, parent-buys-time-for-children, dog-protects-owner and so forth all play out; etc. Nonetheless, eventually everybody gets killed except for the kid who ripped up his Santa letter… and then, when he’s the only one left, Krampus gives him the ripped up letter back to make sure he knows that it’s his fault. Kid pleads on behalf of the family, kid cries, Krampus pretends to care, but then laughs and throws the kid in the same fiery pit as the rest.
Next morning, Christmas day, kid wakes up in bed and everything seems to be normal again with everyone still alive… but then he opens his present from German grandma, it’s Krampus-related, and it becomes evident that actually, everyone is dead and trapped in some kind of perpetual-Christmas-hell. Fun times!
The thing I find interesting about this film is that I can see why some people would find it intellectually/politically problematic, yet at the same time, I experience it as emotionally resonant on a primal level.
On one hand, I do think this film frames things in such a way that while all the family members are made to learn that they need to appreciate one another more, the overall leaning is more “snobby well-off know-it-alls should be more tolerant of their not-so-cultured relatives” than, say, “right-wing gun nuts with intolerant political views should show more consideration toward the relatives they’re imposing upon.” One could argue this sits uneasily with the nowadays-vogue of left-leaning people cutting ties with their “ignorant” right-wing relatives. I’ve heard the argument made that horror overall often has a conservative bias, inasmuch as its formula is often “transgression unleashes evil, therefore transgression is bad,” and I can see this film fitting into that.
On the other hand though, what I find very viscerally-striking about this film is the angle of “when dark nature comes knocking, it doesn’t fucking care about what you think is ‘fair.’”
Is the main kid’s dismay and frustration at what is going on around him justified? It really seems so. Can you blame the German grandma, as a girl, feeling alienated from all the desperate adults around her, losing faith and turning bitter? Seems kind of hard to.
And yet, what is the ugly truth being illustrated here? Suck it up, kiddos, because in a prehistoric proto-human context, your little tribe of cavepeople had better be able to overcome their differences through those hard, dark, winter months, or you are all winning the fucking Darwin lottery together.
In such a context, the smallest failure of solidarity could indeed be fatal - as is, it seems to me, aptly illustrated by how there is no second-chance made available to the kid when he regrets his “wish,” and instead only the same death-and-damnation for him as those his “wish” already condemned to that fate.
This then leads to what I mean by “dark force of nature,” a phrase that I borrow from LaVey’s writing when he is talking about how Satanists don’t necessarily disbelieve in God, but do reject the idea of a just God who cares about human beings. And yet, even as I borrow it from him, I definitely think that LaVeyan Satanism doesn’t grapple with the concept, as I understand it, in an adequate way, though I’ll get to that more a bit later. The key concept, for now, is this:
Anyone of sufficient intelligence and self-honesty, who earnestly and open-mindedly educates themselves in a scientific perspective on human beings, discovers thereby that there are dimensions of the human condition that appear to have been shaped by evolutionary imperatives, and that many things that seem irreparably broken about human beings appear to have at least some root in this. This does not mean that we cannot or should not try to improve upon the human condition. What it does mean, however, is that often there is some deep-seated evolutionary reason why things are the way they are, and if we try to live our lives in ways that fail to acknowledge this, it is near-guaranteed that we will wind up experiencing bad results, creating other problems, making things worse, or etc.
The relevant imperative in the case of “Krampus” runs along the lines of human beings are animals of such a kind that we are more likely to flourish amid group solidarity, and more likely to perish in the absence of this. The Krampus in the film is, one could say, an embodiment of this principle inasmuch as he demonstrates the extreme consequence of the failure of group solidarity.
One might then observe, at this point, that liking this film - finding it extraordinarily emotionally-resonant - sits a bit awkwardly with such widely-recognized Satanic values as prizing individualism, eschewing social conformity, separating oneself from “the Herd,” etc. One could argue that Satanists of every denomination - except maybe Satanic Temple - find themselves confronted with an inconvenient truth rooted in evolutionary biology/psychology here, namely that it kinda does seem like humans do better in groups than alone.
It is then uncomfortable to be a member of a religion that lionizes rugged individualism, opposes herd conformity, and prides itself on being more reason-and-honesty oriented than other religions, discovering that perhaps one is no better than other religions re: reality confronts us with propositions contrary to our preferred ideology, and one is then tempted to rationalize-away reality lest one be otherwise forced to alter or abandon the ideology.
This in turn brings me to some reflections about COVID.
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Between what most readers of this blog will know of me personally, and past entries I’ve written, a reasonable grasp my perspective on the pandemic can probably be derived. But to spell out things that I otherwise worry may be lost or distorted amid what follows, I feel the need to explicitly note at the outset of this discussion that i) as someone with asthma, auto-immune problems and plenty of elderly relatives, I take COVID and all recommended measures to avoid its spread very seriously; ii) I am aware that some other people do not have the “luxury” of being as “careful” as me (e.g. must take transit to a job that requires in-person contact or etc.) and while I accept such peoples’ need to make compromises that I am not willing to make myself, I at the same time insist upon my right to separate myself from such people inasmuch as I have that option, and iii) while I personally am having a better 2020 than like 99.99% of the human race, that does not mean I can’t or don’t sympathize with people suffering loss, isolation, or any of the various other ways in which 2020 has been an especially hard year.
All that said - and with particular emphasis re: yes, I take the pandemic seriously and yes, I do empathize with basically the entire human race as far as dealing with its fallout - I am finding that the longer COVID is wearing on, the more it seems like sooner or later, every ideological demographic has thrown its own particular toddler-tantrum in terms of “wah, wah, reality is being mean to me and my emotions don’t like that, therefore my emotions justify my rationalizing-away reality.” Here are a few of examples of this kind of bullshit that I’ve crossed paths with:
People whining about having to wear masks, not being to hang out with their friends, not getting to have Christmas, etc., and this being framed in their minds as such an imposition that they go spouting off about “human rights” and trawling the Internet for fake science to attempt to justify flouting rules and indulging themselves. Many of these kinds of people strike me as the sort who might benefit character-growth-wise from being shipped off to a war-torn impoverished nation for awhile to learn what actual deprivation feels like.
The “small government is better” crowd fear-mongering about “creeping totalitarianism” instead of being able to perceive why maybe a global emergency could benefit from a coordinated high-level response. What I find darkly hilarious about this sort of attitude is that if you’d framed “government coordinating the populace to deal with necessary hardship” as “totalitarianism” back during the WWII period, we might well be ruled by actual totalitarians by now… because we’d have lost the fucking war, idiots. Like, self-defeating ideological allergy to social solidarity here much? Anyone who sucks this much as discerning what might or might not be necessary for a society to hold itself together has no business thinking of themselves as a “conservative,” it seems to me.
Conspiracy-theory-embracers, a.k.a. Joe-random-Blow who is solely “educated” by the Internet thinks that he knows more than all the world’s doctors and scientists. I am of the view that pretty much all conspiracy-theory-embracing on any topic constitutes “my life is shitty/boring/out-of-control, so I most console myself by embracing this grandiose theory that imposes order on everything, and which also allows me to feel superior to others on account of knowing something that they don’t.” The contrary truth being that the world is a complicated mess, and while nobody’s comprehension of it is perfect, what these people subscribe to is even less plausible and more inadequate than most of the “better guesses” out there. The point is not that experts are always right, but that rationally there are a pretty considerable list of reasons why they’re more likely to be right than Joe-random-Blow is, and the universe doesn’t care that this hurts Joe-random-Blow’s feelings.
Double-standards regarding protesting. Yes, fucking duh, the big problem with anti-maskers is that they are not wearing masks, that is different from other instances of protesting-in-crowds-with-masks-and-attempts-at-social-distancing, obviously. I can’t help noticing though that the way some people talk, it really kind of comes across as “I don’t think anti-maskers should be allowed to protest in any way whatsoever because I don’t like them, but this other cause that I do like with has an infinite right to protest in every possible way, including bending public health advice and/or violence.” It is my considered view that some of the growth of anti-mask protesting in recent months stems in part from there being a perceived double standard on this front during the months before that, e.g. right-leaning causes are told to find some way to protest that doesn’t involve gathering in crowds, but left-leaning causes were never told this, and then we’re somehow surprised that the right-leaning ones see, in that double-standard, fodder for their notion of the government just making up things to favor one side over the other. This is, in my opinion, a stupidly avoidable problem that could have been prevented at the outset re: just tell everyone equally to find ways of protesting that entail staying the fuck home, instead of giving one side license to indulge their emotions and then being surprised that the other side feels put out by not being granted that same license.
Everything is about race even when common sense indicates it’s more about the pandemic. Real example: someone I personally know had an incident where a group of six POC’s got an the elevator with them; she felt uncomfortable because that’s too many goddamn people of any color in an elevator in 2020; the group reacted passive-aggressively to her discomfort, causing her to feel the need to exit; said people then greeted the exit with a big huff about racism and musing about whether to beat her up over said transgression. That’s a thing that happened. It’s not a-thing-that-didn’t-happen just because your ideology doesn’t like the fact that it happened. On a related note, yes I get why some specially-directed “don’t gather in groups” advice comes across as “racist,” but it seems to me that the sound bottom line there is “nobody, for any reason, should gather in any group” - in which case, it seems like if there’s an unfairness issue, it’s in not having told assorted other groups to also stay apart, vs. the validity of telling whoever is getting together to cut it out remains defensible. Common denominator here: yes, racism is still a problem; no, it is not necessarily the most salient feature of every situation just because your feelings say so.
Religious groups acting as if their gatherings ought to be exceptions to public health orders because religion. No, Jesus doesn’t magically protect you from COVID. Beyond that, this fits in the same category as the first point re: boo hoo, you have to wear a mask, boo hoo, you can’t see your friends, etc., i.e. only in the spoiled-ass first world could some whiny-bitch-who’s-never-been-told-no spin this as a “human rights” issue. Note at the same time though that this sort of fussing re: religion is likely aggravated by the previous everything-is-racism thing: if telling any minority group that they should curtail some cultural practice involving gathering in groups is "discriminatory," why shouldn’t Christians feel like failure to make allowance their own cultural practices is similarly discriminatory? You can bitch all you want re: Christianity is different because it’s a majority thing, Christians would act this way regardless of whether the inconsistent messaging was going on or not, etc., but it still seems to me like mixed messaging is a contributing to a “their feelings are indulged, so why aren’t mine indulged too” -type problem.
Anti-capitalist utopians who present super-drastic shutdowns as the universal solution. These are the folks who talk as if everything-that-is-not-a-shutdown must stem solely from greed and/or bad ideology. The former point overlooks how “the economy” is not just capitalist pig enrichment, but the thing that affects whether people in your community have food, shelter, a future for their children, etc.; the latter dogmatically presumes that everyone you don’t agree with must be maliciously evil and couldn’t possibly be struggling to grapple responsibly with genuine moral trade-offs that you may not have thought enough about yourself. Try to get these people to explain themselves beyond the kneejerk, and you eventually get “well, if only greedy baddies weren’t such greedy baddies, the government could just spend more money to magically fix everything,” accompanied by hostility when one seeks details re: where does that money come from, what long-term consequences follow, etc. I feel the need to emphasize here that I am strongly pro-shutdown myself for the sole sake of my own self-interest, but I nonetheless get annoyed by people who act as if emoting really loudly about how government is good and rich people are bad is any better an argument than emoting really loudly about how government is bad and rich people are good. And I get even more annoyed when my raising this issue gets written off as “here goes another ignorant Albertan again” just because oh noes, I didn’t just agree automatically with what your precious little bleeding heart declares is the only correct approach to the situation.
The thing worth noting here is that diverse though these complaints are in their political/ideological implications, all of them have a significant dimension of “my emotions are oh-so-very overwhelmingly real and important that I’m entitled to do and say whatever they tell me to do and say, instead of adopting any kind of more measured and reason-based response.”
Or, put another way: when confronted with the dark force of nature, and the unfairness-of-life that comes in its wake, people would rather whine, bitch, rationalize it away, bicker about what’s ‘fair,’ uncritically retreat into their favorite ideological hidey-holes, or do basically anything else instead of facing reality and constructively accepting it. Reality in this case being i) sorry, but we all have sacrifices and compromises to make here that the whole will be better off if we make than if we don’t make, and ii) if you think you know more and would do a better job of fixing everything than the people in charge, there are almost definitely complications of how the world works and what is actually possible that you do not have an adequate grasp of, and maybe you therefore shouldn’t go around talking like such a goddamn know-it-all.
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Now, in calling out these shortcomings of various folks on the right, the left, various religions, etc., do I suppose that no COVIDiot behavior of such stripes could possibly emerge from Satanic ideology? By no means. Everyone has their uncomfortable truths to contend with, and so I have mine: I must acknowledge that, given certain values typical of Satanism re: “think for yourself and be a strong-willed individual instead of following the crowd,” it seems likely that dysfunctional results will arise in those circumstances where, like it or not, sometimes the crowd is fucking right, and you’re actually the idiot for not going along with it. COVID is, in my opinion, such a case. Though I haven’t heard anything “in real life” about the more libertarian LaVeyans embracing conspiracy theories or defying rules just for the sake of defying them or etc., I find it so easy to envision how people could apply the doctrine in that way that I can’t help being troubled by the idea nonetheless.
This, in turn, is just the latest cresting of something I have long been contending with: as adept at interpreting LaVey constructively as I think I am, I’ve slowly become convinced that the religion, in its orthodox form, is in fact untenably out-of-touch with reality regarding its take on the strong-willed individual. The crux of the matter is that, as per what I said above about the Krampus film, preoccupation with the herd is in fact evolutionarily-selected-for. My academic background and my personal reading on evolutionary matters together convince me both that i) identity is never entirely a matter of individual will, there being various unchosen physical, mental, social and cultural factors impacting its formation, and ii) if you had a whole society of Satanists in the mould of most denominations (e.g. LaVeyan, Luciferian, basically anything except maybe Satanic Temple has this problem), that society probably would not do as well as other societies due to a lack of social cohesion.
Placed in a COVID -type situation, one could then anticipate such a society faring as “America, but worse” re: rampant individualism breeding stupid resistance to things that it would yield better results in the long term to endure instead of childishly rebelling against. Yes, one can argue that “the number one sin in Satanism is stupidity” ought to rule this out, but I still feel like COVID is just the most blatant among other scenarios I could put forward re: many older forms of Satanism contradict themselves by claiming to be pro-earthly-existence whilst embracing ideas about individualism that are not actually well-supported by honest reflection upon human nature.
Given these difficulties, am I then obligated to abandon LaVeyan ideas regarding the strong-willed individual? I am reluctant to do so, because the reason I embraced those ideas to start with is because they were efficacious in my own life. I do not claim such ideas work for everyone, but for me personally, it has often indeed seemed like “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” that there is a pay-off to taking initiative and asserting yourself despite whatever obstacles may stand against that, etc.
In fact, given how meaningful these ideas have been for me, I must admit that there has at times been a very strong emotional temptation to either try to ignore real-world factors that challenge such ideas, or to rationalize said factors away via convincing oneself that information is ideologically-biased or etc. - to act, in short, in a manner analogous to that which I am complaining about re: COVID bringing out the worst in people rationalization-wise.
The irony of this situation is that by steeling my individual will toward determination to face reality honestly, and thereby investing in intellect rather than emotions, this temptation that I periodically felt was ultimately overcome. I will not rationalize away reality to match my ideology, I have determined, but will instead fine-tune my ideology to better take reality into account. This means that I have committed myself to recognizing sound evolutionary imperatives both for a human default of groupishness, and for the value of individualism in certain contexts. My position is thus along the lines that, even if we can never be free individuals to the full extent that LaVey might imagine, we should still seek maximum freedom and individual empowerment within such constraints as reality leaves us stuck with.
It would have been emotionally easier for me to rationalize away the inconvenient facts about humans-as-social-animals, so as to live within an ideological frame untroubled by the need to acknowledge the dark realities of nature honestly. And it would have been emotionally-easier all the more so given the extent to which I feel like nowadays, that is what practically everyone else does all the time, i.e. why am I obligated to shoulder this self-challenging stress re: facts challenging my ideology that apparently nobody else can be bothered to shoulder? Yet instead of opting for this temptation of simplicity-and-security of ideological conviction, I did the difficult thing instead.
What then troubles me on an ongoing basis is my impression that we are living through an era in which, thanks to an ever-more-popular attitude of “the only facts that matter are my feelings!”, people are not only less willing to face the challenge of acknowledging dark aspects of nature honestly, but also more prone to automatically condemning those who do seek to undertake said acknowledgment. One, but not the only, example of this can be found in what I’ve mentioned in other entries re: the left having this plague of evolution-deniers who dismiss whole branches of science without actually bothering to understand the claims those branches are making, and who then go around judging anyone who even wants to talk about said science as sexist/racist/etc.
This causes me to at times feel very isolated re: where are the other people who are willing to do the difficult thing that I’ve done as far as acknowledging that sometimes your own emotions are dysfunctional and need to to overcome instead of indulged? Answer: keeping quiet lest they somehow offend the loud-ass “emotions are always truth” folks surrounding them… and given how people act on the Internet, who could really blame them?
It should be noted that, complain though I do, I am actually not entirely without sympathy for these people who act in these ways I dislike, because again thanks to my reading on evolution, I’ve come round to the view that Lovecraft was basically right re: humans being poorly-designed to engage honestly with the true darkness of nature, and I can’t then wholly blame a herd of frightened, chaos-fearing animals for their hostility toward those whose insistence on honesty could jeopardize the comfortability and tidiness of their preferred worldview. In situations of more desperate proximity to the razor edge of survival, the dissenter-to-the-herd is the one who gets everyone “murdered by Krampus,” after all - i.e. given primitive conditions that evolution shaped humans in accord with, you can’t really blame people for treating dissent-from-the-herd as a life-and-death matter.
And yet, at the same time, if no one stands up to insist that the dark force of nature is real, and people are permitted to persist indefinitely in their ideological tunnel-vision, reality will eventually come knocking in some other equally-terrible-or-worse form. Imagine an alternate timeline in which a disease far deadlier than COVID arose, and a super-majority of people were of the “but nothing is more important than still going to church” proclivity, or the “but absolute freedom is worth dying for” mindset, or the “but borders must always remain open no matter what” stance, or etc. It seems to me that regardless of whether it’s right or left bias that thus thwarts doing-what-needs-to-be-done, none of that ends well, and it ends poorly in every case because people prioritize their ideological commitments over the brute facts of dark nature being contended with. Moreover, it seems to me like dispassionate reason would be the tool best suited to engaging honestly with such a situation (“the fact is, this thing spreads the virus, so regardless of your religion or your color or etc., don’t do the fucking thing”), vs. it’s overinvestment in your little feelings that nature doesn’t fucking care about that prevents the dispassionate application of reason.
It is also interesting to observe that there are several of these possible dystopian timelines wherein anyone making this point I’m making itself triggers emotion-coddling-defense mechanisms - e.g. reason is a tool of the Devil, or reason is an invention of white-supremacist-heteronormative-patriarchal-colonialism, or whatever. And thus-deprived of the corrective application of reason, humanity is left to lurch into a needlessly-premature grave, all because people would rather do the easy thing their feelings say to do than the hard thing that honest engagement with the dark reality you’re actually faced with tells you to do.
On that happy note, let’s conclude with a more general perspective on the problem at hand, and how that relates to my current understanding of Satanism.
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Two key takeaways from the preceding discussion are as follows:
- All human ideologies, whether religious, political or otherwise, to varying extents fail to engage adequately with parts of reality that they find inconvenient. This failure occurs because people get emotionally invested in the ideology itself and also have their emotions stoked in certain ways by the ideology, said feelings render them unwilling to see themselves or their ideology challenged, and disengagement with disliked aspects of reality then follows. This is not to say that reason is always good and emotions always bad, but I nonetheless think a pretty substantial case can be made for how allowing oneself to be controlled by emotions, to the point that rational reflection isn’t permitted to put forward a more balanced perspective, tends to aggravate problems on this front.
- In the case of many Satanic denominations, this disengagement-with-reality problem rears its head specifically with regard to matters of individualism, self-reliance, autonomy of the will, and etc. The problem in a nutshell is that nature hasn’t actually designed human beings to be self-aware, willful “individuals” to the extent that many forms of Satanism would like to believe. This doesn’t necessarily make Satanism less viable than other ideologies, who themselves harbor an opposing set of reality-avoiding biases - and often a more extensive set, at that. But on account of the “undefiled wisdom means grappling honestly with reality” angle that I myself take from Satanism, it is not something that I personally am satisfied to let go unaddressed.
The issues that then arise before me are:
- What is the maximum amount of honest engagement with dark forces of nature that a livable human ideology can grapple with, and what would such an ideology look like as far as its metaphysics, its ethics, etc.?
- Is there a rationale for calling whatever comes out of the preceding question “Satanism,” despite the ways in which it would inevitably differ from LaVeyan and other established denominations?
1 is way too big a topic to explore here when this entry is already so long, but what I’ve previously written about Azathoth, Az, Azerate and the prospects of building a religion around such entities hints at the direction I’d tend to go in, so I’ll point interested parties back in that direction.
As for 2, re: such an ideology constituting “Satanism”: how could it not, when it would, by embracing every last dark truth that every other ideology seeks to deny, set itself up thereby as the enemy of everyone and everything? It would be the most adversarial thing possible, and is Satan not the Adversary?
I don’t have time and space here to get into these issues more than that for now, so I’ll just close this entry by saying:
2020, as long and strange a slog as it has been, has been a year that’s offered me insights into “the dark force of nature” that I would go so far as to characterize as life-changing. What comes out of this in 2021 and onward should be interesting to see. There increasingly looks to be some possibility, however, that it may require a massive reconfiguring of my priorities, and that many of my thus-far-established channels of social interaction (e.g. website, DJing, Instagram, this blog) may have to be curtailed either somewhat or entirely as a result. Nor are these the only ties that may need severing.
I’ll thus warn now: this blog may not be up forever, at least not in terms of all of its entries, so if anything on it is in your “read later” queue - especially the banishing ritual and its associated download file - I suggest you get on that within the next four months or so…