Self Care During COVID-19

I’ve been quiet on my blog and podcast for the past few weeks, and that’s because I’ve been coping with being an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. I co-manage a small family-owned grocery store in Appalachia, and the past few weeks have simply been harrowing.

When the panic first hit, it felt like the worst hurricane in history was coming for North Carolina. Our sales more than doubled, and I felt destroyed just trying to keep up, while also keeping staff and customers safe from invisible death dots that could strike anyone without notice. Eventually, as the craziness at the store settled down into a manageable level, my fatigue turned to crippling anxiety. I was crying myself to sleep, and having horrible panic as I drove to work.

It felt like all my structures and support systems were just swept away by the flood. I’ve spent the past few weeks picking up the pieces, and now here I am, well enough to get back to creating.

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Atheism, Kindness, and Hospitality

Teacup

Several weeks ago, I interviewed pastor and astrophysicist Paul Wallace. On my website, there was one lone comment in response to our conversation, and it managed to encapsulate everything I struggle with in the atheist community:

Unsurprisingly, Wallace can’t let go of his fantasy about how important he is and that an omnipotent being agrees with him. It doesn’t take much, just making up his god and his religion in his own image and ignoring the inconvenient parts.

Alright atheists, let’s talk. It’s time for a huddle. If the following rant doesn’t apply to you, then congrats. But if this rant does apply to you, then I hope it inspires some reflection.

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Sacred Tension: Basic Glitches, Pt. 3: Put a Fist Through a Rich Kid’s Mouth

Matt Langston and I continue our conversation about his latest album Basic Glitches, which explores themes of religious trauma, deconversion, the digitization of our world, and much more. In this episode, we get to the silly half of the album.

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Satanism and Ignorant Familiarity

I’m currently working my way through Joseph Laycock’s new book Speak of the Devil. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read on Satanism, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Satanic religious movement and The Satanic Temple. Joseph Laycock is a scholar of new religious movements, and (full disclosure) he is the most-interviewed guest on my podcast Sacred Tension.

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On Creating a Personal Satanic Root Document

I’m frequently asked how I, as a Satanist, practice my Satanism. Whenever I get this question I struggle to answer it, because my Satanism is so all-encompassing for me I don’t know how not to practice it. It isn’t as if I’m just a Satanist when I’m writing about Satanism, doing Satanic ritual, or talking to other Satanists. I’m also a Satanist when I’m doing my finances or watching Netflix. Religion is not just something I do, but something I am, and as in most religion the boundary between doing and being is blurred.

But a central aspect of my Satanic practice comes down to something very private: what Cal Newport calls a Root Document. For years now I’ve kept what I can only call my own personal Sacred Text. It is a holistic document, containing the very mundane (checklists for work) and the very sacred (my guiding principles, meditations, and rituals.) It is also a living document, shifting according to what I learn and need.

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