When I was ten years old I became the battlefield for a war in which I had no weapons with which to fight. The process started gradually, and even now I’m estimating my age at the time, but I do seem to remember the exact place and time when the surreal realization overtook me that something had gone horribly wrong, and I’d suddenly lost a major part of myself to a nameless foe. The years that would follow were dark and the sickness that had infected my mind spread from my thoughts to my hand, out through my mouth, and into the air where it only continued to grow and pollute like a massive shadow weighing down my shoulders. It clung to me like a putrid stench, warding off anyone I may’ve considered seeking for help, and for those I did want to turn to the demon used my voice to lie—to trick them into blindness toward my plight. The demon changed the way I saw the world, interacted with it, and experienced it. It whispered obscene untruths to manipulate me to do what I otherwise would never have done, and with each action I took as a puppet for this demon I became more and more like its little wooden doll and less and less like the dynamic person I knew I once had been. I watched myself slip away, and there was nothing I could do about it since every moment I spent entranced and trapped I lost more of the will to claw my way out again. It destroyed my relationships first and next actively worked to delete my future. In less than five years I was a hollow shell of who I had been at the age of ten, and not a single person on the planet knew about this dirty little secret, that I’d been reduced to nothing more than a mechanical toy for an imposter-me. It is one of the darkest chapters in my life, if not the darkest.
There is an opinion out there in the world that knowing the name of a demon can help you fight it. Words are spells in and of themselves, and even founder Anton LaVey felt that words were the most powerful element in Ritual Magic according to his book, “The Satanic Rituals.” In this case I didn’t know the name of this demon. At first I wasn’t even sure that it was there. It was very sneaky in how it operated, but the effects of its efforts were blatant and loud. By the time I realized I was possessed by this thing a name didn’t seem to matter since reaching out for help was an impossible task, and it took five years of suffering for me to be able to get enough of a footing to figure out what it was called—and even then I found myself in another misfortune of mistaken identity, though it would be enough to pull me out of the pit this time. I thought the demon’s name was “Depression,” but I know now that the demon’s actual name probably closer to something like “Conformity,” and it was a demon that yes, was brought about through indoctrination by the Christian Church (I will explain this at some other time), but more so from the expectations of society which are imposed on young women maturing into adulthood. I felt free once I thought knew the demon’s name but since it was the wrong one I would still be marked, and whatever it be called, the demon would come back to haunt me at various points over the next decade. It wasn’t until I found Satanism that I realized the full extent of what had happened to me in my school years and beyond, and it wasn’t until I shed the cloak of falsehood that I experienced a clarity of mind that I hadn’t felt since I was 10 years old, on the ride home on a yellow school bus, surrounded by screeching kids and pretty plump deciduous trees on a sunny and bright May afternoon. Are you there with me? The bus smells like dust, some jerk is kneeing the ripped green plastic seat, and the Walkman is dying. (Try swapping the batteries around. Maybe you’ll get an extra song in.)
At the start of this leg of this journey down the Left Hand Path I wondered about getting my name officially changed. You now know of two reasons why I’d do this. First, my name was never meant for me, but then second; the process of my apostasy emancipated me from a dying self that was better left for dead. At first I thought, “This is great, this is the new me!” I thought I had reinvented myself and cast away the chains from my old life which was a pitiful thing that smoked out like fading cigarette embers drowning in a glass of wine. This attitude was premature and I’m happier for the truth: I didn’t need to feel like the old me had “died.” I didn’t need to relinquish my identity entirely because the truth is that the true me was still alive under the heavy boot that suppressed her. Once the boot was cast aside she flourished, and I’m whole again. Satanism reminded me how to suck the venom from my many wounds, and now I’m healing both literally and metaphorically with Satan as my guiding compass.
The third reason to change my name hinges more on the matter of Lesser Magic and pales in comparison to the significance of my pride in what I have just detailed to you, but it is still nonetheless incredibly important to consider. In the world of Lesser Magic (a world to which I am a dedicated and devout witch) your name is about as significant as the potency of your Glamor spell since certain names evoke a certain response from individuals. Your name can’t be “Annie Marie” if you’re going to constantly be playing the role of a 12 o’clock personality type. You can’t name yourself “Betty Sue” if you’re going to be pushing the exotic foreigner either, and although my name isn’t either of these two things I figure my point is well enough illustrated. All in all, it doesn’t matter if I change my name—it’ll be happening after the wedding if it does, and so I have plenty of time to think of it and warm myself up to another—because my identity isn’t going to change. I won’t allow myself to be possessed for another minute, let alone another decade. I am a Satanist. I’ve always been a Satanist. I will never let any system, religious or cultural, suppress me again.
Thanks, Satan. Love you, pal.