Diana Desiderio: The Satanic Temple in Salem Mass

 

Text and Self Portraits by Diana Desiderio, Copyright 2022

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The Satanic Temple in Salem Mass

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Salem has always been a place I felt in my bones. A place that has the lore of young women bewitched and signing over their souls to the Dark Lord himself. September had approached so fast as it does every year. I got a wild hair and the availability to stay at the Satanic Temple had availability. I called one of my friends Roxy and recruited her for this amazing last minute get away. And why not; who wouldn’t want to live deliciously?

An 8 hour truck up to the New England area and just shy of the Spooky season tourists.

Once we had arrived at the satanic Temple, I instantly felt at home. Something no one will ever tell you about Satanist who belong to the Satanic Temple is; they don’t believe in the devil himself at all but that them using the symbol of Baphomet in all its glory is a symbol of triggering critical thinking. The mission of the Satanic Temple is to “encourage benevolence & empathy, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense, oppose injustice, and undertake noble pursuits.” 

The Satanic Temple has seven fundamental tenets:

  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo one’s own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world. One should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit one’s beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If one makes a mistake, one should do one’s best to rectify it and resolve any harm that might have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

All of which I have always felt kindred too. Once we had checked in; we asked that if after the temple closed we were able to take photographs within the temple to use at our own discretion and they were more than happy to oblige. While we waited we waked around downtown Salem learning about the poor innocent women persecuted and accused of being witches to pacify the puritan settlers. Some hung by their necks from the hangman’s tree. Some were pressed with a heavy stone until they were crushed to death.

There was a very daunting feeling when walking around those areas especially after dark. We retreated back to the temple, and got to open the rooms and take full advantage of the interior of the throne room and the main hall where a 10’ statue of Baphomet sat in all its glory. In honor of the witches of Salem who sold their souls  while dancing nude in ceremony of the Dark Lord; we stripped down & I got to taking some amazing shots all on an iPhone no less. If you are ever interested in going, I would highly recommend it. Live deliciously and HAIL THYSELF.

About The Author: Diana Desiderio  is a motion picture production manager based in Philadelphia.

To access additional articles by Diana Desiderio, click here: https://tonyward.com/night-swim/

 

 

Kitchie Ohh: Beautifully Broken


Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2022

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

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Creative Director: KVaughn

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Hair & Makeup: Michael Connor

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Photography Assistant: Anthony Colagreco

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BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN

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Things happen all the time, life would sure be boring if that wasn’t the case. And because life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and is often completely unfair, sometimes those things that happen are awful. We get knocked down, made to feel worthless, hopeless. Beaten down by situations, other people’s cruelty, our own self-doubt and criticism. Cracked. Broken, irreparably shattered.

If you have never seen a piece of Japanese kintsugi pottery,  I urge you to stop reading and Google it; I’ll wait. Now that you’ve seen it, you’re probably wondering why I asked. Well, I find it beautiful, both as visual art and as a concept. The first time I ever saw it, I was awestruck.

The art of kintsugi takes bowls or other fine pottery pieces whose beauty was marred by chips, cracks, and breaks and uses precious metals to make them whole again. They become more valuable, more unique, in the mending than they were originally. Not viewed as less for the imperfection of being broken; but more because someone carefully and skillfully took the time to fix each and every crack. 

I can’t help but draw the parallel between this art form, myself, and the literally millions of other people who have faced down challenges and made it through, alive but not unscathed. We may not be alone in our experiences, but each of us is unique. The physical, mental and emotional pains we endure, as well as the scars those pains leave behind are ours. No two are exactly alike.  

What if we stopped hiding our scars and started to view them as what make us more? Not for simply having received them, but for the precious time, energy and effort we put into our healing. That is the art form. That is the gold, the silver, the platinum that brings all the shattered pieces back together and binds them together stronger than before. While the body may heal itself physically when injured without any conscious effort on our part, true healing and recovery is a choice. It is a process; an ongoing one. We have to care enough about ourselves to see and address all of our breaks, the old and the new. 

We have to let go of the old unbroken versions of ourselves and those who caused the damage. It is possible to forgive, but not forget. To move on, but remember. To be broken but not worthless. We are kintsugi; beautifully broken, remade stronger, perfect in our imperfection.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then shes worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles.  She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn. 

In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.  

Youre just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is be both.” The model and the homemaker,  sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.  

Bob Shell: Photographer’s Language and Thought Police

A young woman wearing a fetish outfit corset with spikes high boots and long barrel pistol
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022

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Photographer’s Language and Thought Police

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Now photographers are being singled out by the ‘thought police.’ According to a new ‘Oppressive Language List’ put out by the administration at Brandeis University, we’re no longer supposed to say we ‘shot’ a photo, did a photo ‘shoot’, or took a ‘shot’ at something. We’re  not supposed to say we ‘triggered’ a camera or a flash, because the words ‘shoot,’ ‘shot,’ ‘trigger,’ etc., all have gun associations. 

This is not just for photographers, they say. We’re also not supposed to say ‘killing it’ for doing well at something.  Australians will have to no longer use ‘shoot through’ as slang for dying.  Apparently, guns are such nasty, evil things, and all references to them, even oblique, must be expunged from our language. 

Now, I’m not a gun fanatic, like people I know who have personal arsenals, but before my arrest, I did have a Remington single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle, a single-barrel .410 gauge shotgun, and a 9 mm semiautomatic Beretta pistol. The shotgun was a gift from my grandfather who used to go dove hunting with it until he was shamed into quitting hunting by members of his congregation. You see, he was a Methodist minister and some of his flock disapproved of a minister hunting. The only times I ever fired it were to shoot at tin cans I threw into the air. I’m not a hunter, but I am open minded enough not to hassle friends who are. This world has room.for both. 

My rifle and pistol were both gifts from my father. I used them only for target practice, and became a pretty good shot. Both are being held for me by a friend until I can get my ridiculous conviction overturned. 

I’m not in favor of government gun control, because I’ve lived in countries that have it, and my harmless plinking away at targets would have been very difficult, or impossible there. 

The purpose of the United States Constitution and its Amendments is to limit government, not empower it. Those wise founders of this republic had lived under repressive monarchy and never wanted it rearing its ugly head here. 

But, right now as a convicted felon, if I get out I can’t own any guns, I can’t exercise that right granted to me, not by government, but by the Constitution. 

I was convicted in state court. Gun ownership is a Federal right. Will someone please explain to me how a state can trump the Federal Constitution. The same goes for voting in Federal elections, which I can’t do now. All citizens were given rights by the Bill of Rights, which was added to the Constitution to spell out our rights and guarantee them against government intrusion. Somehow those guarantees have been diluted. 

A great man once shouted, “Give me liberty or give me death!” We got the latter.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 15th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-censorship-rears-its-ugly-head-in-virginia/

Milan Burnett: The Lovers

.The Lovers Tarot Card

Text by Milan Burnett.  All Rights Reserved.

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Photographs by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

The Lovers.

Major Arcana Number 6.

Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Element: Air

Ruling Planet: Mercury

Depiction based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, published in December, 1909. Illustrated

by Pamela Colman Smith.

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Most commonly depicted by a man and a woman, standing completely nude in a setting reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, we have the sixth card in traditional tarot. The Lovers. The woman stands naked in front of an apple tree, wrapped with a snake, representing the temptations of worldly thoughts and behaviors. The man, also naked, stands across from her, with a scorched tree of flames behind him, representing the burning passions of life and love. Above the two individuals in this card, the Sun shines behind an angel-like figure, who seems to emerge from a cloud, representing the presence of Divine Spirit, or the Universe. Whether it be a business partnership, or a relationship (A relationship normally being the case), a major soulmate connection brought together by the Divine is at play when the Lovers card makes an appearance. This card can also indicate an important choice needing to be made, one with lasting effects over time.

If an individual is inquiring about a particular relationship, and the Lovers card appears, it is a strong indicator that there is much more than a mere crush, or surface level attraction. An intense, passionate, spiritual bond is in the works. The perfect union of two balanced, harmonious spirits with shared values and beliefs, coming together as one. A true soulmate. Considering the man and woman are both fully naked in original depictions, this card also indicates raw, open and honest communication. The two figures in this card are in their most vulnerable states, allowing for complete transparency between one another. Pulling this card is a sign that a fulfilling relationship, or partnership, is on the horizon straight from the Divine. This will be built not on infatuation, but from genuine love, respect, moral values, honesty, and trust.

Though the Lovers card is heavily regarded in love, the appearance of this card can also signify that one’s values and beliefs are being tested, and it is time to make a decision. Good or bad decisions are subjective, so it is time to decide what core values mean the most to you, stay true to them, and make choices accordingly. Being true to yourself in any circumstance is guaranteed to breed the best results. However, temptation is always nearby, waiting to prey on the weak willed. This is represented by the snake in the apple tree behind the naked woman on this card. She gazes upwards to the angel-like figure for guidance. Pulling the Lovers card brings a message of choosing yourself and doing what is best for you morally to obtain harmony and balance. Trust in yourself, your values, and the divine timing of the Universe, as it will never lead you astray.

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Milan Burnett ad for tarot card readings
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Milan is originally from New York, now residing in Philadelphia. Aspiring model and real estate broker. Free thinker. Humanitarian by nature. Spiritual revolutionary in the making. To access previous articles by Milan Burnett, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/milan-burnett-my-thoughts-about-sex/

Bob Shell: Censorship Rears its Ugly Head in Virginia

Topless beauty in hotel room photographed by Tony Ward
Isabella. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022

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Censorship Rears its Ugly Head in Virginia

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Tonight, June 14, 2022, I got a publication disapproval notice for the June issue of ‘Rolling Stone.’ A very good friend recently gave me a subscription and this was my first issue on that subscription.

It was disapproved for “Material that contains nudity. The showing (human or cartoon) of the male or female genitals, pubic area, female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of the areola, or male or female buttocks with less than a full opaque covering of the anus.”

I photographed nudes starting in the 1960s for more than forty years. I’ve seen countless female breasts. Seeing one now is somehow going to cause me harm? And note that it’s only seeing female breasts that will hopelessly corrupt me! I can see topless photos of Vladimir Putin day in and day out. Men have nipples and areolae, too!
I remember seeing an article years ago featuring a number of closeup photos of nipples, challenging the reader to identify which were male and which were female. It was impossible to tell. As I recall, one or two weren’t even human.
Sexual discrimination is illegal, so how does the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) get away with having such a blatantly sexist policy? Are we living in some restrictive theocracy. Will the VDOC next impose Sharia Law?

The magazine was also disapproved for “Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes or other gang-related activity or association.”

I’m a 75 year old white man. I’m going to join a gang??? Wonder if there’s one called ‘Hell’s Geezers?’ Is there a southwest Virginia chapter?

The man who signed the disapproval is the ‘OM’ the same man who recently disapproved ‘The Week’, my weekly news magazine, for showing gang symbols. Fairly new on that job, I think. Maybe he should consider relocating to Iran. There are probably many jobs open there for censors.

‘Rolling Stone’ contains important political articles and stories about culture. It is often quoted in other media. It is a highly influential journal that I’ve been reading since the 1960s and often features cutting edge photography.

I plan to contact Rolling Stone’s legal people. Maybe they would like to slap the VDOC down for ignoring the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court has held that freedom of the press contains the right to read. Censorship is unconstitutional! It must be stopped wherever it rears its slimy, reeking head!

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-my-photographic-philosophy/