Thursday, September 10, 2020

Airbnb for Satan

A family renting an Airbnb unit in New York City got a surprise when they got there and found the place decorated with - well, basically a couple of animal skulls and some implements for casting spells. They freaked and reported being terrified by this display of "devil worship." I do understand that one of the unwritten rules about doing magick is that in general, when dealing with people who get their information from horror films and the like, you should do your best not to antagonize them. At the same time, though, their total over-reaction is kind of funny.

A family staying at an Airbnb property in New York state were frightened upon discovering animal skulls, ritualistic floor markings and “imagery, candles, books, etc for rituals and what looked like devil worship”.

Frederick Joseph, an author from New York City, had booked the house for two nights to spend time with his fiancée, his cousin and his eight-year-old brother, paying $1,150 for the privilege. But as soon as they arrived at the property, they became wary.

“When we walked up to the house we noticed an animal skull hanging on the outside of the house, so I went inside to check it out,” tweeted Joseph. “When I walked I went to the basement and found more animal skulls and ritualistic floor markings and then I went up to the rooms to find much more.

“As we walked through the two rooms we found a bunch of imagery, candles, books, etc for rituals and what looked like devil worship. My brother was terrified, as were we.”

Not a lot of people really engage in "devil worship," so probably the owner of this space is some flavor of Wiccan or Neo-Pagan, which are much larger traditions. Since most of my friends are at least peripherally involved in the occult community I've been in plenty of houses with this sort of decor. The idea that it's scary and dangerous is just silly, but people do have a right to their religious beliefs regardless of what people outside their traditions think of those beliefs.

I do understand that some people are unwilling to stay in a space with symbols from spiritual traditions different than their own. Airbnb, while initially resistant, did provide the family with a refund. I would like to know, though, whether or not this is applied by the company universally. Let's say that I went to stay at an Airbnb that turned out to be full of crosses and other Christian iconography, and I decided that I didn't want to stay there on that basis. Would I get a refund too? If not, that would constitute religious discrimination. The article mentions that there was also some sexually suggestive artwork in the space, which is explicitly prohibited by company policies that are presumably applied equally across the board, but the owner did offer to come and remove them.

I also see why Airbnb originally resisted giving a refund in this case. Now that they have given a refund over religious iconography, in order to avoid discrimination they should have to allow such refunds on a general basis. If I objected over a bunch of crosses or whatever and they refused, in theory that could be a lawsuit in the making. Really, the fair way to do this to prohibit religious iconography of all sorts in Airbnb spaces, just like suggestive artwork. I don't know that it would necessarily bother me to stay in a space with a bunch of crosses, and I would never bother to file a lawsuit over it, but prohibiting them is a fair and equal way to deal with members of minority religions.

And really, that should be basic common sense. I can certainly see where a Christian might set up a space with a bunch of proselytizing crap and as a Thelemite I shouldn't have to deal with that. And a Christian shouldn't have to deal with me renting out a unit with "DO WHAT THOU WILT" and unicursal hexagrams and sigils traced all over the place.

A "separation of church and Airbnb" policy would work fine in both those cases.

UPDATE: Vice got in touch with the owner of the alleged "Airbnb for Satan." It turns out he's not even an occultist or pagan, just a collector of kitchy artwork, and found the whole situation "weird and unsettling." And it is, really. There are occultists in the world, of course - I'm one of them. But "devil worship" is barely a thing. Even people who practice what they call theistic Satanism don't do what you see in horror films. Movies are fiction, you know?

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Macrocosm/Microcosm said...

One thing I do not like about the left hand path community is that many of them do not practice what they preach.

They foster a philosophy of freedom from limiting doctrines and dogma. My experience when approaching them however is that many are hypocritical. At the mention of an angel or Archangel, they immediately get defensive, label you as a Christian, and then tell you you are insulting their demons. I cannot seem to get a straight answer from the Occult community on whether or not you can work with both or do you have to "pick a side?"

I have been told things like do not try and banish this or that Goetic demon. I would not work with both energies simultaneously or even on the same day. I would love input on this.

Scott Stenwick said...

I work with both. Thelema is a middle path. You have both Qabalistic angels and goetic demon attributions in Liber 777 along with the spirits and intelligences from Agrippa, and beyond that you have all the relevant Enochian entities which include angels and demons. I suppose if you have to pick a side, the side you should pick is your own. Do what thou wilt, right?

Generally I don't work with angels and demons in the same ritual, though there are ways to do it with multiple containment structures and some ritual design work. Basically you don't want to be calling them into the same containment structure at the same time, because their energies/forces/powers or whatever you want to call them can cancel each other out in close proximity.

Macrocosm/Microcosm said...

So then how does the energy flow or better yet, in your system how does bringing in the Shem angel, the angelic emissaries, and let's say psalm 132 or a portion of a psalm vibrated in Hebrew, gazing at this elaborate combination as a sigil with many rings, affect the probability of being granted the specific skill or outcome you want the particular goetic demon to help you achieve?

And then of course I imagine that doing this immediately after opening your "operant field" with the LBRP, LIRH and I would guess the middle pillar would be standard procedure.

Thanks again.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yes, everything you do for practical magick follows the operant field. The operant field is used to set up an optimal working space for whatever practical operation you are performing.

As for the rest - I don't know that there's a general, simple answer to that question. It depends on the ritual you are performing, the spirit you are working with, and the ritual procedure involved. Generally speaking, once you set up your space the better you follow the procedure the better it works. But a lot of that is still open to experimentation.

One thing I have found in my experience is that in terms of practical operations, the "visible appearance" thing does sometimes happen but it has no bearing on how successful the result of the operation is. The ritual where I had the best "visible appearance" manifestation was also a complete failure in terms of the objective. I like to make that point because there are folks out there insisting the opposite, and I haven't found it to be true at least for myself.