Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The New Puritanism

I found out after our solstice ceremony last night that somebody is saying that what we are doing is Satanic. This is news to me. Especially since I now have no belief in the Christian construct we call the devil. If Satanism is anything, I cannot see it as anything other than Christian heresy. I accept that practitioners may not see it as such and as long as there is full consent for involved I have little problem with it. For me, I must confess, the very word itself evokes memories of the lurid novels of Dennis Wheatley which were so popular in my adolescence. "To the Devil a Daughter". "The Devil Rides Out" etc - not the stuff of serious scholarship, however dressed up. I had the same problem recently when watching the very brilliant "Rosemary's Baby". As a film it was wonderful but as a reflection of any sort of spirituality that I either practice or know of it was complete nonsense. I can, however, see it as a powerful allegory about how the rich and powerful metropolitan elites feed on the energies of the naive. It is just horrifically ironic that when the "forces of darkness" hit Polanski in real adult life - for he had seen the Nazis as a child - it was in the form of the Manson family.

Which was, lest it be forgot, built around the visions and personality of a distinctly non-elite, racist and psychotic man from the margins of society who believed in the Messianic vision that he and his followers had inherited from Christianity. Manson = Son of Man. Simple, isn't it. They certainly saw it as such.

The Devil in Dennis Wheatley and all his other manifestations and the Messiah in the Manson cult were, however male. Just as Jehovah/Yahweh/Allah is male. And I do not follow any male god. They do not, literally, speak to me. That is not my path and nor, I believe, is it the path of anyone else involved in the temple and other activities. We are Goddess focussed. Pure and simple. We cannot therefore be Satanists.

I cannot really speak for others so will use hereafter the first person singular. I believe, however, that much of what I say would not raise any objections in most. There will be arguments about detail and, indeed, many of my friends will not- as they are unable to understand English - be able to read this. So, from now on, the word is "I".

I believe in a goddess who is manifest in all creation and animates. I see Her as what existed prior to manifestation and what will exist when according to the current theories of cosmology, this current universe will come to an end. She is both immanent and transcendant and She is what makes these categories redundant. I have said it before but will say it again, echoing the genius William Blake, She is the marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Both these categories are the inheritance that have been transmitted to us through Christianity. They have no other existence- they are dependent on perception. To quote Blake:
... I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity

The force of this image was brought home to me in a particularly strong 5 Rhythms dance session when all around had lost their inhibitions and were expressing their true emotions. The music was pounding, arms and legs were flailing, some were screaming, some were sobbing. All were - or seeemed - ecstatic. That line just pooped into my head. Energy was moving freely. And I realised the truth of what Blake wrote a little after.

Energy is Eternal Delight

This energy is the energy of living beings. And it is the energy of the Universe. It is the energy from which we all emerge. It is the energy of sex. The union of perceived opposites - the merging of categories. And it scares the shit out of many - including me very often - because it cannot be controlled. It can only be policed.

Margaret Thatcher's government declared one of its aims was to counter the "permissiveness" of the 1960s. It progressed far along this road but it was left to New Labour, led by a former amateur rock guitarist and Christian "Socialist", Tony Blair to really begin the tightening up and the rolling back. The brilliance of this was that it utilised the rhetoric of the 60s in order to subvert the liberationist and egalitarian ideals that inspired that rhetoric. Thus, feminist rhetoric is used by a woman Home Secretary, in order to attempt to police the sex industry. I personally find it difficult to argue with some of this. For example, there is a proposed zero tolerance of kerb drawling men. I cannot say that I have any sympathy with men who drive slowly around areas in the city and make unwelcome advances to women who just happen to be walking there. Such behaviour is wrong and can be, I would imagine, both insulting and frightening for women who are not sex workers

If a man slows down, however, for a woman who is clearly waiting for such an approach, then I cannot see how that, in and of itself, is abusive. Both, however, would be prosecuted under the new proposals. And, furthermore, the man must ensure that the woman is neither trafficked nor "controlled" by a pimp. How the hell does he do that? Particularly when, and I am obliged to Aspasia for this link there are adverts condemning sexual slavery which depict women who do not appear to have been abused in any way. This is a nonsense, There is a difference in kind between an obvious photographic model and a slave. I have never bought sexual services on the street or anywhere else - and on my income, if for no other reason, this is likely to remain the case. And, to be honest, I have never really wanted to - although there have been times when I have been so desperate for even an approximation of loving touch that that the thought has, fleetingly, passed through my mind. And it is a thought that women friends have told me they have had. Is it so wrong? I cannot see it is. And yet we are told that the desire to be touched is a wrong desire - unless it is sanctioned by the state. If we seek to pay someone to touch us, we run the real danger of arrest.

There is a slave trade and it is huge. It is, according to some estimates, larger now than before abolition. The proposed legislation will not in any way make a small dent in this. All it will do is make life more difficult and dangerous for the women (mainly but not exclusively) who work the streets.

For what this is all about, despite the rhetoric, is policing sexuality. Which gets back to the beginning of this post. There is a new puritanism and it is lurking everywhere. It sees the Devil in any form of unlicensed sexual expression. Its advocates come from all parts of the political spectrum. From left and right, the message is the same although the rhetoric may differ. And it is the message we have inherited from centuries of body-haters. It is born of fear - the fear of being fully human. And I will not be deterred by it, scary as it is. It is not Satanic. It is human.


Lavanah said...

I agree with what you have written in this post, but I don't believe that you have gone far enough. The new puritanism doesn't merely see the devil in unlicensed sexual expression, it sees the devil in unlicensed or unapproved of pleasure, of all types.

Brian Charles said...

I fully agree. Thanks for pointing this out. Maybe it will form the subject of another rant soon.

Magistra_Y said...

While you have every right to define your beliefs in any way you like, you should extend that right to Satanists, as well.
"specially since I now have no belief in the Christian construct we call the devil. If Satanism is anything, I cannot see it as anything other than Christian heresy."

That would describe devil worship, or, disgustingly, a new occult trend based in Christianity that labels itself "Traditional" or "Spiritual" satanism.

True Satanism is a modern religion formed in 1966 CE. Prior to that time there was no religious group that had ritual, dogma, and a church structured hierarchy that labeled itself Satanism. The Satanic Bible forms the basis of our philosophy and The Church of Satan exists to represent that philosophy and it's adherents. It is an atheistic philosophy that uses Satan merely as a metaphor for those who refuse to kneel before any god form.

So, naturally you are not Satanic! However, neither are the inverse Christians who need a god and a devil and the Holy Bible as their basis of faith.

'appreciate the opprotunity to point that out.


Magistra Ygraine

Brian Charles said...

thank you Ygraine.

as i said, this was my personal belief and i did mention that practitioners may well disagree. Your path and mine are different, and I thought that I had delineated these differences and that my take was purely personal. I have no argument with you - merely those who are labelling me inaccurately.

muzuzuzus said...

If you listen to Monica Sjoo, in her book Return of the Dark/Light Mother or New Age Armegeddon?, it becomes clear that something very strange has been and continues to be going on, in plain sight, but not noticed by many, and great hostility, denial, and ridicule comes about if you bring it to the attention of some people.
It is that much of so-called New Age which derives from Theosophy and Madam Blavatsky's writings IS Satanic. She and her followers like Alice Bailey, openly say so. 'Satan' alternates with 'Lucifer'

And the likes of Bush, Blair, and the elite of this world are extremely au fe with this and follow it!

As we know, 'Satan' becomes in the Judaic-Christian myth the adversary of 'God'....?

So all this is going on, and all this is not authentic meaning of Goddess religion. It is soemthing else, though it tries to appropriate symbols of Goddess! hence Christian investigators assume it is Goddess religion. Which they condemn anyway

Ie., they condemn this appropriation and the real thing, because they believe nature is fallen

So we have like these two camps who are the inverse of each other. One side puts up defence against the 'Devil', 'Satan', and tother side embraces 'Satan'

Brian Charles said...

Thanks for your reminder of Monica's very important book. Having had the privilege of her friendship in the last couple of years of her life, I cannot overstate her remarkable contributions to the Goddess movement.