The Satanic Temple NYC recently held an evening of lectures as a fundraiser for The Satanic Temple and its legal battles in the realm of pluralistic American religious freedom and expression. We began with Kristen Sollee, author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive who began by explaining the relationship between misogyny and witch hunts to intersectional feminine identities and reclamation. To summerize my take-away on her presentation I would say she paints a portrait of Witches and Satanic Witches (in the modern self-identity construct which is reactive to the fictional accusation) as the brightly colored warriors and enemy diversions who place themselves as gaurdians of the knowledge we have gained over our centuries of debate over gender inequality and patriarchy.
Following this writer and witch Sarah Lyons asks us to consider the question of what we want to imagine a better world to look like and specifically points out that to achieve that vision Satanists and witches are already embracing and using the first magickal step. “I think an effective way to imagine what we want the world to look like is to imagine what our oppressors don’t want. Take their propaganda and caricatures and turn them into positive models for revolution.”
She also seems to touch on Satanism’s own current identity crisis struggling between self-involved and analytically-isolated anecdotal individualism verses individualism informed by and expressive of intersectional diversity of human experience. (I am not sure if she intended to or if I am reading into her.) Intuitive empathy with, and talented application of diverse experience and abilities into a mutually rewarding culture of, celebratory individual expression is my personal litmus test of a “Real Satanist”, not someone who can’t reason out why things that don’t immediately affect them in blatant ways are of no concern and aren’t worth the troublesome consideration.
Tara then segues into a broader examination of the socio-political and cultural ingredients that Satanic themes are metaphors for and how they gain popular interest and appropriation by focusing on the late 19th century French Satanism and Occult popularity. The implication being that Satanism and the Occult permutate and appear when humanity is just over the threshold of a ubiquitous cultural identity shift. Through this lens it can be argued that the recurring role Satanic individuals play are as cultural flagposts for humanity to contextualize themselves on a scale of similarly inclined or existentially against. In that context the most effective or “Satanic” Satanism is one in which the current identity verses culture renegotiation will fall on the side of. In short, the Satanists who win this round of the Satanic identity crisis I mentioned above will be reflective of the cultural evolutionary trajectory for the forseeable future until the next large scale conflaguration of humanity’s existential identity crisis.
Lucien then indirectly discussed the foundational role self-identified Satanists (or witches, or queers…) play in undermining and disarming hyperbolic and superstitious beliefs or conspiracies that appear cyclically during times of cultural and technological progress. These reclaimed identities both draw from and forcably deconstruct the plebian practice of Othering that is a simplistic response to larger cultural change of tone, content and symbolic understanding. Grey Faction, though not exclusively comprised of Satanists, has a goal of making mental health care more accurate and less vulnerable to woo and superstition with observable and replicably consistent results that provide maximum benefit to those seeking care. This is an important and naturally Satanic focus when juxtaposed against the larger social discussion that involves how we view and contextualize neuro-diversity in a way that recognizes the potential advantages that have kept genetic mental and emotional adaptations around that we previously only considered the drawbacks of.
We have here a series overview of the Satanic or Witchy in response to and harbingers of, larger scale change in dialog and attitudes related to Othering and larger cultural identity.
For individuals to seek out their own level of talent and social contribution they need access to reasonable and open-ended guidance. This should be suited to their individual experience, cognitive makeup, and ability to activate their own traits and apply them effectively to their world outlook and personal expression.
Modern Satanism was created on a foundation of progressive inclusion of LGBT people and racial diversity in relation to its time and the most Satanic or currently relevant Satanists are still focusing on the next-tier cultural understanding of the world we envision in which true meritocracy and total mutually beneficial cultural evolutionary progress can only occur if we first understand how inequality affects marginalized people and their contributions, social strengths, and immunities. Satanists, Witches, and seekers of the hidden relationships or Occult are harbingers that the collective mental health and outlook of humanity desires some confrontation therapy and a brand new archetypical norm.
The conversation igniting Satanists right now essentially revolves around the true realities of, motivation toward, and parameters of multiple forms of privilege and the Satanists who present their case in the most effective and widely convincing way will be reflective of the attitudes and conclusions the larger population will come to form and develop for some time to come. Satanists and Occultists historically appear at the precipice of these kinds of social cultural negotiations to embody the opposing viewpoints most at the core of the current social revolution or revelation.