I am a Priest in the Church of Satan. Nevermind the crazies, let's have fun and ask me anything!
Over the past several weeks Satanism, directly and indirectly, has caught the attention of the media. Lunatics are blaming the Devil for their deranged acts of violence, rumors of "Satanic" cults are spreading among the tabloids and fans of True Detective are searching for the Yellow Sign in satanic rituals. Peter H. Gilmore, the current High Priest of the Church of Satan, has been a guest on CNN, interviewed by the CBC and numerous other outlets (published and unpublished) in an effort to defuse a revival of the Satanic Panic from 80's and 90's. It's a shame that for many people the only exposure to Satanism is in reaction to such grim, pointless insanity; when by and large the Satanists I know are some the most life-loving individuals I've ever encountered.
Due to the recent media exposure I'm not surprised to see several threads hitting the front page of Reddit mentioning Satanism, attempted AMA's from questionable sources, and a genuine interest in what Satanism and the Church of Satan is actually about. Obviously one can go to the Church of Satan's website and check out the basic texts and FAQ, but we recognize that humans are social creatures and a certain level of interaction can help drive points home.
That said, my name is Raul A. and I'm an officially ordained Priest in the Church of Satan, and have been an active Satanist for over 10 years. In my time with the Church of Satan, and well before that, I've interacted with Satanists with a wide range of interests, personalities, and backgrounds. I've organized concerts with Satanic folk bands to experimental electronic musicians. I am the technical director of Radio Free Satan. My wedding was officiated by a Satanic Priest, I enjoyed Tiki drinks and 50's music with High Priestess Peggy Nadramia, and watched Kaiju films and talked Pacific Rim with High Priest Gilmore. I've also known many nonpublic Satanists who, for various reasons, cannot openly proclaim their worldviews.
Why am I doing this AMA? For one, I think the Reddit community is interested in the topic and has been mostly given a poor representation of what Satanism is about, in theory and practice. I've seen some fairly interesting questions go without responses, and mostly a lot of talk from people who "read Crowley in high school" (FYI, Crowley never identified himself as a Satanist, and has very little to with Satanism) or "knew a guy once". Responses are often such a bore and miss the point entirely.
So here's your chance, ask me anything! And, like any decent Satanist, let's make this fun! Let's try things other than the usual "Why call it Satanism if you don't believe in Satan" (*), let's talk about life, experiences, and the pleasures of the material world! Let the games begin!
- The "Satan" in "Satanism" refers to the Hebrew word for "the adversary", and that is the context in which we use it. We understand that the human animal has an innate need for religion, symbolism, and dogma so we Satanists willfully choose the one we most identify with.
Edit: I have a business call to attend to for an hour or so, I'll be back shortly!
Edit: Seems that many of my responses have been downvoted to Hell (ba dum). Here's a handy Q&A table http://www.reddit.com/r/tabled/comments/1zgfeg/table_i_am_a_priest_in_the_church_of_satan/
Edit: Time to roll up the tent. Overall I had a fairly good time, answered a few good questions, made some new friends, and ran into some old ones. If you haven't seen my responses, especially in the first few hours of this AMA, it's because my comments were immediately being downvoted and hidden from the default views(I didn't realize Reddit were such big fans of the Westboro Baptist Church). See the table above or my comment history to see my responses, which apparently is more than most celebrity AMA's combined. Special thanks to the moderators who've attempted to inject some rationality and to /u/Milagre for the help with the Q&A Table.