Let me be clear: I don’t like Anton LaVey or most of the philosophies presented in the Satanic Bible, and I certainly don’t like his fanboys who continue to perpetuate his own delusions of grandeur. They justify this with multiple anecdotes and quotes from The Satanic Bible, but I’m not going to waste my time explaining why I don’t agree with them. The Church Of Satan is a private organization, so they can do and say whatever they want, and their fanboys can follow suit. (Often there’s an issue here of being able to criticize each other in a constructive way, and act like mature adults. I won’t get into that either.) Whether or not they want to recognize Theistic Satanists as such is their own decision, but it doesn’t take from the fact that we’re here.
The truth of the matter is that Satanism is in flux and should always be subject to change with the times. Anyone who chooses to remain rigid in their beliefs will be left in the dust. I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t believe. I’m not here to tell you that Satan is your best buddy, the “true god”, or that he wants you to feel all big and powerful. I don’t care what you believe right now; what I’m saying is that you should be willing to have an open mind and, more importantly, a skeptical one.
Needless to say, I don’t follow the ethics of The Satanic Bible nor feel the need to hold myself to some one else’s morality. There are some things I agree with, but they’re so common sense as to render it useless to attribute it to the book or the man who wrote it.
So what makes a Satanist? If we say that it only includes a variety of rigid definitions of character presented in a book written over thirty years ago, are we clinging to something that was only valid in the culture and time in which it arose? That would be awfully stagnant. If all Satanists were to be held to that standard, then it would quickly die out as new generations also grew tired of the self-absorbed assholes that permeate the system. Supposedly, Anton LaVey’s irritation with the hippy movement was one of the main factors of him developing the philosophy of no love wasted on the ingrate.
Of course, that didn’t answer my question did it? What makes a Satanist? I’m not here to answer that question for you. We could fit the Satanist into quite a few demographics but, for the sake of inclusion, a Satanist is some one who calls him/herself a Satanist. Whether or not they represent the vast majority of Satanists and any common values we have is another thing entirely.
With all of that having been said, I’ll be the first one to admit that Anton LaVey should be credited for popularizing Satanism and having the cojones to go on national television and brag about it. Major props to the guy there.
When I was eighteen, I had my then boyfriend buy me the Satanic Bible for my birthday. I wanted to be cool, edgy, and learn whatever dark secrets lie within it. If this sounds like every single young Satanist you’ve encountered on the internet, you’d be right. I was naive, but anyone who would insult kids like that for wanting to explore different philosophies is probably a little jaded anyways.
When I read the thing, especially the part about Satanists being born and not made, I knew that I would never be able to live up to the expectations of what that type of Satanist is. I tried, by Jove I tried, but I couldn’t keep up the charade. That’s not the point. What I felt, rather, was something stirring in me. It was a strange fascination of everything that lay just beyond my grasp of understanding – it was a feeling of wanting to change and improve myself by being the adversary to my own preconceived ideals. So, you could say that “Satan”, whether you perceive it/him as an archetype worth emulating or an actual entity, sparked a flame within me. I’ve always had that in me and, metaphorically speaking, that flame still burns today with fervor. It just took The Satanic Bible to bring it out. For that, I give credit where credit is due.
Now, I am slightly more sophisticated insofar as I’m more aware of how Satanism and it’s adherents work. In the time it took me to advance to the age of twenty-three, I’ve explored a pretty good amount of what people would usually call the “occult” as well as a few more mainstream belief systems. I also have a lot more life experience, enough to be able to handle stupid people and to not give a shit on command. This is probably one of the most valuable abilities in any Satanist’s arsenal, right below intellectual honesty.
I really wanted this post to be an exploration of how my personal ethics fit into my Satanism but, now I’ve realized that it wouldn’t matter in the first place. As they say: If you rage, you lose. More specifically, if you are so dogmatically caught up in your own definition of what it means to be a Satanist that you feel the need to dismiss others for upsetting your “normal”, you lose big time.
Until next time…