The Monkey Behind the Mask

The Monkey Behind the Mask

Hi, I’m Austin Coppock.

I’ve written an astrology column under the name Baron Samadhi von Coppockalypse, PhD for the last 4 or so years.  I’ve decided not to do that anymore.

You may have read some of my work.  If so, by all means read on.  If this is the first time you’ve come across me, the whole confessional business that follows may seem a little self indulgent.  You’ve been warned.

So why write under a pseudonym? People have danced under the masks of gods, devils and animals since there have been people.  The mask frees us from the pressure of social expectations.  Specifically, it temporarily liberates people from the burden of identity.  No one knows what to expect, because no one knows what’s beneath the mask.  It shakes things things up, spawns a variety of freedoms.

When I began writing my column, I wanted people to engage with the astrology, not the author.  There is a tendency in spiritual business to take the “appeal to authority” (see classical logical fallacies) to the Nth degree.  Listen to what this person says because they’re an enlightened, holy, ascended, blessed, adept of an eight million year old sacred tradition which began with Atlanteans.  Yeah.  So I decided to load so many titles onto my pseudonym that you couldn’t possibly believe I was being serious.  Short circuiting the appeal to authority by pushing it to the point of absurdity.  That was the idea, at least.

In addition to strategic reasons, there were also personal ones.  In 2006, when I started writing the column, I needed the creative shelter of the mask.  I was experimenting, and the space inside the pseudonym allowed me the room to grow as both an astrologer and a writer.  But as I grew, the mask began to feel more and more limiting.

A mask is a point of intersection between you and the world.  It’s an appearance that acts like a bridge between the inner and the outer, self and others.  With the right one at the right time, so very much can cross over.  Both people and circumstances change and, unfortunately, masks don’t.  That mask that was perfect for Halloween doesn’t go over all that well at Christmas.  What enables connection at one point disables it at another.  Which is a problem, because a mask is static.  It doesn’t grow or age.  An insightful friend recently pointed out to me that masks may not change, but faces do.  An excellent point.  So I’ve decided to go with the mask the sweet lord gave me, the stretchy, flexible one made of skin, blood, muscle, hair and a variety of similarly blessed filth.

All that said, the Dark Sun Astrology column will continue as it has, no sugar coated bullshit.  I promise you, my readers, that I will keep dipping my quill into the inky darkness between the stars.



PS For those who mourn, please direct all lamentation, wailing and gnashing of teeth to the Baron’s obituary.

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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Scourge™ 12 years ago

    Even you have to figure out who you are at some point, and it would seem that “Der Baron” helped you do that. I’m just glad you’re still with us in any capacity which works for you. You still R0X0RZ! <3

  2. Nyx 12 years ago

    Cheeky Monkey!

  3. jeremy 12 years ago

    Well felt, thought out and said. Makes perfect sense to me. And now I suspect who you are under your real name will seem expansive and roomy.. as you have already written.. All my best!

    ~Jeremy Wood

  4. Yvjoseph 12 years ago

    OO MY GOSH.. i thought you were stopping to correspond with us.. Welcome to the ADULT world.. dear one.. !!!!!!!! (he he he did she say with her apple.. ).. great news.. you will still write to us and compose for us.. and sweat for us and give us so much as you are so incredible.. greatnews.. thank you so much

  5. Magz 12 years ago

    Suspect you are the consumate Phoenix! Look forward to each new resurrection!
    Best Best

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