by Carter Hemion, Humour Editor
Every October I’m reminded when most people hear words like “Satanism,” “witchcraft,” and “the occult,” they imagine something dangerous, unethical, or don’t think people actually practice these things outside of movies.
Popular horror movies like The Blair Witch Project and The Craft depict witches wrapped up in plots to kill. The Halloween franchise shows murderer Michael Myers as cursed by a druid cult, and suggests his violence comes from Pagan practices. However, the varying practices are not inherently dangerous or harmful. Just like any belief, Satanism has the potential to be a positive and deeply important part of someone’s life.
Normally when someone asks me about my religious beliefs, they aren’t expecting to hear I’m a Satanist or I practice witchcraft. I’m used to having to explain I don’t spend my free time drawing giant pentagrams on my floor and making animal sacrifices. Mostly, I just write for The Peak, read old books, and drink a lot of tea.
Some common practices are atheistic (like secular witchcraft) while others can involve deities (like Luciferianism and Paganism). There are as many beliefs as there are believers, and practices vary from person to person, just like in any religion. Some people’s practices may also tie more specifically to family ancestry, like celebrating Celtic holidays or incorporating Norse Pagan traditions.
As a whole, Satanism and other occult practices do not promote violence. Further, none of these practices are actively used to recruit and convert people either. Instead, members tend to keep to themselves without a goal of bringing harm to or converting those outside their religion.
Personally, I was introduced to Satanism about seven years ago. After drifting between Satanic groups and, more recently, joining the Coven of Satan, I’ve found new ways to approach the world with kindness and thoughtfulness while prioritizing my own wellbeing. The Coven of Satan’s Ethos, the principles the Coven live by, advocates for things like “reason, science, and compassion in all things.” It reminds people that “a person is the final authority over themselves,” which led me to believe in fighting for personal autonomy and actively seeking knowledge about others’ lived experiences.
Other principles from The Ethos, like recognizing your actions have consequences, taking responsibility for them and leaving “the world a better place than you found it” guide me in consistently working to be a better person. These ideas — in conjunction with the many lessons I’ve learned as a Satanic witch — influence my will to continue growing and making my life worth living. At no point have I, or anyone I’ve met, attempted to actively convert or harm anyone, despite what popular media may show.
I love a good horror movie and a fun costume as much as the next person celebrating Halloween or Samhain, but I wish the holiday celebrations would acknowledge that witchcraft, Satanism, and other related practices are real, aren’t malicious, and are happening around us. More importantly, I hope people can acknowledge their existence as just another religious or spiritual practice without fearing or judging it.