Lucifer 2: Welcome to the Labyrinth.

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Years ago when I left Christianity and tried Wicca on for size, I thought that I was making a big jump, but in hindsight I never really left the right-hand path—I just changed how I traveled upon it. As it turned out, I wasn't really searching for personal liberty, but secret knowledge which some part of me believed had been withheld by Christianity. This is an attitude that persisted for many years also in my pursuit of fortune-telling and the performance of Tarot.

At the time, I was a deeply superstitious person who distrusted science and believed that magic could be seen with properly attuned eyes and felt with properly trained hands. My involvement in Wicca and Tarot, and investigation of New Age, New Thought, and generally Western occult subjects was thoroughly invested in learning intricate series of correspondences. So the Hermeticists say, "As above, so below; as below, so above." I memorized tables upon tables of connections showing the influence of the planets as distributed through ascended masters, angels, kings, princes, and demons, and how moods, thoughts, countries, rocks, minerals, plants, trees, birds, beasts, and any other thing you could name existed as part of some divine pattern.

Does it sound like a lot of work? Oh, certainly it was. I had a dog-eared copy of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's von Nettesheim "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" from which I studied. I made frequent reference to his medieval numerology, as well as the construction and use of magic squares of multiple orders. This was fascinating to me mostly because I didn't stop to think why this writing was over 500 years old and held no place in today's world. Had I been willing to see it, I would have realized the truth: it's pure nonsense.

But at the time, Oh what a pleasure and delight it was! I felt like I had found something secret and powerful which the world had ignorantly forgotten and only I truly understood! This is hilarious to me now—how could I have possibly been ignorant of the professional scholars and researchers who came before me?—but it was no joking matter then. As I poured myself into the tables of correspondences and shattered myself into increasingly smaller splinters of mind, body, spirit, past life, present life, and future life, the elaborate web of connections that emerged seemed to prove itself simply because of its complexity. How could such complexity possibly be wrong? I managed to convince myself that I had found secret and forgotten methods which would open the world to my mind. I was sure that the complexity existed for a reason.

Or at least, I thought everything existed for a reason. Years later when I disabused myself of these fantasies, I was able to see what Dr. LaVey described when he said that occultists would do well as maze-makers. Though I never built a maze from brick and stone, I had without realizing it built a severely complicated labyrinth replete with dead ends, turn-arounds, and multiple paths which terminated just a step away from the exit. I had unknowingly created a maze which existed for no other reason than to send me back to the beginning and start over with no hope of ever reaching the end. I had become an absolute professional at deceiving myself—indeed, so talented that for many years I couldn't even see what I was doing.

I eventually learned to see the mazes I was making for what they were, and I also admitted to myself that the alluring fantasy is what I really wanted. What else could explain my devotion to fortune-telling when daily events revealed to me that no matter how I shuffled the cards I couldn't predict winning lottery numbers? Judging by the evidence, I preferred process over outcome.

The ultimate distillation of my experience is this: I build labyrinths, and whether for my own personal entertainment or as part of a temporary deception for myself or willing participants, I use these labyrinths as I will. And were it not for Dr. LaVey who was willing to name the self-deceit of the right-hand path, I might still be trapped in my own labyrinths. Were I to embrace "mere atheism," I would have thrown the baby out with the bathwater and convinced myself of the moral wrong in fortune-telling, but the wisdom of Satanism taught me the productive benefits that come from temporary self-deceit.

I offer you the accumulated sum of my years of deceit and manipulation. If you so desire, you may use this knowledge to build your own labyrinths and lead either yourself or others down long and twisting paths. There is neither divine order nor absolute authority in the pages that follow. If you like what you see, you're welcome to use it. If you dislike what you see, you can change it. Or you can disregard this work entirely and synthesize your own method for the creation of occult labyrinths. The choice is yours, so do with these lessons what you will.