THE SATANIST’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: DON’T LAST FOREVER
Happy New Year, and welcome to the end of the world again.
Yes, we’re continuing the ongoing Failure Of Everything in the opening days of 2020. I guess it’s business as usual, as long as you weren’t too invested in the continent of Australia, the entirety of the Middle East, or the US economy (wait for it…).
But once again the true irony is that even as everything else in the world goes to Hell, it’s a really, really great time for Satanism.
These past four years, while disastrous by almost every measure, have proven transformative for Satanic Bay Area and Black Mass Appeal, and we can observe that groups like the Satanic Temple enjoyed material success on an even greater scale.
It’s almost like we all made a deal with the devil or something. Stick a pin in that one maybe.
As a new year begins, my most pressing thought is: It’s not going to last.
The growth, the camaraderie, the creativity, the benefits for ourselves and everyone else–these are finite by nature. And we can’t know how much longer any of it has got.
I can already foresee some problems here, so let’s say right away: Don’t go reading anything weird into this blog. Nothing disastrous is happening to SBA right now, or to any other Satanist group that I know about. We’re not closing shop or running off with the treasury (which is empty anyway) or even changing anything big. Breathe easy and sleep the sleep of the unjust.
But it’s my nature when appreciating good times to remember that good times don’t last forever. I’m sure this makes me sound like the life of the fucking party, but I think it’s healthy.
Or at least, it had better be, because it sure doesn’t look like I’m going to stop anytime soon.
In 2019 Satanic Bay Area had five public Satanic rituals, including our best-attended event ever with HELL-O-WEEN at PianoFight. We raised money for Planned Parenthood, St James Infirmary, Girls Not Brides, La Casa de Paseo, and the Rainbow Community Center.
We marked the two-year anniversary of our Black Mass Appeal podcast and recorded 26 new episodes, with guests like Penny Lane, John Romero, Twin Temple, and Debbie Nathan, among others. We released our latest Satanic “Chick” Tract and a whole new line of Tabitha Slander art merch.
We met dozens of new friends and reconnected with dozens of older ones. We appeared again at events like Sunday Streets and Christmas In The Park and started our series of Satanic Salons. Some of us got married, got new jobs, had new babies, and grew as people.
All this we’ve done together, with essentially no guidance, no budget, few resources, and rarely any idea what we’re doing. We’re happy; we’re proud; we can’t wait to do it all again.
It’s wonderful that all of these things are happening. But I notice that the online discourse about Modern Satanism sometimes gets preoccupied with benchmarks. And we should be careful about conflating those yardsticks with substance–because after all, what happens when they stop?
Maybe we won’t know these same people forever. Maybe we won’t be able to produce new projects the same way in the future. Maybe the sun will increase its intensity between ten and 40 percent over the next several gigaannums and reduce Earth’s atmosphere to inhospitable, Venus-like conditions.
…possibly I overshot the mark a little bit on that last one, let’s back up.
The point is, mutability is the nature of the world. Whereas the assumption that circumstances will remain static is the oldest and most reliable fallacy of human thinking.
Indeed, change is an intrinsic theme in many devil myths. In Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, historian Mary Boyce notes that in that mythology the good god Ahura Mazda was eternal and unchanging–only the evil spirit Ahriman introduced variation into the cosmos.
In the Inferno, Hell is chaotic, fractured, ever-variable–but Dante writes that at the end of the world, time in Hell will run down and leave everyone there in a stalled, permanent past.
And in Goethe’s Faust, Mephistopheles identifies as the spirit of negation, and becomes annoyed at the stubborn consistency of the world:
“This small lump cannot be shaken. And as for the brood of beasts and men, they’re no sooner underground than fresh new blood circulates again–it drives me mad!”
Sometimes we adapt to changes. For example, our friend Lilith Starr chose to step aside as the head of the Satanic Temple’s Seattle Chapter last year, a decision that seems to have left her with very mixed feelings at times
However, she also says that observing the aftermath of that metamorphosis has yielded its own rewards: “I am Lilith, Mother of Demons, and my ‘child,’ the Satanic community I helped birth, is giving me the love and care that helps me make it.”
The things that are most likely to survive changing times are the things most worthwhile. Polish poet Stanislaw Przybyszewski–possibly the first person to intentionally self-apply the term “Satanist” and attempt to create any corresponding rubric and definition–wrote in his later memoirs:
“To what amounted my cult of Satan? The spirit of refusal, the Promethean spirit, the patron and symbol of all free spirits who refuse to be subdued but strives to ever greater perfection, and would like to lead humanity into the festal day of freedom.”
Przybyszewski is no longer with us. His movement largely ended with him. Even his works are now generally obscure.
But his Promethean spirt is still alive–we see it in our peers every day. How much longer will it last? However long it remains worth it.
Mainstream religions are always trying to sell you the idea of eternity. Satanism is transitive. But that’s all right; good things are not meant to last forever. They’re just meant to be good.
Happy New Year. Welcome Year Zero.