It was the activism that first drew me to The Satanic Temple in 2017. My boyfriend was sitting on his laptop and suddenly exclaimed, “oh my God, Stephen, you have to see this.” He showed me the BDSM baby protest, in which diaper and baby-mask clad protestors peacefully poured milk over themselves in protest against anti-abortion theocrats.
I was instantly captivated. I understood from the very beginning that The Satanic Temple is an authentic religion and that the protests were the outward, public-facing representation of that religion. What many others assumed to be a troll, a grift, or a stunt, I immediately recognized as authentic and deeply religious. I understood that the activism emerged from something internal and real. Eventually, I dove head-first into Satanism because I was curious — and eventually captivated — by that interior experience of Satanism.
As I’ve developed in my Satanic path, I’ve come to understand that there are two broad experiences of my Satanism.
This is the outward expression of my values. This is the political protests, which flow directly from the religious convictions of The Satanic Temple. It is also how I choose to live my life: the compassion I show to others and the willingness to be an outsider who stands up to arbitrary authority. The story of Satan infuses my every day, and informs how I interact with all the outsiders around me. Exterior Satanism is public, lived, and witnessed by others.
Put another way, exterior Satanism is the application of the myth of Satan to the public world: onto political structures, events, and society in general. It is locating the drama of Satan outside of oneself and in the world around us.
Exterior Satanism, though, has deep roots. Beneath the public manifestations of my Satanism is a vast network of interior religious experience that are visible to no one but myself and those close to me. This root network is what I call interior Satanism. Interior Satanism is my commitment to learning and mastery, my daily meditation practice, and the tight-knit community of Satanists around me who inform my path.
In Revolt of the Angels, Satan says, “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 [God]”
My consciousness is full of petty tyrants and false gods, and being Satan means confronting and undoing the tyrannical gods in my own being: my ego, my narcissism, my propensity for laziness and self-sabotage.
In other words, Interior Satanism is the application of the myth of Satan onto my own interior landscape. It is locating the drama of Satan within my own being.
This relationship between interior and exterior Satanism is a microcosm of The Satanic Temple as a whole. Behind the public protests and lawsuits is a vast, rich, and beautiful community of Satanists living out their convictions within community. This organizational interior Satanism is invisible to the public, and people are often incredulous when I tell them about it, but it is there, nonetheless.
Interior vs. Exterior is a false binary
Ultimately, though, there is no clear seam between myself and the world, and therefore between interior and exterior Satanism. I am the world, and developing my interior life means changing the world and vice versa. This is a mystery, and is expressed most perfectly in the Baphomet, representing the union and reconciliation of opposites. Interior and Exterior Satanism are one and the same, and we cannot have one without the other.
But that’s just me. What do you think? Please leave a comment below or write me an email. I love hearing back from my audience.
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