Part 2: Lightbringer
I have an extremely complicated relationship with this next part of my story. It examines a time in my life where I was rudderless and manipulated and took part in things that cause me nightmares today. I feel shame for what I did in some cases, but more than that, I feel shame for allowing myself to be so manipulated and exploited.
However – despite the shame and tragedy that dogs every thought I have about that period of my life, it is also an integral part of who I am. It continues to have a profound effect on the very way that I think and process information. It is responsible for many of the various coping mechanisms that I have developed for navigating the normal world – some of these are good, some, not so much… but they are all very important to who I am today.
For the sake of brevity, I am going to have to leave out most of the details about the things that I learned and did, and focus instead on how these things shaped who I am today.
But I will have to give you a little bit of background so that things make sense…
Joe and Monique took me under their wing and into their family. While I still lived at home with my parents and looked to most of the outside world like I was living a very normal teenage life, I was really leading a double life.
I was a genius, straight-A student, involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, and because I was a little socially awkward and unfailingly polite and all of the other things listed before this, my parents basically paid no attention to me at all. My sister was a bit more demanding of their attention, which I definitely felt the lack of, but did not have a good way to express.
This turned out to be yet another thing that Joe and Monique could exploit to control me and gain my trust… they gave me a place to belong. They didn’t care that I was a little odd. They celebrated my differences. They told me that I had great gifts of insight and that my intelligence was a thing of literal divinity.
Whereas I felt misunderstood and unappreciated in my real home, I felt important and special in Joe’s home.
My parents were raising me to be Catholic, and lacking any information to the contrary, I was at first a true believer. But at this juncture in my life, when I was encountering the things that I was with Joe and Monique and their extended family, I was also undergoing a crisis of faith. I could not rationalize away some of the things that I was being taught each Sunday with the reality in front of my eyes any longer, and Joe seized on that and used it to mold me into his very own disciple. I wasn’t the only one, but I was certainly the youngest, and definitely his favorite as well.
Joe was the center of a cult that wasn’t Astron Argon, though it used their initiation rites, and it wasn’t Ordo Templi Orientis, though it used their degrees and advancement rituals for the ‘outer order’ –such as it was. There were no more than 60 of us at any given time, and most of the rituals involved far fewer. It was a mishmash of Crowley-ist secret society nonsense along with a fair share of ‘secrets’ the were ‘only known to Frater Jubal’ – who was Joe, of course.
However, it also happens to be where I had my very first non-masturbatory sexual experiences, which is something that I feel very strangely about now – and pretty much always have. I have very complicated feelings about what happened. I enjoyed a lot of it. I never really felt like I was not giving consent, though at times I did feel like I had no choice… somehow it was both of those things at the same time.
I can vividly remember the very first time that I climaxed by means other than my own hand or rubbing up against some surface, and it was as I stood on a small footstool so that I was not touching the ground and Monique knelt between my legs, rendering what may yet be the most gentle blowjob that I have ever had, and I came into her mouth furiously, almost instantly – which under other conditions would likely have caused me shame, but this was immediately greeting with exclamations of joy from the people around me, because I had an audience, and was, in fact, the central part of a ritual that I would perform many, many more times before I finally broke free. I had almost no agency in my actions.. I doubt I could have controlled myself even if I were not being heavily manipulated emotionally and psychologically as well, but under those circumstances, I felt like a god, and they told me that I literally was one. I was the Child of Light, but more than that, I was a special invocation of such – I was an avatar of the Lord of Light himself – I was Lucifer, reborn.
I have a really difficult time rationalizing these things. I am generally completely comfortable with dichotomy, but this is one that my mind still struggles against all the time. This causes me nightmares sometimes. I have a hard time believing that I believed them. I can objectively see how ridiculous it all is when I look at it now, but I remember that I did believe. I was naive and brilliant and awkward and exploited and I am none of those things anymore, and it feels weird.
I don’t trust my younger self to know how he was really feeling and I try to re-write how I felt at the time. I try to make it as if I didn’t really believe them, but I was playing along because I was getting something out of it, but then that actually seems far worse than if I was just duped. I try to make it as if I knew that it was all a farce and that I was helpless to do anything to break free because I was emotionally dependent upon these people, but that just is objectively not true, and even if it could be, it’s really no better than just being duped all along.
But I stray from my story…
I was a member of Joe and Monique’s family for years.
Joe is an incredibly charismatic man. I suppose that’s probably true of all cult leaders, but he could make you feel things. However – and probably like all cult leaders – eventually the mantle of leadership began to grow heavy, and he started to farm out things to different people. He spent more and more time with me, and he seemed to be grooming me to take over some of the ritualistic aspects of the cult while others took over more of the household aspects, which made sense from several perspectives, not least of which was that I did not live in the house with them, whereas most of the other inner circle members did. So I became a figurehead who was being given actual power, little by little. I was the example for others to follow. I was the Golden Boy.
Eventually, this went to my head…
…I didn’t quite make it to Beverly Hills in this post, but I promise it isn’t far away.
Next is part three, where I actually do talk about breaking free of Joe’s family and end up getting married, divorced, dropping out of school, and working the mean streets of Beverly Hills. Or at least, I’ll get as far as a thousand or so words will take me…