THE SECRET ORIGIN OF YOUR DAILY BAPHIRMATION
Let you in on a little secret: I don’t always like the Daily Baphirmation on our social media. Further, I’m about the worst person in the world to be doing it.
If you’re one of those people who really digs the Baphirmation then you can rest easy, because this does not mean we’re stopping it.
I mean, someday we will, in the same sense that someday all things will cease, and this one probably long before many others.
Inevitability isn’t all bad: Sure, everything that brings us joy and assurance is temporary, but so too are the lifespans of the world’s biggest assholes. So, column A, column B, etc.
I’m just thinking out loud, because the irony bears some attention all on its own. And you know how a Satanist can get about seeking attention.
In March of 2020 the city of San Francisco announced its first COVID-19 related shelter-in-place order; about 24 hours later we coined the phrase “Daily Baphirmation,” and a whole lot of things changed on both accounts.
The original Baphirmation update was actually aimed at Black Mass Appeal listeners, some of whom were a little worried about the scary sounding news coming out of the Bay Area and wanted to know if we were all right.
So I drafted a quick message: “We’re fine, everyone’s fine, worry about yourselves, but don’t worry too much”–traversing the narrow-as-a-floor-crack path of realistic optimism.
Needing an image to go with it, I snapped a quick and artless shot of my altar and very nearly labeled it with the hashtag #DailyNegation, a funny phrases Tabitha came up with but never used. At literally the last second the Baphomet pun manifested instead, and that was that.
The daily messages that followed were only supposed to last a few weeks: An image of Baphomet, accompanied by some hopefully plausibly optimistic text to keep unholy spirits up a bit.
As I already mentioned, I am the person perhaps least well-qualified to be creating this content, mainly because I don’t like or trust positivity. Seems like a scam.
But, perversely, I do think we could use a lot more of it, because I’ve seen your social media feeds and a lot of the sentiments there seem like self-harm disguised as humor or frankness.
So I’m optimistic in a strategic way: Keeping morale up is a materially useful thing to do, and hardly anyone seems interested in the job, so the bar is presently low.
The Baphirmations stopped being about the pandemic specifically soon enough, because there’s really only so much you can say about that one topic that isn’t crawling through every reasonable person’s subconscious like a Freudian obsession every instant anyway.
I try to concentrate on some particular themes: Affirming feelings that are natural but socially stigmatized in unhelpful ways, running down stupid taboos, reinforcing selfhood, and shitting on truly terrible people–messaging that feels neglected elsewhere.
I end up repeating myself a lot, but since not everybody sees every update that’s probably all right. Being limited to about 50 characters forces an unreasonably narrow scope onto the updates, and we sometimes get annoying “Well what about–?” responses that make me yearn for the days when forensic technology wasn’t yet very good at detecting homicide via arsenic.
The graphic layout of the images is often inconsistent, and I’m also the worst photographer since the Lonely Hearts Killer, so any images I supply myself are, ah, well, they haven’t blinded anyone that I know of, but that’s about all you can say for them.
(For comparison, Tabitha has a much, much better Daily Baphirmations channel on TikTok that is actually visually interesting, although consequently it is harder to keep those up regularly.)
Despite all of this–or maybe because of some of it, since our audience is presumably very odd (I’ve seen those parts of your social media feed too)–the Baphirmations are without question our most popular and widely distributed material, to the point that some people don’t even realize we do anything else.
I’ve used the word “I” here a lot, but a great many other people make contributions, including art and photograph contributions that, unlike mine, do not look like they were produced by a person who heard about photography only once and then vowed revenge against it.
Keeping the Daily Baphirmation daily is admittedly a pain sometimes, but I don’t have any intention of stopping, because to be frank I don’t have much patience for this kind of complaint when it comes from anyone else. “Oh no, you’ve found an audience, that must be so fucking hard for you. And are your diamond rings too tight this week?”
Not everything has to be easy to be good. The labor involved with me starting blankly at a photo of a Baphomet onesy for 25 minutes straining to think of SOMETHING to say again is not necessarily as obvious as, I dunno, urban farming, or whatever practical people do. But it’s still there.
Some commenters tell us they look forward to the Baphirmation every day, or sometimes that it’s one of the only things that helps them get by. Which to be honest probably says less about us as about the lack of reliable support structures available to many.
There is one additional perspective on all of this, which is the idea that the truly Satanic thing to do would be to smash those people’s expectations and force them to stand on their own feet/hooves by not only eliminating this daily exercise but perhaps chastising them for feeling like they needed that voice in their lives to begin with.
That would be very dramatic, and again, quite a bid for attention if nothing else. But the most interesting thing about people who say things like that is nothing at all.