I’d like to tell you about the origins of Demonkind (in the sense that we use that term here). I don’t normally write in the first person, because Demonkind is a generalized premise for you, for all of us. But it springs from visions that I have experienced for many years, and the reasons for its aesthetics and eccentricities come from my personal story.
My parents rejected their own strict religious upbringing, and they taught me atheism and disdain for authority from the beginning: no god, no law, no meaning, no direction. Unfortunately, like many others in that reactionary position, they offered nothing actually helpful in its place–just that we individually strive and stumble through life, we die, and worms eat us, The End. This viewpoint seems rational enough, but rationality did not keep them from generally treating other people with prejudice and hostility, and of course that behavior rubbed off on me by example.
We moved all around the continental US, to a new home about twice a year, which made it impossible for me to keep friendships or build any other attachments. They did not teach me any social skills other than criticism. They fought constantly, each tried to turn me against the other, and they called me stupid and unwanted all the time. To cope, I dissociated, and I read books voraciously.
In reading, I found not only the universe of lives and worlds inside, but also philosophy and spirituality. I read about mystery schools, and monks and witches around the world, and I longed for that sort of exaltation, and for the idea of belonging to an ancient order that kept the secrets of the unseen world. Pretending to have powers, I’d wear “magic rings” that I got from those gumball machines that sell trinkets in little clear plastic eggs. I especially prized skull rings with jeweled eyes. When my mother would catch me mumbling spells, she scolded “you know magic isn’t real, right?”
Over time I dabbled in a wide range of groups and philosophical studies: Sufism, Buddhism, Baha’i, and several branches of paganism and occultism with European roots. They all had strong merits, and beautiful art and literature, but invariably something in their dogma or liturgy would conflict with my deeply-indoctrinated atheism and antagonism toward authority and society. Additionally, I had a hard time investing any belief into details like holy names or ritual requirements, as I saw no reason to accept that any one group’s set of those had more inherent validity than any other.
Satanism enticed me, between its Gothic looks and its overt embrace of societal antagonism, but something kept me from identifying with them. I met LaVey a few times in the 1980’s, and he kept a pleasant demeanor, but most other avowed Satanists I met in those years were arrogant, hostile, and creepy–and not in a good way. I did love their Elvira aesthetics, but I did not want to celebrate selfishness, nor associate myself with narcissistic or mean-spirited people (though my own behavior toward others was not great either).
During one LSD trip I had the fairly common experience of viscerally seeing the connectivity of all life, matter, and energy in the universe. In most people, this perception wears off within a few days, as their ego reasserts its control over their consciousness. For me it went dormant for a bit, but then re-emerged in my awareness, in gradually stronger and more persistent intervals. I began to have clear waking visions of how we all emanate from the same pool, literally drawing atoms from one another, and sharing complex systems across the arcs of both our own lifetime and all lifetimes.
For many years, I could not reconcile these visions with the difficult time I had actually connecting with other people, or functioning in schools or jobs. Once again I dissociated and sank into depression. My visions did not subside but they turned deathly cold. Instead of an enormous living organism, I saw the grinding gears of an unfeeling machine made of endless dust. It still interconnected, more or less, but it did not matter or mean anything.
I stumbled along, torn between attempting to function in a socially acceptable way, and my persistent visions of how little any of our efforts mattered in the void. Applying for jobs, I couldn’t help but imagine the interviewer decomposing in front of me, like a time-lapse educational nature film. While I tried to “do the right thing” in various external ways, pro-environment and anti-war, my consciousness of universal indifference kept me from really investing myself in other people. I made incessant sarcastic jokes to avoid caring too much.
Over time I learned how to bottle up and diminish my visions, in service of behaving the way other people demanded, and paying the bills. Relationships and careers came and went, and I continued to move around the country. With each partner I did manage to learn better skills for building and maintaining relationships. I knew that I needed to develop those abilities, in order to live with some emotional or mental comfort, but I still had a hard time translating my visions of interconnection among all life into actually treating other people that way. I went to therapy and did the talking and reflecting, but real healing evaded me, because my sense of personal alienation kept me from bridging that divide. This struggle still haunts me, and up to a certain recent point I avoided reaching outward with my work.
In 2016 we elected an absurdly repugnant president of the United States. All the previous presidents had their own terrible problems, but this cartoon nightmare signaled a sharp change for the worse. The next morning, I decided to donate some money to The Satanic Temple, as they seemed like the activist group doing work I could most personally relate to. I liked how they grafted a positive ethos onto the aesthetic of Satanism, so I got a membership card; but very soon I saw that their religious trappings served only as a prankish scaffold for their legal actions and self-promotion.
I joined their local chapter, thinking some physical and social activism would make it all more substantial for me, but unfortunately this group had dismal leadership and only a flimsy idea of what they were doing. I challenged them on their philosophy and intentions, which they did not appreciate, and they kicked me out. Later on I discovered the national organization was infested with racists and misogynists anyway.
All of the paths and groups I studied had either failed to match what I had seen of the workings of the universe, or they failed to provide real help to people here on Earth. I set myself to meditation about this problem. As I contemplated, my visions heated back up, and new perceptions came. I saw creatures of purpose and vitality, with limitless physical forms, exploring the darkness around me. In one instance that struck me deeply, at first I saw only the endless void, but then I rotated in place 180 degrees, and faced all of humanity. I realized that neither perspective invalidated the other.
In that moment I started to once again see life flowing through everything, instead of just dust. I saw every injury and every nourishment rippling outward to the farthest cells. As the vision expanded, I wondered if I could find any way to reconcile this fairly universal spiritual conception with the tenaciously rebellious darkness inside me.
Embracing this challenge, I set to writing down page after page of thoughts. Soon it began to cohere around some core values that kept coming up. Some of them contradicted each other, while others only seemed to conflict until I tried new ways of looking at them together. It hit me that each apparent opposition exactly reflected the vision in which I turned from the void toward the living. Any object has more than one side, and we can’t perceive all the facets at once, but that does not mean the sides somehow cancel each other out, nor deny the core they share.
This realization, and the writing I had done, shaped up into a germinal set of beliefs that I could actually support. It occurred to me that other people out there must have had similar desires and disappointments in their search for meaning and belonging–so I decided to give it a name and publish the ideas I had so far. The name Demonkind clicked perfectly inside me as soon as I thought of it; initially I liked its devilish nature, but many other very important qualities behind the word came to light as I studied it further. Seeing my writing inspiring others has invigorated my commitment to follow through.
The deeper I work, taking my visions seriously rather than trying to suppress them, the more vividly the path clarifies before me, and the greater the sense of purpose and meaning I feel. The writings here have already changed, and will continue to change, as my perceptions change, as more of the path reveals its twists and byways to me. I hope that soon more voices will help define and develop Demonkind as an identity and practice, because I do not believe in only my own visions. After all, multiple perspectives unveil more of the truth. These pages do not exist to dictate, but rather to share my visions with you.