My Favorite Satanic Holiday

The idea of a Satanic holiday is almost absurd to me. I say “almost,” because I celebrate a lot of holidays, but in the back of my mind, I am always a little bothered by the meaning of the word itself: holy day. As I reject all that is holy, surely I should reject the idea of a holy day, and yet I recognize the purpose of choosing certain days of the year to celebrate certain occasions.

One does not have to believe in the supernatural to respect the idea that marking certain days special is a way to celebrate the turn of the seasons, the sacrifices of those who have come before us, and the promise of a new year. Holidays are occasions that represent different aspects of life, both joyous and tragic, and reflecting upon their meanings can give us a greater appreciation for ourselves and our place within the grand scheme of existence.

There is one holiday that I cherish above all others, because it is a Satanic holiday, if you will pardon the apparent oxymoron. As I equate Satanism with living a joyous, fulfilling, and purpose-driven life, this particular holiday best captures the essence of those ideals. It is a day of standing tall with a heart that swells with pride in oneself and one’s accomplishments. It is a day of bearing down against the obstacles that stand in one’s path, and declaring, “I shall not be overcome!” It is a day to laugh, to cry, to be vulnerable, to be strong, to experience both joys and heartaches. Most importantly, it is a day to make the most of oneself and one’s circumstances.

My favorite Satanic holiday is called Today.

How will you spend your Today? Will you be a victim, or will you be victorious? Will you establish a new connection with others, or deepen an existing relationship? Will you create something that will last beyond this day, or beyond all of your days? Will you allow fear to prevent you from new experiences, or will you indulge, with all of your heart and mind, in all of the pleasures that Today has in store for you?

I challenge you to celebrate Today with all of your being, no matter what happens. Don’t squander this most precious of holidays. Do that which will bring you in greater alignment with your values and your goals, and remove every unnecessary or harmful element from your path. For this Today may be the only one you have left, so spend it wisely, but courageously. Go forth with strength and grace.

Hail Today! Hail Satan!

Moshing through life

A mosh pit at a hardcore concert is high energy zen. You enter the pit and become an atom: flowing in a stream of energy, colliding and rebounding like particles of a liquid creating a whirlpool or a convection current. You receive energy from the other people, and transfer your energy out toward them, until there is nothing but the “collective energy” swirling around in a vortex. You become one with the system

Justin Pansacola writes in an article at Vitamin String Quartet:

Every other form of concert body movement requires some self-awareness, and for many people that leads to self-consciousness. It requires either knowledge or natural talent with coordinating the awkwardness of your body to rhythms, or decisions on how to move that best match up with everyone else. That’s always fun in its own way, but the beauty of the mosh pit is that the choice isn’t in your hands. You are simply swept along. For those who struggle with even a modicum of self-consciousness, or indecision about what to do with themselves at a show, the mosh pit is a savior. You surrender to it, and then you try to keep your shoes on.

The specter of self-consciousness is powerful. You see it in their attempts to wiggle, the sudden evaporation of their nerve, and the way they look at everyone else while getting down. It’s not their fault. We all have our own terrifying social hang-ups. But the mosh pit is the equalizer that brings extroverts and introverts together. It’s a leveled playing field where we can all just enjoy the visceral sensation of a good beat, a thrashing guitar or a driving bass line.

moshBut it is also very controversial, and very counter-culture. It is frowned upon by cultural conservatives for being too chaotic and hedonistic, and by cultural liberals for being too dangerous.

The best way I can describe the dialectic between those who “get” mosh pit culture and those who do not is to just present to you this discussion thread about the philosophy of moshing on Psych Central:

Paintingravens: I think there’s a philosophy to moshing… a concert is a place where tons of people gather to have a good time and release any of that stress that’s been building up throughout the week. We gather, we fling ourselves into each other, we may fall a couple of times but we pick each other back up, we may inflict a few good bruises on each other, but it’s done unintentionally and playfully (albeit, intensely playfully), and it’s all in the spirit of rocking out. I think moshing is symbolic of the ideal human connection. We gather together to share a similar experience. A concert is a place where we can throw ourselves into each other as hard as we can (release all that daily frustration), and we take it, we share it, we laugh about it. We knock each other down, but we help each other up; possibly analogous to sharing each others pains and problems and helping each other through them? To me, it seems that moshing brings people together. While moshing, no one gets pissed at the other because you accidentally got elbowed in the face, and no one tries to start a fight because you got punched in the gut (both blows I received during this concert…:P); you take it in stride and laugh about it
Moreta: I don’t like moshers…..or people that crowd surf….since I usually position myself in the front row. I enjoy stepping out of the way so crowd surfers fall to the floor. I was at a Saliva concert one time, in the front row, and people were moshing behind me, and this huge dude slammed right into me, which led to having 3 bruised ribs from hitting the metal railing. Not fun.
Paintingravens: If you don’t like the mosh pit, perhaps in the future, you should consider finding a spot that is not directly in front of it. The mosh pit is not going to move out of the way for you.
TheByzantine: Oh? So before you buy a ticket you get a seating chart that designates mosh pit here? To think it is cool to trample and bruise those who thought they were going to a concert and not a rugby match is quite telling.
Paintingravens: The mosh pits generally start up in the same area (usually front-center area), and there’s not much one can do about it once they start. They gain momentum fast. And standing up in the very front is just asking to get pummeled by moshers… There are always other places to stand that are safe from the frantic blows of excited moshers.
TheByzantine: So what you are saying is that anyone who wants a front row sit is fair game to be bruised and battered?
Paintingravens: No, they’re not “fair game”. It’s not a hunting range. The people in the mosh pit are not targeting the unfortunate people in the front row. But if you make it to the front row and expect to be completely safe and bruise free by the end of the concert, then you are sorely mistaken. The mosh pit extends to the front row, and it’s filled with a bunch of people who are literally throwing themselves into each other. There is much pushing and shoving and flailing of limbs. Bruises happen in the front row. It’s just the way it is.
Lynn P. Sounds like a good excuse to hurt someone with out getting arrested. I would be afraid of bullies and people going there for that purpose – “yeah lets go hurt someone”
Paintingravens: Lol, mostly everyone is there to have a good time. If someone every gets seriously hurt and knocked to the ground and can’t get up, people notice and make a clearing for him/her; they help him/her up, make sure he/she gets out of the crowd without any more damage… I have yet to see someone point and laugh at any fallen, seriously injured comrades; I’ve never seen anyone as these events as sadistic as that. I’m sure there are people like that somewhere in the crowd, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s a small minority. Those are the people that would most likely be booed from the crowd

What I find most interesting about the strong advocates of mosh culture is that they truly reflect the way I interpret Satanic values, embodying the intersection of at least three Aspects of Satan:

1. Belial: You are your own spirit, you are your own actor. You neither conform nor rebel. There is no predefined structure, or set of rules.

2. The Leviathan: You understand that your own enjoyment depends on everyone’s enjoyment. You don’t pamper or constrain or “protect”, but you actively make sure to help those who need it. And if you detect people who are violent or acting in bad faith, they are booed from the crowd.

3. Pan: Be caught up in physicality, the music, the moment, and the feeling. Indulge in all of the physical sensations that your body can endure.

Of course, the mosh pit can always go wrong, and there have been news stories and scare-stories about serious injuries and things getting out of control. But at its finest, mosh pit culture represents the perfect balance between individuality, community, and indulgence: and when that perfect chord is struck, it’s one of the most amazing experiences in the world.

Real Transformative Experience

The sixth Core Value of the United Aspects of Satan is derived from the Aspect of Belial: “Individualism and individual accomplishment.” By individualism, we mean the rights of individuals to have freedom of expression, freedom over their own bodies, and freedom to, within reason and respect to the freedoms of others, live life on their own terms. By individual accomplishment, we mean that people should strive to fulfill their personal goals and enjoy the rewards, both tangible and intangible, of mastering themselves and their abilities.

Today’s message will focus on individual accomplishment and the transformative experience of fulfilling one’s goals.

Transformative experience is something that I believe is sought after by the practitioners of almost every religion. However, my variation of Satanism places no value on experiences that do not yield practical, measurable results. You will not find me locked away in a ritual chamber, muttering ooga-booga nonsense over weirdly-drawn symbols by flickering candlelight. Unfortunately, I have no magical advice to offer, because magic is not real. Period.

In the place of magic, I practice something I call “persistent effort towards a well-defined goal.” I know that sounds a little wordy, and it doesn’t bring to mind any kind of hip, occult clothing and accessories, but what persistent effort towards a well-defined goal lacks in style, it certainly makes up for in substance.

The first part of the transformative process, then, is to have a well-defined goal. Now, I have discovered a trick to creating goals that I want to share, because most of you, myself included, would not write out a REAL well-defined goal if asked to do so. You’d write down something that would satisfy your ego for the moment. Then you would follow through with all of the effort that you put into the New Year’s resolutions that you’ve already broken.

So here’s the trick: Before you try to write down a well-defined goal, make a comprehensive list of all of your interests. Put down everything that you like, no matter how silly, just get it all on a piece of paper.

Once you’ve done that, you are ready to figure out what your real goals are, and by “real goals” I mean things that you will actually have the passion to pursue. Look at your list and rank the items in order of level of interest. Now you are ready to set goals that you actually care about.

I think it is important to take the time to explore your true interests before writing down your goals. For one thing, it prevents the writer’s block you might encounter from not knowing where to start. For another, the goals that you create from a list of your own interests will be reflective of what you truly desire, not what you think is expected of you. Aspect of Belial, remember?

Now create a goal around one of your interests by deciding on something that you would like to accomplish with regards to that interest. Decide on a reasonable time frame to accomplish the goal, and then divide the time frame into manageable segments. Decide where you expect to be by the end of each time segment.

Then get started, and keep going until you’re finished.

Note: This process is simple. It isn’t always easy.

Goal-setting and goal-striving are the closest things to magic that I practice, and I assure you, accomplishing your goals will yield the same kind of transformative experiences that you could seek from more esoteric pursuits, but with the added benefit of actually accomplishing something. Plus, it spares you the embarrassment of doing a bunch of ooga-booga.

Hail accomplishment! Hail Satan!

Satanic household chores

In my household, we have a very Satanic way of dividing up the domestic work. If I’m bothered by the number of dirty dishes in the sink, I wash them. If I don’t have the energy to wash them, I don’t. But I don’t ask my partner to wash them either. If xe is bothered, xe will wash them. If not, the dishes don’t get washed… until they build up to the point where someone has both the energy and inclination to do it. Then it gets done.

Usually I wash the dishes, because my threshold for “being bothered” is much lower. But it’s my choice. Nobody tells me that it’s “my chore”, and I never resent being the one who does it because, ultimately, I do it because I want the dishes to be clean: that is my own desire.

By contrast, I never mop the floor. I probably will never mop the floor, because I find it boring and messy and aggravating. My partner finds it relaxing, so xe mops the floor. This is how we divide up all of the tasks: not by edict, not by assignment, not by command or imposition of will of one person on the other. Whichever person minds doing the chore less, or wants it done more, ends up doing it. The result is what scientists call a “self-organizing system.”

Satanic Household CleaningI say that this is a very Satanic method for dividing up the chores, because it reflects multiple values of the United Aspects of Satan. Neither one of us is putting demands on the other. Neither one of us is bargaining or holding the other person hostage. Each of us is reflecting the aspect of Belial by performing the tasks we want done the most, at the time that we want it done. We are reflecting the aspect of Satan by refusing to let conservative traditional cultural and religious proscriptions tell us which partner is “supposed” to carry out what task. And we are reflecting the aspect of The Leviathan by understanding that we are working together, even as we individually pursue our own priorities: I know that xe dislikes cleaning the toilets more than I do, so I take on that task… and let xir mop the floors instead. I am mindful of how my actions impact the entire household, without begrudging or placing demands upon anyone else’s independence.

You might think it silly to use something as mundane as household chores as a way to expound on Satanic morality; but really, what is the point of morality if you can’t apply it to the day-to-day operation of your life? That is what life is, after all, minute by minute and day by day, the million little choices that you make.

I also think household chores are a good illustration of Satanic morality, because many people have a misconception that Satanism is a kind of lone-wolf, beating-your-chest individualism. This is a leftover from the outdated “Might Makes Right” attitude in the original “Satanic Bible” by Anton LeVay (I’m tempted to refer to it as “the Old Testament of Satanism”). But for the United Aspects of Satan, individualism is strengthened by community, just as every community is strengthened by the independence of its individuals.

And what better way to illustrate that then to think about a household, and the way you manage day to day tedious chores with the ones you love? The relationships that are the healthiest allow for both mindfulness of how each person affects the other, as well as individualism and independence of all of the people involved.

Many people don’t realize it, but that dynamic — individual mutualism, coordination without the imposition of will — is deeply Satanic.

Ave Satanas.

The Narrative of Belial

“Being an individual, thinking for yourself, and refusing to blindly follow are critically important and definitive traits of Satanism. It should be pointed out that this is different from stubbornness and contrarianism. Being a reverse sheep really is not any better than being a regular sheep.” —Narratives 6(Belial): 6-8

The Narrative of Belial is the sixth chapter in The Satanic Narratives: A modern Satanic Bible, and introduces the aspect of Belial: representing individualism and individual accomplishment.

In the early days of Modern Satanism it was fashionable to say “I am the god of my reality!” or that people should “worship themselves” as gods. This kind of dramatic language is fine, for those who need it.  It serves a function. If you are breaking free from the oppression of a religion that has taught you that you are nothing unless you grovel at the feet of an invisible spirit, it can be healthy to spend some time recovering from that psychological abuse, and reclaiming your sense of importance and autonomy.

But once that healing has been done, consider this: To be a true individualist, all you need is to love and respect yourself. Love yourself enough to be filled with self-confidence when striving to your goals. Respect yourself enough to follow your own will, regardless of whether it conforms or does not conform to the society around you. Others may see you as being “selfish” or even acting like you think you are a god. But you will know you are embracing the aspect of Belial.