When I was a kid & I started getting into Dark Medieval Times, Fantasy, Heavy Metal, Dungeons & Dragons & Role Playing Games in general my mom mentioned very off-handedly that I should be careful about these games & that they were involved in witchcraft or something along those lines. It was enough to add an entire other dimension to the subject matter for me.

Put on Judas Priest's "Sinner" before you start reading this one.

Sinner rider, rides in with the storm. The devil rides beside him - The devil is his god, God help you mourn. Do you, do you hear it, do you hear the thunder, Deafen every living thing about? Can you, can you see it, can you see the mountains darken yonder? Black sun rising, time is running out! Sacrifice to vice or die by the hand of the Sinner! - Judas Priest

As far as I knew - the world we lived in was totally absent of witchcraft & stuff like magic & sorcery were only in children's stories or were stupid Christian's bizarre superstititions. As I've always followed my own path, I was an atheist, without calling myself one because I felt absolutely no presence of God or magic in the world - so to find that this fantasy gaming world had some kind of magical association seemed extra absurd, but also stood out as something to notice. I existed in a completely secular existence in Oakland - religion & belief were never discussed & all my friends got into Dungeons & Dragons with my prompting.

While it's easy to dismiss the 80s Satanic Panic as paranoia, witch-hunting & the like - the fact is that Dungeons & Dragons & Heavy Metal ARE gateways to witchcraft, darkness, sadism, dangerous power fantasies, depression, suicide, drug use & all manner of anti-social & self-destructive behaviors & that's WHY I LOVE THEM. IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE OCCULT POWER I WOULDN'T BE INTO THEM. As a kid, I didn't know any of this, my interest in swords & sorcery was purely natural but it bordered on obsession. The original Dungeons & Dragons & role-playing game books in general were weird, folk-art products falling somewhere between science-fiction & fantasy pulp magazines, ham operator pamphlets, unsuccessful self-help cult indoctrination schemes & independent war gaming rulebooks. If you understand the rules of art & culture you will immediately recognize the importance of all of this. This is some real shit & we had easy access as kids.


Magic is about the control of the external with the internal - about the word being made real - about the macrocosm & the microcosm - as above, so below. So, when someone who is schooled in magic & the history of witchcraft & sorcery in general - from the stone age to the present views what kids can do in Dungeons & Dragons - they recognize that they are participating in role play - but in the role play the kids are transforming themselves & the world around them according to will using ritual & three-dimensional gambling hexagrams (polyhedral dice). If they're good wizards. If you're a strict materialist or have antagonism towards busy-body Christians (who doesn't?) - you can dismiss the magical importance of all of this - but this is still happening in their minds & their minds are creating new memories & their chemicals of consciousness are reacting to these experiences - imaginary or not & if they're adding the next layer of drug-use or Heavy Metal music on top of this experience - they are brainwashing themselves into Dark Servants of the Necromancer! But only in their minds.

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Only in their minds! Right? Shamans act out roles & characters & become these things - to themselves & other people. They can become men or women, child or aged, animal or demon - through meditation, ritual & trance-states. The changing of form is reserved for special rituals or war in most traditional societies - In the 80s, kids were changing form for fun every Friday night with pizza delivery. Role Playing Games originate in early European improvisational acting groups from the 1500s using stock characters & situations as improvisational cues. Later, historical reenactment societies from the 1960s arise with the Society For Creative Anachronism (SCA) that would meet up in East Bay parks dressed in Medieval outfits with foam weapons & armor & fight. At around the same time, miniatures war gaming started incorporating fantasy elements into their normally historical games. In addition, the popularity of psychotherapy & self-help introduced all manner of secularized occult mind control techniques into the public sphere where they integrated themselves into everything - including role playing games.

In a secular world devoid of cosmic meaning, the occult ritual of playing role playing games is either a pathetic extension of childhood making a consequenceless realm of the imagination in which to piddle one's hopes, dreams & fears into the blackness of the human mind or a place where the self-brain washing dips the participant into worlds of delusion. In an occult world - role playing games transfer the players into parallel dimensions  & can bring things back with them. The players become servants of a Dark Dungeon Master & they begin to resemble the characters in the game. The reality of all this is that without guidance or context, like most consumer goods in America, the kids were participating in all of these things but without a goal or a focal point or direction. So - whatever they were unleashing in their minds or outside of their minds - they had little to no control over - unless they were already of sorcerous inclination & born of an ungodly willpower... 

- Sean Äaberg




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