Satanism As A Progressive ForcePosted: September 20, 2020
I will preface this article by stating a few things upfront. Firstly, as we state in various places in this blog, we don’t claim to represent or speak for all Satanists but just for ourselves. Secondly, I have sometimes been berated by other Satanists for expressing political opinions; I make no apology for doing so here in my blog. Finally, the ideas expressed here are intended to provoke thought and discussion which I consider vital in Satanic life and personal gnosis; there is of course no obligation for anyone to agree with what I say here, but no harm will be done by thinking about it!
A little background; things happening in the news at the time of writing this article…
Covid 19 is still wreaking havoc and causing death, illness and economic decline around the world. Brazil, India and The USA seem to be the worst affected at the moment but it is having a resurgence in Europe as well. Fires are burning in the western United States, putting people and property in danger and further damaging the environment. Fires are also out of control in Siberia, where the permafrost is melting and dangerous amounts of greenhouse gasses are being released into the atmosphere. A U.N. report this week highlighted “an unprecedented level of biodiversity loss” putting pressure on ecosystems, economies and migration hotspots around the world as well as condemning future generations to live in a world without the wildlife we have grown up with. (The biodiversity loss and human infringement on wildlife habitats is likely to lead to more new viruses spreading to the human population.) The Black Lives Matter campaign continues but is often met with hostility by those of a hard right disposition. For every right that black people, women and people on the LGBTQ spectrum win, there seem to be pushbacks on the other side. A refugee camp burned down in Greece. Refugees from poor, unstable and war-torn lands continue to camp at the gates of America and Europe. Many refugees drown trying to cross the seas of Europe. A five month old baby died in a refugee camp in Kenya after SHE was beaten with iron bars by the “Christian” camp guards because her mother was a lesbian… What a world!
While contemplating some of the above mentioned things it occurred to me very strongly that for most, if not all of these issues, what is really needed is a united global response. But of course the globe is not united. It also occurred to me that the divisions in society are not so much about left verses right wing, but about those who look outwards and forward to a more inclusive, internationalist society verses those who look backwards and inwards to an ultra nationalist society, where borders and personal boundaries are strictly controlled by those in power. Oddly, on both sides there is an individualist element.
Satanists exist on both sides.
Probably the majority of Satanists are solitary practitioners. A smaller number of us belong to covens or groups. I’m pretty sure that every point on the political compass is covered by us to some degree. Some of us are activists. Some of us are reclusive and shy away from anything overtly political. We can’t all be right, can we?
I am going to say why there is a an area of Satanic activism that I support and would urge others to participate in. However, I am also going to say why I think we should respect the views and heed the warnings of those who disagree with us. The question I will leave others to mull over is “how?” and “to what degree?”
Satan/Lucifer was the first rebel. He did not accept the status quo. He did not shy away from confronting authority. He lead those who were wise enough to follow, out of the garden of slavery and into the world of knowledge and self responsibility. For some of us, that is the absolute key and bedrock of Satanism.
Satan did not say ‘you must do this’ or your must do that.’ He empowered us to make our own decisions about all things. He trusted us to make our own moral judgements. But his example is of action, not inaction. He could have left us as mindless sheep in the garden, but he sneaked around the evil god and liberated us. He cared. He wanted us to become all that we could be. He knew our potential and wanted us to realise it. Shouldn’t we try to follow that example? Can we really turn our backs when we see others who are unable to achieve their potential or live their lives fully because the rules and values of society seem to be against them?
Yet it is also true that Satanism is a “Self-Centred” religion and lifestyle. Self improvement, self fulfilment and self enjoyment are important to us. This does not however mean that we should be chronically selfish. Selfishness is generally as unhelpful to us as it is to the people we are selfish toward. Selfishness can make us mean, nasty, inward looking and generally disliked by others. It is difficult to progress in any way from that starting point. Instead we need a more mature understanding of what being self centred means. Caring about ourselves, our health, our happiness, our prospects, our progress is vital. But that care depends on understanding that we are part of wider families, groups, networks, communities and societies and that things are better, happier and more productive for our ‘selves’, when we are supported and encouraged by the people who surround us. If everybody is against us, things are generally hard, difficult and unhappy. That does not do the ‘self’ much good.
So I would argue that part of looking after ourselves and our loved ones includes the responsibility of looking after the best interests of the world and other people on whom we will depend to some degree.
Like many Satanists, feeling accepted for the person I am played a large part in my conversion to Satanism and my love for all that Satan is and represents. During the time that I have been an active Satanist I have met and become friends with many of the people that wider society pushes out or pushes down. Satan accepts and encourages the free thinkers, the eccentrics, the mad scientists, the artists and all who dare to dream and think differently. Satan doesn’t discriminate against you because you are black or white or any shade in-between. Satan doesn’t regard women as inferior to men in any way. Satan doesn’t care what your body looks like or what genitalia you were born with. He doesn’t care whether you are sexually or romantically attracted to men, women, both or neither. Satan thinks you are beautiful as you are but that you have the potential to be more than you ever felt possible. My Satanic friends are men and women and also people who identify as non binary. I am bi/omnisexual and I have Satanic friends who are straight, gay and from virtually every part of the LBGTQ spectrum. I have friends who have all sorts of skin tones and many who have augmented their natural colours with ink. But some of these people have problems.
This year has really highlighted some of the problems my black friends have had to put up with. It has brought to mind hardships and prejudice I had not considered or realised before. When racism is institutionalised, it is hard for those who are not directly experiencing it to understand how limiting it is. To be honest it hadn’t really occurred to me until this year that I regularly walk past statues of people who are held in high esteem by society and yet supported slavery and who would consider my black friends to be a lessor form of human, deserving of less respect or opportunity. I had also forgotten that there are still white people who don’t think killing black people is a very serious thing.
I think it is right and logical to be actively against racism. It is right and logical to stand up for most or all groups who experience prejudice because of their gender, sexuality or ethnic origins. And I think you will find that it is often Satanists or people with similar values who are at the heart and soul of movements towards greater equality and social intelligence. This fact makes me proud.
Satanists also follow the science. Science refers to humanity as one species and does not consider any skin tone as superior. Science understands that humans are animals, part of nature, not separate from it; and this also is at the heart of Satanism. And the vast majority of scientists have been warning for decades that the environment of earth is being changed because of human actions and the results will be disastrous for us and other animals if we don’t take corrective action. I do think it behoves us to be activists on this issue too.
I don’t agree with The Satanic Temple in all things (I don’t like their internal politics or the way they tend to make claims to speak on behalf of all Satanists) but I do think their activism on local and international issues has broadly been a good thing. I think it has generally shown Satanism in a good light and has provided an example of how we can become involved in activism. Of course we can also be activists without mentioning our Satanic beliefs if we feel that is the safest option. But still, I do think a degree of activism is implicit in the beliefs and lifestyle we have chosen by calling ourselves Satanists and following in the example of Satan.
Where we live, the environment we grow up in, and the social attitudes that pervade in that region tend to influence us more than we are sometimes aware of. As Satanists, we tend to recognise certain things and not others. We recognise the things which affect or annoy us most deeply. Very often things like sexuality and social norms are the easiest to see. If we happen to be gay and grow up in a socially conservative area we will recognise the way we are limited and possibly discriminated against by other people’s attitudes. Therefore we need to be aware that other people may face limitations caused by local attitudes that don’t affect us on such a personal level. Moreover, political sentiments tend to vary from region to region. I will admit that in Europe soft socialism or “social democracy” is often held up as the best and most successful and empowering system of government. I am a Social Democrat myself. However, I am beginning to recognise that social democracy may not be the panacea to all things that I first thought it was. I am trying to pick out the things that work and separate them from the things that are just part of the local mindset I grew up in. That seems to me to be a Satanic way of thinking. I would ask Satanists who have inherited more conservative social attitudes to consider doing the same thing. Ask yourself the questions, how many of these supposedly conservative and libertarian policies actually work and how many are just parts of the social landscape and need to be questioned more deeply?
There are many Satanists who prefer to keep their political opinions to themselves or who feel that engaging in too many (or any) socio-political issues detracts from their personal engagement with Satan or Satanism. One such person recently told me I should redouble my efforts to learn and wield Satanic Power and leave politics alone. Well, that is a point of view I can respect to some degree, however I would argue that activism is also a legitimate way of wielding Satanic power and that the person concerned has no idea of my more esoteric and magical commitments or abilities. There is an arrogant element in Satanism and also a rather childish “I’m darker than you”, attitude that I think we would be better off without!
And yet, I do believe that the more mystical, magical, personal, individual and darker sides of Satanism are very important. I have no time for the reverse Christians who seem to feel that being nasty and evil in the way described by Dennis Wheatley and ignorant Christians is what Satanism is about. It isn’t; and those people are dangerous idiots. However, we do walk a Left Hand Path and we should value the darker aspects of our personalities. We do engage in thoughts and practices that are regarded as evil by some. But, I have always believed we should own our own darker sides and not allow our morals and values to be defined exclusively by our enemies. Let us not assume we must be evil just because we are defined as such by those who oppose us.
In conclusion I am saying several things which I will summarise here. Firstly that Satanism IS a progressive force because it challenges authority and tradition just as Satan did. Secondly activism (in it’s many forms) is justifiable because the example of Satan is active not passive. Thirdly Satanism has often been at the vanguard of accepting people that other sections of society are prejudiced against. In order to further our own interests as well as those of our loved ones, our families and so on, we have a responsibility to help our planet and our communities to sustain us now and in the future. We need to do so in a mindful and intelligent way. We shouldn’t be slaves to any particular political ideology and we should be open to useful and intelligent ideas wherever they come from if they might help Satanists and satanic concepts to prosper. We do not have to compromise the more esoteric aspects of our personal Satanic journey in order to be progressive or activists.
We would probably do well to learn from each other rather than be critical of each other for the wrong reasons.
Finally, the world could be a better, more Satanic place and surely we each have some responsibility to contribute towards that outcome?