Podcasts/Sacred Tension-ST Compassionate Satanism6rb46

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ST_Compassionate_Satanism6rb46 SUMMARY KEYWORDS satanism, people, book, satanic, tst, satanist, addiction, bdsm, religion, ritual, felt, anton lavey, compassion, satanic temple, homeless, satanic bible, sacred, read, power, thought SPEAKERS Lilith Starr, Stephen Bradford Long

00:00 You're listening to a rock candy podcast. I am Avery Smith, and I'm here to invite you to bless it are the binary breakers in multifaith podcast of transgender stories. Whatever your own relationship to gender and spirituality may be, you will find yourself enriched or the stories shared by my guests who so far have ranged in religion from Christian and pagan to Jewish, Sikh, atheist and beyond and have hailed from the US, Chile, Poland, Australia and more tune in wherever you get your podcasts or read along with episode transcripts by visiting blesses are the binary breakers.com See you there.

Stephen Bradford Long 01:03 This is sacred tension, the podcast about the discipline of asking questions. My name is Steven Bradford long, and we are here on the rock candy Podcast Network. For more shows like this one, go to rock candy recordings.com. All right. Well, as always, we have just a few pieces of housekeeping. First, I have to thank my patrons. My patrons are my personal lords and saviors. They are keeping me enabled to pursue my crippling content creation addiction. And without them, I truly could not do this. All the money that they give me goes to really practical stuff like you know, the mortgage and taking care of my six cats and repairing my soccer mom van that's like 20 years old, really, really crucial stuff every little bit helps. And if you would like to join their number, go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. And for $1 $3 $5 a month, you get extra content and you ensure the long life of my work. So for this week, I have to thank Kristin and Brooke, thank you so much. Now, a lot of us are still struggling from the COVID pandemic and we just cannot afford to support artists we love right now. And if you're in that position, that is entirely okay. I completely understand. But if you would still like to support the show, one of the best ways to do that is to leave a five star review on Apple podcasts. So I will now read a five star review. This is a reviewer from Singapore. And they say I only recently started listening to the sacred tension podcast and I'm hooked. Steven asks such probing and relevant questions to his interviewees. And the topics explored are pretty cool, too. I will be checking out all his other episodes after only listening to the two where he interviews Timothy, which was co hosted with Matt, who's hilarious. Thank you for creating this, Steven. Very sweet review short and sweet. And I would love for you to leave a five star review. And I will read it on the show. All right. With all of that out of the way. I am delighted to welcome Lilith Starr to the show.

Lilith Starr 03:28 Hi there. Steven, thank you so much for having me on. Of course,

Stephen Bradford Long 03:33 you're like, beloved, in the satanic community. And frankly, it is criminal that I haven't had you on the show before. Because you're like kind of a pillar of the TST community like so many people are influenced by your work and look up to you so, but you have a new book out. So it's the perfect opportunity to talk to you. So you have a new book called compassionate Satanism. And I just read it, it's great. But before we get into that, tell us some about who you are and what you do.

Lilith Starr 04:07 Well, let's see. Right now, I would say I'm an author. Finally, at last, this is something that I've been working towards my whole life. I'm in my 50s. So I've been around awhile, and I was there in 2014 starting one of the first five chapters of TSD. So I've seen a lot of change and TST and I'm just loving the direction it's going right now. I'm I'm disabled with chronic pain and depression. So I don't work I usually get about 45 minutes of productive time a day. So that's one reason for instance, this most recent book, took me four years to write and get publication but I made it and so, you know, my life really just mostly revolves Around DSD, whether it's my local community or the online international community, you know, I hang out with the other authors with the other ministers. And it's just, it's really transformed my life of Satanism was what allowed me to be 17 year long addiction that started with nitrous oxide and ended with heroin. And I'm proud to say I've been clean for eight years now. And I don't think I'll be going back.

Stephen Bradford Long 05:34 That's amazing.

Lilith Starr 05:36 Thank you. So a lot of people know me through that avenue. My first book was about basically getting sober with Satan. Yeah, so I just really enjoy my time with the community.

Stephen Bradford Long 05:47 Absolutely. Yeah. You're pretty amazing. And you've been like one of the constant figures in TST since the beginning. And by the way, for people who are listening to my show for the first time, T S, T stands for the Satanic Temple. Hold on, my cat wants to get into my lap.

Lilith Starr 06:05 Your cats are amazing.

Stephen Bradford Long 06:07 Thank you. I post them all the time. On on Twitter and Instagram. It's like the only thing I've relegated my social media posting to articles Satan and cats. Those are like the only three things that I'm allowed, that I allow myself to post about. Or else I just get into fights with people online, and it's no fun. So what is compassionate Satanism? At the heart of your book, there is this idea of compassionate Satanism, and you kind of contrast it to LaVeyan Satanism. So what is compassionate Satanism in your words?

Lilith Starr 06:48 For me, that's sort of like my personal handle for my personal Satanism, which is based in the teachings of the Satanic Temple. So someone else might take a different tack. They might say it's Satanism, for justice are for inviolability. But for me, really, it all comes down to compassion, I, when I met my current partner, my world turned upside down. And that's when I was able to leave the drugs behind. And really, I saw that the highest power in my life, other than myself was compassion. And I do think, um, you know, we're talking about enlightenment values with the Satanic Temple approach to Satanism. And compassion is definitely one of those as well as like equal rights, and humanizing everyone, regardless of your station in life. And that really spoke to me, I was fishing around for a title for this book, and I just couldn't get past any of the really dry titles like an introduction to satanic practice, like, Okay, well, that's, that's fine. And it's a descriptor, but it didn't really have the heart that I wanted. And then my stepmother who isn't really sure about the whole Satan thing. She asked me is there room for compassion, and your Satanism. And I got really excited, and I wrote her reams and reams of writing probably way too much of an answer. But later on, as I was trying to find the title for my book, it struck me that that really is the core of my personal Satanism, it has really proven to turn off the types of people that come from the woodsman background, because it's really, you know, it's kind of the opposite. If you're talking about an elite, upper class of human beings and the rest of us are are just you know, draining away those Yes, are revolting. So, and are already I've seen a couple of reviews, you know, and a couple Twitter and etc posts were, or they just tear me apart in terms of Satanism cannot have compassion that that can't possibly work. And I'm sitting here thinking, well, that's probably good because I don't necessarily want those people in my religion if you know if they see compassion as totally unsafe Kanak I think that's not the kind of path that you know, that I'm walking. So that's kind of where that comes from. It's also a little less of a mouthful than what see modern non theistic romantic.

Stephen Bradford Long 09:53 Yes, well, and I think it is like the perfect shorthand for what some people call temple say Satanism, other people call tenet Satanism, basically the encapsulation of the seven tenets and rooted in the romantic literary tradition rather than Anton LaVey. Or more so than in the writings of Anton LaVey. And I love that origin story that someone critical of your religion asked you, is there room for compassion? And it? I've had that exact same experience where people have asked me usually Christians or atheists have asked me, Is there room for? Is there room for compassion? Or is there room for empathy? Or is there room for forgiveness? Even that last one is a bit more complicated, but it but with almost all of them, it's like, yes, absolutely. I would say that. Compassion is the core of my Satanism. And so I love that origin story, that it's that the title came out of that criticism. And it might be worth taking some time to talk about what LaVeyan Satanism is, because you also have a long history with LaVeyan Satanism, and I found this fascinating. talk some about your journey with LaVeyan Satanism and the Satanic Bible and how that interfaced how that how that helped you with your addictions?

Lilith Starr 11:30 Right, so um, yeah, before 2011 I was not a Satanist at all, I had sort of settled into my own creative expression of, like, I'd say non theistic witchcraft, kind of based on my Wiccan experiences and my Zen Buddhist experiences. But when I met my partner, and started reassessing my relationship to addiction, he himself was a little bay and Satanist. And this was in 2010. So there was no Satanic Temple. And, you know, I thought his Satanism was interesting. He was an extremely nurturing, caring person. So I think I kind of got that feeling from Satanism, possibly, but I hadn't really read through the books. But when we got together, we were living in this very small town in northern California. And we just, we had to get out of there people were, it's kind of like, there's nothing to do in a small town necessarily, except to gossip about people.

Stephen Bradford Long 12:39 As someone who also lives in a small town, I completely understand I have never not lived in a tiny town. So I relate to everything you're saying right now. Mostly, mostly now, though, I have kind of gone up the mountain into the woods. So I call myself an Appalachian gay satanic forest, which were just up here with my cat. So but yes, as someone in a tiny town, I am relating to everything you're saying.

Lilith Starr 13:08 Yeah. And it was so hard to get anything new, going there. At the time, like BDSM was kind of my, my main thing. And I was with a group of people who wanted to put on, you know, parties, but they weren't willing to make them available to the public, because they were worried about, you know, what their neighbors would think. And I understand, but, you know, I wanted to get back to a big city, I used to always think that I did want to live like you're living now, like, back in the woods and nature, far from everything. But yeah, living in a small town was just not my thing. I realized. So um, so we tried to move out of that town and down to the San Francisco Bay Area. And it went okay, at first I but I wasn't able to work in the motel rooms that we were staying in. Our plan was that we would go down there and live in a motel room, and I could make money doing my central massage, which was what I was doing for work at the time. But the fatal flaw in that was that the motels wouldn't let any visitors come into the rooms. So, you know, all we were all we had to live on was my partner Social Security. So, between that and a couple betrayals by landlords, I would say, we found ourselves homeless. We were on the streets in Santa Cruz. I had never been homeless. I lived a very sheltered life. I mean, you know, my parents aren't rich, but I did get to go to Stanford and Harvard for school. And, you know, I just had never seen that level of life. And it was exciting. Extremely eye opening, as well as just like the most horrible days that I've lived. And a lot of senses just not necessarily just because it's hard to survive, you know, to find a place to sleep and eat and just rest. But it's the way society treats you that you're this cockroach, this, you know this rat that they want to exterminate, and just get out of their cities and get out of their sight, basically, you know, and these are people like us that were having the worst time of our lives. Once you're down on the streets, it's extremely hard to get back up unless you have a support system as a support network. And lucky for us, we did, we had one of my old friends that was down there, put us up in motels for a couple of months, while we tried to find out what we could do. But you know, there was still a lot of hopelessness. And during this time, that's when I was just feeling you know, so down on myself, as an addict, especially, you learn over and over again, that there's something wrong with you. And so not only being an addict, but also being without a home was just like a double whammy on top of my existing depression. So I was having a very hard time mentally. But one of the things that we had brought with us or my partner's two books, the Satanic Bible, and let's say Kanak rituals, by Anton LaVey. And, you know, in the midst of this craziness, while I was also coming down from a long term Paxil prescription, which is the hardest sight bit like the withdrawals are, you know, I literally went crazy. But shortly after that, I read both those books cover to cover, and it was like a light bulb went on, in my head, I had spent my entire life probably prompted the most by Christianity and my childhood, hating myself and thinking that I was wrong and broken. And, you know, like I said, the addiction really hammers you with that hard. I had been going to Narcotics Anonymous for nine years, and I still couldn't put down the drugs. And, you know, they teach you in Narcotics Anonymous, that you're powerless over your addiction. And I internalize that, and I just really thought of myself as a failure. And, you know, being homeless, and having that sense that everybody thinks you're just vermin, that you're not a human being compounded that. But once I read those books, all of a sudden, my perspective shifted. I thought, well, maybe it wasn't on me, maybe I'm not the entire failure here. Maybe society also isn't so great in this way. And that really helped me with the beginnings of self compassion and self acceptance, to say, Well, I am who I am. I'm not a bad person. And society, obviously has this dark underbelly of how we treat certain people. And from there, that also, it sort of infused me with a sense of self responsibility. Also, like if I was going to pull myself up, and actually, in my addiction, it taught me that I was the only one that could do that. And no one else was gonna do it for me.

Stephen Bradford Long 18:56 And it being the satanic rituals in the Satanic Bible, by Anton LaVey.

Lilith Starr 19:01 Right? Yeah, exactly. Because it's, you know, the core of the belief, as I saw it was you are your own God. So in the 12 step programs, the steps are all almost all focused on this higher power. So in the first step, you admit that you don't have any power over your addiction, and this one would get me a lot because I would feel the urges for drugs and I would think to myself, Oh, I'm powerless. So I guess I have to go get the drugs. You know, it wasn't really something that would stop me. And then you know, the rest of the steps are, that you believe that a higher power will basically reach in and fix you remove your character, or your defects of character, AKA your addiction, and you have to constantly pray and meditate so that your higher power Are you can do this. And it just wasn't working for me. I didn't believe in a higher power. And my sponsor told me it could be anything could be the power of the group. It could be the Buddha, you know, anything but you. Yeah, anything but you said it can be a doorknob. And I said, Well, can it be yourself? She said, No, that's one thing it can't be. And so that system I tried so hard to make work, and it just didn't. But you know, yeah.

Stephen Bradford Long 20:34 Oh, well, I was told the exact same thing in recovery, like I was in the 12 steps and I was in Coda be Codependents Anonymous. And while in some ways, it was like the best free therapy I ever got, because you're talking and sharing and, and all that kind of stuff. I was told by someone in coda, you don't need to know who your higher power is. All you need to know is that it isn't you. And it's like anything but you anything other than you to get you through the darkest time of your life. And that's when you need yourself more than anything. That's when you need yourself more than ever. Yeah, so no, I, I was literally almost told word for word, the exact same thing that you were.

Lilith Starr 21:29 Oh, boy. So yeah, that left kind of a bad taste in my mouth for for 12 Step programs. They do help some people I am completely, you know, understanding if it helps you. That's great. But I, I found it, frankly, to be counterproductive. You know, it's driving you away from taking self responsibility and realizing that you have that power. And that's what LaVeyan Satanism gave back to me. So eventually, I was able to set down the drugs without 12 STEP program. And, you know, it did take quite a force of will. It helped that my partner was also addicted. So I was, I was kind of the one to take us both out of addiction. And yeah, that was all put in motion by reading the Satanic Bible.

Stephen Bradford Long 22:24 I think that there's so many people who have that same story at like, I have talked to so many people, where it's like Anton LaVey, was the medicine that they needed. And it's harsh metals, medicine, it's brutal. And there's some stuff in there that's counterproductive and that we need to reform. Right, but But it's like, it has helped so many people. And I think at the heart of this is a really complex picture of our religious origins is like Anton LaVey is a complicated figure. He's done. He was a visionary. He did so much for modern Satanism and alternative lifestyles in general. Like he was a visionary. And he was a very problematic figure in a lot of ways. So talk about talk about that shift that you went through from Anton LaVey. To what you're calling compassionate Satanism. What was it about LaVeyan Satanism that that compelled you to be like, there has to be this is incomplete, or there's more than this, right?

Lilith Starr 23:39 Yeah. So what I took out of living insane ism, was basically, you know, the same things that are part of the core of my Satanism now, and that is self compassion and self worth, and self responsibility. So like, you know, self empowerment, sense you are your own God. But in doing that, I kind of glossed over a lot of the other stuff that was in the Satanic Bible, particularly in the communities that sprang from LaVeyan Satanism. So for instance, what got me back into writing again, I had given up writing for years before I met my partner, but um, the Satanism Facebook page, way back in 2012, it was a different system on Facebook. So pages got a lot more views. And it was very popular. It was, you know, the Satanism Facebook page, and they put out a call for writers, because the guy that admin that page, had been a newspaper editor, so he wanted to run it kind of like a feature magazine. So I got involved with that, and I met some really amazing people. All the other writers mostly, and I got my writing chops back. And eventually the editorial had left and I took over that position. So I was meeting really cool people behind the scenes, but there were a couple that were pretty misogynistic, and then the general population of the page, you know, all the people that came to it, I just saw so much misogyny and racism, and especially homophobia. And, you know, and I also got more of a taste of that elitism that, you know, when they was really, you know, that was a big part of, I think his vision was this sort of satanic Uber mench that, you know, should be freed from the needs of all the people below them and, you know, basically become part of the elite,

Stephen Bradford Long 26:00 quintessential Nietzsche anism, basically like, like the Superman unconstrained by petty morals or compassion or empathy for others. And basically a sociopath like this, this elite royalties, elite satanic royalty was kind of like his vision for the future of Satanism. Anyway, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt.

Lilith Starr 26:28 No, no, that's great. Exposition, because yeah, that's exactly what the deal was. And so I was really uncomfortable with that. And I realized kind of after the fact that some of what was in there, you know, I didn't know it was lifted from might is right, that I don't know if it's a pamphlet or a booklet, but anyway, it's a it's a piece of work that is highly anti semitic. And, you know, even though LaVey was never, he didn't seem to propound anything explicitly racist, you know, in his books, at least his first couple books, but, you know, there was some weird stuff, like the fact that he said, For rituals, all the men wear robes, but the women should be naked to like, raise the lustful energy for the men. And I remember thinking, Well, what about the women, I mean, raise their lustful energy seem kind of weird. So I felt like my formable vein ism was a little off the mark from kind of the central ideas. But I still had a lot of fun and meeting and working with the other writers just kind of really opened my eyes to how how cool and interesting and, and a lot of cases, compassionate, satanist could be there, there were just there was so much wit and sharp intelligence, and humor, especially humor of my type, which is like the very black humor. So I liked the people, but I realized that wasn't so keen on the LaVeyan system in general. And so my first book, that happy satanist was a collection of the essays I wrote as a love and sadness. And, you know, it has maybe what somebody might say is the same problem and that it's a lot about the compassion that I took away and the self responsibility and especially the recovery, a large portion of why I wanted to write that book was to show people that you could get clean, you could leave addiction behind without God without a higher power. So, you know, that was kind of driving the publication of that first book. So in the middle of that, like about a year after I had started writing for that page, I saw the Satanic Temple come on the news. And I think the first thing I saw was, I think it was the first display in the Florida Rotunda capitol building for the holidays. And it's that it looks like it's kind of like an eighth graders art project, the very first one made out of like, cardstock and

Stephen Bradford Long 29:35 we've come a long way. We've come a really really long way when it comes to our public displays.

Lilith Starr 29:44 But I thought that was charming and then I heard about their fight to put the satanic kids activity book into public schools in Florida because you know, there's the world changers organization goes around to every school district irken tries to force them to allow them to distribute Bibles. I remember that happened at my grade school, you know, when I was in elementary school, but, you know, by doing that they made the school district come to a decision, like, do we want to allow the satanic booklet in, which is just the cutest little booklet, you know, it has themes of friendship and tolerance. So are we going to let that in and the Bibles or are we just going to say no religious literature can be distributed? And that's what they decided, right? They, nobody seems to want to let us distribute those satanic kids activity books, even though they're so cute. So I also heard about that. And so I went to the website for the Satanic Temple. And I think this is a very common experience for people. But I read the tenets. And that was, the

Stephen Bradford Long 30:59 rest is history. And, and the rest is no, I had, I had the exact same experience where, you know, I've told this story before on the show. But basically, I discovered TST, back in 2017, when my partner was on his laptop in the living room, and he was like, Oh, my God, Steven, you have to fucking look at this. And he showed me and it was the BDSM baby protest in Detroit. And I immediately got it. Like, I just, it just clicked for me. And I know that that that like horrifies so many people that, that it just, it just made sense to me. Like I got it. And I researched the temple, and I looked up their other videos and their other protests and their Baphomet thing and all of all of it. And I was like, this is super cool. I love this. And then I went to their website and read the tenets. And I was like, done signing up right now.

Lilith Starr 32:09 Right?

Stephen Bradford Long 32:11 Like, before I could stop myself like almost before I thought, clearly about this, I really did just kind of fall by accident into Satanism is the way it feels because I read the tenets, and I believed all of it. I was like, this is the best summation of what I believe,

Lilith Starr 32:33 right? Isn't that weird? It's like they pulled it out of your head.

Stephen Bradford Long 32:36 Yes. Yes, exactly. Yeah. So So you

Lilith Starr 32:40 were not a Satanist. Before? 2017 Like, you didn't come to the Levant.

Stephen Bradford Long 32:45 No, I came, I came straight to TST I was a Christian. For years, I was raised a Christian and I started to go through kind of a deconversion of my faith, a deconstruction of my faith. 2016 2017 I would say that I really lost my faith by 2017. But I still valued the role of religion. And religion was still very, very important to me. And so I was kind of looking for a place within progressive Christianity, where I could comfortably be a non theist. But then Satanism came along and I was like, No, this is it because I don't have to deal with the burden of being in a religion that has so much history of being anti gay, anti woman, anti so on and so forth. And just the the the never ending battles over what you're allowed to believe what you're not allowed to believe. I mean, it's a Christianity is a really, really embattled place. And so at the end of the day, I left out of fatigue. I left out of exhaustion and Satanism, especially T S T was kind of a homecoming for me, you have a whole section about that in your book, actually, about how how T S T, it's like a homecoming. It's like coming home, and that was definitely the way it was for me. And I was just like, Okay, I'm a Satanist. Now, this is what I'm doing. And I've been doing it ever since.

Lilith Starr 34:24 Well, we're very lucky that you fell into Satanism. That's what I think.

Stephen Bradford Long 34:28 So I still have very much like a Christian tinge. To me. A lot of that is still part of me. I like to think the better parts of Christianity are still part of me. And so I'm really informed by a lot of Christianity but I it there was a there was a very real shift in my life when I felt my gravitational religious center move from Christianity to Satan. And, and it was a very real moment for me when that shift took place. So Satanism has been my primary religious identity for, you know, since 2017. Now, you were homeless for a period. And you write really movingly about that in both of your books. talk some about how that informed your compassionate Satanism. What, because I can't imagine that you come out of that without some deeply held religious convictions. Definitely, I think I had always been under the wrongful assumption that the world was basically a fair place. You know, I thought that all the problems that I was facing were of my own making. But you know, becoming homeless, certainly wasn't a choice. And the people who, you know, anybody could have helped us. But instead, it was the opposite. You know, I just felt that beep be humanization and rejection. And like, we, we couldn't even charge our cell phones, in coffee shops where we bought coffee, they, they wouldn't let us because we were obviously homeless. And I just remember thinking, This is not fair at all, like not even a little bit. And so one of the big kind of general beliefs that a lot of religions have is this notion that the world is fair, and especially that there is like, you know, a higher power that is making sure everything is just so in that system. If you, for instance, make a lot of money and are very successful and own a lot of things, then that must be because you're exceptionally righteous. Right? So we see that a lot with the mega preachers, prosperity gospel and all that stuff. Yeah.

Lilith Starr 37:10 Exactly. So you know, and then that makes it really easy to look down on people, like people that were homeless, like us and say, Oh, well, they must have done something to deserve it. Because it's a just world. And I write about this, both in this book, the new book and the old book. And that, in particular, it was just like, there was a veil torn off my eyes. And I could see how fundamentally fair, our modern society, you know, with all its riches, and technology, and all of that, it's still very fundamentally unfair. And I saw, I saw the role of religion in that pretty early. You know, some of the people that were helping us were religious, and in a lot of places, that's all there is, but they also require you to, you know, basically be part of the religion while you're there, like the Union Mission, GOP gospels, Union Gospel missions, I can't. So that's an example of help for the homeless, where you have to come in early to reserve your space to sleep for the night, and then they make you sit through a sermon. And then then you have to like actually sing the hymns and listen to more sermon, and then they feed you and then you have to do bedtime prayers, and then you go to sleep. And just this notion that, you know, the way that you're going to pull yourself up is through that higher power. And it really echoed to me the 12 step programs, you know, like so

Stephen Bradford Long 39:00 coercive. Yeah. So covert. It's like here you are desperate for just a place to sleep and in exchange for that they are making you worship a god sing songs to a god you don't believe in. Like I can't like that's, that's just fucking abusive. They do the same thing in in recovery, too. I mean, like a lot of rehabs Christian rehabs, and so many court ordered rehabs are in places that do the exact same thing?

Lilith Starr 39:32 Yeah. And that's something that as an aside, really bugs me is that, you know, basically these recovery programs that are they say they're spiritual, not religious, but I feel like they're pretty religious.

Stephen Bradford Long 39:48 They're pretty blatantly religious.

Lilith Starr 39:50 Yeah. And the courts legislate that, you know, you have to attend that. It's literally called weren't mandated religion, even though they say it's, it's gone?

Stephen Bradford Long 40:04 Yeah, it is a total violation of the division between church and state and religious autonomy of citizens. 100% Yeah, yeah.

Lilith Starr 40:14 So I felt a little bit of that, you know, force bearing down on us while we were homeless, but yeah, just seen that most people you know, because I felt like everyone has a core of compassion inside them and wants to do the right thing. And if they, if they can't, then there's probably outside circumstances. But yeah, just the way we're treated for the sin of being in a really bad place in our lives just kind of blew me away. And I think that reading the Satanic Bible, I picked up some of that sarcasm about how good people are. And I realized that whether it's, you know, external forces or not, these people had a choice where they could treat us as human beings or not, and they made the second choice. And that wasn't anything that we did, that was just existent in society. And so that really, like I said, tore the veil off my eyes. And I began to see, you know, just how, pardon me but fucked up society is on a lot of levels. So yeah, that was what really hit home for me in that transformation.

Stephen Bradford Long 41:34 So it's kind of incredible, where you're at this point in life, where you are. So many of the things that our society demonizes. You are homeless, you are addicted. I mean, those are like two of the most demonized things in our society. And but then there was this moment, reading Anton LaVey, where it was basically like, No, fuck that. I am my own god, and I am worthy. That's pretty incredible. That, that you that you were able to experience that and that's, I think, people ask why Satan, it is because of that. That is, it's the same thing with me, where it's hard to express the the empowerment of being like, Yes, I'm an outcast. So what I'm still worthy. That is the path of Satan. It's hard to express that to people unless they've really experienced it. It's like hard to articulate that but I had the exact same experience being gay in the conservative Christian world where suddenly there was this flip there was this switch, that where it's like going from I'm unworthy, I'm unworthy. I'm unworthy to suddenly is like, I don't know what happened. But it's like no, fuck that. I I am worthy. I am an outsider. I, I love there's one line from WreckIt Ralph that I fucking love. I'm bad and that's good. And the embrace of that and the embrace of my satanist identity gets incredibly powerful. It's like this alchemy. It's like that transformation deep in your soul somewhere. Figuratively speaking, but yeah, no, I I just think that that's an incredible story. And in the in the time that we have left, I also want to talk ask you about your work as a dominatrix. And just so many people don't know what even that means. So what what did you do as a dominatrix?

Lilith Starr 43:53 So, um, I had gotten really involved in BDSM or, you know, also called kink right out of grad school, and I was living in San Francisco at the time, and they had all these classes on stuff. So you know, I took a weekend seminar on rope bondage. I took a class on CBT which is talking ball torture, and spanking and you know, just all these different things. And I think what a lot of people don't understand if they haven't played is that everything like they, a lot of people have this misconception that BDSM is someone abusing someone under them. And 50 Shades of Grey, right oh my god don't even get

Stephen Bradford Long 44:55 which is which is just like not a not a rapper. temptation of the kink community at all, because it's non consensual and coercive, and all of those things, right? Yeah,

Lilith Starr 45:08 yeah. So, in reality, the top is serving the bottom, in a lot of ways, like the scene, the placing, whether it's like, you know, light tickling, or like a really heavy flogging. It all depends on the consent of the bottom and what that bottom wants. And so it's, it's like play acting, you know, you're doing like an acting scene in which the top pretends to have complete and utter power over the bottom. But really, that bottom can stop the scene at any point with a safe word. And if you're doing it, right, the bottom is getting to experience things that they are really into and have talked through with the top beforehand. I actually my partner and I, the thing we were working on, before I really started doing the writing on the books was, we made a video called kink for beginners, because we realized there was just so much misinformation out there. So we made a two hour movie, kind of, and we tried to sell it on Amazon, but they wouldn't allow streaming, because I'm topless and it but anyway, it's still out there. I often give people links to it.

Stephen Bradford Long 46:38 That's awesome. I might, if maybe I'll put it in the show notes if you're comfortable. If you're cool. Yeah, I'll put that in the show notes. Because, you know, there's kink is just one of those things that's so intensely misunderstood. And how does it I mean, I can just see how that also plays into your Satanism as well how how, you know, because being a dominatrix being a dominatrix is also kind of this inversion of expectations, where it's like you're, you're an outsider to society, but actually, you're, you're serving this really important need for people.

Lilith Starr 47:19 Right. I mean, in a way, it was like being a therapist. And, you know, looking back on it, just countless times people came to me with judgment heaped on their shoulders, by religion. So you know, whether it was because they liked to crossdress or because they were a masochist, or for whatever reason, or, or that they were bisexual or queer, but weren't allowed to express that because of religion. A lot of times, I found myself kind of gently undoing that burden that had been placed on people. And it's a very difficult job to do, mostly because it's hard to get people in. A lot of people flake out at the last minute because they're scared. But when I actually got to see clients, I felt that it was really rewarding. And I did all kinds of things. I had a, for a while. I had stock money from Amazon, and I bought a house and I had this huge five room dungeon, one of the rooms was a nursery room with a full size, adult crib and highchair. And, you know, there were places to tie people up in the other room and medical room for medical fantasies. And it was all it was all play for these people and for me, but at the heart of it a lot of times, there would be some, you know, pretty deep seated shame sources that would kind of break open and allow the person to feel good about themselves and about their desires and wants and needs. It's like

Stephen Bradford Long 49:07 ritual. It is it's a lot like, like ritual like using a tool nontheistic ritual as a form of cathartic release, like a destruction or an baptism or a black mass. I mean, that's really exactly kind of what what you're describing sounds like to me, as a, it's a, it's entering that that kind of enchanted magical pretend place to work through those deep seated things in a safe environment in a way that doesn't actually have to hurt us. So yeah, I think it's really, really powerful.

Lilith Starr 49:44 Yeah, in fact, by the end, I had become a Satanist. And I still had a couple of years left in my body where I could, I could do that work. So when we moved up here back to Seattle in 2012 I started doing satanic domination. And this is something that I know, a lot of the satanic women in my community, you know, have dabbled in this or make it a full time job. But that was even more explicit in helping people move away from, you know, religious beliefs that had shamed them that had hurt them. And I provided, you know, if it was kind of set up as if it were theistic. But it also gave them you know, I was like, the female priestess to them. And so it let them you know, work through this with a caring, nurturing person, as well as you know, being Satanic and yeah, so yeah, so those were definitely rituals before that my whole interest in BDSM had kind of centered around the ritual aspects like I was interested in sacred BDSM. So, you know, taking those, you know, basically rituals and making it more explicitly about the sacred. And I find, I don't know if, if you find this at all, with the word sacred, but for the most part I've had, I felt like I've kind of had to leave it behind with Satanism, because it is non theistic. But because I have a Zen Buddhist background, the sacred to me is it doesn't have to have some supernatural force.

Stephen Bradford Long 51:44 I am the exact same way. Actually, actually, I have an article coming out, I believe, later this week, where you have this gorgeous line in your book, hold on, let me find it because I was actually writing about this. Yeah, you have this this passage you write, I liked the idea that everything was holy, just as it is, that indeed, reality itself is sacred, without the need for an external power to make it so zen dovetailed easily with science, which formed another pillar of my belief system. I saw the sacred blazoned across the cosmos, and the principles of self organization. Reality held all the spirituality I needed. I love that. So yeah, no, I'm completely on board with that. And I also come from a contemplative background as well. So I'm, I totally relate to what you're saying. Cool. Yep.

Lilith Starr 52:40 Yeah, yeah. I wasn't sure. You know, it's a brand new religion that we're building. So you know, I'm often unsure of, you know, what's going to be representative of what the religion is. Another person who is really good at exploring that edge is Shiva, honey.

Stephen Bradford Long 53:01 Yes. i She's, she's been on the show before. She's fantastic. I adore Shiva. And she's, she's so good at exploring, at being like, unashamed about exploring, for lack of a better term, non supernatural magic, and just leaning in to the trappings of, of magic and mysticism, but in a way that isn't superstitious.

Lilith Starr 53:29 Yeah, it was her. It was her work, actually, that brought back to me my own personal ritual practice. So I'm back to doing little rituals every few days, with just for my own subconscious, I guess you might say. And using flowers and sacred art, and that sort of thing. Before I had really shoved that way down inside me. And I just stopped doing that, even though it was never supernatural based. I just, I thought it might be confusing to people. And so while I was chapter head, I focused solely on the big group rituals that were very clearly, you know, not magical, that were very, very much non theistic, with no, you know, gray area. But yeah, it was her work that brought me back to that ritual practice, which had been part of my life for years. So yeah, I'm very grateful to her.

Stephen Bradford Long 54:35 Yeah, same. All right. Well, I feel like we could probably talk all day long, but unfortunately, we are at the hour. So but this has been great. And where can people find you online if they want to look into your work?

Lilith Starr 54:50 So I have my author website, and it's just Lillith starz.com. So that's Lillith and then star has two hours at the end. Um, if you search for my name on Amazon, you'll find my two books. Also, I've, I'm self published, I use Amazon's publishing system, which I've really enjoyed using the second book, most recent book, I actually got a couple offers from publishers to publish it. But I really did some research and self publishing was still the best option, I thought, mostly because of creative control, but also for the royalty share. You get much more of, you know, the profit when you're self published, at least in my experience, but yeah, so on my website or on Amazon, and there's links to other places you can buy my book on my website, because I know not everybody wants to buy it through Amazon. And that's just fine.

Stephen Bradford Long 55:54 Yeah, for sure. Also, isn't TST selling it as well, from the official tsp? Yes, yes,

Lilith Starr 55:59 that's right. That just made my whole year. Yeah, that's pretty

Stephen Bradford Long 56:03 awesome. They're selling your book, so you can also so way away, you can support Lillith and support the political causes of TST is go to the satanic temple.com and buy the book there.

Lilith Starr 56:18 Absolutely. Thank you for reminding me. Yeah, of course. That's very good. First point people to buy it, honestly. Awesome. ESD

Stephen Bradford Long 56:25 All right. Well, this has been a pleasure. You're welcome back anytime.

Lilith Starr 56:29 Okay, well, wonderful. It's been really nice for me to I so thoughtful and have such a great, you know, fresh perspective on things. So thank you very much for having me on. It was quite an honor.

Stephen Bradford Long 56:44 I'm so glad. All right. Well, that is it for this show. The music is by eleventy seven. The theme song is wild. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to music. This show is written, produced and edited by me Steven Bradford long and as a production of rock candy recordings, as always, Hail Satan and thanks for listening.