Published in the Journal of Religion and Culture
, Death and Dying in the Satanic Worldview
, by Cimminnee Holt.
The photograph by Reverend CoffinRust
referenced in the text, "Bianca's Baphomet", may be viewed here
The Church of Satan is a New Religious Movement (NRM) that symbolically embraces the notion of Satan to represent the individual. Satanism initially presents seemingly paradoxical images: atheistic yet highly dogmatic, rejecting notions of an afterlife but retaining a particular understanding of a carnal eschatology, and emphasizing a life-affirming worldview while also incorporating traditional symbols of death in theatrical magical ritual. Satanists are not theistic, but claim instead a carnal self-deification. They posit no contradiction between theory and practice, and profess a holistic religion. This paper seeks to examine Satanism through postmodern sociological approaches to death and dying – that is, focused on the individual – and discuss the use of death imagery within magical rites by using information provided by two informants of the Church of Satan. This treatise will demonstrate that Satanic atheism and prevalent death imagery function as life-affirming mechanisms in this somewhat atypical NRM.