An article yesterday on the site Medium put me in mind yet again of the idea of Satan as the embodiment of a principle of Resistance or maybe just inertia in the sense of the tendency of the world to continue blithely on as it is, absent—indeed in spite of—the urgent guidance of your sovereign will. This is Satan as an active form of distance between the world you envision emerging as a result of the operation of your will and the world as it really does emerge unscathed from the impotent and ineffectual striving of your will.
And I’m not talking here about some imagined magical ability to effect change through personal will on things that lie fundamentally now and forever outside of your will’s sphere of direct influence. No, I’m talking about even those aspects of life that, if any things really are under your complete and total control, would likely be among them: like your self-esteem and self-control, for instance. Of course, any student of psychology and neuroanatomy will know well and good that precious little of even these hallowed domains actually lies within our direct, conscious control most of the time or without a positively Herculean—not to mention Sisyphean—effort. But we do have ways of achieving control effects in these areas all the same, for instance by removing items that cause temptation to lose self-control from our lives or by removing ourselves from situations and places that present such temptations to us.
The danger of the left hand path lies, in part, in daring the attempt to find freedom even in things right-hand-path religions consider too dangerous and liable to bring overpowerful temptation and likely self destruction: the usual suspects like sex, intoxicants, and the taboo. If so, then part of being a Satanist is getting comfortable flirting with disaster, finding one’s own inner balance while tossed on the stormy seas of indulgence.
My personal struggles in this arena lie with intoxicants, food, and anger. I generally indulge in all three of these potentially toxic “pleasures” too regularly and with too much abandon. So, a few years ago, I took some time to write out a sketch for a Satanic 12-Step Program to help find inner balance. Of course, the Satanic 12 Step actually contains thirteen steps!
In writing them, I took my cue from LaVey in The Satanic Bible where he’s discussing “Some Evidence of a New Satanic Age” and says that Satanism advocates indulging in all of the so-called “Seven Deadly Sins” since “they all lead to physical, mental, and emotional gratification.” He goes on to say, however, about gluttony in particular that the key is balance:
“Gluttony is simply eating more than you need to keep yourself alive. When you have overeaten to the point of obesity, another sin—pride—will motivate you to regain an appearance that will renew your self-respect.”
LaVey advocates here for an internal tension among and between one’s “sins.” When indulgence in one area has begun to tug you too far in one direction, exert will to drag yourself back in the opposite direction. Tox-detox-retox, and so on. On this model, being a successful, indulgent Satanist is all about finding the right internal hierarchy of desires to allow for expressing your own personal most gratified, but also most balanced, self.
Here’s what I came up with. Give it read and see what you think. What changes would you make? Does anything here strike a chord, whether for good or ill? Let me know in the comments. And, as always, happy, indulgent Sataning!
- I recognize that the struggle with addictive, compulsive behavior—whether influenced by my genes or solely by my choices, conscious or otherwise—lies entirely within myself.
- I admit that there are no external, existent forces of good or evil who have concern for or power over my addictive, compulsive behavior. I am not the pawn of cosmic forces.
- I therefore accept that the power and will to initiate change can come only from within myself, from my own sovereign power and will. I recognize that in indulging my cravings and compulsions as I have, I have threatened my sovereignty and violated my inviolable body.
- I make a “searching and fearless inventory” of myself to determine what parts of me are satisfied when a craving is indulged? What triggers my cravings? What parts of my self-pride are offended when a craving is indulged? How would it feel to indulge and satisfy instead those parts of my self-pride? What better ways exist to satisfy what I satisfy when I indulge cravings that would not offend my self-pride?
- I admit that I am an animal characterized, as are all animals, by sometimes competing and contradictory desires; the satisfaction of one desire leads at times to the transgressing of another. The question is not whether some desires are righteous and good while others are bad and evil, but merely what is the best hierarchy of desires to allow me to become an effective individual I can take pride in being?
- I refuse to demonize, denigrate, or deny my basic drives. I am a whole being, body and mind, and even though the seeds of my addiction and compulsion may lie within my genes, I refuse to castigate myself or my body for desiring to feel good, to enjoy feeling good, and to continue seeking pleasure. I must merely accept that not all pleasures are equal or equally conducive to satisfying self-pride.
- I declare that I am ready to begin the painful process of determining my best hierarchy of desires and admit that I may need help from other, like-minded, strong individuals in gaining the proper perspective on my desires and in seeking medical intervention where necessary to help manage some of my desires. After all, hard drugs are artificial and can exercise a preternatural hold over body and mind, thwarting the sovereign will.
- I ask for help where necessary, while acknowledging to myself and others that it is to honor my pride in myself as a sovereign, inviolable individual that I engage in this self-work and self-betterment, including asking for help.
- I make a list of those conscientious, responsible persons who are dear to me and to whom I feel responsible and seek to gather them around me, and, if I have harmed any, I become willing to make amends to them. I should place myself at the top of that list.
- I make amends to those conscientious, responsible persons who are dear to me and to whom I feel responsible, not to abase myself before them nor to indebt them to me, but to begin to heal and strengthen the bonds of responsibility that have been harmed by my addictive, compulsive choices and behaviors. I must make such amends to myself first and foremost.
- I continue to take stock of myself and my relationships, manifesting responsibility to the responsible and fearlessly jettisoning psychic vampires and shit-disturbers who would sap my energy, vitality, and motivation to take pride in myself and seek change from within.
- I recognize that because humans are the only animals that can lie to themselves, I can, and often do, become my own psychic vampire and shit-disturber, especially when trying to recover from addiction. I must jettison my inner psychic vampire and shit disturber first of all.
- Having found success using these steps, I encourage others whom I value to harness the power of the Satanic in their own lives and re-enthrone themselves as their own sovereign, prideful self-gods and goddesses. Ave Satanas!