Sunday, 3 February 2019
If I were to sum up what I have read so far in this book (I am about halfway through it... I have been reading it incrementally while juggling a few other books at the same time), I would say - if the goth kids from South Park had a bible they followed, this would be it.
I first learned of "Goth Craft" years ago when I was in a BMV with a friend of mine, and picked it up, snickering at the idea that someone made a manual on how to be not just a witch, but a GOTH witch. One would think that if one wanted to go goth, they would just go goth... just buy some black eyeliner, a Siouxsie and the Banshees album, dress appropriately, and go from there. But now there's a manual on how to do this, which one can follow while also dabbling in the occult. Though I can understand why one would wish to consult a manual on how to get into the occult, I really don't understand why there has to be a step-by-step guide on how to become a goth while you're at it. It seems rather absurd. To quote those goth kids from South Park, it's "so conformist".
I was a rivethead, personally, back in my clubbing days, which is basically an industrial cousin to goth - more stompy and angry rather than mopey, more militant than lacy, that kind of stuff. I later retired from that scene... I still like the music, but have traded my 20 hole Docs in for more cute and feminine stuff. (Most dress down days have me dressing rather conservatively, my hair in a "ma'am bun" for my day job, but I will still wear alternative fashion, often enough.)
I find this book silly in a way that I don't think most people will, and I say this, having been raped by a demon calling itself "Satan", after a few innocent rounds with a oujia board. Though the tone here is well meaning, and it certainly is not an un-entertaining read (though, for me, perhaps for all the wrong reasons), I don't get the sense the author truly grasps the cultural significance of much of what he describes of tribal societal ritual, as an example, stuff that might truly muck someone up, if they engage in it and don't know how to control it, or shut it down. This concerns me, knowing how curious young adults (and yes, teenagers too, of course) can and will be with the occult. There is nothing wrong with Paganism if it is done safely, nothing wrong with alternative culture, but I get the sense that this is not the kind of book one should follow as a guide, if one truly does not have a solid understanding of the nature of the occult, or of the practises therein. If Digitalis can't even nail down the facts about the history of gothic lolita fashion, how can he be a source on ritual such as bloodletting? It's a mild concern.
I also may be completely out of touch at this point with my former subculture, but this book keeps going on and on about "the darkness" and how goths worship "the darkness" and I am still rather lost as to what exactly this metaphor of darkness represents. Hopefully not demons, which, as I have said elsewhere, seem like a fucking stupid thing to play around with, and not a true source of power or benevolence. For any real power, in my experience, one must befriend Divinity, and that can take a lot of work and dedication, depending on your path. Some sadhus will stand with their arms in the air for many years to invoke Shiva for siddhis... this stuff can take a lot of discipline, more than just carving a pentagram into one's ankle for Baphomet. The cultural appropriation here doesn't offend me too much... it's kind of an eye roller, though. What offends me is the potential for harm, if in the wrong hands.
But I am still enjoying this book... can't say it's not fun to read. It was a bit of a challenge to track down a used copy. I saw it at BMV again, then after telling the Anglican Druid about it, who really wanted to see it, we went back to buy it, and it was gone! Turns out it was only shifted around in the store inventory... we later got the copy after it was found. He consumed it... I am still making my way through it.
I will have to give my final thoughts later, as I complete this strange read. But for now, I will say that the rise in "Satan is kawaii" pop cultural edgelord shit disturbs me a bit, and I worry that psych wards will be flooded with neo-Satanic teens who have invoked nasty entities, thus further backing up the revolving door mental health system. This shit is not to be toyed with, and much of the world does not seem to get that. Yes, I know I sound like someone's superstitious Catholic grandma, but I never want to relive what I went through for 12 and a half years, and I don't wish it upon anyone else either. It's horrible, and not worth the goth scene points.
(BTW, something funny to mention - I have heard it's become a thing in Pagan girl circles to seek out nice Christian boys to date, because so many Pagan guys are such insufferable, neck-bearded, dagger collecting, dragon-tattooed-dick, basement dwellers that Pagan ladies want a boy that seems clean cut and trustworthy. Obviously, this depends on the church... Baptists might not be great, but Lutherans, United churchgoers and Anglicans seem ok. Also, two lady friends of mine have, on separate occasions, told me they have a sexual fantasy of seducing a Mormon boy at the door in lingerie, and neither had ever met the other, so I guess that too is a thing.)