The Independent Satanist
This essay discusses the concept of independent Satanic practice.
Satanism often represents the spirit of independence. I have found that independent Satanism is what enables me to live the life that I choose to love, and to take my satanism in any direction that I want to go in.
Unlike the often monotheistic religions of Wicca and Neo-paganism, Satanism is a practice that discourages a singular unity. This is because there are so many diverse beliefs in Satanism. But, there are of course, organizations in Satanism that promote Satanism as a religion.
Satanic organizations create their own methods and standards and expect the members to be loyal to only their point of view. This conformity in behaviors and beliefs is really quite the opposite from what Satanism as a source of self-realization should be. Because Satanism as a philosophy was founded on the ideas of independence, it makes little sense that Satanists would be so willing to conform to a singular point of view, just to identify with Satanism as a belief or practice.
Even in stories of Satan that are told in Christian and Satanic mythologies, Satan is often portrayed as a rebellious spirit who refused to conform to standards. Satan took pride in rebelling, which some Satanists accept as the redeeming quality of Satan. Even within symbolic and less religious forms of Satanism, the aspect of independence is an important issue.
Unfortunately, the independent Satanist is a rare breed. By seeking acceptance with their own kind, it has created a culture of Satanism that is notable because of organizations and their leaders. The Satanist who acts alone is an outcast in his or her own society of so-called free willed thinkers. There are many organizations now that want to put forth their agenda of domination and control.
The lone Satanist is often condemned within these social circles, labeled as a 'self-styled Satanist'. This is a term that seems innocent enough until you realize that the label is also used to describe the fanatics and lunatics and the socially undesirable that is literally on the fringe of Satanic practice and belief.
The term, 'self-styled' was most likely created by organized Satanism, in attempts to legitimize Satanism by dissociating with anyone who was not involved with their organization. Essentially, it is an exclusionary term for those who, according to organized Satanists, don't belong.
Belonging to an organization is an option but it certainly isn't a requirement. I think that it all comes down to prestige vs. individual freedom. Some Satanists are more comfortable with identifying with a group because they are backed by the public image or notoriety of that group. Independent Satanists may value their freedom of expression more than others and choose to make their own path in Satanism.
Some who prefer a group setting may do so for the purpose of social entertainment, friendship or to make connections. Others prefer the group setting because of the instructional value of groups, it gives the satanist a framework to work with and follow, all laid out in detail.
They don't seek to be individual and unique, but they do seek to have similar experiences, ideas and personal vision, as the others do in the group. They will be told what books to read, what ideas to favor and what ideas to reject, and even instructed on religious or philosophical beliefs in Satanism.
Independent Satanism is quite different. Independence is for those who are self-directed and who act upon their own will. There are no leaders, no structured organizations to turn to for instruction and advice. Inspiration must be found through research, study and practice. This offers the Satanist a lot of freedom to have whatever eclectic practices that are necessary.
The 'Self' isn't found within the group, it is found within the self, because an independent isn't trying to mold their beliefs according to what others accept as true. Another benefit is the choice to associate with others and build your own circle of friends who, like you, are also independent. Independence is for those who value personal freedom over group prestige.
And, for those of us who do value that freedom to be whatever we choose to be, Independent Satanism is the way.
© Venus Satanas