Introduction by Sophie
We guard our privacy pretty well, but the fact that we are a family of three women who are all Satanists means we are quite well known in some circles and, it’s fair to say, a subject of curiosity to some. An acquaintance of ours who is a radio journalist here in Switzerland recently asked if we would do a radio interview about being a family of Satanists. After a bit of reluctance and a lot of conditions we finally agreed. Obviously we didn’t allow our real names or locations to be broadcast on the radio and part of our agreement was that we should be allowed to publish a written form of the interview on our blog after the radio show was broadcast. Thus we are publishing part of it here. Please bare in mind that the original interview was in German, so this is my translation and I am leaving out all the “errs” and “umms” that creep into normal speech. I have also edited out some parts of the interview, including part of the introduction, which are just repeating things we have already said here. Hopefully our readers will find our five minutes of fame interesting! The interview itself provoked a quite big response and we have been invited back to answer some listeners questions. As for our readers here, we are always happy to answer any sensible questions. Here is the interview…
Interviewer: I am sitting in a suburban kitchen drinking coffee with three polite and well spoken women. On the the surface there is nothing particularly unusual about the women. All three of them have tattoos, but then so do half the people in Zurich these days. The two older women are in a lesbian relationship but hopefully that fact alone should not raise any eyebrows in 2017. The youngest of the three is their daughter, she is in her late teens and looks a little older than that. If you passed them in the street you wouldn’t notice anything unusual about them. They are in many ways a modern version of the typical nuclear family. But the room opposite the kitchen where we are sitting now has been converted to a temple of sorts. It is dark, all the walls are painted black and there is a table on which a black candle is burning in front of a small statue of Satan. On the four walls of the room there are framed pictures of demons. The women I am speaking to are Satanists. All three of them. Their names are Cassie, Sophie and Tina.
So let me get the awkward question out of the way first. “Are you evil? Do you sacrifice animals or practice black magic?”
Cassie; “Well the easiest of those questions is the middle one. We don’t sacrifice animals. We don’t harm animals in any way. And before you ask; we don’t sacrifice virgins or babies either! The other two questions are a bit more difficult to answer because the terms you use mean different things to different people. We do practice what some call black magic; by which I mean we are witches and we practice any kind of magic that achieves our goals. There are some witches, such as Wiccans who have a kind of moral code attached to the magic they do which says they should harm nobody. We don’t make a vow to keep to any such code, but that doesn’t mean we spend our time creating spells to hurt people. It just means we don’t rule anything out.
Sophie; “For the record, I don’t think that so far any of us have ever done any magic that could be called evil or malicious. We just don’t rule out doing such things in the unlikely event that it became necessary. We do however sometimes do magic that helps us. We don’t have any rules about not using magic to make our own lives better.
Tina; “Black Magic of the type we use, also implies using techniques and working with forces that people of some other religions think are bad or wrong.”
Cassie “Which brings us back to the question of evil. Some Satanists, including Sophie and Tina, don’t particularly mind other people using the word evil to describe us. But it kind of sticks in my throat. I do lots of things, like practicing black magic for example, which some people think are evil. But I also do a lot of things which some people, probably most people, think are good. We don’t believe in absolutes and we don’t really think anybody else has the right to judge whether we are good or evil. Personally I prefer to use the word Satanic. I’m happy to be described as that.”
Interviewer; “Well let’s get to the basics. What does it mean to be a Satanist? What do you believe? Do you worship The Devil?”
Tina (Laughing) “Do you always ask three questions at once?”
Tina “It’s okay. But those are big questions. There are different kinds of Satanists just like there are different kinds of Christians or Buddhists. Probably, the biggest group of modern Satanists are those who follow the basic teachings of Anton LaVey. He became famous in the 1960s. He was a kind of showman really, but he popularized a form of Satanism which was like an antidote to Christianity and other organised religions. He was trying to challenge people to think for themselves and break some of the rules and taboos that Christians insisted on. But actually he was an atheist and so are most who follow his line of Satanism. For them everything is symbolic and the devil is in some ways our inner self; all the parts that other religions say we should be ashamed of…
Interviewer; “So that is the kind of Satanism that you follow?”
Sophie “Not exactly. We use Laveyan Satanism as a kind of guideline but while they are atheists we are not. We believe there is an actual force or being which we call Satan or The Devil. So in a way you could say we worship The Devil.”
Cassie; “But only in a way… We don’t really use the word worship in the way Christians understand it. Maybe a better word is “respect”. We Respect Satan, and we also interact with him… But even then it is not what most people think… We do not believe Satan is the way Christianity describes him, so we don’t actually think he is evil. We believe Satan is a force in the world that the organisations of other religions fear. Basically, if you look at the Biblical texts and other writings, Satan is simply saying that it is wrong to worship God or the institutions of the church. Satan is the voice saying we can work things out for ourselves and it would actually be better that way. Satan is the champion of those who don’t think any religion should repress or control people just to hold on to power. Satan is telling us we can be our own Gods. And Christianity and some other religions hate and fear that idea…
(The three of us then explain those ideas in a bit more detail, which we have already done in several posts on this blog. Then there is a section on how and why we became Satanists, which we have also written alot about in this blog)…
Interviewer; “So how does all this work out in daily life? Are you completely hedonistic? Do you have any morals that other people could relate to?”
Tina “You are doing the three question thing again!”
Sophie “Yes, we are hedonistic. Actually we reject the concept that it is wrong to be hedonistic. We also reject the concept of sin. So we enjoy our lives as much as we can and we place value on that. We treat ourselves well. We enjoy all the physical and sensual pleasures that come our way without guilt…”
Tina; “So we party! We drink. We smoke. We enjoy good food and having fun. And sex of course…”
Cassie; “And we don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But as Satanists we believe we should take responsibility for our actions. So while we have fun, the responsibility to look after ourselves is ours and so are the consequences. To put it simply if we want to go out and have some drinks we decide for ourselves how much is too much and how much of a hangover we are prepared to put up with. Of course you don’t have to be a Satanist to have that attitude; it is just sensible… But in a way, that is the point. Being sensible is pretty much fundamental to Satanism. And that applies to more serious things too, like what we do in our sex lives or even what we do or think politically or magically. It is all about thinking the consequences through and taking personal responsibility for our actions; even when it comes to having fun.”
Interviewer; “That all sounds very reasonable, but it also sounds very selfish. Don’t you care how your actions affect other people?”
Sophie; “This is a mistake in thinking that a lot of people make. Why should the fact that we think about ourselves and our own wants and needs mean that we don’t care about other people? It just means that we put ourselves first. I know some religions say that is wrong but we just think it is a sensible starting point. We do care about other people. We are not obliged to by some outside force, we just do. But we choose who we care about and what we can or can’t do to help them.”
Tina; “I could give you a list of what we do for other people but… That probably isn’t the thing to do… But you know… Cassie and Sophie work with young people who have difficulties. They are teachers. You can’t be a teacher without caring. We all give money to charities we like. I have organised help for refugees and I help out in an animal sanctuary… We do lot’s of things that most people would think are nice, or good… But in our free time we enjoy ourselves… We have fun… We have sex… We indulge ourselves… But we are not so stupid as to let those things get in the way of other important things we have to do to be successful in life.”
Cassie; “And as for morals. We have our own and we try to be true to ourselves. Basically we try to be kind and helpful most of the time but we don’t feel obliged to be nice to people who treat us or other people badly. In our daily lives… Well, Sophie and I have quite a lot of organisational work to do for our coven. We have the room you described earlier where we sometimes meditate or get together for learning or small family rituals… But otherwise, our daily lives are pretty much like other people… We have breakfast. We work. We have meals together when we are all home. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we just chat. Sometimes we watch TV. Our daily lives are not very unusual.
Interviewer; “I’m sure when a lot of people think about Satanism they will imagine dark rites and rituals with perverted sex and lots of blood. Is there any truth in that?”
Cassie; “Well the true answer is that sometimes there is some truth in that. We do have rites and rituals which emphasize the darker side of life and death even. There is sometimes some sexual content in those rituals which we don’t see as being perverted, but admittedly our sexual morals are maybe a bit more liberal than the norm. And sometimes but not always, there is blood. Usually our blood, or the blood of animals which have already been humanely killed to be used for food. Yes, I know that can sound a bit grotesque to a lot of people; but a lot of those same people will routinely sit down and eat beef for dinner with the blood oozing out of it… In fairness there are also quite a lot of Satanists, some in our own coven, who are vegetarians and who do not participate in anything which involves animal blood. But the point of all these rituals is to change your mindset for a while, to break common taboos. It has been recognized for centuries in many different religions, that breaking taboos combined with the theater, the language and drama of ritual can have powerful psychological effects. Anton Lavey recognised that, and so do we and many other modern Satanists. In our group we feel it opens up a channel between us and Satan. In other groups they see it as opening up the inner self, the God within. We think that is part of it too.”
Interviewer; “Sophie, I am sitting here looking at you and your daughter and I would like to ask a blunt question. You are a mature woman and it is clear it is up to you how you live your life. But your daughter is so young and, dare I say, innocent. How can you condone or justify her getting mixed up in the kind of things Cassie has just described or even the wider implications of living as a Satanist? Don’t you worry about her as a daughter? Some… A lot of people would argue that it is your duty to guard and protect her against the very things you seem to be advocating.”
Sophie (I was bristling a bit about this question and my tone was a bit angry!) Firstly I love Tina very much, and yes, I am still her mother and I will always protect her as much as I can in all ways… And if anybody were to hurt her, they would come to wish with every bone in their body that they had not crossed me! But… I didn’t raise my daughter to be an eternal child. Part of a mother’s responsibility is to help their children grow up and become all that they can be, as adults. And I think I am doing that. Tina is not a child. I recognize that. She will be at university next year and she is making a life of her own. She is already an adult. Young…yes. But an adult all the same. And I welcome that. She is NOT innocent and wouldn’t want to be. I don’t care what other people think of me, but I think there is something beautiful about your child discovering the riches of the adult world and learning some of the pleasures we sometimes take for granted when we are older… And also of course some of the problems and extra responsibilities that go with being an adult. And as I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with the things we have described in the interview today, I also don’t think it is wrong for my daughter either. About the ritual side… Tina does not participate in our own coven at the moment. Partly because we do have an age limit and would not allow people to join us until they are eighteen; and Tina still has a few months to go before she reaches that landmark. But anyway after lots of discussions we all decided that it would not be right at first for her to join our own coven, so she is in training in another coven… We do however do a few smaller rituals and magical workings as a family group. We feel it brings us closer together.”
Tina; “I’d just like to say that I have a very close relationship with my mother which is more than a lot of my friends do. My Mum and I do argue sometimes but basically we are friends and we trust each other. I study hard. I don’t do any illegal drugs. I pay my way at home. I don’t cause problems. But I’m not innocent and never wanted to be. I have a boyfriend. I’ve had other lovers. I do go out and have fun. But if I have problems, which is just normal because everybody has problems… My Mum and Cassie are the first people I come to. I can talk to them about anything and I trust what they say and mostly take their advice. How many other teenagers can truly say that?”
Interviewer; “Well we are coming to the end of the interview and have to finish off. I’m am sure there is much more we could have talked about and which you might have liked to talk about. So can I ask each of you to sum up in your own words what you feel you gain from being a Satanist? And feel free to add anything you think is important which we didn’t have time to go into detail about.”
Cassie; “To put it simply I gained in every way. I learned to like and understand my whole self better. I became more confident and more successful. My life has been more interesting, more rewarding and more fun since I became a Satanist and I have gone in all sorts of directions I never dreamed of. Having said that, I know that Satanism is not for everyone… And we still have friends of different religions or of no religion, but I should also point out to listeners that there are some crazy people who pretend to be Satanists, just as there are idiots in all religions. So if anybody is seriously interested in finding out more they should do a lot of research and be quite careful when they are first starting out.
Sophie; “I found when I came out as a Satanist, it was like a weight was lifted off me and I could be myself, my real self, for the first time. Like Cassie, it has taken me in all sorts of new directions. I would say however that we didn’t really discuss the details of all the different groups and types of Satanists. I was an atheist before becoming a Satanist and thought that was how I would stay… But I came to see things another way. Atheists are the biggest group of Satanists though and I would kind of recommend that type as the best way into Satanism for anybody that is interested in finding out more. The emphasis of Satanism is self improvement and self empowerment.”
Tina; “I think Satanism has given me a bit of an edge… A kind of protective coating… It also helps me to understand people and life much better. Some parts of it are like a free psychology course! Like Sophie said, it is mainly about empowerment. Actually I also like Satanism because it is scientific. Today we have mainly spoken about some of the things people who are not Satanists would probably think about… But when you study and find out more about it, you realize it is very scientific and it respects science. That is important to me.”
Cassie “Just one quick thing I’d like to add. Being a Satanist doesn’t make you a good person or a bad person. It just helps you to understand yourself better and empower you to achieve all you can. Your listeners may know some people who they think of as very good, kind people, and they might just turn out to be Satanists. And we all know people of other religions like Islam and Christianity who think they are doing good but really aren’t. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you don’t often find homophobic, bigoted Satanists!”
Interviewer. “Thank you for your time. So that was three real live Satanists. As I said earlier, you could pass them in the street and you would have no idea about this aspect of their lives… A lot of what they say sounds reasonable, but is it? Let us know what you think.”
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.
This is a post to mark a right of passage, as much for me as for my daughter. But it makes sense for Tina to speak first.
Tina speaking… Unlike my mother or Cassie I have never really been interested in or experienced any religion or philosophy except Satanism. It is true that I got interested in it because it was so important to them but since I started finding out about it myself I never really had any doubts about it. It is also true that I became a Satanist at the same time I started to change from a girl into a woman and I suppose the two things are connected.
Some months ago I started to have some doubts about continuing with Satanism. It wasn’t because I stopped believing; it was just because a lot of other things were happening (school, study, boyfriends etc) and also I was a bit frustrated with being on the fringe of things at home. (Mum and Cassie are very busy with their coven and I get on well with all those people but can’t join in with anything. I am friends with the children of the coven members but most of them are not my age and anyway, strange to say, none of them are actually Satanists themselves. The only Satanists of my own age I am in contact with are online contacts and that is not the same as real life.). So I thought maybe I should just let go of Satanism for a while and concentrate on other things. Mum and Cassie were perfectly fine with that. But the problem was I couldn’t let it go. It was already too much part of my life. I have been learning witchcraft for quite a few years already and I couldn’t “not” be a witch. And I couldn’t stop being a Satanist either, it is what I am. So instead of leaving Satanism I went the other way. I did a big, deep and dark ritual of self dedication to Satan. And then I felt that connection and power surge that my mum and Cassie have spoken about before. In some ways I think it changed me even more than losing my virginity (which also happened during the last year).
So now I feel supercharged as a Satanist and strangely it doesn’t bother me now that I have to wait a year or two before officially joining the coven. I feel I have my own relationship with Satan now. And while I know I still have lots to learn about just about everything I am an adult now. Childhood is over and I am fully enjoying being a young adult. I will sin. I will indulge. I will learn. I will grow.
I am keeping this short and missing things out but obviously while all this was happening there were lots of long discussions with my mother and Cassie. I think as a result of all that, my relationship with my mum has changed. It was always a good relationship but now I think it is a more equal and adult one. But I will let her explain…
Sophie again… All relationships grow and change including the mother/daughter relationship. The fact that my daughter and I share broadly the same religious and philosophical beliefs has certainly helped in the past few years and I believe there has been far less conflict between us than some mothers and daughters experience. However we are indeed both Satanists and that has repercussions and consequences. Simply put, in order to be true to the beliefs and philosophy we share I have had to allow her to grow at her own pace and embark on adult life free of many of the restrictions I experienced and free of the guilt that I and many others experienced living in a world dominated by Christian values.
Only a couple of years ago when puberty was just beginning to take effect, I could still think of my daughter as essentially a child. Although she was already starting to change into a woman physically and mentally, I still saw her mainly as my little girl to be nurtured and protected. And I think even she would agree that in many ways she was still a child and was mostly quite happy to be treated as such. One of her first grown up decisions was to become a Satanist. Cassie and I discouraged her quite strongly at first, believing that it would be better for her to have more experience of life before deciding on any religion or philosophy; let alone one as outside the mainstream as Satanism is. But she was strong-willed, determined and persistent and eventually we decided it was best to respect her decision and guide her on that path as best we could. And so Satan became one of the guiding lights and cornerstones of her development as an adult. Cassie and I thought perhaps it was just a phase and we would have been ready to accept it if she had said she wanted to back out or just focus her energies on the less spiritual aspects of adolescence. But it was not just a phase. Her adulthood has blossomed within a Satanic household in which we value knowledge, pleasure and experience and where we have no great reverence for innocence and certainly no respect for ignorance.
And now sitting opposite me, Tina is an intelligent, quick witted and beautiful young woman who shares some of my beliefs and many of my pleasures and vices. But she is her own woman. She disagrees with me on some things (even concerning Satanism) and she has many interests and aspirations that have never been mine. She will always be my daughter, blood of my blood and I will always love her and be there for her in that capacity. But I also love the Satanic woman that she has become and respect her as the individual she has chosen to be. In some ways her Satanism is more pure than mine and there is much I can learn from her. We are both now daughters of Satan and go forward as equals and friends.
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.
I have always had a slight problem in fully identifying as an atheist. The problem really depends on what the definition of atheism actually is. Among modern and LaVeyan Satanists (and many other groups that are not related to Satanism) Atheism often seems to be defined as not only a disbelief in God but also a disbelief in anything that could be described as supernatural. I can’t go quite that far. Moreover even disbelief in God depends on what you take God to mean in the first place… A Christian idea of God is very different story to some of the many Pagan ideas of God for example.
And while Sophie and Tina have always been more stridently atheist than myself, all three of us describe ourselves as Theistic Satanists because we do believe there is an actual entity which we know by the name of Satan. However, the way we view and relate to that entity has no relation to the concept of God as most people understand it.
So we are atheists and I am coming to think of that as certainly the most logical and rational stance to have towards what most people refer to as God, and possibly the most moral one too. We believe the following.
There is no God. There never has been any God. The ideas of God depicted in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim scriptures are no more than stories, fairy tales to explain the world in a time before sufficient scientific understanding and vocabulary existed. Those fables also served to reinforce and underline very human political power structures. It is preposterous that these stories are still believed in modern times. There is no God that created the world. The world we live in was created by the cosmic forces of thermodynamics, gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces all of which themselves derived from the event known as the Big Bang. The Big Bang itself occurred for reasons that science and mathematics can explain. Life on Earth developed through natural evolution. Modern human beings evolved in the same way. We were not created by God or in the image of God, there is no God, there was no God. God has never intervened in human history because God does not exist. There is no God who sits in judgement. There is no God who cares about us. There is no God to impart or enforce rules or morals. There is no God to live for. There is no God to die for. THERE IS NO GOD.
There is no evidence for God and there is plenty of evidence for a more scientific understanding of the world. There is also daily evidence that abdicating personal responsibility and deferring judgement to a non existent deity (the religious stance) is responsible for far more harm than good in the world. ( Thinks of all the acts of terrorism and mass shootings that are motivated by religious beliefs).
The Satanic stance goes a little further than pure atheism because we actively oppose the laws, norms, morals and institutions of social control that Religion and belief in God fosters and promotes. We dare people to live according to their own morals and take responsibility for their own lives. For us Satan has been like the ghost in the machine (feel free to insert all sorts of “matrix” analogies), the call to consciousness that has been embedded within many religious traditions. Liberation comes from recognising that Satan is not the enemy or the bad guy, but the wake up call.
However, I do not rule out belief in all things that are classed as supernatural. We for example continue to believe in Satan as an actual entity. As somebody who has practiced magic for many years I suspect Satan may be an egregore or thoughtform created over thousands of years. Satan could also be an internal mental construct. Or perhaps Satan is an entity, a life form in its own right… I am agnostic about what Satan is but I do not doubt it’s reality to us. In the same way, we believe in and work with demons without knowing exactly what they are. Our belief stems from experience of successful interactions.
I firmly believe that science will one day be able to explain all things. But at this time there are still many things which remain unexplained and mysterious. I think when atheists start to disbelieve everything which has no scientific explanation on principle, they are in danger of limiting their minds as much as religious thinkers do.
There are many things that I do not know. I do not know if there is any form of life after death. I suspect probably not. I think it is most likely that when our bodies expire that is the end, a full stop, we cease to exist, to experience or know anything. We end. Actually I think it is best to live life with the view that this one chance is all we get because I think that makes us fully realise how precious and urgent our lives are. However I am open to the possibility that our souls do continue in some form. Maybe reincarnation. Maybe a new form of existence in hell…
I don’t think being an atheist should rule out belief in things that cannot yet be known or understood. I think being an atheist should just mean not believing in God.
There is no God. It is time for people to grow up and face that fact.
There is no God but ourselves.
I have been meaning to write a post on the pros and cons of group or coven Satanism compared with Solitary Satanism for quite a while, so here it is; or a first try anyway.
A short piece of personal background. I started off very much as a solitary Satanist, but from the beginning I was in contact with other Satanists over the Internet in various ways. I then met Sophie so then we were two, then three including our daughter; and eventually Sophie and I started our own coven. As a result I have looked at this subject from several perspectives.
I will start off by saying that in my opinion all Satanists are essentially solitary even if they regularly or occasionally work with others. Individualism is a cornerstone of Satanism, so while we can, and I think sometimes should, collaborate with other Satanists; we never stop being the authors of our own individual lives and beliefs. Any group that demands we conform to beliefs or practices which we don’t agree with is a group to be avoided. With that said it is still usually possible to find groups with which it is enjoyable and beneficial to collaborate and cooperate.
I will talk about the possible benefits of working with other Satanists first, but also raise some reservations. In the end I will come back to my first point that we are all essentially solitary.
For the vast majority of us the decision to become or identify as a Satanist is a very profound and deeply personal thing that happens very much within our heart, mind and soul. It is liberating but marks a huge departure from the mainstream of public opinion. We are choosing to follow a way that is very misunderstood and thought of as perverse and evil by many. It is therefore comforting to meet and get to know others on a similar path and deeply satisfying to be able to be your true self in front of others without the need of excuses or explanations. These days many of those encounters are likely to be over the Internet on various forums where distance is not an issue. Sometimes these encounters will be helpful and fulfilling and could be the start of meaningful friendships between like minded people. These connections can be very important in gaining knowledge via other people’s experiences. There must be caution however because there are a lot of creeps and idiots posing as Satanists on the Internet (some of whom genuinely believe they Are Satanists) who are dangerous and can do a lot of harm to individuals and the real Satanic community.
Assuming you navigate your first encounters with other Satanists carefully and successfully you may want to reach out for closer, more personal, deeper and sometimes more intimate connections with other Satanists. There could be several reasons for this. Some are naturally more social than others and simply want to physically spend time in the company of other Satanists. Those who practice greater magic may feel that their knowledge and power will be magnified by working closely with others. Many will understand the power of drama in ritual with others to unlock and unleash the Satanic mind more fully. For myself it was a mixture of all these things plus a desire to feel immersed in Satanic thought, life and culture that drew me into seeking out and joining a coven.
I was lucky in that I found a suitable coven fairly quickly; for others geography and other factors can make finding the right coven take much longer. It is worth spending time over and you should never join a group which makes you feel uncomfortable or where there is pressure to do things you don’t want to. The intelligent Satanist will wait and may ultimately decide it is better to remain solitary than hook up with people you don’t want to be associated with. I felt nurtured and educated by my coven and that being with them gave me the space and confidence to become my true self. Now Sophie and I have our own coven which is both a social group of people who have roughly the same philosophy and hopefully a caring community which promotes the personal growth of each member. Some of our meetings are purely social but we feel we grow by working magic and engaging in ritual with each other. Again there is a sense of freedom and liberation that comes from full and shameless engagement with the diabolical realm in the company of other dark souls. So for us being in a coven is an important part of our Satanic life and experience. It is not and does not have to be that way for everybody however.
While I enjoy the dramatic, ritual and ceremonial aspects of working in a coven and the comradery that goes with that, I still acknowledge that Satanism is essentially a path of personal and intellectual growth and development. You don’t always need anyone else to facilitate that. Indeed for the Satanist (even those of us who believe in a Satanic entity of some sort) I would argue that it is essential to rely first and foremost on one’s self and none other. Many people can and do go through their Satanic lives keeping their philosophical or spiritual views very much to themselves. Very often it is both wise and useful to keep your head down and not draw unwelcome attention. Sometimes this can be the most effective way to live out Satanic principles in everyday life. It is a truism that some of the most dedicated Satanists are people whom the the gullible masses would never suspect of being such.
There are probably far more Satanists who do their own private thing than those who are actually members of groups or covens. There are many advantages in not having to compromise with others in perusing your own beliefs and personal development. Thus for many Satanists the lone path is the path of choice. Even for those who would ultimately like to engage more with other Satanists the lone path can be educational and empowering. And the lone path is where we all begin.
Even while working in a group every Satanist is an individual whose path is unique and whose priority is the empowerment of his or her self. We are all different. Some of us may want or need the company of others as an aspect of expressing ourselves and our beliefs, others don’t. We have chosen a path of self empowerment and we must make our own experiments and choices when it comes to crafting our own lives unrestrained by the norms or taboos of society. Certainly we should not be restrained by the views of other Satanists.
Coven or solitary? It’s whatever works best for you. And there is no reason we can’t be both.
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.