Tag Archives: religion

Eight Years Of Corruption

Well, this particular blog has been completely dormant for about a year meaning I haven’t posted here in that time. I have been posting in Devil’s Advocates a bit more regularly but have a been a bit lapse there as well. However I got a notification from WordPress that it is eight years since I started blogging here and thought this might be a good time for a status update and some thoughts on where I and my writing are going from here.

Eight years does not seem long at all when you say it; but it is fair to say that my life has changed almost entirely in that time. My first post on this blog (which was called “Cassie Being Cassie” at that time) began by parodying Brigit Jones Diary and making reference to my then boyfriend and to the fact that I was an eclectic pagan witch. I had to cringe while reading it back to myself as it now seems like a very young and innocent version of the person I have become.¬†https://justcassie.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/5/

There are some who would certainly use the word corruption to describe the process of growth I have been through in the intervening time; but I would prefer to use the terms enlightenment and maturation. For those who haven’t been following my blogs, the short version of the last eight years is that I became a Satanist, got a girlfriend, moved to Switzerland, adopted a daughter, had several promotions at work and wound up being leader of an independent Satanic coven.

“Cassie Being Cassie” changed to “Sophie and Cassie-Not Safe For Work” after Sophie and I got together. We have kept the blog going intermittently since then. At first it was a mixture of our philosophical and spiritual thoughts and opinions (we are both Satanists), quite a lot of sexual content and reblogs of things we liked on the blogs we followed. As time went by we moved most of the Satanic stuff to our other main blog “Devils Advocates”, and this blog was kept for reblogs and occasional musings on our sexual tastes and fetishes and thoughts on sex and gender politics. As more time passed our daughter came of age and became a Satanist herself, contributing to Devil’s Advocates and starting her own blog.

So where are we now, and what does the future hold? Well, more specifically, where am I now… (Sophie and Tina will speak for themselves later).

After a nervous first few months, Satanism became the cornerstone of my life and my world. I am not going to say much more about it here beyond this paragraph except to give an indication of the direction I am going in at the end of this post. I concede that my views and lifestyle are considered to be evil by many people. I think they are wrong in many ways but I don’t run away from the label as I once did. If Satan is evil, then so am I. I have given up all my previous ideas about morality which I now see as a purely subjective and unscientific concepts in the first place. I live by Satanic will and imperatives alone. I am not good. I have no desire to be anything other than honest to myself and my own wants and needs. I understand that what I have just said can sound very selfish and shallow to the uninitiated; but it really isn’t, and I have explained that more than enough in various blog entries. I am happy in my own skin and that is what matters. Still, as leader of a coven and as a relatively well known Satanist I hope I can continue to be a positive example of what modern Satanism is. Further thoughts specifically about Satanism will be continued in Devil’s Advocates and “another project…”

Musings about sex played quite a large part in this original blog and continued when Sophie joined in. It is still something I think about quite a lot because I enjoy it and it seems to be something that society as a whole is often conflicted about in ways that make me wonder how “civilized” or mature our species really is on this (and many other matters)! Sophie and I live by our own rules. Finding each other has probably been the biggest blessing in our lives and our relationship continues to be defined by very passionate love for each other. But we are both bisexual, or perhaps omnisexual as modern terminology catches up with the reality of people’s varied sexual tastes and experience. We have sex with each other and with others, sometimes together and sometimes separately. I have always thought that sex frequently has spiritual dimensions and overtones and I still firmly believe and experience that. However, I’m not ashamed to say I sometimes just like an adventurous or satisfying fuck and that could be with a man or a woman or any combination thereof! Sophie and I have always liked experimenting and we both enjoy various aspects of BDSM. We like porn too. We have our own tastes which for myself I like to think of as sophisticated and refined, but that includes some things which others might describe as hardcore. I do have a problem with porn though. Ideally porn and prostitution should be empowering to all involved; that includes the consumers and those who pose for pictures or provide sexual services. But it is naive to assume it always is that way. I do my best to avoid anything where there is a suspicion that anyone has been forced or coerced into taking part or where they have been filmed without their knowledge or consent. I’m sure however I have sometimes derived pleasure from porn that was not made in a way I would approve of and that makes me uncomfortable. I am thinking of joining or even starting some organisations that try to keep sex workers safe and increase respect for their profession; while at the same time reducing the sense in which prostitution and pornography are views as inherently bad or wrong. As long as meaningful consent and real choice are involved, I think erotica and all those who work in the sex industry are healthy and deserving of more respect than they normally get.

As I approach what some would call middle age, I am more comfortable in and with my (now heavily inked) body than ever before. And I hope and wish that all my regular readers will continue to enjoy the sexual aspect of their lives in whatever way satisfies them for a long time to come.

Looking to the future… In terms of my work-life I am now a senior manager in my company and have ideas and plans for improving my own prospects as well as those of my colleagues and the company itself. It will mean working even harder, but I have never been afraid of that. This should bring financial and material rewards for Sophie and I and we are thinking about moving home although staying in Switzerland. I am also going to apply for Swiss citizenship now that Britain seems obsessed with the national suicide that is called Brexit.

I also want to make time to concentrate on several writing projects I have in mind. I always wanted to invest more in writing but have often struggled to fit it in between all my other activities. I have now decided to make my writing ambitions a bit more concrete and hopefully my experience in blogging over the past eight years will be an advantage in that. One of my writing projects will be a semi-autobiographic book about Satanism which has been at the back of my mind for a number of years. I am also working on ideas for travel articles, and novels exploring sex and relationships in a way that I have always wanted to read. I have a few science fiction and fantasy ideas as well. In order to give myself some time for all those projects I am going to step back from blogging. I’m not going to say I won’t contribute at all to our blogs in future; if I have something I want or need to say I will do so…

Our blogs will not stop though. Sophie and Tina (who is now a thoughtful and enthusiastic Satanic woman in her own right) will continue with Devil’s Advocates and Smokers Writes, and may even continue to post here from time to time.

We are a strong family trio, with fingers in many pies, and our story will continue…

 

Reblog Fest

I am busy working in Zurich this week and staying with Sophie so, as much as I like writing for my blog, I am using my energy in other ways this week. ūüėČ

Still, Sophie and I have been looking back at other people’s posts we both like and choosing some of our favourites to share. We hope you enjoy the selection below.

Season’s Greetings to all my followers.

Well I have just returned from another working jaunt around Europe and Suddenly it seems to be Christmas! How did that happen?

Now I have to pack all my shopping into one day and I have discovered that my main computer is seriously ill (I think terminal) so I don’t think I will be blogging much for a few days.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all those who take the time and trouble to read my posts all the best for the coming holiday. Whatever your religious or spiritual views; however you intend to celebrate or mark or ignore the next few days I wish you peace, happiness and whatever brings you joy.

I really appreciate all those of you who take the time and trouble to read, like and comment on my posts. It spurs me to think deeper and to write more. Moreover I have come to think of many of you as an extended virtual family and your own blogs mean a great deal to me. Thank you for being you.

Have a great holiday!

Sin verses Evil

Adam And Eve by Gustav Klimt

The concept of sin exists in many religions although it is defined and explained differently in all of them. The concept of sin I am most familiar with is that which comes from Christianity, but even here there are many and various definitions of what it actually is. I could list some references, but a quick google search will confirm what I am saying. When I was thinking about this topic I got a headache from all the references I looked up. I went to the Catholic encyclopedia, various protestant and evangelical sites and of course wikki and dictionary.com.  After slogging through all of them I was even more confused than when I started, but I will attempt a quick summary of the common points all these sites make.

Sin is any act or thought which is not in¬†accordance¬†with God’s will or law as defined in the scriptures.

Sin is, or results in, separation from God.

Because of Adam and Eve all humans are born into sin or have a natural inclination to sin and nothing but the grace of God can cure or save them from that state of affairs.

Most but not all crimes and acts of evil committed by human beings are also sinful but many things which are not commonly considered criminal or evil are also sinful.

Now I enjoy having friendly discussions with Christians and in fact there is much in Christianity that I admire and respect, not least the person of Jesus himself. However, on the subject of sin I am adamant; the concept is flawed and in reality there is no such thing as sin! (According to some streams of Christian theology, just by writing that last sentence I have committed a fairly serious sin).

Well by some interpretations of Christianity all people are sinners no matter what they say or do, but I would be a particularly bad sinner because I knowingly and¬†wantonly ignore or flout some biblical laws and teachings. Moreover I sometimes tempt and encourage other people to do the same. As a witch I cast spells, I employ and use supernatural powers and commune with spirits and other forbidden entities. Beyond all that my Pagan beliefs combined with the witchcraft I practice allow me to grow spiritually without any obvious limit other than common sense. I work with my Gods but they are not beyond me, it is possible that in some future life I will have evolved enough to be equal with them. It is not something they fear and neither is it an aspiration I am ashamed of. I hunger for knowledge and will feed all I can. ¬†As a woman I use contraception and have sexual relationships with both men and women without being married.¬†I don’t shy away from lust but even feed the fires of my carnal desires with sex toys and pornography.

And I can just imagine some hell-fire and brimstone preacher in the American bible belt standing up and berating me for my sinful nature and calling me an evil daughter of Satan (it has happened before). That same preacher might go on to remonstrate about the utter evil of homosexuality and how we are all going to hell if we allow gay people to marry.

I doubt if that same preacher will get as vexed about the real evils that are going on in Syria at the moment or the “sins” of poverty and hunger which affect so many people in the world.

So here is my take on it. There is nothing at all wrong with having a healthy sexual appetite and satisfying it when you can so long as it is consensual and nobody gets hurt. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with being homosexual, bisexual or transsexual and satisfying your sexual and emotional needs with people of the same sexuality. There is nothing wrong with learning and doing magic, particularly when it is for the benefit of others. Most importantly it is not wrong to be curious and ambitious, to want to know as much as possible and grow as much as you can. In all honesty, if I had been in that Garden I would have eaten the fruit and thanked the one who showed me where it was. And I would have been hungry for more. To me the idea that God forbids us to learn and grow and wants us to remain in a permanent state of ignorant subservience is evil.

The whole concept of sin is false and stupid. More importantly it is dangerously entwined in and confused with concepts of evil.

I do believe that evil exists, not necessarily as a force or divine power in itself, but as an adjective to describe the worst excesses of badness and wrong-doing that we as a species are capable of. The holocaust was evil. Genocide is evil. Cruelty to children and animals is evil. Premeditated murder and rape is evil. What Al Qaeda did on September 11th was evil. Napalming Vietnam was evil. Accusing women of witchcraft and then drowning them or burning them to death was evil.

Recently a UN-backed war crimes court handed Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor a 50-year jail term for arming rebels in Sierra Leone in return for “blood diamonds”.Taylor, 64, was convicted ¬†of all 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding and abetting Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front during the country’s brutal 1991-2001 civil war. In return, he was paid in diamonds mined by slave labour in areas under control of the rebels, who murdered, raped and kept sex slaves, hacked off people’s limbs (especially arms and hands) and forced children aged under 15 to fight.

Now he was evil. Many of the crimes perpetrated against the¬†Muslims¬†in Bosnia were evil… And so on…

Now if fundamentalist Christian preachers spent as much time condemning some of the activities listed above as they do ranting about the so called “evils” of homosexuality, I might have slightly more respect for them.

Evil is something real and something which, as a civilized society, I would hope we all try to combat. I am not one of those who believes we need evil in order to balance good. I hope for a much less evil world and I think we will still have plenty to occupy ourselves with if and when evil is defeated.

Sin on the other hand is a flawed and convoluted human concept with very little meaning and even less worth. It isn’t a thing, nor is it an adequate adjective to describe anything beyond the bias or prejudice of the person using it. All religions would do better to ditch the concept of sin altogether and concentrate their energies on fighting the real evils in this world.

Spiritual Sundays: The Horned God

¬†I’ll start with a few simple personal observations. Firstly Pagans have a complicated variety of beliefs about deity. Secondly for many pagans the male aspect of god seems to be rather in the shadow of the female aspect. Finally while pagans generally don’t worship the evil devil described in Christianity as some ignorant people seem to think, there are complicated connections between the Horned God of Paganism and the Christian idea of the devil. It’s not something we like to talk about openly for fear of being misunderstood.

There are some Pagans who are non-theistic, which is to say they don’t believe in God at all. Most Pagans however do strongly believe in deity; but the nature of their beliefs range from polytheistic to pantheistic with all sorts of other “theisms” in between. ¬†It would be misleading and wrong to try and¬†generalize¬†about pagan beliefs in deity other than to say they are often complicated and full of¬†subtleties¬†and nuances that may not be obvious to non pagans. My own belief in deity is based on the Wiccan idea of the¬†Triple¬†Goddess (Maiden, mother and crone) as the archetype of the female divinity and her consort The Horned God as the male aspect of divinity. However in essence I believe there is one God/Prime Mover/Creative force in the universe which can be expressed in many ways and forms. The idea of a complimentary duality of male and female rings more true to me than the more simplistic duality of good and evil. Within this overall belief we can find aspects of divinity that relate to us in the pantheons of many traditions. The aspect of the Goddess I most closely relate to is that expressed in the person of the Egyptian Goddess Het Hert. Yes, it’s complicated, but it makes sense to me. Other Pagans however might express their belief in deity quite differently.

In many Pagan traditions the female aspect of divinity tends to me emphasized above the male aspect in practice if not in theory. I think this is because the idea of divinity expressed in female form has been missing in the lives of many people for generations and it thus, once rediscovered, it becomes so life enhancing and refreshing that it is quite intoxicating. However, no matter how much we may seem to favor the female aspect of deity, most of us also acknowledge the equal status of the God, in principle at least. But while the symbols, myths, legends and images of the Goddess are fairly hard wired in many of us, those same aspects of the God seem to me to be a little more blurred and fuzzy. Moreover I think some of the principle characteristics and images of our God have been maligned, battered and besmirched over the ages by the all pervading Christian culture.

If you were to construct an identikit picture of the Pagan Horned God, it would be almost, if not entirely, identical to how Christians picture their “Devil”, “Satan” or personification of evil. There is of course a simple reason for that. Over the centuries the all powerful Christian church and culture has taken images of ¬†of the God of various pagan traditions and associated them with every type of evil they could imagine in order to prompt (or force) people to turn away from their pagan beliefs and submit instead to the “Kingdom” of their god. I don’t want this to appear as Christian-bashing. All cultures, including pagan ones have done things in history which with hindsight we might find wrong or objectionable. I am simply trying to point out the historical fact that Christian culture has¬†demonized¬†the image of the pagan Horned God and has falsely associated it with any expression of evil that came to their own minds. (Very little of which, in my own opinion, seems to have anything to do with what is actually written in the authorized cannon of their own scriptures). In other words, The Horned God has been badly and unjustly slandered.

Now not all Pagans identify The Horned God as their masculine deity. Some look to The Green Man, some identify more with the Sun God and others find images and archetypes of the male God from different traditions and in different psychological ways. The problem however is that these have also been misunderstood and slandered by Christianity and other religions over the years and are often lumped together with the same accusations of evil that the Horned God has suffered.

All of this makes it rather difficult for some of us Pagans to talk very openly about the male aspect of divinity we believe in and worship. We are very open to and sensitive about accusations of doing, worshiping or being “evil”. It is a frequent accusation in fact. Like most people we want to be seen and respected for the good that we do and the authenticity of our beliefs and lifestyle rather than constantly fending off suggestions that we are evil or being lead or mislead by somebody else’s personification of evil. Perhaps some Christians should meditate on some of their own scriptures, for example:-¬†Luke 6:43¬†“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.Luke 6:44¬†Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, this year I have felt moved to explore areas of my path that may have been neglected to some degree previously. Part of that process has been to revisit my relationship with deity, and forming a closer bond with the male aspect and archetype of God. In doing this I have felt a calling from the Horned God. I feel as if he is wounded, not in the sense that his power is diminished but simply in the sense that he is pained by the slanders against him and the misunderstandings of what he is. My response to a wounded creature is to dress his wounds and help him to heal.

Weather he is called Pan or Herne or  Cernunnos or any of the other names by which he is known, I worship and respect him as Lord of nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting and the  whole of the life cycle. He is the Lord who completes and balances The Lady. He is an important part of the whole. He is the divinity we find in the rawness of nature and is a link between our own natural instincts and our spiritual aspirations. As a male archetype he represents the strengths and dignity of manhood, wild but intelligent, strong but gentle, hunter and provider, wise and protective. He is the man men aspire to be and the man women may aspire to be with.

It is time he was freed from the slanders that wound him and honored fully and equally with the Goddess. There is much we can learn from him if we look beyond the lies and the prejudice.

Spiritual Sundays–Pagan Morals

In keeping with the recent reorganization of my blog I am intending to post about more spiritual/pagan matters on (or close to) Sundays from now on.

This week I want to write about something that is frequently on my mind and that is;- how to live a morally authentic lifestyle as an eclectic pagan? And, what are those morals based on? ¬†Whether I agree with them or not, Christians,¬†Muslims¬†and Jews can at least claim a fixed point for their moral beliefs in the Ten Commandments. Most other religions also have certain scriptures which give quite specific moral guidelines. Paganism does not. Yes, Wiccan’s have The Rede but even that tends to be very open to interpretation. Most pagans though are not wiccan. There are so many strands of paganism and perhaps there are moral guidelines in some, but what for those of us whose paths are eclectic? On what do we base our morals? Aleister Crowley is supposed to have said, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Does this mean we are essentially amoral or that whatever we feel in our hearts is right for us? It seems to me that, especially for those of us who practice magic, it is important to have a moral baseline of some sort.

My own morals are indeed very personal. They are based mainly on the concepts of Ma’at (balance and judgement) from ancient Egyptian religion and on ideas from Taoism. I have been wondering if that is really enough or if there might possibly be something more universal that I could pin my moral beliefs, actions and attitudes to. During a recent conversation I was involved in at Earthsong Forums, Feranaja said some very wise things which I’ll quote later in italics. Perhaps reverence for the Earth is in itself more than enough basis for morality?

There are a lot of us whose beliefs and practices have changed and evolved beyond what originally brought us into witchcraft and yet we don’t fit in to any particular named tradition… Our ideas are eclectic but not fluffy, morally aligned differently but not trendily black or fluffily white… ¬†We are Witches walking an ethical path, with varying and fluid understandings of deity and magic, but united in our belief that the earth is sacred, that deity can be understood in a wide variety of ways but always with female inclusion, that magic is an art that takes years to perfect.

Fera went on to say the following and expressed what I was thinking perfectly.

The entire polemic between “Dark and Light” is to be blunt, pretty juvenile to me.
The Initiatic path seeks to bridge these illusions. To work with a developed and developing moral code (which much of the Spookies seem to lack in their willingness to ‘teach lessons” and curse etc) and yet not to be deluded into an “All is Love and Light” mindset of denial and wishful thinking.
As a Witch, I am Darkness and Light. I am tough as nails and soft as a feather. 

I will stop curses with a force that takes my own breath away – knowing full well it will return on the sender – but I will still send up prayers for the conflict to end peacefully.

My work is for kindness and justice to prevail and needless, mindless suffering to ease. But if I need to take out a perp while I’m at it – that will be done with deep consideration and much care, not the childish pseudo-power of threats and curses flung at people over relatively mild transgressions. I’m an adult; I deal with the crap of daily life in the usual ways. Time and experience have taught me that the use of my power should be reserved for healing and bringing balance to the world, where I can. This is not to say I will never do harm, only that it will be a last resort and done with sacrifice and forethought and purpose and care.
Fluffy? Hardly.
Dark and evil? I think not. I resent the association of the beauty of Darkness with Evil! (I so endorse that sentiment)

Wisdom is not bestowed on everyone by virtue of wanting to appear wise. It is earned, and the path will take us deep into the caverns of the Earth,the powerful cthonic forces that reside within – and high into the wheeling constellations, the exquisite power and beauty of the Celestial Realm. . Every step we will learn from the Green World that surrounds us, feed us, nourishes our inner beauty and teaches us how to live in these mortal bodies.
We seek to do no harm, knowing harm is all around us. 
We listen and learn from the earth, from the world of spirit, form our own personal depths.
We know the I and the Beyond I.

We are not tied to anything but our own heart’s truth, and the Great Work of restoring humanity’s rightful role on this planet.
As such we are Healers and Shamans and Warriors and Teachers, lovers and Mothers and Fathers and Guides.
And still I focus on love.
That is my power. 
Broken in a million pieces, the Witch heals herself.
Abandoned by all she trusts and holds dear, again she heals.
The healing she takes in and knows, she passes on. 

She or he. Green men and Warriors and Shamans, re-wilders and Magicians, there is room in this Path for all.
The common ground is the Earth and Her cries for help – and our own deep and powerful personal integrity.

It is a path for the few; let the Many pose and argue and divide. We will carry on as we must.

And I feel the time has come for us to unite.

(Fera’s own wordpress blog can be found here.)

So that is where my morals are based; in the earth beneath my feet, in the lessons I have learned and in the knowledge that I have¬†gleaned. They don’t need scripture, they need honesty and grit. They will always be a work in progress but they are rooted in the history of the rock and soil of our planet itself.

Willful Ignorance

When I have time I like to read other blogs which may be connected with subjects I am interested in. Recently I stumbled accross somebody who actually said the following.
, ” in my experience atheists are all either willfully ignorant or downright stupid, probably due to too much marijuana.”
I thought this was a nice example of what wilful ignorance actually is; although that is probably not what the author intended!

He said a lot of other equally stupid things in an attempt to prove his own point that Catholicism is the only true religion and that abortion is evil and that anybody who disagrees with him must be stupid or evil.

At first I thought that the type of wilful ignorance that he displayed was based on a very strong faith that coloured all his perceptions and blinded him to everything else. After thinking about it further I came to the conclusion that such stupid, ignorant and sweeping statements are more likely to be based on a lack of any real faith. People who are desperate are the most likely to lash out blindly in all directions.

I have had really interesting discussions with Catholics and members of other faiths in which intelligent discussion provoked us both to question our assumptions and thus to learn and grow.¬†Wilfully ignorant people don’t want that because at some level they realise their views won’t and can’t stand up to challenge, and thus they would be forced into the uncomfortable position of having to question EVERYTHING in their small lives.

The question for the rest of us is should we leave them in their state of blissful ignorance or should we challenge them out of their complacent stupidity? I guess I tend to take the more provocative approach. Wilful ignorance left unchallenged leads to all sorts of prejudice and conflict, sometimes violent.