I want to preface this post by saying that it can in some ways be viewed as a kind of warning. We have always tried to present the positive side of Satanism and confront some of the misinformation that often circulates on the media. However, Satanism is certainly a darker path and is not right for everybody. Moreover I think it is fair to say that anybody who takes this path will have to confront aspects of themselves and of society that most people prefer not to.
Satanists and most of us who follow a Left Hand Path; a path associated with darkness, cannot help but be exposed to evil; whatever one considers evil to be. There have been times on this spiritual journey where I have come close to describing myself as fully evil and seeing evil itself as the truest expression of pure Satanism. This may come as a surprise to some who know me, even in Satanic circles, because I have usually taken a public stance which is quite different to that. But I think that all of us on the Satanic path are forced to experience and confront evil in a way that most people never do. We each go through stages in our relationship with evil and come to our own conclusions about it. Some on this path do become everything the wider world considers to be evil and are not afraid to admit that to themselves and others. Some take pride in describing themselves as evil. I do not go quite that far but I certainly do not consider or describe myself as good either. I am Satanic; and that is enough.
It is true however that the deeper one becomes involved in Satanism, the further you travel into the territory that is often described as evil by others. You may blaspheme, you may participate in black masses and other dark rituals, you may practice magic defined by others as black, the use of blood and various sexual acts may become part of your magical and ritual life. And of course you see the enemy of Christianity and several other religions, Satan; The Devil, as your guide and inspiration. You may work with demons and dark spirits. You may see the diabolical as your kin and hell as your spiritual home. I have done all of these things and I must say that once you start to explore this territory it is intoxicating and addictive. This is where the danger lurks for us. In this new territory where there are no clear maps or boundaries, it is easy to get lost. What do I mean by that?
What I mean is that we are exploring areas or our mind and psyche that are considered taboo and forbidden by many and within those dark territories there are things we don’t really think are wrong but there are other things which still may be wrong or evil or against our true nature and judgement. In the darkness and the ecstasy of exploration we can confuse those things. To put it another way, we can begin to see and experience everything in this territory as equally valid and equally much our true nature. We glimpse that we are capable of every kind of evil and may come to feel that every kind of evil is acceptable for us. This is a stage that most, if not all, people who take a Left Hand Spiritual path; or in a Jungian sense explore their dark side, must go through. I have had moments like that. I have had moments when I have felt that to kill somebody who stands in my way would be no more wrong than fully enjoying my sexuality. I have had moments when I have felt that the power to be sadistic and cruel in the extreme without any guilt or shame would be a beautiful and liberating thing. Yes, I have had moments when I have felt that everything I personally abhorred and previously thought to be really evil is everything I actually want to be. I doubt that there are many people on a similar path who have not occasionally had these thoughts and feelings.
I should add that these moments were just that: moments. When the moments were over they became stimuli for deep soul searching and internal dialogue. They became uncomfortable points of self reflection. They became lessons which slowly and uncomfortably lead to personal growth and understanding. But it is easy to see and understand how for some people (and I would never say that I am immune) these moments could become extended… These moments could become their new reality.
Yet still I think this a path worth continuing on. It is dangerous, but it is worth it for some of us (including my partner and my daughter). I would like to speak about why I think it is worth it in the context of what Left Hand Paths are really about. And finally I would like to indicate why I think that being a Theistic Satanist offers a certain amount of guidance and protection that may be missing in some other Left Hand Paths.
The idea of the Left Hand Path first surfaced in Eastern, Tantric traditions. To over-simplify it was seen as a difficult but sometimes faster path to enlightenment which depended heavily on breaking the taboos and conventions of a given time and place. For example, within communities that were vegetarian, Tantric practioners of the left hand path would eat meat. In places where sexual morals were conservative and restrictive, those of the left hand path would explore and practice all forms of sexuality that were considered taboo or depraved. The idea was two fold. Firstly (and this may be a more modern and more western interpretation) breaking conventions and taboos can be seen as a test of the moral validity of such taboos in the first place. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly in the original traditions) the aim was for the soul to remain untainted no matter how much the body was engaged with material depravity and corruption; to remain true to your higher self in the midst of the most extreme material experiences.
I try to incorporate both these aspects into my own version of the left hand path and try to remind myself of the point of it all as often as possible. Thus with each taboo that I choose to break, I evaluate all that I gain or loose by doing so and come to a new value judgement of my own about how I should regard that thing or that action myself. Moreover, when I am momentarily overwhelmed by the sensation or possibilities of something, I try not to let it overpower or consume me but rather allow my higher self to observe and note it. A little bit of Buddhist knowledge and background is very helpful here.
So an understanding of what the Left Hand Path is about can be very helpful and protective; I would say essential. However personally I find that that alone is not enough. In the moments where I have been in most danger of losing myself, it was in fact the presence of Satan that saved me.
Satan first permeated my soul in the shape of the Pagan Horned God, a figure whose voice called out to me to be heard rather than side-lined or ignored. Within the circles I moved in, people were appalled or even terrified that their somewhat neutered Horned God might be associated with the Christian Devil. Yet to me the similarities were clear. I then began to see the Christian portrayal of Satan as false and misleading. I felt His displeasure at being portrayed in such a limited and entirely negative way. And it was because I began to recognize the depiction of Satan as entirely evil as false that I became a Satanist. So when I am exploring the darker areas of my soul, it is a voice of wisdom that guides me and in particular urges me not to linger in dangerous areas for too long. It is Satan once again reminding me that he is not the caricature of evil that Christians would have us believe.
The Satanic path does require us to explore the nature of evil within ourselves and beyond, but it certainly does not require us to become evil.
I titled this post “transcending good and evil” but that might be a little misleading. What this post is about and indeed what Satanism itself is about to a large degree is transcending other people’s definitions of good and evil. As Satanists we all eventually leave behind worldly notions of good and evil and trust instead on our Satanic instincts. But we train and hone those instincts. The lessons can be hard and we can get lost but we learn and we grow. We are always accountable for our own actions and choices. We allow ourselves more freedoms but those freedoms have dangers. This is the path we have chosen but our safety on the path is not guaranteed. We can fall. We can get lost. Some people do.
For me personally (headstrong and arrogant as I can be), a focus on the true nature of Satan and a willingness to heed his advice is the strongest safety line.
For the benefit of anybody who has been skim reading this without much concentration or understanding what I am saying is that while I have glimpsed my own potential to be evil (and will do again I am sure) I have chosen not to be, and that it is Satan who keeps my moral compass pointing in the right direction.
And if you are still confused don’t worry, but don’t ever explore Satanism; you are not ready.
I imagine that for many dark pagans and those of us on the Left Hand Path, Lilith is a figure that hovers close to our consciousness, powerful but enigmatic. Hard to know or fully pin down, Lilith demands our attention and respect. But where does she fit into our beliefs. We are Satanists of course; is there a place for Lilith in Satanism?
There is very little archeological evidence for Lilith although there are some Babalonian and Egyptian statues and artefacts which are linked to Lilith or Goddesses of similar names and attributes. References to her in ancient literature are even more rare but they do exist. Perhaps the best known version of her legend is told in the Jewish rabbinical text, The Alphabet of Ben Sira.
According to the Alphabet of Ben Sira, Lilith was Adam’s first wife but the couple had damaging disputes about matters of sex… Adam always wanted to be on top while Lilith also wanted a turn in the dominant sexual position. Eventually Lilith decided to leave Adam. She uttered God’s name (which was deemed to be particularly sinful yet powerful since nobody was supposed to be able to speak Gods name and live)! Then she flew off leaving Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. God sent three angels after her and commanded them to bring her back to her husband by force if she would not come willingly. But when the angels found her by the Red Sea they were unable to convince her to return and could not force her to obey them. She is then said to have vowed to kill all new born babies except those protected by a particular amulet. In the end God kind of admits defeat and plucks out one of Adams ribs to create a new, more subservient wife for him. Even Eve seemed to be more turned on than Adam who, all things considered, seems to have been a rather mindless wimp!
This version of the Lilith story seems to combine various legends of female gods and demons with the idea of the ‘first Eve.’ The result when seen from a neutral perspective is the story of an assertive wife who rebelled against God and husband, was replaced by another woman, and was demonized in Jewish folklore as a dangerous killer of babies.
Later legends also characterize her as a beautiful woman who seduces men or copulates with them in their sleep (a succubus), then spawns demon children. According to some accounts, Lilith is the Queen of Demons.
Lilith is an inviting figure to people of any philosophy or religion which respects and honours the example and influence of deities and demons whose origins are deep in the murky depths of time. I don’t think that anyone could definitively claim to know the exact origin of her legend or the absolute limits of her personality or attributes; but to many she can become a valuable archetype and guide.
Sophie and I see her as a maternal figure or a spiritual sister who has for centuries been breaking down the barriers we are breaking now and who has the power and independence that we ourselves claim. Moreover, as Satanists we see several parallels between her legend and the legend of Satan himself.
In the modern age (and in former times as well) both Satan and Lilith tend to be better known in the prevailing culture for what their enemies describe them as. While we see Satan as a God and symbol of liberation, independence and intellect; mainstream society regards him as a personification of evil, usually grotesquely portrayed in order that the power of The Church and its many affiliated institutions is maintained. (How better to limit criticism than to condemn all serious questioning and criticism as evil and heretical)? In a similar way, Lilith who questioned both man and God, and saw herself as at least equal to both, is portrayed as a witch who might vindictively kill your new born children. Satan and Lilith by whatever names they have been known have always been feared and despised by those who hold power in the Judao-Christian tradition. They stand against the authority and power of the Church and all the political institutions originally set up in the image and likeness of The Church. ( By “The Church” I mean all organisations and institutions that castrate people’s power by making them subjects of a Sovereign God of the type described in Judaism, Christianity and Islam… Sick mind games that have held the human race back for centuries).
I am not sure that we would go quite so far as to say that Lilith is a female form or face of Satan, but she is surely something close to that. Queen of Demons? For the three witches who write this blog she certainly is! And of course we honour and respect her for all the things that the prevailing culture deems unworthy of honour and respect.
Lilith is said to be a seductress, and of course the implication is that seduction is wrong or sinful. I have always rejected that view. If, for argument sake, I seduce a man or woman (which I like to think I am quite capable of if I am motivated to do so) and this causes a problem in the pre-existing relationship of my “victim”; who is the guilty party? Convention would say that as the seductress the guilt is mainly mine. Well fuck that! Unless I rape somebody (which I would never do) the other person has free agency and could walk away from my seduction at any point of their choosing. No matter how I employ my charms, the other person is responsible for their actions, not me. I refuse to take the blame for the weakness of others. Seduction is actually a very tangible example of what we Satanists call lesser magic. It clearly impressed and fascinated Anton LaVey (read the Satanic Witch for example). Sophie and I use this form of magic all the time and encourage our daughter to do likewise. We will feel no guilt for studying and understanding human nature and using our skills and assets to gain advantage where we can. This is at the core of Satanic philosophy and in so far as Lilith can be seen as a shining example of using her wits productively, we say Hail Lilith!
Lilith wanted to be the one on top and had the audacity to stand up to, and confront, both the man in her life and the God of Judao-Christain belief! We give her kudos for that. She may in fact be the first recorded sex-positive feminist. So again we say, Hail Lilith!
Lilith is also seen as a saccubus. We have no problem with that, indeed we have welcomed her into our lives and dreams in that context. However there are some legends and traditions that equate Lilith the Saccubus with the “wasted” emissions of young boys and men during wet dreams. Well, lucky for them if Lilith paid them a visit, but it really is about time the puritans and fundamentalists in the Abrahamic faiths took some biology lessons and realised wet dreams are a perfectly normal and natural part of being human! Just nature’s way of making sure everything is in working order.
I think Lilith stands out as a symbol of sex positive feminism and her legend could be usefully discussed by people who are atheists or have no religious or spiritual leaning or interest. However for those of us who do have a more spiritual view of life and who are open to meeting Lilith in that context, there is much to be gained, enjoyed and understood by welcoming her and making a genuine effort to know her. I think she has a particular appeal to dark pagans and those of a left hand path. I don’t see any discrepancy between being a Satanist and honouring Lilith. She seems to illuminate and exemplify many Satanic principles. She is a valuable archetype and guide.
Sophie > There are some moments which seem to be frozen in time; moments where you can’t help looking back and wondering how you came to be here while at the same time looking to the future with a sense of optimism and purpose. One of those moments occurred on New Year’s Day…
We are sitting in our lounge finishing a late brunch. In the background the New Year’s concert from Vienna is on TV and The Blue Danube waltz is playing. Tina pours us all coffee then sits down with hers and lights a cigarette. I think she could easily pass for being ten years older than she is. Cassie and I do likewise and the three of us sit there smoking, sipping coffee and enjoying the music. It is a peaceful and relaxing moment after a stressful, busy but very satisfying couple of weeks. We are not the people we once were. Our values, our morals and our beliefs seem to be rejected by most of society. We have come to accept that. The Cassie, Tina and Sophie of five years ago might not even recognise the people we have become. Satanism is now undoubtedly the cornerstone of all our lives and in the past weeks we set out to make these holidays as Satanic as possible for ourselves and for our extended family, our coven. And in doing so we have underlined our commitment and dedication to Satan and to the Left Hand Path.
“We have to write about some of this in our blog.” I say, “But I don’t know where to start.”
“We could do a kind of diary.” Tina suggests
“I think we should all do our own thing, and give different perspectives and then bring it together.” Cassie suggests.
I agree and nominate her to do the background and factual bit!
Cassie’s bit.> Our coven is roughly a year old. We have been meeting for longer than that but it has only been during the last 12 months that our group has become more structured and strictly Satanic in outlook. Sophie and I were hesitant at first but we are now more and more confident in our roles leading the Coven. We use magic and ritual to give structure and build ties.
When I was first starting to explore Satanism seriously I was slightly frustrated by the lack of commonality between Satanic groups. I now recognise that as an aspect of satanic identity. However it means that there is very little which all Satanic individuals, Covens or groups hold in common in terms of ritual magic and worship (or indeed anything else). In fact many would scoff at the word “worship” but we don’t. We decided from the start to do our own thing based loosely on my previous coven and pagan experiences. Along with many other Satanists we hold our own birthdays to be the most important celebration of the year. In addition our Coven holds meetings at roughly even intervals. Beltane or Walpurgisnacht and Samhain or Halloween are particularly significant to our coven and we have tried to meet on or near to the summer and winter solstice as well. In reality practical considerations dictate when we meet as we live quite far apart from each other and several of us have jobs which require a lot of travel. As it happens this year it was possible for us all to get together for pretty much the whole of the holiday period so we took the opportunity to celebrate both the winter solstice and our inverted version of Christmas.
The winter solstice is an ancient pagan festival which basically celebrates the turn of the year, the longest night, the darkest time followed by the lengthening of the days. By tradition and according to our own instincts it is a time to commune with the darkest of the dark (a thing of beauty and inspiration for us) but also look forward to the return of the sun. It is also a time when magic flows richly and deeply.
Tina is too young to join our coven rituals but we had a pre coven ritual with her for the solstice, just the three of us. On Christmas Eve she went to her father’s place while we had our Saturnalia, un-Christmas Coven ritual involving a Black Mass. For us Christmas itself is an extension of the winter solstice, a recreation of the hedonistic Saturnalia feast and a chance to rebel against the meanings Christians have attached to various pagan traditions.
When I first attended a Satanic ritual some years ago I felt uneasy about some of the more gory, sexual and blasphemous elements that are often involved, but actually our Christmas Black Mass was probably the darkest and most extreme ritual I have ever attended; and it was me who organised and choreographed everything! Hail Satan! I felt it was necessary for our Coven to break through taboos and barriers in order to progress and truly cement our relationship with Satan. The results were quite dramatic and continue to reverberate around our Coven. In guiding our members through this, the dark mother aspect of myself has come to the fore in a way which is rather new for me.
And the ripples from these celebrations, works and rituals are still radiating and will empower us into this new year.
Tina’s Bit > So I’m not allowed to take part in the Coven rituals. It’s a bit annoying but I understand why. At least when I am old enough to take part I will have a better understanding of what goes on than most newbies have. Anyway, I like it when our Coven friends are around and in the last two weeks they have been in and out of our house all the time; some were even staying here!
They accept me for who I am and talk to me like an adult unlike some of my relatives who always seem to think I am six years old and seem annoyed by the fact that I have grown up! Of course we all have Satanism in common and it’s not like there are many people we can talk to freely about that.
I have a boyfriend now too so when the coven are busy with their things I spend more time with him. Or my Dad…
I spent most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Dad and his girlfriend. I love him but he annoys me a bit. He accepts that Mum and Cassie are Satanists but with me he thinks it is a joke. Also, his girlfriend obviously doesn’t approve although she would never admit it. She is nice though, I suppose. Neither of them have any strong beliefs but I guess they are atheists. Christmas was nice. Normally I like spending time with my Dad but this time I was happy to come home and see what was going on with the coven people. The fact that there were ten of them who all had presents for me was not the only reason!
After all the rituals were finished people from the coven were still in and out of our home all the time for the rest of the holiday for beer or wine or just coffee and cakes. I could tell they had a new energy about them. I could feel it. I felt kind of different too. This was very different than other Christmases.
I have always liked Christmas but just as a holiday and a reason to give and receive presents. But I was never into the religious side of it and I don’t think I ever believed the St Nicholas/Father Christmas stuff. I certainly never believed in Jesus. So although I liked the presents, the candles and the Christmas Trees, it never had any deep meaning for me. But now it does. This year I talked about all the pagan meanings and the history of Christmas more than ever before with my Mum and Cassie and all the coven people. We were discussing it like every day. And also I could feel the energy in the house. So for me this was the best and most meaningful Christmas holiday ever. It is kind of funny that being a Satanist gives Christmas more meaning!
And now it is 2016. There is lots to do. Probably some changes. It will be cool!
Sophie again. > It is a New Year. All around me my family (Cassie, Tina, our coven and me) are growing, learning, maturing and mastering new things). That is how it should be. It always excites me. In the year ahead we will face new challenges, there will be ups and downs, good times and bad. That is life and it is beautiful.
And as I sit here being a little reflective I am very proud of my family. I believe we are totally Satanic in all the ways that matter. We are certainly sinful by Christian standards. We are in touch with our darker sides and not shy about incorporating that into our lives. We are hedonists. We celebrate pleasure in its many forms. Equally we celebrate and value learning and knowledge. We cross boundaries and break taboos. If you hurt us we will do worse to you without guilt and without mercy. We will never turn the other cheek unless there is some advantage to us in doing so. But to those who are kind to us we will be the best and most supportive friends. And when we choose to be, we can probably be kinder and more generous than most people you will ever meet.
We are passionately loyal to each other and to our friends. We are equally loyal to Satan, Satanism and Satanic values and lifestyle.
We thank our readers for the support and interest they have shown in the past year and wish you all the best for 2016.
Hail Satan! Hail us! Hail you!
six six six
The number of the beast. A number close to our hearts. Perhaps one day we will write an exposition of the deeper meanings and historical significance of that number which is taboo for some. But this is not that post.
This is a post in which we three Satanists give our personal answers to the same six questions about our religion and philosophy.
How has Satanism changed you?
What is Satan to you?
Do you consider yourself good or evil?
What is the most important lesson Satanism has taught you recently?
What do you think about other religions?
Are you going to hell?
How has Satanism changed me?
I would say that Satan and Satanism have been a large part of my growing up and it speeded that process up. It has made me feel more free and independent. And much, much more confident. It has helped me to be the real me instead of the person other people maybe wanted to see. If it hadn’t been for Satanism I think I would still be trying to please everybody a bit too much and I would always take the safe option. I think in my mind and maybe in my body I’d be like at least a year younger than I feel now.
What is Satan to me?
In my imagination I think of Satan like a wise old uncle that I love and respect but makes me a bit nervous. But I think in reality Satan is a force in the universe like electricity or gravity that only some of us can feel and connect with. And it is part of us and we are part of it.
Do you consider yourself good or evil?
I don’t believe anything is good or evil in itself, including me. I can be good or bad depending on the situation. I am on Satan’s side. If that is evil then so am I.
What is the most important lesson Satan has taught me recently?
I don’t know. Maybe to be a bit more patient. Also if I want to do things which can be a bit unhealthy like smoking I should balance it with something healthy like running.
What do I think about other religions?
Some of them may have some good ideas in them but most of them are spoiled by idiots. And they have too much about obeying Gods and not enough about enjoying life.
Am I going to hell?
I don’t believe there is an actual place called hell. But wherever other Satanists go, that is where I want to go. But first I want to live a long life, do crazy things and try everything!
Has Satanism changed me?
Yes, totally. It has made me much stronger. It has allowed me to express my darker side without any shame. It has given spiritual meaning and understanding where I used to feel lost and confused. Because of Satanism I have become a witch, I have read and experienced things I would never have done otherwise. And it has brought me new friends and given my life a whole new direction and purpose.
What is Satan to me?
I think Satan is the sum of all the wisest souls from all of time (including my own) somehow linked together spiritually. It is the enemy of any person, religion or philosophy which tries to prevent people getting the knowledge to grow and evolve fully.
Do I consider myself good or evil?
In a Satanic context I am evil (I choose to eat the fruit of knowledge and any God that tries to stop me can fuck off) but in a worldly sense I am not such a bad person. I am certainly not evil in the way of terrorists.
What important lessons has Satan taught me recently?
That I am good at organising and that I know more than I thought about most things.
What do I think about other religions?
I spent many years of spiritual searching so I have always believed there is something valuable to be found in some religions. I still have a lot of respect for Buddhism and still use some Buddhist techniques and thought processes. I think there are useful things in Paganism and Hinduism too. I have never been much a fan of Christianity.
Am I going to hell?
Yes and it will be fun getting there! Seriously I think you have to learn and experience as much in life as you can before you die and then it either all ends or there is some kind of progression. All the people I like or love most will be going to hell wherever and whatever that is.
Has Satanism changed me?
Yes of course. If I’m honest I’d say that I am a much darker and harder person than I used to be. I am less tolerant of fools and time wasters. Some of my beliefs and political views have also changed a bit. But I am much more confident and comfortable in my own skin. It has also helped me to make rapid progress in my career and let’s say, material security. However I would still describe myself as a kind and caring person with a social conscience.
What is Satan to me?
A spirit, an energy, a God that has been glimpsed in many of the Pagan traditions. A force of nature that we can connect with… But ultimately also a part of ourselves; our potential with all restrictions and limitations removed.
Do I consider myself good or evil?
This is something I am planning to write a full post about. I think it is a tricky question because those words have so many interpretations. I am fully, unreservedly and totally Satanic and if some people think that means evil, then so be it. However, if you take evil to mean being grotesquely cruel and violent like child molesters and terrorists, then I’m certainly not that. As for good, sometimes…
What do I think about other religions?
I have been a spiritual searcher most of my life and have sampled many things. I still think of myself as Pagan in many ways and I think a lot of religions have some wisdom in them. However I am becoming more and more atheist and coming round to the belief that overall religions do more harm than good. The idea of Satanism being an anti-religion has more and more resonance with me.
What lessons has Satan taught me recently?
Question everything but don’t ask stupid questions. Or don’t keep asking the same question just because you don’t like the answer. Also there may be more merit in some of the more traditional elements of Satanic belief than I first thought.
Am I going to hell?
Yes. Moreover, Hell is our Nirvana and can be touched in life as well as death. It is a place I feel at home with like minded souls, demons and the energy that is Satan.
Oh I think I answered in a slightly different order. Always the rebel!
The Black Mass
You have probably heard the controversy about the plans of The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club to host a satanic black mass reenactment this past week. In case not…
The club dropped sponsorship of the event when Catholic groups on campus and in Boston expressed outrage and
the archdiocese held a Eucharistic procession in protest, culminating in a holy hour mass at St Paul’s Church in Boston. Harvard President Drew Faust called the event ‘abhorrent’ but said she would allow it to take place on campus for free speech purposes. Later she changed her mind because of the increasing protests. The event was going to be organised byThe Satanic Temple of New York, the same group who have stirred controversy with plans to erect a Baphomet statue. Eventually the reenactment was reported to shift locations and went ahead at a Chinese restaurant in Harvard Square.
Well I guess Boston is a very Irish and Catholic part of America so the controversy was not really surprising. Even so, whose interests were served by what happened? Certainly not those who value free speech or the right to learn and question things. On the other hand, The Satanic Temple Of New York once again increased their public profile which may not be such a bad thing. I know little about them as a group except that they have brought discussion of Satanism into the mainstream media and I do applaud them for that.
But what about the Black Mass itself? Before I was a Satanist the term Black Mass conjured up all kinds of diabolical images. I suppose it still does, but I guess I interpret those images differently. I once had a conversation with an acquaintance who knew I was a Satanist. She was a a Pagan and a Witch, and she said she respected my Satanic beliefs even though she didn’t agree with them completely. “Anyway,” she said, “You are more of a philosophical Satanist aren’t you? You are not the sort that would participate in anything really demonic like a Black Mass.”
I think my reply disappointed her, and we have not spoken since.
I have indeed participated in a Black Mass and I regularly participate in other Satanic rituals many of which derive in part from the various versions of the Black Mass. I take part wholeheartedly. I am fully and unapologetically a Satanist, and the ritualistic side of things is quite important in my spiritual life. There are elements in the Black Mass and other Satanic Rituals which are provocatively blasphemous against Judao-Christian beliefs and morals. There are other things which even non Christians may find to be in bad taste or morally questionable. To a large degree that is the whole idea. However the one proviso that I would like to make is that neither I, nor any of the Satanists I associate with, would ever allow any children to be present at such a ritual let alone be harmed in any way, no animal would be harmed or humiliated, and no person present at such an event would be forced or coerced to do anything they were not comfortable with. In case that is not clear enough let me reiterate, to the best of my knowledge absolutely no laws are broken or crimes committed at or during such rituals.
So what is the big fuss about then?
Well the Black or Satanic Mass is in every aspect a blasphemy against Christian values, rules and power. It mocks the Christian god and it’s participants openly display their allegiance to The Devil, the enemy of all that Christianity and it’s god stand for. In this way it confronts and challenges the norms, values and power structures of much that unites western culture. This is a threat to many of the most powerful institutions we know of, not least being the Catholic Church. It also questions and challenges the moral assumptions that most people in western society take for granted. In essence, it is Satanism encapsulated.
The history of the Black Mass is highly disputed. Some claim Black or Satanic Masses were held from very early in Christian history. There doesn’t seem to be much evidence of that. There is a little more evidence that Black Masses were held in medieval times but even here sources are very few. There seem to be two main traditions, one French and one Latin that other groups used or cited over time. Some aspects of the Black Mass may once have been quite evil and involved murder and bloodshed of innocents, or that might just be the way the enemies of Satanic/anti-establishment and occult traditions portrayed them. In any case it seems clear that for at least a few centuries small groups have celebrated the Black Mass in various parts of Europe and then America.
In the 1960s Anton LaVey largely redefined and reinvigorated Satanism. His version of the Black Mass seemed to be a mixture of of the afore mentioned French and Latin versions and critics will be quick to point out that it is laced with grammatical and contextual errors. I think LaVey initially thought of the Black Mass as nothing more than a satire, a lavish but bawdy joke at the expense of the untouchable Catholic Church. But very quickly he began to recognise the power of the psycho-drama involved in taking part in such a ritual and began to speak of it as being central in the ritual life of Satanists.
Sophie and I have spoken previously about the power of ritual. I have said many times it’s effects can be as powerful and mind altering as taking drugs. In case that disturbs some readers let me say that the same is true for all rituals in all religious paths including Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Buddhism and Hinduism as well as all non religious forms of ritual. If this were not the case then ritual would not exist in any context for it’s very purpose is to alter or tune the mind in various ways. As a life long occultist I am used to that as a tool of magic. So it is in the context attuning our minds and spiritual growth that both Sophie and I have participated in Black Masses and similar rituals and have found them rewarding and empowering.
However, both Sophie and I are sometimes uncomfortable with Satanism being seen as nothing more than an opposing offshoot of Christianity. Moreover we both still have a few Christian friends and know of many people we admire that happen to be Christian. So how does that fit in with participating in a Black Mass?
We oppose the often misused power of the many Christian churches and the so called god from whom they claim authority to oppress and harass people who stand against them. We do not oppose all individuals who associate themselves with Christianity and we acknowledge that some Christians actually have values and morals which are not much different to our own.
For us, in its guise as Satanism encapsulated, the Black Mass is an opportunity to rally against the values and power structures we oppose unreservedly; and to ally ourselves with the spiritual powers that oppose them and represent our interests and aspirations. As the dominant religion in the west Christianity is, and long has been, the most obvious force that would oppress us and force us to repress our true values, indeed our true selves… It is not the only such force though… Satanism opposes all that would restrain us and restrict our growth. In a sense the opposition to Christianity is only the beginning of the struggle to be truly free. It may be where Satanism begins but it is not where it ends.
Exactly a year ago today I wrote a post called Black Devil Cigarettes. I don’t think it was one of the best things I have ever written in this blog but strangely it has had far more views than anything else I have written here. Perhaps a lot of smoking fetishists were attracted here by the title; if so they hopefully got something more than they were expecting…
In summary I compared my taste for a particular brand of cigarettes with my Satanic beliefs and lifestyle. I was trying to make the point that smoking a particular brand (or smoking at all) is always a choice and that it is an acquired taste which not everyone will agree with or approve of, but that it gets into your blood and becomes a part of who you are. Of course some people strongly disapprove of smoking. Some might even describe it as a nasty or evil habit…
As far as I’m aware most people do not think of me as evil. I don’t think of me as evil. Yet most people do actually grow up with the belief that the God I am aligned with actually is evil. QED, (in their opinion) I am worshipping an evil God; which is an evil act; making me evil.
Over the past few months I have met several people who ‘worship’ or honour Satan or Lucifer secretly. (One of them was a priest). Often various things had happened in their life which made them question the culturally prevalent view of who and what Satan is and they found liberation and/or solace in forming a connection or relationship with him. They do not go around sacrificing virgins or any of the things Christianity and Hollywood would have people believe Satanists do. They simply find a new sense of peace, understanding and reality within themselves and continue along their spiritual path as before but with Satan at the centre of it. The people around them don’t know that anything has changed except perhaps they seem more happy, positive and confident than they did before. They keep their beliefs and opinions secret to avoid the backlash they are likely to receive if people find out they “worship” Satan.
Most Satanists do not actually use the word worship in connection with Satan. The emphasis of most strands of Satanism is the personal development of the self, and the overt worship of the self can sound a bit too narcissistic even for us! Even theistic Satanists like myself shy away from the word a bit. Worship sounds a bit too much like other religions in which there is an unbridgeable gap between the God and ourselves. As theistic Satanists we see ourselves as at least potentially equal to the God we honour. However for the sake of simplicity I would say that in terms of giving respect to him, in learning from him, and in tapping into his energy and his nature through magic, ritual and meditation; I do indeed worship Satan. And I am semi open about it.
At the moment there is probably enough distance between my on-line persona and my everyday life that I could deny my beliefs if I really had to. But the people closest to me know I am a Satanist and follow my blogs and message board conversations. Here I am very open about my beliefs and views. I am resigned to the fact that my own Satanism is increasingly open and public. However I do fully understand why many compatriots on this path feel the need for secrecy. To be branded as evil can be very intimidating and limiting. Only a fool would not recognise that.
It is sad and frustrating because once the wool has been taken away from your eyes it is so clear and obvious that Satan is anything but evil.
I don’t worship an evil God. I worship a God and an idea that for too long has been maligned and subverted. I worship the principles of independence and personal responsibility. I worship the notion that we can better ourselves. I worship the truth that we are nobody’s slaves. I worship the intelligence and knowledge that we as a species have accumulated. I worship the prospect of maximising my potential and of all people having the possibility to do that. I worship an entity and an energy that is not afraid or jealous of our potential but takes delight in helping us to overcome our fears and limitations. I worship a God that wants us to be equal. I worship what in my heart I know to be good.
I hope I can play a part in pulling the wool off other people’s eyes.
Satanism doesn’t actually seem as dark as I probably expected it to be. In truth I find it very enlightening. Or perhaps my heart and soul are so corrupted by the darkside by now that I don’t recognise it anymore? I’m sure a few Christians might think that… Not surprisingly, I don’t agree. But it is true that becoming a Satanist was part of a personal process based on a need I felt to explore and integrate the darker side of my psyche.
But what does that mean? What is the dark-side?
For the most part I equate the Dark-side with what Jungian psychologists refer to as the shadow side.
“Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad, or isolated part that we generally try to ignore. The Shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality, and acknowledging it can be a pathway to healing and an authentic life. We meet our dark side, accept it for what it is, and we learn to use its powerful energies in productive ways. The Shadow knows why good people sometimes do “bad” things. Romancing the Shadow and learning to read the messages it encodes in daily life can deepen your consciousness, imagination, and soul.”
from “Romancing the Shadow,” by Connie Zwieg, PhD., and Steve Wolf, PhD.
Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
The Core of Shadow Work is this: To KNOW YOURSELF FULLY, from as many angles as are required, in order that you might dare to let yourself go free. Being neither judge, jury, prosecutor, nor defender—you give no explanations, nor do you require any. You are AT HOME in your place between the sun and the moon.
Taken from ‘About Shadow Work‘
Even as a child I loved the night-time. I remember as a small girl sometimes creeping out into the garden at night. All the familiar things of the daytime took on dark, shadowy forms. There were strange sounds and movements everywhere. Yes, it could be frightening, but it was also exciting and magical. Sometimes I saw hedgehogs scurrying about or heard owls hooting. Other times I glimpsed completely unfamiliar creatures and undefined shapes moving in the shadows and my imagination went into overdrive. There might have been fairies, pixies or goblins. There might have been monsters… It was thrilling to be slightly afraid and in truth I was never more than a scream away from getting help. But whatever real or imagined dangers may have been lurking in the garden, when I looked up the darkness held it’s biggest prize; the stars! I was always transfixed and awe-struck by the wonders of the night sky. First of all the stars were just beautiful to look at. Later, as I learned more and became interested in astronomy I grew ever more amazed and pleasantly bamboozled by the facts associated with those precious pin-pricks of light. Thus, if I hadn’t ventured into the darkness (like billions before me) there is so much magic and beauty that I would never have known.
I see darkness as a landscape where fears can be confronted, pleasures can be discovered, hidden beauty and magic can be glimpsed and where people can be themselves without shame or embarrassment. Moreover, without the darkness there are many lessons it would be difficult, if not impossible to learn. It is not in itself good or bad; but as night is to day, dark is to light a place with it’s own marvels and mysteries to explore.
I understand that not all people feel an impulse to explore the darker sides of themselves. That’s fine, we are all different. For me however it was an inevitable part of my path.
But what am I learning? How has it helped or changed me?
Well although I am quite open in my blogs there are some things that are not for the whole world to know. I have confronted and am still grappling with some things that are deeply personal and which I will not speak about here. Other things I am fairly comfortable to talk about though.
Satanism itself probably seems dark to some people. I don’t really see it that way, but without being prepared to defy convention and explore things others consider dark I would not have gained all I have from embracing Satanism. By doing that, I have extended myself as a witch, I have learnt many new things including how to be even more self reliant. I work with energies and entities which once would have seemed forbidding and forbidden. I have probably developed a harder self protecting edge in many things. I think I have become more honest. I work closely with the energies or entities that are known as Satan and Lucifer, which I always wanted to do but felt constrained by social and religious conventions. I have read books which sometimes challenged my own way of thinking and thus made me think harder. I have met people whom I value greatly.
By exploring my own dark side I have overcome fears that were holding me back or making my life less enjoyable. I have learned about some of the triggers which make me behave in ways I don’t want to and thus have taken greater control of who I am and how I am perceived, which has positive knock on effects in my work life and social life.
I am much more confident in my own sexuality and sex life which occasionally wonders into territories some may find dark. This has allowed me to experience things which are very pleasurable and enriching in ways that go beyond sex itself. It has also given me a much deeper insight and understanding of other people.
I am developing a new way of thinking about death. Perhaps this needs a post of it’s own. But in short, confronting our shadows brings the mysteries and fears associated with death closer. In modern society we consign death to the fringes of our conciousness where it festers and secretly controls us. By bringing it out into the open we see it in a new way and appreciate life itself more fully.
And there is much more. This is an ongoing journey. My own exploration of the dark-side will not be the same as anybody else’s. Those who are drawn to exploring their own shadows will find unique challenges and architecture along their path. We all have our own personal demons to confront and reach an accommodation with.
For myself I have no regrets. I would not be the person I am if I had not decided that I needed to take a good look at my own darker side and learn the lessons I needed to learn. I think I am a stronger more balanced person as a result. I don’t think it is possible to find a true balance and harmony within yourself unless you are prepared to shine a torch in the dark cobweb covered corners of your own mind. And balance and harmony are what I seek.
Satanism is for me the main vehicle through which to break with convention and start exploring. One of the big problems and stumbling blocks in self discovery for many people is that they find truths which Christian conventions reject. I don’t agree with Freud on very much but I think he was on the right lines in thinking that many people’s psychological problems stem from repressing things that “society” is uncomfortable with. That doesn’t mean that all our most perverse and nasty thoughts are okay. But we do need to be honest about having them sometimes. And the Christian thought-police don’t exactly help with that.