My Religious Roller-coaster Part 3


Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan

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.

Kinda like this, but older, wider and in the woods behind a cemetery rather than out in the desert.

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.