I’ve spent a great deal of time explaining why Satanism works for me, and you can find that trove of information here. But, as I continue to explore my Satanism and receive questions from bemused readers, I’m starting to realize that there is an essential component of my Satanism that I’ve left out. So essential, perhaps, that it feels impossible to articulate. I feel intimidated trying to put this to words, but I will do my best in this post.
Reader and Patron David got to the heart of this essential element of my Satanism when he asked the following question:
However, if I may, why not something more conventional like Buddhism? I always thought it would be nice to reach the ultimate state of nirvana. You really don’t have to believe in anything supernatural with that. Of course no one can tell you what you should do. It’s only that there might be a tendency for people to be put off by the notion of Satan, because they might think you actually are worshipping evil or whatever.
I can’t help but feel that my readers are going about this far more rationally than I am. People looking in on my Satanism assume that, because I’m a nontheist, I surveyed the vast array of religious options and deliberately and calmly chose the most inflammatory, offensive, and misunderstood path possible. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If I were going about this rationally, I would be a boring Unitarian Universalist, or a milquetoast Episcopalian. If I wanted to be the most palatable, approachable person I could manage, I’d be a Buddhist. Because I’m a nontheist, people assume that I don’t have any trace of intuition, mysticism, or religious passion. It makes sense, then, that they would wonder why I chose the most obviously controversial religion in the Western Hemisphere.
But something deeper than “choice” happened here. Something deeply inconvenient and confusing happened. I can only call it a Satanic conversion.
Against my better judgement I fell headfirst in love with the symbol of the Romantic Satan. When I first encountered The Satanic Temple in 2017 something inside me sang. This was deeper than choice or strategy, but was intuition, passion, and romance. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” My Satanism is all love affair.
The only other thing I can compare it to is my love of Christ when I was a Christian. Christ felt like a living being, and the object of my most earnest adoration and affection. Christ permeated my life. I couldn’t help it. Now, even though I’m a nontheist who does not believe in the supernatural, God, or an afterlife, I feel a similar passion. In the same way I fell in love with Christ, I have fallen in love with Satan. Not by cold, calculated choice, not out of a sense of what’s most politically expedient, not out of a desire to troll conservative Christians, and not because it makes my life easier.
My Satanism does make my life more difficult. Why lose friends, and be an object of fear or confusion? Why would I endanger my work and livelihood? Why would I jeopardize my relationship with my family? It’s irrational, you might say, and I agree. It is deeply inconvenient, and deeply irrational. In fact, when I first joined The Satanic Temple, I resolved to keep it a secret and to live and practice quietly as a Satanist, because I knew there would be repercussions.
But, as I started my journey as a Satanist, my passion for the symbol of Satan grew and grew. It flourished; it filled my soul. I found myself possessed of what I can only call, uncomfortably, a religious fervor, an overwhelming love.
I reached out to some prominent Satanists on twitter to get their comments on this experience. Satanic Temple International Council member Chalice Blythe had this to say:
Calling it a “love affair” hits really close to my own view of it and I agree that, though based in rationalism, being a Satanist didn’t come about from a hard, cold place. It’s an almost instantaneous, deeply connected passion that you just “know”. It’s coming home. And like most intense loves, the more you learn the deeper it solidifies within you.
When I expressed that the more it solidifies the more impossible it feels to communicate this love to those outside it, Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves agreed:
That’s exactly the problem I have. I can try to articulate it, but there’s no way I can make people feel it if it doesn’t really speak to them.
This is why I insist on calling my Satanism a religion. Religion touches our whole being — it envelopes us in a way nothing else can. My Satanism connects with me on a deep, irrational, intuitive level, while also engaging my mind and reason. It is a full body, mind-and-heart experience. It is also a shared communion, existing not just individually but in the space between other practitioners of this path. While it might make the more rational among us uncomfortable, I don’t know how to describe this journey as anything other than a path of physicalist mysticism which started with a Satanic conversion. In essence a living, religious fictionalism.
This might leave you with questions: how is it possible to feel such love and fervor for a mythic being who has no objective reality? How is it possible to be religious and nontheistic? How is it possible to be a physicalist and a mystic? (I’m open to using terms other than “mystic”, but it was the word that came most readily to me while I was writing this piece.) Satanism requires a profound paradigm shift into a different space: a place of wonderment and rationalism, religion and atheism. It breaks down these false binaries, ultimately with the goal of living a more fulfilled and joyful life.
Love my work and want to support it? Please consider becoming a patron so I can continue to bring you interesting content every week. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss another podcast, blog post, or cat picture.
20 thoughts on “The Satanic Conversion”
The first sentence in your final paragraph is my question. I find it interesting that I, as a Christian, can harbor respect for Lucifer as an archangel who got out of order (and who will eventually be restored), whereas a Satanist loves what he considers to be a mist of imagination. I mean, I love Frodo Baggins (and hope he exists as a thought form in the astral plane), and revere Elbereth (occasionally chanting the poem of the Elves to her), but I don’t think of myself as a Frodoist in religious terms. Or do I?! Haha. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s a good question, and I think I might need to dedicate a separate blog post to it. One concept that’s been particularly helpful for me in understanding it is that of an “egregore.” According to Wikipedia: “Egregore (also egregor) is an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people.”
While I’m not comfortable saying Satan is an “autonomous psychic entity”, in a way that is still the *experience* I have of Satanism.
Well, I think Patron David did get to the heart of it when he wrote:
“You really don’t have to believe in anything supernatural…”
That is the crux of the entire problem of religions, believing in the supernatural. This realm was created by humans at the beginning of our time, passed on by each generation. Belief in the possibility of the unseen agent.
Put another way, it is all in the mind. The brain is the magic. GROG
[initially written as tweets but didn’t want to spam!]
Hope you dont mind my musings but!: Your story is different from mine yet meets in the middle &I think thats rad. w/ the brand of xtian I was raised I cant remember ever feeling that first love affair. I was afraid of christ, god, hell. Terrified daily. Every part of me was sin.
I was taught Calvinism. Some part of me knew early on I was queer, curious, humanist. Thus going to hell. God hated me, &the xtians who would say otherwise were ignoring their own literature. Satan tho, was a pretty cool guy. Level-headed. Only “evil” in being an adversary to God.
Flipping the scripture on its head and realizing simultaneously that I believed non of it to be Divine or True, and that I felt the strongest connection to Satan overall (by his words and actions) was powerful for me. I felt like I’d cracked it. I abandoned theism and took a little piece of Satan with me.
Feeling this way, undoing my indoctrination &estranging myself from family was an obvious &easy choice. Would have been harder to come around to where I am today if leaving it all felt like losing a once powerful love I’d found in Christianity. I can only imagine that era of your life &I commend you for doing it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks so much for sharing some of your story here ❤ Calvinism is one of the most terrifying schools of theology, and it really does put people in a dark place. I'm glad you survived it. I have the exact same experience of growing up queer. Because of that, I think Satanism makes much more sense for me — being told I was damned for years, it is now an act of empowerment to claim the King of the Damned as my model and guiding myth. Hail Yourself, and thanks for sharing ❤
I am trying hard to understand Stephen, but I get lost with a lot of your ‘non-theist’ thoughts. Mystic I understand, and wonder how you can enlarge on that ?
Do you mean how non-theism relates to mysticism? Or nontheism in general?
The former. But also how you relate to non-theism accepting mysticism. I ask this because I have my own moments when I see no correlation, and yet visa versa. Hoping you can help a sometimes confused mind and soul.
This is an excellent question, and might require its own blog post. I will think on it and see what I’m able to come up with
No rush Stephen. These things take time.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hmm baffled so far. I must read on.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for taking the time to read and learn 😊
This hit home for me on a deeply personal level. After I walked away from Christianity over a year ago, I wandered around, focusing on ‘occult’ type paths, as I felt like I was drawn to the “old ways” – witchcraft, paganism, etc. – since my teens (I’m 40 now). I found Satanism in fall 2019, and like you, was almost instantly drawn to it – a love affair, as you mentioned. There’s something about it that absolutely had me saying ‘yep, this is it.’ I joined TST in October 2019, and have been studying it and becoming more active ever since.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Welcome to the infernal fold! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article