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I am a multimedia designer and aspiring writer from Central Illinois who dreams of bigger things. You are entering the hub of my online world. Welcome. Make yourself at home, read some stuff, click a few things, maybe check out my online portfolio. And of course, if you enjoy your stay, please subscribe.

*NOTE* This blog occasionally contains coarse language. Please use discretion when viewing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Magic and prayer

I just wanted to make a statement regarding my attitude toward Christianity. I have in my life several Christians whom I regard with great respect. My wife is one of them. Another is a good pastor friend of mine, a long-time true friend to my wife. I am of the opinion that, on the whole, most Christians have their heart in the right place. Your religious/spiritual/philosophical beliefs, however, should not completely define who you are. I recognize the similarities between different peoples and different religious leanings.

Imagine the scene:

A faithful Christian is worried about a friend or loved one who has been in a serious car accident, diagnosed with a terrible illness, something like that. He goes to a church, kneels at the altar, kneeling bench, whatever. The crucifix looms high above him. The stained glass around him shows images of birth, life, death and rebirth into the Kingdom of Glory. All around are trappings of holiness, inspiring him with the feelings he has associated with them throughout his life. He feels dwarfed by the power of Lord God Almighty. He prays to his God with tears in his eyes to come to the aid of his friend. He passes his prayer on to the pastor, adding his wishes to the prayer list. On Sunday, the congregation is presented with the plight of this friend of the church, along with the needs of many others. Much sympathy is felt and a mass prayer goes out.

Many Christians will swear that the power of prayer works. If, by chance, that friend pulls through fairly unscathed, "Praise Jesus, our prayers were with him." If, this time, it doesn't work and he dies or becomes a vegetable, "It was God's will. The Lord works in mysterious ways. We must now pray for God to help us understand and accept His will." It's a built-in failsafe.

Okay, now bear with me... I'm not writing this for the purpose of knocking Christians here. I do have a point, and I think it's a pretty good one.

Here's the next scene:
Same friend, same situation, only this time our subject is a Laveyan Satanist. He is filled with sorrow at the unjust blow his friend has suffered. This time, he enters his darkened, polygonal ritual chamber. The candles are lit. The altar stands, draped in a blood red satin cloth emblazoned with the Sigil of Baphomet. There sits a skull (probably a poly-resin model), next to a short sword and a chalice of wine (or any juice he finds pleasing to his palate). The room is full of the smell of his favorite incense & small trails of smoke from the black candles, tall and tapered as well as pillars. He strikes a gong, calls forth the names of Lucifer; his blood pounds. His body is flooded with adrenaline.

He brings forth a photo of his dear friend. He focuses his energy on the pain his friend must be feeling. He empathizes with his friend, feels the sorrow, lets himself weep and concentrate on his desired outcome. He gives himself totally to the working. He cries every last drop and uses all his energy to visualize his friend recovered, voicing his most sincere sympathetic wishes to the still, empty, darkened ritual chamber. Until he is worn out. The ritual is concluded, the gong is rung yet again. He finishes with a "Shemhamforash! Hail Satan!"

Now, if his friend pulls through, chances are, he's not going to tell his friend that it came as a direct result of his greater magic ceremony. But that's what he'll believe. If it doesn't appear to work, he can justify it by telling himself, "I must have diffused the working by not fully believing in it," or "Perhaps the power was diluted because I thought about it too much after the casting. Once the magic is out there, it's best not to think about it afterward." Another built-in failsafe.

Both these practices are based upon faith. The Christian relies on faith in a God he has never seen. The Laveyan Satanist relies on faith in his own magical abilities, as does a Wiccan. The difference is that a Satanist recognizes the ritual chamber for what it is--a place to suspend disbelief in the impossible. Because magic (or a prayer-related miracle, for that matter) really is impossible, right?

The Satanist is an atheist, a skeptic. He chooses to work his magic, or prayers, in an environment that most stimulates his senses and gives him a rise. Anton LaVey, for many years, used a live nude woman as the altar in his group rituals. It was meant to titillate & ignite the senses. It is this excitement and focus of emotions and thought that directs the power that I believe lies in every human.

I believe no matter what you call it: prayer, magic, creative visualization, empathy, self affirmation, suggestion, whatever... it's all the same damned thing. It's something we can all do, but we can't explain it, so the easiest thing to do is to attribute it to a higher power. "I'm not causing it to happen, I'm asking God to, and he's doing it."

That's why I don't make judgments on other people's beliefs too often. They do what works for them, what inspires them to get the results they need. In my understanding, the Christians are doing the same thing I do, only they take it a bit more seriously than I do. I'm so skeptical, it's a wonder I believe in anything.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Public prayer in schools? A letter from the Midwest

I dropped my five-year-old son off at his public school yesterday only to hear the principal come over the intercom and say that, due to a new state law, they would begin the day from now on with a "moment of silence for personal reflection or prayer."

Excuse me???

That's right. I live in Illinois, the only state with the good sense to require a physical education program for students, but the only state now dumb enough to apparently mandate prayer in schools.

I understand that the principal was reading a portion of the law almost verbatim, but he chose to ignore the portion that says "it is not intended as a religious exercise," and to read the portion that says "for reflection or prayer." Probably not a big deal in a high school setting, but I doubt my five-year-old, or many others, could even define "silent reflection," so to them, their only option is prayer.

Governor Rod Blagojevich had previously vetoed this particular bill, citing a violation of separation of church and state. But the Senate overrode the veto last week. The House did the same Thursday, voting 74-37. What the hell is going on in this state? There was previously a law in effect which stated the same thing, but it allowed teachers to lead a moment of silence. The difference is, now they are required to do so. I guess perhaps before, no one was doing it.

The law as it appears on the books can be found at the below address. I have pasted it at the bottom of this missive as well. AARGH! I'm just pissed off! "The Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act"! Indeed!

Here is the link to the full text, found below:

Public Act 095-0680

SB1463 Enrolled LRB095 09404 NHT 29600 b

AN ACT concerning education.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act is
amended by changing Section 1 as follows:

(105 ILCS 20/1) (from Ch. 122, par. 771)
Sec. 1. In each public school classroom the teacher in
charge shall may observe a brief period of silence with the
participation of all the pupils therein assembled at the
opening of every school day. This period shall not be conducted
as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity for silent
prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities
of the day.
(Source: P.A. 76-21.)

Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

"The war is on, the lines are drawn
but there's a lot of people saying that we've already won.
How can they believe that we have reached the end
with 'In God We Trust' on every dollar we spend?"

- Electric Hellfire Club, "Unholy Roller"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Radiohead: In Rainbows (there lies a pile of crap)

Oh boy! Hear the hype? You can download a new CD by an alternative pop band that hasn't had a hit for 14 years, and you can name your own price!

I took them up on this offer, even though I haven't heard a peep out of these guys since 1993's "Creep" single. But I figured instead of wasting my hard-earned cash, I'd get it for FREE (that's right! Legally!) and take it for a test spin. Glad I didn't waste any money on this piece of garbage! Now I know why they're giving it away for free. Hell, they'd have to pay ME to listen to that steaming lump of e-crap twice.

Now I know there are those of you who'll disagree with me, and that's your right. I know not every genre of music appeals to everyone. But in my opinion, these guys are a whiny bunch of assholes that seems to not even be able to play a straight melody. This album should be avoided at all costs, unless you need a soundtrack to slit your wrists to.

I'll just stay away next time. Free usually comes with SOME price. In this case, it was just my time. I'd say "caveat emptor," but there need be no caveats here. Go ahead, download it free and try for yourself. If by some chance you LIKE it, then download it again and pay them what you think it's worth. But I've learned my lesson.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Boyd Rice on "Talk Back with Bob Larson"

Just finished listening to a fantastic audio program wherein evangelist Bob Larson interviewed Magister Boyd Rice of the Church of Satan in the early 1990s.

I just love Rice's unapologetic, unblinking, cold frankness in the face of Larson's over-the-top Christian hysterics. This is not uncommon behavior for Bob Larson, from what I know of the man. It cracked me up that here he was, in-studio with what he basically claimed was evil incarnate: a bigoted, anti-semitic, hate-mongering demon straight from the leadership of the world's most dangerous "organization," and yet NO ONE SEEMED TO CARE.

Larson repeatedly implored his listeners to chime in, to support God, to let Mr. Rice have it... To donate funds to the show... and only like three people called. And of those, two were on Boyd's side! And of those two, ONE WAS A JEW! Not only that, but the one caller that DID support Larson was a friggin' idiot! This was a priceless piece of radio history, I tell you. I don't know how many callers Mr. Larson usually gets, but it seemed as though he was quite disappointed in his little Christian soldiers. Perhaps on this day they heard something that made more sense to them???

If you want to hear the show, it can be found here. It can be found, along with other great Boyd Rice audio files, on Magister Rice's web site.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Hi, everyone. If you've made it here, I can only assume it's because I have invited you for some reason or another. Either you are a friend of mine through social media networking or the real world, or you are perhaps a prospective employer here to see what I have to offer. Either way, the world of this blog is at your disposal.
Here I wear my heart on my sleeve, speak my mind, showcase some of my original pieces of design and writing, and maybe even link to a few pieces I've discovered which tickle my fancy. If you're just a buddy or acquaintance killing some time, enjoy! If you are feeling me out for ability and professionalism because you might be interested in hiring me . . . enjoy as well! And I hope to hear from you soon.
Best wishes,
Shane McGraw