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.
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.
It is a year since we heard the sad news that our friend Lee had passed from this world.
He is still often in our thoughts.
His legacy remains.
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!
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.
I can understand people’s misconceptions and prejudice about Satanism and Satanists, in fact it is not at all hard to understand. Before I met Cassie I probably thought many of those things myself. I would say that 98% of what you read or hear about Satan in the Western/Christianised world depicts him as pure evil and his followers as the same. And then again the whole idea of the Left Hand Path (which I believe originated in Eastern traditions) can be oversimplified to mean selfish, nasty and depraved. Thus Satan and his followers are extremely bad, cruel, selfish folk who derive pleasure from hurting and destroying others, injecting chaos into order and celebrating depravity.
The problem is that while many of us might come to some consensus about what actually constitutes evil or depravity privately, in reality and in law it is the Christian church and the governments it has supported which has effectively dictated what should be seen as evil or depraved for many centuries. So while most of us might actually agree that murder, rape and child abuse are very wrong, the Christian church has for centuries set arbitrary rules and standards about what is evil. These include the notions that homosexuality, sex outside marriage, abortion and even challenging the Pope or other religious authorities on matters of doctrine can be sinful or even evil and in some cases punishable by death. And like many invading armies when moving into new territories, the Christian Church went about dismantling and discrediting the local structures, authorities and cultures. So the Pagan Horned God of nature became associated with a rebranded version of a shadowy figure from Judao-Christian tradition, the Devil, Lucifer or Satan.
I must stress that I am not an expert; but it does seem to me that if you look into the history of The Devil as presented in different epochs of history through the three Abrahamic religions ( Judaism, Christianity and Islam) the picture that emerges is a confused one… Sometimes a fallen Angel, sometimes God’s agent, sometimes the tempter, the accuser or the antagonist, sometimes working against “God’s” plan, sometimes a part of it… The pure evil of Satan only seems to become really prominent when the church needs to emphasis it’s authority (often with the sword and lots of blood).
As modern Satanists, Cassie and I are not so much confronting the Christian Church. We are doing something we hope is far more effective; we are ignoring it.
What if Christianity, Judaism and Christianity had never existed? Well, for a start the Middle East might be a much more peaceful and harmonious place! But let’s have a look at a bit more fantasy history…
The Romans would have remained Pagan. Who knows whether this would have speeded up or slowed down the demise of their Empire. To be honest I think the Roman Empire would have degenerated a little more quickly because for all it’s faults, Christianity did become a unifying factor. But Europe would have remained strongly Pagan for many more centuries, with Roman influences merging with Germanic, Nordic and Celtic traditions. In some ways the speed of civilisation may have slowed down because it was the single language (Latin) and the development of an internationally literate clergy using the Bible that helped spread and popularise some of the ideas we associate with intellectual development. However, writing, literacy and even an internationally understood language could easily have developed in a Pagan Europe as well.
And what a socially different place it would have been. Probably less centralised (no Pope in Rome), possibly Germany and the Nordic Countries would have been more central to European development. And instead of being the enemy of all that was deemed to be civilised, The Horned God and his Goddess consort under various names would have been at the heart of most European spiritual traditions. Witches might have been venerated rather than burned and may indeed have found themselves at the centre of the dawning scientific enlightenment. I imagine Paganism in Europe would probably have developed in a very similar way to Hinduism in India. And probably there would have been contact and cross references. Each town or even household might have their own particular deity(s) and over-arching myths and legends would have developed to link many of them. As Pagans we would not have seen our bodies or our animalistic nature as sinful or wrong; we would not be forced to grow up feeling ashamed of our human nature. Endlessly in sin-debt to a judgemental God
I think it is fair to say that while science was often at odds with Christianity, it’s development grew on the back of Christian intellectualism. On the other hand, since paganism is so related to nature I don’t think there would have been the animosity against science or the centralised vested interests that conspired to refute and punish scientific discoveries. Thus I think the scientific revolution and enlightenment may have come more swiftly and smoothly in Pagan Europe and then spread to America without the dogmatic fundamentalists who even today refute and hinder science.
if that had been our history I think modern Europe and America would by now be atheistic and scientific in essence but our common pagan heritage would form the backbone of our spiritual beliefs. We might now understand that the myths and legends of old as ways to understand and work with nature and we would not question our place in the natural world or be alienated from it. Satan might not be known by that name, but the horned God of nature would not be our enemy; he would be our friend and spiritual father and teacher.
And perhaps also without the example of Christianity to cloud the issue we would understand more easily that we have to rely on our own moral judgements and that there are many paths to personal and spiritual development. What we now refer to as the Left Hand Path would not be seen as an opposition to prevailing Christian sentiments of morality, but as one of many possible routes to progression. A route which doesn’t shrink from the dirt and grime of the world but gets down in the dirt and realities of life. A route which celebrates life and recognises balance and harmony depend on working with both light and darkness. A path that understands that light and dark are not always so easy to tell apart and that both are necessary to be whole.
Of course all this is fantasy and speculation. We cannot in fact rewrite history or change the past. But by imagining how things might have been different perhaps it is easier to see Satanism in a different perspective. A perspective Christians don’t want anybody to see it by.
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.