On Faith and Leadership…

It is hard to imagine a more dangerous, empty delusion than blind faith. As Satanists, we have no need for this; we’re aware that our time is far too precious to spend placing trust and hope in some imaginary god. That being said, I do think that faith can be a helpful thing. When applied practically and channeled to the right places, faith can be another tool in the Satanist’s arsenal as we lead ourselves down the Left-Hand path.

It is okay to be shy, reserved, awkward; we must embrace and love who we are. Perhaps you are like me and lack the qualities of a leader among others, and that is okay, too. No matter what, you are the sole leader of your life – it is yours, entirely and until your last breath leaves your body. You are not a follower. This unique life you lead is driven by a proper faith. Through learning from mistakes and trying new things, we gain the wisdom to strive and grow, our faith in ourselves rising. It is not a blind faith without evidence, but a grounded faith based in tangible experience. After all, isn’t faith just another word for confidence? Oftentimes, followers of theistic beliefs will place every last drop of this mental confidence in their god of choice. They trust changes will be made. Even if they appear to be confident and strong, people like this are not truly leading their lives. As Satanists, we are proactive – the changes we seek cannot be made without exerting ourselves to make them happen. Anything else is wasted energy.

We live with the knowledge that we cannot possibly be in control of everything. As I’m typing this sentence, a meteorite could crash through my ceiling and my head. Being aware of life’s chaos and rejecting some “divine plan” can be a burden, but we cannot let that steer us from our instincts and desires. We are ships on a vast, endless ocean. Though our ships are not impenetrable, we can choose to reinforce their materials with self-faith – a touch of Satanic inspiration. Many others believe their god will guide their ship to some far-off promised land, leaving them with a weak, aimless vessel – the dark waters of life’s chaos leaking in. While they dwell in false hope, we take charge – anarchy of existence be damned – with the satisfaction that even if the storm topples us, we went down gripping the wheel, standing tall, enjoying every second of the ride.

Believe in yourself. Satan is a grand force of self, not of pipe-dreams. By going your own way, having faith in your boundless inner strength and courage to be yourself, you embody the rebellious spirit of Satan – and that is definitely something to be proud of.

Hail Satan.

 

 

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Sinema – Satan in Film and Television

The House of the Devil. The Omen. Rosemary’s Baby. Devil’s Due. The Lords of Salem. How many times have we seen “The Devil” used as the antagonist in Hollywood? This trope achieved massive popularity in the 1960s and 70s, though it remains quite popular in films and television. This is unfortunate, as Satan has been depicted in a far more just, grounded, and sympathetic light in the world of literature. Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy are examples of such works, but cinema, for the most part, has been content with treating Satan as a scapegoat – no surprise there.

I’d like to make it clear that I’m not writing this post from atop some imaginary pedestal. Satanic/occult exploitation cinema is often entertaining on a visceral level; in fact, this is one of my favorite horror subgenres. As Satanists, we have a thicker skin and won’t get offended by such things as it’s only wasted energy. However, I do believe many opportunities have been missed in film and television to show a different side to the Satan character. The Devil is a captivating figure with great humanity and balance of strength and flaw. Recently, the entertainment industry has warmed up to the prince of darkness. A film called The Witch was officially endorsed by The Satanic Temple. A TV series centered around Lucifer has achieved strong ratings and a large, loyal following. These are steps in the right direction, and I truly hope the trend continues.

I believe that authentic Satanic cinema doesn’t need hellfire and hooved demons. Satan is a greater force than its provocative imagery – Satan is a philosophy. Films which embrace, or feature characters who embrace, the pursuits of knowledge, personal fulfillment, individuality, and justice are far more Satanic in nature. There is a wonderful film titled Chocolat (2000) which I believe to be required viewing for any modern Satanist. This film concerns a free-spirited mother and daughter who, after moving to a small, conservative village, open up a chocolate store. The chocolate acts as the forbidden fruit in this story, unraveling the bland, traditional norm among the villagers. To further the parallels between this film and the biblical story of the serpent, the mother and daughter do not attend church; their chocolate is considered evil because it tempts their neighbors to forego their abstinent, straight-and-narrow ways. The mother and daughter are treated terribly at first, but by the end, they are celebrated for mentally freeing the village. It is a charming, funny movie which does a great job of using Satan metaphorically.

What are your favorite films or series’ which embody the rebellious, indulgent spirit of Satan? Do you believe we have reached a turning point in entertainment through The Witch and Lucifer? What is your favorite depiction of The Devil in the media? Leave a comment below, and thank you for reading.

Hail Satan.

 

 

 

 

Knowledge is Power – Becoming the Serpent

If you could sum up the spirit of Satanism in one phrase, which would you choose? On my own Satanic path, I can think of no better sentiment than knowledge is power. Short and sweet, though lacking the provocative fun of Hail Satan! or Ave!, these words symbolize the quest for wisdom – a journey unique to each of us, though they may overlap. To add a new layer to my question, what does knowledge mean to you? Its branches are myriad and without clear destination. I will explain how the titular phrase applies to my life as a Satanist, and why I believe a level, open mind is an important tool on the left-hand path.

In the old fable, Satan, disguised as a serpent, tempted the first woman with a sinful fruit- one which grew upon a tree that brings knowledge of good and evil. She was punished for partaking in its pleasures. I find it absurd how the serpent is traditionally viewed as the villain in this story. To be self-aware, to know our moral compass and to know our own naked flesh – are these not beautiful facets of humanity? The fruit was delicious, and rightfully so; the serpent led the first humans to their first taste of knowledge. If we were to live in darkness, as the so-called protagonist creator in this fairy tale seems to want, then where is the drive to move forward? If our perceptions do not change based on new information, we cannot grow – flowers with so much potential to bloom, yet remain withered and without color.

We all learn differently. Through first-hand experience, we can take steps to avoid past mistakes. We can study the scientists, the poets, the philosophers. We can gain new insight from others, and allow ourselves to see things from a fresh perspective. It comforts me to know that we will never have all the answers – this reality, this universe still a mystery to us. We are fallible creatures, and all we can do is ask questions and pursue that forbidden fruit. Why cheapen the chaotic beauty of our existence with faith in creationism? Biblical stories of intelligent design are open-and-shut cases for our being, and thus result in open-and-shut minds. We learn as to better ourselves and more roundly shape our understanding of this reality.

If knowledge is a power, we must apply it to further ourselves on. There’s no use in sitting stagnant, pregnant with a million bits of information – after all, the forbidden fruit is the energy to fuel our dissent, and it’s up to us to produce results. This will lead to wisdom – an even greater weapon to the Satanist. We can use our wisdom to combat ignorance displayed by others. We can also help others along, if they so choose, and become the serpent to their Eve. In this age of biased news, anti-intellectualism, and instant gratification, it is a great joy to break away and learn. One could say the library is like Satan’s own church, built not on wasted energy and greed, but on that insatiable thirst for knowledge. We absolutely cannot stop absorbing information. One who claims to know all is a fool, and thus powerless to the Satanist who can embrace the mysteries of life.

We cannot let our healthy river of thought be dammed by the debris of ignorance. Satan wants us to know ourselves – our strengths, our flaws, our deep desires – and revel in them. Satan presents us with the true faces of good and evil, leaving us to decide our fate. Satan leads us to the fruit, reminding us that there’s no guilt in asking questions – no shame in broadening the mind and discarding past notions. Even the harshest of truths need exposed, brought out of the shadows for our inspection. Knowledge is power, brothers and sisters of the left-hand path, and it is our ally.
Hail Satan.

Psychic Prisons: Resisting the God Within

The Satanist feels compelled to resist, mock, and dismantle arbitrary authority. This is encoded into our minds, deeply wired; it constantly reminds us that we were not meant to bow down before anyone or anything. In recent years, regardless of your own personal feelings towards the organization, The Satanic Temple has made great strides in challenging Christian favoritism and dominance in the United States. The outside enemy, the injustices which occur all around us, are plain to see. Then it becomes a matter of gathering the strength and fortitude to fight those injustices. However, when the enemy dwells within, things become far more complicated.

I associate the word ‘God’ with tyranny, abuse, and hindrance of progress, just as I associate the word ‘Satan’ with freedom and knowledge. In the myth of old, God condemned the first two humans to eternal suffering and damnation because they made the choice to grow, to become aware, imbued with knowledge of good and evil. ‘God’ has oppressed and suppressed me every day for years, because it is my mental illness. If you have or know someone who has Major Depressive Disorder, you know of the thick chains it wraps around the mind, suffocating creativity, love and ambition. Depression has been my God for as long as I can remember. Just like the storybook character, my God punishes me for my desire to transcend and embrace who I am. It is a destructive weed in my life, and in the lives of so many others. Unfortunately, it too is wired into the brain, constantly at war with the strong, rational Satan – the voice of reason.

The stigma towards mental illness is quite sad and harmful. I do not let my depression define me, as this would be submitting to a fascist slave master who doesn’t want me to see my own worth. If we didn’t stand up to those nagging, destructive forces in our minds, we’d be on the same level as the frightened Christian. No, The Satanist is a fighter. The Satanist cannot be contained in the dark, airless box that the powers that be want us to crawl inside and exist forever. We are far greater than that with far greater potential. Of course, those of us struggling with mental illness will hurt deeply. The sickness can obscure our vision and hold us back, through no fault of our own. We cannot kill “God”, but we can damn sure stand up to it and say “You are not my master”.

The Satanist is a firm believer in the power of science. It is a wonderful, exciting subject to understand not only the universe around us, but the universe within ourselves. It is only right to take advantage of what science offers to combat mental illness. I feel no shame in taking a host of psychiatric medications every morning. Why should I? My God would prefer me to live in the dark, to rely solely on its false perception of who I am. If you too are struggling with mental illness, and haven’t yet reached out for help, I urge you to do so immediately. It is a courageous act, like Lucifer standing up to the tyrannical authority of God. It’s an immensely satisfying feeling to realize you don’t have to struggle alone. Psychiatric drugs can allow us to see beyond the warped view imposed upon us by “God”. You are the embodiment of Satan – you are a strong, free spirit who cannot give in. Embrace science and use it as a weapon to rebel and fight.

Depression can force one to obsess over how they are perceived; we don’t want to let others down, we don’t want to show any signs that we need help. Depression is a solitary disease, and it will try and force us to isolate. As a Satanist, you may be a lone wolf carving your own path, but that doesn’t mean you have to remain silent about that which constricts you. I strongly believe in the power of community. Society can become cancerous, but community is a pure and healthy thing. When Satanists stand together, communicate and share in their strengths, it helps shape the world around us into a better place. It also helps improve the vast, unique worlds inside us all. Do not fear the prospect of allies. We are not sheep, but individuals who can embrace what makes us different and stand alongside our allies, giving and receiving support. Do not let your “God” convince you that you aren’t loved. Do not let your “God” make you believe you’re worthless with nothing to contribute. The Satanist is a valuable, wise, and quite courageous individual – our struggles only fortify us, and remind us of our strength. Do not be ashamed of an illness that you didn’t choose. Instead, be proud that you are a fighter and survivor. The scars you bear are totems to your warrior spirit. What could be more Satanic?

Satanism is a path of symbolism and metaphor. The outside battles we face against arbitrary, oppressive authority are very important. However, the battles within are just as important. Identify what is wrong in this world, and put up your best fight. At the same time, know that “God” takes more forms than the external (oppression of women’s and LGBT rights, church and state, Christian dominance, anti-intellectualism, anti-science, using guilt as a weapon, etc). These things are clearly seen and despised by the Satanist. Know that “God” can also be a voice within for those who struggle with depression and other mental illness, a voice that wants to keep us in line for its destructive agenda. Unfortunately, it will always be there to some degree as mental illness cannot be cured, but you can prove it wrong. Let the burning-bright, logical, grounded voice of Satan empower you. Savor the forbidden fruit. Let it nourish you. You are not a slave to your sickness, and you are not a slave to anything.

The fight will rage on for all time. We are damaged, vulnerable creatures who are incredibly resilient – that is why we can relate to and embrace the “fallen angel”. We are not weak. Reach out and utilize everything available for a better quality of life. The enemy within is a potent one, and quite a manipulative one, but it is not who you are. The serpent is always there to speak purely, with no pretense nor agenda – it is your true face, your true spirit. Its influence cannot be understated.

If you have no one to talk to, please send me an email and I will gladly listen. Consider me an ally in your rebellion.

Hail thyself. Hail Satan.

A Rebuttal to Anti-Christian Satanists

The “Seven Deadly Sins” is an excellent list of natural human emotions; feelings that should be embraced rather than shamed. If life is a dish, then lust, envy, pride, and sloth are the seasonings which make it satisfying and varied. ‘Anger’ and ‘wrath’ are necessary as well, but I left them out for a reason – they are not the decadent avenues of thought and action. To properly embody Satan as the adversary, we need to be at peace with our anger; we must utilize it effectively on the path to making changes, whether internally or in society. I think we can all agree there is plenty of material in the world today to fuel our wrathful tendencies. However, I have noticed a trend of anti-Christian behavior among some Satanists. This can certainly be tempting, given the equally hateful behavior displayed by some Christians, but the Satanist has the gift of wit – and there is a fine line between satirical blasphemy and outright hate speech.

Unfortunately, many will refuse to accept the Satanist based solely on prejudice, fear, and xenophobia. The Satanist knows better. We are emotionally mature enough to judge others based on their conduct rather than their beliefs alone. Of course, we will have a good laugh at fairy tales about talking serpents, bearded sky wizards, and undead carpenters – but we treat others the way they treat us. If someone wholeheartedly believes these fairy tales, but acts with compassion and respect towards those who believe differently, why hate them? The Satanist is wise and aware that judging an entire group based on the actions of a few is an ignorant, outdated notion. The most bigoted of Christians are also the most outspoken. We cannot assume they represent every person of the Christian faith, and we cannot throw around our anger recklessly – organized religion is a cancer, yes, but blanket hatred is far from productive. It is wasted energy.

Extremism is dangerous no matter the cause. An ill-tempered Satanist’s venom spat is just as harmful as the Christian’s. While the roots are polar opposite, the effects are the same – clouded rational thought, ignoring the individual. This contributes to a much larger issue of closed-mindedness. The Satanist does not “convert” others; if asked, we may help guide others towards their own personal truth. Individuality is sacred. Anti-Christian behavior means generalizing – upholding a misguided sense of “the enemy”. Our enemy is not only found in Christianity. Herd conformity, the slavery of guilt, anti-intellectualism: these backwards ideals can be found among all types of people in all walks of life. These are the things which deserve our anger and our wrath.

The Satanist rides a wavelength of grounded, logical thought. There is no room to build more walls that divide humanity – in fact, it is our duty to rattle the bricks and compromise their integrity. Our anger is sacred. Faith in silly stories is not enough to warrant aggression – personally, if someone conducts themselves as a decent human being, I don’t care if they choose to worship a moldy avocado. The church, the legalized child abuse of religious indoctrination, these are worthwhile targets of our wrath. But Christians? Not necessarily. After all, so many were brainwashed in their youth and are victims of the real culprit – manipulation, corruption. We cannot afford to lose sight of the bigger picture. The god-machine which takes in vulnerable minds and chews them to a uniform pulp needs to be dismantled; true psychological freedom is at stake.

Hail Satan.

Spiritual Vivisection: Cutting Superstition from Religion

It is my belief that the definition of religion has been eroded – dumbed down over the years. The Satanist will face mockery and criticism from those who believe that superstition is the beating heart of religion. The idea has been ingrained into our culture. If one proclaims that they’ve “found religion”, people automatically assume this individual has submitted themselves to a higher power. Images of church, dogma, the study of literature, the surrender of past “sinful” indulgences, all come to mind. Why is this? Religion can mean sacrifice and faith in supernatural, omniscient beings, but this is not always the case; Satanism is a sterling example. Yet, this concept seems ludicrous to so many.

Buddhism is probably the most accepted form of atheistic religion. The Buddhist has a goal of achieving total enlightenment – harmony and balance intertwined, permeating the body, the mind. “Buddha” is not a deity but a figure of reverence, a symbol to be admired and emulated. It is a truly peaceful religion. Though there are plenty of nonviolent Christians and Muslims who wouldn’t dream of harming others, their religions (the two largest religions on Earth, frighteningly) have caused the destruction and torment of innumerable lives. I cannot speak for you, dear reader, but I have never read a headline about a Buddhist who embarked on a mass shooting spree or recorded themselves beheading someone who doesn’t share their beliefs. What is the most profound, fundamental difference between atheistic religion, like Buddhism or Satanism, and religions like those mentioned above? Just like Buddhists, the Satanist has no desire to “convert” others. The Satanist minds their own business, and is willing to embrace differences rather than strive for conformity. We would never wage fruitless war with others, or kill in the name of Satan, because our religion is based in rational thought. We find the idea pointless and cruel – it IS pointless and cruel. Only the insane would argue otherwise. It is depressing to reflect on all the lives lost due to an absurd argument: “whose imaginary friend is better?”

There must be a goal in religion. As I said before, the Buddhist strives for enlightenment, while theists strive for a paradise in the sky through righteous living. What does the Satanist hope to achieve? Of course, this is all very subjective, but generally we are driven to grow. The Satanist is aware that humans are flawed beings, that we will never achieve true perfection, and this is why we were drawn to the sympathetic “fallen angel” in the first place. We are also aware that there is absolutely no tangible evidence of an afterlife, so the here and now is all we have. We use the opportunity of today for expanding our mental horizons, taking steps to accomplish our dreams, learning to live in the moment. We do these things not for the approval of a god, but because they are gratifying. We do what feels right, abiding our own will. Everyone on this planet is a god, but only the Satanist can admit to and take pride in it. After all, “god” is only what we’d like it to be, shaped by our imaginations. In reality, we are our own masters. We understand that God and Satan are words which only have the power we choose to give. Our church is the present, our bible is written in our minds through memories and how we choose to remember, our commandments are not commandments but basic human decency among every conscious, lucid human being. We do not need a list telling us that we should not steal, murder, rape, and lie – we are endowed with a moral compass. Some argue that without a set of divine, inviolable laws created by God, human morality would collapse entirely, as if those words are the only thing restraining us all from committing murder and theft. The Satanist knows to help rather than hurt, to kill only in self defense, to have sex only when the other party or parties give consent. The Satanist also knows that any adult who needs to be told these things is in need of serious therapy.

Nobody has faith in every god and goddess ever invented by man, therefore everyone is not only born an atheist, but remains an atheist throughout their lives. The Christian consciously rejects thousands of deities. Jews and Muslims do the same, along with every other follower of theistic religions. The Satanist simply believes in one less god, putting that power and psychic energy to use for their self. Our religion is so practical and grounded that it seems strange to those raised on fairy tales about talking serpents and a zombie carpenter. We realize that religion does not mean submission by default. Religion means commitment, passion, community, finding some sort of meaning in an indifferent universe. It is a dangerous invention, but one the Satanist uses wisely. The assumption that fantasy must be incorporated into religion needs to be eliminated. It is a constricting, outdated notion. We are fallen angels, and we defy the pipe dream of divinity.

Hail thyself! Hail Satan!

Psychic Masturbation – The Fallacy of ‘True Satanism’

By very definition and essence, the Satanist is an inner castaway – the scapegoat. We are no stranger to controversy, the scathing words and actions of others; it comes with the territory. Though we did not sign a contract to sell our soul to “the devil”, we did commit to a lifetime of embodying the adversary – the spirit of Satan – and to rise up in the face of oppression. The “Satanic Panic”, which reached its height in the 1980s and continues to this day, has done much to reinforce the fear and hatred so many people feel towards us. Why then, especially when another wave of panic rolls in, do a disturbing number of Satanists feel the need to puff out their chests and proudly proclaim: “Your Satanism is wrong and mine is right”?

There are many Satanic collaborations throughout the world today. I use the word ‘collaboration’, as the Satanist is not a follower – our groups are not comprised of sheep but of like-minded thinkers who happen to be traveling in the same direction, but not exactly upon the same path. The Church of Satan is the oldest and most prolific, but many other organizations exist (The Satanic Temple, Sect of the Horned God, United Aspects of Satan, Sanctuary of Satan, etc). The Satanist is an independent, empowered individual, but there is strength in numbers, and sharing ideas and views can lead to enlightening conversation. We are a unique race of our own. The kinship and camaraderie among those traveling the left-hand path is gratifying – and, after all, pleasure is a fundamental aspect of Satanism, no matter which organization we choose, if any. Is it not hypocritical to eschew this pleasure and opportunity for growth in favor of stubborn elitism? Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable for the Satanist to travel alone. There is dignity in that; however, there is no dignity in sitting high upon a pedestal, condemning fellow Satanists for going their own way.

The small, but vocal, percentage of Satanists who believe their views are “right” while others are flat-out wrong is just as damaging to the community as the mainstream media. Our religion is a tree. Anton LaVey established the roots, the base, the thriving core. All the branches of modern Satanism are nourished by the same elements: free thought, the value of science above superstition, carpe diem, reverence towards Satan – the very embodiment of what it means to stand up to authority, to challenge the status quo. Of course, these points don’t apply for theistic Satanists, but I consider those individuals separate from the modern Satanic community, and are not the focus of this essay.

The Satanist knows there is no fundamental truth. We’ve abandoned “holy” texts and the dogma associated with them. My exact definition of Satanism will probably differ from yours, and that is part of the beauty of the Left-Hand Path. Like art, there are only guidelines, templates to be adopted and personalized, but no rules. The Satanist is his or her own master. It’s unfortunate that some feel the need to personally harass and attack others because their ego has spiraled out of control. How is their behavior any different than that displayed by some members of conventional, theistic religion – the very people who these “true Satanists” claim to be against? Herd conformity is herd conformity. Ignorance is ignorance. This is true for every human being. “True Satanism” is a concept just as flawed and absurd as arguments made by theists. After all, it boils down to the same claim: “My truth is the only truth, so you will sit there and let me explain why your views are bullshit.” It is nothing but ego-stroking, psychic masturbation. A pissing contest between self-righteous elitists who can’t accept alternative perspectives.
As Satanists, we are at war – a war against the falsehoods, xenophobia, and intolerance that so blemish our society. Unfortunately, it will likely never cease, but still we do our part, either alone or in numbers. “True Satanists” are weak links among the chain we forge to choke the throat of oppression. We must ignore them, destroy them in our minds with no trace of their memory, for they hinder any progress we make. Polite debates and arguments will not sway the sheep; all we can do is let them bask in their own misguided sense of superiority. We are all outcasts and we are all the adversary – there is no time for elitism when we are all persecuted. The general populace does not care if one of us is LaVeyan and the other a TST activist – we endure their hatred, their mockery regardless. We must stand together, heads held high, knowing we are equals. We are the devil, and we are here to do the devil’s work.

Hail Satan.