I have recently submitted my registration information for the Church of Satan. I signed my check for two hundred dollars and enclosed not only my signed registration form and photo copied government ID, but also my packet for Active Membership.
In short, Active membership is for those who wish to take, that’s right, a more active role in speaking out on behalf of the Church. It’s not an application for rank or a fast track to any sort of hierarchy, but more a declaration that “Yes, I understand the tenets and doctrine and I wish to be a voice against the detractors and fear-mongers that try to disparage what it means to be a Satanist.” This is something, that after much thought, I feel would behoove not only myself, but the organization itself.
I like to think I’m rather eloquent, both on paper and in person, I do feel I know the source material well enough, and I do relish the opportunity to correct misconceptions of the Church in the public forum.
So I applied, the application consisting of about 40 questions about me as an individual and my goals, hobbies, interests, etc; a resume of sorts and a chance to pitch myself. At first it seemed as though I would be able to breeze through it, as though filling out some sort of personality test that you would find on-line, but as I started answering the questions in depth, I started filling more and more pages with text. I was not verbose, nor simply filling in lines as a student might try to meet a word count on a high school essay question. In fact I was self-reflecting in a way I hadn’t in a long time.
The task soon became daunting, not in the size of the work, but how many layers was I intending to peel back? How many layers would those reviewing the application care to see? After typing out, then retyping, and then deleting and typing once more, I finally realized that there is no “right” answer, unlike a college professor they (hopefully) aren’t looking for certain buzzwords or hot topics to be hit. Though there is, of course, wrong answers and I chewed my nails for a long time before I finally printed and sent the twenty-five page packet it ended up being.
Of course after I sent it, the “perfect” answers hit me like a freight train. All the things I “should” have said came as easily as drawing breath after surfacing from the depths of a pool. I find myself gasping at my own revelations that I neglected to include, anecdotes that would surely endear, tragic tales that would help them identify. So many words wasted, and self doubt slowly crept in.
Then another revelation hit me. So what? So what if they reject the application? So what if they don’t think I fit the bill? In analyzing myself in those questions I shed light on layers of hopes and fears I had laid to rest long ago. Parts of my proverbial attic were shaken out and the entropy set free. I now have a clearer picture and a stable of fresh jokes and anecdotal tales from my past I had long forgotten about. Life lessons whose rewards were never fully reaped. I saw myself clearly for the first time, as only hard, callous, self reflection can do. I saw myself, not in the still water of the pool, but in the ripples cast from stirring up the sediment.
So let the dice roll, the chips fall where they may. It was out of my hands the moment I stamped and sent the package. If it goes, it goes. If I don’t make the cut, maybe again in five years when I need a good paradigm shift. When I need to stir up the still waters of my tranquil pond, I’ll reapply.
Still there is one part I feel worth sharing. It had been a long time since I had written a poem, any poetry at all for that matter, and not two weeks before the application, I penned this prose, and when asked, I was able to provide this in serendipitous answer to question #39 Define Satan:
The blend of sweat and inspiration,
That poured the very first foundation,
For our modern civilization.
The biological imperative,
That keeps the wolves competitive,
And destroys dogmatic sedative.
The natural orders that keeps us turning,
That starts the mighty tempest churning,
And keeps the fiery mantle burning.
The goose bumps borne of ecstasy,
Tangled somewhere in the sheets that we,
Defiled so deliciously.
The Inquisitor’s turn upon the rack,
The cry for help when his bones crack,
To the very God who turned his back.
The velvet kiss of sweet decadence,
That we taste without recompense,
And bask in unbridled opulence.
The champion of logic, science,
And unabashed, bold defiance
To those who would demand compliance
Satan is the adversary,
Satan is Eden’s apple tree,
Satan is you, Satan is me.