Humility and Grace
By Nameless Therein
– Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937
As we make our way into autumn, new changes bear old faces, reflected in the many moods of nature. As death makes way for life, change is all around. From the fallen tree to the dying leaf and the setting sun behind the clouds, we find mirrored in our own mood a shift at once familiar and new: a shift in season.
Things have been quiet in the ONA lately. Though autumn’s mark of silence can be felt, one can sense something else – a restlessness and exhaustion, a neutral disinterest and quiet anticipation, a dispirited silence from the need to be heard. Having experienced big changes in my own life recently, I have observed these qualities in myself over the last year, emerging in and through the psyche and receding into the unconscious like an ocean tide. I suspect others have found a similar canvas of emotion in themselves.
These qualities have concerned me. But as said changes in my life began to show signs of the death of many things I had trouble letting go of, what remains of these qualities has been cast into the open to be more closely examined and then discarded.
This is never a straightforward process. It can take years and sometimes a lifetime of patient, careful observation, work, and self-reflection. It requires a certain sensitivity, compassion, a level of humility, and what David Bentley Hart might term grace. The quality that concerns me most, both in myself and in much of the ONA, is the need to be heard. I would like to share some thoughts on what this entails from a vantage point I believe now has some of the necessary space and silence to witness this tenacious quality begin to lose its hold. It is my hope that such observations might gently encourage others to identify, confront, and in time work to overcome this quality if and where present in themselves. As one may have discerned from my approach to the ONA, I think this is much more productive than castigating, japing, or attacking such individuals for a quality they may not even be aware of.
The Temptation to Be Heard
Much like the title of the Romanian nihilist Emil Cioran’s work The Temptation to Exist, there is a quality I would term the temptation to be heard. Though it is perfectly natural to want to be heard, acknowledged, and validated by one’s peers in some capacity, the emphasis on “temptation” points to a recurring spectrum of pathology commonly characterized by various degrees of compulsion. This quality can be characterized by an unhealthy need: the need for validation regarding one’s work or accomplishments, the need to be recognized as somehow different or unique from the rest of society, a hyper-sensitivity to what others think masked by a façade of false and callous indifference about the opinions of others, and an inflated sense of individuality regarding one’s importance within their societal niche. I emphasize “spectrum of pathology” because these characterizations can manifest in tangible or subtle ways depending on the psychological constitution of the individual. Such characterizations are sometimes visible in a person’s appearance, in their means of dealing with conflict and confrontation, in their ability to cope with stress, and in their way of interacting with others. When I say this is a recurring spectrum of pathology, I mean that it is both operative throughout the psyche and operative in a way that is rarely transparent or “visible” to the individual, who more or less takes its occurrence and existence for granted. Ultimately, this temptation rests on a need to control, whether as resistance to change beyond one’s control, a need to assert dominance out of a consistent lack of control in one’s past or present, or a resistance to being controlled, whether real or imagined.
The temptation to be heard resembles certain unhealthy qualities in what Clarice of Nexion of Ur previously noted as an Enneagram Type Four personality. More to the point, I think Cioran characterizes this type of temptation accurately when he says that:
Certain peoples … are so haunted by themselves that they pose themselves as a unique problem: their development, singular at every point, compels them to fall back on their series of anomalies, of the miracle or the insignificance of their fate.
The posing of the self as a unique problem to draw attention to, then inflated by an ongoing compulsion to do so – this lies at the heart of the temptation to be heard, in whatever shape or variety. We all fall victim to it from time to time, sometimes in subtle ways. In the ONA, it seems reasonable that such a private and personal quest of transformation, growth, and self-realization sometimes carries the need to share such experiences with others who may appreciate their value. But I think there is a difference between the need to convey meaningful experiences with others who might appreciate them, relate to them, and use them to guide their own experiences, and the looming, often hidden compulsion to continuously validate one’s identity in the eyes of others. The latter rests on creating the conditions for a “hidden war” with the other person in order to resist, and then attempt to control, their objectification or reification of the self. The ongoing and recurrent compulsion to create those conditions in any form is what I am referring to here as “temptation”; and the “temptation to be heard” has to do with a compulsion to control the way one is objectified or reified by their peers by resisting that objectification in order to validate a distorted or inadequate sense of self.
Confusing Self-Immolation and Self-Esteem
The temptation to be heard can be thought of as a confusion between self-immolation and self-esteem. The former has to do with clearing a kind of opening for the unconscious and self to form a cohesive bridge across the psyche through the gradual but radical dissolving of the egoic resistance structures that attempt to control these processes. The latter has to do with how these forces in motion across and beyond the individual psyche manifest and then come to constitute an individual’s identity and sense of self-worth, both as an individual and in relation to others. Confusing one with the other can be disastrous, and many of us fall victim to this confusion at some point in our lives, myself included. The key, I think, is learning to identify certain hidden patterns and signs that briefly emerge into conscious experience in a variety of ways, much like a shapeshifter. This requires the cultivation of certain faculties such as empathy (the ability to identify the appearance of these patterns and signs in other people and vice versa), a heightened sensitivity (being attuned to those appearances as they emerge), and formal tools for studying these appearances (phenomenology, meditation, and various formal psychological models are a few examples). One can then take steps to trace the potential origins of these patterns and signs in the unconscious in order to slowly diminish their effects on our lives. The danger is letting these go unnoticed until the aforesaid confusion gives way to a need and that need to a temptation: commonly, the temptation to be heard.
The Harmony of Grace
Interestingly, that temptation can work the other way as well: when one identifies the temptation and gradually takes practical steps in the real world and in their life to diminish its hold on their psyche, on their identity, on their interpersonal relations, and on their family life, they may begin to see that temptation become merely a need. As that need itself diminishes its hold, it may become a healthy attunement toward others as a balanced desire to share meaningful experiences and ideas that can then shape their lives in a constructive way; or that need may disappear almost entirely, being replaced by a sort of wordless and outstretching contentment across one’s being, a tremulous and living epiphany of great grief and melancholy settled in the heart as a work of ongoing art, validated by the life lived and those it had an impact on, as one’s tragedy finally gives way to a comedy after so much pain, as the wounds of the past erect joy rather than misery from no longer needing to control or resist, as one loses desire for more things and possessions and finds they want for very little, having always been the source for everything they need – not as something self-contained, but as a living embodiment of nature’s many moods within the world. A harmony: their body and being have become a work of music. This is what I refer to here as “grace.”
Conflict, Struggle, Assimilation: The Final Harmony
Whatever the ONA was or is or shall be one day, it is precisely this kind of harmony that systems like the Seven-Fold Way aim to achieve. The simple acts of kindness at the heart of the ruthless spiritual predation found in the genuinely Satanic, the metamorphosis of the narcissist into a being of tremendous joy, the tensions of the flesh sculpted through powerful and pagan physical ordeals into spiritual transformation, ecstasis, and elation, the letting go of all desire into nocturnal love, the hidden sun, the Kingdom of Ends as an eternal beginning, the wisdom of falling, of letting go … I would go so far as to draw a connection between the harmony that results from this constructive movement away from the temptation to be heard and the spiritual harmony the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis describes in relation to Christ’s temptation in The Last Temptation of Christ. In describing the tension between the flesh and the spirit, Kazantzakis says:
Every man partakes of the divine nature in both his spirit and his flesh. That is why the mystery of Christ is not simply a mystery for a particular creed: it is universal. The struggle between God and man breaks out in everyone, together with the longing for reconciliation. Most often this struggle is unconscious and short-lived. A weak soul does not have the endurance to resist the flesh for very long. It grows heavy, becomes flesh itself, and the contest ends. But among responsible men, men who keep their eyes riveted day and night upon the Supreme Duty, the conflict between flesh and spirit breaks out mercilessly and may last until death.
The stronger the soul and the flesh, the more fruitful the struggle and the richer the final harmony. God does not love weak souls and flabby flesh. The Spirit wants to have to wrestle with flesh which is strong and full of resistance. It is a carnivorous bird which is incessantly hungry; it eats flesh and, by assimilating it, makes it disappear.
It is this conflict, struggle, and assimilation – under whatever name and through whatever esoteric framework – that I think the ONA has attempted enact, explore, and provide a rough-and-ready guide for individuals to achieve over the course of its history, all with an aim toward this final harmony. Exploring the means to achieve this harmony, and if unachievable learning to regulatively enhance it to the highest degree possible – that is a large part of what lies at the core of the ONA.
Two Faces of the Same Passage
And so, over the course of many years and the last year in particular, I have come to realize the importance of the temptation to be heard as a test of self-honesty and a necessary rite of passage. Sadly, this test is one that many people continue to fail or refuse to take at all; one that I’ve failed – and continue to fail! – many times. But failing has helped to resolve an important disparity for me, one that I think is helpful for all of us to keep in mind: the disparity between the public face of the ONA on the one hand, and the movement toward the aforesaid final harmony on the other, one that goes on out of sight among a loose network of serious practitioners. In my opinion, the public face of the ONA was more or less meant to be a collocation of the experiences, observations, ideas, and techniques encountered or developed while working toward that final harmony by sincere and advanced practitioners of the tradition. That is my goal for the future of the Fenrir journal. In terms of the public face of the ONA as it currently stands, this goal has unfortunately been overshadowed by the temptation to be heard on the part of many individuals who, while bearing the right spirit of enthusiasm, perhaps have some work to do in diminishing the power of this temptation in their lives.
Conclusion: What the Future Holds
The real work toward this final harmony will continue to go on behind the scenes, either privately or in small groups of individuals bound by pacts of loyalty and committed self-sacrifice, pacts which make possible their patient progression into the difficult and shadowy landscape ahead. Meanwhile, the public face of the ONA will take on whatever organic form required to attract and deflect, bewitch and misdirect, or enchant and mislead a new generation of budding adepts, one brave enough to brave the elements and courageous enough to examine these dynamics in the world and in themselves: with humility, with grace, and with love.
in his immobility,
absorbed by his reflection with the digestive slowness of carnivorous plants,
There remains of him only the hallucinatingly white oval of his head,
his head again more tender,
his head, chrysalis of hidden biological designs,
his head held up by the tips of the water’s fingers,
at the tips of the fingers
of the insensate hand,
of the terrible hand,
of the mortal hand
of his own reflection.
When that head slits
when that head splits
when that head bursts,
it will be the flower,
the new Narcissus,
– Salvador Dalí’s accompanying poem to Metamorphosis of Narcissus
September 16, 2022
 “The ancient source of this subject is Ovid’s Metamorphosis (Book 3, lines 339-507). It tells of Narcissus, who upon seeing his own image reflected in a pool, so falls in love that he cannot look away. Eventually he vanishes and in his place is a ‘sweet flower, gold and white, the white around the gold.’” Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, “Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus,” Smarthistory: The Center for Public Art History, accessed September 16, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/salvador-dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus/.
 Hart offers the following insight on grace: “Christian theology taught from the first that the world was God’s creature in the most radically ontological sense: that it is called from nothingness, not out of any need on God’s part, but by grace.” David Bentley Hart, “Christ and Nothing,” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October 2003, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2003/10/christ-and-nothing.
 At a deeper ontological level, we can observe this need to control as an inability to accept our own mortality – a refusal to acknowledge that we will one day die, which is related to what Heidegger characterizes as the “inauthentic.” This can take the form of attempting to control death or resist being controlled by it. We find that impulse in many surface-level interpretations of religion, spirituality, and even in the ONA to some extent, with its recurrent emphasis on immortality.
 Emil Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard (Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1956; repr., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 65. Citations refer to the University of Chicago Press edition.
 This is related to what Jean-Paul Sartre calls “the glance,” which is well-characterized in his play No Exit.
 Nikos Kazantzakis, “Prologue,” in The Last Temptation of Christ, trans. P. A. Bien (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015), 1-2.
 Over the course of intense Satanic devotion and practice throughout my life, I have found that this conflict, struggle, assimilation, and final harmony is also what lies, in part, at the heart of genuine Satanism. One may sense this, for example, in the potential relation between Vindex as opfer and the temptation of Christ so described. I should note, however, that this is a personal conclusion I have arrived at through my own experiences via the evolution of my own system of Satanism, one I suspect would not be widely accepted or possibly even acknowledged as “Satanism.”