Lucifer 8: Confessions of a Guilty Fortune-Teller.

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What you're about to read is the figurative equivalent of my dirty drawers. You might think it's disgusting, but dirty laundry is a fact of life. No matter how often you wash your clothes, there'll always be more dirty laundry. There's no escape! The only thing to do about dirty laundry is to learn how to live with it. Turning this analogy toward religion and philosophy, our figurative dirty laundry is literal dirty deeds. Travelers of the right-hand path detest dirty laundry, and I should know because for years I was one of them. 

Though I was baptized Methodist, I grew up in a largely non-religious household and didn't think much of a deck of Tarot cards which I received as a birthday present when I was 12 or 13. That deck is long gone—I can't remember what became of it—but it was the gateway drug to the occult which I never did get clean of. Once I knew that such a thing existed, I never did forget it.

That Tarot deck and I were fairweather friends for a few years until I discovered religion again at 17 and joined the LDS Church. In hindsight, I converted for no other reason than to find a new family to replace my old family which was imploding because of my parents' divorce. At 17 and 363 days old I joined the Marine Corps and for a few years clung steadily to my new religion, but it eventually became clear that the LDS Church wasn't going to be a good fit because I couldn't reconcile belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent deity with the guilt-infested and thoroughly anti-human rhetoric his priests insisted we had to follow.

That was progress, but it wasn't enough, because at that juncture I was ready only to leave the LDS Church (and not the right-hand path itself.) So while I was looking for a new direction, I stumbled into Wicca. And why not? In many ways, Wicca is merely Jesus-with-tits: I'm still worshiping a deity with self-appointed priests who tell me that I should follow a contrived set of rules which place imaginary spirit ahead of material reality so that I can grow ever-closer to the divine. I tried Wicca on for size for a few years, but ultimately left because it felt too much like the religion that I had just abandoned.

But all this time, I never did forget the Tarot. After I left the LDS Church, I returned to the Tarot with a vengeance. I combined my previous experience with the Tarot as a teenager with what I learned in an online course for Tarot readers as an adult, and can you guess what I learned? The same thing that I learned about all religion: it's the product of a human mind created for the purpose of addressing human concerns. I realized very quickly that I could change the Tarot to suit my needs, and I did.

But no matter what I changed about the Tarot, I couldn't escape the dictates of the right-hand path: that I must never harm anybody, that I must be honest and noble in all things, it's deeply wrong to deceive, and I can only read Tarot for the highest good of all involved. Even though I had long since abandoned all pretense of being a member of any religion, I still labored under these rules. Even worse, I had the self-awareness to know that the Tarot had not helped me win the lottery, find missing children, prevent terrorist attacks, prepare for natural disasters, or solve any cold-case crimes. This self-awareness showed me that no matter what my teachers of the right-hand path had taught me, I was a confidence artist.

By this point, Tarot had become a pillar of my life and was more than just a hobby: it was growing into my full-time profession. And lacking any other foundation, I struggled to reconcile the truth that I'm a confidence artist with the rules given to me by my teachers. I was in an awkward position where I had to either suffer unending guilt while continuing my ways, or else give up Tarot completely. 

There were days when I invented reasons to cancel appointments or to get sitters out of my store as fast as I could. I was physically ill from the guilt hanging heavy over my head. I had dirty drawers, and no matter how often I changed them, they'd always be soiled by the end of the day. When it came to dirty laundry, my teachers of the right-hand path only taught me to try not to soil laundry in the first place. If that sounds impossible, it is.

Then one day—almost entirely by chance—I thought it would be interesting to read the Satanic Bible. I read it a few times slowly over a couple weeks. I didn't spend much time reading about ritual and greater magic, but instead spent the majority of my time on the essays regarding Satanic philosophy and lesser magic. Here was the liberation for which I had been searching! For the first time in my life, I found a religion and philosophy that accepted me—all of me—and didn't demand that I live up to any contrived rules, but instead live down to the reality of my human self (warts and all.) In the Satanic paradigm presented by Dr. LaVey, there's no moral judgement made against me for committing alleged spiritual sins or acquiring bad karma, and therefore no reason to feel guilt and shame about dirty laundry—it's a fact of life, after all.

With the Satanic Bible as my teacher, I learned that dirty laundry can actually be a lot of fun. Who ever smelled dirty panties or a sweaty jock strap and depending on his or her preference wasn't aroused? Nobody, that's who! Life is dirty, and contrary to what my former teachers on the right-hand path had to say about it, I was ready to sniff every panty and jock strap I could grab. Would I have reached this point without Satanism? Probably. But the Satanic Bible and its liberating, permissive philosophy sped my progress immensely. And truth told, I wouldn't be the fortune-teller that I am today had I not embraced Satanism. 

And so long as I'm telling the truth, I think that a lot of fortune-tellers that I meet are the worst sort of hypocrites. The difference between them and me is that I know I'm a confidence artist who's deceiving a willing audience. And now that you've read this, so do you. Don't listen to the sterile fantasies of the right-hand path who say that dirty drawers are sinful and shameful, because beneath every priest's clean, white robe is a sweaty, pissy, shitty pair of drawers. Put your face right in there and take a deep breath. You smell that? That's reality. Now do with it what you will.