Hot button subject of the week: Meet ups.
So what’s the deal with Satanists meeting in person anyway? Some of the more vocal public Satanists demand it, or else your Satanism doesn’t have any credibility. I call bullshit. Newsflash people. Satanists don’t require that they meet other Satanists off-line. Many are content to converse with others on Social Networking platforms, then go on living their lives as they see fit.
Some organized groups do hold off-line meetings, typically reserved for members to share teachings, insights and an added element of ceremonialism and pageantry. When promoting their groups, they often invite outsiders to observe before deciding to join their organization. Some groups host public events for their local communities to demonstrate theory and practice.
In recent years there has been much talk about a sort of ‘Satanic Unity’ as if Satanists from all walks of life should join forces against the diabolical Abrahamic Religions. I find this notion silly, thus I do not seek to ‘unify’ with other Satanists and/or groups. I will however collaborate with other Satanists on projects, if I find the project interesting and/or useful.
Another element of Satanic Diversity is that not all Satanists see Abrahamics as their enemies. I know I sure don’t. I have never in my life felt persecuted by the religions of other people, nor do I feel that there is some sort of holy war raging on. People may turn to their tv sets to see world events that focus on religious conflict. This offers a very narrow world view. Turn off your boob tube and what’s life really like for you? Are there people standing outside your home with pitchforks demanding your demise? Or is this persecution something wholly imagined? I suppose, it’s a matter of subjective experience and perspective.
As a Satanist myself, I tend to be more realistic about these things. I don’t presume to believe that all people should embrace my ideologies, nor accept them. The dissent doesn’t threaten me in any way, nor do I shove my beliefs down the throats of others. I don’t lambaste the drive through attendant of my bank when she tells me ‘God Bless’, I just thank her. The intentionality behind her farewell is clear to me, and there is no use in behaving like an irrational, immature buffoon while I’m conducting my banking.
On occasion, I do get the door to door proselytizer, when they come knocking I’m typically polite and thank them for their visit. I simply tell them I’m pretty happy with my own beliefs. As a mother, I am also guiding my son in his own explorations. There was a time when my son had a genuine interest in the Mormon Church. Mostly attributed to some young girls that were sent out to target a specific age group. My son fell subject to their marketing ploys, and sought to attend a local meeting. He had no issue asking for both my permission to attend, and if I would attend with him. I was more than happy to go, and offer my parental guidance. Later, he changed his mind, and on his own accord. I figured he’d draw his own conclusions about the tactics being used, and he did that over joys me as a parent. Not because he didn’t choose Mormonism, but he drew his own conclusions about their intentions for him. He continues to explore, and I do not lambaste him if he shows an interest in organized religion. I’ve exposed him to all kinds of beliefs and forms of spirituality. Why indoctrinate when children should simply be guided?
Naturally, we want what is best for our children and to keep them safe from harm. As a responsible parent, I take on that responsibility. My child, while the fruit of my womb, is not a replica of me. He is his own person, and will come into his own as he grows and matures. He may change his mind many times in his lifetime, and this is part of living. It’s called life.
I’m a realist. As such, I understand that when people don’t understand something they will typically fear it and vilify it. I’ve certainly been discriminated against due to the lack of understanding, but that too is also the trial and tribulations of life. Either you mediate understanding, or you leave people to their ignorance. It really depends on how important it is to you as an individual.
Some Satanists are rather vocal about social responsibility. That ‘we’ Satanists have a responsibility to the general public, and as such it is our job to ensure that Satanism is painted in a positive light, so it is accepted by our respective cultures. My thoughts on this are as follows:
As an individual Satanist, I have a responsibility to mediate understanding to those that seek it. If a person were truly seeking an insider’s look into my Satanism, I am the only person that can provide it.
As a Satanist in the grand scheme of Satanism, I often write about its diversity and social issues we face in a modern society. I do this to provide perspective and to lend evidence to support claims made that Satanism is diverse. Otherwise, there would be limited information made available to the public. It would offer them a very narrow view when attempting to obtain answers to their questions.
I do not agree that Satanism should always be painted in a positive light. That’s a veil of bullshit. I am realistic about these things, so I will also speak about some of the more negative aspects of Satanism, and its improprieties. It also keeps the public on their toes, when they encounter Satanists. People are people; many use their ‘beliefs’ to compel them to commit heinous acts against humanity. If we were to defer to statistics, it would certainly paint a different picture regarding the most ‘dangerous’ religions of the world. I think it’s improper to use such shallow references to pigeon-hole a group into psyche models used to create airs of xenophobia.
Some Satanists are completely harmless and are dynamic people you would be joyed to have met in your lifetime. Learn to distinguish who they are from the sea of faces on the web. Some Satanists are real scumbags, and it would do you well to avoid them entirely.
In closing, if you seek to meet Satanists and observe their rituals, then you’ll have to take the risk. I always advise people to be weary of meeting people from the Internet off-line. Do what you must to protect yourself, use common sense, and don’t fall subject to predators that mean you harm. Do your research, and don’t be embarrassed to ask to meet in a public place before you are whisked off to some remote location in the woods for rites and devotionals.