I Was a Teenage Satanist
By Michael Osiris Snuffin (2001)
From Bellarmine to Satanism
My history with Satanism really started in 1984. After three years of public middle school, I had decided to go to Bellarmine Prep, a private school, for my high school education. The classes and teachers were first rate, but there was a significant downside to the Bellarmine experience: it was a Jesuit school, and religion played a significant part in student life. There were masses held twice a month, and if you chose not to attend you were put in a study hall for that hour/hour and a half and were not allowed to do anything but read and study. It essentially amounted to punishment for not going to mass.
A religion class was required in the Freshman curriculum that focused on basic Christian beliefs and seemed to be taught at the fifth grade level. The religion classes forced me to look at my spiritual beliefs–and I found them lacking. I had never questioned my beliefs before this time; I guess I never really had a reason to. By the time I left Bellarmine I had begun to reject the Christianity of my youth, and had no qualms about going back to public school where there was a separation of church and state.
My interest in Satanism slowly developed during my Sophomore year (1985-86). It was in part a side effect of my keen interest in Heavy Metal. Looking back on it, I see that when I rejected Christianity but found nothing to take its place, Satanism snuck in to fill the void.
Three Satanic Books
Three books of the Satanic genre shaped my beliefs and helped me develop my intellectual relationship with Satanism. The first was Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible, which appealed to me as a taboo book. I loved his “devil’s advocate” style that ridiculed the Christianity that I had abandoned. I remember being particularly impressed with his take on the seven deadly sins.
The introduction to The Necronomicon linked three enigmatic and interesting characters: LaVey, H.P. Lovecraft, and Aleister Crowley. I had been an avid reader of Lovecraft for many years at this point, so the subject served as a bridge to the other two. This was probably my first exposure to the likes of Crowley, who was later to become a very important influence in my spiritual life.
My Satanic experience was rounded out by Satan Wants You by Arthur Lyons, which gave me a general overview of Satanism and its various facets. I remember reading about Aquino and the Temple of Set and thinking that it was just an offshoot of the Church of Satan that wouldn’t last very long. Little did I know… .
There was also a biographical piece on LaVey that I found to be very interesting. What particularly struck me was an interview with LaVey where he indicated that Satanism was just a paradigm he used to accomplish certain concepts and goals. Of course, I was also intrigued with the report that LaVey could cause strange things to happen by banging on his keyboards in the middle of the night.
Peninsula High Satanist
In my Junior year (1986-1987) my friend Erik, whom I had known since middle school, introduced me to a guy named Jonathan. Jon was a Senior whose interests included RPGs, sex, and Satanism.
Jonathan was the only one of us that had any experience with “alternative” or pagan spirituality. He had been reading books like the Satanic Bible and the Necronomicon before I met him, as well as participated in other pagan fringe groups like the SCA where he might have witnessed or participated in ritual work. Erik and I looked up to him in this respect, for neither of us knew anything about “alternative” religions at the time.
I began to flaunt my interest in Satanism more openly. It was one of the ways I expressed myself as a rebellious teenager, and I liked the attention and reactions that I got from the other teens around me.
One of my favorite things to do at this time in my life was to go to the 6th Avenue Denny’s and piss off Christians. I would go out with a friend and sit in the non-smoking section, which was normally quieter and more conservative than the smoking section. I would talk to them about Satanism, sometimes summarizing and sometimes parroting the various things that I had read. When I knew that the people in the next booth were listening, I would turn the conversation to strike a little bit deeper into Satanism, often saying things for the eavesdroppers benefit with the knowledge of my companions. At least 5 or 6 times, people left to pay their check and then came back to my table to save my soul or tell me that I was going to Hell. I found this to be very entertaining.
By the end of my Junior year I had built up quite a reputation in high school based on my visible interest in Satanism, most evident in humorous yearbook ramblings:
“I’m glad I got to know you this year. It’s not every day that you see someone reading the Satanic Bible, but that just gives me all the more reason to believe in God. I won’t say keep up the worship, but take it light.”
“I know that someday you’ll be a successful ‘devil worshipper.’ (Just kidding.) ROCK ON! 666”
“You are an interesting character. I hope you don’t go to Hell! Really.”
“I am convinced when I make it to Hell, you will be there to greet me.”
“We’ll miss you in APE, but at least we’ll know you’re out doing what you do best… raising Hell to your standards.”
These quotes do bring out some of the true spirit of my interest in Satanism, as I dealt the subject in a half-joking, half-serious manner. I agreed with much of the philosophy presented in the Satanic Bible, even if I didn’t live much of it at the time. I didn’t take the idea of Satanic ritual very seriously at all, impressed only with the theatrics and the image it presented. Part of this attitude stems from what I had read in Lyons’ book. When Jonathan suggested that we actually perform a ritual from the Satanic Bible, Erik and I both thought it would be fun. Jon took the whole thing a bit more seriously, so he gathered up most of the equipment we needed and was elected to lead the ritual.
The Invocation of Lust
The ritual took place on March, Friday the 13th, on Erik’s boat. His Father was away for the weekend, giving us the privacy that we needed to do the deed. We waited until the sun went down, then put up black curtains and anything else we could find over the windows to block out the light.
As far as I can remember, the ritual was performed as written in the Satanic Bible. We used the Thirteen Steps on page 131 as our framework, and used the Invocation of Lust on pages 147-148. We used the Devil trump for an image of Baphomet. Our intentions were written on paper and burned in a cauldron at the appropriate time.
The purpose of the ritual was to get us all girlfriends within a month. This intention was written on a piece of paper and burned at the proper time. Jonathan also added a curse at the last minute to strike down Mrs. Black, the Consumer Ed teacher that he hated. Erik and I were both reluctant about the idea in the first place, neither of us wanting to harm anyone. Jon performed this part of the ritual himself, although Erik and I may have participated in the chanting.
Our favorite part of the ritual was the chorus of “Shemhamphorasch! Hail Satan!” We would exchange these lines sometimes when we bumped into each other or in class. I don’t remember what we used for a gong, but we had one.
Other than the rush that comes from breaking cultural taboos, I did not sense anything unusual during or after the ritual. With that accomplished, the three of us went off to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight, as we had done many evenings prior to this event.
The Hellish Results
What exactly happened that night is not very clear. Either Jon met one girl that introduced us later to three, or we simply met the three girls at the movie theater. Either way, it was soon obvious that our ritual had worked, and within a few weeks the three of us were all dating.
Unfortunately, that marked the beginning of three convoluted and hellish relationships. I got off easy. Tara flirted with me and teased me with her feminine wiles for about a month before she dropped me like a hot potato and fucked someone else. It was an emotionally rending experience for me, but I recovered within a relatively short period of time and moved on.
Jonathan and Erik got hit much worse than I. At the start, Erik was dating Jenny and Jon was dating Michelle. Things soured between couples in both relationships, and Jenny and Erik broke up. Erik ended up getting involved with Michelle, which pissed both Jenny and Jon off.
Michelle got pregnant, and was uncertain as to who the father was, Erik or Jon. Eventually she got an abortion, but not before using the pregnancy to cause even more animosity between friends. Michelle and Erik continued dating, and Michelle worked to alienate Erik from his friends. At the same time, Michelle’s mental problems worsened, and she degraded into multiple personalities, suicidal depression, and pathological lying. Erik would not escape that black hole of a relationship until he went to college up in Seattle.
Long Term Effects
The result of one night of Satanism destroyed the friendships between Jon, Erik and myself, and we were never able to completely mend them. Erik and I met back up at TESC in the early 90’s, rebuilt most of our friendship, and had other adventures together–but that’s another story.
I lost contact with Jonathan soon after high school. He died of AIDS in 1992. I entertained the idea that his death might be related to the death curse he uttered in 1987, but soon dismissed it. Jon was very promiscuous, and he used a lot of drugs and not always a lot of common sense–this was the formula of his demise.
Incidentally, I never did find out what happened to Mrs. Black. I heard through the grapevine that she became very ill two weeks after the ritual, but I never followed up on it. She was an old woman with diabetes, so it wasn’t unusual for her to be absent due to illness. Mrs. Black was certainly alive and kicking when I had her for Consumer Ed a year later, so I know that the death curse failed.
I lost interest in Satanism within a few months of the ritual. I went on to become an atheist with a rabid hatred of Fundamentalist Christianity. My disgust with Christianity was so strong that there were a few years where I refused to come home for Christmas because I didn't want to celebrate the holiday. These attitudes are possibly most clearly expressed in the lyrics of many an Acid Zombies song. I wouldn't have any real interest in religion or spirituality until 1993, when I ended up living with a family of Wiccans.
While my experiences with Satanic ritual were far from positive, Satanic philosophy (as presented in the Satanic Bible) had a significant and beneficial effect on my spiritual and intellectual development. It inspired me to question and reject the Christian paradigm that I had lived in for most of my life which opened me up to a whole bunch of new ideas (including the tarot). The Satanic Bible revealed in simple terms exactly how ridiculous and manipulative Christianity can be, and I still agree with much of what LaVey had to say on the matter. In retrospect, I find it very ironic that it was not Christ but Lucifer who brought me out of the darkness and into the light.
Epilogue: What Went Wrong?
After a careful analysis, I have concluded that three main factors contributed to the negative outcome of the ritual:
1. Ignorance. We had little or no idea of what we were doing; we were like children playing with fire, and we got burned.
2. Vague intentions. We were not nearly specific enough when defining our purpose. That's probably why ritual worked so quickly, and one the reasons why the results were so negative. The universe works like a computer when it comes to ritual magick–it does only what you specifically tell it to do and doesn't worry about the other details. We asked for girlfriends; we didn't specify such things as sanity and honesty, so they weren't a important part of the acquisition process. As the old saying goes: be careful what you ask for–you might get it.
3. Negative preconceptions. Satanism is evil, and black magick always comes back bite you in the end. These were common ideas in the society we grew up in. Think of the satanic ritualist as portrayed in TV and books. Faust comes to mind. These were elements in our subconscious when we performed the ritual, and thus undoubtedly influenced its unpleasant outcome.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Osiris Snuffin
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