Chaos magickians in general tend to be tolerant of the spiritual decisions of others. Seeing all belief, history and folklore as interchangeable, many will evaluate these enduring social metaphors on an individual basis to see if any short term benefit can be derived from adopting them. This ersatz approach to divinity is one of the main reasons why those who follow more formulaic magickal paths have a deep seated mistrust for the few remaining poeple who openly choose to wear the eight pointed star. It has always been a path of rebellion against old ideas and social norms, and as such a certain level of suspicion is almost par for the course.
To be fair, this scorn is not generally reciprocated. Thelemites, Wiccans, Skeptics, Christians, all are treated equally. As long as they do not impede the day to day functioning of the world that the chaote has woven around themselves it remains relatively easy to view their spirituality, or lack thereof, with a certain level of disinterested objectivity. True, many chaos magickians will stop to raise an eyebrow at the more bizarre concepts on display out there in the vast theistic and atheistic diaspora. Mormon postmortem baptism, for example, or the ridiculous cosmic freak show left behind by L. Ron Hubbard, which only came to the attention of the wider public by virtue of an episode of South Park over a decade ago.
Add to that the fact that most chaotes consider their fallback position between rituals to be one of materialistic agnosticism and it is not difficult to see why most are shunned by their fellow occultists. Yet more so than any other mystical discipline, the multifaceted research of the average chaos magickian tends to expose them to many aspects of human spirituality which are detrimental to the freedoms and safety of the wider occult community. They do not, as a rule, have cause to rely upon others who share a similar world view to stand with them in times of strife and unfortunately, as befits someone at the very cutting edge of belief, they occasionally stray just a little too close to the blood that is being spilled too.
While many choose to ignore these issues, perceiving them to be someone else’s problem, there are a few who just cannot sleep at night knowing how insidiously Christianity, Islam and Judaism still maintain their stranglehold upon the world in which they live. It is fair to say that even though I no longer consider myself a chaos magickian, such rebellion still stirs within my soul too. Simply put, when you do you gets in the way of me doing me, you are heading for a fall. Even former chaotes are natural outsiders, and well suited to social activism by virtue of their already liminal status. Add to this an all consuming desire to challenge authority and the end result is an anarchic magickal powder keg just waiting to burn down the very monotheistic institutions that seem to define the post millennial zeitgeist.
The disgusting campaign of violence against so-called witch children espoused by ultra Christian zealots such as Helen Ukpabio is a good example of the sort of kindling required to stoke the fires of this anti-religious revolution. An infamous Pentecostal preacher from Nigeria who famously sought to sue The British Humanist Association for defamation after they headed a campaign to deny her access to the United Kingdom, no one woman has done more visible damage to young people due to so-called demonic possession in recent memory. Heading up both a church foundation and a film production company, she has added fuel to the smouldering fires of anti-witchcraft sentiment with a maniacal glee bordering on severe religious psychosis.
It is also worth stopping to note a serious double standard here. Practitioners of the occult are constantly accused of being involved in child sacrifice and ritual abuse with little or no evidence. Yet when a Christian seeks to save young souls through extreme forms of physical punishment, they are perceived to be a holy warrior and exonerated by society at large before the crime has even taken place. It should not fall to humanist groups to call for Ukpabio to answer for her crimes. Everyone should be equally disgusted by her actions, especially those who claim the title of witch as a badge of honour. Just because her victims are not technically Wiccan or Pagan does not change the fact that somewhere out there the burning times are really happening, albeit with tires and petrol as opposed to stakes and branches.
Scratch a little deeper below the surface, and it is easy to see that Ukpabio is far from the exception to the rule. The Abrahamic viewpoint shared by the three main religions of the world is built upon centuries old paranoia, and a hatred of any ideas which were not foreseen within the pages of holy books penned long before the modern world was even in its infancy. All it takes is one firebrand Pastor, Kohen or Imam with a flea up his ass about someone having fun instead of spending every waking moment thinking about their personal relationship with the one true God to create a whole spiralling narrative about why such freedom is evil. Within weeks their personal bias is being repeated as revelation in Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and radio talk-shows on a global scale. Books are burnt, and freedoms curtailed, all in the name of never having to live outside of the archaic leather bound covers which define their miserable lives.
And because any global society is essentially an exercise in majority rule, their hubris has a knock on effect on everyone else too, including the very same children of the new age who would rather dwell in the shadows than stand up and fight for an equal voice. In many ways modern religious thought seems to mirror the very Gnostic ideas which were once so jealously declared heretical. Those who openly place belief in a single, omnipresent deity seem to spend most of their time blindly attacking the fruits of the material world like they were infested with Satanic cooties. Worse, they go on to spread misguided ideas about repentance and submissiveness through their dominance of the mainstream media as well.
Alan Yusko and Ed Prior are an obvious, if outdated, expression of this theocratic censorship. Billing themselves as Christian anti-rock experts they are continually sighted as proof that all music with a drum beat is evil. But, despite their assertions otherwise, the fact is that the term ‘Rock and Roll’ does not derive from the way the back seat of a car bounces up and down while parked on lover’s lane after dark, nor is such music produced exclusively by those that have sold their nuts and bolts to the Devil. Case in point, Alice Cooper, a born again Christian and all around rock god who is about as far removed from Satan as you can get. Of course, fundamentalists belonging to any of the big three religions care little which way those behind the microphone pray. Any voice upraised to do anything but give thanks to their godform is at best wasted and at worst a tool of the adversary.
Dungeons and Dragons, a game that shouldered much of the same negative press in the pre-console era that video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat do now, is not spiritually destructive. It cannot create a doorway into the minds of children for the Devil and his nebulous minions, despite what misinformed monotheists such as the reverend William James Schnoebelen would have you believe. Playing D&D does lead to the development of a strong and vibrant imagination as well as a storyteller’s instinct. As neither of these are all that conducive to a future spending every Sunday in an old stone building dedicated to blood sacrifice and necromantic resurrection, the demonisation of such enlivening and occasionally even educational pastimes makes perfect sense.
Wicca is a nature religion, not an infernal one. The only goat likely to be present at any given ritual will be the old guy with the grey pubes who remains all too eager to go skyclad under the moon while everyone else tries their best not to stare at his shrivelled little walnuts. Pagans may pray to various gods, goddesses and even the elements. Some are atheistic, choosing to divert the energies that would be expended in fostering a relationship with divine beings towards becoming actively involved in environmental issues instead. Demons and devils play no part in the foundation of either of the aforementioned modern cosmologies, though there are of course other spiritual paths that claim that very thing.
Those who follow Anton LaVey’s teachings as set out within the pages of the Satanic Bible are not directly worshipping the Devil, instead utilising demonic terminology as a metaphor for their own carnal desires. Groups who worship Satan or Lucifer in a more theistic manner do exist, but even these do not advocate blood sacrifice, unless it is the magickian’s own of course. The one exception might be the Order of Nine Angles, though their semi-mythical status makes it difficult to take anything claimed about them seriously, aside from their obvious neo-Nazi leanings and general disdain for the wider magickal community as a whole. Unfortunately it is human nature to pay more attention to the occasional plane crash than remember the many hundreds of other flights which land successfully every day, and as such one bad apple can quickly ruin the whole batch.
Aleister Crowley was not a Satanist, despite how readily the media of the time painted him as such. He was, among other things, a Thelemite, a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis and an Irregular Freemason, none of which profess a belief in the concept of the Devil as ruling deity. He did muddy the waters a bit by declaring himself the biblical Great Beast of Revelations and generally humping anything with a hole while off his face on whatever he could get his hands on, however. More so than any other person vilified by the monotheistic mainstream Crowley is responsible for his own bad press, and while his research has undoubtedly helped modern magick on a technical level, his failings as a human being continue to harm its practitioners in equal measure. Not every sorcerer is as able to cope as doggedly with the slings and arrows of a heavily Christianised media, after all, especially one still baying for blood due to uncle Al’s insistence on kicking the hornets nest.
But the influence of that selfsame media does not end with what could be simply termed ‘bad press’. Too few magickians actually take the time to stop and think as to why the occult is portrayed so negatively on the very television shows that should be expounding its virtues as a viable life choice. They fail to see the underlying reasoning behind why every ghost is supposedly demonic, and every ouija board a portal to hell. Worse, an entire generation has grown up watching shows such as A Haunting and Ghost Adventures, leading to a noticeable bleed through of Christian concepts into the paranormal diaspora.
It is not with blood but ideas that the magickal revolution will be crushed under the jackboot of monotheism, and most of those involved in it’s death rattle will fail to realise that it has been replaced with something altogether more palatable for the masses. Authors and broadcasters such as L. A. Marzulli are perfect expressions of this need to inject Christianity into the paranormal and Fortean narratives, while the World Alien Resistance Network continue to claim that UFO abductions are both demonic in origin and easily terminated in the name of Jesus Christ.
These ideas find their rawest expression in the alternative conspiracy media, a genre that has seen rampant growth since the World Trade Centre attacks occurred at the turn of the century. Shock jocks like Clyde Lewis over at Ground Zero Radio, A man initially claiming to be a fellow Fortean but in fact little better than a Christian mystic with an axe to grind, are a perfect example of this. Clyde not only allows his callers to make derogatory statements against witches and sorcerers, but he too engages in taking terminology such as chaos magick and Satanism completely out of context to get a reaction. The saddest part is that, for a while at least, his show was one of the few platforms that seemed to give occultists a fair and balanced method of expressing their otherwise vilified viewpoint. It is safe to say that is no longer the case.
And then we have Alex Jones, a man so desperate to spread his anti establishment beliefs that he cosied up to none other than Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, though the irony of such a move seems to have been lost on him. A card carrying misogynist who holds extremely draconian views about women’s rights and homosexuality, among other things, his entire media operation oozes puritanical zeal and Satanic panic in equal measure. Famed in conspiracy circles for breaking into the compound at Bohemian Grove and filming the American elite with their trousers down, he has since become one of the most vocal proponents of the Illuminati as secret rulers of the world theory, as well as claiming that Planned Parenthood sacrifice fetuses to the Devil on semi-regular basis too.
Add to the guest list a slew of supposed ex-Satanists, a handful of born again atheists and a few converted ceremonial magickians and the conspiracy genre as a whole begins to sound less like a free and open exploration of the liminal space between what should and should not be, and more like a hokey old Chick Tract. There never was and most likely never will be a global witch cult, nor do most practitioners of alternative spiritualities actually care how the person next to them prays. Admittedly, it is not too far fetched to assume that there is some small overlap between all the aforementioned occult organisations and the power elite. There is no evidence of a global Satanic conspiracy to sacrifice anyone’s daughters to fifty foot stone owls, however, nor does the Illuminati hold any reality in this day and age outside of the history books.
Not that the purely scientific viewpoint is any more accommodating of esoteric beliefs. The more zealous of the atheistic nihilists see no problem with editing huge chunks of Wikipedia to remove any references to occult or paranormal concepts, or hounding those who post on such topics elsewhere online until they break. The Skeptics view those in the magickal community as throwbacks, nods to irrational and historical ideas who refuse to get in line with the modern era, and all to easily cast anyone with a soul as the villains of their mechanistic narrative. Ironically, in their eyes witches are tossed into the same shitty sack as the very Christians who would damn them to Hell anyway, which is oddly reassuring.
No, rock and roll, Dungeons and Dragons and Wicca are not Satanic, neither is anything else that fosters personal empowerment and free will. It would be disingenuous to claim that there were not people who hold the sort of vile and reprehensible beliefs that the mainstream media levels against the rest of the magickal community, however. There are indeed real honest to goodness Devil worshipping psychopaths looking to make the world burn in their dark master’s name. But in truth they are little better than fallen Christians pissing and moaning within the boundaries of that tired old biblical narrative, seeking to find meaning in a world gone mad. As such they are just as misguided as those that walk the more righteous path to their all too jealous God, and their crimes are nothing to do with the followers of alternative spiritualities who will inevitably end up with the blame.
That said, perhaps the many and varied detractors of the modern magickal diaspora have a point. Perhaps all witches are indeed evil, all magickians arrogant and every Neopagan damned, at least in their blinkered eyes. If reality is indeed an exercise in majority rule, and the mainstream is dancing to the beat of a very different drum, then it is fair to say that those who dedicate their lives to magick and witchcraft can in all fairness be interpreted as a virus eating away at the natural order. As with the sorcerers back in the early days of civilisation, they are the little annoying shards of entropy that refuse to be silenced, the dirty little secret standing between the priestly class and global control. Both religion and atheism thrive on order, and the average occultist requires anything but.
So take a bow everyone, and embrace the shadows. Fuck the mainstream, and their rules, the sheeple and those who would judge you for being different. Fuck normality in all its many guises, and fuck trying to improve the world for everyone else, as these changes are nothing if not unwanted. Fuck them all, and just unblessed be. There is so much to gain from embracing the night side of your nature, from dropping the false piety and social trappings forced upon you by a world still in the grip of Satanic panic. Every magickian is a great entropic god in the making, an avatar of personal will, and an heir or heiress to a legacy long denied the human race by those who fear the outsider, the unclean. Know that while you will never be accepted, that very lack of approval is your greatest strength. If a villain is what they expect, then you are left free to just do what though wilt by default.