Over the years, our “social laboratory” has embraced, disbanded, and revived the use of Grottos as a means by which individuals in geographic proximity form an association for ritualization, socialization, and the pursuit of various projects. We have now phased-out this device once again, since it has become irrelevant in the current existing situation for social interaction facilitated by contemporary means for communication.
In the past, each local cabal was called a Grotto, which reinforced the hidden and mysterious aspect of the Church of Satan. Grottos were designed to exist organically, solely to serve the specialized interests of a particular association of local members. They were never intended to have more than a limited lifespan. When they had outgrown their purpose, they were dissolved. Chartered Grotto Masters had to regularly report their activities to the Central Office, and their charters were subject to yearly renewal. Grotto Masters were not considered de facto spokespersons for the Church of Satan, nor were Grottos local representations of our Church. Only a small percentage of our membership ever participated in Grotto activities during the times we offered this mode for interaction. In the past, if a local Grotto had a public profile or a web presence, then non-members could learn of its existence. Many Grottos chose to remain “underground,” fulfilling the nature of that word.
With the ubiquity of the Internet and the ease of electronic communication, the Church of Satan has ceased to charter Grotto Masters and we no longer offer the formality of forming Grottos as a mode for our members to socialize or engage in ritual. Our members who wish it now have ample means to find each other and to discover whether they are compatible for social and ritual gathering. Or, as always, they may opt to keep to themselves. The remaining currently existing active Grottos are not publicly visible and continue only in a clandestine manner until they are finally laid to rest. Charters have elapsed for former Grotto Masters. It is time for them to set aside that responsibility.