How It Feels to Be Blacklisted
I discovered the limits of the alternative spiritual culture
My spiritual search is controversial. There’s no easy way to explain this — actually there is an easy way to explain but not to be heard — but I explore a highly personal version of what I consider Satanism.
By that I do not mean evil, violence, maleficence or anything that has gotten historically and religiously misapplied to that term.
Rather, I see the Satanic as the Romantic poets did: the force of rebellion, radical self-expression, artistic freedom, usurpation, and revolution. I believe the snake in the garden was a trickster-emancipator without whom humanity wouldn’t be humanity. The price for that human creativity can be friction — but without it we wouldn’t be sentient beings.
As you can see, I am open and forthright about my search. This is because I believe in transparency and in a search without barrier or compulsion.
But there is a price. And I accept it.
A New Age organization with which I have had years of productive collaboration, and for which I’ve raised money, recently hosted me for a conference. I was told that some members were uncomfortable with my search and its connotations but that management nonetheless supported me, which I appreciated. I delivered two talks, entirely unrelated to this topic, which received standing ovations. But don’t look for them on YouTube.
After one talk, an audience member tensely confronted me. I replied, much as I have here, and further explained that I have a code of nonviolence — by which I do not mean desistance from legitimate self-defense but doing nothing to disrupt another’s search for highest potential. I added that I also believe in “cosmic reciprocity,” or what might be called karma, and I do not take a go-it-alone or hedonistic approach to life. More applause.
The next day numerous people, including the organization’s director, congratulated me. All seemed well.
Then I arrived home.
Two days after arriving I got an email stating that more people had complained, and in light of an unrelated lecture I delivered in New York City on Satanism, I was being cut loose — expelled. They immediately scrubbed me from their website, YouTube page, and catalogue. Gone. Like that.
How did it feel? I wasn’t angry. I felt they were acting from fear. I admit I was worried about further repercussions — but not worried enough to deny the same freedom of search for myself that I defend for others.
I will lose some income, and I have lost some people I considered friends.
But when I think of figures I wrote about in Occult America — from mystic Johannes Kelpius to Shaker founder Mother Ann Lee to Vice President Henry A. Wallace — I am reminded of people who made far greater sacrifices, and suffered calumny, for the integrity of their search.
Expulsions are a funny thing. Historically speaking, the people who commit them are usually next in line. And when that occurs I will speak up for their rights to search, to seek, and to consensually experiment. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a one-way street. The search has no lanes other than ahead.