We have mentioned our Coven in passing but have not said much about it until now and probably won’t say much in future. The main reason for this is to protect the privacy of our members. I decided to write something now for two reasons. Firstly a few people have asked us things relating to our Coven or Coven Satanism in general. Secondly because a few of our recent posts seemed to be interpreted as if we were apologizing for our beliefs. That is not the case. We are Theistic Satanists. We are Devil Worshipers (although we have our own interpretation of what the words “devil” and “worship” actually mean). Within our coven we are Satanists in the raw and to the core. That is what we are. No apologies.
You certainly don’t have to be part of a coven in order to be a Satanist, most Satanists aren’t. In fact probably most Satanists are rather solitary, keeping most of their beliefs and practices to themselves. This suites the psychological profile of many of the Satanists we know who for many reasons are often quite reclusive and introverted. We, on the other hand, are rather extrovert and have come to appreciate the comradery and power that can be experienced as part of a group united by similar beliefs and shared experiences.
I had coven experience before becoming a Satanist as part of a Wiccan coven. When I fully converted to Satanism I was keen to experience a Satanic Coven. It was kind of a test for me. I had already made a commitment to Satan but I wanted to immerse myself in Satanic lifestyle and practice in order to check for myself if I had done the right thing. It seemed to me that being part of a Coven would be like jumping in to the deep end of the dark pool and I would either sink or swim. (I don’t recommend everybody to follow my example but that kind of all or nothing approach suits my personality). For me it worked. The things that I was perhaps least sure and most uncomfortable about, quickly became comfortable norms for me. It was like finding my true Satanic nature and celebrating it rather than hiding it. So, for me being part of a Satanic Coven was a big and very significant part of my personal journey and development. Even so, I recognize that for many people this step, and this experience is not necessary at all.
So I was a member of a Satanic coven in the UK where I was taught, nurtured and well treated. But then life intervened; I fell in love, was traveling a lot and missed some meetings and then I decided to move to another country altogether.
At first Sophie and I were content to go it alone and with hindsight I think that was good for our development as a couple but eventually our thoughts turned to establishing our own coven.
Our coven came together gradually and organically. At first it was just a very informal group of friends in which Sophie and I were the only ones who fully identified as Satanists. The other people were what I would describe as open minded spiritual searchers from various backgrounds including Buddhism and Darker Pagan strands. Our meetings were just social gatherings at which we would discuss and share ideas over a few glasses of wine. (Okay, sometimes more than just a few glasses of wine)! It was great for me as I had recently relocated to Switzerland and was unable to keep up my commitments to my British based coven; so this new hard core group of friends became my new extended family. As time went by several members expressed an interest in the magical and ritualistic aspects of Satanism as Sophie and I practiced it. As a result we experimented with a few group rituals and I gave a bit of guidance and direction for those that were keen to explore witchcraft more fully. And so it began… Quite soon after that our friends, one by one, decided to fully embrace Satanism themselves and our meetings became more organised and regular.
No two covens of any variety are exactly the same and this is probably even more true in Satanic circles. There is no rule book and no single right way to do things. The shape and structure of our coven is based loosely on my previous coven experiences in Wicca and Satanism, simplified and tailored to our own needs. At present we have ten regular members and a few other interested parties. We have several teachers, scientists of various descriptions, an artist, two musicians and several business people. I am nominally the High Priestess and Sophie is the Coven Mother but I think we all acknowledge that in all practical aspects Sophie is the boss (or official Dominatrix, as one of our members put it)! As far as possible we share all jobs and responsibilities around the coven.
We try to meet monthly. Many of us have jobs which involve a lot of travel, so finding times we can all meet is a task in itself. For practical reasons we only celebrate two Satanic holidays in addition to our own birthdays, these are Beltane/Walpurgis Night around Mayday and Samhain/Halloween in the Autumn.
We decided from the beginning that the Coven needs a purpose and a direction. Ours is to further our members self interests and promote Satanic ideas and philosophy in the wider world. These things may seem somewhat vague to outsiders but among ourselves they are well understood and fine tuned.
Some of our meetings are still mostly social or based around structured discussions or debates but ritualistic and magical gatherings form the core of what we do. Also with ten birthdays spread out through the year there is plenty of fun and debauchery as well!
Clearly none of us would remain in the coven if we did not find it pleasurable and advantageous to do so.
Personally I feel it has helped me to learn new skills in terms of people management, ritual preparation, psychological understanding and manipulation and it has brought the “crone” aspect of my persona to the fore. In a practical sense I think the magic and manipulation we perform as a group is significantly more powerful that what I could normally achieve alone. And perhaps most importantly as a Theistic Satanist, I feel ever closer to and more in tune with Satan or my own Satanic nature.
Having said all that, I would urge caution to anybody looking to join a Satanic coven. It simply isn’t necessary or beneficial for everybody. I would describe ours as a fairly gentle and understanding Coven, but we are Satanists and our ways and morals reflect that. Blood is sometimes used in our rituals (our own; freely and hygienically given).There is some nudity and sexual content in some of our rituals. It would be easy to take advantage of new members keen to prove themselves or afraid to say no. We choose not to take advantage. Other covens may take the view that fools get what they deserve.
I said at the start that we are perhaps more outgoing and extrovert than some Satanists. That may be one reason why the Coven works for us. I also think that being involved with other people helps to constantly underline and fine tune our beliefs and thus ensure continual growth. The coven also becomes an extension of family with all the advantages and some of the strains that brings.
From time to time we get asked for advice on how to explore Satan and Satanism. Some of the seekers are more genuine than others and some are just stupid or insane! We generally don’t respond to people who want tips on how to sell their soul to the devil or what diabolical acts they should commit to be loved by Satan. However, from time to time we get rational enquiries from genuine seekers who have already done some of the leg-work and research. We are more than happy to answer such people and give what tips we can. We recently had correspondence from a person we shall call P and this post is an extended answer to some of the thoughts and questions he put to us.
The first thing I should say is that we are three Satanists who all came to Satan in our own individual way for our own individual reasons. And that statement is probably true for most people who identify as Satanists. In other words there is no “one size fits all” way of exploring Satanism or of being a Satanist. Any advice we offer here is quite general and may not be meaningful to everybody.
Here is a segment of what P asked us. “I am searching into deeper understandings of life and have come to a point where i am having to explore my hidden aspects or at least maybe aspects that i have chosen to ignore previously or even just plain forgot!! i… studied a bit to be a priest of…….. and also for a while i have trained as a …….. healer i am aware that i now need to explore the truth of satan as i do increasingly feel connected and need to express this in a truthful deep and understanding way. I feel a great love also and enjoy writing poetry affirmations dedicated to satan so would appreciate your guidance in any way that you feel appropriate for me…”
It seems to us that P has already taken the first important steps which involving crossing the frontier between viewing everything associated with Satan as taboo and forbidden, to recognizing that there is something of value in Satanism which is obscured by other traditions and prejudices. Or to put it another way; he has had the courage to follow the call into once forbidden territories. There must be many who hear that call and never respond, perhaps out of fear or perhaps out of indifference. We also think that P has a big advantage in that he has obviously explored a number of quite different spiritual paths already. We think it helps greatly to have a variety of different spiritual and philosophical experiences. Those who have no such experience or those who are escaping from Christianity tend to come to Satan with very limited and blinkered expectations that can get in the way of real progression and insight.
Moreover, P states that a large part of his motivation is to explore hidden aspects of himself. In our opinion this is a pretty much a prerequisite for any exploration of Satanism. Before you even begin to think about what kind of Satanist you might eventually become (or not) you have to be prepared to visit the dark side of yourself, your shadow, and incorporate that fully into your persona. There is a very heavy element of Jungian psychology involved here and it wouldn’t do any harm to study a bit of Jung as part of the journey. In some respects we regard much of the ritual and drama that can be involved in Satanic practice as a physical and practical outworking of Jungian ideas; freeing oneself from repression and integrating the shadow into the whole self.
Other obvious tips would be to read widely around Satanic topics in books or on the internet and be prepared to sort the gems from the rubbish (of which there is much). In the end of course the individual has to decide what they honestly agree with (even when they are surprised to find themselves in agreement) and what they regard as rubbish or worse. I would advise most people to read more generally about the occult as well (particularly if this is a new area for them) and to learn and practice whatever forms of magic they are drawn to (which can include hard science psychology, physics and chemistry).
And in the midst of all this, approach Satan himself. (You may be an atheistic Satanist; in which case Satan can be seen as an aspect of your deeper self, but even so the use of the name Satan opens channels to great knowledge and power). This is an important step but comes with a warning. Satan, whatever you conceive him/it to be, IS powerful and is not to be messed with. All of us who have gone through this process are changed by it and doing so in the wrong way, with the wrong attitude or wrong state of mind can cause problems;- serious problems. Think of it this way; if you come to a new love in your life full of affirmations of love, respect and dedication and then change your mind a few days later, or worse your affirmations were nothing more than a ploy to get your lover into bed (to experiment with him or her) how do you think this perspective lover would react? And Satan is, well, far more powerful and influential than any other jilted lover is ever going to be.
With Satan, honesty is the best policy. If you are not sure about something, say so. Don’t pretend. Honesty shows respect and perhaps that should come before dedication.
There are various ways to approach Satan and P’s way (writing poetry and affirmations dedicated to Satan) seems like a gentle and respectful way of opening the door (take note of our warning about honesty though). Anything which involves focused thought and meditation is useful in approaching Satan. Those who have studied meditation in any form may find it useful to use the methods they are familiar with, but art, music, dance, drama and poetry can be equally valid and effective ways to focus and open the mind. This is best done at the same time as reading and learning about Satanism.
At some point in this process an answer will come. It is possible that the answer from Satan or from your deeper self will be that Satanism is NOT the path for you. If that is the case, those of us who do identify as Satanists should give you respect for an honest and open inquiry and wish you luck on your continuing spiritual search. If however you come to feel that Satanism in one of it’s many forms is right for you, it is still your choice whether to walk through that door and invite Satan or Satanic Energy fully into your life. Once you have made that choice there isn’t really any way back and you will certainly feel changed and empowered. But you should also be prepared for your views and perspectives on many things to change, your way of living may change substantially and you may lose friends or find that you have to be more secretive and circumspect about many things. Some of these adaptions can be painful and difficult. So while there are many advantages in losing the shackles and sheep mentality that play a large part in most people’s lives, there are drawbacks too which you should try to prepare for.
So to anybody in the early stages of exploring Satanism, good for you! You have already shown a willingness to explore areas many would rather avoid. This shows a certain amount of courage and open mindedness. But our advice is take it slow, showing respect for yourself and the new ideas you will be flirting with. Give yourself time to really think things through. Be prepared for the possibility that Satanism may, after all, not be your thing. But also be prepared for the fact that it might be and, if so, things in your life will almost certainly change.
You may consider reaching out to other Satanists or Satanic groups and covens. Be respectful but discerning. Never put yourself in danger or in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable.
Finally, to reiterate, Satanism is a very individualistic path and each person’s route into it and life as a Satanist will be their own unique thing. We wish all who are genuinely searching in this direction all the best.
Cassie, Sophie, Tina.
I was was intending to write a post about Satanic ritual since Sophie and I have recently undergone an intensive phase of that for our own development and training. While thinking aloud I came up with the phrase “Ritual and meditation can be like getting a tattoo for the soul”. That made perfect sense to us, but we are both heavily inked women. Perhaps it is not so clear to everybody else, so that is where I will begin.
I think all people like to change the way they look from time to time to express different things. It can be as simple as wearing a suit for work and then changing into something more comfortable when you get home. We all choose clothes, jewellery and even perfume to express our moods and our status. We may also visit the hair stylist to effect a slightly longer and more substantial change in our appearance. But all those changes are temporary and can fairly easily be changed. Tattoos are much more permanent. Okay there are some people who have a small tat or two as a fashion statement and who might be prepared to have them removed at some time, but for those of us that are seriously into tattoos it is largely the idea of permanence that is the attraction; that and the art itself. All my tattoos are symbols of things that are or have been important to me. They are markers of my life and while my views and feelings may change over time, each of my tattoos represents something that makes me, or has made me, the person I am. They cannot and should not be changed, they are part of me and all that makes me, me. And each time the needle grinds a new piece of art into my skin it is a sign of acceptance of and commitment to a particular aspect of my life. Not a mood, not a fashion statement, but a marker of who I am. But of course it does also mark change; where there was once pure skin there will forever be a mark. Even with laser removal (perish the thought!) my skin would never look or be the same again.
And so we move on to ritual and meditation. I will begin by saying that in my view Ritual is itself an elaborate form of meditation. So I will start with meditation…
Some people say that they can’t meditate, but in fact everybody does it naturally. Listening to music, driving a car and watching TV are all forms of meditation. Meditation in it’s simplest form is stilling the mind or concentrating the mind. We all do it. Those of us who do it regularly as an art, as part of our lifestyle or spiritual practice just do it in a more intensive and deliberate way. I started in my teens while exploring Buddhism then when I became a Wiccan and a witch I found that meditation of various types is essential in witchcraft and is practised by many types of pagan. As a Satanist witch I of course still find meditation essential.
Meditation is essentially mental training. It is a way to control your thoughts rather than be controlled by them. It literally increases the power of your mind; and that power can be used in many ways. I’d say it can be useful for anyone. There are hundreds of techniques and I’d advise anybody who hasn’t found a technique that works for them to keep looking and keep trying.
Ritual can be seen to a large degree as a meditative technique; a way of training and tuning your mind. Again, it is something we all do naturally. Most of us have everyday rituals we don’t think much about;- how we wake ourselves up, get washed and dressed, the order in which we tie our laces, the order in which we pack, the first things we do when we get home at night. All of these subtle little rituals prepare us for what we need to do. They put us in the right frame of mind… The kind of rituals used in religions and shamanistic traditions are just much more elaborate and deliberate extensions of these natural tendencies. Religions have been doing very overt and pro-active psychology since centuries before the term was invented! From lighting candles and burning incense in temples and churches, singing hymns and dressing in special costumes to the intricate way in which spiritual traditions mark birth, marriage and death and all the rites of passage in between; religious communities and their leaders have been subtly massaging the minds of their congregations for a very long time. In this particular respect Satanism is not much different except that for us it is a very knowing and totally voluntarily activity. Anton LaVey very quickly recognised the potential psychological effects of ritual with all of its drama. Thus many Satanists individually and in groups use ritual as a powerful tool for self awareness and self development. It can be seen as a magical (meaning wilful and powerful) process or tool for transformation of the self. And others.
Satanic ritual is certainly not to everybody’s taste. Obviously it is designed for practising Satanists who are committed to the Left Hand Path. It does emphasise things which society often classifies as dark or forbidden, there may be images and icons of blood and death, of demons and dark forces, there can be sexual references and activity, and there are words and actions which would be seen as blasphemous by many. Last but not least of course there is the presence of Satan as our archetype and inspiration. (However, just in case there are any new readers to this blog, we do not break any laws, no animals are harmed and nothing happens to any participant without their full consent). Satanic ritual is set out as a psychological drama and there are specific goals for each such drama. To outsiders I would guess there are many elements of Satanic ritual which would be unsettling or even frightening. I understand that. Parts of some of these rituals are designed to provoke fear and other dark emotions even among the Satanists gathered. However to Sophie, myself and other Satanists the arena of ritual is a time and place of comfort and empowerment (even if that does sometimes involve confronting things which worry or frighten us).
Earlier this year Sophie and I were facing some doubts and confusion about the way ahead. Once we had given these matters some thought and come to some conclusions we arranged to take part in some quite intensive rituals in order to reinforce and consolidate the decisions we had already made, to purge any doubts so that they could not sap our energy, and to generally reenergise ourselves and our commitment to Satanism. This process worked extremely well.
And so, to come back to what I was explaining at the beginning, these rituals and others we will participate in can be seen as tattoos on our soul. I don’t think this concept is unique to us because we are Satanists. I think most forms of voluntary ritual can be seen as spiritual tattoos.
If a Christian were to define a Satanist they would probably say. All or some of the following things;-
We are evil. We have lost or sold our souls to the devil. We are depraved. We take pleasure in every kind of wicked thing, every kind of evil deed, every kind of perversion. They may say we hurt or corrupt children and the innocent. They may accuse us of unspeakable cruelty to animals. They may think we wish to bring the world to some kind of brutal and cataclysmic end in which all goodness is lost and there is only pain, suffering and despair. In addition we may be accused of being delusional and deranged, sadistic and selfish, nasty and narcissistic. And of course the devil we associate ourselves with is all of these things and more to the nth degree. We are acolytes of the epitome of all that is evil.
The Christians who say and believe these things about us are wrong of course, but to some extent it is at least understandable if not forgiveable because this is what they are taught and brainwashed with from a very early age. We may not wish to forgive because as Satanists we are by nature independent thinkers and we may be critical of the lazy way of thinking that allows these ideas to be swallowed without question; but still we can and should at least understand why we are perceived in such a negative way by some people. To the fundamentalists in particular who believe in a black and white world, Satanists have to be the absolute bad guys to oppose a God whose arbitrary actions are deemed to be always good.
What is less easy to understand and what is perhaps the biggest problem in modern Satanism is the degree to which we as Satanists not only allow ourselves to be defined by Christians and Christian standards; but actually internalise some of those ideas. To put it in a nut-shell, many of us come to a point in our spiritual lives where we go through the stage of thinking, “Well, if everybody thinks I’m evil or that my views and morals are evil because I’m a Satanist, perhaps I am, or perhaps I should be.”
As a result of asking this question some people embark on a darker more twisted path of Satanism which is ultimately unnecessary and which can lead to harm. The mistake is in internalising the Christian concept of Satanism in the first place.
It is Christians who say we are evil, AND THEY ARE WRONG.
As Satanists we come to our own conclusions about what things are good and evil. We don’t have to believe in such concepts at all and we certainly don’t have to use the road map leant to us by Christians to see where the boarders are.
The problem is that while our religion is relatively new it has a long and complex relationship with Christianity and the other Abrahamic religions. Satan and Satanism have been defined by Christians for hundreds of years. That gives them a power we should be aware of and counteract. We should not submit to it.
There may be people reading this who are thinking, as I once did, that it would be much easier if Non Evil Satanists just called themselves something else. Actually that is not possible. We are what we are and we associate ourselves with Satan for many good reasons. But I think that makes it even more important that if and when we must stand up and be counted; if and when we must be open about our beliefs, we convey something that defies the stereotypes and propaganda that surround us.
It is getting easier. The world is less dominated by Christian thinking. Many of us live in multi cultural, multi ethnic societies where the reach of Christian propaganda is not as strong as it was. We don’t have to allow ourselves and our ideas to be defined by Christian prejudices. And I think it is important that we don’t.
One of the things which impressed me most about the first Satanists I met in person, long before I became one myself, was his kindness and generosity . This really jarred with me and forced me to think. I was not a Christian at the time I was very much a Pagan, however I had been brought up in a loosely Christian/Catholic household and I still found the idea that a Satanist could be kind to be quite mind-blowing. It went against all the conventions I knew. He explained that he was not kind because of any particular rule in his religion, he was kind simply because he chose to be. Since that time I have always found that to be the most honourable and authentic reason to be kind. Over the years I have also found that simple kindness is one of the most powerful weapons to make people question their assumptions…
Put it another way… If the first Satanist I had met just sat in a corner being dark and broody, if I had found out he was indeed a cruel, sadistic individual who only cared about himself; I’m not sure if I would ever have taken the time and trouble to find out more about Satanism, let alone become a Satanist myself.
But I will also confess that since becoming a Satanist I have from time to time asked myself the same question. If everybody already thinks I am evil, perhaps I should be… Perhaps I am…
I think it’s a stage many of us go through. In fact it is a stage I suspect we come back to more than once. For me the answer is, “No, I am not evil, and I refuse to let my beliefs and my lifestyle be defined by a religion I don’t believe in and which I think is wrong.”
So let’s insist on defining ourselves in a positive way as free, independent thinkers who make up their own minds about what is right and wrong, as people who believe in their own divinity and their own potential, as people who are genuinely trying to better themselves, as people who celebrate life and living, as realists who embrace science and value critical intelligence.
There is no need to boast or brag about our beliefs but on those occasions where our beliefs do come into the public domain, let’s be good examples that challenge preconceptions and prejudice.
Not missing in action, just busy in different countries. We will be home together in two weeks though and back to our evil ways for the whole summer. There will be plenty to write about then we’re sure!
When you have sex with somebody you love, the feelings and connection you have with your lover do not end with the climax but rather are multiplied and remain with you in a blissful afterglow. It makes you desire your lover even more and so each time you make love this afterglow becomes a more substantial and tangible aspect of what makes you who you are. That is how it is with Cassie and I; but it is also how it is with us and Satan…
A well planned and executed ritual can have a similar impact to sex (especially when there are sexual elements within the ritual itself). Thus a ritual can be a way of building up the connection between your self and your deity (or your higher self). Our Walpurgisnacht ritual was special in several ways, not least because it was the first we celebrated alone together.
For me personally I think it was a turning point. It was the closest I have ever felt to whatever Satanic energy is, and it left me with the clearest sense of dedication and purpose I have felt in my spiritual life.
There was a point during our ritual when contrary to my normal sceptical and quite dominant nature I wanted to submit and totally give all control of my will over to Satan. Anyone familiar with the emotions felt during sexual dominance and submission role play might understand something of what I was feeling. And yet…
Satan (whether that is my own higher self or an actual entity) did not and does not want that. I had a strong sense that what Satan actually wants is for me (and all people) to fully take control of my own life. I knew that before, but the drama of ritual made it clearer and hugely empowering.
I have always been a free spirit and independently minded but this ritual was like a sudden bolt of lightening which illuminated areas of my life which need work and could be more authentic.
By authentic I mean living according to what I truly feel and believe rather than pretending to accept things simply because that is the path of least resistance. (Thanks for that phrase Cassie!).
Of course there are some things which it is wise not to speak about too openly as Satanists. There are times when it is intelligent not to rock the boat. But it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the boat ultimately does need rocking and that the majority view is not necessarily the right one.
In my own case I have realised there are political things in Switzerland which I go along with although I think they are wrong and actually I don’t have to. There are things I don’t say in various aspects of life because my views would be unpopular or controversial, but some of them could be said without doing myself any harm. There are times when I allow people to assume things about me which are false when in fact “sometimes” I would be doing both myself and the other people a favour by not seeming to meet their false expectations.
All of the above things are probably true for most people at some time or other, maybe it is good to have a lightening strike once in a while to show up the areas where we could live a bit more authentically. I doubt if many people on their death-beds regret being themselves. In many magazines I have read that people who have been close to death or who have had near death experiences often say the lesson they took with them was to live more fully as themselves and not spend so much time trying to fulfill other people’s expectations.
In any case this is the message I took with me from Walpurgisnacht and I will adjust a few aspects of my life accordingly. It was not the only message though…
I must confess I have had some problems with using the term Satanist as the main description of my spiritual path. I have never doubted the philosophy and lifestyle of satanism since I began to investigate it, my problem is something else… I have always thought it important to be what we call in German, “konsequent”. Most dictionaries do not translate this word very accurately into English. It is not quite the same as Consequent or consequence. It sort of means doing what you say or that your actions flow logically from what you claim to believe. It is an important concept for me and is very similar to the notion of living authentically. It means the things you actually do or say in your life should accurately reflect the beliefs and values you claim to hold.
For many years I used the term Buddhist to describe my values and the change to Satanism seems like a big jump. I was not sure if I was really being Konsequent. Moreover, if you are really being konsequent can any religious, spiritual or philosophical label be meaningful if there is a possibility that it can change?
During our ritual this question came into sharp focus and so did the answer. It came into my head that Satanism is above all things a state of mind in which you question things without prejudice, including your own assumptions… A state of mind that values independence of thought, education and growth. It is a state of mind which is not static but which embraces change. In this way I have always been a Satanist and always will be, even if my understanding and interpretation of specific things changes along the way.
As a result of all these things becoming clear to me during our ritual I am feeling full of positive, satanic energy at the moment. There is a part of me that would like to go to my window and shout out to the world how beautiful and empowering Satanism can be. (Don’t worry, Cassie and my daughter are keeping me well grounded)! One thing is for sure and that is that I feel much more positive and confirmed in my satanic path going forward and there will be at least a few consequential changes.
P/S. As some of you may know from previous posts, Cassie and I are both smokers. A while ago we were discussing the fact that these days to admit that you enjoy smoking is almost as taboo as admitting that you are a Satanist! Well since we quite enjoy challenging taboos we have decided to start a new blog project on the theme of smoking. If anybody is interested or would like to know more please visit us a at http://smokerswrites.wordpress.com/
pps this is our second attempt to post this; WordPress seemed to be sleeping the first time round.