I was asked by someone to email them a brief take on what Satanism is. This person claimed they were part of a Satanist coven.
I just poured my thoughts on no particular order. So here is my answer (that I emailed them):
I would say that I find the notions of Satanism and a coven to be incompatible. Satanism is the way of the individual; the path of self fulfillment and independence. Defining Satanism is futile, as every Satanist is different.
But I guess that most Satanists can agree to certain generalities. Some Satanists are atheist, some are theists. Some of the theists believe in Satan alone, others in a plethora of many Gods and Demons.
Some see Satan as a symbol of individuality, of rebellion, of questioning everything. Some view Satan as a force of nature, the duality and the constant movement that balance is. Some see it as a god, others see it as a guide, or even a friend, an ally.
Satanism is a path in which we refuse to serve anyone else than oursleves. That means being able to fulfill every desire and lust we may have, without become a slave for these desires. Satanists need nothing, but want it all. And because we are trying to become masters of ourselves and our environment, we crave for power. Power that would allow us to be in absolute control of our lives. And all of this is to find true happiness. Satanism is not about Satan, is about us. Satan is the goal, the title we wish to acquire. Someone who can have anything he wants in life but not be dependent on it has become a Satan. A true master of both his surroundings and himself.
Some Satanists, in effort to reach this goal, use the black arts, the occult, etc. But it is not necessary. The path of a Satanist is a path that is walked alone. Friends, family, partners, this people inside the social circle of the Satanist serve many purposes: the psychological need for love, moral support, a network of potentially useful people, etc. Everything can be a tool in the eyes of the Satanist. Money, magic, friends, people, weapons, power…
Satan is there to help us when we need it. I personally don’t worship him, but he has helped me so many times in my path, and I am grateful for that.
Satanism cannot be practiced in groups. You can practice witchcraft with other people, sure. But your relationship with Satan and other demons is completely personal and not to be shared. A so called “Satanic coven” cannot be more than a big oxymoron, in my opinion.