This is a response of my friend and fellow LHPer, Aleph, who posted My place in the Satanic zeitgeist a few weeks back.
Lately, through certain social media groups and exposition to forums and such, I’ve now gotten a better understanding of what “Satanism” means to other Satanists beside myself. I’ve now just realized how secluded and individual my practice is, to the point that I was quite surprised to discover what some (many!) Satanists (not reverse christians) do and say that for me, is not very Satanic, nor LHP for that matter. I live in a small town, so getting in touch with other practitioners in person is not really possible. (The estimated satanic population here in France is of about 1500 people, scattered across the country, but present enough in the capital area).
I’ve learned to dissect these online communities and take part in mostly unfruitful discussions. These groups are mostly sharing goth-dark themed photos and some highly questionable philosophical material, which I promptly respond to, debunking any fallacies that may appear, usually getting the approval of other members, or the response of the original poster. There sometimes is a seemingly competent Satanist here and there in these groups, but like me, they tend to keep to themselves. Thanks to this experience I think I can formulate an intelligent post on what my place is on the Satanic metaphorical panoramic photograph.
Satan: Father vs Master vs Archetype vs God(s) vs Whatever
I think this is what left me the most perplexed when exploring the beliefs of other Satanists. Some Satanists (alarmingly many) see Satan as an authority, for the most part under the fatherly figure, probably people coming from a Joy of Satan background (like me, but I grew out of it pretty fast). The judeo-christian fatherly God comes to mind, rather than a rebellious fallen angel (for those who believe Satan IS Lucifer, such as me) or some kind of deity of undefiled wisdom and curiosity. Satan is NOT a protective entity, he is for me a teacher of sorts, whose only lesson is love for oneself, and one’s ideas. The rest of the Satanic philosophia is derived from that. Monotheistic in nature, yet a strong belief in demons (again, JoS-like), and practice.
In this same kind of mentality, comes the Satan=Master mindset, which again, goes against most Satanic teachings, which say we are one’s only master (or god). I cannot think of anything more RHP than selling your soul to an entity in exchange of salvation, or in this case, protection and power. That’s what the catholic church does! How can you not see it? This part of the perceived Satanic community almost always hasn’t come in contact with any Satanic literature, and if they did they just chose to ignore the most important part of it: freedom of will! Usually purely monotheistic, sometimes soft polytheism, beliefs in demons is there but they see them as slaves/servants of Satan.
Then come the few LaVeyans who find themselves in mainly theistic groups because why the hell not and they just go “oh I’m not theistic so your argument means nothing to me”. They aren’t able to debate in ANY other terms than the ones they impose. At least they are the most down-to earth. That’s cool. Atheistic. Some Agnostics. Witchcraft not out of the question for some.
Hard polytheists like me are scarce in these groups, dominated by the first three groups. But the few of us that are clearly polytheistic, are divided amongst “clans”. The first clan is the one that believes that Satan is a multi-facetical entity (usually composed of four of the following: Asmodeus, Lucifer, Leviathan, Behemoth, Baphomet, Beelzebub), while the other one is just “the rest” (I’m in here) with highly eclectic or “personalised” beliefs, everyone’s a little different, a little the same. I’m in this category.
Also there are the guys who believe Satan is an alien who gave us technology and stuff.
Optimism vs Pessimism
What the hell is wrong with some of these people? Always saying depressive and pessimistic stuff? When did Satanic groups become a hiding place for 2004 emo kids who never really grew up? Posting half-naked, black dyed hair, super skinny chicks, cutting their veins? I’m serious. What the hell? Or people who do some ritual and literally commenting afterwards “I am a true pessimist, life is shit and nothing will come out of it” THEN WHY ARE YOU DOING A FRIGGING RITUAL THEN? Hey, magic is not that hard: Do some stuff > expect it it to succeed > success OR Do some stuff > expect it to fail > fail.
Rant over. Satanism is about optimism and positivity in regards to the outcome of any action. It is illogical to act with a negative outcome in mind. Also worrying about general positivity or negativity of stuff is overly manicheist and should be avoided. Nothing is entirely positive or negative, and without a way to measure it, it is pointless to debate what action is “more” positive than another.
Dogma vs Dynamic Morals©
Yes, I invented the term Dynamic Morals©. It is mine now.
Anyhow, Satanism is all but dogmatic. On the contrary, Satanism is about analysing every situation independently, chose a possible outcome, and act accordingly. Having a dogma is restraining and can put you in complicated situations in which you either break your dogma or you act against your own well-being.
Well some people have created a “Satanic” Dogma, inspired heavily by LaVey’s Rules of the Earth and Sins, which basically a more strict and stiff version of those rules. No interpretation allowed.
I practice what I call Dynamic Morals© which basically one fundamental rule (that is inherently Satanic for me) and then the rest is up to interpretation for each individual situation.
This rule is: “Your well-being is of ultimate importance”.
It can be applied to any situation. If the basis of the reasoning is this motto, the reasoning is for me inherently Satanic.
I don’t think there is”wrong or right” in Satanism, other than at an individual level. And even for me, when it comes to non-mathematical situations, there is no right or wrong, but just an arbitrary choice that was made after a period of analysis and reasoning. Unless the choice is factually wrong, like trying to put out fire with gasoline. Yeah that’s definitely wrong.
I would now like to address some of what my friend Aleph said in his post:
Satanism is the philosophy that places emphasis on self-preservation
That might be true for LaVeyan Satanism, but for most forms of Theistic Satanism (specially spiritual Satanism) the elevation of the soul, reaching god-hood, and all that is placed extremely high in the Satanic priority list.
Another main difference between Satanism and Luciferianism is that Luciferianism advocates the pursuit of a higher self.
Same as above. The pursuit of a higher self is predominant in Theistic Satanism.
If hedonism at its root is the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and negative experiences.
I’d argue that Satanic hedonism would never put pleasure before truth, meaning Satanic hedonism would NOT prefer a pleasurable lie to a harsh truth. To avoid negative experiences doesn’t mean denying them or their existence. Also a negative experience doesn’t need to be avoided when it can lead to further pleasure and well-being. It is a trade to be made. Any true hedonist knows that without pain there’s no pleasure. What we avoid is unecessary pain.
is it right to do something to others that you think they have done to yourself or others
The problem here is dogmatism/stiff morals. Linking an action to a right vs wrong mindset independently of the situation is what creates this dilemma. Nothing is inherently wrong or right until the action has been carried out and the victims/perpetrator roles have been handed out. Then you can make out what is, FOR YOU right or wrong. Once it is time to take revenge, if the same action that was made against you seems the appropriate punishment for the person, then the roles are inverted and you are free to qualifiy however you want the same action.
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.
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.
The spring equinox marked a fairly important date in my life: it’s been exactly 6 years since I did my Dedication Ritual to my Gods.
Since then my views on life, my ultimate goal, and even my interpretation of what being a satanist means have changed. My practice of witchcraft and the occult have changed. I’m no longer the same person I was 6 years ago. I’m stronger, wiser, more patient. Still lazy though.
Anyway, I feel it is necessary to make a new Pact with Satan and my other main gods once again to establish my current intent and beliefs before them. This could enhance my alliance with Satan further and mark a new episode in my life.
I plan on taking a couple of weeks to meditate about who I am right now and what do I want. I’m also, of course, going to write the Pact itself and make the competent preparations for the ritual. I hope Satan will be present with the same intense energy he made me feel back in 2009. It was not the last time I felt his energy but I haven’t seen Satan like I saw him back when I signed the dedication ritual.
That night, 2009’s spring equinox, when I used my own blood to sign the dedication, I felt his energy surround me. It was so intense I could see the bright electric red mist all around me. Unlike other demos, Satan choses not to have a creature-like manifastation, but instead he shows himself as this powerful red mist of pure energy.
I want to see you again, Satan.
They think I’m an Atheist!
I “came out of the broom closet” recently, and changed some things on social networks, not to announce, but just to put the truth in the description thingies. There wasn’t any reaction to it, thankfully.
Then I started being more open and voiced more my opinions on certain subjects in a more honest, less politically correct way. Of course, people saw this as a change (though I’ve always been like this). This raised some questions in a few of them, who decided to check my profile. Among them, one of my Evangelist aunt.
I glad she bit the bait, honestly, as we are always having friendly discussion about topics. However, this is religion, so she took it a bit more seriously this time. However, funny thing, she misunderstood something. She thinks I’m a LaVeyan Satanist (even though it says Theistic Satanist on facebook…), and that I’m Atheistic at the core. So she sent me a Christian site with questions for Atheists/Materialists. I post it here:
What if the cosmos is all there is?
Before telling her I’m theist (at which point she went totally nuts and stopped talking to me since), I answered the questions from an Atheist standpoint. It wasn’t hard, I was an Atheist before anyway. Here are my answers:
1. “If all of life is meaningless, and ultimately absurd , why bother to march straight forward, why stand in the queue as though life as a whole makes sense?” —Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There
Because life is full of fun and experiences that are worth living for. I don’t march because life “makes sense”, I do it because I want to.
2. If everyone completely passes out of existence when they die, what ultimate meaning has life? Even if a man’s life is important because of his influence on others or by his effect on the course of history, of what ultimate significance is that if there is no immortality and all other lives, events, and even history itself is ultimately meaningless?
History has a purpose. That purpose is not making the same mistakes as our predecessors. There is no such thing as ultimate significance in life, nor an afterlife, so I might as well enjoy life to it’s fullest while it lasts.
3. Suppose the universe had never existed. Apart form God, what ultimate difference would that make?
We would not exist.
4. In a universe without God or immortality, how is mankind ultimately different from a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs?
We are not. We are a swarm of humans leeching on every other lifeform, and a barnyard of people prancing and playing in the mud with our brethren.
5. What viable basis exists for justice or law if man is nothing but a sophisticated, programmed machine?
The basis for justice and for life is simply an utility for society. Justice was created in order to keep people from doing things that could be detrimental to society as a whole. Social behavior does this not only in humans, but in every other species that has a societal system, specially mammals, like apes, wolves, and dolphins. Law is something we devised to, as a society, be more coordinated and synchronized. That way conflict is less likely. Conflict inside a society is detrimental. Conflict between societies can be useful for some.
6. Why does research, discovery, diplomacy, art, music, sacrifice, compassion, feelings of love, or affectionate and caring relationships mean anything if it all ultimately comes to naught anyway?
Why does it come to naught? People don’t do things so they can say “look at what I did, God!”. People do things because they like doing it, or make sacrifices because they think it will make someone they love live better. What does it mean to feel love? Can you even avoid falling in love? We do all of this to enjoy and get the most juice out of life.
7. Without absolute morals, what ultimate difference is there between Saddam Hussein and Billy Graham?
None, they both did what they wanted to do.
8. If there is no immortality, why shouldn’t all things be permitted?(Dostoyevsky)
All things ARE permitted. But our justice system prevents us from doing things detrimental to society.
9. If morality is only a relative social construct, on what basis could or should anyone ever move to interfere with cultures that practice apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or ethnic cleansing?
Whoever has the biggest stick, or gun. If cannibalistic groups were better armed than everyone else, and wanted other cultures to adopt their customs, we sure as hell would be forced to. How is it any different in the other way?
10. If there is no God, on what basis is there any meaning or hope for fairness, comfort, or better times?
The meaning for this is whether you want it or not. Some people want fairness, some comfort. If you fight for what you want, you might get it.
11. Without a personal Creator-God, how are you anything other than the coincidental, purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, pointless, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?
I am not. So I better enjoy while I can.
Feel free to ask my anything on this subject! Comments are more than welcome.