Originally from Bay Witch Musings “11 Things to Answer about your Religion”
Where do my religious beliefs arise from (in my life)? Were they taught to me as a child? Did I discover them as an adult? Have I developed them on the basis of personal experiences–are they a positive or negative reaction to events in my life? Have they been developed from books or other people’s experiences?
It all started when I was 14 years old. The night of that year’s spring equinox, Azazel, the Sun Demon, came to me on my dreams. He showed me visions of my previous lives, and told me that I am as a God, like he and many others. He told me I was bound to achieve great things during this life, and that I could get whatever I wanted with enough willpower and knowledge. His last words during that dream were « You’ll find knowledge there where no one dares looking at. What is hidden shall reveal to you if you search deep enough. ». That’s how I started researching the occult, magic, and alternative religions. As I kept advancing, I kept executing rituals. And as the complexity rose, the intensity of the experiences did as well. After some years I had met Demons, Gods, spirits of the dead, and other astral creatures of all sorts. My beliefs are based entirely in my experiences, and the things I’ve learnt from these.
What is the purpose of my personal religion/spirituality (its beliefs and practices)? How do they add or detract to my inherent qualities—in my relationships with my family, with my community, with the world at large? Do the actions of my religious practices respect the individuality and autonomy of others? How do I measure the worth of my beliefs and practices? How do I decide to accept/reject and/or adopt/discard a particular religious or spiritual idea or practice?
Satanism is about the self. The sole purpose is to empower, spiritually and materially, myself. Satanism has made me understand who does and who does not deserve interaction with me. Hopelessly close-minded people are not worth my time, even if they are family. I might have disturbed neighbours during the night because of my rituals, but they haven’t manifested anything. Until they do, I’m going to assume they haven’t heard anything.
When it comes to practice, I never discard anything until I try it (unless it has heavy legal implications). As a general rule I will try a ritual a few times before discarding it as not working for me.
What is the basic nature of divinity? Is it one(monotheistic), many separate and distinctly unique literal entities (hard polytheism), the universe in its entirety (pantheism), male and female divine forces (duotheism), as multiple figurative personalities that originate from one, or two, or several entities (soft polytheism)? As the very fabric from which the cosmos is formed? As a wishful or even deluded thinking? As none of these…or several of them…or something that is impossible to say?
There are many Gods in the Astral Plane. The four main Gods I believe in are Satan, Beelzebub, Ashtaroth and Azazel. Each human being has a divine spark within as well. We are like Gods, our souls are alike in nature, but at a much smaller scale. However we are capable of empowering our soul.
How is divinity expressed in the universe? (do the gods act directly? is there no action by gods? is there a “force”of some sort? etc…) What is the underlying nature of existence? (is everything alive? does everything have a spirit? a soul? why or why not? which things? ) Does our existence serve a greater purpose? How so? What is sacred? What is not sacred?
The Gods act by subtly influencing the forces of the universe. They can act on their own will or at request.
The soul is a self-producing core of energy, bound together by a consciousness, a mind. However there are different kinds of souls: Gods have Divine souls, who depend only on spiritual energy to subsist. Animals have Mundane souls, who depend only on material energy to subsist. We humans are a hybrid. We depend on spiritual energy as much as we depend on material energy. Our animal body and divine spirit are the cause of this.
The sacredness of something is decided by the practitioner alone, and his connection to the object/concept. In my case, my altar and the tools on it, as well as my symbols, prayers rituals, and my necklace as well, are all sacred.
What are my religious practices? Do they work? How do my actions, prayers, rituals, etc effect change (and where do they do so–within, without, etc)? What mechanism do I have to explain this? What is the purpose of these practices–celebration, thanksgiving, blessing, etc? Are there particular days or times where these practices take place? Do they need to be performed in a certain manner or at a certain location? Is there particular clothing or equipment that is needed?
I practice some sort of prayer, which are more like compact, quick rituals, and generally rituals that may include meditation, writing, burning the things I wrote, singing, chanting, praying, crafting, etc. Though only some of them have an effect outside of myself, most, if not all, have an effect within. To affect the world outside of myself, the rituals exert a certain subtle force on the variables of the universe, to make the desired outcome have a higher probability of happening.
Usually rituals happen during the night, and more often than not I use my ritual tools, which include an athame, a mortar, a chalice, tarot cards, a pendulum, candles, a gong, and stones. The manner in which the rituals are carried out depends on the kind of ritual, its purpose and my own laziness.
What is forbidden and/or encouraged in your faith? Do you feel that there are actions, events, or items that are forbidden because they are considered to be an affront or transgression against divinity? If so, why? What are they? Is there a method to achieve forgiveness, make restitution, or otherwise be absolved from one’s actions? What about actions, events, or items that are proscribed because they cause harm? What is the role of “harm” in choosing right or wrong action? Is there are punishment for these actions? Are there actions, events, or items that are preferred or required by divinity?
The only thing that is forbidden in my Satanism is having a moment of weakness and not do anything about it. Being weak is not forbidden. Not trying to become stronger is. Use this vague statement as your creativity wants. Transgressing divinity is hard in Satanism, as most Gods don’t give a shit about what you do. Some don’t even care being disrespected purposefully. There is nothing to be absolved from. There is no sin in Satanism. There’s nothing to be forgiven for. Your actions are a manifestation of your Will and you should never be ashamed of them. There is no divine punishment/retribution in Satanism.
What is the role of science and nature in your spiritual and religious beliefs? What is our relationship with other animals? What is is our relationship with the planet or planetary systems? What is our relationship with the rest of the Cosmos? If there is life on other planets (statistically is seems likely), how does that impact your religious and spiritual beliefs? Is the material sacred? How does our physical place in the material world relate to our relationship with the divine? What should our actions be towards the natural world if they are to reflect our religious beliefs?
Animals have a different soul than us. Not inferior, not superior. Just different. Planets are big chunks of things. Their composition may or may not have an energetic influence on us. There is probably life on other planets. Statistics are not always right, but for this it does seem pretty logical. The material is sacred in Satanism. After all, we humans are as much divine as we are mundane. So both sides of the coin should be maintained equally.
What is the role of culture and history in your spiritual and religious beliefs? Do you need your beliefs validated textually or to share a lineage with pre-existing beliefs? Are you seeking to reconstruct (as historically accurate as possible) a religion from an ancient culture in a modern world (a reconstructionist)? Or are you seeking to revive the religions of ancient cultures in a modern context (a revivalist)? Or, are you simply inspired by a pantheon or mythology of an ancient cultures, from a modern interpretation without much concern for the historical context (I call this one an “inspirationalist”)? Do you believe that a culture’s mythos, symbology, beliefs, and practices should be approached singularly and on their own terms? Do you seek to seamlessly blend two systems into single system that works harmoniously together or to do you find the different bits and pieces of a myriad of peoples to fit together in your own life like pieces of a puzzle??
In my beliefs, culture and history are vague references, but what matters the most is the personal experience of the practitioner and his direct communication with their Gods.
What is the role of mythos in our lives? Is myth meant to be literal? Figurative? Inspirational? Do you feel the Eddas? The Vedas? Odysseus? Myths from Olympus? Or tales from Eire? Perhaps its the story of humanity, or a specific culture, or something a bit more Big History–Book of Nature/the Universe, or the Story of Mankind? Are you attracted to/inspired by a particular set of spiritual myths or a particular culture’s beliefs and practices? Which myths speak to you the loudest, and why? What lessons do you think you can learn from them? What do they tell you, or how do they inspire you?
There are not really any mythos in my own Satanism. The Gods and Demons don’t talk much about their past. But when they do, it’s literal, usually.
Is there such a thing as fate? Is there such a thing as free will? What is the balance of fate vs free will in predetermination of our destinies (singularly and/or collectively)? How is fate and/or free will governed? Is there a way to change the balance of fate or free will at play in our lives? How are we judged in our action or inaction? What is the repercussion for a “wrong” actions or inaction? What is the reward for “right” action or inaction? How does fate and free will balance with ideas of “karma” (in whatever manner one chooses to interpret that word)?
Fate doesn’t exist. It’s all variables and most probable outcome. Magic and ritual help us influence these variables to help us reach a desired outcome.
As I said before, in my Satanism there is no divine punishment or retribution of any kind.
What happens when we die? What is the religious/spiritual importance of death or after-death? How does one ensure a good death? A good afterlife (or after-death)? Do the dead play in a role your religious beliefs and practices? How does one “pick” the departed that they include? Is ancestry important in your beliefs and practices (who “counts” as an ancestor, how do you venerate ancestors, why)? What is the role of those that have come before us in our lives, spiritually or otherwise? Do you “owe” the departed (ancestors or not) anything as part of your practice?
The Demons and spirits of the Dead I’ve met all told me there are three things that happen after death:
Firstly, if at the moment of death your mind and Will were too weak, there’s a high chance your soul will dissipate and make one with the universe.
Secondly, if at the moment of death, your mind/consciousness is able to maintain the energy core bound, then you can chose to reincarnate into another human being, or abandon your divine spark and reincarnate into an animal.
Thirdly, you can also chose (if not dissipated) to stay in the Astral Plane, where the spirits of the Dead and the Gods/Demons wander.