I’m a normie Satanist. With the exception of the occasional pentagram or Satanic Temple t-shirt, nothing about me would give away my Satanic proclivities. I pride myself on being generally milquetoast, polite, and unremarkable. I value kindness, courteousness, and making everyone feel welcome. I’m painfully averse to conflict.
When I do offend people, it tends to be entirely by accident. I indulge in various rituals and aesthetics because I like them or think they are cool, not with the intent to shock others. It never occurs to me to go out of my way to trigger other people, because triggering other people is unpleasant.
I once posted a pic of TST’s Baphomet to Instagram, which features two small children looking up at Baphomet adoringly. A friend commented, “Don’t you think the inclusion of the children is offensive?” I was genuinely surprised by the question. It never occurred to me that the inclusion of children in the Baphomet statue was offensive or shocking. In fact I thought the image was beautiful and inspiring, and I shared it on Instagram for just that reason.
“But how can this be?” you might ask. Satanism is obviously about offending others. It’s about triggering the normies, the Christians, the theists.
This question demonstrates the enormous chasm between perception and reality. The reality is that Satanism is a religion that reveres the Outsider, and The Satanic Temple in particular is a Satanism that fights on behalf of the outsider against tyrannical authority. One doesn’t need to be an outsider to revere the Ultimate Outsider, no more than one needs to be a political revolutionary or a Jew or one of the “least of these” to revere Christ. When my Satanism does veer into blasphemy it is for my own catharsis and fulfillment, and not for the benefit of onlooking Christians.
My identity as a Satanist has much less to do with being offensive to others in the present than it does with having been demonized in the past for being gay, mentally ill, and an uncomfortable asker of questions in a religious setting. I don’t care about seeming offensive now. I am, rather, finding empowerment in my previously demonized identity. I revere the symbol of Satan the Ultimate Outsider who stands for all the oppressed and the fight for equality. That I trigger conservative Christians now is merely incidental.
The assumption that Satanism is all about offense, and that one can’t be a normie Satanist, reveals a failure (or a refusal) to understand that Satanism is a religion. We take for granted that many different kinds of people can be Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, or Pagans for many different reasons, some noble, others ignoble. The same is true of Satanists.
I am reminded of what my friend Priest Penemue said in a previous blog post: “I wish that when people who are new to Satanism try to understand and critique it, they held it to the same standards that they consciously or unconsciously have for their own religion.” The refusal to accept that there can be normal, generally inoffensive Satanists belies the wrong notion that Satanism is nothing more than a trend, a misguided therapy, or an adolescent phase. Anything but a religion.
I will continue to be a Satanist, and I will continue to be woefully normal, and that is not a contradiction.
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