Several days ago, I was meditating with Sam Harris’s Waking Up app. During the meditation Harris instructed me, quite simply, to find the “I” who is doing the meditating and to look for the self within consciousness. I did as instructed and, just like that, my sense of self was obliterated. As simply as a candle being blown out, my feeling of being a self within my head was extinguished, and all that remained was the vast sky of consciousness.
I’ve been meditating for years, but I’ve never experienced this before — at least not with such startling suddenness. It lasted only a few seconds, but I can’t stop thinking about it; it opened whole vistas of consciousness to me, whole new ways of experiencing myself and the world.
Satanism is often put forth as an egocentric religion – a religion of the self. This can be good and empowering. When I was coming out of the ex-gay world and recovering from religious trauma, developing a strong sense of self and a mighty, healthy ego was a defiant act of empowerment. I believe in the benefits of a self-centered religion, and I celebrate anyone who is empowered and set free by practicing it.
As I explored in my article Seven Satanic Dichotomies, however, my Satanism is built from paradoxes. A central image of my Satanism is the Baphomet who contains within their being a multitude of tensions.
My meditation experience the other day has opened my eyes to another Satanic dichotomy: Satanism is a religion of the self, and what we often experience as the self, or ego, can be a god-like tyrant, keeping us enslaved in trance. This is not as incoherent as it seems. Being an individualist who tries to reduce the power of toxic ego is not a contradiction. I can be an iconoclast and individual socially and simultaneously wage the war against the tyranny of toxic self.
I’ve started to think of the myth of Satan in intensely introspective terms: if Satan is the unbowed rebel against arbitrary authority, what clearer way do I experience this than in my own mind? My crippling emotions, my ego, my neuroses, my constant ruminating and storytelling about myself – these are trances that enslave me. Within the landscape of my own consciousness, my ego is god, and Satan is the act of rising up and doubting the supremacy of that god.
I think it’s appropriate to be skeptical of simply Satanizing everything we encounter and putting the qualifier “Satanic” in front of every activity. For me, however, meditation truly is Satanic. Meditation is the best way to rebel against the tyranny of my own inner, petty gods, and it tears the veil away from delusions. I am reminded of the final words of Satan in Revolt of the Angels, after declaring that the Satanic forces will not conquer Ialdabaoth (their name for God:)
We were conquered because we failed to understand that Victory is a Spirit, and that it is in ourselves and in ourselves alone that we must attack and destroy Ialdabaoth.
Satanism starts within myself, and meditation is one way I can resist the tyranny of god within my own mind.
But that’s just me. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below. If your comment is excellent, I might feature it in my monthly Best Comments series. And by the way, most discussion of my posts takes place on my discord server, and I invite you to join in the conversation there. You can also become a patron and ensure that I bring you interesting content every single week, forever.
3 thoughts on “Satanism, Meditation, and the Tyranny of the Self”
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