I found Satanism when I was a teenager, Ive recounted this elsewhere in this blog so I’ll just revisit the facts that are relevant. I found Satanism through occult studies that lead to reading Anton LaVeys books about the subject. When I went looking for a “Satanic community” I found nothing and noone that I would be proud to introduce as a fellow Satanist to any of my more intellectually inclined friends, so I stopped looking for a “Satanic Community” and instead looked for individuals who shared interests that I personally identified as Satanic, even while they perhaps didn’t identify them as such. Labels and identities are words we use for convenience, and it is intent and context that matters more than names, titles, and terms of identification.
Satanism is the pursuit of individual context and identity even against, and often in spite of, normative social values. In this I found that feminists, Queers, atheists, Black Panthers, neurodivergent and other such rabble were the comrades I was looking for. Those who thumbed their noses at respectability politics and actively sought to change the culture around them to through visibility or simply being, and refusal to tow the line of universally prescribed social values passed down generationally from arbitrary authorities and accepted as truth by way of programmed cultural repetition and group validation were more Satanic than dudes in black and red tee shirts decked out in baphomet symbols who simply safely passed as “metal heads” and therefore didn’t really challenge anything meaningful to my reality.
Simply, most other Satanists I encountered lead a mediocre personal rebellion in service to getting dates and social validation among others with similarly rigid and fragile concepts of masculinity and rationality. I’d rather be alone than surrounded by lickspittles who don’t inspire me to evolve. They were followers looking for a group to belong to, instead of creating a group around them that belongs to them. Creation and creativity are paramount in my Satanism. Being myself, without apologies or loss of personal integrity matters more than what others think of me, because they don’t matter to my identity construction and my existence is not one of servitude to others limitations and comforts. Creating a community around me that intellectually and emotionally inspires me is more important than the labels and identities those individuals in my community choose for themselves.
Church of Satan members always played a rather ridiculous game of “No True Satanist” regarding those who they felt veered off from …following… Antons personal vision of Satanism. The idea of Satanism being “codified” and therefore being “owned” by an organization
and having dogma and the equivalent of a “prophet” in Anton is one that I’m fairly sure even he would be disgusted by. His writings, full of amusing insights and theatrical personal musings, while valuable are not divinely or infernally inspired by Satan himself. Let’s be real, in context of the times they were written they were perfect for what he intended, but his later writings make it fairly clear to anyone “with eyes to see and ears to hear” that Satanism should evolve within the hands of the practioner and not be hobbled by dogma or rules. To be so is to be like every other organized religion with commandments from the few for the many to follow. I argue that even basic assertions that Satanists rigidly be “atheists” is absurd as it removes the very “third path” we can imagine in personal context and in relation to subjects that clearly interested Anton involving transhumanism, and magick. One need not worship gods or the entities they represent in order to believe that they may exist outside of our perception and that we can perhaps tap into or contact them. This is what I think he meant, which is a common and simple concept to witches; that spirits, entities, and the like are just like people. They have their own individual programs and motivations and therefore are neither good, nor bad in a broad sense, and arent worthy of “worship”. Instead they should be considered or consulted only in context of the aims of the practitioner for that particular working or systemic construction. Honor is not synonymous with worship. And the division between atheist and theist is another unnecessarily binary distraction to those of us with the confidence to entertain the possibilities of reality and workings of the universe as a matter of language and perception.
To illustrate what I am saying a little more plainly I need to explain the possibilities I entertain for my own personal reality. The universe is “god” and is like a body in which we live as cells. I generally think of it as a program, and technically that would also make it an alien intelligence that we cannot completely know or understand. It is not necessarily aware of or personally interested in the existence of every cell in its own body, in fact many of them are prone to infection just like in human bodies (As above, so below). Gods, angels, demons, ancestor spirits etc are the beings or Jungian archetypes coded within our genetic memory that are our “immediate management” or program directives for this planet and the resources we have available to us and have to share upon it.
In this context folks who tell you that “God” speaks directly to them are basically like that cashier who claims to be best friends with the CEO of the company… blow hards and opportunists. One can argue that this concept and lack of unquestioning reverence for traditional definitions of god is still atheistic, because I don’t believe in God or gods as defined by others but construct my own informed story and don’t see the necessity in convincing other to believe in it. One can also argue that its theistic, or as I prefer “transtheistic” in that I simply see it as the program of the systems of evolution and the universe itself and is therefore “all knowing” and “all powerful” and that we can glean messages and parts of the code from it by understanding it in the framework of the collective consciousness and current scientific and technological consensus.
In this the Satanist is by nature an adversarial switch, or nonbinary element, creating order when chaos is unraveling systems that support their personal goals and intent, and creating chaos in systems of order that suppress evolution and progress towards those intentions and goals. Satanists as Anton defined them do not always identify as such themselves and he stated as much. It is the word and language he chose for the archetype he described and that is an insight that too many in the CoS don’t internalize. He was speaking of the personal identity construction of an archetype that, like the gods that the Roman church demonized or canonized as saints from pagan or heathen religions, wear many names and will wear many more. The names are less important than their spirit manifest in the practitioner. The Satanist, and their parallel archetypes, represent a kaleidoscope of ability to switch between behavioral modes to best creatively challenge the particulars of the scene at hand. Just as above the universe or “God” has produced multiple identities through which to experience reality and evolve, so below Satanists know when to be the warrior, or the trickster, or the mother, or pestilence etc. It takes all of the archetypes in balance with the resources available to evolve together, that is how human communities are preprogrammed and coded. Satanists, in RPG terms, are hybrid classes because sometimes you need a sword, and sometimes a spell, and other times just a distraction or crowd control.
It is that contextualization of “multiple identities” or personal aspects as a religious and mental discipline that I’ve always practiced that eventually, along with my adversarial “switch” back to interests in magick and spiritualism, that led to my excommunication from The Satanic Temple and their subsequent attempts to erase my history with them. So it’s a great segue into discussion of their evident mediocrity as Satanists. As I’ve said I find it ludicrous and antithetical to Satanism to declare that Satanism has a universal expression or dogma. I do have strong personal standards for what and who I consider to be good representation of Satanic ideals and archetypes, and I found how TST fails those.
Stopping short of broad stroke calling them “fake” Satanists I will instead liken them to Sunday Church Christians who show up to be seen as it gives them social currency and opportunity. Many of them _are_ simpleton atheists who like metal and occult trappings, but still require someone to lead and entertain them with self perpetuating validation of insubstantial egos, and are thus unlikely to pursue any actual difficult or honest personal development or shadow work. Shadow work and understanding or disarming the mechanism of Othering is essential to developing the archetype of Satanism or effective rebellion. I respect self identity, but I can also spot beginners who won’t ever level up, and will likley effectively quit the game later. They are Satanists, just as kindergartners are educated and may become graduates.
I was involved, deeply, and while my personal expressions and intentions served the business and media goals of those two (or three, if you count the figure of “Mary” who seemed to be little more than an email address and pseudonym for one of Malcolms business partners and therefore is as likely to be Malcolm or a shared email address as not) people “higher up” in the hierarchy from me that I answered to everything worked out well for me and what my vision of Satanism is. Once I became too publicly open about my interest in revisiting the occult, theological, and magickal interests and their relation to multiplicity, modern psychology, and technology advancements and understandings I found the limits of the TST cofounders support of acceptable individual expression. Which is where I found the limits of their Satanism, a philosophy and religion that by its nature shouldn’t have arbitrary limits. Their limits are where they can feasibly acquire media and social currency to drive the donations that they squander on moving the same expensive statue around for photo shoots and drawing in chapter members who provide the volunteer labor to keep their costs low and visibility high enough to provide an illusion of relevance or accomplishment. While I had always been most interested in outcomes of the women’s reproductive rights campaign as religious exemptions most of memberships’ rather pedestrian proposed activities always revolved around poorly conceived or designed “holiday” displays (that never have much of an actual holiday concept or coherent seasonal religious artistic statement) and “Satanic” charity drives so that they could be sure to get shock media as “Satanists” who are “compassionate” in their local papers. By the time I left I really was disgusted at the lack of originality chapters and members were exhibiting and it really did begin to feel like a skit in Portlandia involving Goths who “put a Satan on it” for IG photos.
I had befriended a multiplicity activist and opponent of Lucien’s pet Grey Faction activism on social media. A woman whom I myself had had frequent and ongoing non-violent but heated altercations with, and had even called the police on for tresspassing at the gallery during an event. We disagreed on particulars of multiplicity, but her viewpoints still interested me and her persistence was impressive enough that I developed the respect I often do for those who are exemplary of passionate resistance to injustice and adversity, even when I disagree with their context of the issue or perceived injustice. This is what Satanists do, because we instinctually understand the dangers of echo-chambers, brain washing, and stubborn inability to understand opposition due to personal limitations of the ego.
The email I received from National Council, which I believe looking back was just the best excuse they could muster after trying to trap me with other manufactured “offenses” in order to have a reason to excommunicate me and save face as a supposed “Satanic” organization (because they began to see me as a liability to their “respectable” atheist and establishment based financial iterests) demanded that I renounce all titles within TST, “unfriend” her, cease all communication with her public or private, and help them locate and remove online any articles, pictures, or mentions of membership or leadership in TST in order to retain my membership and privileges to forums.
When I refused to do so and forfeited further involvement members of national council encouraged folks to report my profile, and demanded that everyone unfriend me or be “blocked”. These are cult excommunication tactics 101, and I felt that surely all of these Satanists would see the obvious issue with leadership in an organization claiming to be Satanic and in pursuit of individual freedom of expression engaging in such behavior…
Nope. They all unfriended me as told, and participated in smearing and gaslighting me according to the examples set by that leadership. The opportunistic ones that couldn’t gain enough satisfactory foothold with their own mediocre contributions while I was around lead the charge as they saw the ladder that the chaos left in front of them… and the couple of people here and there who refused to bow to groupthink and demands left or were cold-shouldered out in short order.
And here, I got off of the Merry-Go-Round, nauseas and exactly where I started decades ago; totally aware in hindsight that I should have known better and that organized Satanism and community is antithetical to what Satanism is as long as it has “leadership” with such fragile intellect, egos, and personal image concerns. To demand members edit their personal relationships and unrelated public creative statements and rituals to reflect respectably upon the organization at all times is… very Catholic, or Scientologist, or any number of other religions other than Satanic. Satanism is always an individual vision and as such, requires followers to be a community that has leaders with such easily threatened, simplistic, or lazily conceptualized and defended public image concerns…