I've had a rite of passage as a Satanist I thought I'd share. I'm posting it because at its root, my experience seems like one many Satanists may experience in their lives, and I'd really enjoy reading other Satanists' perspectives on this.
When I was a child, walking home from school took me past the AMORC Grand Lodge of the Americas (Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rose Cross). Its a breathtakingly beautiful campus built in 18th Dynasty Egyptian architecture, with several gardens, a planetarium, a library, and it holds one of the largest Egyptian museums in the world--outside of Egypt. I spent countless hours there touring their replica of underground tombs, looking at mummies, and visiting with their librarian. He astonished me with books written half a millennium ago, would put on special gloves, and carefully turned the pages for me while I looked on in wonder. One day, I confided in him feelings of hopelessness about my prospects for the future. He reassured me by saying something I'll never forget. He asked why I had come to the library, and then explained it back to me.
"So you saw something that made you curious, you looked deeper, then felt the thrill of discovering wondrous things you did not expect. That very simple habit trumps any other educational advantage in life--not just because of it's effects, but because of the experience itself. You can spend the rest of your life in that state, it requires neither money nor permission of others', and nobody can ever take it away from you. This is the foundational premise of the Order of the Rose Cross, and it's built right into the symbol. You've come to the right place."
I felt overwhelmed with a sense of hope, and a new-found courage to face the difficulties in my life. I went into their garden and putting my hands on the Sphinx, I swore an oath that I would spend the rest of my life as this kind of person. This was a moment of profound hope for me. For the first time in my life, I knew for a fact that every disadvantage in my life was temporary, and would eventually become trivial, and then be forgotten. I would spend my life as an eternal student, seeking understanding as its own reward.
In the last year or so, I decided to pursue the formal Rosicrucian curriculum. Given my experiences as a child, I thought the potential development from this was long past due, and would be a real indulgence. Unfortunately, having recognized myself as a Satanist for the better part of 2 decades, I've lost a lot of my indifference to routine methods of religious domination. It never slips past without notice anymore, excuses bring no dismissal, and trade-offs are just not worth ignoring them.
I've fallen out of love somehow, and I can't get it back. I won't even go into all the angles of discussion possible on how they try to distinguish themselves from religion. I've completed 8 cycles now, and have had enough exposure to their ways to realize that whatever gain is to be had is just not worth cooperating with the same episcopal supremacy dick moves that makes Christianity infamous to anyone with self-worth intact.
If they were sincere about not being religious, they would not be maximizing every inch of mileage they can with the same methods. They retain the same indifferent reverence to biblical quotes and people, no matter how irresponsible. They capitalize on that reverence, and refuse to rule out the same overt dominance, e.g., "I am the Lord thy God" being jammed into utterly unrelated quotes like a square peg in a round hole--or like "who is John Galt?" in Atlas Shrugged. They start with a promise of illumination, but the lessons quickly become about reciting countless rules issued by Moses--one of the most EVIL war criminals in history--if the word "evil" ever meant anything. They retain the same passive indifference to the background of their champions as Christians do, and thereby perpetuate the same hypocrisy of selective enforcement. In every access of study materials, there's always a link (and therefore a reminder) to give them free money. They operate on a premise of instant and absolute excommunication for exposing their curriculum to outsiders--which in itself is ridiculous, considering there's nothing in them worth keeping secret. Its just a way of making their Initiates think they're valuable.
Like many other religions that claim to not be religious, they are identical in every way that matters. Whatever so-called "secrets" they offer are just not worth it. I've no doubt there's some wisdom available, along with the prestige of a "secret" society, and a lot of rewards along the way--but is there really anything I'm going to value as much as my self-respect? NO. What things ACTUALLY mean means more to me than approval or inclusion with anyone.
Lying on demand is for slaves or employees--which I am neither, and fuck anyone who has a problem with that.
Put simply, I think being a Satanist has made it impossible for me to ignore being made a religion's bitch, no matter what the reward, nor how subtle and clever the method. For that, I'm truly glad, and I know that by pushing them out of my life like a bad shit, I'll be able to maintain my integrity, but I'm still a little disappointed. Their aesthetics are just the stuff of my best daydreams and I still maintain that the root values of the AMORC, as reflected in their symbol--and especially as I experienced them as a child, are honorable and truly worth pursuing--but so is one's dignity, and they middle their Initiates between the two.
So, for better or worse, its time to own up to the fact that these are not MY people. I still treasure my memories from childhood with them, and the foundation I built is still priceless, but like everything Christians defile, its time to accept their wisdom also turns to slavery the second they open their mouths.
In my disappointment, I can't help but be reminded of Magus Gilmore's representation of Satanism in countless interviews as utterly rejecting any encroachment of sneaky right-hand path habits that seem to riptide every other institution that tries to depart from Christianity right back again. He makes me happy, and I'm so damned proud of him. I don't know any other way to say it.
Remember that scene in Batman Begins when Ra's al Ghul kicked Bruce Wayne's ass after climbing the mountain? He looked in his eyes and said "You're afraid--but not of me." For all the things that truly deserve to be respected, feared, or despised, how strange is it that I feel proudest, safest, and most at ease among Satanists?
...you know, perhaps its not that strange at all.
_________________________ LIBERTVS A VOLGI TYRANNIDE
Loc: Eastern United States.
I think we all can relate to such a crossroads. What we are and what we know make it hard for us to jump through hops even when we know that we are simply going through the motions for a greater purpose of our own design.
On one hand, we almost have to play the game in order to obtain whatever it is we desire...we do it nearly everyday in a work setting...taking orders from fools is a hard nut for a Satanisit to swallow, but we do what we must to have what we want.
Before I decided to embrace this philosophy full on, I struggled with alcoholism, which in turn lead me to rehab and then AA. AA claims not to a religious program, but one meeting will confirm otherwise...I found they're tactics and rituals effective, but took them for what they were. In time however I found it impossible to align myself with they're process, and left, never to return. That was many years ago, and I'm still sober...not because I pray to some god daily or try to live by a code of guilt for reward as AA presents...but because I recognized and embraced my own strength and became determined to throw off any chain that weighs me down...be it person, place, philosophy or substance.
In the end my true nature just could not endure another moment in the fold. I had to move on and dive deeper under a surface I had only scratched...
I think in the case of what we must do in order to advance or survive, the satanist can compartmentalize our lives, play the parts we must...all the while smiling on the inside.
If the knowledge you seek forces you to wade through fields of shit to obtain it, you are most well equipped for the journey. But how much you can stomach is another question.
Well said. I'm not surprised that AA is religious. Degraded people tend to cluster in degrading atmospheres. Any time I consider the possibility of drinking too much, I simply consider the masochism of AA and remind myself that being responsible means I get to keep church people ruled out of my life forever. What a great deal! That feeling is like being handed a suitcase full of cash. It never gets old.
I think the AMORC may just really suffer from antiquation. Its only been for a couple of decades that the internet has made access to information virtually unlimited. Up until then, and especially all the way back to Thutmose III in ancient Egypt, which is where they trace the school back to, I can imagine there really was a much greater value to tolerating nonsense in order to access the "secret" knowledge they imparted. Technology has shifted the paradigm, though--if not reversed it entirely. Whatever "wisdom" they can impart is very likely available with a few clicks of a mouse, followed by seeking out certain types of people and experiences on ones own.
It reminds me of a scene I saw on Family Guy where Quagmire was going nuts because his computer wouldn't work and he was terrified someone else might get a picture of his cat on the web before he did, and he would be forever known as the SECOND guy to get a picture of his cat on the web.
Technology has made secrecy as a mode of value pretty worthless. These days its a little like trying to keep moveable printed type away from the serfs to prevent them from becoming literate, and threaten the landed gentry. That might have worked a hundred years ago, but things have changed.
_________________________ LIBERTVS A VOLGI TYRANNIDE
I am reminded, vaguely and not entirely aptly, but still reminded none the less, of the story of Gollum in the Hobbit.
He had as a child imagined the deep dark underground roots of the mountains to be filled with mystical secrets and truths.
After making his way down to the deepest parts of the mountains, he found no mystical secrets, only slinking, and fear, and "nasty furtive eating".
Like the PR bullshit for any shoddy/defective product, all religions present a very seductive advertisement for their product, but once you've bought it, it doesn't at all do what the ad promised, and like a fast food burger, the reality of what's inside the cheap paper wrapper bears little resemblance to the idealized photo of that same burger created by a team of million dollar commercial photographers.
Well said. Once you cross the threshold, the journey becomes something completely different than it appeared at first, and you just can't get to the door fast enough--as illustrated in this similar epic tale...
There's no point in crying about it or losing my sense of humor. After all, I DID do the right thing when pressure was applied.
Edited by Dark Passenger (Today at02:42 PM) Edit Reason: added last para
_________________________ LIBERTVS A VOLGI TYRANNIDE