"Seek not the good in external things. Seek it in thyself." - Epictetus

Hello, everyone. You may have discovered this blog through social media, or through my YouTube channel, Nuclear Reactions. Regardless of how you found it, I feel an introduction is in order. I’m Blake, age 30, a New Jersey transplant living in Chicago and trying to make it working as production manager for a news publication, and a side-gig YouTuber. I’m a night owl forced to awaken five mornings a week, a lover of nature stuck in the big city, and despite these predicaments, a real glass half full kind of guy.

I like to fill that glass with red wine on a Saturday evening as I listen to some metal, my music of choice, though I just easily enjoy everything from folk to classical to classic rock. When I’m not turning up the volume on some Jinjer, Watain, or Blind Guardian, I’m turning the pages of a good book – fantasy is my go-to genre but as with music, my palate is diverse. As this blog demonstrates, I’m also just as likely to write words as I am to read them; I’m currently working on a fantasy novel – yes, those large, thick epics that can wound someone’s head like a falling air conditioner. (Did I mention I’m also prone to hyperbole?)

I love to consume the arts. Some of my favorite artists? William-Adolphe Bouguereau (Dante and Virgil! Elegy!), Gustave Doré (La Danse Du Sabbat! Lucifer!), Gottfried Helnwein, Salvador Dali, Hans Memling, H.R. Giger, William Blake, John William Waterhouse, the list goes on and on. I’ve recently considered getting into painting, but as of now I continue to do the artwork that I’ve always done, which is drawing and inking, usually very much in a comic book style, but recently, also very occult and demon-oriented. (Perhaps I’ll write a future post showcasing some of the pieces I’ve finished.)

What else? I love to travel, but my often empty wallet can get in the way of that, my anxiety on a plane more so. The trick is saving money and pushing aside my in-flight discomfort with a nice Jack and Coke. All of which I’m perfectly willing to do! We get one life and over time I’ve become a firm believer that you need to push past whatever fears or reservations you may have and go out and see the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to Paris, Berlin, Prague, and Kosice (Slovakia), with many other destinations planned, but I take none of it for granted.

In fact, the years between 2002 and 2009 would cause trials and tribulations that have since reverberated across the intervening years: poverty, hunger, homelessness (including three years spent living in a shelter)... I went through the wringer as a teen, and now I feel I paid my dues in a way; I don’t feel entitled to anything I have. In part I believe that I deserve all the best out of life, but I always appreciate it. The strength and wisdom I gained from the things I’ve endured have taught me that much.

At the risk of this, my first blog post, seeming directionless, please allow me to ramble just a bit more. I can tell you that future entries on this website will be much more focused and will usually have a subject or a theme. I just wanted readers to become acquainted with the kind of person I am, and I genuinely feel that my interests and life experiences have helped shape me. Therefore, I communicate them to you – in part so you can also generally know what to expect, subject-wise, in future writings.

On that note... Let’s get the controversy out of the way, shall we? I’m a Satanist. If you’re familiar with the various branches or persuasions, I’m about midway on the spectrum between LaVeyan and Theistic. If you have no idea what I’m talking about and this is all making things more confusing, let me put it this way. I believe in the worship of self, with “Satan” as the symbol and archetype of my religion. I identify Satan with self-empowerment, pride, rebellion against collectivism and herd mentality, and Epicurean indulgence. No, I don’t believe in a literal Satan or Devil, but I do regard the symbol of Satan to be spiritually powerful.

There is a spiritual aspect to my belief system in that I do believe in... “dark intelligences,” shall we call them? (I’ve always viewed ‘demon’ as a bit of a misnomer.) I do conduct personal rituals, I do practice black magick, but I generally keep this private (within reason). I also have nothing but respect for anyone of any other faith (or lack thereof), be it Christian, Jew, Muslim, pagan, atheist, etc., so long as they’re a decent person and they show me the same respect in return. So don’t let the ‘Satanist’ label carry you away with preconceived notions and irrational prejudice! I’m a very nice guy who believes in doing good in the world and for others.

Whew. Now that we’ve addressed the horned, hellfire-breathing elephant in the room, let’s move on to one more thing that really moves me: nature. I have an incredible respect and love for this earth and its wildlife. I’m not a tree-hugging hippie or a vegan! But I do believe that we should take care of this planet, including the forests, the oceans, and all that dwell within. So yeah, I hate that the Amazon is being torn up and burning, I hate that the Arctic is melting, I hate that we’re polluting the seas with oil. And I’m not some self-righteous ultra “activist” or anything, I’m really not. I just don’t want to see the natural world eradicated.

I learned to respect and love animals at a young age, and I’ve always enjoyed studying and learning about wildlife. I get away from the city whenever I can and do some hiking at a forest preserve here in Illinois (Busse Woods), or a state park (Starved Rock) whenever my friend/coworker can drive me out there. I definitely associate nature and the woods with feelings of peace and tranquility.

These are some of the qualities and interests, the passions and ambitions, the experiences and lessons, that define me, amongst many more. I hope this has been an informative first blog post, and a nice little window into my personal life. I plan on writing more in the coming days, and hope to make this a regular thing – so thanks for reading, and watch this space!

- Blake X

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