If I disobey god to carve his image in ink upon myself, is that blasphemy or worship? Is it both?
I love this question of whether disobedience out of devotion is sacred or blasphemous or both, and I just wanted to thank you so much for bringing it up in your own context–I don’t quite know how to put into words just yet how profoundly this question has shifted the webwork of my faith, but I find myself feeling as though all my previous understandings of my god and my devotion are short-circuiting because of it.
It also leaves me feeling pretty foolish that for a devotee of a god who is defined by his very rebellion, I had never considered what role my own disobedience to him might play.
Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.
And maybe the best revenge of all is just smiling.
You don’t understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.
I absolutely do!
What to pray about:
Christians are taught that prayer is a P.A.C.T. This means the bulk of Christian prayers are made up of Petition (asking for help, guidance, or healing, for ourselves and others), Adoration (either scripted or off-the-cuff words in praise of God), Contrition (admission of sins), and Thanksgiving (obviously, thanking God for our blessings). As Satanists, some of these ideas don’t apply, but they’re good guidelines to work with.
Petition – of course there is nothing wrong with asking Satan for something, but you might find that it seems somewhat contradictory when so much emphasis is traditionally placed on self-improvement and personal struggle in order to achieve growth. You might not be comfortable saying, “Satan, I want a new mountain bike/make up palette/tattoo, hook me up”. (I’d argue that no serious follower should feel comfortable addressing their god in this way, but whatever.) If you don’t want to outright ask for things, you can always tell Him the lessons you hope to learn through following Him. Another thing: many Satanists, myself included, would feel very shady praying to Satan on behalf of someone who wasn’t a Satanist – or, in some cases, at all. Petitioning Ha-Satan to help your deeply Christian auntie isn’t just a bad idea, it’s unspeakably disrespectful to both your aunt’s beliefs and your own god. Help her in another way, and keep your petitions, if you do make them, appropriate and thoughtful.
Adoration – this one definitely carries over. Tell Him all the ways you love, admire, fear and glorify in him. Tell Him all the ways He inspires you. Tell Him everything.
Contrition – admission of sins might mean something slightly different in the worship of Ha-Satan. However, I think there is absolutely something to be gained from admitting your shortcomings and examining them with a cold, unbiased eye. Human beings are flawed, often despicably so. You are no different. Neither am I. If you haven’t prayed in too long, don’t just gloss over this fact when you start up again. Speak it out loud, or however you pray. Own it. Pledge to do better, if you truly mean to. Let your love of Him inspire you to improve.
Thanksgiving – again, this carries over well. Has Satan or your adoration of Him helped you to overcome some obstacle, either in the world or in yourself? Say so. Remember, consciously, how you have bettered yourself in His name.
How to pray:
This is deeply personal, and I’m not certainly going to tell you the right or wrong way. It depends on your relationship with Him, among other things. Here are some options:
1. A formal set of prayers. You might feel your practice requires some formality. You might not feel super great about approaching Satan in your pajamas or in between episodes of Sense8. In this case, I’d suggest looking at the pattern of structured worship – Catholic masses, Protestant services, Black Masses, rituals of Hellenismos, Religio Romana, Irish polytheism, etc – for inspiration. Write your own prayers, and either learn them or use a script when you pray. (If you do use a script, make sure to be careful just how many candles you have about the place, and where you put your script down. I speak from experience.) Having pre-written prayers effectively removes a lot of the ‘performance anxiety’ you may find when starting to pray for the first time.
2. An informal set of prayers. Not everything has to be velvet robes and six hundred and sixty six black candles. You can spend hours, days, weeks on the most beautiful prayer you can craft, and then recite it in a whisper over your altar, barefoot and tousle-haired. Formality is not necessary, though you may find it preferable.
3. An ongoing conversation. Talk to Him throughout the day. Not necessarily in a chatty stream-of-consciousness – does anyone need to know what we’re thinking 24/7? – and not necessarily expecting Him to answer, though if that’s the kind of relationship you have, great. More of an unbroken awareness. Seeing a flame-red flower and thinking I see You in this. Calling Him to mind when your day requires you to make a decision. Whispering praise for the bloody sunset, the sight of a falcon in flight.
4. Like a little Catholic girl kneeling over her bed at night. Prayer is a beautiful way to end the day. This can be a combination of the previous three, or something else entirely. Consider the day that’s been and His place in it, decide what you would like to achieve in His name or through His guidance tomorrow. Ask Him to grace your dreams.
Other notes: how you physically want to pray, whether out loud, in your head, or in a weird and awkward half-whisper like I usually do, is entirely up to you. Try everything until you find what works best with your practice. You could also write your prayer onto a piece of paper and then burn it, considering the act of burning as sending your words to Him. You could write a song and play/sing it with Him in mind. You don’t have to kneel with your hands folded and whisper Dear Satan, it’s me, Anonymous. Do what feels right.
That being said –
– you’re going to mess up. You are going to forget what you were saying, you’re going to feel like an absolute ass talking to thin air, you’re going to be uncomfortably reminded of yourself in a moment when you feel you should be overwhelmed by piety. You might even have some truly inappropriate thought pop into your head when you’re praying, if you’re anything like me. “Hail Satan, Your might and glory, Your – MY EX GIRLFRIEND’S NIPPLES – wait, what?” Be prepared to feel uncomfortable. Be prepared to feel unfulfilled if what you sense on the other end of your prayer isn’t what you expected. But keep trying. Prayer is beautiful, an amazing tool with which to feel closer to your god.
I hope this helps!
They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind.
The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.
Imagine the vertigo Lucifer felt standing on the edge of Heaven before being cast out by God. Imagine how he fell to Earth like a comet, carrying his gracious winged-body through rain and dust.
He must’ve lit up the sky with his firework brothers and sisters. Lucifer didn’t become the Devil when he became prideful. He became the Devil halfway through his Fall, the wind cutting past his ears as he watched the only home he had ever known grow smaller and smaller in the distance.
It was at this point when the love for his Father turned bitter, when loneliness pushed in where compassion should be. Every child who has been abandoned on a street corner or left to make dinner alone has felt what the Devil felt in that moment.
It sounds like a story we would tell over and over again if anyone was there to witness it, this feeling of sudden abandonment at the moment our consciousness is born. Where did we come from? Where are we? How did we get here?
Lucifer’s Fall is one of those stories that have become part of our collective memory. It feels like something we’ve been passing on for generations. It’s a way to explain our existence. When Lucifer fell, he lit the night sky on fire, something Adam and Eve surely would’ve seen in their first nights on Earth. Can you think of a better catalyst for turning our attention to the sky for the first time?