Due to the high volume of mail that we receive from young people who are new to Satanism, we have put together some information to help answer your specific questions and concerns.
If you have read our books, you know that Satanism isn’t about taking drugs, and it isn’t about harming animals or children. Unlike many religions and philosophies, Satanism respects and exalts life. Children and animals are the purest expressions of that life force, and as such are held sacred and precious in the eyes of the Satanist. Besides, it is very un-Satanic to take any creature’s life against its will. It is equally un-Satanic to cloud your brain and impair your judgment with mind-altering substances. A real magician has no need of those kinds of things, as he should be able to bring about changes in consciousness by the very power of his Will and imagination.
If you have not yet read The Satanic Bible, you should do so. It has much more information regarding our attitude toward Satan, and will give you a clearer idea of our philosophy, ideals, and goals. Perhaps at first they will be difficult for you to understand, because you may have been raised in an environment that dictates that God=Good and Satan=Evil. The truth is that good and evil are often terms that people twist to suit their own purposes. Sometimes people will lie and try to make you think certain things just so you will do what they want you to do. Always remember that the final judgment is yours. That is both a great freedom and a great responsibility. For us, Satan is a symbol of the power of that choice.
There is no one way that a Satanist is “supposed” to be. Uniqueness and creativity are encouraged here, not mindless conformity. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like to listen to; it doesn’t make any difference whether you prefer gothic music, black metal music, classical music, old popular tunes, show tunes, or many different types of music. It doesn’t matter what style of clothes you like to wear. You don’t have to wear black, or t-shirts with “Heavy Metal” band logos, or trench coats. There is not an “official” Satanic music and style of dress, and you should beware of people who claim otherwise. What does matter is that you are a mature, sensitive, self-aware individualist who revels in the Darkness, and who wishes to align yourself with others who share your views. In this world of prefabricated, media-saturated, unoriginal drones, it is up to the Satanist to cherish, maintain, and preserve true individuality and creativity. Satan represents freedom from hypocrisy, from convenient lies, and challenges that which is presumed to be true. His image of pride, strength, and defiance, inspires us to our own strengths.
That said, let’s address some of your most commonly asked questions:
“How old do I have to be to join the Church of Satan?”
You may become a member of the Church of Satan when you are legally of adult age in the nation in which you live. This is not meant as a judgment of your maturity; we’ve received letters and e-mails from 14-year-olds who had a distinct, mature grasp of Satanism. But we must be realistic about the world around us. Our society has become one in which people frequently pull scams and try to make money through law suits based on false claims. We cannot risk exposing our members and organization to such possibilities. One reason is that we don’t want to become a haven for the kind of sanctimonious perverts that Christian churches and other “Good Guy Badge” forums (such as Big Brother/Big Sister, Boy Scouts, etc.) often are. There are a lot of sick people out there, and we don’t want our vital young Satanists to become victims of twisted adults who are more interested in contacting young kids than they are in practicing Satanism. Another reason is because your parents or other adults in your life may not understand or might be hostile toward your exploration of this religion. They may try to cause trouble for us, falsely accusing us of any number of things, just because they feel threatened. So, we simply cannot allow anyone under the legal age of consent to join the Church of Satan. The only exception to this rule would be if your parents or legal guardians are already members in good standing.
“Do I have to become a member to be a ‘real’ Satanist?”
All you have to do to be a real Satanist is start living like one. Dr. LaVey wrote The Satanic Bible so that people could pick up a copy, read it, and know everything they need to know about Satanism and how to put it to work in their own lives. Most people who choose to become members do so as a symbolic act to themselves, to formally align themselves with others of like mind, and to show their support for a philosophy and way of life they agree with. It is a purely personal decision—we don’t solicit memberships. But actual membership usually conveys to others that you are serious about your beliefs, and that you know enough about it to have read Dr. LaVey’s works and align yourself with his spearhead organization. It usually grants you a certain amount of respect as an authority. If you were going to speak as a member of the Church in a public forum, you should actually be one. But as far as benefiting from Satanism in your life, or defending true Satanism, those are the rights and responsibilities of every Satanist, “official” or not.
“My parents and friends don’t understand me, and don’t approve of my interest in Satanism. How can I make them accept my beliefs & where can I go to perform my rituals?”
Unfortunately, most young Satanists face this problem. Few of us are lucky enough to have sympathetic parents, or others around like ourselves. However, as long as you are living under your parents’ roof and they are feeding and taking care of you, you do owe them a degree of consideration. Offer to let them read your books, and talk about what misunderstandings they may have from T.V. talk shows and Christian propaganda. But you can’t force anyone to understand what, for you, is an obvious and magical revelation. If Satanism offends others who have necessary control over your life right now, do your studies and rituals in private. If you don’t have a place at home where you can be alone, find a special spot on the beach, in a field, or in the woods where you can ritualize when you need to. While you are understandably enthusiastic about your new-found religion, it is not very Satanic to make yourself miserable by creating a problem with your parents when you have to live in the same house together, or at school where your real goal may be to aggravate those in authority in the guise of “expressing your individuality.”
Practice Lesser Magic. Remember that a competent Satanic magician should be able to size up any situation and weigh his choices of action to bring about desired results. Enthusiasm is certainly encouraged and appreciated, however Satanism asks no one to be a martyr. And keep in mind that most people simply aren’t going to understand because, ultimately, they don’t want to. That is as it should be. Satanism is not for everyone. Satan, as depicted in myth and literature, by his very nature walks alone. He is therefore the embodiment of the true individualist, the outcast. This doesn’t mean that you cannot care about those who are close to you; Satan also represents love, kindness and respect to those who deserve it. It just means that you should not concern yourself with people who do not approve of you. Revel in your uniqueness; be proud of who and what you are. Achieve all you can with the strength and determination of Satan himself coursing proudly through your veins. When Satanism leads to positive changes in your accomplishments and attitude, your parents and other adults around you will notice. The best way you can represent Satanism, at any age, is by providing a living example of how the diabolical arts have made you a stronger, more focused, joyful person. The results will speak louder than any logical argument you can present.
“Is it better to study and ritualize alone, or to work with others?”
Unless you are able to find others who are as knowledgeable about Satanism as you are, it is better to work alone. If you do choose to ritualize with others, you must make certain that they are 100% clear on what Satanism is all about. If they are into it just out of curiosity or for thrills, they’ll detract from your ritual. Many young Satanists find they have one close, magical friend who they feel they can work with, but usually one of you is actually magically stronger and more sincere, and chances are that’s you, since you’re the one who has gone through the trouble of actually contacting the Church of Satan. It’s often best for you to work and study alone, guided by the material in our literature, rather than have your magic and concentration diluted by would-be friends. As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What that means in this case is that if you perform rituals with others who are not as serious and dedicated as you are, they will hinder your magic, not strengthen it. Many adult Satanists work and study alone by choice. Finding a true magical partner can be stimulating and rewarding, but if you need such a person in your magical progression, you’ll perhaps conjure one up (see Herman Hesse’s Demian or Illusions by Richard Bach).
Don’t be disturbed or frightened or think you’re crazy when you feel at one with the Dark Ones you conjure forth, or by the magical results you begin to produce. You’re not crazy for feeling the way you do about the hypocrisy, blindness and incompetence you see all around you. Nor are you crazy to see the results of your magic. When in ritual, approach the Infernal Ones with the proper degree of respect and decorum. You’ll find that your “daemonic guide” is an aspect within you—don’t look for it outside. You just have to contact that part of yourself and listen to it, the instinctual element of your consciousness. That is the most important work anyone can do. Also take care to keep your sense of skepticism and questioning outside the ritual chamber. Faith and credulousness are weaknesses of spiritual religions, and have no place in the Satanist’s tools for understanding the world.
“Do I need all the things mentioned in The Satanic Bible to do my rituals?”
You don’t need everything mentioned in Dr. LaVey’s books to do an effective ritual. Maybe you don’t have the money to obtain—or the private space to store—items such as swords, chalices, black robes, gongs, and elaborate altars. Ritual is theatre meant to stimulate your emotions, so you may vary the details to suit your personal needs and situation. Sometimes the most effective ritual chamber is found in your own imagination, with your eyes closed and your Will focused—the theatre of the mind.
Here, because many have requested it, is a powerful, yet simple, ritual you can perform and all you need is a quiet place where you can be alone, a Sigil of Baphomet, either as a medallion or as a picture, and a single black candle. Be sure the candle is placed in a safe holder so that there is no danger of fire:
Light the candle and set it before you. Place the medallion or picture of the Sigil of Baphomet so that it is visible just above and safely beyond the flame of the candle. Sit up straight, breathe deeply and relax. Clear your mind of all outside thoughts. As you gaze at the flame, say in your mind or out loud, “I am ready, oh Dark Lord. I feel your strength within me and wish to honor you in my life. I am one of the Devil’s Own. Hail Satan!” Open your mind; look within. You may shift your gaze from the flickering flame into the eyes of the goat in the Sigil, and sense your essential self reflected in it. When you feel you’ve reached that primal part of yourself, and that the words you spoke ring with truth, speak the words “So it is done,” with intensity and conviction. Breathe deeply again. As you exhale, blow out the candle. You may then place the medallion on a necklace and wear it openly or hidden, or if you used a picture, store it in a private place until the next time you choose to perform this ritual.
It will take time. You may think you are ready, but you may still find you cannot let go right away. Concentrate on your image of Satan and on the word “strength” and listen to what comes up from yourself. You have answers for yourself that no one else can give you. This is a simple way of aligning yourself with what Satan means to us, discovering that in yourself, and it will help you in finding the stamina and courage to guide yourself to greater achievements. The path you’ve chosen won’t be easy; sometimes it may be a nightmare. But when you are ready to face the challenge, it will be there.
A few final words:
Just because you are not yet legally an adult doesn’t mean that you cannot explore on your own these Dark Realms that are opening before you. This is a very potent, magical time. You decided to write to us or read our web site for a reason, and right now you are going through an initiation into the Black Arts that must be all your own. Your body and your mind are going through intense changes. Take this time to learn all you can—about yourself and about the world around you. Explore your skills, talents, and inventiveness. Learn to play music, paint, or even build a robot. Study the subjects that can bring you wisdom about the human animal and the world around you: psychology, history, anthropology, sociology, the arts, literature, and the hard sciences. Use your brain and your heart to find out what is right, what is true, and what will make you stronger. You are not alone. You are different; you are superior, and it’s okay for you to feel that way. You see what others do not; you know what evil lurks in the hearts of men.
Don’t settle for white-light nonsense just because you can’t actively participate with other “official” Satanists right now. Don’t fill your mind and dilute your magic with crap. Don’t believe someone who simply claims to know more about Satanism than you do. You’re the one who contacted us; you might even join eventually. You may know more, if you have read and studied our literature. A friend your age who hasn’t probably doesn’t know nearly as much about real magic as you do. An adult who claims special powers and who says he can initiate you into the Dark Realms is probably just looking to fuel his own ego (or wallet). Satanism doesn’t require a teacher, since our literature is clearly written and can be understood by anyone with an open mind.
Read our Bunco Sheet carefully so that you won’t be taken advantage of, and look over the rest of our information. You don’t have to join our organization; to be a true Satanist all you have to do is start living like one. Don’t complicate your life by pushing when it isn’t necessary. It may be wise to keep this interest to yourself. There are prejudiced people who might stand in the way of your goals if they know you consider yourself to be a Satanist. Always keep in mind that Satanism is a tool for enhancing your life—it is not a cause. Our fundamental principle is of self-interest.
This waiting period is also a test for you, to see if Satanism really is a reflection of your true nature. If it is, then you will strengthen that understanding through the application of our principles towards success in your endeavors. If your interest in Satanism is just a passing phase, then that too will become clear and you will freely move on to explore other philosophies and religions which are better suited to your unique perspective.
Your family and friends might be concerned at first because they’ve been brainwashed about what Satanism is. If they love you, when they see the positive changes that occur due to your new dedication to Satanism (and most of all, to yourself) they’ll try to understand and support you. And when you reach the age when membership becomes possible, the time spent in study and in refining your talents will make you worthy to earn your place in our group of highly capable individuals. Ultimately, your status within the Church of Satan will be based on your real accomplishments in the outside world. The Church of Satan will be here when you are ready, and if your commitment is strong and sincere, you will benefit from this time on your own. We’ve all taken that journey and it has tempered us. In the meantime, our web site will keep you informed of developments and literature that will be food for thought and for your growth as a Satanist.
Best wishes for further success and fulfillment. We know that you are with us.