Introduction by Sophie
We guard our privacy pretty well, but the fact that we are a family of three women who are all Satanists means we are quite well known in some circles and, it’s fair to say, a subject of curiosity to some. An acquaintance of ours who is a radio journalist here in Switzerland recently asked if we would do a radio interview about being a family of Satanists. After a bit of reluctance and a lot of conditions we finally agreed. Obviously we didn’t allow our real names or locations to be broadcast on the radio and part of our agreement was that we should be allowed to publish a written form of the interview on our blog after the radio show was broadcast. Thus we are publishing part of it here. Please bare in mind that the original interview was in German, so this is my translation and I am leaving out all the “errs” and “umms” that creep into normal speech. I have also edited out some parts of the interview, including part of the introduction, which are just repeating things we have already said here. Hopefully our readers will find our five minutes of fame interesting! The interview itself provoked a quite big response and we have been invited back to answer some listeners questions. As for our readers here, we are always happy to answer any sensible questions. Here is the interview…
Interviewer: I am sitting in a suburban kitchen drinking coffee with three polite and well spoken women. On the the surface there is nothing particularly unusual about the women. All three of them have tattoos, but then so do half the people in Zurich these days. The two older women are in a lesbian relationship but hopefully that fact alone should not raise any eyebrows in 2017. The youngest of the three is their daughter, she is in her late teens and looks a little older than that. If you passed them in the street you wouldn’t notice anything unusual about them. They are in many ways a modern version of the typical nuclear family. But the room opposite the kitchen where we are sitting now has been converted to a temple of sorts. It is dark, all the walls are painted black and there is a table on which a black candle is burning in front of a small statue of Satan. On the four walls of the room there are framed pictures of demons. The women I am speaking to are Satanists. All three of them. Their names are Cassie, Sophie and Tina.
So let me get the awkward question out of the way first. “Are you evil? Do you sacrifice animals or practice black magic?”
Cassie; “Well the easiest of those questions is the middle one. We don’t sacrifice animals. We don’t harm animals in any way. And before you ask; we don’t sacrifice virgins or babies either! The other two questions are a bit more difficult to answer because the terms you use mean different things to different people. We do practice what some call black magic; by which I mean we are witches and we practice any kind of magic that achieves our goals. There are some witches, such as Wiccans who have a kind of moral code attached to the magic they do which says they should harm nobody. We don’t make a vow to keep to any such code, but that doesn’t mean we spend our time creating spells to hurt people. It just means we don’t rule anything out.
Sophie; “For the record, I don’t think that so far any of us have ever done any magic that could be called evil or malicious. We just don’t rule out doing such things in the unlikely event that it became necessary. We do however sometimes do magic that helps us. We don’t have any rules about not using magic to make our own lives better.
Tina; “Black Magic of the type we use, also implies using techniques and working with forces that people of some other religions think are bad or wrong.”
Cassie “Which brings us back to the question of evil. Some Satanists, including Sophie and Tina, don’t particularly mind other people using the word evil to describe us. But it kind of sticks in my throat. I do lots of things, like practicing black magic for example, which some people think are evil. But I also do a lot of things which some people, probably most people, think are good. We don’t believe in absolutes and we don’t really think anybody else has the right to judge whether we are good or evil. Personally I prefer to use the word Satanic. I’m happy to be described as that.”
Interviewer; “Well let’s get to the basics. What does it mean to be a Satanist? What do you believe? Do you worship The Devil?”
Tina (Laughing) “Do you always ask three questions at once?”
Tina “It’s okay. But those are big questions. There are different kinds of Satanists just like there are different kinds of Christians or Buddhists. Probably, the biggest group of modern Satanists are those who follow the basic teachings of Anton LaVey. He became famous in the 1960s. He was a kind of showman really, but he popularized a form of Satanism which was like an antidote to Christianity and other organised religions. He was trying to challenge people to think for themselves and break some of the rules and taboos that Christians insisted on. But actually he was an atheist and so are most who follow his line of Satanism. For them everything is symbolic and the devil is in some ways our inner self; all the parts that other religions say we should be ashamed of…
Interviewer; “So that is the kind of Satanism that you follow?”
Sophie “Not exactly. We use Laveyan Satanism as a kind of guideline but while they are atheists we are not. We believe there is an actual force or being which we call Satan or The Devil. So in a way you could say we worship The Devil.”
Cassie; “But only in a way… We don’t really use the word worship in the way Christians understand it. Maybe a better word is “respect”. We Respect Satan, and we also interact with him… But even then it is not what most people think… We do not believe Satan is the way Christianity describes him, so we don’t actually think he is evil. We believe Satan is a force in the world that the organisations of other religions fear. Basically, if you look at the Biblical texts and other writings, Satan is simply saying that it is wrong to worship God or the institutions of the church. Satan is the voice saying we can work things out for ourselves and it would actually be better that way. Satan is the champion of those who don’t think any religion should repress or control people just to hold on to power. Satan is telling us we can be our own Gods. And Christianity and some other religions hate and fear that idea…
(The three of us then explain those ideas in a bit more detail, which we have already done in several posts on this blog. Then there is a section on how and why we became Satanists, which we have also written alot about in this blog)…
Interviewer; “So how does all this work out in daily life? Are you completely hedonistic? Do you have any morals that other people could relate to?”
Tina “You are doing the three question thing again!”
Sophie “Yes, we are hedonistic. Actually we reject the concept that it is wrong to be hedonistic. We also reject the concept of sin. So we enjoy our lives as much as we can and we place value on that. We treat ourselves well. We enjoy all the physical and sensual pleasures that come our way without guilt…”
Tina; “So we party! We drink. We smoke. We enjoy good food and having fun. And sex of course…”
Cassie; “And we don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But as Satanists we believe we should take responsibility for our actions. So while we have fun, the responsibility to look after ourselves is ours and so are the consequences. To put it simply if we want to go out and have some drinks we decide for ourselves how much is too much and how much of a hangover we are prepared to put up with. Of course you don’t have to be a Satanist to have that attitude; it is just sensible… But in a way, that is the point. Being sensible is pretty much fundamental to Satanism. And that applies to more serious things too, like what we do in our sex lives or even what we do or think politically or magically. It is all about thinking the consequences through and taking personal responsibility for our actions; even when it comes to having fun.”
Interviewer; “That all sounds very reasonable, but it also sounds very selfish. Don’t you care how your actions affect other people?”
Sophie; “This is a mistake in thinking that a lot of people make. Why should the fact that we think about ourselves and our own wants and needs mean that we don’t care about other people? It just means that we put ourselves first. I know some religions say that is wrong but we just think it is a sensible starting point. We do care about other people. We are not obliged to by some outside force, we just do. But we choose who we care about and what we can or can’t do to help them.”
Tina; “I could give you a list of what we do for other people but… That probably isn’t the thing to do… But you know… Cassie and Sophie work with young people who have difficulties. They are teachers. You can’t be a teacher without caring. We all give money to charities we like. I have organised help for refugees and I help out in an animal sanctuary… We do lot’s of things that most people would think are nice, or good… But in our free time we enjoy ourselves… We have fun… We have sex… We indulge ourselves… But we are not so stupid as to let those things get in the way of other important things we have to do to be successful in life.”
Cassie; “And as for morals. We have our own and we try to be true to ourselves. Basically we try to be kind and helpful most of the time but we don’t feel obliged to be nice to people who treat us or other people badly. In our daily lives… Well, Sophie and I have quite a lot of organisational work to do for our coven. We have the room you described earlier where we sometimes meditate or get together for learning or small family rituals… But otherwise, our daily lives are pretty much like other people… We have breakfast. We work. We have meals together when we are all home. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we just chat. Sometimes we watch TV. Our daily lives are not very unusual.
Interviewer; “I’m sure when a lot of people think about Satanism they will imagine dark rites and rituals with perverted sex and lots of blood. Is there any truth in that?”
Cassie; “Well the true answer is that sometimes there is some truth in that. We do have rites and rituals which emphasize the darker side of life and death even. There is sometimes some sexual content in those rituals which we don’t see as being perverted, but admittedly our sexual morals are maybe a bit more liberal than the norm. And sometimes but not always, there is blood. Usually our blood, or the blood of animals which have already been humanely killed to be used for food. Yes, I know that can sound a bit grotesque to a lot of people; but a lot of those same people will routinely sit down and eat beef for dinner with the blood oozing out of it… In fairness there are also quite a lot of Satanists, some in our own coven, who are vegetarians and who do not participate in anything which involves animal blood. But the point of all these rituals is to change your mindset for a while, to break common taboos. It has been recognized for centuries in many different religions, that breaking taboos combined with the theater, the language and drama of ritual can have powerful psychological effects. Anton Lavey recognised that, and so do we and many other modern Satanists. In our group we feel it opens up a channel between us and Satan. In other groups they see it as opening up the inner self, the God within. We think that is part of it too.”
Interviewer; “Sophie, I am sitting here looking at you and your daughter and I would like to ask a blunt question. You are a mature woman and it is clear it is up to you how you live your life. But your daughter is so young and, dare I say, innocent. How can you condone or justify her getting mixed up in the kind of things Cassie has just described or even the wider implications of living as a Satanist? Don’t you worry about her as a daughter? Some… A lot of people would argue that it is your duty to guard and protect her against the very things you seem to be advocating.”
Sophie (I was bristling a bit about this question and my tone was a bit angry!) Firstly I love Tina very much, and yes, I am still her mother and I will always protect her as much as I can in all ways… And if anybody were to hurt her, they would come to wish with every bone in their body that they had not crossed me! But… I didn’t raise my daughter to be an eternal child. Part of a mother’s responsibility is to help their children grow up and become all that they can be, as adults. And I think I am doing that. Tina is not a child. I recognize that. She will be at university next year and she is making a life of her own. She is already an adult. Young…yes. But an adult all the same. And I welcome that. She is NOT innocent and wouldn’t want to be. I don’t care what other people think of me, but I think there is something beautiful about your child discovering the riches of the adult world and learning some of the pleasures we sometimes take for granted when we are older… And also of course some of the problems and extra responsibilities that go with being an adult. And as I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with the things we have described in the interview today, I also don’t think it is wrong for my daughter either. About the ritual side… Tina does not participate in our own coven at the moment. Partly because we do have an age limit and would not allow people to join us until they are eighteen; and Tina still has a few months to go before she reaches that landmark. But anyway after lots of discussions we all decided that it would not be right at first for her to join our own coven, so she is in training in another coven… We do however do a few smaller rituals and magical workings as a family group. We feel it brings us closer together.”
Tina; “I’d just like to say that I have a very close relationship with my mother which is more than a lot of my friends do. My Mum and I do argue sometimes but basically we are friends and we trust each other. I study hard. I don’t do any illegal drugs. I pay my way at home. I don’t cause problems. But I’m not innocent and never wanted to be. I have a boyfriend. I’ve had other lovers. I do go out and have fun. But if I have problems, which is just normal because everybody has problems… My Mum and Cassie are the first people I come to. I can talk to them about anything and I trust what they say and mostly take their advice. How many other teenagers can truly say that?”
Interviewer; “Well we are coming to the end of the interview and have to finish off. I’m am sure there is much more we could have talked about and which you might have liked to talk about. So can I ask each of you to sum up in your own words what you feel you gain from being a Satanist? And feel free to add anything you think is important which we didn’t have time to go into detail about.”
Cassie; “To put it simply I gained in every way. I learned to like and understand my whole self better. I became more confident and more successful. My life has been more interesting, more rewarding and more fun since I became a Satanist and I have gone in all sorts of directions I never dreamed of. Having said that, I know that Satanism is not for everyone… And we still have friends of different religions or of no religion, but I should also point out to listeners that there are some crazy people who pretend to be Satanists, just as there are idiots in all religions. So if anybody is seriously interested in finding out more they should do a lot of research and be quite careful when they are first starting out.
Sophie; “I found when I came out as a Satanist, it was like a weight was lifted off me and I could be myself, my real self, for the first time. Like Cassie, it has taken me in all sorts of new directions. I would say however that we didn’t really discuss the details of all the different groups and types of Satanists. I was an atheist before becoming a Satanist and thought that was how I would stay… But I came to see things another way. Atheists are the biggest group of Satanists though and I would kind of recommend that type as the best way into Satanism for anybody that is interested in finding out more. The emphasis of Satanism is self improvement and self empowerment.”
Tina; “I think Satanism has given me a bit of an edge… A kind of protective coating… It also helps me to understand people and life much better. Some parts of it are like a free psychology course! Like Sophie said, it is mainly about empowerment. Actually I also like Satanism because it is scientific. Today we have mainly spoken about some of the things people who are not Satanists would probably think about… But when you study and find out more about it, you realize it is very scientific and it respects science. That is important to me.”
Cassie “Just one quick thing I’d like to add. Being a Satanist doesn’t make you a good person or a bad person. It just helps you to understand yourself better and empower you to achieve all you can. Your listeners may know some people who they think of as very good, kind people, and they might just turn out to be Satanists. And we all know people of other religions like Islam and Christianity who think they are doing good but really aren’t. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you don’t often find homophobic, bigoted Satanists!”
Interviewer. “Thank you for your time. So that was three real live Satanists. As I said earlier, you could pass them in the street and you would have no idea about this aspect of their lives… A lot of what they say sounds reasonable, but is it? Let us know what you think.”
Summer holidays and summer work have kept us busy so in order to get us back into the rhythm of writing we have set ourselves a task. Each one of us will try to answer the question “Why be a Satanist?” in one paragraph.
The background to this question is that it seems to us there are lots of reasons not to be a Satanist (or at least lots of reasons not to call yourself a Satanist) not least of which is the misunderstanding and prejudice the words Satan and Satanism often evoke in a world dominated by cultures and traditions that only use those terms in a negative way.
So here are our answers.
I’m lucky because my mum and Cassie are already Satanists so I never really saw it in a bad way. For me being a Satanist feels like a natural part of growing up. It has helped me to be more confident and independent. Mostly it just falls in line with my own way of thinking. I am really interested in science and nature which is what Satanism is based on. I mostly agree with the philosophy of LaVeyan Satanism. Maybe more than mum and Cassie I think Satan is a part of my own mind which can be really powerful if you are allowed to use it. I admit part of being a Satanist is about being rebellious. It means not accepting things just because other people believe them but coming to your own conclusions, which is very scientific. It also makes me more free to be what I want to be and not just what other people think I should be. And finally being a Satanist has brought me closer together with other people who think in a similar way to me.
Discovering Satanism was like coming home. It validated some parts of my life and experience in a way that no other religion ever did and has made me far more assertive and confident as a person. I have always been a spiritual person; looking for meanings and philosophies to make sense of life in a practical way. I was a Buddhist for many years and still use some of the techniques and philosophy I learned from that. I hadn’t really heard much about the Left Hand Path before speaking to Cassie but then realised that I was totally Left Hand Path in my thinking. I could have just called myself a Left hand Path Buddhist but the more I read the more I realised I was more Satanist in my thinking than anything else. I have really enjoyed and benefited from becoming more involved with the wider Satanic community, practising Satanic magic and participating in rituals. Satanism has purged some feelings of guilt and uncertainty from my soul and has turbo charged my spiritual life. I have also become more and more convinced that Satanism is an empowering and life affirming way of life that could be beneficial to many people if they could see through the fog of misinformation about it. That is why I feel it is important for people like Cassie and myself to be as open as possible and demonstrate a side to Satanism that people don’t often see.
I was a Pagan for many years and still see myself as a Pagan Satanist. The first reason I became a Satanist (which is still a reason for me) was to be honest with myself and with the “God” that is so feared and misunderstood, about what I truly felt and believed. For a long time I had seen Satan in the many and muddled Horned God traditions in Paganism. I felt it was sort of polite to acknowledge the full power of that God under the name he was most maligned by. Once I had taken that step and had to begun to explore Satanism in more detail I realised it was a belief system and way of life that suited me perfectly. It fit like a glove. I found it instantly empowering. (And the power that comes from connecting with Satan was and is much more tangible and transforming than anything else I have experienced). It allowed me to be fully myself for the first time ever and to progress and develop as a person in ways that even Paganism did not really allow. Satanism allows and encourages people to develop to their full potential. It encourages critical thinking. It promotes true personal morality rather than obeying other people’s rules just out of fear or blind faith. It has also provided me with a family, a community and a network of similar minded people who greatly enrich my life.
Cassie and I are lucky to have each other. If we find ourselves becoming too religious in our Satanism we can give each other a kick! Satanism shouldn’t be too religious. In essence Satanism should be anti-religious. Yet we would be the first to admit that there are many elements of our belief and lifestyle which could seem religious. So I would like to look at two questions in this post. Firstly why we are against religion and secondly why Satanism isn’t religious even when it seems that it is.
Before coming to those questions however I would like to state that Cassie and I do consider ourselves to be spiritual people and unlike some very hard atheistic Satanists we do believe that spiritual matters are important. By “Spiritual” I mean that we believe that we do have souls and that it is as important to take care of your soul as it is other aspects of your persona such as mind and body. We do not pretend to know exactly what the soul is and we are open to the possibility that it is an aspect or projection of the mind, but even in this case we think it is something which should be protected and nurtured.
But we are against religion. Or at least, we are against religion in the way it is usually perceived, organised and manifested. Religion is usually defined as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. This is usually organised and controlled by a hierarchical and institutionalized authority which maintains and enforces a dogma of beliefs. We see this as a form of social control which limits or forbids the individual’s right and ability to make their own judgements. In Religion the thoughts and the will of the individual are almost always subservient to the controlling authorities. In short once a person buys in to any religion they are obliged to believe and follow the creeds and moral laws of that religion as interpreted by it’s authorities. This means in many matters they are obliged to be unthinking and uncritical or at least to ignore their own thoughts and interpretations. We find this inhuman and detestable. And in our opinion this kind of blind faith that many religions require has been responsible for many of the greatest atrocities in human history. And still is. Most forms of modern terrorism emanate from this form of mind control.
Satanism is totally and passionately against this form of belief, yet it does involve ritual and formats which are similar to those used in other religions. Speaking personally I would say that Cassie and I and the the Satanic Coven we run gain quite a lot from the rituals we engage in. So isn’t this hypocritical? No, because in Satanism such rituals serve other purposes. First and foremost it is parody and mockery of other religions. It is deliberately blasphemous. Why? Are we aiming to anger the Gods of those other religions? No. We don’t believe that those other gods exist! We are in a way mocking our own historical stupidity in allowing ourselves to be governed by other people who have used these fairy tales to control us. We are not going to get struck down by an entity that doesn’t exist. In mocking the unreal, we are freeing ourselves to deal with the real world on our own. We are empowering ourselves and reminding ourselves of the power and responsibilities that are our own, not the property of an old man sitting in judgement on a cloud!
This was Anton La Vey’s take on ritual and though he is NOT a profit or a hero to us, I think he was morally brave to take this stance at a time when to think such things was still considered blasphemous. But he also saw another benefit of ritual which had never been lost on the authorities and shamen of other religions. The drama of ritual can have a powerful psychological effect on the participants. It can indeed be as mind bending as the drugs that were being experimented with in La Vey’s time. (And yes ritual often has been combined with drugs historically and in modern times).
Thus Cassie and myself and a good many other Satanists use meditation, ritual and some other seemingly religious techniques to align our minds and focus on areas of thought and experience we want to explore more deeply. The difference between us and participants of many other religions is that WE decide where, when, how and why we enter into such things. We design and take responsibility for the self empowerment and possible side effects any of these activities might involve.
There is another aspect and/or meaning of religion that is also worth avoiding. People can become “religious” about almost anything; not just metaphysical and spiritual matters. People can get religious about anything they care about such as a cause, a hobby or an interest. By this I mean that they become obsessed on this one thing and it begins to skew and take over their lives making them unbalanced. I’m sure we have all met people who follow their football team or favourite band with a religious zeal that leaves no room in their life for anything else. This kind of zeal does sometimes follow traditional religions but could equally well be associated with something as mundane as trainspotting! Unquestioning devotion and zeal can be dangerous. Being religious can also mean or imply getting into unthinking or superstitious habits; wash the car on Saturday, go to Church on Sunday… We all do some things habitually but it is clearly best not to allow such routines to take over our lives too much. It tends to take the meaning out of things.
Maintaining balance is not always easy, but it is important. Cassie and I are definitely passionate about Satanism. Even our daughter is a Satanist. If this blog is the only insight into our lives that some people get it would be easy for people to assume we never think about anything other than Satanism. If that were the case it would not be healthy. By virtue of the fact that we write about Satanism, practice it and now run a coven it does indeed take up a large chunk of our lives and indeed Satanic principles lie behind much of what we do and say. However we feel it is very important to devote time and energy to the other aspects of our lives. Cassie and I both have very demanding jobs which require total attention when we are at work. Very few of our work colleagues know anything about our spiritual beliefs and we like it that way. As a family we very often do things together which have nothing to do with the stuff we write about here. We visit museums, the theatre, the cinema. We eat out. We go on trips and holidays. We entertain guests. We paint and play music. We go to gigs. We watch TV and D.V.Ds. We fight, we argue… We feed the spider and water the plants!
We take care to be as grounded in the reality of everyday life as possible. If that were not the case our Satanism could easily become a meaningless and potentially dangerous religious type of thing which would negate its entire purpose.
This is is a brief introduction by Sophie. The main part of this post will be written by my daughter, Tina. Regular readers may already know something about Tina. She also is a Satanist, entirely by her own choice, her own free and very strong will. We have encouraged her to post here when she can. School work takes priority but now she is on holiday and has more time to write.
Like all mothers and daughters we don’t agree on all things, sometimes we argue and fight. Mostly however I think we have a very good relationship. She makes me very proud in all sorts of ways I won’t embarrass her with here. During the past year she has grown up rapidly in many ways. Of course I think it is too fast and too soon! On the other hand you could say that I have encouraged it because while I’m strict about some things I’m also very permissive. She reminds me of myself at her age except in truth I think she is wiser and more mature than I was then. We had a bit of an argument recently and when I went to speak to her later when we were both feeling calmer I suddenly realised I was talking to a young woman and not a little girl. I cried a bit about that later… Where has that time gone?! Where is my little girl?!
But the young woman who stood before me was amazing and she is still my daughter. I’m still the Mum! I still make the rules! However I am glad we both share the same philosophy of life and one of the things that means is I totally support her right to live and express herself in her own style. Nothing in the post that follows breaks the rules we have discussed. Over to Tina…
Even I can see that I have changed a lot in a short time. The person I see in the mirror looks very different to the pictures of me from a year ago and I feel different inside too. I guess it is all a normal thing about growing up and being a teenager. But I hate the word “teenager” and I also hate having to say my age all the time. I don’t think it is the same when you are older. Nobody thinks all 25 year olds are the same, or all people in their fifties; but people do kind of think all teenagers are the same. Well to tell the truth I know some people who are 13 who are more mature than some people who are 18. I just don’t think age is the thing that makes a difference. And mostly I don’t want people to judge me by my age. If I say or do something clever then it is clever whether I’m 14 or 19. And also if I do something stupid, it is still stupid whatever age I am.
One of the reasons my Mum and I had a “discussion” recently is because I didn’t like the photo of me that was on this blog. It was all photoshopped and pixilated but I still thought I looked babyish in it. She said I could choose a new one and then she didn’t like the one I chose because she said it made me look too old and then she wanted to photoshop it so that I don’t get stalkers! In the end I kind of won the argument. One thing I said was that we were both witches and both Satanists and if somebody tried to stalk me they would get fucked in a bad way. Mum told me not to swear and then burst out laughing. Anyway mum still has “issues” with the photo I chose but she let me put it up. She says that it is up to me to decide how people see me and up to me to deal with the consequences (although she would help out with the stalker slaying part)!
Just like ages and the word “Teenager” I also don’t really like the word Satanist because everybody has their own idea of what it means and that idea is usually bad or wrong. Then imagine if you put the words Teenage and Satanist together just how many totally crazy and false stereotypes will come to people’s minds! But still I am a Satanist and I am young in comparison to some so I guess I can tolerate the phrase Young Satanist.
I have a few ideas of things I want to write about here maybe in the next few months when I have a little more time than usual, but first I want to write a little introduction to me and maybe answer some of the things me and my Mum think people would be curious about how it is to be a young Satanist.
Firstly I’m not evil. I don’t like things that are really evil and I don’t think Satan or Satanism are evil. At school I’m a good student in most lessons. I’m one of the best in my class in Biology, Science and English. I get good grades. I like study actually. Probably I do and think some bad things but I’m not going to tell you what they are on my Mum’s blog! I sometimes smoke cigarettes and I sometimes drink alcohol at parties. (Mostly I don’t really like alcohol though, and I think my friends are idiots when they have drunk too much). I like music. I like underground bands mostly and some metal. There are some kind of Satanic Heavy Metal bands I listen to. Mum and Cassie hate them!
I don’t wear black all the time… Okay, I do most of the time. That’s just because I like it.
I am learning magic and I can honestly call myself a witch even though I still have lots to learn.
I try to live my life by Satanic values, which are my values anyway. For me that means… Think for yourself and don’t follow the crowd unless there is a special reason to. Take responsibility for your own actions but do what makes you happy. Question everything and everyone. Be scientific. Learn the clever ways to get what you want, which sometimes includes magical ways too. Look after the environment and be respectful to animals. Be nice to people when they are nice to you, but you can also be bad to them if they are bad to you. Make up your own mind about what is right or wrong. Yes, that’s the main thing. Think for yourself.
I do some rituals when I am learning or doing magic. When I am older I do want to do full Satanic Rituals. I speak to Satan as if he was a friend. Sometimes I ask for advice but mostly I just say what is going on in my life. I’m not sure what Satan is, but I think it is mostly a deeper part of me; maybe a part of my spirit which is eternal and connected to everything else. Mum says that sounds quite Buddhist; which probably means she agrees.
In some ways I think this all makes me sound quite boring and normal and not at all what people expect a young satanist to be. But I think Satanism does give me a bit of an edge and it really has made me much more self confident than I used to be. Mostly I’m nice, but I don’t take shit from anybody! We will see if that survives Mum’s edit!
I could say much more but then this post would be too long. So, more later. Now I must go and do dark Satanic things like having a shower and watching TV.
I think that we have several times tried to speak about “who” Satan is but perhaps a better question may be “what” is Satan?
We are Theistic Satanists which means we believe in and relate to an actual entity we call Satan. But what exactly is this Satan we relate to? Is it a God? If so, what is a God? Is it a person? Is it a thing? Is it all powerful? Questions like this make atheists suspicious and often dismissive. They tend to view all talk of Gods and Deities as superstitious irrelevancy or rubbish which misses the point that we are our own masters. Atheistic Satanists can be particularly strident on this theme. And that disturbs us to some degree because we respect atheistic arguments and even consider ourselves to be both humanist and atheists to a large extent. But we cannot deny we are also theists because we feel/believe/experience this thing called Satan as something powerful, real and actual. It is not however a God in the conventional sense of the word. It did not single handedly create the world (we believe strongly in the Big Bang and in evolution). It does not require worship. It does not demand the allegiance of all nor does it condemn or despise those who don’t recognise it. It simply is a thing which exists. It can be or become a part of us, but it can equally exist without us. It is not evil in the way some believe but it does not conform to the moral laws of any particular religion. It is a force of nature.
Sophie, Tina and myself probably agree with each other about what Satan is but we all express it slightly differently based on our own knowledge and experience. Perhaps between the three of us we can give some overlapping pictures that some may find enlightening.
For me the term “Force of Nature” sums it up. To me it is clear that the natural world (in which I actually include the whole universe or multiverse) is full of forces some of which we understand and some of which we don’t. We ourselves are a force of nature but we are only one type and there are many others. It is only in the last few hundred years of human existence that we have had a word for “gravity” (and it’s been a much shorter period of time in which we have had the beginning of a scientific explanation of what gravity actually is). Despite our lack of vocabulary and understanding however, gravity has always existed and has always had the same attributes or personality. I believe there are many such forces, some no doubt as yet undiscovered that play a part in our interaction with the universe. Satan is one of these. I believe Satan is an intelligent force that we can engage with. But even intelligence is hard to define. My computer probably makes more calculations every second than I could do in a year; does that make my computer more intelligent than me? My computer can’t paint pictures, can’t have original thoughts, can’t spin a spider’s web and can’t create new life. I can’t do many things a dolphin can do. A dolphin can’t do many things a slug can do. I don’t think we yet have a very clear understanding of what intelligence is and therefore I see no reason why some forces of nature could not also be forms of intelligence.
I was a pagan witch for a long time before I fully accepted Satanism. As such my views were polytheistic meaning I believed there were many gods or entities (forces of nature/nature spirits) and it was up to us which ones we felt closest to and connected with. As humans we tend to visualise these entities in terms we understand, often very humanised or symbolic. This is our short-hand, but it is probably not the whole truth. For me the attributes and nature of Satan can be seen distributed among many of the pagan male Gods and some of the female ones too. They are in my opinion aspects and perspectives of a single force of nature. I think Satan’s key attributes are creativity and enlightenment; it is a force which unlocks our own power and spurs us on to self discovery and self empowerment. Satan is feared by those who want to keep us neutered and dis-empowered. Once we open ourselves to this force of nature we begin to transform ourselves and take on those attributes in our own personalities. Things that were always potential or latent within us become actual and real. I think to some degree our intelligence merges with Satan’s and vice versa.
I agree completely with Cassie but my interpretation is a little different. I see Satan more as an aspect of ourselves that is eternal and connected with that thing which Cassie calls a force of nature or force of the universe. I think we all have it within us, but it only becomes active in some of us when we have both the desire and some idea of how to activate it. Many people fear it because it forces us to look truthfully at ourselves and the universe, to give up fairy tales about the way the world is and the way the world began and to take full responsibility for our own lives and our own evolution. But once you activate it you feel different and you become aware of the power of this thing. Only then (in my case at least) do you really see this thing inside and part of you of being a force of the whole of nature; connected to everything but also separate from it.
I was a Buddhist before I become a Satanist. Some of my Buddhist friends thought it was quite a strange step for me to take but the more I talk to them about it the more they can see a kind of logic in my thoughts. As a Buddhist reaching Nirvana or Enlightenment is the main goal of life. Also I would say most Buddhists seek to experience or at least glimpse moments of enlightenment in every aspect of normal life. I still feel this way. I was a bit frustrated as a Buddhist because although I agreed with the goals; the methods and lifestyle seemed to go against my inner nature (and that is something which most Buddhists and Taoists think is not a good idea anyway). To me the philosophy of Satanism and the Left Hand Path were the things that made my journey to Nirvana possible and once I realised that I also felt the reality of this thing called Satan. I wasn’t expecting to. I thought I would be a very atheistic Satanist, but once you have experienced Satan you can’t deny it. So I also think it is a force of nature but it is also an aspect of ourselves and I think that once you realise one part you soon discover the other.
Well I can’t really explain what Satan is better than my Mum or Cassie but I agree with what they say. I think! Satan is just something I feel around me in the air, like electricity. When I imagine Satan, I see a big strong man with legs like an animal and horns sticking out of his head. I usually imagine he is smiling. He is really strong and cool looking.But I know that isn’t what he really looks like; it is just a shape for something that doesn’t have a real shape. I think it is something in nature that only some of us can see or feel. There is a boy in my class who is colour blind, he can’t see red or green. I guess he sees those things as grey or something like that. I tried to explain to him what red and green looked like but I couldn’t. I said green was like grass but he can see grass and to him it looks grey! So there was nothing I could say to explain it more. I think Satan is like that. I can kind of feel him but I can’t explain what that feels like to anybody who is colour blind against Satan. Does that make sense?
It it is easy to become complacent in any walk of life and within any philosophy or religion. It is easy to go with the flow and take the path of least resistance. Of course sometimes it is necessary and wise to blend in, but as Satanists we should never lose sight of what our true values are and where-ever possible we should try to live by them. Moreover Sophie and I have found that our lives are generally happier and more fulfilling the closer we keep to Satanic principles and the more wary we are of being sucked in to common perceptions and ways of being. We are making a conscious effort to try and be genuinely satanic in all we do. (By now hopefully our regular readers will know that being genuinely satanic does not mean being the kind of psychopathic monsters that Christians and Hollywood often portray us as).
But what are Satanic Principles?
While my wording may not be perfect I think the first principle that most Satanists hold in common is that the universe begins with ourselves. Some religions regard being self centred as a sin, we do not. We believe that acknowledging our own importance and our own needs and looking at the world through our own eyes (rather than the impressions and prejudices of others eyes) is both honest and wise.
So the second principle flows from the first and that is, Satanists think for themselves (and this phrase alone certainly has many layers of meaning). We don’t blindly accept other people’s reasoning or the conventions of the society we live in. We question everything and come to our own conclusions based as far as possible on reason. It is important to say that sometimes reason will dictate that society is correct about some things. We just don’t assume that society is always correct.
After that there will be a lot of disagreement about what Satanic principles are depending on what type of Satanist one is. While we are not LaVeyan, Sophie and I find it useful to use Anton LaVey’s Nine Satanic Statements as a guide or kind of benchmark to measure how satanic we are actually being in everyday life. We have our own interpretation of each of them and we have begun trying to make our own pledges in relation to each of them.
Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence. We pledge ourselves to indulge our passions and pleasures as fully as we can as long as it does not endanger our health and well being beyond limits we set for ourselves. We believe it is good and beneficial to enjoy all the riches life has to offer while we can. If anything we think it would be sinful not to enjoy all the pleasures the physical body we have been blessed with can offer. Why buy a nice house if you are not going to live in it?
Satan represents vital existence rather than spiritual pipe dreams. We pledge to live in the real world and deal with it’s realities. We think it is important to have a spiritual dimension to life but not at the expense of looking for practical solutions or being mindful of how life really is, both good and bad, for the people we share the planet with. Prayer won’t feed the hungry or pay the bills, good organisation and hard work might.
Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit! We Pledge to value learning and to test the truth of things by our own reason and to live by the truths we find; being honest with ourselves and rejecting comfortable supertisions and conventions. (I can see that this principle needs a whole post of its own in explanation. It’s on our “to do” list)!
Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it rather than love wasted on ingrates! This has been a big lesson to both of us and is probably in some people’s opinion the thing that has most changed in us, but in keeping this rule and our own pledge we have been able to focus our kindness much more productively on those who really deserve it. So, we pledge not to waste our love and kindness on those who are undeserving and ungrateful but to show whatever kindness we can to those who deserve it.
Satan represents vengeance rather than turning the other cheek. We acknowledge and pledge that we are primarily responsible for taking care of ourselves and therefore if we are hurt or wronged we will take the initiative in punishing those who have wronged us through any means at our disposal starting with, but not limited by, legal action. Any act of vengeance we carry out must be proportional to the crime against us. This may sound harsh, but we believe it is fair and just and stems from the concept of self responsibility.
Satan represents responsibility to the responsible instead of concern for psychic vampires. We pledge to take full responsibility for our own lives and actions, but we have no responsibility over the lives or actions of others except where we have directly influenced them. We will not allow our energies to be used or wasted by others and the dramas they create around them.
Satan represents man as just another animal, no better or worse than the others. We are not ashamed of our animalistic nature, part of not separate from the rest of nature. We pledge to respect and enjoy our natural instincts and to respect the other animals we share the world with.
We don’t quite agree with the way the ninth statement is normally worded because it seems to us to tie Satanism too closely to Christianity. Rather, we have our own version which goes something like this:- Satan represents enlightenment and has been glimpsed and sometimes slandered by many religions over time. We pledge to support all those who further real satanic principles and to oppose all those hinder or misrepresent satanic enlightenment.
And finally as Theistic Satanists we acknowledge a spirit/energy/pressence we know as Satan and acknowledge him as our supreme archetype, guide, mentor and spiritual parent. We feel enriched and enlightened by his pressence in our lives and pledge to live by his ways and values and to be positive examples of his nature and enlightenment. We aim to develop as fully as we can as individuals who potentially have no limits.
We are writing these things down as prompts and reminders so that we can ensure all our everyday actions and decisions are as satanic as possible because for us Satanism is the purest form of truth, wisdom and beauty.
We Hail Satan, and we Hail ourselves.
Is Satanism a religion or a philosophy? Do we think of ourselves as being religious or having a philosophy?
The truth maybe both or neither. Cassie and I were thinking about this and came to the conclusion that while Satanism can have elements of religion and philosophy, for us it is mostly something else altogether. But let’s get back to the question…
We’ll start with philosophy because it seems easier to define what philosophy is; by which we mean that most of the definitions we looked at were quite similar to each other. We will use the definition by the Oxford Dictionary;
Philosophy: 1, the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline. 2, a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.
For Cassie and I, this definition comes very close to how we see Satanism. It is all about finding out what is real (reading, research and thinking) and then using that as a framework with which to live and base decisions on. We like the word attitude in the second part of the definition and the idea that the philosophy of Satanism acts as a guiding principle. We think most Satanists would agree that by this definition Satanism is a philosophy. There would be less agreement however about exactly what that philosophy is.
For us the philosophy of Satanism emphasises individuality and personal responsibility. It is morally neutral, leaving individuals to come to their own conclusion about what is right or wrong. It is a self centred philosophy meaning that the primary focus is personal gnosis and development within the context of the actual realities of the world we live in. It encourages individuals to challenge rules and conventions when necessary rather than blindly accept conventional or received wisdom. There is much more we could add, and much that other Satanists might add or change, but I think there would be general agreement on some of those basic ideas.
So yes, for us at least, Satanism is a philosophy. But is it a religion?
Religion is harder to define. There seem to be two basic types of definition for religion; those that emphasise a god and those that don’t.
The first definition for religion in the Oxford dictionary is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” Using that as a basis I would guess most Satanists would say they are not religious; not in the normally accepted sense anyway. The largest group of Satanists are atheists. They see Satan as a symbol, the antithesis of the Judao-Christian concept of God. Or else they see themselves as Gods in fact or in the making. Or if there is any superhuman controlling power (which most would probably not believe) they oppose it. The majority of Satanists simply don’t believe in any outside supernatural force that controls us but see religions as organs of social control that should be resisted. They emphasise the power of the self. In these ways Religion does not seem like a suitable word to describe Satanists.
However, there are some Theistic Satanists like Cassie and I who do believe that Satan exists in some form. Personally we think Satan is a cosmic energy or force that can be connected with. We do not however believe it is a controlling power that shapes the universe and needs the adoration and worship of believers, but rather it is an energy that can enhance and strengthen the will of those who connect with it. Again, not all Theistic Satanists would see things this way; some may indeed see Satan as a super human power and thus their form of Satanism may fall into this definition of religion. For us personally it is less clear.
However the Oxford dictionary also gives a second, more general and less God based definition of religion, “a particular system of faith and worship” and a third definition, “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.” Using these definitions many more Satanists including the atheists could be classed as being religious. Many don’t like the word “worship” but they may still have a clear system of faith, of practice and may indeed pursue that with great devotion. Thus we think that Satanism can be classed as a religion in these more general ways.
If Cassie or I are asked to speak about Satanism we usually define it as a religion and a philosophy but with much more emphasis on the philosophical side. But in thinking about this question we felt that neither word adequately define or explain what Satanism actually is. There was something however in the philosophical definition which rang very true for us and that, as mentioned before, was the word “attitude”.
For us Satanism begins with an attitude or state of mind. It is a state of mind that questions the assumptions that most people take for granted. We ask why things are as they are, especially the things that other people don’t question or think it is wrong to question. At the same time we have a spiritual dimension in which we are looking to really progress and learn things in this life and maybe beyond that. We tend to trust in our own judgements rather than blindly accepting the judgements of others. Of course it doesn’t mean we never get things wrong, come to the wrong conclusions or make the wrong decisions, it just means we prefer to work things out for ourselves and take responsibility for our own lives even if that sometimes means going against the grain. You don’t have to be a Satanist to have this attitude, but it would be hard to imagine being a Satanist without it.