Picture a Satanist, and you might imagine someone dressed in a black cloak and mask engaging in bizarre violent rituals involving the blood of dead animals and an inverted pentagram etched onto the ground in chalk. At some point in this vision, Satan might even burst through the floor in a flurry of fire and bring an end to the world. All in all, a Satanist is not the sort of person you’ll be calling up to have dinner with your mum anytime soon.

But those are the sorts of stereotypes that Ashley S. Palmer, a reverend of the Church of Satan, wants to debunk.

Satanists may not sound like the friendliest types, but the 31-year-old who lives on the south-east coast of England with his wife and baby daughter is happy to explain why his religion is misunderstood. It has nothing to do with devil worship, he stresses. The religion, founded just over 50 years ago by US author and musician Anton Szandor LaVey has much more to do with atheism and libertarian ideals of the freedom to indulge, muddled together with a dash of Machiavellian pragmatism.

Palmer spoke to The Independent about how Satanism affects his daily life, and why a Satanist’s favourite holiday is their birthday.

How old are you, where are you based, and what is your role in the Church of Satan?

I am a 33-year-old entrepreneur living on the south-east coast of England with my wife and baby daughter. As the founder of ASPculture.com, I design and create merchandise, and curate cultural content for an audience of fellow Satanists and heathens worldwide.

My role in the Church of Satan grew organically out of my passion for the philosophy, and pursuits pertinent to the propagation of Satanism as codified by its founder Anton Szandor LaVey. These activities were recognised by High Priest Peter H. Gilmore as authentic and effective additions to our world view, and I was ordained a Priest out-of-the-blue due to these meritorious efforts. In accordance with the social Darwinian basis of Satanism, membership in the Priesthood of the Church of Satan is by invitation only and is strictly meritocratic, affirming the truisms, “actions speak louder than words” and “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

There are no set duties for members of our Priesthood, as levels of involvement vary depending upon each individual’s talents and unique circumstances. I publicly promulgate Satanic philosophy and aesthetics, but not all Priests speak on our behalf and may even choose to keep their affiliation secret if beneficial to do so. Machiavellian strategies are particularly prevalent in professional circles due to the manifold misconceptions surrounding Satanism.

When did you first find out about Satanism and how long have you been a committed Satanist?

I first discovered the Church of Satan and writings of Dr LaVey through my older brother. We both grew up listening to death and black metal and industrial music, and were naturally drawn to the bands that had anti-Christian lyrics and employed Satanic imagery. Determined to learn of the origin and philosophy of Satanism, my brother delved through various books.

My brother realised he had finally found the source of Satanism was thoroughly impressed with LaVey’s philosophy, but as I was only 10 or 11 at the time, he made a point of letting me discover Satanism on my own, after I had expressed interest independently a couple of years later.

As a natural non-joiner I was initially sceptical of the Church of Satan and incorrectly assumed, as most do, that Satanists were members of a devil worshipping cult, and was therefore happy to remain an atheist with a penchant for Satanic aesthetics prior to reading any official literature.

At around the age of 13 I eventually read The Satanic Bible and considered myself a Satanist shortly after. I realised that genuine Satanism had nothing to do with the supernatural devil nonsense that I cringed at whilst reading death metal lyrics, but was instead a pragmatic and unusual carnal religion which perfectly complimented my own atheistic, sceptical, and rational world view.

At the age of 15, as part of my English coursework, I gave a lecture on Satanism and the Church of Satan to a surprisingly receptive classroom in which I sought to smash through the misinformation I had encountered through mass media hysteria and discussed the hidden merits of Satanism.

Several years later, once an adult and having mulled over many aspects of Satanic philosophy, myself and my wife officially affiliated with the Church of Satan.

What is the biggest misconception people have about Satanism?

The main and most persistent misconception about Satanism and Satanists is that we believe in and worship an anthropomorphic or spiritual being known as ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil’. This is false. We Satanists are atheists who adopt ‘Satan’ as a symbol of passion, pride, liberty, and heroic rebellion in the tradition of the proto-Satanic themed poetry and writing of Giosuè Carducci, Lord Byron, John Milton, Benjamin DeCasseres, Mark Twain, and others that predate the founding of the Church of Satan.

Stating that one is an atheist leaves a lot of room for belief in a myriad of other spooky delusions unrelated to the existence of god(s) that are also regularly incorrectly packaged with Satanism, so I shall further clarify that as I apply the tool of scientific scepticism to critically analyse and question all things, I therefore reject all forms of pseudo-science, New Age spirituality and the supernatural, including, but not limited to: the occult, magick, Ouija boards, tarot,psychic divination, ghosts, immortality, astral projection, chakras, faith healing, astrology, and conspiracy theories. All of this is as ridiculous to me as praying to Jesus or Shiva.

What are the core philosophies of Satanism?

The philosophical concepts at the heart of Satanism are atheism, scientific scepticism, evolutionary biology, social Darwinism, heroic individualism, meritocracy, Lex Talionis, hierarchy, pragmaticism, aesthetics, dark romantic realism, humour, carnality, Epicurean indulgence in balance with Lycurgan Spartan vitality, a Faustian will to explore cutting-edge technology tempered by a respect for the past, and a passion for wildlife and nature.

One can find common conceptual ground with the likes of Ragnar Redbeard, Friedrich Nietzsche, H.L. Mencken, Ayn Rand, Jack London, and H.P. Lovecraft, all of whom were acknowledged as influences on Satanism. Dr. LaVey’s vision to synthesise various schools of thought with his own original ideas and symbolism, developed into an entirely unique and powerful philosophy, and a religion for the irreligious, which continues to inspire and grow over fifty years after its inception.

What is the average Satanist like?

The Church of Satan keeps all membership information private, but based upon my own interactions off and online, I have observed similar demographics to atheism in general. The majority of Satanists appear to be men between the ages of 20 to 45, although I have personally met many Satanic women above this age range.

How does being a Satanist affect your day-to-day life? Do you use the Satanic Rules for guidance, for instance? Are there any ceremonies or rituals?

As a Satanist, one could say that Satanism permeates all aspects of daily life, but for me this as natural as breathing, and is largely an unconscious process and a result of following my instincts and passions. Satanic rituals are not a requirement of Satanism and should be used as an optional cathartic tool for those that gain psychological benefit from structured ceremonies of the kind found in our texts. As my business activities largely revolve around Satanic principles and concepts, I have personally found that these creative pursuits, alongside the discipline of daily strength training, are effective forms of ‘ritual’ which provide sufficient stimulation, stress relief and satisfaction which allows me to save any formal Satanic ritualisation for extremely rare and special occasions. Through the designs, clothing and merchandise that I create for ASPculture.com, I’m able to channel my unique vision and aesthetic tastes to bring myself and other Satanists around the world pleasure and inspiration through tangible objects.

Are there Satanist holidays, for instance something comparable to Christmas?

Satanists are free to celebrate any holidays or “unholidays” they wish, although for most Satanists, as egoists, one’s own birthday is naturally considered the highest holiday of the year.

There is no requirement to celebrate any holidays, but as someone who embraces science, nature, and pre-Christian pan-European traditions, I tend to indulge in and observe the vernal equinox, Ostara, Walpurgisnacht, the founding of the Church of Satan, summer solstice, autumnal equinox, Halloween, and Yuletide, winter solstice, Saturnalia and New Year’s Eve.

The Satanic Rules seem pretty reasonable. Where it states “act cruelly” or “destroy him”, is it to be taken as literally as that sounds? It doesn’t seem to allow much room for negotiation. What’s the philosophy behind that?

Those parts of ‘The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth’ are natural conclusions of our recognition of man as an animal whose highest law is self-preservation. As social Darwinists we adhere to a “might is right” philosophy of vengeance, and support the idea of justice through Lex Talionis, an aspect of which can be understood by the colloquial concept “an eye for an eye”. Timid would-be Satanists often try to sanitise Dr LaVey’s language, but the intention of these statements is obvious and can be taken literally depending upon the statement in question and the severity of the circumstance.

Obviously if somebody approaches you in the street in a non-threatening manner, and continues to bother you after you ask them to stop, physically destroying them would be an irrational, unwarranted, and illegal response. But you could “destroy” them symbolically with your words or by ignoring and removing yourself from the situation. However, if there was a legitimate threat and your life depended upon it, then to literally “destroy” the attacker in an act of self-defence may be completely rational as the only course of action left to avoid death. However, it is important to note that as strict advocates of law and order, we demand that each Satanist operate within the legal parameters of their country of residence with regards to all actions.

How does Satanism overlap with libertarianism?

As Satanists are free to align with any branch of politics, or remain apolitical if they wish, there are likely some anarchist and libertarian members of the Church of Satan. I feel it is improper to inject too much of one’s own personal politics into discussions when representing the Church of Satan, but as Dr. LaVey’s own politics are implicitly and sometimes explicitly encoded in Satanic philosophy, I shall attempt to measure libertarianism against Satanism from a mostly objective viewpoint.

Anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism in general appear more conducive to Satanic ideals. H. L. Mencken, one of the earliest Americans to identify as a libertarian, along with fellow traveller, Ayn Rand, were influential on Anton LaVey and Satanic philosophy, particularly in their advocacy of heroic individualism and rejection of religion, mysticism, supernaturalism in general.

A point of departure between Satanism and libertarianism that I have noticed, is that many schools of libertarian thought have a delusional view of human nature. This appears to arise in part from belief in the pseudo-scientific tabula rasa theory which claims that each human is born as a ‘blank slate’ without innate biological differences. This faulty notion leads many libertarians to conclude that all humans have equal potential ability and free will to become masters in any field of human endeavour, so long as the person is afforded the opportunity and necessary education. This utopian view of human potential is unfortunately unrealistic and un-Satanic. Satanism aligns with the scientific discoveries of evolutionary biology, and recognises that the natural world is stratified, exceptional talent and genius is rare, and the universe doesn’t care.

Kashmira Gander
The Independent



  1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
  2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
  3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
  4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
  5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
  6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
  7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
  8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
  9. Do not harm little children.
  10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
  11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.

Bleu Blanc Satan
Camille Dauteuille et Franck Trébillac pour Noisey France, France, 2016, 44 min

Bleu Blanc Satan est un documentaire qui revient sur la naissance de la scène black metal en France, au travers d’archives inédites et de témoignages des principaux acteurs du mouvement, parmi lesquels Meyhna’ch (Mütiilation), Deviant Von Blakk (Osculum Infame, Arkhon Infaustus), Hervé Herbaut (Osmose Productions), Valnoir (Glaciation, Metastazis), Hreidmarr (The CNK, Anorexia Nervosa) et Noktu Geiistmortt (Celestia / Drakkar Productions).



Black Metal (1998) de MARILYN WATELET (July 13, 2015)
How Much Black Metal Can You Take? (April 13, 2014)
One Man Metal (2012) presented by Noisey (December 20, 2012)
Xasthur par BRYAN SHEFFIELD, Self-Titled numéro 8 (June 23, 2011)
Black Metal Satanica (2008) by MATS LUNDBERG (June 13, 2011)
‘Black Metal’ (2005) photographs by STACY KRANITZ (June 4, 2011)
Svart Metall’ (2009) par GRANT WILLING (June 2, 2011)
Until the Light Takes Us (2009) by AARON AITES & AUDREY EWELL (June 1, 2011)
Norsk Black Metal (Norwegian Black Metal) (December 4, 2010)
Det Svarte Alvor (1994) A Black Metal Documentary (December 2, 2010)

Dancing with the devil: Inside the Los Angeles Satanic Temple’s biggest EVER ‘black mass’ with blood-letting, demonic cats, tattoos… and ‘destruction rituals’

  • Los Angeles’ Satanic Temple chapter held its biggest event ever during Saturday night’s black mass
  • The event included a destruction ritual, an invocation ritual and a bloodletting ritual, all with live music
  • Guests also listened to a 45-minute lecture about demonic cats by occult expert Dr Paul Koudounaris
  • Satanic Temple, which preaches ‘practical common sense and justice’, has 24 chapters across the US

LOS ANGELES – The Satanic Temple Of Los Angeles, a chapter of a nationwide satanic organization, hosted a massive ‘black mass’ Saturday night, complete with a live bloodletting ritual and a 45-minute lecture about demonic cats.

Guests could also attend a destruction ritual and an invocation ritual, both with live music. The event doubled as a fundraiser for the chapter’s causes, with include women’s reproductive rights, the First Amendment and prisoner’s rights.

The Satanic Temple, headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, has 24 chapters across the United states. Members of the movement, which calls itself an organized religion, do not believe in a personal Satan but say they preach rationalism and reject superstition.

VIP tickets to Saturday’s massive rally cost $66.60, while other guests paid $15. Attendees, many of which wore costume, were pictured by LAist enjoying six hours of Satanic activities, including live painting and tattooing.

Doors opened at 9 pm and the evening began with a comedy set by Satanist politician Steve Hill, who ran for the state Senate in California’s 21st district last year.

‘I’m a Satanist as far as trying to get people to understand that I don’t believe in the devil any more than I believe in God,’ Hill, a Democrat, once told Time Magazine. ‘All of it is stupid. But if I have to tell people I’m the devil to get them to listen, then, OK, I’m the devil.’

Guests were treated at 10 pm to a 45-minute lecture on demonic cats by writer, photographer and occult expert Dr Paul Koudounaris, who has also researched sexual encounters between the living and the dead.

The black mass continued with a destruction ritual from 11:55 to 12:45. Several members later asked for the text of the ritual, which was praised by one attendee as an ‘intense and awe-inspiring experience’. ‘These were things that I held in my hands These were things that belonged to me These were things that I held in my heart These are things that have meaning to me These things are not dead, because they never carried life. But I gave these things life, because they have carried me,’ the ritual began according to a transcript shared by The Satanic Temple Los Angeles on Facebook.

A one-hour invocation ritual followed at 1 am. The crowd later took part in a bloodletting ritual from 2:15 am to 2:45 am.

The Satanic Temple Los Angeles had teased the event ahead of time, saying it had faced ‘rampant opposition’ in the months leading up to it.

‘We hope you will celebrate liberation, rebellion and a new global Satanic alliance,’ an announcement read.

Funds raised during the black mass will go towards the group’s campaign for women’s reproductive rights, some lawsuits regarding First Amendment issues, and will go towards helping incarcerated individuals.

SATANIC MASS in Los Angeles, January 14th, 2017

Clemence Michallon
Daily Mail



  1. One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.
  2. The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.
  3. One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.
  4. The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.
  5. Beliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.
  6. People are fallible. If we make a mistake, we should do our best to rectify it and resolve any harm that may have been caused.
  7. Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.

The Satanic Temple

DEATHSPELL OMEGA ‘The Synarchy of Molten Bones’ (2016)
Norma Evangelium Diaboli

TEITANBLOOD ‘Accursed Skin’ (2016)
Norma Evangelium Diaboli

DEAD CONGREGATION ‘Sombre Doom’ (2016)
Martyrdoom Productions / Norma Evangelium Diaboli

NECROT ‘The Labyrinth’ (RE 2016)

URFAUST ‘Empty Space Meditation’ (2016)
Ván Records

ZHRINE ‘Unortheta’ (2016)
Season of Mist

BOLZER ‘Hero’ (2016)
Iron Bonehead Productions

ANTAEUS ‘Condemnation’ (2016)
Norma Evangelium Diaboli

ULCERATE ‘Shrines of Paralysis’

Dark Descent

FORTERESSE ‘Thèmes pour la rébellion’
Sepulchral Productions

CHTHE’ILIST ‘Le Dernier Crépuscule’ (2016)
Dark Descent / Profound Lore Records

GERUVAH ‘Hallelujah!’ (2016)
Profound Lore Records

PHOBOCOSM ‘Bringer of Drought’ (2016)
Dark Descent

GORGUTS ‘Pleiades’ Dust’ (2016)
Season of Mist


Afin de souligner le onzième anniversaire de la onzième parution de Cyclop Media, nous sommes ravis de présenter la suite de l’assourdissant succès sur la toile – MI AMORE enregistrent ‘THE LAMB’ au studio GODCITY à Salem, MA (première partie) – publié le 26 avril dernier.

MI AMORE “The Lamb” Psalms & Proverbs was recorded between July 15 and July 24, MMIV by the grace of Kurt Ballou @ GodCity Studio / Salem, MA.

Une autre agréable présentation SOMBRE & AMER.

ALEXIS AMORE le 18 octobre 2004 @ ANTI, Québec p.Q., photo HUGUES SIMARD

ALEXIS AMORE le 18 octobre 2004 @ ANTI, Québec p.Q., photo HUGUES SIMARD

MI AMORE le 23 novembre 2002 à l'ANTI, Québec p.Q. / Cyclop Showcase 01 / photo GORDON DOUGLAS BALL

MI AMORE le 23 novembre 2002 à l’ANTI, Québec p.Q. / Cyclop Showcase 01 / photo GORDON DOUGLAS BALL

Nous tenons à remercier cordialement Kevin Robitaille – qu’on a pu apprécier pour sa fougue ici – et son groupe LOS d’avoir perpétré/perpétué le port du t-shirt de MI AMORE dans un vidéoclip.

Nous l’ajoutons de ce fait à la prestigieuse liste ci-bas :

LOS ‘Wonders’ (2016)

"Dieu est à la mode. Raison de plus pour le laisser aux abrutis qui la suivent"

GET THE SHOT ‘The Cost of Denial’ (2012)

MI AMORE 'Horny Jesus' t-shirt

CANCER BATS ‘100 Grand Canyon’ (2006)

MI AMORE 'Crawlin' Kingsnake'

CONVERGE ‘Concubine/Fault and Fracture’ (2002)

MI AMORE 'First shirt ever'

BLESSING THE HOGS ‘Let’s Play Doctor… Kevorkian’ (2004)

MI AMORE 'Valentine Tour 2003' t-shirt

MI AMORE 'Valentine Tour 2003' t-shirt, COOKE-SASSEVILLE, Le Soleil
COOKE-SASSEVILLE sur la coverture du Journal Le Soleil, édition du lundi 1er novembre 2010

Doug Mesner, who goes by the professional name Lucien Greaves, is co-founder and spokesman for the Satanic Temple, a group of political activists who are seeking to establish After School Satan Clubs as a counterpart to fundamentalist Christian Good News Clubs, which they see as an attempt to infiltrate public education and erode the constitutional separation of church and state. (Josh Reynolds/For The Washington Post)

Doug Mesner, who goes by the professional name Lucien Greaves, is co-founder and spokesman for the Satanic Temple, a group of political activists who are seeking to establish After School Satan Clubs as a counterpart to fundamentalist Christian Good News Clubs, which they see as an attempt to infiltrate public education and erode the constitutional separation of church and state. (Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post)

SALEM, Mass. — It’s a hot summer night, and leaders of the Satanic Temple have gathered in the crimson-walled living room of a Victorian manse in this city renowned for its witch trials in the 17th century. They’re watching a sepiatoned video, in which children dance around a maypole, a spider crawls across a clown’s face and eerie, ambient chanting gives way to a backward, demonic voiceover. The group chuckles with approval.

They’re here plotting to bring their wisdom to the nation’s public elementary school children. They point out that Christian evangelical groups already have infiltrated the lives of America’s children through after-school religious programming in public schools, and they appear determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan.

“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think,” said Doug Mesner, the Satanic Temple’s co-founder.

On Monday, the group plans to introduce its After School Satan Club to public elementary schools, including one in Prince George’s County, petitioning school officials to allow them to open immediately as the academic year starts. Chapter heads from New York, Boston, Utah and Arizona were in Salem on July 10 talking strategy, with others from Minneapolis, Detroit, San Jose, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Florida participating online. The promotional video, which feels like a mash-up of a horror movie trailer and a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, will serve to promote the new club along with its website — Afterschoolsatan.com.

The Satanic Temple — which has been offering tongue-in-cheek support for the fallen angel in public arenas that have embraced prayer and parochial ceremonies — is bringing its fight over constitutional separation of church and state to the nation’s schools.

But the group’s plan for public schoolchildren isn’t actually about promoting worship of the devil. The Satanic Temple doesn’t espouse a belief in the existence of a supernatural being that other religions identify solemnly as Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. The Temple rejects all forms of supernaturalism and is committed to the view that scientific rationality provides the best measure of reality.

According to Mesner, who goes by the professional name of Lucien Greaves, “Satan” is just a “metaphorical construct” intended to represent the rejection of all forms of tyranny over the human mind.

The curriculum for the proposed after-school clubs emphasizes the development of reasoning and social skills. The group says meetings will include a healthful snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project. Every child will receive a membership card and must have a signed parental permission slip to attend.

“We think it’s important for kids to be able to see multiple points of view, to reason things through, to have empathy and feelings of benevolence for their fellow human beings,” said the Satanic Temple’s Utah chapter head, who goes by the name Chalice Blythe.

The emphasis on multiple perspectives is a hint pointing to the Temple’s true foe. The group at first intends to roll out the clubs in a limited number of schools in districts that also host an evangelical Christian after-school program known as the Good News Club.

Good News Clubs, which are sponsored by an organization founded in 1937 called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF), aim to reach children as young as 5 with a fundamentalist form of evangelical Christianity. For most of their history, Good News Clubs were largely excluded from public schools out of concern that their presence would violate the Constitution.

In 2001, in a case that commanded the resources of powerful legal advocacy groups on the religious right, including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Liberty Counsel, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to exclude an after-school program on account of the religious views of its sponsors amounted to a violation of free-speech rights. The CEF then went on a tear, and by 2011, it reported 3,560 Good News Clubs, putting them in more than 5 percent of the nation’s public elementary schools.

The Satanic Temple makes no secret of its desire to use that same approach.

“We would like to thank the Liberty Counsel specifically for opening the doors to the After Satan Clubs through their dedication to religious liberty,” Greaves explained to the gathering of chapter heads in Salem. “So, ‘the Satanic Temple leverages religious freedom laws that put afterschool clubs in elementary schools nationwide.’ That’s going to be the message.”

The Liberty Counsel agrees that the Satanic Temple has a right to organize its clubs in public schools and takes the view that they can’t be banned so long as they’re not disruptive or engaging in rituals that put people at risk.

“I would definitely oppose after-school Satanic clubs, but they have a First Amendment right to meet,” said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel’s founder and chairman. “I suspect, in this particular case, I can’t imagine there’s going to be a lot of students participating in this. It’s probably dust they’re kicking up and is likely to fade away in the near future for lack of interest.”

The Satanic Temple is eager to compete directly with the Good News Clubs and doesn’t hide its belief that its own after-school product is on the right side.

“While the Good News Clubs focus on indoctrination, instilling children with a fear of hell and God’s wrath, After School Satan Clubs will focus on free inquiry and rationalism,” Greaves said. “We prefer to give children an appreciation of the natural wonders surrounding them, not a fear of an everlasting other-worldly horror.”

Good News Club leaders have defended their organization’s presence in public schools. According to the Good News Club’s website, “each club includes a clear presentation of the Gospel and an opportunity for children to trust the Lord Jesus as Savior. Every club also includes strong discipleship training to build character and strengthen moral and spiritual growth.”

Amy Jensen, a professional educator in Tucson who has a master’s degree in curriculum, instruction and teaching from the University of Denver, says she has decided to lead an After School Satan Club after comparing its curriculum materials with those of the Good News Club. Jensen noted that the Satanic Temple’s materials say the group encourages benevolence and empathy among all people, and advocates practical common sense.

“As a teacher, if I were deciding whether to teach that or the fear and hatred of other people’s beliefs, which is what Good News Clubs teach, I would choose what the Satanic Temple has available,” she said.

Like all ASSC teachers, Jensen is a volunteer. To cover After School Satan Club costs, including facility use fees and curriculum materials, the Satanic Temple is launching a crowdfunding campaign — which is how it covers many of its initiatives.

The blend of political activism, religious critique and performance art that characterizes the After School Satan Club proposal is not a new approach for the Satanic Temple. It is just the most recent in a series of efforts that have made the Temple famous and notorious.

In 2014, after the Supreme Court ruled that the regular recitation of prayers before town meetings did not violate the First Amendment, provided that towns do not discriminate among religions, the Temple decided to test just how much religious liberty towns allowed. They volunteered to perform a Satanic benediction in an Arizona town where the board had regularly opened with a Christian prayer. In that case, the town preferred to abolish the practice of opening prayers.

David Suhor from the Satanic Temple delivered a unique invocation after several minutes of protester disruption at a Pensacola City Council meeting on July 14. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

In this and other instances — such as when the Satanic Temple proposed the installation of a statue of Baphomet in Oklahoma in response to a stone monument emblazoned with the Ten Commandments — the thrust of the Temple’s activism has been to prevent religious groups from claiming the mantle of implicit state endorsement.

The group’s activism has much in common with a movement started a decade ago, when Bobby Henderson of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster penned an open letter to the Kansas School Board in 2005, citing fears that the introduction of teaching religious intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution would inculcate public school students with Christian thought. Henderson argued that believing that there is a benevolent deity made of spaghetti and meatballs is just as legitimate as believing in God. Believers in the Flying Spaghetti Monster took on the name “Pastafarians.”

Like the Satanic Temple, the Pastafarians insist that theirs is a genuine religion. According to Henderson, who published “The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” in 2006, it’s inaccurate to say that his church is “purely a thought experiment or satire.”

“The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental,” Henderson says on his website. “Let me make this clear: we are not anti-religion, we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a difference.”

Greaves likewise insists that the Satanic Temple is much more than satire: “We’ve moved well beyond being a simple political ploy and into being a very sincere movement that seeks to separate religion from superstition,” he said.

The Satanic Temple expects to face opposition to its after-school proposal. When the group sought to erect the Baphomet monument, the Oklahoma governor’s office dismissed the proposal as “absurd,” and right-wing activists joined the attack.

Given the fight ahead and the long odds of pushing Christianity out of public schools, an important question about the After School Satan Clubs is: Does the Satanic Temple really want religion — even its own — in public schools?

Greaves is blunt: “We are only doing this because Good News Clubs have created a need for this. If Good News Clubs would operate in churches rather than public schools, that need would disappear. But our point is that if you let one religion into the public schools you have to let others, otherwise it’s an establishment of religion.”

In the 2001 Supreme Court ruling, Justice David Souter penned a scathing dissent. He suggested that the decision would bring about a world in which “any public school opened for civic meetings must be opened for use as a church, synagogue, or mosque.”

The Satanic Temple probably wasn’t front and center in his thinking. Yet it appears determined to prove him correct.

Katherine Stewart
The Washington Post

Liturgie Apocryphe

"The production of nervous force is directly connected with the diet of an individual, and its refining depends on the very purity of this diet, allied to appropriate breathing exercises.

The diet most calculated to act effectively on the nervous force is that which contains the least quantity of animal matter; therefore the Pythagorean diet, in this connection, is the most suitable.


The main object was to avoid introducing into the organism what Descartes called 'animal spirits'. Thus, all animals that had to serve for the nourishment of the priests were slaughtered according to special rites, they were not murdered, as is the case nowadays".