How to Make a Deal with the Devil

Once you become an outspoken Satanist, it is amazing how many people will approach you and ask how they can make deals with the Devil. When it happens to me, I usually tell them, “You can’t make a deal with the Devil, because the Devil doesn’t exist.” Then I explain to them that as an atheistic Satanist, I see the Devil as a metaphorical construct that represents my values, not a deity to be worshiped or a demon with whom to make pacts.

It usually goes right over their heads, which is fine: once their infatuation with the Devil is over, I expect them to try to make deals with someone or something else. The greatest trick that superstition ever pulled was in convincing the world that there are shortcuts to growth and self-empowerment.

Those who are familiar with some of my other writings know that in the place of magic, I practice something I like to call “persistent effort towards a well-defined goal.” This is not to say that I do not engage in ritual, because the act of devising my goals and writing them down on paper is, itself, a ritual. Neither do I really have to write them down, I suppose, as long as I have decided what they are, but actually seeing the words written down on paper is satisfying to me, because it makes my thoughts appear to be more “concrete” or “real.”

However, there are no occult forces in play. The words I create are just words until I put forth the effort to bring my desires into reality. There is no connection between my intentions and the greater universe. Things Above are not connected to those Below, except by coincidence or wishful thinking.

To those who define magic as “changes in consciousness,” I shall say that doing practically anything causes changes in consciousness, but unless you put yourself in a state of consciousness that actually motivates you to do something, changing your consciousness isn’t a particularly useful or special act. The one thing you won’t find in a book of the occult is the notion that everything you do after you’ve made up your mind, rather than the process you follow in order to make up your mind, is what has the power to create change.

Your Will is the information that travels through your nervous system and results in the un-assing of your seat. It is not a thing that you should childishly enshrine as some kind of special being. I can imagine the number of disgruntled Satanic Witches and Warlocks who are attempting to angrily shoot their beams of Will at me for making such a statement, and I can say that I am experiencing a change of consciousness as a result of that idea: I am becoming amused.

My variation of Satanism has no place for magic and superstition, for I view skepticism and reason as the definitive traits of the Aspect of Lucifer. I know this outlook will likely be disappointing to those who aspire to unlock special, spooky powers of the occult, but if it’s any consolation, I have some really great news:

You are going to die. One day, you will stop breathing, your heart will stop pumping blood, and you will die. I mean deader than dogshit, too. You’re going to be dead as fuck.

If that doesn’t give you a surge of empowerment, then you really haven’t yet come to terms with your own mortality. I encourage you to do so, because once you internalize the fact that your time is limited, you will want to spend less of it muttering nonsense by candlelight, with the hopes of causing changes to your consciousness.

If you want to make a deal with the Devil, this is the deal that I suggest you make: To learn, to aspire, to seize the day, and to let nothing stop you, not even yourself. Dispense with self-deceit and foolishness. There is no power greater than the combination of knowledge and effort.

Hail Satan!

On the Pretense of Power

The universe is not an ATM for wishes. It has no interest in manifesting your desires, no matter how often you pretend to project your psychic beams of hopefulness into it.

The path of the Adversary should not lead you to the same delusions as the faithful. You exist in a universe that is entirely indifferent to your being, except for those times when the universe is merciless. To experience reality as it truly exists, you must cast aside any notions of intercession by benevolent forces.

If it hasn’t happened already, you will one day find yourself in a situation that cannot readily be wished away. What good will your illusions of occult power be then? Better to get rid of your illusions now, before you realize only too late that what you thought was magic was mere confirmation bias and placebo.

I will trade all of the imaginary power in the world to walk in the Luciferian light of truth. I will see my existence as it truly is, my strengths and weaknesses exposed and undeniable. Only then may I act in a way that will cause me to have an effect on my circumstances.

The Adversary is the enemy of falsehoods, even falsehoods that bring comfort and pleasure. Do not settle for the pretense of power, when goal-setting and goal-striving can bring to you the real thing. Let the believers live in their world of shadows, while the shadows flee before the light of Lucifer.

May the light of Lucifer shine upon us all. Hail Satan!

My religious relationship with the Easter Bunny

I do not worship the Easter Bunny. I want to state that clearly from the very beginning, so that there is no confusion. But I do consider bunnies the most important symbol of Easter,  with specific religious significance for Satanism.

Peeps BunniesThe Bunny represents the triumph of the secular over the mystical. Christians still like to tell themselves that Easter is about some kind of weird deal where God bribes Satan, but let’s get real: in America in the twenty-first century, Easter is a widely-celebrated cultural phenomenon that has almost nothing to do with Jesus. It is about consumerism and candy and spring time.  It is about wearing pastels and showing a little skin after a long winter. It is a celebration of the material world, physical transformations of spring, and indulgence in pleasures. The perfect Satanic holiday, all centered on the glorious Bunny.

And as a Satanist, I enjoy subverting cultural norms an expectations. I enjoy taking symbols with one expected meaning, and turning them around to present them as something else. To get people to question their expectations, and move people out of their comfort zones. So for me, the truly iconic Satanist symbol for Easter is…. the Evil Bunny.

We can find the Evil Bunny in many places in pop culture.

Evil rabbit from Watership Down One of my favorite Evil Bunnies appears in the classic animated not-so-much-for-children movie Watership Down: a story all about rabbits. It features a fearsome “bad guy” rabbit, General Woundwort: battle-scarred, vicious, a military dictator of his warren. He’s basically a rabbit version of Hitler.

Frank, from Donnie DarkoThe movie Donnie Darko features a bunny that is not so much evil as ominous. A mysterious creature that looks like a terrifying half-skull rabbit creature appears to Donnie in a vision and tells him when the universe will end!  The creature, named Frank, imparts strange bits of wisdom to Donnie every time he appears. Is it a creature? Is it a person in a scary bunny suit? How can we know for sure?

Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

And of course, there was a running joke throughout the series Buffy The Vampire Slayer that one of the characters (who was formerly a demon) had a fear of bunnies. She even sings a song about them:

“Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes. They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses, and what’s with all the carrots? What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?”

All of this convinces me that the Easter Bunny–or perhaps a nice evil version of the Easter Bunny–is the perfect Satanic religious symbol for this holiday.

Which movie or television show featuring an Evil Bunny will you watch this Easter?

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!

Message from the Clergy

I have encountered questions and misconceptions about Satanic clergy that I feel the need to address. This message is for members of the United Aspects of Satan and the greater Atheistic Satanism community. Thank you for your time and consideration.

The United Aspects of Satan is a religious organization that promotes a particular variation of atheistic Satanism. We use various mythological beings as metaphorical representations of different parts of our religious philosophy and values. These beings, which have been incorporated into the character of Satan as he is generally understood by Western scholars, provide a basis for the ideas that we incorporate into a religious framework. They also embody ideas that go beyond mere atheism and humanism, which helps to answer the often-asked question, “Why do you call yourselves Satanists in the first place?”

The clergy of the United Aspects of Satan help to promote this variation of atheistic Satanism through our philosophical writings and community support. Our reach goes beyond the official members of the United Aspects of Satan and to Satanists who identify with other Satanic organizations, or those who choose to remain independent of organized groups for personal reasons.

We do not, nor have we ever, advocated the idea that our variation of Satanism is the “right” or “only” possible variation. The concept of dictating an “official” version of Satanism within an organization that claims to promote individuality and freedom of thought is laughable, at best. We have no respect for foolishness, so we would not promote such foolish ideas.

The clergy of the UAoS work to facilitate this variation of atheistic Satanism, to answer the questions of those who would like to know more about our philosophy, and to attend to the needs of our members, should they wish to discuss personal problems or need assistance with goals or accountability coaching. This offer extends beyond official membership, however. We offer our support to atheistic Satanists of any stripe who would turn to us for help.

The notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness is incorrect and ultimately self-defeating. Having the insight to recognize one’s shortcomings and to be motivated to do something about them is a sign of intelligence and strength.

As clergy, we do not presume to be all-knowing, but we would like for you to think of us as trusted allies. I know I don’t have the knowledge to address every problem or issue that arises, but I might know how to connect you to the people who do. In that sense, Satanic clergy can act as the social glue that binds together the Leviathan.

One of the most common objections to the idea of Satanic clergy is the idea that we are trying to claim some kind of authority over our members. The best response that I can give to that idea is that one should talk to our members and ask them how much “authority” we presume over their lives. We certainly hope to aid in their personal development–personal development being the basis of Left Hand Path religion–but the goals towards which our members strive are ultimately their own.

Hail Satan!

Carpe Diem Carpe Semper

Today I would like to share some advice related to the aspects of Lucifer and Pan as they represent the search for self-knowledge and pleasure. The attainment of both of these goals is related to an understanding of the self, which can reveal personal barriers to deeper levels of knowledge and enjoyment. While experiences that produce knowledge and enjoyment lead to personal growth, one can, without being aware of what he or she is doing, limit the effect of his or her growth by not being attentive to possibilities for even greater development.

There is always more, until you stop searching for it. To assume a boundary to what you can learn from an experience, or to not bother to further examine what an experience can teach you, is to place limitations upon your personal development. The hardest chains to break are the ones that you make for yourself. You may have some freedom to move within those chains, but you will not go as far as your potential would allow.

pan-portraitFor example, consider the experience of first falling in love with another person. The experience is exhilarating, to open yourself up to another person and allow them to see your vulnerabilities as well as your strengths. But this is also an opportunity for further development, to find very specific nuances of the experience that can lead to greater self-awareness. What is it about the other’s skin that makes you long to touch him or her? What does the other’s vocal inflections and speech patterns reveal about his or her personality, and what makes that interesting to you? Does the other person have a quirk or a tic that you find attractive, and do these behaviors reveal anything to you about the way that you see yourself?

There is always more information to learn about the experience as long as you can find another question to ask yourself. So probe for more information about your experiences as fully as you can, and soon you will discover that it becomes even easier to analyze an experience and draw even more information from it.

My addition to the old Latin proverb, “Carpe diem,” or “Seize the day,” would be this: Seize the day and keep seizing. Do not allow the potential for grasping more information about yourself and your experiences to pass you by. Living life to the fullest means continually expanding your concept of the limitation for where “the fullest” can be.

Hail experience! Hail Satan!

Darkness and the Void

The attraction that many Satanists have towards the darker side of life is often misunderstood. Far from being a form of mere attention-seeking or a symptom of depression, the cultivation of a dark aesthetic can be empowering.

The awareness of one’s own mortality can motivate the individual to have a greater appreciation for life.

The acknowledgement of the chaotic and merciless nature of the universe can wipe away the delusions of specialness that leave one ill-prepared to cope with misfortune once it strikes.

The recognition that there is no meaning to one’s own existence beyond what he or she chooses to make of his or her life is sobering, but also fuel for the fires of ambition.

The understanding that there is no God to save us places the responsibility that we have towards ourselves and our fellow human beings squarely upon the shoulders of each of us.

From the Void comes a hunger for pleasure, a source of perseverance and strength, the desire to achieve something of personal significance, and compassion and empathy for one’s fellow human beings, for each of us is subject to the whims of chance.

To peer into the Abyss long enough that the Abyss peers back into you is to experience the strength and sense of purpose that the darkness brings. Let it flow through you like a river. Let it burn like a flame inside your heart. Call upon it when you reach out for the warmth of your lover. Feel its presence when you must overcome whatever challenge you face.

For within the Void lies unbridled passion.

The neophyte will learn this with time and, hopefully, with mentoring. His or her projection of a dark aesthetic is a fledgling attempt to harness the power that he or she desires. This should not be treated with ridicule, but understanding. Those with experience should guide the neophyte back to the Void, and help him or her to know the reason why he or she seeks power in the first place. Help the neophyte recognize how vulnerable he or she is to an uncaring universe, and then show him or her that the understanding of that vulnerability is the source of wisdom and strength.

May your days be filled with passion, and may you achieve all that you desire.

Hail darkness! Hail Satan!

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!

Straight Clownin’

The eighth Core Value of the United Aspects of Satan is derived from the Aspect of Loki: “The application of humor, fun, wit, and cunning in our endeavors.” I would like to explain how this is one of the most important of the Core Values, but before I go into greater detail, I would like to tell you a joke:

There was a man named Bob who lived with his family in the town of Franklin, Tennessee–just outside of Nashville. Bob would commute to his job in Nashville everyday, where he worked for a pittance at a widget factory. One day, on his way to work, Bob saw a billboard advertising the Bellanger Brothers Circus coming to Evansville, Indiana–a straight shot up I-65 from Nashville. The circus would be in Evansville for the next two months.

Bob had fond memories of the time that his late father took him to see the circus when he was a child living in Macon, Georgia. The circus was filled with wonder and excitement unlike anything he had ever experienced while growing up in a small, Southern town. Bob remembered the beautiful women on the flying trapeze, the painted clowns and their silly antics, and the sight of real-live elephants, tigers, and bears.

Then Bob thought about his strained marriage and his unhappy children. He thought about how, if he could manage to save enough money, he could offer them the same magic of the circus that he experienced as a child. The Bellanger Brothers Circus could be the opportunity Bob had been looking for to give something joyful to his family. He would have to get a part-time, temporary, second job to afford the money for the gas and the tickets to the circus, but the extra hours would be worth it to distract his family from their problems for a little while.

So after Bob’s shift at the widget factory, he stopped by a pizza restaurant and applied for a job as a delivery driver. He was hired on the spot, and began to make his first deliveries that weekend. Had he been healthier, he could probably keep working this second job indefinitely, but Bob was overweight and out of shape. The extra hours took a toll on him, but in just a few weeks he had made enough for the trip to Evansville and tickets to the circus.

His wife and his children were happy and excited on the day that they drove to Evansville. They came to the circus early, eagerly awaiting all of the spectacles promised on the posters outside of the big tent. As the crowd gathered, his children began jumping with excitement. When the Ringmaster finally stepped out onto the stage, his children practically squealed with delight.

The Ringmaster announced the Bellanger Brothers Clown Ensemble, and a tiny Volkswagen Beetle drove on to the stage. The Beetle was yellow with orange, red, and white polka dots. As the doors of the clown car opened, an unbelievable number of clowns sprang from the vehicle. The clowns flooded the stage, performing flips and cartwheels, unicycle tricks, juggling, and even fire-breathing. Bob beamed as his wife and children watched the clowns with amazement.

The last clown to spring from the clown car was shorter than the others. His makeup was more sinister in appearance, for he had what appeared to be sharp, triangular teeth painted over his mouth. In his hands he carried an oversized bicycle horn which he used to honk at all the other clowns and chase them off the stage.

Once the sinister clown was alone on the stage, he snatched up a microphone and announced to the audience, “I need a volunteer!”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Bob’s children exclaimed. Bob looked at his wife, who nodded her approval, and Bob stood up and raised his hand.

“Yes, sir!” The clown said as he gestured for Bob to join him on stage. “Everybody, let’s give this gentleman a hand!” The crowd cheered as Bob made his way to the stage, but then quickly fell silent again as the clown raised his gloved hand.

“What is your name, sir?” The clown asked and then tilted his microphone to Bob’s mouth.

“Bob,” said Bob.

“Well, Bob, let me ask you something. Are you a horse?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a mule?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a donkey?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Well, then you must be a jackass!”

The crowd roared with laughter, but Bob felt humiliated. Even Bob’s wife and children were laughing at him. The clown dismissed Bob from the stage. As he sulked back to his seat, Bob began to feel angry, and his anger ruined the rest of his evening at the circus.

Bob’s anger had turned into rage as he got back into the car with his family. He thought about the extra hours he had worked to be able to afford treating his family to the circus, only to watch them join in with all of the others who laughed at his public humiliation. He began to drive erratically, nearly avoiding a couple of accidents as he made his way down I-65 South, and his anger frightened his wife and children. Bob and his wife started fighting in the car, and once they made it back home, his wife declared that she was taking the children to her mother’s house. The drive home was the last straw for her, and she announced that it was time for the two of them to divorce.

In the months that followed, Bob lost his family and then his job at the widget factory once his performance began to slip. He moved out and rented a trailer on the outskirts of town, now working full-time pizza delivery to make ends meet. He gained weight and then began drinking, and his situation would have continued to decline were it not for one night as Bob lay in bed, struggling to sleep, with the image of the sinister clown’s face burning in his mind.

It suddenly occurred to Bob, who had been ruined by this evil clown, exactly how he planned to get revenge.

Bob began working double shifts. He cut out what few unnecessary expenses he had. He began saving his money, and once he had enough, he enrolled in his first course at the Nashville Clown College. Bob decided that he would learn everything he needed to learn to get into the mind of the evil clown, for then he would know how to exact his revenge.

Bob was a stellar clown student. He took to the lessons of clowning with the focus and zeal of a monk. He learned to turn flips and cartwheels, ride a unicycle, juggle, and even breathe fire. He graduated from the Nashville Clown College with honors, at the top of his class.

As fate would have it, shortly after his graduation from clown college, another billboard appeared in Nashville, advertising the return of the Bellanger Brothers Circus to Evansville, Indiana.

It was time.

As Bob drove up I-65, he thought on the lessons of his many months of clown college. Pie Throwing 101, Advanced Seltzer Water Shooting, Balloon Animal Theory and Practicum. A wealth of clown knowledge was now at his disposal, and somewhere, within all of the lessons he learned in his many hours of study, would be the key to his vengeance.

He came to the circus early. His excitement became almost unbearable as he awaited the emergence of the polka-dotted clown car. The Ringmaster announced the beginning of the show, and then came the Bellanger Brothers Clown Ensemble.

And then, with his painted smile and his oversized bicycle horn, came the sinister clown.

“I need a volunteer from the audience!” said the sinister clown.

Bob stood up and raised his hand. The clown gestured for him to come up on stage. There seemed to be no recollection of Bob in the clown’s eyes, and that made Bob even angrier, but Bob quickly calmed himself because this time he knew what to do.

“Sir, are you a horse?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a mule?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Are you a donkey, perhaps?”

“No,” said Bob.

“Then you must be a jackass!”

Bob was unfazed as the crowd roared with laughter. His mind was sharp and laser-focused on his plan. As the sinister clown continued to regard Bob with a wicked gleam in his eyes, Bob took the microphone from the clown’s hands. Then he said,

“Fuck you, clown.”



Now, at some point in time, unless you cheated and skipped to the end of the joke, you should have begun to suspect that you were being fucked with. Similar to “The Aristocrats,” “The Clown Joke” is a long-winded joke with an anti-climactic punchline. What makes the joke funny is when the audience realizes that the joke doesn’t deliver on its promise.

This is also a demonstration of the Aspect of Loki in action, the Art and Science of Fucking With People. Almost every religion prescribes a way of dealing with one’s enemies, usually with the suggestion to kill them outright, but our variation of Satanism demands a more refined, less barbaric approach:

Fuck with ’em.

The key to fucking with people is in controlling their expectations. Dangle carrots in front of them, just enough to get them moving in the direction that you want, and then make a change. Even better if you can make them think that following the carrot was their own idea. No matter what, make sure to laugh your ass off. Fucking with your enemies is supposed to be hilarious.

Hail fun and trickery! 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.