EDIT: I'm aware of the irony that just over a week after I wrote this piece, we lost this home to a fire. The trauma was hard to take, but our community rallied once more and got us into a new home. Just more evidence for how compassionate our Satanic family is!
I am so grateful for the Satanic Temple community. It has helped me on so many occasions when I was up against the wall, including several recent major emergencies. Recently my Chapter and other Satanists pooled their resources and saved my housing ─ again.
My partner and I are both disabled and live under the poverty line. We live in Seattle, which is incredibly expensive for housing; we pay $1500 for a one-bedroom basement apartment (with the help of housing aid) and that is considered really cheap in this market.
This complex is old and falling apart, and our landlord is a slumlord (when we first searched for housing in 2012, she was the only landlord who didn't require a credit check or employment verification). Over the years she has become more and more absent, refusing to fix the shit that breaks. Her phone number stopped working; I write her letters but I never get any response.
We can't move because we have shitty credit and rental history (we were both addicts until we got sober in 2013) and any other place would cost too much. Plus I have intense chronic back and knee pain, and packing and moving would destroy me, even if we could find another affordable place that would take us. So we muddle along the best we can.
There have been a number of problems with the building that were outside of our ability to fix ourselves, issues that threatened our health and housing security. But each time there has been an intractable emergency, Satanists have stepped up to help.
A few months ago, our upstairs neighbor's sink started flooding through our kitchen ceiling. This went on for three weeks ─ and I'm talking a major flood of greywater pouring through each time they used the sink, not just a few drops. We were facing huge health repercussions; mold sets off my asthma, plus it was dirty water, not very hygienic in our kitchen. Finally I put out a call to our TST Chapter to see if anyone could help. To our eternal gratitude, one of our Chaptermates bought a new faucet and another came and installed it up in the neighbor's sink, stopping the leak.
Then our stove broke and after trying to raise our landlord in vain, we were stuck with extremely limited food prep options (the microwave isn't a good substitute, alas). To our great surprise, one day our Chapter Head bought us a whole new stove (well, used, but it was in great shape) and had it delivered, giving us our cooking capability back.
Finally, a few weeks ago, our neighbor's water heater broke and started flooding the laundry room, which is right next to our unit. The neighbor whose water heater it was is a real twatwaffle; she's a tweaker who won't turn her music down in the middle of the night when we ask and who screams hysterically at everyone. She's gone to jail for violence and seems extremely mentally unstable, so we don't fuck with her. She refused to turn off the water heater or try to fix or replace it. So since our landlord wouldn't do anything, there was a river constantly running down the sidewalk in front, and 2 inches of standing water up against our apartment walls.
I called the landlord every day (and wrote a letter) with no response. It was just a matter of time before we lost belongings stored near our walls and our unit became unlivable from the mold, or a neighbor called the city inspectors and they turned us out. I thought for sure this would be the end of our housing. I fell into a deep depression, sure we'd be facing the streets.
Even though I despaired of any fix, I finally started a fundraiser to try to buy a replacement water heater, and asked for help on social media. A bunch of Satanists across the world contributed, and we raised our goal quickly. Finally a couple of our mechanically-inclined TST Chaptermates from Bellingham (who we've never met in person) made the 2-hour drive into Seattle to help. They managed to find and buy a used water heater along the way. When they got here, they swapped it out with the busted one ─ they even hauled the old one away. Now there is no more flooding and we can breathe easy again.
I can't begin to describe how grateful I am for the help. Even though our landlord has been incommunicado for years and this place has lots of issues, we still really love it ─ it's a large unit and we live in a beautiful neighborhood within walking distance of cheap groceries and close to my doctor and other services (we don't have a car). We've learned to live with the cracked foundation and the resulting bedroom leak during hard rain (we pulled the carpet off that corner and the concrete dries pretty quickly) and the sandbags on our stairs that keep the warped gutter overflow out of our living room. Our landlord will probably sell this place to a luxury condo developer in the next few years, but for now it's our lifeline.
I know many people are aghast at how we live, but my partner and I have been homeless before, and that's given us a deep appreciation for having a roof over our head. I'm not sure how long we'd stick around this world if we had to go back on the streets. This help we've received is literally saving our lives. It's Satanic compassion in action ─ our community continues to blow me away. I am so grateful to have my Satanic family in my life. HAIL SATAN!
Lilith Starr is a Satanic writer and the author of "The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment." She founded the Satanic Temple - Seattle Chapter in 2014 and served as its Chapter Head for four years. She is currently working on a new book about Satanic practice, due to be released by the end of 2020.