Projects, projects…

Right now I’m here trying to figure out what to write about, which would not be too personal. Or controversial. By surprise, I got tomorrow off of work, so as I spent pretty much all of today dealing with school things…not homework, other things…I was able to concentrate on the experience and not the work that I was missing at home.

There is another group project due in what will be approximately 72 hours. Along with that is a late assignment. I am almost done with the lectures, but will likely need to spend the majority of the weekend dealing with these two projects (same class!), and making a screencast (due in 48 hours). Everything else can wait.

And I am now officially a member of an Honors society. I’m guessing that feels pretty good, though the induction ceremony reminded me of Hogwarts.

I also got to visit the University library for the first time, which was almost overwhelming. Because we arrived for the ceremony early and looked lost, one of the librarians also gave us a tour…which was really nice.

At this point, I’m trying to keep my head together and wondering if I should be in bed already. After the ceremony, we were able to go to a tea shop and I got a diffuser…and a couple of new teas (this place is way out of our normal sphere, so I got what I could when I could). There was also a Japanese bookstore in the area where I got a couple of books on Shinto (this material has been hard to find in English, even within Japanese bookstores), and one on Buddhism.

I’m wondering if these can be of use in my final project for Reference Services…if I haven’t done it before! I know I wanted to do it before, but I wasn’t able to because of the constraints of the class. I just don’t know if I’ve done it since: I’ll have to look through my archives.

Ah — I see now. I set it out as a proposal for a website, but it was beyond the scope of the class. Before then, I set it out as a proposal for a study guide, but it was again, beyond the scope of the class. I also may have some constraints here because I may have to use sources from within libraries to which I have access.

I’ll have to look at the requirements for the assignment. If I use InterLibrary Loan, I might be able to work something out as regards art and design, as well — which might be more fun, particularly if I narrow down my search to something like a particular form of the graphic arts I’m thinking of now…I just have a choice between taking an art history angle or an art practice angle. Or a philosophy or cultural angle…

That’s not due for a while, though. I’m also thinking that my angle may depend on what’s available to check out.

I’m also looking at the subject of “composition in painting and drawing” right now…which sounds fun! It would also get me out of what I already know (or have more of a good start on knowing).

Weird…I’m starting to know how to research and present this stuff…

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Cultural location and creative context: Part 1

If circumstances were different, I might be using this time to read. However, I was so out of it this morning that I forgot to bring or wear my glasses, so reading (especially tiny blurry text) isn’t a feasible option. So…we have a half an hour here which I can dedicate to writing.

Although, I do suppose that I could also be downloading and printing some additional readings. I try not to access my library login from too many separate spaces, though (I’m on lunch right now).

Apologies for the massive change from art-related postings to Library-School-related postings. This is an effect of what I’ve been going through on a larger scale: I want to have the time to dedicate to art, but what I’m doing now in the Master’s program is so that I will have more time to dedicate to art…just requiring that I shift my focus away from art, in the present.

So, when I was talking about the Japanese markets…I had been in Southern California for a bit, for a memorial. Before then, my sibling had been visiting from out-of-state. This is what I was referencing in my last post. It was especially very important to see my sibling. The major problem is that now, between myself and my parents, I’m the person who has time commitments and has to set limits.

One thing that I did do for myself when I was in SoCal was not go to Easter service. When I talk about, “doing stuff for myself,” I mean that the majority of our time in SoCal was sucked up by other people determining what we would do while we were there. So it wasn’t really a vacation, more than a educational field trip interspersed with shopping.

I really wasn’t in the mood to go to Church on Easter, though — I am basically never in the mood to go to Church — and I’m not Christian (and don’t want to become Christian), so the only reason to attend was to…well, make the minister (my uncle) happy. The amount of discomfort I would have been in kind of overruled that, though.

I’m not sure my uncle quite “gets” why I don’t attend. When he asked me about it, I didn’t broach the fact that I’m closest to being Buddhist, but I don’t even take Buddhism as truth or as something to be believed, at this point, more than as an intellectual tool.

That statement gives me a jumping-off point for something else I had wanted to talk about but just didn’t: which is, lacking a set cultural context for imaginative journeys (or whatever you would call them). Particularly, dealing with Buddhism requires (or encourages, at least) the clearing of, “illusions.”

I’m not certain I have enough time or resources here to back me up on this (I have a personal library section on Buddhism at home, and the ones here I’ve mostly not read yet: too many repetitions of the Buddha’s biography and hardly anything giving cultural context behind why that version of things is so often repeated [which some of the books I have, mention]), but…the act of “fabricating” (which I take as a word implying the weaving together of disparate threads) stories is something that I’ve become aware of within the time between my graduation with the Creative Writing degree, and now.

Maybe I should talk about writing as, “weaving,” or something, to keep this in mind. I mean, it is nice to have fabric! (Right?) It’s just not nice to have weirdly woven wonky fabric that disturbs you when you look at it or wear it and you wonder why anyone wove it in the first place…

Okay, well…

Anyway, 😉 I find a lot of inspiration from the Japanese side of my ethnic heritage. But I’m not Japanese-from-Japan, I’m Japanese-American, and apparently there is a large cultural difference, there. Although I’m finding that I do have a cultural location which is more Japanese-American than not (it surprises me, too)…I have not been able to feel wholly included because of the fact that I’m multiracial.

I’ve got to end this now and get back to work. Maybe I can continue it later.

Does evil exist?

For future reference, this text was begun during an after-funeral gathering.  Although it is difficult to see other people in pain…I am surprised at the overall experience of the services and after-parties.  I am also wondering if there is such a thing as “evil.”

Having been labeled evil by people I would myself consider evil (though of course, they referred to themselves as “good”:  typical but not required), I have resisted identifying others as evil, myself.  This is largely because I can see the mindless destruction the label can cause.

The term itself may relate to nothing more than “aversion,” which is entirely subjective, its targets changing from person to person.  And in the case of my own psychic alignments, it’s clear that there are things others would call “evil” about me which would in no case result in harm to anyone (the gender[s] of the person[s] I love in relation to my own gender, being one of them).  They may result in change to a more egalitarian and free society, but that does not equate to harm.

I have been thinking about this problem…seemingly, ever since high school, or before (this being the time in which I was progressively demonized and outcast by my classmates).  Today at the funeral, a speech was given by a Buddhist Reverend…which actually made sense, much more sense to me than did the Catholic Priest’s…but not everyone agrees with me.  Particularly, ardent Christians seem not to (and the priest would be included in this group).

I am coming to see the term “faith” to have more than one meaning.  One meaning, the one which I use most of the time in my own thoughts, refers to trusting my own intuition even when it is unexplainable by rational thought combined with the scope of my current knowledge about the world.  There is another meaning, though, which I encountered today:  that is to hold close to registered and approved dogma as a comfort when faced with the unexplainable and incomprehensible…even when that dogma doesn’t make sense.

I don’t see these things as the same definition, although I must admit possible bias in that my own thoughts may hold to registered and approved dogma; I just doubt it.

In any case, recent events have caused me to question the existence of evil in the world.  Whether that is absolute evil or relative evil, i don’t know.  Or maybe it isn’t a philosophical problem.  Maybe it’s an energetic sensation which just gets confused when I try to communicate it in concepts and words.

What I know is what I feel, and there are some people in the world who read as “toxic” to me.  Unmistakably, poison.  And so permeated and overwhelmed by it that they are literally repulsive and offensive and exude this.  Disordered energy.  To be around them while taking them seriously is not safe, as they try to emotionally harm and take power from anyone who will let them, using any weapon in their arsenal — and would try to physically abuse others if they thought there would be no consequences.  To give them power and consider them as beings like myself pushes me into rage and hate…and perhaps pain at how much the world has warped and twisted them out of what I assume was initially recognizability…and as such is not recommended in my current condition.

I just have a hard time seeing what remains of some peoples’ humanity.  I know this must be a fault in me (either this, or a mark of my own ideals stating that all people have the “souls” of “humans” — this is not an unvarying property over different cultures and eras)…but it’s understandable not to be enlightened, and I think I must have to be closer to that goal than I am, to see through what’s happening here.

And I am not sure what the root of this is; nor am I sure whether or not there is some kind of organized metaphysical evil.  This is not a new proposition — though I tend to default to referencing Ahriman as a kind of anthropomorphized Principle of Evil, more than any Christian idea.  The idea of the Devil has been itself warped out of recognizability as it has been weaponized against minorities (though that may be something of a tautology).

Of course, though, I have no political references where it comes to Zoroastrianism (the religion where the principle of “evil against people” was eventually embodied in the idea of Ahriman).  However, I do recognize that “evil” can be brought into the world by those who conceptualize and aspire to it.  This, I would not have known without investigating multiple cults and having been witness to people who have idealized Evil and taken satisfaction and pride in doing the wrong thing at every possible juncture.

But beyond this…it seems to me that this is a symptom of being out of balance — and committed to being out of balance — on a deeper psychological and energetic level, which manifests in the physical.  And, of course, creating chaos in the physical world can’t help but encourage one to continue to be off-balance.  But maybe “balance” is not the best word.  “Balance” implies a polar model.  This type of being off-balance is more like a top spinning out of control in seven dimensions at once…even though it’s hard for me to imagine a top spinning out of control.  Normally the ground would equalize this — you can only mess up so far before you can’t go any farther — but this is not part of the model in energetics.

I don’t know where I’m going with this anymore, except maybe to say that I’ve recently…been able to trust my own feelings where it comes to the “energy” of others, which is not something I know I can explain.  The term “evil” comes to mind when encountering highly discordant energy (not meant as a slight against Discordians; there is a difference between being random and aiming to harm).  I’ve just realized that I don’t know what makes some people tick, and that maybe I don’t want to know…and while it is tempting to call it “evil,” I don’t want to fall into the same trap the people I see as evil have fallen into, which is to consider oneself right and anything one disagrees with as worthy of destruction.  That is not a balanced path, to me, and it’s not a protected one.

But I …I think I am starting to see that I will need to forge my own approach…

Is it possible, though, that not all bad things happen for good reasons — but rather, bad things happen, and good people find ways to shine despite, or in spite of, the situations they’re dealt?  Is there a cosmic tension between “good,” and “evil,” and am I, despite growing up having thought to the contrary, actually on the side of good?

This speaks more of illness than of faith.

There are a few things that have happened since last post.  One of them is my wondering whether slipping into a more “masculine space” is just me being a bit manic.  It would explain the increased energy and the somewhat “high” feeling I got when doing that most recent Creative Writing piece…which I was uncertain how to tag, at the time.  It is basically fiction, but it’s fiction with years of gleaned experience behind it (though I would not go so far as to say, “years of research”…looking things up on the web [and, yes, once in a library reference section, but that was one time, out of years] isn’t exactly research).

It’s just that the older I get, the more knowledgeable and experienced I become with regard to my mind, and the more thoroughly I can see my illness’s impact — from a young age.  Things which were with me from the age of 12 are still here, but amplified to the effect of becoming a problem.  (and this is on medication.)

I was planning to stay home from one of my groups in order to attend a webinar, but at this point (after looking over the “mental health” tag on WordPress and seeing the prevalence of “demon” posts), I’m thinking that maybe I should actually prioritize my mental health over career development.  My psychological development doesn’t follow that of a Satanist so much as it follows that of someone dealing with mental illness.

The fields overlap, but I don’t fit in with Satanists, overall.  I checked the Reader tags relating to this, and found exactly the same thing I had left behind and recalled exactly why I had left.  It’s a realization that I came to several times before abandoning hope that I and this enclave would be a clean fit.  Much like Sociology — introduced to me as “the study of groups of people” — the cultural body of Satanism is not accurately referenced by the official definition (or by anti-Satanist propagandists).

(Sociology is, rather, the study of power dynamics within groups of people, and how power constrains and shapes society, and how those living under power find ways — called agency — to negotiate being, granted these systems of power which they cannot directly confront, which grant them some fulfillment [if not, entirely, the freedom they desire].)

Chances are that in the future, Satanism will look appealing to me again; and then, if nothing has changed, I’ll — again — remember why I left.  If, that is, I look back at the community for reference.  If I don’t, I would be in the majority of Theists, as solitary, and also pretty much in the vein of, as I’ve heard, “do anything you want and call it Satanism.”  (One of the reasons I don’t fit in as a Satanist is that I’ve never been Christian.  Because of this, I have no base to start from, other than being negatively blasted by scattershot propaganda in a religious context.)

In fact, if I hadn’t been able to do anything I wanted and still feel included as a fringe Satanist, I probably would have decisively left a long time ago.  Instead, I had a prolonged period of time in which I was able to develop an attachment to some Deity (not Satan as defined by any Abrahamic religion) whose name and larger context I didn’t know, but whom I felt comforted by and grew fond of.  They say that God comes to you in ways that you can accept and deal with, and I think this was an instance of that.  The more I think of it, the more it seems like a polar reversal, with the “bad guy” comforting me, and the “good guys” encouraging hate towards me…for nothing I had done wrong, except exist.

But in reality, I seriously do not blend in among Satanists.  I am actually closer to Neopagan, at least demographically — but I’ve tended to have an “edge” that some do not; and my lack of fear of the “dark” has…not elicited the most helpful responses.  Moreso when I was younger, though the Pagan Reconstructionists were fine with it.  It’s more the New Age types who have tended to focus on, “love and light,” seemingly exclusively…which I find to be dangerous.

When one’s unwanted aspects are ignored, denied, and pushed down, it tends to cause a potential lack of control which isn’t as severe when one is aware of them and knows them, how they work, and one’s own capacity to harm others.  (A while ago, dealing with this — “Shadow work” was the term used — became popular, but I was already deep into my “Shadow” and needed a light that wouldn’t shun me.)

My desire to learn more about creativity and about Deities of creativity…that stems from wanting no longer to be ignorant about things when I reference myself against established religions.  (The only thing that can end ignorance, in this case, is research.)  It also comes from wanting to find who my Deity [or otherwise, the spirit and/or set of spirits I’ve become attached to] is [or are], if they’ve ever been referred to before.

The closest framework I have is the Dukante hierarchy, but…let’s say that I kind of don’t want to deeply enmesh myself in “dark” work (by this I mean Daemonolatry).  Though from what I understand, some African Diasporic religions also tend “dark” in the sense of concentrating on emotions that are hard to tolerate/painful.  Understandable, in context…but my life, most thankfully, isn’t in that context right now.

And…I forgot what the other relevant things I could mention, are.  (I forgot to note them down before I started writing.)

I’ve decided to let the homework for tonight, slide.  And I’m not going to call it in.  It is 1.5 points, but…the grad program is intense, and sometimes it is just better to say “no,” as in, “no, I can’t do this right now.”  And, “no, I don’t want to make it up, later.”  Just to save what there is of my sanity.  I did do 20 pages of reading, in a very difficult text, earlier.  It wouldn’t be an issue if the text weren’t so hard to get through…but there is constant reference in trying to remember what all the acronyms mean, the text is generalized to the point where I actually have to think about what is meant, etc.

I did remember that I had found the fabric dyeing tag on WordPress…I have been looking at printing recently, particularly linoleum and woodblock printing, though.  I’ve also been thinking about what I would do if my creative work was not something I would hope for monetary return on.  In that case, sewing and fabric arts (hand stitching and embroidery, most apparently) come to the fore.  It could also be really interesting, though, to get back into linocuts (linoleum block printing).  I also know how to do stencils, which is a related focus…and then if my attention is still held, I might go on further, to woodblock printing.  There is just a lot of working process that I’m not familiar with and never had to do with painting and drawing, though.  For example, sizing the paper so that the colors do not bleed.

And I have realized that the art is something to keep me alive…not, so much, something to sell.  This is on a much more basic level than that.

With that in mind…I did find a nice image which I may make into an acrylic painting…another ice-plant floral.

And, right:  I mentioned the desire to find Deities of creativity, which got the same parent as before, worked up.  Apparently I’m trying to find too many answers and need to let things just be.  Like it doesn’t matter if I know what gravity is, so long as I know that things fall when they’re dropped.

I can’t say I agree with that (I’m naturally inquisitive), but I suspect the viewpoint comes with age.  That, and I think — to them — it may up the ante too much to get a Deity overtly involved in my life (at this point, I can always tell my mental banter to shut up; I am not on that kind of a relatively fearless playing field with a Deity).

But I’ll get some rest…I can feel myself slowing down, about now…

Deities of Creativity?

It’s been interesting.  I realized the other day that I might need to take a look at books on creativity, because I was taking a fairly negative angle towards my own.  Then I realized that I have easy access to these resources — much easier than most.  Turns out that all I have to do if I want resources on “creativity” is to look!

On the way home I realized also that if I’m going to spiritualize my creativity, maybe I might want to look up (pre-existing) Deities of creativity…which could go into Neopaganism…or into a syncretic religion.  It’s been a while since I’ve been involved with anything Pagan — I used to hang out with a bunch of Pagan Reconstructionists online, so I know a bit about the cultural aspects of it; participating without violating, etc.  And actually, that does cross over with what I was talking about before, only the view taken would be from within the home religion as versus external to it — and most people don’t classify themselves the way others might.

(If you know what I’m talking about…you are very educated!)  😀

The major drawback here is, well, social dynamics.  It can be hard to be a creative person among people who like clear divisions between categories…not all people are like this, but I have a bit more “flow” than I’ve found some others can tolerate.

I’m actually thinking that an African-diasporic religion might be…worth checking out, though the only people I know who are into that, aren’t the greatest representatives.  I’d have to do my research and see which systems, if any, are somewhat like my worldview (though given that my worldview is sourced from one of my parents’…the likelihood of hitting on something is high).  I’ve even had issues in the past with mixing up Orisha and Lwa, so…right.  And though one side of my family does hail from Louisiana, that doesn’t quite make things easier:  I know next to nothing about the place, except that Louisiana, and in particular New Orleans, is different than much of the American South — because of French influence.

I’ve actually been feeling better today.  I’ve been on an upswing since I started engaging my more masculine energy, last week, even though that was accompanied by some communication flubs.  (There is some passion there, and some aggression…which makes the concept of engaging with life easier.  I don’t know exactly why.)  For some reason, I feel more alive and attendant (by this I mean, “present”) when I’m able to express this.

And I suppose it does say something about my intuition that I would pursue being creative as a life purpose even if the Deity of Creativity was maligned…I did realize that I probably put some people in a tough position, though; where they might want to encourage me in my creativity (healing!)  but not in my conception of my creativity (prohibiting!).

It may well be, though, that I’m using an archaic concept of creativity in which it is feared because it brings change — and some people at one time, didn’t like change.  At least, writing what I did, did clarify why I had a sense of conflict over being creative.  Maybe it didn’t need to be made public (I can see where massive confusion may have come from trying to communicate it to people outside my mind), but at least I made the connection.

Earlier today, we went out for dim sum, then I came back and went outside for a while…and just got out the shower (which I’ve needed for way too long).  Granted that I have a Discussion Post due before midnight tonight, but there is no way that I’m going to be able to complete all my readings and lectures before tackling it.  And everyone in the class will be able to see that post.  I think it will be obvious that I haven’t done the reading, but the upshot is that I’ve been taking care of myself.  It was just a very nice day, and I haven’t been out in extended periods of sunlight since we got back from Hawaii.

I did take pictures, too!  But right now they’re still my babies.  I have a hard time letting people see through my eyes while having been subject to verbal attacks from people, in the past…

But yeah…flowers.  ❤  🙂  It’s very colorful outside, this time of year!  (Well, here, at least!)

I’ll try and get on my homework, now…

Clarity

I did tell someone about what I had posted the other night; to which I found a response about “words have power” and that once I mention the term “Satan,” it brings to mind “Evil” and etc., and whenever a reader sees the term “Satan,” it drowns out everything else in the passage.  (Granted that this person likely didn’t know that I wasn’t aiming that last post towards the lowest common denominator; in general, I don’t write for a general audience.  I am, however, learning to flesh out my writings so that those without the required background knowledge [but with the capacity to understand] will understand.)

Let me be clear that when I mention the concept of “Satan” I am not referring to what anyone outside of myself would think I would be referring to.  This is why I use the term in quotes, and it is why I made efforts to define what I meant.  In particular, I am not depending on popular conceptions of Satan as a hateful and evil tormentor (my concept of “Hell” is what people [regardless of their religion] can be driven to create, and to do).  “Evil” does not come to mind as even associated with my Deity, except as an aspect which beings who have the capacity for, “Evil,” might choose to bring into the world.

But other beings, given the power to create — or even the same beings under different circumstances — might choose differently; to create, for instance, things that would benefit others or bring light into the world.

(I am deliberately avoiding the question of “darkness”, as I’ve learned over the years what darkness is, why I don’t aspire to it, and why it does not apply, currently…but that discussion is long and involved, with too many qualifiers to introduce, here.  As well, “light” could stand to be defined here, but I have not yet formulated a watertight and clear definition of the term which can avoid being twisted into an unintended meaning.  So I’m going to have to rely on yours, for now, granted that I realize that yours may be a bit inaccurate, too.  Depend on the feeling of Light, not on the words or codes you associate with it.  We’re not going to get out of this morass any other way.)

I am strongly considering — or somewhat committed to, alternately — identifying my Deity as a Deity of Creation, in the transitive (not static) sense:  that is, a deity of Creating.  In this sense, liberation, nurturing, sensitivity, joy, production, all come into play, along with noticing and synthesizing.  Last night I realized that what I was looking at was a psychological holder for limitless potential, but potential unrealized.

My job as a Creative…human (if there is one thing humans are, it’s creative!), is to sense and develop unrealized and worthy potential, and using my own discretion, to give it form.  If finite reality is the other side of the infinite and unrealized…there is so much which has been made before us.  And we see how it can become beautiful.  Being a conduit between those realms — as a life mission — seems a worthy enough goal.  We can make this world a Hell or we can make it a Paradise.  But right now we are not aligned, and the leaders of our world (the ones we hear about most often, at the least) appear unconscious at the wheel.

One of the issues I’ve been introduced to is the question of what I want to bring into the world.  As a Creator, I have the power to direct the flow of my Creation (to an extent), even though there is always the risk of misinterpretation or deliberate marring.  Every work of art, though; every piece of writing; has different meanings depending on who reads it or sees it or touches it.  Meaning is not a one-way street; it is created through the interaction of one thing with another.  In this way, expressions can be and often are our catalysts.

The major issue that I have found is…how to create things that are “good” — that is, that contribute to the uplifting of humanity and the world — which at the same time do not delimit what it is that I give myself permission to think about, or write.  If there is anything believably off-limits…that constitutes a block, and at that point I find it hard to do anything but break the taboo or stay silent.  I can’t be a free conduit of information if I’m dealing with “things I can’t say,” or “shapes I can’t draw.”  To be realistic, I’m not all that great at joining in a room’s agreed-upon ignoring of purple elephants.  I don’t ignore details all that well.  I don’t keep silent all that well, either — not anymore.  Not if you consider text as a form of speech.

The solution seems to lie in giving myself the freedom to write what I need to, and trust that it will truly help someone — that it will serve someone in need, in its capacity.  Having dealt with bibliomancy myself (opening a book that catches my eye to a random page and reading what is there, then seeing if it applies to anything timely or anything within me), I know that this cannot be predicted — by anyone.  However, to the best of my experience, the spirits move in ways which privilege chance.

I know that I myself have run across passages online which had two to three (or more) different meanings, on different levels, seeming to hint at something…some hidden knowledge(s) that I had not yet developed.  I am certain that this has to do with the spirits guiding things.  But in order for this to happen…at some point I’ve got to let go of control, and just let come out what needs to come out.  This is the reason I’m alive.  This is the reason I’m sick if I don’t create.

My life.  Sometimes, raw.  But everyone has a life, and we all have our sensitive spots.  To pretend we don’t is to deny our humanity and to deny what we have learned on this Earth.

In short…although I can still see ways in which things may be twisted to cause me to look bad…and lenses which may twist my own view of myself so that I am afraid to express anything, lest it contribute to the continued inane, meaningless and needless troubles of the world…at this point, I can’t stay silent.  There are youth that need to know that they’re not alone.  There are people that need to know that I hear them.

And in my position…maybe I can help create a better world.

Just me, bein’ strange…(TW: religion)

Ah, hello.  If you’ll excuse me for breaking out of character…or into it, as the case may be (voice? what voice? I have to have a ‘voice?’)…I might as well tell you that this is a “creative writing opportunity” during which I get to “be myself” for the first time in months.  But I’m not too practiced at it, at this point, so I hope you can forgive any lapses in cognition.  (and voice.)

This post follows an old pattern established on our side:  other voices step in to say what our original voice feels s/he cannot.  (This used to happen a lot; our previous author has mentioned being largely silent as a child…I was one of the first voices s/he developed with the necessary aggression to speak things others may not like to hear.  I essentially was the identity with the “egg tooth” which enabled us to “hatch.”)  I may clarify what the previous post was actually about.  It has to do with me in specific.

During the amount of time when we were a very young adult, there was a period of time when…we were studying the paranormal, and a large number of alternative religions.  At the time, this person was feeling very outcast, like they may not live much longer (it was a constant battle to avoid contemplating throwing ourselves off the roof of our 5-story dorm), and as such there was nothing to stop him/her from investigating things which someone with a higher “honor” status would never touch.  That was, we had nothing to lose but our lives, and that seemed as though it would be gone sooner rather than later, anyway.

I feel like I — or we (the pronoun issue is so trying) — are coming to a better understanding of one of these alternative religions.  I really don’t know what has happened within the last 24-48 hours, but what we learned from a daemonolatry enclave has started to make sense.  At first it was easier to investigate Satanism (isn’t it always?), though within that specific subculture (Satanism, that is) there is a great deal of ego which usually isn’t pleasant to deal with.

I should clarify:  there are at least two kinds of Satanism, more if you get into really studying cultures and the niches people have carved out for themselves online.  What I’ve understood to be the more popular of the two is called “Atheistic Satanism,” or “LaVeyan Satanism,” (although here there is a split between the Church of Satan — which LaVey founded — and the First Church of Satan, which one of his students [John Dewey Allee] founded:  and if I’m correct, at a later date).  Despite the name…the official belief in the Church of Satan is that “Satan,” as a supernatural being, does not exist.  I quipped long ago that this is the reason Anton Szandor LaVey (the founder) lived as long as he did (this is the guy associated with the infamous “Black House” in San Francisco…though I don’t know if that place is still standing — I remember hearing something about it in the late ’90’s, but that’s all).

The other major form of Satanism is one in which there is an overarching belief in a metaphysically real “Satan,” though I have found…that the name doesn’t necessarily fit the station of this deity.  Using the term “Satan” immediately references the deity against a Judeo-Christian/Islamic framework (referenced from within Satanism as an “Abrahamic” framework).  While that is the present dominant paradigm…and would demonize this form of, “Satanism,” for being a challenger to it at all…I don’t feel it does the religion justice to name it what its enemies would call it.

It’s like continuing to call Native Americans (etc.), “Indians,” long after the argument has been ground into the dirt that Columbus didn’t know where he was going and didn’t know where he had landed.  We get it.  Everybody gets it.  But we still keep calling American Indigenous/First Nations, etc., people “Indians,” and every time someone says “Indian,” it means we have to ask for clarification as to what they mean, because the term has been historically applied to distinctly different cultural sets of people (neither of which are homogeneous) located on opposite sides of the globe.

Of course, though, calling “Satanists” by said term can bring out the worst in people (by this I don’t mean the Satanists, by this I mean those who label), which — may have been a reason for Atheistic Satanism to exist in the first place (to show others their flaws, that is).  Overall, though, Theistic Satanists — in my experience — do just want to live as they are and be safe and unmolested (like, pretty much, everyone else).

Anyhow.

There have been a number of differing names for this variant, depending on which school or cult (yes, some of these legitimately fall into “cult” territory, and not the benign type) one is dealing with.  I generally use the term “Theistic Satanism,” as it’s one whose provenance I’m already familiar with.  The subtext is much different, depending on what name one uses, here.

The problem, majorly, is that Atheistic Satanists and Theistic Satanists are different types of people.  Most people enter the Satanist “scene” through LaVey’s writings:  and to be clear, from what I can tell, LaVey just wanted to make a statement that he was against whatever the mainstream liked (“Satan” = “Adversary”)…which means that today we still get people who want to claim self-sufficiency and ultimate individuality (a reversal of interdependence and selflessness) whose clothes came from Vietnam.  Some of the ways these things work out just do not make sense.  In addition, reversing valuation on everything (besides hinting at possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a really easy way to make yourself emotionally sick.  Some psychological ways of being have endured for millennia because they work.

On top of this, during the time Atheistic Satanism was founded/in the news (I am thinking this was the 1970’s?), the dominant culture was far-Left (Hippie); which means that LaVey’s writings tend to the extreme Right.  Which means that then we get this huge influx of people who identify with LaVey’s vision who are conservative to a concerning degree (I guess he didn’t mind people conforming to his brand of rebellion?).

I don’t believe that there has been a form of Satanism which has not been profoundly impacted by LaVeyan influence.  The exceptions being things related to the key term, but more difficult to find; such as hereditary Daemonolatry sects.  I’ve heard it said as regards the latter that “all Demonolators are Satanists, but not all Satanists are Demonolators.”  There is a subtle difference here between Daemonolatry and (Theistic) Satanism, in that one approach is essentially building a relationship with lesser Divine spirits (approaching polytheism, though not necessarily technically so), and the other is focused largely upon one Deity (in this case, “Satan”).

Of course, I am telling you this now, but…please for the love of all that is holy, do not take it as permission to go and dabble with Daemons.  To unknown people and to people who mistreat them or don’t respect them, the Daemons can be harsh.  (I am not going to get into why I feel this way; that’s not my story to tell.  However, my sense is that they live on a different order than us, and as such, our [short, fragile, time-bound] lives are not as important to them as they are to us.)

What I’ve seen proposed before is the idea that “Satan” is the All and that the various Demons are facets of the All.  This didn’t really make sense to me until I realized that what I had been talking about:  the Infinite (really infinite potential, corresponding to Yin, I now recognize) may have branches which relate to various concepts.  At any one time, at least one of these branches of the Divine is working through a person (I would think; then there is my experience of feeling empty).

In contrast, the Demiurge (false God) would then not be the true God because of being delimited by descriptions.  And yes, I did just get into Gnosticism…which may have something to do with mystical Judaism (I’m thinking of Qabalah).  (And no, that is not a misspelling of Kabbalah; Qabalah is how it is spelled in Ceremonial Magick circles — distinct from Hebrew tradition.  No, I don’t know if I trust the Ceremonial Magickians more.  Yes, that is an alternative spelling of “magic.”  Look up Aleister Crowley if you’re wondering why I’m using it.)

That is interesting, though.  Infinite potential reading as Yin…and reading as something which is qualitatively similar to (but not equivalent to) the All.

If “Satan” is Infinite potential (Yin) and the Daemons are his aspects, what is Satan being defined against (Yang)?  “Finite being?”

That…actually sounds as though I may have hit upon something.

I think I’ve done my job, for tonight…