Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Via Genderbitch :

"I’m not gonna lie, I find the entire concept of an ally to be vile and revolting. Mostly because I think creating an above and beyond the call of duty label for people to just be decent human beings (which is what fighting oppression makes you) gives them more entitlement and a greater capacity to hold their efforts hostage to influence us."

(From this post.)

I can really see what she means by that. So what do I call myself when I mean that I'm a supporter? To be honest, this is the first time I've heard this point of view. In most circles I've been to "ally" is a perfectly acceptable word. I do understand how it can come to have a poisonous double meaning when so many people toting the "ally" label have been letting down the people they're supposed to be supporting so much. Apart from the exhausting repeat screw ups, there ARE those who step up with the "ally" label and say, "Worship me, O oppressed class, I am your white knight. And you better speak to me in the proper tone or I'll swear off the cause."

Do we need a new word, or would any word we choose have the same effect of giving 'above and beyond' status to anyone who took up the word as a label? Should we simply call ourselves 'decent human beings'? Well, maybe she elaborates elsewhere on her blog. I'll update this if I find an answer.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Satanic holiday coming up!

December 23rd is Satan's personal day. The night before is a very 'holy' night to Satan indeed. One should spend the evening of the 22nd in dedication to Satan, and the 23rd in celebration. Food, family, friends, festivities.(Thanks to Joy of Satan* for this information.)

For those of you who, like me, do not have candles and an altar, and can't afford such things, a good way to dedicate your time to Satan is through deep meditation and offering a prayer of thanks. You will need a room to yourself and alone time for this, so a good time is when everyone is asleep or has gone away for an hour or more. I believe a personalized prayer of thanks, rather than one borrowed from a priestess**, has more meaning, so I am writing my own.

Thanks be to Satan,
My ally, my god, friend of my happiness
The advocate of my liberation
My teacher and muse, the path
To individuality and freedom of thought.

Thanks be to Satan,
Who guides me to my own strength
And encourages me in my talents
And personal endeavors, who
Accepts my body and soul as they are
And for whom the only change that is needed
Is to become better as myself and more true to myself.

Then you might want to begin with Ave Satana, and end with Rege Satana, but I don't honestly know, because I have not been a heavily practicing Satanist***, although I have remained loyal to Satan for seven years now. (I think I may have originally said something different in my introduction.)

Even if you can't do an out-and-out ritual because of lack of materials, it's still a good idea to clean the space in which you'll be meditating, and bathe and groom yourself beforehand, as it shows respect. I also recommend wearing clean, all black clothing for the occasion. It is best if you have clothing set aside specifically for occasions such as this, but if you're like me you may also not be able to afford special clothes, or don't have enough clothes to pick an outfit to set aside for Satanic purposes only.

*I have some reservations about the Joy of Satan website and its practitioners, because they come across as fanatical and dogmatic- however, their website offers some of the best information about holidays and rituals. I advise anyone coming across their site to take the material there with a grain of salt.

**This was actually an assumption I made based on outdated information, hence a following post about me needing to take a break to do research. I do not actually know if most Satanic priestesses prescribe prayers. The entire post is based on assumptions having to do with foggy memories I have of all the reading I did when I first got into Satanism years ago. (June 7, 2011)

***The reasons for this are complicated and ones I'm not willing to go into just yet. Once I start talking about my mental illness it will probably come up. However, even after discarding the label 'theistic' in favor of 'agnostic', I am becoming more enthusiastic about the theistic aspects of my religion.

(June 7, 2011) Seeing as I just came out of the closet about my mental "illness" I don't mind elaborating. Faith in the hands of a neurotypical individual who can safely induce self-hypnosis in order to carry out rituals and conversations with Satan is not dangerous. Faith for me, a diagnosed schizoaffective, can become a delusion or a hallucination when I'm under stress. When I first got into Satanism I would read Joy of Satan and be intimidated by repeated admonishments to "not be afraid" when I very well had a good deal to be cautious about. And this was before I had  been diagnosed. I somehow knew, intuitively, that I couldn't handle that kind of Satanism. Joy of Satan's insistence on loyalty and service to Satan also induced guilt feelings in me about not being able to practice or believe full-heartedly without avoiding the pitfalls of my disorder, and that's why, in the end, I stayed away from Satanism for several years, even while I still called myself a Satanist and remained loyal to Satan. Joy of Satan was not a release from the destructive aspects of Christianity I had been escaping from: It was simply a replacement. It is lucky that I found Diane Vera's website.

Updates, and then exploring vanity.

I've figured out how to change my name. I'm hoping Calypso won't give the wrong idea the way Dominique did. I also changed the name of the blog.

Also, I'm not entirely sure about my opening statement with this blog. Religious oppression and other types of oppression are not the same. Racism and sexism are not the same. Ableism and ageism are not the same. Homophobia and transphobia are not the same. However, a lot of patriarchal ideas were strongly endorsed by the Judeo-Christian religions. They are not the only religions that do this, either. Hinduism seems to have a strong sense of gender essentialism in its lore, and there has been misogyny in Satanism, particularly among the La Veyan Satanists. The point is that religious oppression can both reinforce oppression of the "second sex" and yet misogyny can have nothing to do with religion. Even atheists can be misogynists.

So, I will explore Satanism and feminism, separately when they have nothing to do with one another, and together when it seems like they do.

As for the rest of this post, I was thinking about vanity as a motivation for being an ally.

Vanity can be useful, at first, if it spurs you to go to the right places and read the right material. If you're especially concerned about the way you appear to other people, you might even be inclined to listen when people tell you that you've gone astray.

For the most part, though, it is incredibly shallow and incredibly frustrating for everybody else. The worst offenders I've seen are men coming to feminist spaces and demanding to be worshiped for deigning to be pro-feminist, but I'm sure there are so-called "allies" of every sort who are only in it for the cookies.

I have a sinking feeling that part of my own motivations is vanity, the never ending quest to be a "good person".

It would be infinitely better to be motivated by compassion, and in truth some part of it IS compassion, but I think vanity serves its purpose, at least until greater compassion is possible. As long as I'm aware of what constitutes a "good person"- being someone who listens carefully, who goes out of hir way to read material on important matters, who constantly thinks and questions and tries to learn more- then there is nothing wrong with striving toward that, as, hopefully, the end result would be greater compassion anyway.

The problem with it, however, is how easily one's balance can be upset when their motivation is based on vanity. It may often become more important to maintain an image than to do substantial inner work. That becomes the sort of ally who's more likely to get defensive if they think they're being accused of being racist, who, upon participating in intense discussion where they're failing to put across the image they're hoping to convey, might throw up their hands and give up on being an ally. That's not the sort of "ally" I want to be.

I have a nagging feeling that compassion is not all there is to it, either. Certainly there should be a sense of justice, one that doesn't apply just to me and mine, but to all people. On what is the desire for justice based, if not compassion? Is compassion the basis of all outrage when someone is treated unfairly? I don't know, I just know that there is endless work to be done, that this is something I will be spending my whole life doing, and I'm only glad that I got introduced to these concepts at such a young age so that I have more time to do it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

On apologies.

When you're trying to be an ally, you are going to fuck up. Repeatedly. And you need to know how to handle this with grace- how to handle your guilt feelings, or defensiveness, when you fuck up, how to handle anger that might come your way when you fuck up. I'm going to discuss apologizing.

I've read somewhere, I think it was on Stuff White People Do, that white people tend to say 'thank you' in spades but 'sorry' a lot less often. Remember to not only thank the people you are trying to be a good ally to when they take the time to help you understand- something they are in no way ever obligated to do- but to also apologize when you get it wrong and end up being hurtful or offensive.

Stuff Not To Do (when apologizing)

-Explain that it 'wasn't your intention' to be hurtful/offensive/etc.

-Try to frame the person's reaction as a personal problem.

-Say "I'm sorry if I offended you". No ifs.

-Try to convince people you're a good person, really.

-Try to defend yourself.

-Make a big show of being a martyr with your apology. This is just cookie begging. I have a problem with this myself because it's my 'oh god I'm terrible please don't hate me' reaction.

-Make it all about you, and your reaction to what happened, instead of about the person you've hurt.

Things To Do (when apologizing)

-Be sincere.

-Be sympathetic.

-Keep it brief. This short circuits the temptation to explain yourself, defend yourself, or crucify yourself for cookies. A simple, "I am sorry," will usually do the trick. Even better if you can elaborate on what you're sorry for, so that it's clear you understand where you went wrong.

-Promise to do better.

More to be added to this later!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update: Template changed.

I've changed my template to something I'm hoping will be a little easier on the eyes than light text on a black background. I'm hoping to make this blog as inclusive, friendly, and accessible as possible.

I don't hate Christians.

Truly, I don't. I've known some excellent Christians. I think there are some small grains of decent morality that can come from the Christian faith, if you happen to deliberately ignore all of the contradicting messages. Promoting peace over violence (if you ignore all the wars waged in Jehovah's name). Not stealing. That sort of thing. I don't think any Christian should use the Bible as their guidance, though I think they should be aware of the oppressive hate messages contained within.

If you look closely at many religions, or the people of many religions, you'll find common morality. I am a Satanist and I believe in being kind, decent, and humane. Most religions at least preach that, even while simultaneously preaching violence against the "Other" and the "sinner".

When I speak in a derogatory fashion about Christianity, I speak of the harm that has been done in Christianity's name, the harm it continues to do. I speak of the biblical principles that have reinforced oppression and psychological torture. I am not talking about all Christians when I speak badly of Christians or Christianity.

If you're a Christian and you're doin' it right, you're A-okay in my book.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Satan is not my Father.

The reason is very simple: Because if he was my creator, I would have to hate him for how abjectly miserable life is- life for everyone, and my own life. I would have to ask, Why, Satan, why do you let millions of little girls around the world get sold into sexual slavery every year? Why must so many of us live in poverty and squalor? Why does rape even exist?

Every answer religion has come up with has not been enough. "It is not for us to understand the ways of the gods," they say, or, "There must be a balance of good and evil in the world," or, for Satanists, "Satan in the muse of our society," which implies that he doesn't participate directly in the human world.

So, this is how I see it: Satan is not our creator. Existence, as science would have it, simply is because it is. Satan is just as much a child of the universe as all of us, but he's older than any of us, and has had time to accumulate his power and knowledge in the spirit world, thus rising to the rank of a god. Or perhaps he was created at the beginning of the universe in the form he is now. At any rate, he is not god of everything, not according to my views.

I don't expect much of Satan. In my mind he's less involved in the lives of his followers than other gods. I think he gives us room to change and grow on our own. I haven't asked for his help much ever since I became a theistic Satanist, so I can comfortably believe that every time something went horribly wrong, it was simply because I didn't ask for his help. I suppose if I did ask and didn't receive help I would have to reach for the same old, "He has a plan for me," excuse. This is why I'm an agnostic theistic Satanist, rather than just a theistic Satanist.