Feature / Haley Clemens / October 2016

A Beginners Guide to Satanism

I’m going to start this whole thing off by saying that despite the mountain of research I’ve done in the last month I am by no means an expert on this topic. I’ve done my best to outline the basics of everything here, but this is a deep and complex topic that requires more time and dedication to fully understand. But none of us actually have any time to spare, and the only thing we can seem to apply our dedication to is Internet garbo.

Alright fuckers, let’s get into it.

WHAT IS SATANISM? 

 First off, it’s not devil worship. I’m sorry if you came here to read about blood and guts and sexy witchy shit, but that’s not really “what it’s all about.” (But don’t get too disappointed yet. Sometimes, it is blood and sexy witchy shit.) 

Satanism is actually an offshoot of atheism, meaning that its followers do not believe in the possibility of a God or Gods. At all. Ever. But I like to think that, in general, Satanists are very chill about it all, not like the Nice Guy Atheist™ that ruins dinner and makes everyone uncomfortable by being an argumentative douche. 

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All comics by Haley Clemens

By definition, being a Satanist is about challenging superstition and tradition-based religions. It’s a highly individualistic belief system based on what works for you personally, as opposed to The Church Almighty telling you how to worship or be faithful.

In addition to being atheist, Satanists place a high precedence on the value of knowledge. By abolishing the concept of God and promoting critical thinking, Satanism aims to promote the intelligence of the world, in order to better mankind as a whole. To Satanists, science is The Shit. They believe that as scientific knowledge increases, belief systems must recognize such advancements, and by denying scientific facts (The Earth is round, being gay is not a choice and is actually pretty cool, periods are not an evil curse), they are repressing their followers and exploiting their faith. “WAKE UP SHEEPLE,” says the Satanic Church. 

So why xXxSATANxXx then? In Abrahamic religions, he’s known as a real bad news kind of guy. In all his origin stories, he starts off as a pretty boy angel but then gets cast out of heaven by the God man once he begins to get too chill with the locals. After that, he becomes Public Enemy No. 1 for some religions, and in others he doesn’t even come close to being as powerful as the God man and—for the most part—is thought of as just a wily trickster. 


The Church of Satan acknowledges that Satan has no physical existence, no consciousness, and is not an all powerful being that can listen to prayers, grant miracles, or cast judgements (just like all other deities, they would argue). His image is used as a symbol for the gray area between all things; man and woman, good and evil, love and hate. He is the prince of both sides of the proverbial coin.

Look,” say the Satanists. “You are one of billions and billions of lifeforms on Earth. In order for you to be where you are on the food chain, a whole lot of them had to die. I saw you eat two plates of chicken nuggets from the caf yesterday; don’t deny it. Life is dangerous. It’s not always pretty. And actually, it mostly isn’t.” 

So Satan becomes a symbol of recognition for all aspects of life on earth. The “ugly” side of things are just as important as the “pretty.” Figureheads of perfect piousness and nobility have no place in Satanism, which does not aim to escape the true nature of the world but to embrace it. “Fuck the seven deadly sins,” say the Satanists. “That shit is in your blood, revel in it.”

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There is no definitive Satanic holy text filled with objective lessons and rules. This is for two reasons: firstly because Satanists do not believe in the possibility of higher beings writing big books and sending them to Earth, and secondly because when we read texts, our interpretations are affected by all our previous experiences up to that point. Satanists would argue that a Book of Truth has no legitimacy when met with our human biases. Everyone lives a different reality, which means definitive truth within religion is impossible to achieve.

That being said, a book called The Satanic Bible does exist (on Amazon for $9.99!). The Satanic Bible was written by Church of Satan founder Anton Szandor LaVey, who wrote very many books on the subject. If you want to know more about him and the founding of the Satanic Church, I highly recommend listening to this podcast

This Thanksgiving when you’re home with your conservative family and really looking to shake things up, curl up on the couch with The Satanic Bible and watch your relatives faces as they realize they were right about you and that dangerous liberal arts college you go to.

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In The Satanic Bible, LaVey lays down The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth, which are pretty much the only hard rules Satanism has. They basically read as follows:

  1. No one wants to hear your opinions or advice, so unless someone explicitly asks for them, keep your damn mouth shut.
  2. Same with your feelings.
  3. Be respectful when you’re in someone else’s space or else don’t keep showing up to shit you weren’t invited to. Ben.
  4. If a guest in your lair annoys you (LeVay’s exact wording), fuck them up (not his exact wording, but definitely what he meant).
  5. No means no. D,on’t be a fucking creep, okay?
  6. Don’t take stuff that’s not yours, unless it’s a situation where someone’s like, “Hey, man, I bought this iguana on Craigslist ’cause I thought it would be a cool to have it around, but now my place is covered in iguana shit and it’s costing me a lot to keep up with its banana consumption. Do you want to take it off my hands?”, or something of the like.
  7. When you do magic, really take the time to reflect on it and recognize how it benefited you, because if you don’t you’ll lose all the magical ability you’ve developed so far.
  8. Don’t complain about things that you didn’t have to do yourself. You didn’t need to take two extra classes this semester, but you did and now I don’t want to hear about how stressed and tired you are, okay? I just don’t.
  9. Never do anything to harm small kids (lookin’ at you, Catholic Church).
  10. Animals are cool, and we don’t kill them unless we’re getting attacked or we intend to eat them.
  11. When out and about, mind your own business. If someone starts messing with you, ask them to stop. If they don’t, fuck them up.

Pretty good words to live by, I think.

Alright, let’s get into magic. Not all Satanists believe in it or practice it, but some do, and it works for them. This is where Satanism, the Occult, Chaos magic, and Right Hand Path/Left Hand Path magic begin to overlap, and things get real cool and hooky spooky. (I’m not even going to attempt explaining Path magic here, if you want to know what it’s about, you’ll need to spend a whole weekend reading about all sorts of wild shit, and even then you still probably won’t even understand the basics.)  When performing a magic ritual, you need to plan, execute, and reflect. A lot of people chose to enter a gnostic state during their rituals, wherein your state of consciousness is altered to focus in on only one thing while blocking out all the rest. There are lots of different ways to get yourself there: meditation, fasting, dancing, screaming, hypnosis, sleep deprivation, cumming, or taking hallucinogens. These exercises bring about a release of energy that you use to bring your spell to fruition. Personally, if I were to do it, I think I’d do a deep meditation session and then end it on a really, really good sneeze. 

It takes a lot of time and dedication in order for Satanic magic to “work.” You have to ignore everything you’ve been taught about how the world works, and place your faith entirely in yourself. You are the master of your own reality; Satanic magic relies on powers of the mind. How you perform Satanic magic is entirely up to you, but don’t expect to find anything legit online telling you how to go about doing it. Again, it is a highly individualistic religion; the same practices will not work for everyone. In addition, Satanists limit the amount of specific details about magical rituals available to the public. This is because Satanism is a deeply complex and philosophical belief system that requires a lot of genuine thought and effort on the part of the interested party. Practitioners are afraid that by making the details of their rituals too readily available to everyone, they could become the target of jokes or hate. But if you’re willing to put in the work and be cool about it (and also put up with a lot of shaky web design), you can find your way.

So there you have it! Satanism is not for everyone. But if you like science and reading and are into spook, it’s definitely something you should look into. Try incorporating some aspects of it into your own life, like accepting the “gray” of life or practicing mindful rituals. If you want to know more about magic, the occult, and Satan, check out The Last Podcast on the Left.

Hail Satan!

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