THE DISCUSSION COMMENCES
A reader asks why we call ourselves Satanists. Very good question. Is there a good answer? (Later - yes, see below.) A reaction from a member of the DL staff was: If anyone could come up with a better name, some of us would be pleased. The principle that “the only god is between your ears” has been called Occult Atheism, but that is not really appropriate. I suggested the term “Selfian”; this doesn’t really cover it, but it’s the only idea anyone has had so far.
RESPONSE #1 (from one of our regular correspondents): I have no suggestions for a new name, but I can think of a great reason to keep the old one and the symbols. If a person is so mentally constipated that he can’t get past a star and a circle to talk to me, I don’t want to talk to him. The trappings eliminate a lot of stupid people. It’s like a big filter. It saves me work.
RESPONSE #2 (from the Editor of The Black Flame): Look at the Hebrew origin of the word, which was a title rather than a name and meant adversary, opposer, accuser. We are the adversaries, the Satans, who combat the ignorance and pettiness fostered by supernaturalist religions. We are not merely atheistic, we are anti-theistic. The Promethean resonance of Milton’s Satan is the heroic image we hold dear. This is the true Satanic aesthetic. We are living with his pride as our role model. And we are, in truth, the real Devils that the fundamentalist religionists fear, for we represent mental and emotional emancipation from the shackles of guilt and oppression which these theisms have fought to make a permanent part of Mankind’s existence. They always have feared children, as these innocent beings have always been vessels for the real essence of Satanism. That is why they want so dearly to control education, to crush these little Black Sparks before they can be ignited into the searing consciousness which will sweep away the anti-human claptrap with a single smoldering glance. But it really is too late for these outmoded primitive philosophies. The Sparks have fanned and a great conflagration of Black Flame is spreading. The fundamentalists will truly perish in the inferno of the human spirit, which shall crisp their mean little souls. Really, what other name than Satan can fully characterize our indomitable Wills? To our enemies, it symbolizes destruction and evil, and, since we are life-embracing and they are death-worshippers, this is literally true. Our very existence puts the lie to their carpings. We would rather reign in the Hells which we make, the havens which we mould by our own efforts, than be servants in a sterile heaven.
The word Satan also presents a psychological test, an abyss that few can cross. To call oneself a Satanist requires that you remove your “good-guy badge” and take a far more objective posture. You step beyond the hackneyed concepts of Good and Evil to arrive at true self-responsibility. It is just for the elite, but why not? The herd members can’t take it, even those atheistic fellow-travellers. Well, we want only those who can take it, who resonate with the Dark heart of existence. We are Satanists and nothing else will do.
RESPONSE #3 (from a reader): I take your point about Selfian, but I do not think it would make any difference. It might stop other Occultists thinking we worship Satan, but we are not concerned about their opinions. However, to most people, we would still be labelled Satanists, and some of us cannot afford to let that happen. If I am asked to state my religion, I say I am an atheist. I am not apologising for this, because I do not see it as cowardice. There is nothing in Satanism which calls for martyrs - quite the reverse, in fact. If I thought that MY public declaration would do any good for Satanism, I would seriously consider it, but, quite frankly, I cannot see that my sacrifice (which would almost certainly entail loss of job) would have the slightest effect on anyone but me. So I keep quiet, earn an excellent salary and enjoy life as a good Satanist should.
Further comments are invited.
Taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 11, Society of Dark Lily (London 1990).