Liber Fausti

For Sale: Neopaganism “As Is”

Master herbalist and historian of magic, Sarah Anne Lawless, has written a detailed article about the false origins and current state of Neopaganism (including modern areligious magicians) in the world today. From the failure of the American Council of Witches and the money-grabbing tactics of Llewellyn, to the crime of spiritual/cultural appropriations so many magical practitioners are guilty of in these times. Most important to me is her expert distinction between actual tradition and “fakelore”–shit that is made up by witches and passed on as if it were ancient! This ties into another theme she’s written about here and what I have also touched on in the BoF, escapism. Neopaganism today is not the fairy tale “religion” many wish it was. Go read this article yourself because it is something that needs to be said!

 

A Vision of Satan, A Night of Magic

Sunday, November 11th MMXVIII. Waxing Moon in Capricorn.

Our group has a powerful tradition of nocturnal witchcraft. When we determine the times and seasons are correct, we go out hiking deep into the wilderness where we have free reign to wander the woods under the cover of darkness. This is a mixed group of experienced psychonaut-witches and others new to our craft. This night was S’s initiation into our Mystery. After hiking a few hours, we arrived at our gathering place: a small clearing at the foot of a dense cypress dome. By sunset, our camp was set up, the sacred fire lit, and the tall pines stood watch as they were beautifully silhouetted against the twilight sky. As the slender crescent moon loomed low over the horizon, it was time again to take the mushroom potion I had so diligently prepared months ago.
We each bring our own different intentions to the rites. Some were there for guidance, others for healing or communicating with nature. My specific intention was to grow in magical knowledge and personal power. The group dynamic was just right, so I felt brave enough to take a very large dose. As we sat around the fire waiting for the arrival of the Mushroom Spirit, that old familiar indelible sensation of a subtle unveiling passed over us, wave after wave after wave. By the time we were each in a fully altered state, a strong wind passed us and we came to attention. Almost in unison we rose to walk. As we traveled silently in the darkness, the world became new again. Our sense of separation from nature was replaced by profound harmony. We slowly and carefully crossed a patch of swampland and into a scrub field. By this point, we had all been babbling to each other in endless streams of consciousness, roaring with raucous laughter and profound joy. When I peered through the darkness towards T and C (the other two experienced witches), we had been visibly transformed. T with his wavy golden locks, and wearing a cloak of stars became to me like the god Apollo! C with her bright blue hair and wearing a cape with a dark, colorful mandala, became like Gaia. I looked at myself and had become like Hades.
We decided to lay down and rest together a moment (the Mushroom always creates an alternating need to move and then to stop moving). I told the group it was time to be silent and listen to the world. The sudden quiet covered us like a blanket. After a moment (or maybe an hour? Time was becoming so difficult!), I went up to “Apollo” and asked him to walk with me alone. A short distance later we were shocked and surprised to find a crossroads in our path. This was the sign I needed! In many western traditions, a lonely crossroads is a particularly powerful place, and one especially where Satan is known to present himself.
Remembering my original intentions, I asked “Apollo” to guard my body. I did not know what I should do. By this point I was at the peak of altered consciousness. I stood at the edge of the crossroads and whispered into the darkness ahead of me, “Please, show me what to do.” Again the wind picked up and seemed this time to carry on it the whisper of a voice. I sensed the presence of a mighty and dread spirit. “Satan,” I said, “Here am I. If you would grant me the fantastic powers I’ve heard about, which you are known by men to offer those of us who call on you, I would freely give you whatever price you would ask of me!”
Then by an impulse I dropped to my knees, my arms spread out and my eyes looked up to the vast cosmos. Suddenly the sky itself rippled open into a terrible vortex! It was a swirling kaleidoscopic tunnel reaching into infinity from some other dimension. Fangs, bones, flames of Hellfire, glowing texts in an unknown language that revealed secrets unfathomable, hideous demonic faces with burning eyes staring through me, all rotating and ever changing before my dumbfounded self. I felt waves of new power crashing down on me, penetrating deep into my bones! My chest heavy with this power, I felt like I could become anything, do anything! A burning orange light rose out of me like a red-hot ball of iron. I knew this was my soul ascending towards the vortex. Out of the whirlwind appeared a terrible black claw with a singular reptilian eye. It was slowly coming down to snatch up my soul like the prize in an arcade claw machine. Then to my complete disappointment, the trance was broken with the sound of my name, which clashed and roared like thunder! “Gaia” appeared behind me, radiantly, standing next to our Apollo, to intervene and save my soul from being taken away.
The empty silence of the woods surrounded me again, and the vortex was gone, leaving only the countless stars sparkling down on us. I was equally grateful for their concern as I was desperate to go back into that trance. I appreciate my friends’ intervention, I know they meant well. But who knows what could have become of me had I not been interrupted.  Twenty-four hours later I can still feel that power dwelling in me, so perhaps something was given to me after all?
The night continued, the trip was the most visually intense experience I have ever had. We eventually returned to our camp to rest by the fire, but the visions just would not stop. The group’s mad ravings and fits of laughter and wailing continued through the whole night. Ever restless, we broke into smaller groups here and there to explore the more familiar parts of our woods, rapidly exchanging our disjointed thoughts, sharing our visionary experiences, and gazing out at constellations and wishing on shooting stars. Sleep would not come to us till just before the dawn.
Was my encounter with Satan real? On a psychological level I may rationalize the experience in terms of brain chemistry and the power of suggestion. But on a spiritual level, I know my soul was touched that night, and had that infernal transaction been completed, I can’t say what would have happened to me. The experiences that night were real enough that we will be forever changed.

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Halloween MMXVIII

Alas Halloween has ended, and all the gatherings, merrymaking and parties are now already fading into memory. The many rituals, both the intimate and the grand, have left their mark on my spirit. Many lessons have been learned this Samhain, and yet I have only had the slightest peek behind that mysterious Veil. Still during this the darker half of the year, our sense of wonder may ever thrive. My personal studies in magic and witchcraft continue on. There is much more to be written in the Book of Faustus.
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The Myth of the Satanic Community

From the mailbox:
Lucian writes: “How do I join and become one of you all?”

Well Lucian, thank you for your question. The ‘Devil’s Path’ is broad and wide, and there is room enough for everyone to either follow in the footsteps of others, or to make their own way. It is a pathway of personal discernment. Begin first by spending time in the hedges and edges of society, nature and the world. That is where the silent voice of ‘Satan’ can be heard. It is the voice of dark allure that summons each person to explore their inner self, and realize your own godlike nature.
While you are determining your own path in magic, in devilry, in wherever your own passions lie, seek out the others. The internet is the great mind of humanity, always thinking and communicating to itself. Use that to your constant advantage. But in other words, YOU DO IT YOURSELF.
I do not speak for or represent any group but myself, but there is a great essay written by Magus Peter H. Gilmore, High Priest of the Church of Satan, called The Myth of the ‘Satanic Community’ and other Virtual Delusions, which is a great place to start.

“Satanism is a very unique philosophy, which has spawned an even more unusual movement and an organization, the Church of Satan, which has found a means for facilitating the interaction of a membership comprised of radical individualists. It is, in an apparent paradox that is a ‘third-side synthesis,’ an organization for ‘non-joiners’ Satanists by nature follow their own tastes; they have very uniquely personal systems of values… … Satanism is about centering the world on yourself, meaning knowing yourself as fully as possible…”

By following your own path, study, practice and perfecting your own self, and by putting your best work out there in the world, you will find the others who are like-minded. That is partly why this website exists for ME. It is connecting me and my work to people who are interested in these topics, and adding my own voice to the conversation. Believe me, I WISH there was some secret society whose door I could knock on to learn the secrets of witchcraft and sign my soul away in the Devil’s Book. Nothing comes to us for free. You must put in your own work, and build the community in your own image.
If you are looking for a place to start, take a peek at the books I’ve been reading on the sidebar, and you can also see my entire reading history for the past 5 years or so. I especially recommend Liber Null & Psychonaut , Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, or The Tree of Life: An Illustrated Study in Magic to start with.

Yours Sincerely,

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Happy Hallowe’en!

Happy Hallowe’en! For visiting today, I give you this blessing.

Tonight with the setting of the Sun, may all thy troubles be undone.
And may the stars in sweet repose, shine light upon all sorrow and woe.
When the waning moon does appear, so shall the waning of thy tears.
The spirits who in darkness dwell, grant thee the power of this spell:

“A year of good fortune, happiness, joy.
May all thy works and charms employ
The very best of all thy skills,
And ‘ere the perfection of thy Will.”

So be it!

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Pbr6kWVCredit: Austin Pardun