When I hear the word Witchcraft I think about Salem, Massachusetts. Not Arthur Miller’s Salem. Not the tourist trap Salem. Satan’s Salem. My first visit there in 1996 was an experience that somehow awakened something within me that changed my life from that point on. It was there during my first visit that I began a lifelong interest in magick. As a child, I always felt attuned to things I did not understand. I was overly inquisitive, always in search for answers to questions that couldn’t easily be solved. Visiting Salem allowed me to view the world differently, helping me to recognize the things I didn’t understand for what they really were. Darkness. The unknown. Magick. Personal truth. Damnation means never coming to a full realization of myself. Never exposing myself to things that make me feel uncomfortable. It’s a simple task to discern one’s life fully exposed in the transparent light of truth. Seeking truth, however, in the certain darkness can be challenging and uncomfortable.
Perhaps Salem’s truth lies in the distant past, before the sensationalized trials of 1692-3. Out there in those woods, in a new world, in the distant, deep, darkened past lay untouched wilderness, reeling with the pulse of Satanic energy. To the puritans, the woods were challenging and uncomfortable. Uncertain and opaque. Evil was the unknown darkness. A future unseen. Predestination was a thing for the puritan Christians. It was horribly obvious that they wanted no secrets between themselves and between their god. The woods embodied a complete opposition to those things. If it had to be done, traversing the forest was preferable during the day because the night brought a certain uncertainty. The woods were “all as lonely could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.” (Hawthorne 1264)
I believe the puritans understood the left-hand path through those things in which they suppressed within themselves. Many false accusations of witchcraft in the seventeenth century arose from persecuting those individuals who exhibited those things that puritans viewed as unclean, or perhaps different. Those people who may have possessed some aspect that made them outliers from the clear cut, god-fearing puritan ideal. Through this understanding, an underground antinomian culture arose from within the psyche of the American spirit.
The highly conscious American reaches for the unknown and embraces it. Predestination, or the idea of knowing the outcome of some ultimate fate is something a self-styled Satanic witch like myself refuses to accept. As a pilgrim of the left-hand path I seek to not only create my fate, but to be master of it. Master of who I am to become, and how I will ultimately arrive into that state of becoming. I seek to reconcile myself with the unknown, to travel the wilderness of the self with the stars and moon above me, and to gaze into the darkness of myself and find gold there.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “Young Goodman Brown.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Sixth Edition. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: Norton, 2003. 1263-1272. Print.