So, after a few years as of being the best Catholic I could be, followed by an approximately equal amount of time as a pagan-in-training, I dipped my toes in the pool of Satanism. I was probably around sixteen or so, and came across the works of Anton LaVey on the Internet, in school, most likely when I was supposed to be learning the right way to type or something. I was comfortable with the candles, herbs and spells of eclectic Wicca, but I’d turned into a bit of a hardass during my adolescence, and wasn’t in complete agreeance with the “Harm None” philosophy.
When I read LaVey, I didn’t feel like I was learning a new religion as much as I was discovering a name for something I was already living: kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates; vengeance instead of turning the other cheek; do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself; do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked and a host of other virtues and guidelines for life embodied by the Biblical Satan, whom Satanists view as an archetype rather than an actual being. I quickly discovered that Satanists didn’t harm children, rape people or worship Teh Ebil Goat Man–that pretty much it was common sense with psychological “magic” thrown into the mix. Perfect for a kid who’d been screwed with most of his life and was sick to freakin’ death of it.
So I jumped in head-first–took notes, studied websites, bought books, joined Internet message boards, read the shit out of everything in sight for about a year, and then launched my own Satanic coven, complete with website, original essays written by me, and a small membership eventually spanning three states. I shaved my head. My sophomore year of high school I roamed the halls in a black trenchcoat, handing fellow students printouts of my devilish diatribes. To say I developed a reputation was an understatement. Years later, when I began to catch fire as a fiction writer with a major online presence, I spent months scouring search engines for traces of this stuff in order to have it eradicated–one email to Google, Yahoo, etc. at a time. And it worked. I know of exactly one trace of my “High Priesthood” online, and you’d need to know very specific information to even find it.We weren’t the school freaks–we were a sub-section even of thatspecialized clique. We hung out together all the time, chain-smoked across the street from the school before homeroom and hung out in the woods behind the cemetery next door, where we’d found an abandoned stone altar that looked over a century old and which was probably erected by Christians for outdoor funerals before being abandoned and taken over for pagan usage (if I remember right, we could barely make out the words Holy Holy Holy carved into the rock).
One day, maybe a month after the Columbine killings, a janitor pulled a fire alarm (unbeknownst to anyone at the time) after supposedly hearing a bomb threat, and I was dragged back into the building by the cops in front of the whole school, because It Must Have Been Me. I hadn’t done shit, of course, but they searched me, my belongings and my wall locker before letting me return to class.
I enjoyed what I had. A lot of people screwed with me for it, but I had just enough friends to make me not care about the majority. Some people thought I was pretty badass. A good number even sought me out for advice, and I helped quite a few of them, I’m happy to say. I dated at least three of my buddy’s sister’s friends because I was involved in the occult and they found it fascinating. For a kid who’d grown up with hardly a damned thing, it was a pretty heady mixture of odd power and newfound confidence.
Then, after a couple years of what essentially boiled down to the worship of myself, I gave in to another year’s worth of pestering–to go to church.