by: Jeffrey X
This has been on my mind a lot lately. Defining Satanism is, at least to me, rather difficult. Of course, I could launch into a lecture about Romantic Satanism, discuss in depth the unholy Seven Tenets, but even that to me falls short of being able to define in words the totality of Satanism. How do you describe the feeling of a thing? Like describing the feeling of friendship, community, the relief of acceptance, the feeling of inclusion –all of this swirls around in my brain when I think of that which has endeared me to Satanism.
Satanism is a body of ever-expanding rational and philosophical thought yet built firstly on this sort of bricolage of symbols, texts and novels, films, music, and occult imagery. These symbols, which weren’t created explicitly by us but rather appropriated, resonate deeply with how my queer experience folds into that of Temple Satanist. I have been the defeated angel weeping, I have been the seated Baphomet navigating the masculine and the feminine, belonging in neither category being made to feel not quite human, and I have been reminded constantly that I am the damned. All this before I even came to Satanism. All this simply because I am not straight.
Perhaps because it is Pride in NYC, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my queer identity, something which I did not choose but is me nonetheless, coexists with, is linked to, or confirmed by my self-identification as a Temple Satanist.
On June 12th I led a discussion with my fellow congregants about Pride, Otherness, and Queer Satanism. I was so curious to hear how others contend with these two identifications. I needed to explore, to know. As luck would have it, that week on the streets of Brooklyn I had been harassed for my appearance. The first time a man called me a “faggot bitch” …well, not wrong. Like so many other times in my life I laughed it off. The second time came one day after our discussion. This time a man said, after looking at me in disgust, “the fucking world’s gon’ fucked up”. But this time I wasn’t hurt. Not even scared. I realized in the moment the power I had. I wasn’t the one who was afraid, it was my aggressor. Maybe he hated me, yes, but why? Because I, my mere existence and visage, invalidates his own narrow worldview –shakes the old order, revealing the foundations of the Straight World to be built on pillars of sand. When he sees me, mighty cathedrals become nothing more than empty buildings. How Satanic.
I remember how scared and miserable and ashamed I was when I first relalized my queerness. All these feelings were external. Pressure put on me, a child at the time, by the insidious Christian hegemony. Our bodies have been scrutinized, brutalized, politicized. Satanism is the vestments in which I clothe my naked queerness. My armor with its mirror-like brilliance, reflecting back what christian hegemony fears most: people who are no longer afraid of it.
To quote Lucifer in Anatole France’s Revolt of the Angels:
“‘We have caused the Throne of the jealous God to totter; by our hands it shall fall. Arise, therefore, and be of good heart.’”