Why I Haven’t Left the Satanic Temple

I’ve been a member of The Satanic Temple (TST) since December 2017, and in that time there’ve been occasional accusations of crypto-fascism, alt-rightism, and Nazism against TST by both outsiders and former members. This article is about why I choose to remain in the Satanic Temple despite these accusations, and why I find these accusations lacking in credibility.

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Lucien Greaves on How Satanism Can Build Empathy Between Religions

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Satanic Temple co-founder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves, and while the whole conversation was great, one thing in particular he said stood out to me.

Due to the phenomenon of ignorant familiarity, many non-Satanists who have never thought deeply about Satanism are all too eager to lecture me on what Satanism is all about. One of the claims of the ignorant non-Satanist is that we are nothing more than militant atheists appropriating religious symbolism as a troll — that we are fundamentally anti-religion.

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Sacred Tension: Why Nontheistic Religion is Essential, feat. Lucien Greaves

In this episode of Sacred Tension I’m joined by Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for the Satanic Temple. We discuss the challenge of maintaining a religious community during the COVID-19 pandemic, common misunderstandings about the Satanic Temple, and why nontheistic religion is essential. 

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Self Care During COVID-19

I’ve been quiet on my blog and podcast for the past few weeks, and that’s because I’ve been coping with being an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. I co-manage a small family-owned grocery store in Appalachia, and the past few weeks have simply been harrowing.

When the panic first hit, it felt like the worst hurricane in history was coming for North Carolina. Our sales more than doubled, and I felt destroyed just trying to keep up, while also keeping staff and customers safe from invisible death dots that could strike anyone without notice. Eventually, as the craziness at the store settled down into a manageable level, my fatigue turned to crippling anxiety. I was crying myself to sleep, and having horrible panic as I drove to work.

It felt like all my structures and support systems were just swept away by the flood. I’ve spent the past few weeks picking up the pieces, and now here I am, well enough to get back to creating.

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Satanism and Ignorant Familiarity

I’m currently working my way through Joseph Laycock’s new book Speak of the Devil. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read on Satanism, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Satanic religious movement and The Satanic Temple. Joseph Laycock is a scholar of new religious movements, and (full disclosure) he is the most-interviewed guest on my podcast Sacred Tension.

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On Creating a Personal Satanic Root Document

I’m frequently asked how I, as a Satanist, practice my Satanism. Whenever I get this question I struggle to answer it, because my Satanism is so all-encompassing for me I don’t know how not to practice it. It isn’t as if I’m just a Satanist when I’m writing about Satanism, doing Satanic ritual, or talking to other Satanists. I’m also a Satanist when I’m doing my finances or watching Netflix. Religion is not just something I do, but something I am, and as in most religion the boundary between doing and being is blurred.

But a central aspect of my Satanic practice comes down to something very private: what Cal Newport calls a Root Document. For years now I’ve kept what I can only call my own personal Sacred Text. It is a holistic document, containing the very mundane (checklists for work) and the very sacred (my guiding principles, meditations, and rituals.) It is also a living document, shifting according to what I learn and need.

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