A Satanism of Mastery

Everyone’s Satanism is different. For some, Satanism will be a religion of hedonism and reclaiming physical pleasure from the clutches of repressive religion. For others, it will be based in centering outsiders or embracing outsider status. All of these are valid expressions of Satanism, and I share many of them myself.

As I’ve contemplated my Satanic path, I’ve come to realize that my own Satanism is one of mastery. In the myth, Satan rejects the tyranny of God and sets out on a path of self-deification. In my view, the icon of Satan as the eternal rebel, the triumphant iconoclast, and the unbowed will is the ultimate symbol of mastery.

To me, mastery means the attainment of hard earned skills that deepen my satisfaction and fulfillment in life. In this way, my commitment to mastery is also fundamentally hedonistic: there is nothing more pleasurable or satisfying than progressive mastery over a specific domain.

On his podcast Deep Questions, Cal Newport has been discussing four elements of what he calls the Deep Life: Craft, Community, Contemplation, and Constitution. Cal argues that a well-rounded and fulfilling life will involve attention to each of these four categories. They are excellent guideposts for a Satanism of mastery.

Craft is work, career, art, and fulfilling hobbies.

Community is your deep connection to others.

Contemplation is a rich interior life.

Constitution is your physical well being.

I won’t prescribe what this should look like for others, but I can tell you what it looks like for me.

Craft means continually honing my writing, my day job, my work for The Satanic Temple, and my podcast.

Community means leaning in to my cherished friendships, especially friendships that challenge me, destabilize my assumptions about reality, and encourage me to be a more noble and compassionate person. My fierce individualism is not negated by community but rather enhanced and deepened by it.

Contemplation means developing a rich, complex, and disciplined inner life. I am full of petty gods and tyrants. My mind abuses me all day long  and treats me in much the same way the God of the Old Testament treated the Israelites. Meditation helps to break me free from that tyranny. On a good day, I can become free of the narcissistic despot that is my ego. On other days, I can at least valiantly yearn to triumph against it.

Constitution means mastering the practice of physical health. I’ve been running since I was in high school, and it is a skill I’m continually trying to sharpen. My friend Penemue recently said in a Temple service that weight lifting is a Satanic ritual for him. Running is much the same for me.

A reader might be tempted to point out that none of these are necessarily Satanic, and they would be right. Anyone can pursue mastery. Anyone can exercise, meditate, study, and have rich community. I agree, and they should! But because I am a Satanist, they become Satanic because they are filtered through that guiding narrative.

If you also have a Satanism of mastery, what does that look like for you? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to join the conversation in my Discord server.


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