It’s been about five and a half years since I became a Satanic witch, and throughout that journey I feel as though I’ve become more myself. Satanism has taught me a lot of things Christianity didn’t teach me, and it’s helped me unlearn a lot of things I thought were true as well as some unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors I’d developed thanks to my upbringing. I’ve experienced a lot of growth over the past five years, and I attribute a lot of that to my decision to cast aside the belief system I grew up with and accept a new one that better aligns with my own convictions and personality.
That’s not to say it has been an easy journey. As is usually the case with decisions like these, there was a little pushback from family and friends; nor did I know exactly what I was doing at first. Fortunately, I haven’t lost any friendships I’m terribly sad about losing, and while my immediate family doesn’t necessarily approve and there have been a few conflicts over it, they still accept me. I also have plenty of friends and mentors to point me in the right direction if I have questions or forget who I am. Though my path is not the easiest one I could have chosen, I’ve not had it nearly as bad as other people who walk similar paths.
One thing I’ve noticed about Satanism is that it almost always comes with an angry phase. Many people come to Satanism, myself included, after being abused or mistreated by a religious organization – usually Christianity from my experience, but I live in an area where Christianity is the dominant religion – and they’re understandably mad as hell. Much of the way they practice and observe their Satanism is blasphemous toward their original religion – like a big “fuck you” to the people who hurt them. I am no different. My house is decorated with inverted crosses and pentagrams, I do tarot readings and rituals and sage my house in defiance of superstitious doctrines against witchcraft, and I find enjoyment in criticizing Christianity in front of Christians who are a little too quick to come to its defense. I even end every family prayer at every holiday meal with a robust “Hail Satan!” (Although, too be fair, it would not kill my family to find another tradition that doesn’t exclude non-Christian members of the family, considering they don’t normally pray before a meal anyway. If they won’t respect my beliefs, I’m don’t feel particularly obliged to respect theirs.)
What I’ve also noticed is that Satanism is about more than giving Christianity the middle finger – although that’s still important (and fun). Satanism utilizes and blasphemes against a lot of different traditions, not just Christianity. The Satanic Temple’s adoption of the Roman festivals of Lupercalia and Sol Invictus are prime examples of this, and Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible includes Hindu and Egyptian gods and goddesses as well as demons mentioned in Buddhism and Shintoism. Clearly, Satanism isn’t just about rebelling against Christianity.
I personally am still in the angry phase, although I think I’m slowly getting over it. I’ve started adopting old, pagan traditions Christianity either appropriated or attempted to wipe out entirely as part of my own practice, and I’m learning quite a bit of interesting things about human nature and of different cultures. I may have initially cast aside Christianity out of anger, but my Satanism means so much more to me than a simple rebellion.
To me, Satanism is a reclamation of my own power. I stayed with Christianity for a long time after it stopped being useful to me, thanks to my fear of rejection and the psychological damage the church had done to me in its own desire to exert control and retain power. Thanks to some close, dear friends, I was able to set myself free and find Satanism. Thanks to the things Satanism taught me, I am happy and proud of myself for the first time in a long time. I can see myself and the world around me clearly when before it seemed I was looking through a heavy fog I didn’t even realize was there. Though I’ve left that fog behind me, it will always be a part of me. Whether that is shameful to me or a mere, unavoidable fact depends on the day. Either way, I know that I will never allow it to cloud my vision again.