End of Times, Beginning of Times
Updated: a day ago
You may have noticed that I haven't updated this blog since October.
If you are local to me, you may have noticed that I have not been at any TST ATX related events since October. I haven't been commenting on the forums, helping on the planning committees, welcoming new members, attending meetings, or leading the book club, as I used to. Before I continue my blog, which is my intention, I want to offer an explanation and catch you up on what has happened. In early November I, and my partner, were abruptly removed from our local TST chapter. I am hoping that the distance of time elapsed between then and now will help set the tone that this is not a malicious post, but rather one of honest transparency. One of the core reasons I identify as a Satanist is due to the pursuit of truth and justice, and I am honoring that by openly sharing the journey I experienced and closing that chapter before moving forward.
My time with my local chapter was very short - a mere 5 months. My journey initially started with the absolute elation that most of us felt upon discovering a local Satanic chapter - I was eager to jump on in and start *doing things*, making a difference, meeting like-minded folx, and helping the people in my community in whatever way I could. I'm a planner, a do-er, and a voracious learner; I devoured every shred of information I could find within my first few months. I mean everything - I brought information to my local meetings that they weren't even sure how I found. I engaged with my community right away, joined multiple forums, and chimed in on many discussions. That's when things first started to go poorly for me. I was told to slow down, to not start discussions or even comment on discussions, and instead to just observe and listen. Not-doing-anything really isn't my strong suit, but I did my best. I pulled myself back and tried to find a pinpoint focus for my Satanism, tried to focus on why I was there, what I'd want to give to my community and what I'd like to get from my community. The answer I found could be summed up in one word; Fellowship. Ultimately I felt the path for me was to be a Satanic Minister. I wanted to help. I wanted to be engaged, be someone my fellow community members could depend on. I wanted to grow in my path to knowledge and share that knowledge to help my community grow as well.
That is when I started this blog. I felt I could share the things I was learning and experiencing, and if people were interested then they could read it. I did my due diligence to place disclaimers and make sure others understood I was not a leader in our community in any way, that I was doing only what spoke to me, and that I was not any authority on the information presented but that it was all my musings as I learned. Our local community meet-ups were a time of extreme joy for me. My partner and I attended every public and private meet-up during our time with the local chapter. I always made it a point to say "hi" to every person, and to purposefully engage in conversation with those who looked a little lost, anxious, or who were standing alone. I know what it feels like to be that person, and I remember how a welcoming and engaging presence really changed those anxious moments for me, so I wanted to do the same for those who needed it. The day when a Chapter Leader asked me to introduce a new person to what we were about and the basics of what it means to be involved here, I almost cried. Sounds so cheesy I know! But I had been working so hard for that moment, working to be a source of knowledge, a dependable and loving presence. It was the highest point I had during my time in the local chapter. Around then a few people had begun reaching out to me, inspired by my engagement and active presence online, and asked for my advice. Again doing diligence to make sure they understood I was not a leader in this community and that if they wanted any kind of official information on TST-specific instances then they needed to seek out a leader, but if it was an issue that was not TST-specific I'd be glad to help them! Community members and I had various conversations on topics ranging from what we thought about death, the Seven Tenets, how we practice our Satanism in our day to day lives, books and movies we enjoy, our thoughts on the supernatural, our experiences growing up, and so much more. This evolved into hosting coffee chat meet-ups with local community members, shared publicly in our appropriate forums. I also proposed a Book Club to my Chapter Head, and was thrilled when it got approved. I carefully created the group page, getting approval from my Chapter Head every step of the way, and yet another final approval before letting the page go live.
Book Club was in the middle of our first book when things went dramatically sour. In early October I had an in person meeting with Chapter Leadership to discuss my involvement in the chapter, as well as the projects I had - this blog, and the book club- under the impression of aiding me in finding an outlet for my extreme drive. Instead, I was scolded by leadership for talking with my fellow community members in private. I was instructed, quite clearly, that if anyone were to reach out to me for anything - TST related or not TST related - that I was to not assist and instead refer them to Chapter Leadership. I was informed that the Book Club I lovingly constructed wasn't considered an official initiative. This was shocking news to me. It looked to others as though I made the decision on my own and created the Book Club without going through the proper channels. Despite there being no dedicated "proper channels" at the time. I was criticized for this blog. While stating that they weren't going to tell me to stop doing it, it was made clear to me that it was frowned upon that someone so new to the chapter would be blogging about anything Satanism-related. It was stressed during my time with the chapter that my time outside the chapter didn't mean anything here, that the knowledge and study I had done for 20 years prior to finding this chapter didn't matter here, and that until I had been here "long enough" that I should refrain from engaging within the community. Leadership asked me to take an additional 3 month period and observe instead of interact. It was told to me that some members of the community were looking up to me, due to my level of engagement, and leadership felt that even though I stated over and over again I was not in a position of leadership, the community viewed me as a source of information, and that was concerning to Chapter Leadership. They told me that if I really felt compelled to respond to anything online, despite them asking me not to, that I at least preface each one of my comments with a disclaimer similar to "I am not in a leadership position within this chapter, but this is what I think (insert my own thoughts). I would encourage you to ask leadership for further information" And then they dropped a mind-numbing bomb on me - a previous community member had researched me, and discovered my birth name. This previous member brought the information they had gathered about me to Chapter Leadership, and leadership neglected to let me know that my personal safety was at risk. While they did remove that member from our community, they never let me know about the research this person did on me - until this meeting, months later, where they used that information as more of a "gotcha" moment, divulging that they knew my given name is not Gypsy. (2021 Update: I have listened, learned, and grown from the education offered to me over the years, and put this all into action by changing my name. I have changed my name personally and in my professional life, to remove all use of the g-slur. Thank you to those who took the time to offer me the chance to change <3 ). To say I was shocked is an understatement. I left that meeting in a river of tears, numb from emotional exhaustion, and mentally unsure how to move on from that. I had started a blog post "Do I Belong Here", which still remains unpublished. That meeting left me questioning myself, my community, and if I was welcome there.
The truth is that I do belong here. I am a Satanist. I know that without any doubt, and I do not need to belong to anything to follow a Satanic path. But, man, I really wanted to belong. To keep things as brief as possible; A few weeks later my partner and I learned that the water raised for the ATX homeless community from the Unbaptism event sat outside for months waiting for some organizational effort from the chapter to mobilize members to physically take the donations where they needed to be, and we had some concerns. We wanted to know why leadership had not asked for community help with this task and instead let bottles of water sit under the Texas sun for months, and we had concerns about if the plastic the water had been essentially baking in would in any way taint the water. Our concerns were in no uncertain terms not well received. We were told that we "suck all the fun out of the chapter", I was called a "drama queen", and for some stretch I still can’t understand they called my partner a "racist", and every one of these comments were from people in positions of leadership. And suddenly, in the middle of that conversation, we couldn't find the forum anymore. Looking further we couldn't find any of the forums anymore. We were abruptly and simply removed from every TST forum we were a part of - from local all the way to national. That was it. Despite involvement on planning committees (seriously, you have no idea the absolute insane amount of work my partner did for Sol Invictus), being engaged with the community, starting a book club, coffee chats, becoming friends with our local Satanists, helping with new organizational flow within the chapter, sharing chapter events for visibility on Facebook, attending every meeting, raising literally one thousand dollars for TST during a personal fundraiser, and offering support to the community at every turn, we were both promptly removed without a single word. My partner has inquired about being allowed back into the national forum, to no avail. While I am disheartened to lose the community, I do not want to try and force myself somewhere I am not wanted. It has been months of processing. I've been unsure what to do, or if I should do anything or even say anything. I've worked on other fundraiser projects, found ways to help in my neighborhood community, and pondered greatly on Satanism. I am still a Satanist, of course. I am going to be open, transparent, and honest. I am going to continue this blog, and I will be sharing things I learn, experience, and my thoughts and feelings. Not everything I write about will be in regards to Satanism, but I do plan to complete my sermons on the seven tenets. I absolutely would love to still continue the path to Satanic Ministry, however I have my doubts that anyone in the community would allow me into the program, so I am once again seeking a path I can practice. I hope to still see y'all around, and I hope to resume engaging with my Satanic friends. For the record - I adore truly 98% of everyone I met through my local chapter, and I still do. They are some incredible people. We just had apparently irreconcilable differences in regards to organization and team management/mobilization. I can live with that. Ave Satanas - even when it's not easy. Ave fucking Satanas.