Podcasts/Sacred Tension-The Devil s Deathb1dai
The_Devil_s_Deathb1dai SUMMARY KEYWORDS ritual, people, psychedelics, died, death, forgiveness, grief, book, satanist, life, grieving, feel, thinking, satanic, experience, forgive, michael pollan, read, satanists, process SPEAKERS Shiva Honey, Stephen Bradford Long
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Stephen Bradford Long 01:02 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, before we start this episode, as always, I have to thank my patrons this week, I have to thank Paul and rabbit Waller, my patrons are my personal lords and saviors. And I truly could not do this without them. I believe in bringing these long, interesting conversations to you for free. But in order to do that, I need some help. A little bit goes a long way and makes this show sustainable. So to join my patrons number, go to patreon.com forward slash Steven Bradford long. For $1 $5 $3 a month you get extra content every week, access to my show House of heretics with the former minister from the Salvation Army, Timothy McPherson, we talk about religion, controversies, culture, film all kinds of stuff, and it helps support my show. Also, one of the best ways to support this show is to leave a review on Apple podcasts that tells our digital overlords that my show is worth sharing with others. So I'm going to read a recent review. This is from Knight Jacque from Great Britain. And they say I recently came across this podcast when looking for Lucien Greaves interviews. And I have never resonated more with someone's journey and beliefs around LGBTQIA plus experiences, mental health and personal belief systems. I'm currently working through the archives of shows and look forward to upcoming ones. Thank you. It's a very sweet review. And please, if you have a moment, just five minutes, go leave a positive review on iTunes. It really, really helps my show get discovered by new listeners. And finally, this show is sponsored by the satanic temple.tv. If you are into weird new religious movements, occult rituals, live streams, conversations, there's all kinds of fascinating stuff going on at the satanic temple.tv. And you can use my promo code sacred tension all caps, no space at checkout to get one month free. All right. With all of that finally out of the way, I am delighted to welcome Shiva honey back to the show.
Shiva Honey 03:46 Great to be here. Thank you for having me.
Stephen Bradford Long 03:48 Of course. So this is your third time on the show. And I just absolutely fucking love you. You're wonderful. And it's been way too long since we've talked.
Shiva Honey 03:56 Well back at you. Yeah, I'm always telling people like check Steve it out. He does such great work. I just feel like, you know, speaking of the podcast, the topics that you cover, your blogs, everything and they're they're so important, insightful and interesting. And I really appreciate what you do. So thank you.
Stephen Bradford Long 04:12 That's very sweet. I, I think the exact same thing about what you do. So for people who, for whom this might be their first exposure to you. Tell us some about who you are and what you do. Yeah, so
Shiva Honey 04:25 I am a member of the Satanic Temple. I've been part of the group since 2014. I was one of the founding members of the Detroit chapter, which was the first chapter of the organization. So after, you know, getting involved, I became a member of the International Council. So I've been a sort of the kind of leadership position. I was in a leadership position for a while and tsp, and then that shifted into starting to do rituals. I was for a while working on administrative and organizational stuff and then You know, after a couple of years of that got really into this idea of exploring ritual within this non theistic satanic context. So I, by that time, I had been practicing ritual in private quite a bit, specifically as a way for me to deal with PTSD anxiety of kind of being lost after I got out of a couple of bad relationships, and did some processing around my religious upbringing. And it really helped me center myself focus on my goals, work on, you know, disconnect from things that weren't serving me anymore. And finally, I think around 2018, I began, I was asked by the Satanic Temple to to do a black mass and performing baptisms at the temple. So I started doing that publicly. Then last year, I released a book about my experience with ritual that basically exists to talk about the benefits that it can have with people, even if you know, even if you aren't religious, and how to form your own ritual practice, give some examples of what I've done in what we've done with tst. And that's just kind of been my focus for the last couple of years. So I released that book last year, I released a deck, the devil's deck, which is a Satanic ritual deck, I call it kind of the first of its kind. And most recently, I've been focusing on death, sort of within that, that still that that big circle of virtual, but specifically, since I released the book, I have been getting a lot of feedback from people about, you know, asking you about what they can do about grief, any sort of rituals that can be done around death. And I got a couple of resources, but I really found myself wanting so I really dug deep into that, that this concept, how we can approach death in our work of Satanists, and I've been spending the last year really focused on on that subject. And so I'm working right now I'm finishing up this book, The Devil's death, your satanic companion to grief and dying, which is about that experience and talks about how we is non theistic Satanists, or people who are secular, or people who are just looking for something outside of what we have traditionally in our culture, how we can approach grief, how we can deal with the loss of those close to us, what, you know, sort of practically what we should be thinking about, while we're still alive, to preserve our memory, and to help people around us rituals we can use for death and grief and all this other stuff. So with COVID, and the loss that we're all feeling, this just seemed like a topic that I really wanted to dig into. And luckily, I've been able to put some time aside to to really investigate and, you know, try to try to come to an understanding of how we can do this in a way that really fits our values and beliefs. And it's healthy for us, you know?
Stephen Bradford Long 07:53 Yeah, it's kind of the perfect moment for it as well with the COVID pandemic. And so, you know, I've noticed this interesting thing with me lately, where it's, you know, maybe it's because I'm, I'm no longer in my 20s. And suddenly, it's like, oh, shit, I'm gonna die someday. But I will just find myself like reading in the living room at night. And the thought just goes through my head, oh, I'm going to die someday. And what do I do with that fact? You know, as as a non theist, as as someone who does not believe in God, and I think it is most likely that nothing happens when I die. But I'm, I'm agnostic on that point. But I lean towards nothing happens when I die. So you know, as as non theists, who don't have the reassurance of an afterlife, I've been finding myself thinking about death more and more lately, I would say on a near daily basis, and it isn't a dour thing. Right. Like it isn't a morbid thought. It's just a fact. It's just a part of my life. Now thinking about death. Not not necessarily in a negative way. Yeah. Yeah. You were going I heard an open parenthesis. Yeah, no,
Shiva Honey 09:15 I feel the same way. I think, you know, this, I think since I became a Satanist. And when I separated from I was I was raised Christian, very conservative. We, we've talked about this in past episodes, but when I separated from that, it, I wouldn't say left a void, necessarily, but there was like, you know, certain, a certain. I mean, there's obviously a belief system that I held at one point, right, and that was gone. So it's like, What do I like? What am I focused on as a, as a person who's trying to be a good person? What do I focus on? Also with somebody who knows that they're going to die? And this is, you know, I grew up with this belief that the best comes after you die. So switching that on its head and being like, Well, yeah, now I don't think anything like you. I liked what you said, feeling agnostic to the x what happens after but leaning toward nothing. It's like, well, what do I do with that information? Now and the answer that I came to, especially through doing the ritual work and focusing on for the first time in my life when I wanted, it was like, Well, how do I build a life that really feels like I'm living to my full potential? And that's kind of been my satanic journey, I feel like, and the question that I've been working on answering since I became a Satanist. But yeah, it's like, that becomes such a present question. And I think with the pandemic, like you were saying to, it's like, we see this with the job resignations that are have happening with people shifting, you know, their lives completely around now that we've got this bubble around, everything being okay. And going, that life is going to keep on going forever. And I think a lot of that's been destroyed for people over the last year because of the loss and tragedy that has come with the COVID pandemic. And so now people are like, alright, well, especially I think our generation, like, what, what can I do now to make the most out of what I've the time I do have here? And yeah, and that's a great question to ask. And I think it's something that we weren't really prepared to answer growing up, I think the way that we did you know, absolutely,
Stephen Bradford Long 11:02 because, you know, this is something that I've thought a lot about how when I first started to give up my faith, hello, kitty, meow. Yeah, we're surrounded by cats. Right? Hey, me, too. I, you know, I've Satanists in our cats. There. We have so many and every single like, Zoom meeting that I have with with Satanists, there's so many cats. It's kind of wonderful. It is wonderful. So, but you know, something that I've been thinking about quite a bit is when my faith started to die. You know, when I when I started to, to lose my Christian faith, I realized I don't think I realized until years later, how big of a grieving process that was, because essentially, what I was doing was grieving for eternity. grieving for the loss of an afterlife grieving for the loss of an eternal afterlife. That's a huge, an unspeakably huge leap to go from, I'm going to live forever, to know I'm going to live for If I'm lucky, 80 plus years, 70 plus years, right? That is an unspeakably literally infinitely huge leap. Right? And, and yet, how there so there comes the challenge of how do we deal with that? But also, how can we still integrate wisdom and ritual into the reality of death, right, like we, because so much of the ritual surrounding death has to do with that eternal life has to do with a pass. It's almost like a rite of passage from this life to the next. And so much of so much of the ritual that our culture is handed to, you know, so much. So much of the ritual that our culture has handed to us is like that rite of passage. That so it sounds like the kind of ritual that you're coming up with is how do we confront our mortality in a way that is positive and empowering. But not a rite of passage? Does that make sense? Am I making any sense?
Shiva Honey 13:31 No, no, no, you are? Yeah. And in the book, and the ritual section for the book is going to be huge. I think we're already like, 50 pages for it. But like, Yeah, I mean, that's, that's a big part of it, the ritual that I've been working on the rituals that I've been working on for this book, a lot of it is about grief, which is, I think, something that presents us, we're presented with that kind of daily basis, really, but there's ways that we can use ritual to focus on to let go of it, to use it to understand more about ourselves. But then the other part is what you're saying, you know, and I was just having a conversation with a friend about this recently. But it's, you know, coming up with ceremony and ritual, which we know is from a scientific perspective, helpful, very helpful with people, for people dealing with grief, that doesn't necessarily have to rely on tradition, or superstition, or, you know, that works for us, which is, I think, something that previous generations just didn't think about maybe as much as we are thinking about this now. But like, I think there's just this expectation that when somebody dies, we have to do you know, XY and Z, X y&z has to happen, we have to have the sort of ceremony, we have to do this with their bodies, or we have to do this with our bodies. And it just I think, as Satanists especially, you know, we can wake up to the reality that that just doesn't apply to us. And there's so many other ways to approach death from a ritualistic perspective that can fit, fit our values and fit what our needs are, and don't rely on you know, these tradition. Should all these traditional just ways that people have dealt with this in the past? So it's like a really interesting, I think it's something really interesting to explore. And that was the book, like I'm really inviting people to think about, because it can be, you know, I think the way that we confront death as a whole, I guess, society, and I guess, from my perspective, I'm talking about, like, you know, on the society, Western society is not so healthy. You know, we, we live in a world that's, you know, run by capitalism and white supremacy. And we don't, we don't offer much space to grieve all the things that we're suffering with on a daily basis, the trials and tribulations that people have gone through, not to mention death, it's just something that we're supposed to put on the backburner. I actually saw some tweets recently about somebody, it was a conversation between a person and their boss saying that, you know, I'm taking tomorrow off because my, my uncle died or something, and the boss is telling them, No, you have to actually just go to work. You know, my, you know, my cousin died two weeks ago, I didn't take any time off. So you just this, just this idea that, you know, we have to grieve, and we have to confront death in this very, very limited context. I don't think we have to do that anymore. If and I think if COVID has taught us anything, it's that we really need to start thinking about other ways to integrate grief and death into our lives in a way that, you know, honors, honors, awesome, the people around us.
Stephen Bradford Long 16:24 How much of that also just has to do with the fact that we're so underexposed to death? Yeah, like the fact the fact is, the reality is, death is everywhere. I mean, it, it's everywhere, but it's invisible. You know, in every family, someone's dying, and, you know, it's it's everywhere, and in, but we kind of shut it away, we put it away and old folks homes, we get a wise death. And there's, and we're just very, very resistant to thinking about it. So then when we are confronted with grief, when we when we, you know, when our cousin does die, and we do have to take time off work, then the the end result is we have a world we have a structure, a culture that just cannot handle it, like just cannot deal with the reality of death at all. Same with mental health. Same with, you know, just all of these things that we don't have the bandwidth for culturally. What God Yeah, absolutely. What what started this project for you like, what, what made you Was there a catalyzing event? Or was it just something that was brewing? Yeah, I've
Shiva Honey 17:45 been thinking about this, actually, like, what, how this all started up. So I have a friend who has actually helped us co writing the book with me, Betty, and she's a biologist.
Stephen Bradford Long 17:57 Oh, one more time, your your audio just got it.
Shiva Honey 18:01 Sorry. I said She's a PhD biologist. And she's also a Satanist. And she was diagnosed a few years ago with incurable disease. So she started it, she doesn't know how much time she's going to have. And she reached out to me because she knew the work that I did and was like, Yo, can you help me? Work on my end of life plan? And can you help me work on you know, phenol, virtual aspects of that as well. And I think that was like that was actually just before COVID started in 2020. So that was like, February. So I started talking to her about this. And we started going back and forth, as she writes in everything. And she has a, you know, a great wealth of information. And she's helped. She's helped edit my other book, actually, and the doubles team. So you're going back and forth. And we came up, you know, we initially kind of played around with this idea. Like, maybe that's something we can write about. I don't I'm not sure if we conceptualize it as an entire book at that point. But then COVID happens. And, you know, we kept on talking about it. And I kept on getting messages from people that had read the devil's tome that, you know, I have a couple of rituals that can be used for grief and death in that book, but it just people just kept on asking and asking and asking. So I started thinking about doing more on that. So it can continue to read 2020. And then I'm gonna add a friend of mine, a close friend of mine died at the end of 2020. And I really didn't know, I think for the first time I like actually had a little bit of space to grieve, a death, which I don't think I'd had before. It seems everything seemed very surreal to me previously, and that would just hit me really hard. And I didn't know what I was supposed to say. Or how to deal with it or how to support you know, their family. And that, you know, so in the midst of this conceptualization of the book, I decided that I would also I would become a death doula. So and that tool is somebody who it's, you know, I think throughout the world, there have been people who've served those roles but in the contract For the West, I think it's a relatively new phenomenon. And the death doula like the birth doula is somebody who's typically who companions a person or their families or both through the dying process and the sort of the jobs they can do can range from, you know, emotional support to practical planning to, you know, a leading a ceremony or ritual for the family to, you know, day to day kind of hospice work. It really kind of, it's a large spectrum of what you can do as a death doula, but I really wanted to, to do a program like that. So I could understand better from that perspective, you know, what options are out for people? What the best research the saying the best, you know, the best reach searcher saying about death in grief, how to deal with it, like what the common human experiences, what's helpful to people what's not helpful, legally, and practically, you know, what can be done? So? So yeah, I mean, we started writing the book in 2020. But it really got steamrolling earlier in 2021. And yeah, it's picked up speed, throughout this past year, but it just, it seemed like after the devil's tone, people wanted the most, were more more rituals and more discussion about death. And I think it's just like the devil's tome. And pretty much everything I create, it's, it came from my own need. If you think again, I needed to understand and learn about my own selfish person. And in in learning about it for myself, I, you know, decided that I wanted to share it with other people. And it seemed like something, you know, really, really needed by the community. So I just, I felt really passionate about it, and I just get the sparks. And I just, you know, Dove Dove in deeply. So for the past, I guess, like, Yeah, almost two years, I've been on this journey of figuring the book out and slowly, slowly, but surely putting it together and doing the work behind the scenes to try to start to answer these questions or explore these questions and open other people's mind up to it. So. And interestingly enough, on this journey, I was actually coming back from Salem road trip out there, and it was early September, and on the way back, my so I've had two dads, I've had a stepdad he died, he was terrible. And I said, another status is terrible with my biological dad, as I was reading this chapter on grief, he actually got a call while I was on the circuit coming back home from Salem that he got. So this this chapter from kind of a clinical perspective, because that's my background, prior to sit and work is working in healthcare and working kind of as a patient advocate, but also doing translational research. And I was reading this thing from like, a very clinical perspective, and like looking at the research, and then all of a sudden, my dad died like a couple of weeks ago, really. And that just shifted, like the focus of so much of the book for me. So it's just this organic thing that keeps growing with what I'm experiencing at the moment and seeing other people deal with. And, yeah, it's still on the journey. But it's been really challenging. And like we agreed and can't seem sad. But it's also been I don't know, it's been very, very much a healing experience for me to go through this and to understand and I think for Betty, too, she's reading a little bit from experience, you know, in the medical, the medical industry experience as a biologist and understanding of human life, from her experience, you know, trying to work with providers and trying to protect her body from, you know, the burdens that the healthcare system wants to put on it. So I think for both of us, it's been pretty cathartic and very reflective of our lived experience over the last year. So
Stephen Bradford Long 23:38 Wow. So your, your father just passed away then?
Shiva Honey 23:42 He did. Yeah. And so this was I just spoke about this at the estate. Actually, that was a fun journey. Because I was like, we've seen a presentation and crying during it and everything. But yeah, that he was one of my abusers. So it was we've been out of contact for a long time. And then he just, I am blocked his number, because going to do a program, one of the things they talk about a lot is forgiveness, which is something that I'm going to talk about a lot in the book about how I disagree with like, you know, a lot of the common wisdom around that. But I was like, you know, people were reading all these books about the end of life and like how people connect him and you know, he's old, I don't know, how much longer is going to be around, maybe I'll try to reach out maybe as long as if it's my problem, you know, and that has been a hassle. And so he reached out to me on my birthday this year, and basically told me I was crazy and asked for money. And I was like, We blocked and then I get that call, but he died and I had to decide I was the only remaining family so I had to be the person that decided what happened to him and like what to do with his estate and everything. So that whole thing was very complicated for me and very, very, very hard. And yeah, that was just within the last month like I had to go through all that process and you know, as a doula as somebody who's a certified death doula now I'm like, Okay, I should have these answers. But you know, going through it yourself. It's totally different experience. And so I'm looking forward to like speaking on that a lot. And also speaking to specifically on these topics that are like kind of controversial, and even in the death doula community, people aren't talking about, you know, I think there's this idea that like, you know, death is beautiful and death is, you know, people who are dying are precious, and you should reconcile with people. And, you know, there's like, all of us, I feel like moral, like, a lot of mental projection that happens around us. And the truth is, though, you know, it's so open. And it's, you know, if you're somebody that's having to deal with somebody who's done interviews, your viewers or, you know, you have to be you're asked to be involved in this process for them, like, my, my answer continues to be that you don't have to actually be a part of the process. And talking a lot in the book about, you know, how to deal with difficult deaths, and like, rituals you can do to separate yourself, you know, because that's something I'm I still PTSD from her my relationship with him and my other dad died a couple years ago. So it's just, it's very complicated, very complicated. And I found that out very, very, very, very much in a personal way, you know, a couple of weeks ago when he died, and figuring out how to navigate these situations is a lot, you know,
Stephen Bradford Long 26:07 let's, I'm really interested to hear your perspective on forgiveness in the context of death. Because, you know, this, this is something that I, you know, probably like you I was raised in kind of a culture of coercive forgiveness, like forgive or out, you know, and it goes back to what Jesus said, and I forgot which gospel this was, but where he says, you know, those who forgive will be forgiven by me. And so which is kind of like a strong arming forgiveness. Like if if you if we don't forgive those who, who hurt and abused us than God won't forgive us. And the end result of that, of course, is we go to hell, so you know, you know, coerced? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, totally. It's totally coercive, coercive forgiveness. What is your personal satanic perspective on forgiveness, and death? Like, how do you navigate that? And I don't, and I don't even expect you to have like an answer to that. Like, how, but but how? What has that journey been like for you?
Shiva Honey 27:24 Yeah, this is actually something I've been thinking about a lot, just forgiveness in general, as a concept, I created a card in the devil's deck about forgiveness, which has been pretty popular with people, but it's kind of turning the concept of forgiveness, traditional forgiveness, the kind of course of forgiveness that you were talking about earlier on a TED. So for me, it's something that I don't feel, I guess, and I'm speaking for myself as like, you know, 30 something year old person that hasn't lived life a certain way and had certain sorts of experiences, but in probably my field will change on it in time. But for me, I think that just generally speaking, the forgiveness that I'm most interested in, personally, and as a Satanist, personal forgiveness, I'm interested in figuring out how I can infer my lived experience how I can fully myself last and how I can, you know, forgive myself for mistakes I've made, because I also think that's part of like the reconciliation process. And I think that's part of you becoming you growing as a person is to not be to not be trapped and shame and guilt and that sort of thing. But from like an interpersonal perspective, I think that forgiveness isn't something that we have to choose necessarily focus on. I think that, for me, the the way that I've been able to survive some of the abuse that had happened, and even now, like, the complicated relationships that I still have with people is through, you know, kind of sticking to my guns, and I'm very, very, very, very strict, no personal boundaries, where I used to have no, and I don't allow people back in my life that have wronged me, I don't forget what people have done, that's hurt me. I, I actually hold those experiences very, very close to me. And, you know, perhaps, that's toxic sometimes. But I also feel like it's a way of protecting myself, I was laying in bed this morning. I think it's a way of self protection for me. And I think with death, I don't think forgiveness is necessary. There's, you know, a lot of again, I have limited lived experience, a lot of people who write about death, talk about reconciliation, as you know, people come together at the end of life and how there's reconciliation and how there's this beautiful process for things to align. And things just seem to clear up really easily and I just haven't had that lived experience. And I don't think it should be, you know, that's something that we should be pushing on ourselves. And I think especially a lot because a lot of us have come from like very traumatic backgrounds and have had like really complicated relationships. I mean, every human has, but I think as a Satanist, you typically, the relationships you tend to have are a lot more adversarial or at least recognized. Is adversarial than a lot a lot of people have, or like want to admit to themselves about. So, for us, I think it's a, it's a special problem. And I think that I don't think that forgiveness is necessary. I think that for our own mental health, just, I think being able to refocus on ourselves, and until I guess you could use the word heal or like grow personally, is more important to me as a Satanist than again, like reconciling with outside people. I think holding on to grudges and anger isn't necessarily healthy. But it's part of the process of just being able to survive, these things have happened and learn. And I think from my personal perspective, with my like, my dad, for instance, and my stepdad like, I never forgave them, and I never will, and I, with my dad, even, even with that whole thing, that was a huge mess that he lost. He literally, I don't think we can get to the detail that you want to know. But like it was such a big mess, and I just divested from him completely. I didn't. You know, there was no, we had spoken in a long time. I wasn't around when he was he died suddenly I wasn't around when that happened. But, you know, it's, I can try to understand where he was coming from maybe, but it's not, you know, I don't think he ever asked for my forgiveness. He never wanted it. I don't particularly think it's important to think about that at this point. And I think ultimately, as a Satanist, whatever makes you feel better. Like whatever you can live with whatever makes you feel better, whatever brings you some sort of pieces, the answer, and I don't think that we should feel obligated to reconcile with people or forgive them or wrap things up in a tidy bow once people dire are dying.
Stephen Bradford Long 31:42 Yeah, life isn't a Hallmark movie. I mean, there's, there's so much, I don't know, just so many thoughts. And emotions came up for me listening to you talk. So you know, to kind of share some of my story. And this is something that I don't talk about very much publicly both when I was 19 years old, I was in a shooting when I was when I was a missionary. And I mean, I was literally right there at a mass shooting. Two of my friends were killed right in front of me. And, and I saw it, you know, I was right there. And the the PTSD destroyed me. I remember the week, it happened. The missionary community that I was part of all gathered in the hallway, where my two friends were killed. And we were told on the count of three, shout the words I forgive you. See, you know, and at the time, it felt kind of awesome and brazen. But looking back, I realized that's just not how grief works. The the rage at the gun men needed to be worked through. And in a context like that. The word forgiveness. It's like, I almost don't even know what what that word means. Oh, hold on, my cat is pushing the mic around. It's like, I don't even know what that word means. What does forgiveness even mean? Does it mean not holding the acts of someone against them? That doesn't quite feel right to me because it's like, no, people, people have responsibility for their actions. I don't want to remove responsibility from anything from from anyone. On the other hand, does forgiveness mean? Not letting you know for forgetting the harm, you know, for allowing that harm to be forgotten? I don't want to forget that. I don't I don't want to forget to the the brutality because I feel like that would be disrespectful to my friends who died. I don't want to forget their final moments. And then on the other hand, is it not letting not letting this event control my life? That I'm more down with? Right? Yeah, absolutely. But but in a way I just don't know what the word forgiveness even means.
Shiva Honey 34:28 You bring up such a good point like this is literally I mean, we talk about it all the time but it's such a weird concept. Yeah, and like I think all everybody kind of understands it differently. But yeah, and having the church having you do say those things right after your friends your shot. It's like what does that even mean? Like how can that how can the brain even process that exactly?
Stephen Bradford Long 34:49 Suits me. Exactly. And, you know, I I can, I can say, you know, I can try to practice compassion Shouldn't for the gunman while not accepting, while still condemning what he did, you know, but that that, that isn't something that I have to do. And it isn't something that that happens immediately. But that, to me, is different from forgiveness. I don't know what I'm saying. I absolutely. And I can say, you know, I can try to understand his inner landscape, but understanding isn't forgiving understanding isn't condoning, like I can try to understand I can even maybe try to have compassion on parts of his life without condoning or accepting or any of those things. And so what I'm, and I can come to live my life where that trauma no longer shapes me, no longer is a shadow over my life, and I can just move on and live a full life, which I feel like I have. But even that is, do you see what I'm saying? It's like, I don't I don't know what that word means. Like, none of those things Ness necessarily strike me as forgiveness.
Shiva Honey 36:05 Yeah, I'd like to be in the Christian context to like, I forgive you. And then that's describing it's like, can you it's almost like a saying it's okay. And I guess here, too, I mean, what we've gotten all the time is that people are alive back, or, you know, things are covered up. Like another big part of my story in the church, nothing's being covered up, like wrongs being covered up. Oh, yeah, well, just the idea of givenness, which is just, instead of it being something that's like, practical or helpful, it just becomes an excuse to to use that behavior continuing to hide the sins of the clergy, or whatever it is. And, to me, forgiveness, too, is something that was wielded a lot by my mom, and, you know, it's still something, we have issues, still to this day, but you know, she would always say, you know, just, I'm, she's like, I'm forgiving myself for what happened, and I, I forgive bla bla, bla bla, and you know, you should just forgive. And to me, that whole thing is, it's all about forgiving and forgetting. And it's, it's about just, I don't know, it seems kind of weak. And it seems, it seems like it's a way to re victimize myself. A lot of times, I think your your context, similar, but quite different, you know, from a lot of my personal experience, but to me, it's just, I don't know, it's just the core concepts absurd, and the fact that we're continuously tucked at, to forgive whether it's in a Christian context, or I think culturally in general, and if we're looking into like spiritual movements, or you know, self help, it's like, dude, I'm such an overabundance of people telling you that that's something that you have to focus your energy on. And I just, it's like, what is even like you said, What does it even mean? And how is this actually helping me at all? Like, yeah, like, it's time to grieve? Like, what about stuff?
Stephen Bradford Long 37:51 What about, say, post? One of my favorite phrases lately has been post traumatic growth? Like, what about let's get, what about that? Like, what about saying, you know, putting the emphasis on No, I'm going to be as totally authentic in this grief and rage as I possibly can be? What about that? What if the, what if the emphasis was on that? I mean, of course, gently, you know, some of us, you know, some of us need to go up the mountain and not look at that grief for a while, because it might be too overwhelming. And that's, that's also part of the process, right? But, but what if, instead of forgiveness? What if we were to reframe it as no, let's, let's, let's embrace to, within reason, the fullness of the grief and rage. And all of the feelings that come with that, let's just feel them. Like, what if? What if that were to be the case instead of let's forgive and put this all away? Yeah, I feel like that would be so much more helpful. And so talk some about the role of ritual in this process. How does how does ritual play a role here?
Shiva Honey 39:15 Yeah, I mean, I guess with forgiveness or grief specifically. For me, it's played a big role in helping me disconnect. I think one of the things I think I've been thinking about this a lot, because I think one of the ways that we harm ourselves most is and I can see, I can see the wisdom and forgiveness quote, unquote, in certain ways. Yeah. So this idea of, of disconnecting from people or experiences that were harmful, that aspect of forgiveness, which you know, is very broad I can agree with, and I think that's where ritual comes in. For me. I think the way that we end up the way that I end up hurting myself a lot is holding on, like replaying old things in my mind old situations, old abuses, getting really angry, and there's nothing wrong with getting angry, I think Whether or not you want to work through it, that's all up to you. And I think anger can be a very transformative powerful tool that's in our toolbox. But so for me, ritual, ritual can be a way to channel anger, it can be a way to help me process relationships and separate from, you know, things that I want to separate from, it can be a way for me to process grief, that's a huge one. So a couple of the rituals in the book are specifically about you know, processing grief after sort of, like a complicated death, like the one I was describing with my dad, you know, like, after he dies, just like, you know, taking think of him and his legacy and the fact that he's actually dead, which is, like, really difficult to process to me. Even, I guess, in the context of people who were my abusers, it's like, even though they're dead, they're, you know, those memories and like, the pain and everything still continues, I still have bad dreams and PTSD, you know, symptoms from things that happen by people who are now dead. So it's like, how do I work through those sort of, sort of aspects of my life. And so ritual comes in and can help with that. So that's been, that's been huge for me. And that's, I think that's really helped me, you know, whether I'm going through, I'm going to be talking about this next month, I'm going to release one of the rituals that I have in the book burn, but just one of the most effective rituals for me, in dealing with my dad, or my stepdad has been to just like, you know, write down the aspects of things that they said to me that were cruel things that keep on popping up in my head, I feel like their voices are still there, sometimes. Things that I that, you know, made me think about myself that I don't think are true or hurtful, just like writing all those things down and like taking evening to just like, think about them a lot and like, get really upset about it angry, and then just burn it. And that, to me, doing those sorts of things have really helped me work through anger and grief, and all the complicated feelings that I have around those people. But yeah, and that's gonna be one of the rituals in the book. And the other is just, of course, you know, rituals for remembering people that were dear to you, which was, you know, how to put your own funeral together, how to do it for other people, like doing all these other ceremonial things that we typically do when people die. So just leaving a lot of options and examples for, you know, what you can do, if you want to engage in ceremony or ritual.
Stephen Bradford Long 42:28 You know, it's almost like these, you know, thinking of just traumatic experiences, or heartbreaking experiences, those are full bodied experiences. I mean, even even like a breakup, I mean, it feels like your whole body is broken. If you know the heartbreak it, it really feels like you were broken, and then it's all but then it's like, so as ritual ritual can be a full body experience. And I don't know, there's almost a sense of counteracting one full body experience with another or something, it's, and you know, I don't want to get, you know, there, I feel like there's a lot of pseudoscience around stuff like, you know, the body holding on to trauma and all that kind of stuff. And I don't necessarily want to go there, but there is real power in in engaging the full body and a healing practice, like a ritual, you know?
Shiva Honey 43:28 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, when I was so you know, coming for me as a person who's reading this book, when my dad died, and again, like, I just like wrote down all the different symptoms that have happened and for like, two or three days after he died, I felt like I was gaping wounds, like physically. And I also realized that what I was feeling was very familiar. And I thought about it, and I realized that I'd really been grieving during this really heavy grieving around my dad, you know, around the time I became a satanist and started to separate and become estranged from him. So I was, I was having these, you know, my stomach was hurting constantly. I was having these feelings of like extreme weakness, just crying all the time. Flashbacks. Like all that stuff was happening at that moment after he died for days, and that had also been going on for like, probably a year or so after once I decided to separate from him and actually process what was going on. So yeah, I mean, your body there, there's no doubt that your body, your mind, and body, emotions are all connected together. And there's a real physical aspect to everything that we experience emotionally and psychologically. I definitely think that for me, ritual is most effective when I'm able to engage my senses and to be physically active and that's why I think putting together elaborate rituals and becoming really physically engaged and centrally engaged in the process can really help kind of reprogram your brain which is basically what I guess I would short, say ritual does is it Helping you reprogram your thought process and reconnect some wires connected and put you in a different mind frame in when you're approaching reality and your human experience.
Stephen Bradford Long 45:14 This is going to be a really, really, really weird question and might seem completely out of the blue. I have been fascinated by the research into psychedelics as a tool through end of life therapies. And I mean, the the research, like out of John Hopkins is has just been so incredibly powerful. Were psychedelics being used in the context of like, depression, grief, intense anxiety, trauma, and then end of life and just the results have been stunning. And for anyone listening who's curious about this, go read Michael Pollan's book, how to change your mind. Have you consider and this is a touchy question, because you know, the, you know, but have you? Have you thought any about the integration of psychedelics into satanic ritual? Hmm. Is that something that your mind has has ever gone towards? And if so, what the ethics of that would be like? I don't know, is that just, it's something that I've been thinking about? And so I guess I just kind of like want to open a door to that discussion.
Shiva Honey 46:40 Yeah, I mean, I get asked about this a lot, actually. And I Okay, I always I'm kind of I try to publicly be pretty
Stephen Bradford Long 46:48 Oh, say that say that one more time.
Shiva Honey 46:51 I tried to be kind of, you know, I don't talk about it a lot. Because there are legal, there's still legal ramifications for absolutely psychedelic use and that sort of thing. But in a religious context. I mean, I think it could be powerful. I think it could be dangerous, too. I think that one of the things that I say when people start doing ritual, and I've said this in a couple of my presentations before is that I think the ritual is best practice, when you have somebody, like a sort of therapeutic guide for you, like a therapist, or somebody you're working with already, if you are going to be engaging in deep ritual. And I would think the same thing, if people are going to be if people would be engaging in psychedelics, I think, I don't know, I don't, I think on a personal level, like, I think that that makes, I think it makes sense for people to experiment, I definitely think I, you know, read a lot of that research, and I've had lived experience that reflects that, I think you can have very powerful experiences with those sort of the sort of tools at your side. But I do think there can be I think it could be something potentially dangerous at like a media community level and that community level, but like in a group setting, you know, what I mean? Or I think maybe the personal religious practice that could make sense. And if you're with people who are experienced, and you know, you have good relationships with in a therapeutic setting, I think you could integrate all those things, if you're in a state or, or working with some people in a therapeutic setting, where those could be integrated. But I know a lot of people who've gotten into ritual who have sort of lost their minds in the process. And I think a lot of them have also, that is also usually connected with super heavy drug use. So I'm always a bit scared about that. But I do think there's promise and, you know, responsibly integrating, that sort of like psychedelics or other substances into individual practice. I mean, it's been done for, you know, millennia at this point. And I think, to profound effect, but I think it's something you know, hopefully something down the line, we could talk about more, but I think just going in with care is important. I think for me personally, too. I had, you know, experiences with psychedelics that have helped me, I think really early on in my journey, actually, even before I became a Satanist, that really opened up my mind and like, made me think about my life differently in the world differently, provided to be a very important healing catalyst. But once I once I actually started being more serious about my ritual practice, I stopped, I stopped engaging with it, because that ritual actually took this space to the space and like, gave me the insights that psychedelics had previously given. So for me personally, I don't do that anymore. And I don't know, it's probably a personal experience, more of a personal sort of story, but I feel better about just kind of engaging ritual. And that really...
Stephen Bradford Long 49:41 you you feel better about or you feel better about engaging ritual say that one more time.
Shiva Honey 49:47 Oh, yeah. Engaging in ritual without the aid of psychedelic personally at this point, and something it's something to that for me, I guess, rituals, almost taking the place of where psychedelics used to be the thing that I did to like get to a certain place mentally and like work through things cuz this to me now is the process ritual serves. Yeah, so I don't know, it's interesting, but I just I always just get nervous, you know, people come up to me I've done at events when people come up and ask about it. And I just, I'm always just wary. Ya know, I think that you have to be careful with
Stephen Bradford Long 50:18 all that stuff. You know, I, I feel really similarly. And part of the reason why I bring up the question is because one of my favorite writers, Michael Pollan, who's been writing quite a bit about psychedelics lately. He says that the federal government is, is starting to take more of a hands off approach with the war on drugs, because it's been such a catastrophic failure, and so they're just taking their they're just taking their hands off with, and what that means is that psychedelics are coming to our culture in a, in a, in a big way, down down the line, and I think that's accurate. I think that's true. And, and so, you know, psychedelics are coming like that, that, you know, magical freight train is, is going to hit us. And it's worth kind of thinking preemptively about the integration, about the, about how we're going to approach psychedelics, because I can't imagine that it isn't going to happen to some degree within the satanic community. Like it's going, You know what I'm saying, like, it's, and so but I, but I also totally share your instincts, like, on the one hand, it's incredibly powerful, can be incredibly powerful for like, grief and end of life stuff, and so on. My personal, I feel like my personal mental makeup is such that I'm so wellness is such a fragile state for me. And, and being well, mentally is such a fragile state for me that I'm so cautious about anything that might disrupt that. And so psychedelics personally, like completely terrify me. And, and I'm, and so it sounds like, meditation is for me, what ritual is for you? And in that it kind of does that does for me, what, what? Psychedelics, I guess could do?
Shiva Honey 52:30 Yeah, yeah, I would say, yeah, probably, we're in a similar place. And the same thing with this idea. I think I when I was engaging, you know, when that idea was more appealing to me, it was during a time where I was really looking for answers. And yeah, and I do think that it's something that we should explore religiously, when I think about the way most people I guess, because of the war on drugs, and because of the taboo nature and the cultural nature of psychedelics in the United States. From that perspective, a lot of times when people engage, it's from a recreational point of view. And it's not, you know, it's not very controlled, and it's kind of a roller coaster of things. So I think if we were to engage it, I think if institutionally as the temple or whatever, groups of Satanists or ministers, or whatever it is, started to think about these questions, you know, the way that people have formally, it seems to me integrated those things into religious practices through through formal structures, and there's like, guides, and there's, there's, you know, rituals that have been like, set in stone for hundreds of 1000s of years that are done with it. And I think that's the sort of thing that maybe, from an institutional perspective, we could start thinking about, but there's, yeah, there's a lot that has to happen. I feel like there's a lot of, we're still learning so much, I have to check out that book. I hadn't, I hadn't read it, but I had seen a lot of the research because it was always interested in healthcare, healthcare field. You know, there's just a lot of, I think there's a lot of good that could come from it, but it just, we have to figure out how we would, you know, integrate that into everything else.
Stephen Bradford Long 54:05 Yes, absolutely. And I don't even you know, bring up this question saying that we should, but, but, you know, just that it's worth thinking about, like it's worth, it's worth contemplating, because I can't imagine that psychedelics aren't going to start being integrated into ritual either within the satanic community or just more broadly, in, in our in our culture, right, like it, it's coming, it's going to come and it's and I mean, I figured like your is your maybe the best person I know of to ask you, you know, to bring this topic up with since since you're kind of an expert in ritual, so I hope that that question doesn't seem like too weird or out of left field,
Shiva Honey 54:50 but I think it's like it's very, very natural. And I think you know, I just haven't thought about in a long time, so you bring something good to my mind. Notice, like, look into more and think about Yeah, cuz it can be, I mean, these things have been used forever throughout human history to like create breakthroughs and help people heal. And, you know, it'll be interesting to see how hopefully things are decriminalized and and what the research is telling us and how people can integrate it in a way that's, you know, powerful and useful for Absolutely. Yeah. And
Stephen Bradford Long 55:22 you know, one of the points that Michael Pollan makes he has a new book out called, this is your mind on plants where he covers, he talks about our interaction with four plants, the poppy, caffeine, iOS, Ayahuasca, no, not ayahuasca, mescaline, and, oh, what was the other one? I can't remember, um, see, coffee. I mescaline is Poppy. And I can't I can't remember the other one. But one of the one of the things that he points out is that in the native indigenous cultures that do a ritual with these plants, it is that they are very conservative. And like, the culture surrounding them is very conservative and very structured and very, like old fashioned and very rigid. And part of the purpose for that is because these, these plants can just unleashed die in nice in powers, you know, can just unleash, you know, die a nice and forces in a community, if it doesn't take place within a structure. And he points out and Michael Pollan kind of makes a comparison, I think he did this in an interview, he kind of makes a comparison to alcohol, in our culture, where it's like, you know, we have these cultural norms and rituals surrounding alcohol, we don't think of them that way. But that's what it is, like, you know, you have a designated driver, that's a ritual. You, you have, you have you bring along a designated driver, you you don't, you know, you you drink with friends. Preferably not, you don't drink heavily alone. When you do we know that that's, you know, when we're more vulnerable. So, you know, there's like, they're like, these rituals and customs surrounding alcohol to make this really powerful, powerful drug, safer for society. Right and, and beneficial for society. And he says, we're going to have to develop similar norms and rituals for psychedelics. So it's a, it's a fascinating thing to think about within the context of, of religion. And I think it's going to be a natural fit, I think is going to be a natural thing to think about within the satanic community. Because they to this are, you know, generally more open and freaky than than others.
Shiva Honey 57:54 Yeah, it'll be exciting to see Christians integrated into their own. Oh, totally.
Stephen Bradford Long 57:58 Absolutely. When is your book coming out? Or tell us some about about how people can support your project and where they can find that?
Shiva Honey 58:09 Yeah, I've, I've just released an Indiegogo campaign for the book. So we've hit our funding goal, which is amazing. And I'm doing a limited edition, leather and paperback printing each of the books, they're limited to 111 copies each. And that campaign is going to be running through November 1. So if you go on my website, serpentina.com. If you go on Indiegogo in search, the devil's death that that will come up when you can purchase one of those books, the books aren't actually going to be released. And so May, I'm thinking may or April next year, so I just want to build in the supply chains are insane right now. So I'm trying to build in some time for everything to work itself out. But yeah, so we're looking at the Spring release. And I'll be doing a book release party at the headquarters at tst. And in some other places around the country, which is assuming COVID is not as terrible as it has been, hopefully finally happen. I've really been a hermit for the last year or so. I anticipate finally getting out into the world and being able to celebrate the books and all these other projects next year. And yeah, so so it's sellin so you can purchase it if you're interested on through Indiegogo or my website. And yeah, I'm super excited. I'm finishing up right now. And we're getting towards the end. So um, I've taken a little break since my dad died, just to try to process things before I get into another heavy writing session, but just putting all the pieces together now. And so yeah, I'm super excited. The ritual portion of the book is going to be one of the biggest aspects of it. But we're also going to be doing things around how you can come up with to an end of life, the sort of like, legal and practical steps you can take to ensure that you know, whatever you want to have happen after you die does end up happening, how to navigate the healthcare system, basic practical tools for working with, if you want at the end of life or helping somebody who is interested, think about and keep in mind when you're navigating the funeral industry, the healthcare industry, understanding what options would have at the end of life, and what can actually be done with your body. Going back to what I was talking about earlier, preparing advanced directives, you know, and ultimately, you know, how to deal with grief, process death, how to treat these rituals, rituals that you can use, how to support, you know, people that you loved ones during that time, practical guidance on like, what's helpful and what's not helpful. And you know, how to think about building a support network around you, and you're grieving, all sorts of things. So it's, it's got a lot going on, but I'm hoping it will open up the gateway for a lot of important conversations within our community and hopefully with outside of our community, too. I think it's, it's going to be pretty unique, and hopefully a useful resource for folks.
Stephen Bradford Long 1:01:13 Amazing. Well, thank you so much for coming onto the show. This has been fantastic. Thank you so much for having me. 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.