The Myth of the Myth of the Satanic Community

The idea of a Satanic community is only a “myth” to those who lack emotional intelligence and common sense. Those Satanists who can rise above their elitist myopia long enough to make nice and gain the friendship of others are truly masters of one of life’s most important skills: not being a fucking douchebag.

In fact, so many possibilities open up for the non-douchebags of the world–personal, professional, and romantic possibilities–that a self-aware person would puzzle over what anyone could ever hope to gain from acting like a snobby little shit in the first place.

As we Satanists search for the best ideas, separating the wheat from the chaff, let us spare the misanthropic malcontents among us none of the ridicule that they rightfully deserve. For in their devaluation of others, they also devalue themselves, leaving themselves only to hold up hollow accomplishments as “proof” of their supposed superiority. What they lack in their ability to touch others’ hearts and minds, they try make up for with… stuff. They trade the ability to inspire for the ability to acquire, and they are all the poorer for doing so.

A wise person knows that the ability to see value in others, and to help others increase their value, will inevitably benefit him or her to a greater extent than his or her singular efforts ever could. There is a difference between self-interest and selfishness, though a fool will always conflate the two. One who is motivated by self-interest would naturally not want to be treated like an asshole, and one of the best ways to accomplish that feat is to not act like one, to not hold oneself in such high esteem that he or she cannot be surprised by or learn something new from other people of any walk of life.

Some have posited that Satanists would not get along with one another in a community setting, because of each Satanist’s fierce individuality. However, individuality is not a factor in how well one can get along with others. The ability to get along with others is determined by one’s level of maturity and his or her emotional intelligence. Humility, the asset that an immature person views as a liability, also plays a major factor in gaining likability. Maturity, emotional intelligence, and humility are not exclusive to fierce individuality.

Those who hail snobbery as a virtue are a truly sad lot, but worse are the people who allow themselves to be devalued to such a point that they would want to gain the snobs’ approval. Though an “elitist” might say that he or she is only maintaining some kind of standard against mediocrity, the individual who does not feel beholden to the arbitrary standards of others is the one who maintains his or her worth. That person never spends a night secretly hoping that he or she has kissed the requisite amount of ass to be considered one of the cool kids.

This is not to say that Satanists should not have standards for the other people that they interact with. We have no respect for foolishness. But it would be wise to hold maturity and likability in higher esteem than one’s ability to have a lot of stuff, or project his or her superiority onto others.

Hail emotionally intelligent, grown-ass men and women! 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.

Political correctness is the devil

People like to keep things simple. Whenever possible, they would prefer to have One Big Problem, rather many different ones.

The Devil is a perfect illustration of this principle. Over hundreds and thousands of years, mythic and historical writing has included a number of bad characters harboring ill will, or representing challenges to humanity. But our simple-minded culture has decided that they are all actually just one Super-Bad Being: the Devil.

In the Book of Job 1-2, Job has a spiritual adversary who is referred to as “the satan” (which translates from the Hebrew as “the adversary”). According to the book of Job, this being is specifically Job’s adversary: not “the adversary of God” or “the adversary of mankind”. The satan is in fact following God’s instructions, according to the story. And yet, in our modern-day interpretation of the myth, this being becomes “The Devil”.

In Leviticus 7:17, the Hebrew word sair is translated as “The Devil”, even though it really means “goat” or “satyr”.

In Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalms 106:37,  the Hebrew word shed is translated as “The Devil”, even though it means “idol”.

In 1 Kings, the word “satan” is used to refer to an actual human being: Rezon of Damascus. He was an adversary (a “satan”) to Israel. But many Christians claim this passage refers to The Devil.

“Shaitan” or “ash-Shayṭān” is also the name of Iblis in Islamic myths: the one who whispers evil temptations into the ears of man. According to many: also the Devil.

A snake in a garden that tempts Eve? Must have been the devil.

The peacock angel worshiped by the Yazidis? Must have been the devil.

And my favorite bit of twisted interpretation is Ezekiel 28:12-14, which many many Biblical scholars argue must be referring to the Devil:

“Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings…”

And so on, and so on. The passage goes on to say that he was proud because of his beauty, and so the Lord cast him out. Many Biblical scholars call this a description of the Devil.

The only problem with this description of “The Devil” is the one sentence that precedes it:

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me: Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him…….”

This (supposedly inerrant?) biblical passage very clearly states that it is a description of the king of Tyre, not the Devil. But no! It’s too confusing to have more than one Bad Guy in the novel of life… so Christians claim that this, too, is a description of The Devil.

This over-simplification happens in other areas of life, too. A good example is the way that America’s right-wing has chosen to focus on “political correctness” as the supposed source of so many things it finds disagreeable.

The original idea behind political correctness was fairly mundane: be mindful about how the things you say might have unintended negative consequences or might impact people around you in negative ways.

But now?

Students are complaining about their classes? It’s because of political correctness!

President Obama won’t use the phrase “Islamic Terrorism”? Political correctness!

Women are being allowed in the military? Oh, the horrors of political correctness!

Conservatives want to make “political correctness” synonymous with “language policing” and authoritarianism. And admittedly, some radical “PC Police” activists can use the term in a very authoritarian way. As a Satanist, and a strong supporter of Loki, I’m against anyone who tells me that I should never offend people, or must walk on eggshells in the way I talk.

But it is also obvious to me that political correctness has become the American Right’s modern “Devil”: the single big Bad Guy that can be blamed for all of the problems!

Well, you know what? I like the Devil. And I also like political correctness: at least in the way it was originally intended, even if not the way it is executed by some on the left-side fringe. It is noble, and indeed very Satanic, to be mindful of one’s place in a culture, and one’s relationship to other people. It is very Satanic to be aware of the power you have with your own rhetoric, and as an activist within a community. It is the very nature of the aspect of The Leviathan.

So let the political right wing wrings its hands over the devastation being brought down on the land by the dreaded Political Correctness! As a Satanist I say:

Hail Community. Hail Political Correctness. 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 Leviathan

“Through communal emergence, you can create a very a powerful adversary. One that can bend the world, just a little, to the desire of your will. One that can affect change to a greater extent than could any one person. It is the closest thing there is to magic. Its power is limited only by the community and their combined creative energies.” —Narratives 5(Leviathan): 25-28

The Narrative of Leviathan is the fifth chapter in The Satanic Narratives: A modern Satanic Bible, and introduces the aspect of Leviathan: representing community for the creative freedom and betterment of every person.

The United Aspects of Satan encourages a balanced approach to the character from which we draw our inspiration: all of the aspects have something to teach us, and all can give us insight. The stereotypical “hermit on the hill” individualist, the “I’ve got mine and I don’t care what happens to you” libertarian, focuses on Belial at the expense of Leviathan. Such a person has narrowed xir worldview and personal growth by ignoring the evidence that we all exist as interconnected social beings. Such a person is not behaving rationally.

The Leviathan, on the other hand, operates under the slogan: We are legion! We are the chaos, the swarm. We understand the difference between being sheep following a leader, and being a collection of individuals who happen to be walking in the same direction, seeing the power that can result.

We Are Legion

The fifth Core Value, “Community for the creative freedom and betterment of every person,” comes from the Aspect of Leviathan. While the Biblical leviathan was a type of large sea creature, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the concept of leviathan to represent the structure of society and legitimate government as a kind of giant creature. Thomas Hobbes’s book, commonly referred to as Leviathan, is one of the earliest and most influential works regarding the use of a social contract.

The United Aspects of Satan recognizes the importance of community for, among other reasons such as basic survival, a means of working with like-minded individuals towards the accomplishment of various goals.

To quote from The Satanic Narratives: A Modern Satanic Bible by Damien Ba’al, “Through communal emergence, you can create a very powerful adversary. One that can bend the world, just a little, to the desire of your will. One that can affect change to a greater extent than any one person. It is the closest thing there is to magic. It’s power is limited only by the community and their combined creative energies.”

There is a belief among some Satanists and some Satanic organizations that community is antithetical to Satanism and that any attempt to create community is to adopt a “herd” mentality. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Consider, in this modern age, how disconnected people are from each other, separated by race, politics, cubicles, and flashing screens. Competition, not cooperation, is rewarded by those who have an interest in keeping the common people from banding together. People give away their power because they have been conditioned to believe that they are unable to make a difference.

It is the Satanist who must decide first and foremost that he or she will not resign to defeatism. He or she must commit to continuous personal growth, to develop new skills and new energy reserves for living life successfully and on his or her own terms. A community of Satanists devoted to this common purpose, who will offer their services to mentor each other in various skills and disciplines, can create the most formidable adversary that the powers that be could ever know.

Then when we go about our lives, witnessing the disconnection and apathy of the common populace, we can say to ourselves, “I am Legion, for the knowledge and skills of my brothers and sisters are with me.”

Hail community! Hail Satan!