Let me preface by saying you absolutely don’t have to be in a coven or a group of any type to be a Satanist. Indeed the vast majority of Satanists are probably solitary practitioners.
I decided to write this post because to outsiders membership of a coven is perhaps one of the most obvious aspects of “Living Satanism” which is my theme of the month. Also we have occasionally received questions about what we actually do in our group.
There are many Satanic covens and groups. I certainly would not recommend all of them. To anyone looking for such a group I would say be patient, look around and don’t be tempted by the first group you come across if it doesn’t match your criteria. (So decide what you are looking for and what you want and don’t want from membership of a group before you start looking). There is nudity and some sexual content in some groups (including ours), check first and if you are not comfortable with that, don’t join. And a final warning, there are some very nasty and exploitative people around who will use the guise of a Satanic group to further their own sexual or other agendas. I’d say the first rule of anybody calling themselves a Satanist is “Personal Responsibility” so if you find yourself in a group which you think is doing anything illegal or harmful, look after yourself, leave quickly and safely and if necessary report them to whatever seems to be the appropriate authority. Stay safe and never be bullied or feel obliged to do anything you don’t want to do.
Very quickly my history of coven membership is as follows. Before I was a Satanist I was Wiccan and a member of a Wiccan Coven. I am a very social person and the group dynamics of being part of a coven was an attraction to me. I felt it also helped and amplified the effect of witchcraft which in one way or another had been an element of my spiritual path for a long time. There was nudity in some of the meetings and rituals in the Wiccan coven, and I was always comfortable with that. When I took the big step of becoming a Satanist and admitting to myself and others where my spiritual heart really was; I wanted to be part of a group because of the social aspect and because I was used to that dynamic, and more importantly because I felt the need to embrace Satanic Life as fully and completely as I could. Thus, being the person that I am, I sought out a coven. I was lucky (Satan helps those who help themselves!) and found a reasonably local group quite quickly. (This was in Britain). They turned out to be very decent people and looked after me well. I studied and socialised with them and gradually took part in more of their activities and rituals. They never pressured me to do anything I didn’t want. There were some aspects of their rituals which were similar to what I had known in Wicca, but some things which were very different, darker and clearly Left Hand Path in nature. There was nudity in some meetings and rituals (which I was used to) and some sexual elements which I was not used to but didn’t object to. Within about a year I was a full member and participated in everything the coven did. I was very happy there and felt I was growing and changing in ways I needed to. After another year because of my life and my job I was spending more and more time in Switzerland and was unable to keep my coven commitments as regularly as I wanted to. I became an associate member rather than a full member and Sophie and I started meeting with like minded people at home in Zurich. Gradually, what began as a group of open minded people from several different religious and non religious traditions morphed into a group reflecting mine and Sophie’s satanic views. Our own coven was born.
Before I describe what we do in our coven I would like to stress that all Satanic groups and covens are different. We do our coven in our way with our priorities. We have adapted things we have learned elsewhere. What we do as a group is not necessarily representative of what all or even most Satanic covens do.
WE have ten full members at present and a few people who join with us occasionally including our daughter Leonie. We aim to meet about once a month but it is sometimes more often and sometimes lass often. Our members are all Theistic Satanists, but we allow a wide variety of opinions about what that means exactly. Sophie and three other members of our group used to be Buddhists. Several of us used to be Wiccan or Pagan. The rest mainly had no fixed religious or spiritual beliefs before becoming Satanists although several were brought up in loosely Christian families. I am the nominal High Priestess of our coven, mainly just because I started it and tend to play a more dominant role in setting our agenda. In all practical respects Sophie is our main organiser and Coven Mother. Sometimes because of work and travel I can’t attend meetings, in which case Sophie takes over completely. At the moment we have six women and four men as permanent members which perhaps gives our group a more feminine dimension. Our coven is dedicated to Satan of course, but also to Lilith. We hold three kinds of meetings which come under the headings of ‘Social’, ‘Magical’, or ‘Ritual’. A few meetings have aspects of all three.
Social meetings are mainly a chance to get together, chat, drink and have fun. We also use these meetings to learn from each other, to share and discuss books or web-sites we have read related to Satanism and to offer each other practical tips for living Satanically. As the most experienced witch in the group I also teach aspects of witchcraft. We also share and listen to music and art connected with our beliefs. Finally, during these type of meetings we do our planning and discuss any ideas for ritual or magic. For social meetings we usually rotate around our members homes and each member has a chance to decorate the room we will meet in, in their own distinctive style.
Some of our meetings are designed specifically to do magical work. We do all consider ourselves to be witches, people who use the full extent of our knowledge and experience to effect change. We use herbs, we use potions, we use spells and incantations, we evoke and invoke powers within and beyond us, we use psychology and science. We use the power of our collective will and focus to make things happen. We use magic to help us progress as a group and in our individual lives, to minimise obstacles in our way, to promote good health, to heal ourselves and our loved ones, for protection of ourselves and our environment, to bring about desired outcomes in our communities, and if necessary to deal with people who oppose or threaten us in some way. (While we don’t rule out full blown curses and dark magic, we can usually achieve our aims in more positive ways). While some magic can be done with the minimum of preparation, fuss or ritual; there are some workings which need to be more elaborate. So some magic oriented meetings happen in our homes and for others we hire rooms or go out into the country and work outside.
Some of our meetings are specifically for ritual. There are two main kinds of ritual we perform. The first I call rituals of alignment. These are rituals specifically designed to highlight and underscore the fact that we are Theistic Satanists, to acknowledge and honour Satan as a force or energy and as an aspect of ourselves. To align our wills, our minds, bodies and souls with Satan and to seek knowledge, guidance and inspiration from the Satanic realm. We all see these as the most important and transformative aspect of our Satanic lives and identities. We are very aware of the changes and empowerment we have felt as a cumulative result of these rituals. Our rituals include our own version of the Black Mass and mark transitional points in the year such as Samhain/Halloween and Beltane/Walpurgis Night. The second kind of ritual that we have are celebrations and inductions. Inductions are mainly for new members, to welcome them to the coven and fully align them with our outlook and agenda. We do also perform inductions when we feel that any member (including ourselves) has reached a significant point of progress in their Satanic lives or understanding. Celebrations mainly revolve around birthdays which as Satanists we think are some of the most important personal landmarks. Celebratory rituals nearly always extend into social evenings;-parties!
We are not heavily into ceremonial attire although most of us do own robes which we wear on some magical or ritual occasions. For most meetings we wear loose fitting, generally black or dark clothes. Most rituals and magical work are performed naked. There are some rituals and magical working which involve consensual, ritualistic sex. Our members are made well aware of that before joining and it is always possible to opt out for personal reasons.
I suppose in a way our Coven Life is the most obvious physical and practical manifestation of living Satanically. We have found it very useful in redefining ourselves. But it is hidden. Nobody outside our circle really knows that we meet as a coven at all.
Sometimes “living Satanism” is a much more personal thing. Satanism challenges us to transform our own lives on a daily basis, to confront and break our own personal taboos in order to grow and advance. It is not always comfortable or easy. In the third and final part of this series of posts I will share a little bit of my own journey and transformation in recent years.
I recently got a notification from WordPress that it is ten years since I started blogging here (where has the time gone)? It seemed like a prompt to write something. I have been neglecting this blog while getting on with other projects, work and life in general. I don’t want to do a post looking back to ten years ago and charting how things have changed; I have done enough of those for the time being. When I started thinking about what to write there were several different ideas that came to mind but it seemed to me they all came under a similar theme; Living Satanism. There are going to be three parts to this which I hope to complete over a short period of time so that I can then get on with other things. In the second part I’d like to talk a bit about the coven Sophie and I run. We haven’t mentioned it much in our blogs but I suppose in some ways it is one of the clearest and most obvious aspects of our lives as Satanists. In the third part I want to talk about a journey I have been on;- exploring the darker elements of my life and my soul and coming to some conclusions about what that has taught me… So far… But I will begin with a fairly short and simple update on what my family and I have been up to and where we are at in our lives.
I have been very busy at work and that means I have been travelling more than ever. So far this year I have not been out of Europe but I haven’t had much time at home. I have been to every corner of Germany and have spent time in Austria, Italy, Spain, France, The Czech Republic and Romania. Having a whole weekend at home in Zurich has become a bit of a rare luxury. When it happens Sophie and I try to do nothing but relax, eat, drink and enjoy the wicked pleasures that we Satanic, omnisexual women are famous for! When I can’t get home, we sometimes try and arrange to meet up at swinger parties in locations close to where I am working. This has become a significant aspect of our lives and might be mentioned more in the third part of this little series of blog entries.
I am not sure if I mentioned it here previously but I have now got a Swiss passport. The ongoing, idiotic, Brexit mess of my home country became too much to bare. Besides which I can’t afford not to have a passport which guarantees me free movement in Europe. Switzerland is not actually in the EU but has so many bilateral agreements it might just as well be. Most importantly, it IS in the schengen free movement area. So yes, I’m turning into a Swiss person… I even have a bit of a Zurich accent!
When I have time, I have been writing a book about Satanism. It has had several false starts but seems to be progressing a bit more smoothly now. I am hoping to get it published sometime next year, but I’m not making any promises yet.
That’s enough about me for now; I will say more in parts two and three.
Sophie has become our coven mother and does all the hard work organising the coven since I am seldom at home between meetings. This takes up a fair amount of her time and she is very good at it. Her life has changed considerably over the last year and will do even more so from now on. She has resigned from her full time teaching job and will now only work as a consultant for the school on a part time basis. This will actually allow her to focus more on the aspects of the job that mean the most to her, starting with a project to set up a kind of half way house for students who cannot live at home while finishing their final years at school. Hopefully she will also have more free time as well. She has started painting a lot more which is great and we have some plans for her to do an exhibition next year. She is also doing more musical projects and is playing regularly in a band now.
Leonie is enjoying university life and is working and playing very hard. During the summer she has been doing an internship with a country vet and when that has finished she is going to Ibiza to party for a couple of weeks before her studies begin again. I get to meet up with her once every couple of months and it is always fun. It is fair to say she has very fully embraced all aspects of Satanic life. She is a lot like I was at her age but braver and more wicked than I would have dared to be at the same age. But the thinks deeply about stuff and I am impressed with the things she writes in her blog Femme Diabolique. It’s like reading my thoughts through the lens of somebody who has never really been anything but a Satanist.
That’s all for this post. In the next part of this short series I want to talk about our coven. What does a Satanic Coven do, what does it mean? Is it essential to Satanic life? How does it work? And what kind of people are members of such a thing?
The Nine Satanic Statements and the other rules I have listed later in this post were first published by Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible in 1969. They are still used as a guide by The Church Of Satan and some other Satanic groups and individuals (including me).
Actually I’m not much of a fan of Anton LaVey as a person or even as a leader although I do respect what he did to reinvent Satanism in the late twentieth century. He opened a lot of doors that people like myself were able to walk through fairly easily generations later.
I have tried to find fault with the suggested rules he set out, but I can’t really. I find them to be sensible and wise even if he himself wasn’t always. The only one I don’t quite agree with is statement number nine which I think ties Satanism too much…
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That’s our girl!
You may remember that a month ago I met a woman at the KitKat club in Berlin. We kept in touch. Well, we did more than keep in touch. This weekend she is visiting me in Vienna. Last night we went clubbing together. We were in the mood for a big night out. It was left open whether we would come home together or if we would go our separate ways at some point during the night; wishing each other luck with whoever we picked up… It’s fair to say we both intended to end up in bed with somebody. As it turned out, it was with each other and it was great. Then this morning during a weed and coffee break, we spoke about what this all means to us and we decided we are in a relationship of sorts even if it isn’t what people normally think of…
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So I celebrated my birthday this weekend; my 40th Birthday!
I started writing various things on the internet when I was a teenager and the blogs developed in my twenties. I have now reached an age where I am constantly asking myself; “where did the time go?” Moreover, isn’t 40 an age that is supposed to mean something? An age where you magically and resentfully become middle aged?
Well, clearly I’m getting a bit older. There have been grey hairs lurking beneath layers of dye for quite a while. But I seem to be aging fairly well, the diabolical lifestyle, hard work, late nights burning the candle at both ends, smoking, drinking, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, don’t seem to be doing me too much harm… Well, I get more aches and pains than I used to and there are a few wrinkles which I prefer to call “laughter lines”. I’m not yet menopausal but that will come and I don’t really fear it. Being a witch helps with that. I have felt the maiden, the mother and the crone within me come into their own at various times in my life. I like my inner crone and when my ink stained skin shrivels up and reveals the scary crone within, she will be wearing a wicked smile!
I still feel young, and maybe that is the key. I have never really bought in to the stereotypes of how people should be or behave at various ages. I think if you keep busy and if you maintain your curiosity and enthusiasm for life, you’ll probably feel younger than you are, and you may look younger too.
While I don’t feel any special need to mark the coming of middle age, forty is a bit of a landmark for any woman, and I will use this opportunity to take stock and perhaps say a few things that I haven’t said before about my life and my beliefs.
I am generally a positive and happy person but that doesn’t mean my life has been without problems. I was always adventurous and made some mistakes along the way. While I still occasionally use various recreational drugs from time to time, when I was in my late teens I went through a short period of indulging in that side of life too excessively with several negative consequences, the most serious of which was getting raped. I now understand that I wasn’t to blame for the actual rape at all; but clearly cocaine impaired my decision making faculties and my ability to be fully responsible for myself. I’ll just leave that there for people to think about. In the meantime I recovered, grew up a lot and did not allow that horrible experience to negatively impact the rest of my life. But I had a strong will, supportive friends and family and spiritual/philosophical/psychological aspect to my life which helped me a lot. Not everyone is so lucky.
Almost certainly the two biggest things I have had to cope with were the break up of my parents and the illness and death of my mother. I have never said a lot about either of these things and probably won’t say much more now. As a child I thought I had a charmed life with the happiest and most devoted parents anyone could imagine. In my twenties I discovered that much of that had been an illusion and that my father had been routinely cheating on my mother and then he left her just when she needed him most. Then my mother had a series of small strokes and was diagnosed with a form of early onset dementia. I spent several years watching her mental and physical state decline in ways that would have been an embarrassment to her until her death at a young age came as both a relief and a hammer blow to my soul. I don’t think you ever really “get over” things like that, you just deal with it as best as you can, move forward and get on with living; taking care of yourself and the people you love.
I was blessed that at a time when I was more broken than I let on, I met Sophie and Léonie. Neither Sophie nor I are really lesbians (we are bi or pansexual if you have to put a label on it) but we are absolute soul mates and we fell in love almost instantly. Over the years our relationship has grown and changed in many ways but it is the rock and the cornerstone on which much of my life rests. We take a certain amount of pride that our love and our relationship is not defined or limited by conventional norms but works because we understand what is best for ourselves and each other.
I have not had a child of my own and I have taken a decision that I am not going to do that. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at the amount of grief and anger I have been confronted with because I chose not to gestate a child in my belly. Even in the overpopulated 21st century there seem to be a lot of people (including some women) who think that if you decide not to have children you are somehow betraying your sex or humanity itself. Well, pardon my language but, fuck them!
But when I met Sophie, I also met Léonie and I couldn’t love her more even if she had sprung from my own womb. Somehow she just accepted me (which I am eternally grateful for) and I became like an older sister and sometimes second mum to her. It has been a privilege to watch her grow up and develop into the wise young woman she has become. She reminds me of myself at her age in many ways but she is far more grounded and sensible. Oh of course she can be a rebel too, and there will always be things she sees and does differently to me or Sophie but I’m immensely proud of her and the small part that my motherly hormones and guidance play in her life.
I have learned that you don’t have to physically give birth in order to be a decent mother. In fact you don’t have to have children at all, in many ways I am at my most maternal when I am guiding and nurturing the coven that Sophie and I run.
From my own life experiences I decided to be as honest as possible with Léonie about my relationship with Sophie. In fact we seldom argue and even more rarely have full blown fights, but if Sophie and I are having any form of disagreement we don’t hide it from Léonie. We are equally open with our affection for each other. And as Léonie has become old enough to understand such things we have also been open and honest with her about our sometimes unconventional sex lives.
I never set out to be unconventional in any way just for the sake of it. But neither have I ever been shy about challenging conventions when I feel it is right to do so. Perhaps, with hindsight, that attitude was fundamental in the spiritual path which eventually lead to me becoming a Satanist. That step was a big one for me and I was fully aware of the misgivings and misconceptions most people (including family and friends) would have about me becoming a Satanist. I did lose touch with and lose the respect of some people as a result of that but I also made new friends along the way. I don’t think I could ever have foreseen how all consuming and life changing that step would be. Sophie and I are now at the centre of a coven which is like an extended family and takes up a lot of our time and thought. I write about Satanism and administer and participate in several Satanic groups on line and in person.
At a deep personal level I have been liberated and changed in many ways. My values and thought processes have evolved along with my self confidence and the skills and knowledge I have acquired as a witch. Satan and Satanism have become central to my family and I and the lifestyles we enjoy. I have always understood that Satanism is not right, necessary or even helpful to everyone. But for some of us it the door that needs to be pushed open. Moreover I have always felt and still feel a sense of mission and purpose in presenting a more positive image of Satanism than is often seen in the media.
But I am not a perfect example of anything. There are many more knowledgeable Satanists than I. Many 40 year old women are far more experienced and wiser than I am in most aspects of life. And there are plenty of nicer, more sensible, healthier and more successful women around…
But I am me and I quite like being me! I know better than most that there are no guarantees in life about health, success or longevity. And I don’t minimise my own risks as much as some people would think is sensible. Yet, at 40 I still feel young. I am as curious as ever about life, the universe and everything and after a good amount of celebrating I intend to go on exploring and trying to be the best version of myself I can be.
It is satisfying in many ways to see our daughter come to similar conclusions and beliefs to those we hold. That she comes by her own route, following her own logical processes adds to our feeling that there is an undeniable flow of logic to many of these things. But sceptics might ask if it is really possible for the three of us to come to such conclusions really independently? This and other related issues will be addressed in a post we are working on.
Apparently my last post in which I admitted to being a Theistic Satanist rather than an atheistic one, caused a bit of discussion on Twitter. So I had my five minutes of fame and nearly missed it altogether! See here.
It was important to me to be honest about the way my thinking and lifestyle has developed, but perhaps what I said was not entirely clear because people have different interpretations of what theism and atheism actually mean. These confusions run so deep that I don’t think I can clear it up in one post. What I can do though is clarify what I mean.
The way I see it, the main problem is that most people define atheism by Christian definitions of God. By those definitions, I am still very much an atheist. I don’t believe in the Christian God or that the Christian God exists. Nor do I…
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I will follow Satan wherever he leads me.
I will try to listen to and learn from Satan.
I will study hard, work hard and play hard.
I will not fear the judgement of others.
I have followed a Satanic philosophy since my early teens. I have always been fiercely atheistic in my beliefs; partly because this resonated with my scientific beliefs and outlook on life, and partly I think to differentiate myself from the Theistic beliefs of my mothers. For these reasons I gravitated towards LaVeyan Satanism and eventually joined an atheistic LaVeyan coven.
But it never felt quite right. I always had a feeling that Satan was real in some sense. I had increasingly powerful experiences in my dreams and during meditations and rituals in which I felt the presence of Satan and Lilith. To deny them seemed to me to be insulting them. But members of…
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