A while back, Werewolf News reader Henry Collins sent me a link to The Werewolf Cathedral, a site purporting to be the home of “the world’s only International Werewolf Religion & Secret Society”. I’ve only just had a chance to check it out. As someone who runs a satirical web site for an international supernatural law enforcement agency I’m interested in the weird and amazing self-contained worlds these kinds of sites can describe. At a glance it’s clear the site takes itself very seriously– could this be a marketing effort for an upcoming game or movie? Maybe an elaborate construct forming part of the back-story for a role-playing game? A so-straight-faced-it’s-funny site selling a novelty item, like the SRA? Nope, nope and nope. It’s a site using a combination of Satanism, teenage wish fulfillment and quasi-New Age spirituality to sell $35 “memberships” to what the proprietor describes as “an occult church based on my own personal philosophy, ideas, and knowledge of the occult”.
I’m a fan of werewolves, and I’m also a pretty open-minded person, but this bugs the shit out of me and I can’t quite articulate why. Maybe it’s the way the site uses the werewolf as a method of making miserable teenagers feel empowered through escapism (“Have you ever felt that modern morals and ethics are anything but moral and ethical in relation to nature and how it really is?”). Maybe it’s the continued espousal of grab-bag magical thinking and faux-spirituality– a tiresome offshoot of werewolf fandom that’s still popular with people who are also fans of hippy-dippy bullshit. Or maybe it’s just the cult-like promise of enlightenment and inclusion in exchange for a modest payment. Or maybe it’s all of the above.
The Werewolf Cathedral is a large site with a lot of content– an obvious labour of love. But a love for what? Werewolves? Spiritual truth? Or power?