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Just an Opinion - bala.txt

To: alt.pagan
From: (Balanone)
Subject: Just an Opinion - bala.txt
Date: 23 Jan 96 09:58:06

On Jan 19, 1996, wrote to balanone
re: Just an Opinion - bala.txt (1/1)
(Though you responded in netmail, since this discussion started in
alt.pagan, and we have other comments there, and I haven't seen your
message to me posted there, I'm copying this message of mine to
alt.pagan also. That way others interested in these ideas can read them
and participate in the discussion.)
gw> Please accept my apology for my having messed up your pseudonym 
gw> (twice!).  I think I was trying to avoid "Balogna."    Just 
gw> joking.  Sheesh.
They've done worse on alt.satanism...
  gw> Would this be a fair definition?  
  gw> A Satanist is a pagan who seeks to control and modify life
  gw> to suit himself; the deity he respects is the Prince of
  gw> Darkness, who may be a conglomerate containing more than one
  gw> entity, representing those who rebel against the notion that
  gw> people need to obey or worship any deity.  Prince of
  gw> Darkness does not equal Satan; however, Xtians have for so
  gw> long labeled his followers as Satanists that this label is
  gw> general (even though false).  This deity does not consider
  gw> himself, nor is he considered by his followers, to be more
  gw> important than his followers, who are ceremonial magicians
  gw> that feel free to do whatever is pleasurable with no threat
  gw> hanging over them, from an independent, intelligent place
  gw> within self-growth of individuality with as little contact
  gw> with society as is possible .
 >It's a good start, but there are problems.
gw> Okay, so we'll work on it.
  gw> A Satanist is a pagan 
 >Many Satanists are (neo)pagans, and many are not.
 >It's a two-sided problem.   
gw> To me, a Satanist is a pagan because he doesn't
gw> believe what the status quo would like him to.
gw> As for neo, to me it indicates one who strives to
gw> duplicate the past (as in Neo-Babylonian or 
gw> Neoplatonic).  Is not Satanism a continuous line?
gw> You know, people can think they are this or that;
gw> that doesn't mean they are (example:  Most people
gw> who think they are Xtians don't know what they
gw> think, and are probably not following the tenets 
gw> of their churches because they don't even know 
gw> or care what they are).

Someone who doesn't believe what the status quo would like him to is
"different," to some extent an individualist, but not necessarily a
pagan. I'm one of those who prefers to see definitions of Pagan which
describe what they /are/ and what they /do/ as opposed to what they
aren't, what they don't do, and what groups they don't belong to.

Based on the definitions I like best for Pagan and NeoPagan, I'm not one
(I don't believe in the divinity of multiple gods/godesses), though I am
a member of modern pagan society (use the same shops, attend the same
events, participate intelligently on these newsgroups and echoes, do
similar things, etc).

I'm not sure what you mean by "Is not Satanism a continuous line?" There
are at least four or five groups or types of people that call themselves
Satanists, and I'd credit at least three of them with having earned the
title and qualifying for that classification. There are very significant
differences between such groups/types.
  gw> who seeks to control and modify life to suit himself; 
gw> Okay.
  gw> the deity he respects is the Prince of Darkness, 
 >Good, but some Satanists view the Prince of Darkness 
 >as a symbol or other ideaistic form rather than a deity 
 >or being, and few who see him as a being would use the 
 >term "deity."
gw> How about this:  he respects the Prince of Darkness.
  gw> who may be a conglomerate containing more than one entity, 
 >Better: who has been interpreted in many different ways, 
 >with different names, in different cultures.
gw> How about this: (various interpretations).
  gw> representing those who rebel against the notion that
  gw> people need to obey or worship any deity.
gw> Okay.

So we have: "The deity he respects is the Prince of Darkness (various
interpretations), representing those who rebel against the notion that
people need to obey or worship any deity."
  gw> Prince of Darkness does not equal Satan; however, 
  gw> Xtians have for so long labeled his followers as Satanists 
  gw> that this label is general (even though false).
gw> Okay.
  gw> This deity does not consider himself, nor is he 
  gw> considered by his followers, to be more important 
  gw> than his followers, 
 >That's a good description of his followers' views, but not 
 >necessarily the views of the Prince of Darkness himself. IMO, 
 >the PoD considers himself supremely important, more important 
 >than his followers, just as I consider myself supremely 
 >important, more important than even the PoD.
gw> How about this:  Of the followers, those who view the Prince  of
gw> Darkness to be an entity do not consider him to be more 
gw> important than they are.  
gw> (We won't second guess what *he* thinks  ).

Much better.
  gw> who are ceremonial magicians

 >Many of us are, but many of us are not.
gw> Are all followers magicians?  Or are you saying some followers
gw> are not magicians at all, let alone ceremonial?

Most Satanists are magicians, but not all. Most of those who are
magicians are ceremonial, but not all. 
  gw> that feel free to do whatever is pleasurable with no threat
  gw> hanging over them, from an independent, intelligent place
  gw> within self-growth of individuality 
 >Very good.
gw> Thanks.  I do feel like I'm beginning to get a handle on this, 
gw> albeit is a slippery hold  .
  gw> with as little contact with society as is possible.
 >No, there can be and often is much contact with society. I'm 
 >a member of two professional societies, two or three social 
 >organizations, a volunteer in a neighborhood group, a 
 >respected and popular manager in the company I work for, a 
 >participant on Internet and FIDO, etc. I'm not bound by many 
 >of the restrictions imposed on/by society (ie: I see them, and 
 >I can cross those boundaries whenever I choose), but I do spend 
 >much time within modern society.
gw> Okay, we'll drop that phrase.  I got that thought from what
gw> you said earlier about "independence from everything" and 
gw> "increasing our independence from each other and from society." 

Understandable. But just because we like our privacy, surfing on
unpolluted waters, clean sand, and quietude, doesn't mean we're

  gw> May I ask a couple more questions, please?  
 >Sure.  Answers: $1.00 -- Good answers: $10.00 -- Correct 
 >answers:  $100.00 -- dumb looks are still free.    :-)
gw>   I can't afford this.... what was I thinking?!

  gw> Do you use a circle for protection (and to hold in what you
  gw> want held in) when you're working?  
 >No. There's nothing in the occult arena as powerful as I am 
 >in my own space, so there's no need for protection.
gw> So is that space protected?  Do you use any sort of permanent
gw> protection?  IOW - You feel your space has been cleared of
gw> negative influence permanently?  How large is this space?

Yes, I protect my space. Whether that protection is permanent or not
is subject to debate -- I do strengthen that protection from time to
time. How large? Large enough to contain me and mine. 
  gw> Do you invoke entities to help you?  
 >Yes, I'll invoke/evoke entities when appropriate.
gw> Is there someone you invoke regularly besides the Prince 
gw> of Darkness?  Why do you invoke these other entities?

I evoke Ma'at and Xepera quite regularly, and several other Egyptian
neteru more frequently than others. My evocations tend to be
Egyptian more than from other cultures, though I have worked with
some European gods, and sometimes Cyote.
  gw> Do you ever invoke the Prince of Darkness? 
gw> When you invoke him, how do you know it's him?  I'm not being
gw> sarcastic at all with any of this, so don't ever be thinking that. 
gw> To explain, I think maybe it'd be best if I tell
gw> you what I believe as a pantheist magician.  I believe the
gw> Universe is God (not the Xtian "God" in any way), who is not "out
gw> there" waiting for us to pray to it, but contains all
gw> the energies anyone could ever hope for, including all the
gw> spirits.  As one of these spirits, I am a god (note that I 
gw> hang in there with what I was taught in English classes and  don't
gw> care much if I'm PC on gender).  I don't worship the 
gw> gods of any pantheons, since I believe they are of human 
gw> construction, but I do recognize that some entities may 
gw> choose to play god for anyone who wants them to.  Therefore,  I am
gw> careful *not* to invoke anybody.  On occasion I use 
gw> circles and ritual to raise and hold and discharge intent.   I have
gw> permanently protected my space.

It's a fair question. If there is a powerful Prince of Darkness that I
invoke and who answers my invocations, he's powerful enough to fool me
in a wide variety of ways. If there's one like that, there could be
several. So how do I know who/what I'm dealing with?

I don't. Based upon the teachings within my tradition (Setianism), based
upon my experiences with him, and based upon discussions with and
feedback from others whom I respect in this area, I make the best
determination I can.

Occult/spiritual evidence that I've gathered indicates a consistency
which supports the theory that I deal with one major being. The
attitudes of that being are consistent with the Prince of Darkness as I
know and understand him. I use this information and perspective as a
working theory at least until something better comes along.
  gw> Would you call yourself a ceremonial magician?  
 >Yes, though I'm less restricted in my ceremonies than most.
gw> Could you, please, explain what you mean by this?  In what
gw> way are they restricted or are you not?

Most ceremonial magicians are tied to specific forms of ritual,
traditions of ritual. My tradition insists on originality, personal
meaning, and to an extent eclecticism in ritual. I hardly ever repeat
any ritual, and I'm always developing new concepts and techniques,
though I do enjoy carrying forward some themes from one ritual to
another related ritual.
  gw> I'm trying to decide how to define that, as well.  So 
  gw> far it goes something like:  A ceremonial magician is one 
  gw> that invokes entities or gods in personal or comradic 
  gw> rituals in order to obtain their protection and aid in 
  gw> whatever magickal order of business is at hand.
 >Better (and more applicable to Satanic ceremonies): A ceremonial
 >magician is one that employs ceremony as a means for invoking 
 >or evoking and directing magical energies.
gw> Try this one on:  A ceremonial magician is one that employs 
gw> ceremony as a means of invoking entities, or of building or 
gw> redirecting energies.
gw> I don't really see how one can have a "means" of evoking, since
gw> evocation is the result of invocation.  And to me "magic(k)al"  is
gw> redundant here.  Energy is.  

We have different definitions for invoking and evoking. I can see how
yours is workable, but I think mine is more accurate (and it happens
to coincide with the dictionary definitions better).

Invocation is the conjuration or the calling for(th) of some external
spirit, whose existence is independent of the magician, and who comes
to the magician when invoked (if the invocation is successful).

Evocation is the raising up of a spirit from within, whose existence is
part of or created by the magician, and who comes from the magician
when evoked (if successful).

These are two distinctly different acts, and therefore I use them both
in discussions. 

As for "magical" energies, yes, "energy is," but people generally don't
work magic to cause electricity to flow through the wires in their
house, or to power their computer. They don't work magic to make a
river flow more swiftly past the hydroelectric generator. There are
energies which we use in generally mundane ways, and there are
energies which we use in generally magical ways. I see a distinction
between the two.
  gw> A balanced mage works the left and the right, the taking 
  gw> in and putting forth of redirected energy, the female and the 
  gw> male aspects of magick.  Those who lean toward the lefthand 
  gw> path are just a tad powermad IMHO.  
 > You seem to be looking at right and/or left hand paths as a 
 > /source/ of power. 
 gw> No, not a source.  Those who take only the lefthand path seem to be
 gw> the abusers of power who think they take it in and *have* it.   They
 gw> don't seem to want to do anything with it, but think they're ever so
 gw> cool to be so "powerful."  IMO Dianics, for example,  in a number of
 gw> ways celebrate the lefthand path.  There's no  balance.  I strive to
 gw> respect the dark and the light, and to walk  my path in balance.  I
 gw> do agree with your values of independence,  intelligence, high
 gw> philosophy, and individuality, but I don't  agree that the lefthand
 gw> path *is* those things.  The political  left does include those
 gw> qualities. 

Why do you have this opinion of LHP vs RHP practices? IMO those
who "think they take it in and *have* it" are found in all paths and
traditions. Those who feel that power is the end rather than a means
to the end are found in all traditions. 

Whereas I am probably as strong an LHP magician as you're likely to
find, unwavering in my dedication to my individual Initiation
regardless of all external situations. I am also probably as balanced as
anyone you'll find. Within the Temple of Set I've joined the Order of
Shuti, and follow the guidance provided by the dual lion gods Shu and
Tefnut, opposites in dynamic balance. Power is important, but only for
what it can accomplish for me. Initiation and Xeper is the goal; power
is only a means.
 >There you've lost me.  I'm not sure which types of entities you're
 >referring to here. I believe that just about all spirits, deities, 
 >etc., are creations, powerful creations perhaps, but still creations 
 >of either the Prince of Darkness or of mankind.  Some therefore are 
 >created as companions, others as tools. Others (created by mankind) 
 >could even be enemies of the PoD.
gw> Are the other entities that you invoke followers of the Prince of
gw> Darkness?  Or companions?  If he believes himself to be more
gw> important than anyone else, do they?  Are they deities?

No, the other entities that I invoke aren't "followers" of the Prince of
Darkness. Some may be aspects of the Prince (just as the "hand that
feeds" is an aspect of "pet owner"), but otherwise in general the
Neteru that I evoke are aspects of myself, those attributes I'm working
to strengthen, those powers which hold the promise of my future
Initiation, and those powers that I'm just beginning to tap.

Are they deities? Often I wouldn't even call the Prince of Darkness a
"deity" -- They are spirits/forms/whatevers which are useful to my
Initiation. None of them have created worlds, and none of them
meddle in the day-to-day activities of life or people.

gw> Do you 
gw> really believe mankind is capable of creating a deity or an entity? 
gw> Do you believe the Xtian "God" exists?  I don't believe that or 
gw> that any deity that man has created is actual.

Yes, I firmly believe mankind is capable of creating entities (again, I
question the use of deity myself), entities which people have believed
to be gods. I believe that just about all gods men have ever worshipped
or believed in have been created by men.

gw> IMO the Xtian "God" 
gw> is imaginary falderah nonsense, and Xtianity does not work because 
gw> the magick of Jesus was bent on saving a lot of folks from their 
gw> belief that they would never attain anything on a spiritual level 
gw> (righteous thinking surely), but it is based in the fallacious 
gw> thought that this "God" can punish you or reward you in the first 
gw> place, which "he" can't.  BTAIM -- There is plenty of evidence  that
gw> Jesus believed in reincarnation and didn't think of "heaven"  as
gw> anything more than a superlative goal much like the Buddhist 
gw> nirvana.  Just because Jesus believed in "God" and talked 
gw> to him/it does not mean he was capable of changing the course of
gw> mankind's spiritual destiny via his will, anymore than it means  the
gw> Xtians have ever been right about who their "God" is.  Both the 
gw> Jews and Jesus define(d) God as pure Spirit.  The Jews don't buy 
gw> into the anthropomorphism of God anymore than I do.  Don't think of 
gw> this as proselytizing ...    I'm just discussing, and don't 
gw> usually get a chance to.

IMO the Christian God is an interesting creation, filled with all sorts
of contradictions, just about the most schizophrenic "deity" mankind
has ever created. It's an excellent study of what to avoid during
magical workings.
gw> A couple more questions, if I may?  Is it true that Anton LaVey was
gw> raised Jewish?  If that's so, doesn't that color the way he
gw> envisioned Satan?  Does that color the way you envision Satan?

Yes, Howard Levy was born to a Jewish family. I don't know how
strong his Jewish upbringing was. I don't know whether it colored the
way he saw Satan and Satanism. Since my Satanism is based on my
own views of the Prince of Darkness, no, his background doesn't color
my views of the Prince. I see areas of overlap, but there are
differences also. IMO LaVey was a visionary of his day, but his views
of the Prince of Darkness were sorely limited, and he was unable to
get past some of his own limitations in that area.

gw> Also
gw> - Would you consider yourself a sorcerer, rather than a  magician?

Before I could answer that question, I'd have to know what you mean
by "sorcerer" and "magician".
gw> Thanks for an extremely enlightening and fulfilling discussion. I'm
gw> hoping you think so too.

It's enjoyable.
gw> Hen to Pan,
gw> Gwen

May you live long and prosper. 



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