Group or Solitary SatanismPosted: November 11, 2015
I have been meaning to write a post on the pros and cons of group or coven Satanism compared with Solitary Satanism for quite a while, so here it is; or a first try anyway.
A short piece of personal background. I started off very much as a solitary Satanist, but from the beginning I was in contact with other Satanists over the Internet in various ways. I then met Sophie so then we were two, then three including our daughter; and eventually Sophie and I started our own coven. As a result I have looked at this subject from several perspectives.
I will start off by saying that in my opinion all Satanists are essentially solitary even if they regularly or occasionally work with others. Individualism is a cornerstone of Satanism, so while we can, and I think sometimes should, collaborate with other Satanists; we never stop being the authors of our own individual lives and beliefs. Any group that demands we conform to beliefs or practices which we don’t agree with is a group to be avoided. With that said it is still usually possible to find groups with which it is enjoyable and beneficial to collaborate and cooperate.
I will talk about the possible benefits of working with other Satanists first, but also raise some reservations. In the end I will come back to my first point that we are all essentially solitary.
For the vast majority of us the decision to become or identify as a Satanist is a very profound and deeply personal thing that happens very much within our heart, mind and soul. It is liberating but marks a huge departure from the mainstream of public opinion. We are choosing to follow a way that is very misunderstood and thought of as perverse and evil by many. It is therefore comforting to meet and get to know others on a similar path and deeply satisfying to be able to be your true self in front of others without the need of excuses or explanations. These days many of those encounters are likely to be over the Internet on various forums where distance is not an issue. Sometimes these encounters will be helpful and fulfilling and could be the start of meaningful friendships between like minded people. These connections can be very important in gaining knowledge via other people’s experiences. There must be caution however because there are a lot of creeps and idiots posing as Satanists on the Internet (some of whom genuinely believe they Are Satanists) who are dangerous and can do a lot of harm to individuals and the real Satanic community.
Assuming you navigate your first encounters with other Satanists carefully and successfully you may want to reach out for closer, more personal, deeper and sometimes more intimate connections with other Satanists. There could be several reasons for this. Some are naturally more social than others and simply want to physically spend time in the company of other Satanists. Those who practice greater magic may feel that their knowledge and power will be magnified by working closely with others. Many will understand the power of drama in ritual with others to unlock and unleash the Satanic mind more fully. For myself it was a mixture of all these things plus a desire to feel immersed in Satanic thought, life and culture that drew me into seeking out and joining a coven.
I was lucky in that I found a suitable coven fairly quickly; for others geography and other factors can make finding the right coven take much longer. It is worth spending time over and you should never join a group which makes you feel uncomfortable or where there is pressure to do things you don’t want to. The intelligent Satanist will wait and may ultimately decide it is better to remain solitary than hook up with people you don’t want to be associated with. I felt nurtured and educated by my coven and that being with them gave me the space and confidence to become my true self. Now Sophie and I have our own coven which is both a social group of people who have roughly the same philosophy and hopefully a caring community which promotes the personal growth of each member. Some of our meetings are purely social but we feel we grow by working magic and engaging in ritual with each other. Again there is a sense of freedom and liberation that comes from full and shameless engagement with the diabolical realm in the company of other dark souls. So for us being in a coven is an important part of our Satanic life and experience. It is not and does not have to be that way for everybody however.
While I enjoy the dramatic, ritual and ceremonial aspects of working in a coven and the comradery that goes with that, I still acknowledge that Satanism is essentially a path of personal and intellectual growth and development. You don’t always need anyone else to facilitate that. Indeed for the Satanist (even those of us who believe in a Satanic entity of some sort) I would argue that it is essential to rely first and foremost on one’s self and none other. Many people can and do go through their Satanic lives keeping their philosophical or spiritual views very much to themselves. Very often it is both wise and useful to keep your head down and not draw unwelcome attention. Sometimes this can be the most effective way to live out Satanic principles in everyday life. It is a truism that some of the most dedicated Satanists are people whom the the gullible masses would never suspect of being such.
There are probably far more Satanists who do their own private thing than those who are actually members of groups or covens. There are many advantages in not having to compromise with others in perusing your own beliefs and personal development. Thus for many Satanists the lone path is the path of choice. Even for those who would ultimately like to engage more with other Satanists the lone path can be educational and empowering. And the lone path is where we all begin.
Even while working in a group every Satanist is an individual whose path is unique and whose priority is the empowerment of his or her self. We are all different. Some of us may want or need the company of others as an aspect of expressing ourselves and our beliefs, others don’t. We have chosen a path of self empowerment and we must make our own experiments and choices when it comes to crafting our own lives unrestrained by the norms or taboos of society. Certainly we should not be restrained by the views of other Satanists.
Coven or solitary? It’s whatever works best for you. And there is no reason we can’t be both.