I’ve noticed something about human nature. It’s that: when we don’t have an answer to something, we try to find reason for it. Ordinarily this isn’t a bad trait for humans, but it can go devastatingly wrong when we don’t find what we think we should be looking for. While our quest for reason has helped shape the scene of modern science, for example, the inability to ask questions—or even the right questions—will have people remaining in an apostate’s old religion making up their own reasons for why something happened the way it did. It’s human nature, there’s no way around it. You might think, “well, the apostate could do a better job explaining these things,” but they’re not always able to do that, and for any number of reasons (We’ll tackle misconceptions of satanic apostasy in another blog). The bottom line however, is that failure to understand something doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate to speak for someone else, or to make up an answer on your own. I think that the questions that have been asked around my apostasy come from a good place, but they’re not the questions that will help you understand it. In order to find those questions, you need to first understand how it is false that “a Satanist is born, not made.” A person very well can be made into a Satanist, I have come to realize (in stark contrast to my tribalistic mantras of the past), since I made myself a true Satanist.
Before we go on...
I’d like to take a quick pause here and mention that this blog required an astronomical amount of time and energy these past several weeks compared to average. Even still, this is a very complicated and chaotic process to try and explain. It may still seem confusing to you, but it my best effort at the moment to reiterate for my friends and readers that my decision has nothing to do with you/them. I do not represent that this is how others experience apostasy, nor it doesn’t mean that this is how others experience Satanism. I will, now and forever, only speak for myself.
Also, nothing in this blog should be taken as medical advice or expertise. I am trying to oversimplify a complicated process, not teach anyone brain chemistry. :)
The number of misconceptions that people have made up about my apostasy is a bit overwhelming, and so I’m going to start at the root of this, rather than try to address these fantasies on a case-by-case basis because if I did that, we would be here all night. It all starts in the brain. Throughout our lives we will meet people who think differently, and I don’t mean only that they have a different opinion. I’m talking about the cognitive behaviors that each person conducts when they approach processing information presented to them. Cognitive behaviors are the way that your mind works. You can think of it as the automatic procedures that your mind follows when it is processing information. Usually, these cognitive behaviors are initially learned as your brain grows and matures, and with effort, you can change them, but nobody can do it for you. Being raised in Christianity meant that the religion created paths in my mind to arrive at certain conclusions, and my cognitive behaviors would see to it that I got where it wanted me to be. Since cognitive behaviors can become habits, you can begin to understand how a person can easily get stuck in a pattern of thought processing that defines how their minds work and how they relate to the world—thus, how the world sees them, and ultimately, how they see themselves. Changing the individual behaviors drastically can create a domino effect that changes the habits, then the thinking patterns, the way someone interacts with the world, and eventually the person themselves.
In Satanism, knowing who you are is very important, and arguably is required. You are supposed to read the Satanic Bible, which I did, and you can only call yourself a Satanist if “you see yourself reflected in its pages.” That was not something I was interested in when I first started learning about Satanism. The reason I cracked that book was because I was doing research, as I was a happy atheist who didn’t want to have to do anything with religion. I started reading it after achieving apostasy from Christianity and being able to read it was in part me thumbing my nose at my retired faith. Regardless, reading the Satanic Bible isn’t want made me a Satanist, it was what came next: I read it again, and considered what it said.
Critical thinking is a value in Satanism, and I don’t need to be a Satanist to find people who don’t seek out alternative perspectives annoying. I’ve never been someone who you could say something to and have me blindly trust it, and it was for that reason that I was critical of everything I read in the Satanic Bible. It was a bit eerie how it felt like Anton LaVey had transcribed the thing from my own heart, though—especially the Book of Lucifer. All in all, it made sense! He had codified a way of thinking that bridged where I was currently standing to where I genuinely wanted to be. For instance: I did not believe in any god, and I had not yet considered how religions came to be without deities. Anton LaVey wrote his beliefs that that mankind had made all religions, and once I asked myself, ‘Is that true?’ it was obviously a yes! Come to find out, there was a different name for the way I truly saw the world: I was called ‘Satanist.’ Of course, there were things that weren’t a perfect fit, but I’d like to point out that nothing is ever a perfect fit, that if Satanism describes you ‘perfectly,’ then you either aren’t an individual (which is ironically demanded by the religion) or/and you aren’t thinking critically about the context of the book because Anton LaVey was no psychic oracle making predictions about someone picking up the book sixty years into the future. (Sorry.)
Still, I was skeptical and highly critical. I had heard some bad things about Satanism in the past, and although I certainly wasn’t going to take Christianity’s word for it, I was wise to the truth that some groups will pretend to be a certain way on their face while hiding something insidious beneath the mask. Of course, I never felt I needed Satanism. I’m not sure I even wanted Satanism when I was looking at it, but I felt that if the shoe fit, then I may as well wear it—but only if I couldn’t uncover an uglier side to it. This required that I keep digging, and so, encouraged by the quote “Satanism deserves study, not worship,” (which further reinforced for me that our values were in alignment) I did. While waiting for my book order to arrive, I scoured the internet and learned everything I could about the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple. Then, I kept reading. I read the Satanic Rituals and then grew quickly bored and switched to something else. Next was the Satanic Witch and the Satanic Scriptures which I could read simultaneously. Doing so taught me about the different ways Satanism could be viewed through different Satanists’ eyes, and it made it easier for me to feel comfortable bearing that title while simultaneously embracing what made me an individual. For example: LaVey described three types of ritual magic, but High Priest Gilmore introduced a different type of ritual, rituals for special ceremonies. It told me that it was okay if I didn’t follow the “Thirteen Steps” perfectly; I was an individual after all, and why should I be held back about something minor that would allow me to embrace who I truly was? (Satanists reading that line will be slowly nodding.)
I kept reading. I kept learning. This is what you do, because Satanism deserves study, not worship. If you’re going to be a Satanist, you should know what a Satanist is, and even though it is said that you only need to read the Satanic Bible, you really do need to also read the rest of the library canon if you’re trying to make sure that you actually ARE a Satanist, and that there is nothing hidden between the lines on the pages. I found nothing to raise a brow at. Sure, there was some anti-theist rhetoric here and there, and some strange approaches to social interactions, but aside from that I didn’t find the Satanic Witch to be misogynistic. I considered what women were shouting at the time and I thought, “Well, it’s out of context. You must understand the history of the time he was writing this. Also, he was trying to empower women by giving this advice. Times change and intention matters!” With that, my research continued. I devoured everything and anything I could learn about Satanism, about its history, its people, its culture, and its future. I hooked up with a group of Satanists on the Amino social media app, and quickly found that most people didn’t have the same desperation to discover the dark side that I did—they were happy practicing “Whatever-You-Want-Ism” (but calling it Satanism) to satisfy themselves without having done any research whatsoever. How stupid of them! I did not even realize, even at this point, how my research had stopped being research, and how my research had begun to be an indoctrination or in the very least, inculcation, at my own hand. Do you see it? I was angry that people weren’t respecting my religion, weren’t respecting the study that MY religion deserved!
How far did you get before you realized that my 'inner monologue' here was beginning to have a bias? Did you think that I was just writing emotionally? No, I am not emotional about this process. However, when you are living the moment, these transitions are so slight and subtle that you don't catch them for what they are. It's easy to look over it with hindsight, but in the moment, not so much.
By surrounding myself with satanic rhetoric and satanic voices espousing satanic thoughts, my approach to processing the world around me began to take place in a vacuum, or perhaps it would be easier to say: my mind itself became an echo chamber, saturated by the constant perspective and habit of seeing the world as a Satanist because it was how I was living my life. It was who I was. I did agree with the perspectives of the Satanic Bible, and they were indeed there, within me to begin with, and I knew this because post-apostasy, I had a better understanding of who I was than when I was previously identifying as a Christian. This evolution was something that I embraced and encouraged of myself. I felt that Satanism was helping me to find the words that connected with those beliefs that had been suppressed in my earlier years, but that had always been there, true to who I was. Said another way, “Satanism codified what was in my heart,” but Satanism was not a perfect religion, and Satanism had a bias. I didn’t mind the bias. It was easy to see, but it didn’t seem harmful, not even when one day I looked in the metaphorical mirror and saw someone different looking back. My inner cartographer’s work of mapping certain paths in my cognitive processing had redesigned the way I understood and related to the world, and in the end, that changed who I was. This isn’t to be confused with me changing to become a Satanist, but it does mean that there were parts of me that were no longer used. They sat there in the dark corners of my mind gathering dust, much like how these “Satanist” perspectives had once been ignored as well.
This process is what I am referring to when I say “psychological behaviors” in my last blog. When I became “mapped” to Satanism, I only saw the world through the perfect Satanic lens. It doesn’t mean that I couldn’t think critically about what I encountered, but it meant that everything had a bias to it that belonged to Satanism and not really to me, even though Satanism’s values and my own were in alignment. Even though the definition of Satanist fit me then (and arguably still fits me now), I am choosing to “close” those “paths” that Satanism helped me to create in my mind to my values. I am choosing to quit those behaviors that lead me to act a certain way “in the real world.” I now find Satanism in its purest form to be many things that I do not want to be.
I have no doubt in my mind that I made myself into a Satanist and knowing how my process started is the first step in understanding why I say I quit. While the saying “Satanists are born, not made,” can be weaponized in an attempt to invalidate apostates of Satanism, it doesn’t change the truth that sometimes it happens, and we do exist. I always said that someday I would stop being a Satanist, and this is what I have now done. I will keep what benefits me, but I will quit the behaviors that do not. It is as simple as that. It has nothing to do with anybody else. I am not angry with Satanism, and I am not angry at any Satanists for pursuing their authentic selves. I do not have any problem with Satanism moving forward, and I do not care if anyone is or isn’t a Satanist, either. What I do care about is communication, and making sense of things. While it can be very challenging for many reasons for an apostate to explain why they chose apostasy (especially to members of their prior belief group), I have tried my best to at least give a launching pad for a better inquiry by those who care to know. I recognize that if you don’t know anything of what is going on, there’s no way that you can ask relevant questions, and without hope at finding reason, you would be doomed to settle on a fantasy—which is never appropriate when a real answer exists. Be brave, not fantastical. After all, we must always be careful to maintain a “Third Side Perspective,” right?
Be safe and well, my friends!
Who is the Witch?
Once I called myself a Christian, then an atheist, and a Satanist. At the end of the day, I'm just a person who is living her truth one day at a time. I'm interested in religion, its effects on the mind, the occult, and more. Learn more about me on the about page.