Being open as a SatanistPosted: September 21, 2013
Nobody wants your religion rammed down their throat. That much is clear. I have increasingly little tolerance for people who want to proselytise their religious views with me or berate mine. I do enjoy religious or spiritual discussions or debate but I don’t like people preaching at me and I would never set out to preach my beliefs to anybody either. With that said, I took a conscious decision a while ago to be as open as I can be about my spiritual views, depending on the circumstances. This blog was the start of that process. Nobody is forced to come here or read what I write, but if they do the title and introductory blurb is enough warning of what I write about here. If people don’t like it they don’t have to stay. If they are genuinely interested in what I say about Satanism they are welcome to read and express their views, including disagreement. Part of my reason for writing this blog is that I am a fairly open person and thinking out loud in print has always been a way in which I refine my views. I also have a feeling that Satanism is often misunderstood and part of my service to Satan (for want of a better expression) is to provide a more positive and balanced perspective than is often found.
Beyond this blog I also feel I want to be a bit more open in my daily life about being a Satanist. This is partly for simple convenience; it is rather annoying to have to hide a fundamental aspect of who you are most of the time. It is also because I want to be a positive example and spokesperson for what Satanism actually is. I can, for example, imagine a time when I might want to write and publish some books on the subject and that will require being in the public domain to some extent at least.
Why should it be a big secret anyway? I know plenty of Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists and people of other philosophical and religious persuasions who are fully open about their religious beliefs without preaching about them all the time. It is a part of their identity and people generally accept that aspect of them even if their own views are quite different. The problem is that Satanism is not generally perceived as just another religion…
Recently one of my flatmates went into my room and saw a couple of Satanic books I had forgotten to put away. He immediately confronted me about it quite aggressively. If I had had left hard core porn on my bedside table or a stack of violent computer games he probably wouldn’t have even commented, but It was quite clear that he associated Satanism with pure evil and no amount of talking to him at that stage was going to change that. I had to be quite defensive and dishonest and say I was doing some research for a discussion that would take place in a local pagan pub moot. If I had not said this my tenure in the flat would have been at stake. I hated lying. I hated betraying myself and my God (although for many Satanists this is routinely the safest course of action). I hated being unable to confront his prejudice and ignorance. Mostly I hated not being able to be true to myself.
But this is a stance most Satanists have to take a lot of the time. We have to take care of ourselves. We have to make a living in the world as it is. We have to be realists. And we often have to make compromises. That’s okay in terms of our beliefs; self preservation and practicality are quite central to Satanic belief and lifestyle. We don’t have to like it though. And it is always going to remain this way until and unless a few more of us are prepared to stick our heads above the precipice and confront misconceptions.
I will still try. I will do it carefully and slowly but I will become a Satanist who is known.
I had a more positive experience on my recent travels. I met up with an old friend in Austria. Part of our connection has always been an interest in spiritual matters. His views are Pagan-ish with big Buddhist and Druid influences and I had always picked him out as one of the key people I would come out to as a Satanist whenever we next met, if the subject came up naturally (which with him was a pretty sure chance). But how to broach the subject?
We met in a bar we often used to haunt and ordered some schnapps for old time sake. As we sat down he turned to me with a glint in his eye and said, “So what is it like being a daughter of Satan then?”
While I gulped, he went on to explain that he had been reading my blog with interest, and as we continued to get drunk together it was clear that his opinion of me had not suffered. In fact he asked some really good questions which provoked a lot of thought and it was a great relief to be able to be open with somebody who means a lot to me.
It did make me pause a bit though. I had always thought I had left enough of a gap between my online identity and my everyday self that people wouldn’t make the connection… Or at least there would be some deniability if necessary. Apparently the gap is a little smaller than I thought to those who know me well. And perhaps others too…
So be it. I am many things. I am a Satanist. I can’t say I don’t still worry about who knows it and I certainly don’t want it to become an issue in my work life… But I am resigned to the fact that for me personally being open as a Satanist is going to become increasingly necessary. To some degree it is a relief to realise there are already people who know about it. Realistically I can see some problems ahead but I also know I will have important avenues of support.
I hope there will come a time when being a Satanist does not attract such hostility and misunderstanding. This is a problem. I hope I can be part of the solution. And I hope I will not be alone.