Belief in the occult is neither fascist nor Libertarian. My purpose here is to not place disbelief on anybody’s religious or spiritual beliefs, but to bring into question many of the political beliefs expressed by some occult groups. Quite often belief in the occult goes hand in hand with oppression. The Treaty of Versailles triggered a renewed nationalism in the German people. German Rosicrucians reexamined the ancient German myths and ancient runic alphabets to create a revived Teutonic religion that celebrated German history and culture. Many Nazis came out of these alternative religions, but the religions themselves were not fascist.
The Sixties gave rise to a pagan renaissance in the United States, now called Neo-Paganism. The mainline and Pentecostal churches’ open support for the Vietnam war and the Nixon Administration gave rise to a matriarchal paganism that was imported from England. Neo-Paganism became a direct challenge to established religion when a psychotherapist calling herself Starhawk published a book called The Spiral Dance. Starhawk introduced a consensus-driven religion without dogma or hierarchy. This idea proved so popular copycat books were picked up by mainstream publishers. Starhawk’s Wicca took the country by storm.
Without structure or form, Wicca became another victim of the American religion. As independent Wiccan covens popped up across the country, people imposed the familiar structures of the American Religion upon it. Not able to understand the lack of hierarchy, “High Priestesses” become absolute dictators. Not being able to understand a religion without sin or enforced morality, both concepts are replaced with “The Three Fold Law.” The High Priestess is the absolute judge as to what is and what is not a violation of the “Three Fold Law.” Starhawk’s Wicca has as great a potential of being a tool of oppression as it does of being a means of liberation.
It only makes sense that Libertarianism would find suitable mates amongst the Neo-Pagans. Libertarians claim to be about Liberty, but actually protect and defend corporate oppression. Many Neo-Pagan groups claim to be about liberation actually reinforce the American Religion. These Libertarian Neo-Pagan groups include rigid conformity and morality, the absolute belief in a mythic history, and a rigid hierarchy. They pretty much reduce their mother goddess to Jesus Christ in drag.
One such Neo-Pagan group which I have had a chance to observe first hand is Church of all Worlds. CAW predates Starhawk by a good ten years. It began around the time that Buckland and Sanders were introducing the idea of Paganism. It was based on the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. Starting out as just another sex, drugs, and rock and roll cult of the Sixties, CAW jumped on the Neo-Pagan band wagon after The Spiral Dance. In the late Seventies they joined in with Karl Hess’s New Left, and now call themselves a “Libertarian Pagan Church”.
Rather than adopt the anarchist consensus-based structure proposed by Starhawk, CAW has a very rigid Freemason-like hierarchy. They have a rigid morality based on polyamory and group sex. Unfortunately, it is a morality based on patriarchal male dominance. Bisexuality is encouraged amongst the female members, but not the males. Women having sex together is a turn on for many men. Women also do not have the same rights to turn down sex as men do. I know several women, some underage, who had been sexually assaulted at CAW events, and it was the CAW women who were most active in protecting the perpetrators. That is certainly rigid conformity in morality. CAW insist on the literal truth of their matriarchal mythical history, and apply the Three Fold Law as another incarnation of the Protestant Work Ethic. In other words if something bad happens to you, it was because you disobeyed the High Priestess or did something to piss off the group.
What I find the most interesting about CAW is their insistence that the rest of the world hates them. They treat the rest of the world as Evangelical Christianoids simply because we are not interested in their version of the true faith. The fact of the matter is that most of us don’t give a fiddler’s damn who they pray to or who they screw. Rather than to stand up for their legal rights, CAW members prefer to consider society “evil” and the government the “black empire” and drop out of society.
This dovetails nicely with Libertarian thought, which also sees the government as evil. Neither Libertarians or CAW members feel any responsibility towards their fellow citizens or the government that is supposed to be representing them. They see any sort of structure as a threat to their freedoms. It never occurs to them that they can work to change these structures. We will go into this in more detail as we examine the protection of corporate power in the next post.