“The Satanic Temple” and “Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth”
Like Douglas Misicko, “Satanic Temple” co-founder Cevin Soling has a long history of alignment with occult and esoteric themes prior to the foundation of The Satanic Temple. Alongside his movie production company Spectacle Films (which constitutes the original framework through which TST was conceived), Soling has also been active in the music industry as the founder and president Xemu Records, a record company which caters to the “psych-alternative” music scene. The website of Xemu Records describes it as having been “conceived [in 1990] as a ‘record label’ nod to underground cult movements of the 60’s and 70’s” (“Xemu Information”).
The name Xemu, sometimes rendered as Xenu, originates from the teachings of the Church of Scientology, wherein cult members are said to pay large sums of money to reach the grade of “Operating Thetan Level Three,” at which point they are informed about a “galactic overlord” named Xenu or Xemu who, according to the group’s bizarre mythology, was responsible for committing a genocide against extraterrestrials on Earth almost 75 million years ago (Leyden; Hubbard, “Scientology cult Hubbard Class VIII Assists Xenu lecture recording 1968.”). We will save a more detailed examination of the significance of Soling’s decision to pay homage to Scientology through the naming of his record company in relation to the praxis of The Satanic Temple for a later point in this chapter.
In line with the description of the name “Xemu Records” as a subtle “nod to underground cult movements,” a number of facts are indicative of a link between Soling’s Xemu Records and an occultist “magickal order” called “Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth” (sic) (abbreviated TOPY). We will see that a number of highly unsettling inferences arise from an examination of the links between Xemu Records and TOPY. But before delving into the more esoteric proofs of a link between Xemu Records and TOPY, we can preliminarily observe that the fact of an affinity between TOPY and The Satanic Temple can by no means be considered a far-fetched proposition simply by noting that TOPY and The Process (the group previously discussed at 3.1, in which Misicko has played an active role since before the foundation of TST) were both founded by one and the same person: Genesis (Breyer) P-Orridge (1950–present). P-Orridge and Misicko (under the alias “Lucien Greaves”) both appear in the 2015 documentary film Sympathy for the Devil? The True Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment (“Cast Bios”). We will additionally see that other leading members of TST, besides Misicko, are directly affiliated with The Process, which has also been known by the names TOPI and Transmedia Foundation (Farber). Before we break into the crypt of Xemu Records, a brief overview of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and its implications for the exposition of the crypto-fascist sectarianism of The Satanic Temple are in order.
Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth was founded in 1981 by Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson) and a small number of other “experimental British artists” associated with the emergence of “industrial music” (Simkins, Kirby 136). P-Orridge is said to have left TOPY behind in 1991, and in 1992 left the UK due to an investigation of alleged child sexual abuse which saw Scotland Yard raid the TOPY founder’s home, which is also said to have functioned as the headquarters of TOPY (Simkins, Farber). TOPY is also said to have “dissolved” around the same time, although a number of spin-offs (such as The Process) continue to exist (P-Orridge 26). Despite never being charged with any crime in connection to the child abuse investigation, P-Orridge has become something of a poster child for “victims of false sexual abuse accusations” in “moral panic” and “witch-hunt” narratives, variously framed as the “Satanic Ritual Abuse” scare or “the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s.” (See, for example: Simkins’ “A punk retelling of the modern witch trial: The first ever film about Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth”). Needless to say, P-Orridge’s penning of a ritualistic “magickal” recipe to “make [‘your (…) sexual fantas(ies)’] really happen” “regardless of the […] age of those who take part with you” (48) and the fact that the desire to abolish all “restrictions” on “the free manifestation of the sexual impulse” is described in Thee Psychick Bible as “one of the uppermost aims of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth,” which is said to strive for “the total freeing of sex” from “standards of morality” (134) are rarely mentioned when P-Orridge and TOPY are presented as the innocent victims of a baseless “witch-hunt” or “moral panic” motivated by purely irrational hysteria which was, we are told by apologists, actually the result of a simple misunderstanding about some avant-garde art film about “young boys […] who […] put [‘an implant’] in their cocks” (Simpson) that was just really “ahead of its time.”
The “magickal” recipe for the realization of sexual fantasies conceived in “total freedom” from morality, known as “Thee Sigil ov Three Liquids” (the “three liquids” are  saliva,  blood, and  semen or vaginal fluid, which the sect terms “OV”), appears to have played a role in Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth analogous to the role of “auditing” in the Church of Scientology. Members of TOPY were asked, on the 23rd of each month, to send P-Orridge a scrap of paper which had been touched with the “three liquids” and upon which they had written their “most intense sexual fantasy,” being specifically instructed to disregard consideration of the social (read: legal) acceptability of their fantasy (P-Orridge 334). P-Orridge explains in a Facebook post from 2017 that “TOPI” (the spelling of TOPY that P-Orridge opted to start using after moving to the USA—allegedly constituting a separate entity from TOPY) observes the period between December 23rd and January 23rd as the “TOPI New Y-Era.” It can be deduced from this that P-Orridge and TOPI/TOPY’s sex magic ritual is indebted to the thought of Aleister Crowley and the occultist group which he led called “Ordo Templi Orientis” (OTO). Swiss journalist and historian Peter-Robert Koenig notes that Crowley’s “instructional text Amrita, dated 23rd January 1933, defines the use of semen as counteracting [numerous health problems.]” Koenig, who did ethnological participant observation by joining and leading an OTO group, notes that “in the O.T.O’s sexual magick everything came down to semen[;]” and also that Crowley wrote a journal entry in the 23rd year of the 20th century, in which he claimed that “[t]he industrial use of Semen will revolutionize human society,” (ibid.). In an interview contained in Thee Psychick Bible, P-Orridge claims that the purpose of this “magickal” exercise was to “[a]bolish fear, build trust,” (ibid). Elsewhere in the book, we find a transcribed piece of improvised prose poetry titled “At Stockholm,” delivered by P-Orridge at TOPYSCAN (the Scandinavian branch of TOPY) in 1989 (245–253). Certain passages in this poem may be taken to evoke both the act of fantasizing necessary to create a “Sigil ov Three Liquids” and the likelihood that P-Orridge would read the “Sigils ov Three Liquids” which were sent to the TOPY headquarters. The following passage is particularly instructive:
“Sexuality, sex, getting inside makes real too. And once inside we can make anything happen. Eyes shut in a coffin. A world ov darkness. We travel into that darkness to reconvene our emotions and listening hard we see every detail ov every sexual act,” (P-Orridge 252, deliberate misspellings contained in original).
We can take “getting inside” here to refer to “getting inside” the mind and thereby accessing, in Spinozist terms, the infinite modes of Thought (“see[ing] every detail [of] every […] act”). Elsewhere in Thee Psychick Bible, P-Orridge opines that “[a]cceptance of duality enslaves human consciousness,” (312). So we may think that “getting inside [the mind] makes real” means that the monthly records of sexual fantasy solicited by Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth from its members are (or were) fantasies which are actually “not really” intended to be made to “really happen” (i.e., they only “really happen” in the sense that they happen in thinking substance, which is identical with extended substance). On the other hand, this interpretation may also appear mistaken, as we are led to believe the opposite (i.e., that the fantasies really are meant to be made to “really happen”) by virtue of the fact that in the text on “Thee Sigil ov Three Liquids,” P-Orridge argues the following:
“Indulging in scopophilic activity [i.e., ‘obtain(ing) simulated sexual gratification through the process of watching, where the illusion of active doing is obtained by turning another person into an object which is subjected to a controlling gaze’] […] can, in the long run, result in an unconscious acceptance of the separation between mind and body, sexuality being denied its natural course,” (51).
One of the primary metaphors elaborated by Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth is that of “Psychic TV.” On television, we see representations of fantasies, and so we get the idea that when “magickians” shut their eyes so as to get “inside” their heads and begin “mak[ing] real” their “Sigils ov Three Liquids,” they are watching “Psychic TV,” and they are also masturbating and cutting or pricking themselves to draw blood in the same time as they watch their “Psychic TV” (so that they will have the second and third of the “three liquids” [note that 23 was considered the sacred number of the cult, perhaps partly for this reason, the numbers two and three corresponding to blood and semen]). Viewing the “Sigil ov Three Liquids” ritual in light of the “Psychic TV” metaphor, we see that it necessarily involves a dualism between the sexual reality (the ritual must performed while the body of the “magickian” is “naked” and “alone”) and the sexual fantasy (which may include the most desired partner[s] of the “magickian,” “regardless of [their] age”) . That the goal is to make the sexual fantasy approach the sexual reality (and vice versa) and to have “control” over both (i.e., to “do what one wills”) is evident from P-Orridge’s apparent stance against “scopophilic activity” and “acceptance of the separation between mind and body.”
Returning to “At Stockholm,” we can proceed to another interpretation, this one perhaps more plausible: “Sexuality, sex, getting inside makes real too,” means that, for TOPY, the male sex becomes real when it is inside the female (read: when the penis is inside the vagina). Indeed, this doesn’t seem to be very far off from P-Orridge’s philosophy of “Pandrogeny” (or, less frequently, “Pandrogyny”), which P-Orridge has variously described as “two people becoming one,” “hav[ing] an orgasm together,” or “hav[ing] a baby” together (Griffiths). It must especially be noted that, as with the attempts to imply an association between the antisemitic, segregation apologist co-founders of The Satanic Temple and Judaism or between Judaism and Nazism (see: 3.1.1, 3.2, and 6.3.3), it would be a profoundly violent act to imply that P-Orridge’s “Pandrogeny Project” is even remotely connected to transgender or genderqueer people. In practice, the “Pandrogeny Project” can best be described as a heterosexual couple striving to resemble each other as much as possible using a variety of body modification techniques, including plastic surgery. The “Pandrogeny Project” has caused confusion among members of the public insofar as it involves the appropriation of some practices or isms associated, arguably problematically, with trans and/or non-binary communities, such as crossdressing (or “transvestism”), “transsexualism,” and the rejection of identification with masculine and/or feminine pronouns, thus causing some to mistakenly presume a legitimate adjacency between “pandrogeny” and trans men and women (Hoby, Griffiths); however, we will see below that the “Pandrogeny Project” is fundamentally premised upon explicitly misogynist thinking, with roots in the minds of a wife-killer and a man who called women “the Sex Enemy”. The superficial resemblance between the “Pandrogeny Project” and transgender identity (disguising the former’s inherent violent misogyny through the appropriation of some of the codes of the latter) may have been deliberately cultivated to either (1) cause confusion, (2) insidiously exploit society’s growing intolerance of transphobia as a means of shielding the “Pandrogeny Project” from criticism, or (3), alternatively, to goad on transphobia by conflating the misogynistic concept of “pandrogeny” with the status of being transgender.
“At Stockholm” may also give us an idea of what kind of fantasies members of TOPY might have been recording on their “Sigils ov Three Liquids,” as well as P-Orridge’s views on the desirability of sowing confusion. In the poem, the following words of Genesis P-Orridge can be found:
“We thrive on violation. We attempt to re-create [the] excitement [of] a first moment’s intensity by deceptive means. There are no taboos. Nothing is forbidden. […] [the] only joy—is violation. […] Muscles no longer as loose as childhood ache in memoriam—stiffening with age before beauty […] Little girls […] attract by their lack [of] experience, […] Little girls masturbating about tomorrow. […] Restrictions are removed like school uniforms. […] Sharing a body is nothing. Sharing insight, being inside, is everything. […] All paranoia [comes] from [the] past, it takes us like a rape and damages. […] Better pain, better hurt, better [confusion] than boredom,” (P-Orridge 251–252).
Tellingly, Thee Psychick Bible describes William S. Burroughs (1914–1997) and Brion Gysin (1916–1986) as “mentors” of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (P-Orridge 13). Both of these male writers are widely noted to have been rabid misogynists. Burroughs, who shot and killed his wife (and was the recipient of an inheritance that gave him “a monthly allowance for life”), called women “the Sex Enemy” (Murphy, Schjeldahl). James Grauerholz, noted Burroughs bibliographer and heir to Burroughs’ literary estate, informs us in Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader that “it was [Burroughs’] partnership with Brion Gysin that developed this philosophy [of ‘explicitly misogynistic theories (…) in the most absolute terms’] to its ultimate extreme, for Gysin was a true misogynist” (Grauerholz 248). P-Orridge appears to have borrowed the “pandrogeny” idea from Gysin; it is said that when Burroughs called Gysin a misogynist, the latter replied, “Don’t go calling me a misogynist…a mere misogynist. I am a monumental misanthropist. Man is a bad animal…. Me, I AM a compromise, a compromise between the sexes in a dualistic universe,” (Perreault). This corresponds exactly to P-Orridge’s description of the “Pandrogeny Project” as a man and woman “becoming one” in the reproductive process, as being “very much about the union of opposites” (much like the Church of Satan extolled modern Satanism as being about the union of Judaism and Nazism). In other words, the “Pandrogeny Project” is nothing other than a psychotic male fixation on the act of heterosexual intercourse as the conquest and destruction of “the Sex Enemy” (i.e., women and girls).
P-Orridge gloatingly claims that when British police investigated the activities of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, they neglected to examine the stockpile of “Sigils ov Three Liquids” (i.e., blood and semen-soaked notes detailing sexual fantasies) which were kept in filing cabinets at the TOPY headquarters (335). Had they done this, they might have obtained a record of any number of misogynist, misopedic, and misanthropic narratives detailing every kind of “unrestricted” sexual fantasy conceived according to TOPY’s vision of “violation”-as-“joy,” which TOPY members sought to, and perhaps did, “make […] really happen.” It may be noted that the word “violation,” from the Latin violare “to treat with violence, outrage, dishonor,” is a cognate of “rape” in many languages (Etymonline).
As alluded to earlier, there is a clear parallel between the “sigilizing” of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and the “auditing” of the Church of Scientology. It has widely been reported that, in “auditing,” members of the Church of Scientology are asked to divulge deeply personal, sexual information about themselves, which can then be used to blackmail them if they stray from the cult. Ronald DeWolf (1934–1991), born L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (having been named after his father, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard [1911–1986]), was raised to be heir to his father’s cult, but later turned against it. He described the purpose “auditing” in Scientology thusly:
“You have complete control over someone if you have every detail of his sex life and fantasy life on record. In Scientology the focus is on sex. Sex, sex, sex. The first thing we wanted to know about someone we were auditing was his sexual deviations. All you’ve got to do is find a person’s kinks, whatever they might be. Their dreams and fantasies. Then you can fit a ring through their noses and take them anywhere. You promise to fulfill their fantasies or you threaten to expose them … very simple,” (Morton 128–129).
The similarities between Scientology’s “auditing” and the monthly “sigilizing” asked of members of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, with its fixation of “sex magick,” are patent. That “trust-building” is an absurd pretense for collecting written records of deviant sexual fantasies which individuals wish to “make real” hardly needs further elaboration.
Beyond the cult-like aspects of the deviant “sex magick” doctrines of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, its political orientation also merits attention.
The engagement of the musical acts associated with P-Orridge and TOPY and their fans with fascist aesthetics is explicit and undeniable. Members of TOPY (said to have numbered some 10,000 individuals around the year 1991) dressed like skinhead “Hare Krishnas,” shaving their heads except for a rat tail in the back and wearing “combat boots” and “grey military-style” clothing (Glassett and Featerstone, P-Orridge 408). The group adopted a symbol which it called the “Psychick Cross,” regarded as mesmerising and revered in part for the fact that, as P-Orridge writes in Thee Psychick Bible, “if you create a grid of Psychick Crosses in a particular configuration […] you will see swastikas in all the spaces inbetween,” (408). In another passage from The Psychick Bible, the Nazi swastika and the Psychick Cross are identified as “power symbols” (385). Throbbing Gristle, the most well known musical act associated with P-Orridge, adopted as its logo a lightning bolt symbol highly reminiscent of the Nazi-era “British Union of Fascists,” which P-Orridge freely admits “has the SS connotation” (P-Orridge 330). Ostensibly, all of this was an ironic and artistic-performative ruse to “get people to examine ambiguities” (Psychic TV, “First Transmission” 3:40). This is of course the go-to excuse of many a crypto-fascist when called out on their neo-fascism, but let’s set this issue aside for now. (See 4.1 for a critique of the notion of supposedly “ironic fascism” or “critical support for fascist aesthetics”).
In spite of the ostensibly artistic-performative basis of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth’s embrace of fascist aesthetics, a number of passages in Thee Psychick Bible are indicative of P-Orridge and TOPY’s real alignment with actual fascist politics. In “Letter to Jean-Pierre Turmel,” P-Orridge echoes the proto-fascist German nationalists of the 19th century (recall the preface to this Unauthorized Guide), lamenting, “[I] hate christianism and leftism and suppression and control so much,” (31). In the same letter, P-Orridge goes on to describe TOPY philosophy, affirming that the group’s goal is “to generate […] a new elite […] [a]n ultra-elite” (31–32). P-Orridge then compares TOPY directly to Nazism, positing the former as “[a] radical step” beyond the latter, though apparently in the same direction (32). P-Orridge the misanthropist writes:
“Thee Temple [ov Psychick Youth] is a church of only LEADERS, no followers. A radical step. Even thee Nazis, though they bred an elite of leaders, still wanted to control thee masses, lead them and entangle themselves with them. We want thee leaders alone. Fuck thee sleeping masses. We have no desire to be superior rulers of boring, dull masses of people who we despise. We want JUST leaders. A church full of leaders, only leaders and not leading anyone. Merely cohabiting. A separate existence for OUR satisfaction. Why waste all that time, energy and vision dealing with boring masses of people. We’ve got better things to do. Enjoying and stimulating ourselves. A self-centered religion instead of a crippling, selfless Christian ideal,” (32).
Also in Thee Psychick Bible, we find “An Open Letter” by Carl Abrahamsson, a Swedish leader of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Echoing early 20th century American eugenicist Madison Grant and Adolf Hitler (once again, recall this work’s preface), Abrahamsson attributes the fall of the “Roman Empire” to its “succumbing to Christianity” (122). Like a typical antisemite, Abrahamsson posits Jews as the root of “unnatural perversion and illness” (read: the root of all evil), writing, “Judaism = Christianity = Islam = Communism = Capitalism, etc., etc., and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam,” (122). This must have been the same “thought” process which Hitler underwent before arguing in Mein Kampf that “by [‘constructive work,’ ‘Marxism’] understands only the establishment of despotic rule in the hands of international Jewish finance,” and elsewhere penning absolutely asinine phrases like “Jewish-capitalist Bolshevik Russia” (351–352, Hitler’s Second Book146). The positing of “the Jews” (or “Judaism,” the same thing) as the source of Christianity, Islam, communism, and capitalism—each one of them a deceptive construction behind which hides a genetically “Semitic” plot to subvert and parasitically feed on so-called “Aryan” or “Indo-European” civilization—is indeed the crux of Hitlerist ideology. Evoking the old Nazi canard of a Germanic “religion of the blood” (the term Alfred Rosenberg uses in The Myth of the Twentieth Century, a book second only to Hitler’s Mein Kampf within Nazi ideology), TOPY leader Abrahamsson, who keeps his head completely shaved and, by the looks of it, some early 20th century anthropologists probably wouldn’t have hesitated to label “of Nordic/Aryan stock,” goes on to claim that “[t]he Runes are part of the Scandinavian DNA-structure” (123).
Given the cryptanalysis presented above, we can conclude that Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth was (or is, insofar as the project continues under the banner of “TOPI” or “The Process”) a neo-fascist group. To the extent that the group has successfully dissimulated its own neo-fascist character, it can be considered a crypto-fascist sect. It therefore follows that any sect descended from or affiliated with TOPY, including The Process and ultimately The Satanic Temple, is itself entangled in the snare of crypto-fascist sectarianism.