The Satanic Temple announced the public reopening of its national headquarters in a week or so. The Salem Art Gallery, among other things, contains the massive Baphomet statue that drew much media attention a few years back.
What has become known as non-theistic Satanism (those who do not recognize Satan as a deity or figure, but rather an idea) was popularized by Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan decades ago. But organizations like the Church of Satan, the Satanic Temple and others spark an interesting debate: where does secularization of faith become cultural appropriation, even among Satanists? Given the leftist orientation of TST and a few others, the historical placement of religion in the world and neoliberal trends around faith are intriguing issues.
To most people, Satanism is, baldly, Devil worship because it has been for generations. In polytheistic societies, demons are recognized, as are other spirits. The Satanic Temple is among a wave of Satanic groups that have no faith-based rituals or recognition of Satan. As such, there is a perplexing question that arises.
Religion in the last few decades has been somewhat awash with sects taking theistic belief out of religion. Among Christians, prosperity gospel leaders preach a version of their faith that focuses more on wealth. Among Buddhists, large organizations like Sokka Gakai have kept ritual but removed worship of Buddha. Yoga in the West has many who practice, but do not adhere to the Hindu spiritual practice upon which yoga is based. In a highly individualistic culture, it may thus be little shock that Satanism is seeing the same outgrowth. Its value remains to be seen.
And though the same can be argued of music, the arts have long been a field of creative expression — we do not expect the actors to murder one another in a performance of Macbeth, for example. By virtue of the seriousness and sacrifice (real and otherwise) made to manifest it, religion carries a different weight, perhaps.
In music, Destroyer Attack returns with a new album, Solve Et Coagula, released just over a week ago. The Colombia by way of Ecuador quartet does black/death in the vein of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, though you will undoubtedly hear many influences therein.
This week also marks the return of Polish black metal act Occultum. whose In Nomine Rex Inferni will be issued digitally and on limited edition CD by Old Temple.