Not many things in our culture are more controversial than Satanists, and the Sinagogue of Satan is one of the oldest, and prominent Satanic organization out there. We all know the legend of how Anton Szandor LaVey brought the Church of Satan into the light and his book The Satanic Bible which still remains a best seller. Yet most people have no conception about their dissenter/s.
High Priest and Co-Founder Michael Shane Margolin breaks it down for Teen Ink readers.
How has the Sinagogue transmuted and developed in the past 10 or 15 years, with regard to the way religious and ideological attitudes have been changing in the States?
Well, it's actually nineteen years and it seems society worldwide has adopted Sinagogue of Satan's ideas, more in some areas than others. As far as SoS modifying its philosophy to societies more liberal outlook on life I'd have to say it's the other way around and its society that is finally getting our message. Like Crowley said, “There is hope and help in other spells.” People throughout history have tried to give man religion and philosophies to improve their lives only to ruin them in so many ways. SoS merely broadens the perspective and definition of freedom of religion by pointing out for it to work we have to tolerate diversity instead of beating it into conforming. For us to achieve any degree of freedom as a society we must respect the rights of all of us no matter religion, culture, country, race or sexuality.
What would you say, Aleister Crowley would think if he could see the state of the world, and of Thelema now?
I think he would smile and say,”As brothers fight ye.” His thought would be reflected in his smile.
What is the nature of the relationship between the Sinagogue of Satan and the Satanic Temple, at present?
SoS supports all religions right to exist including other forms and sects of Satanism. Because we are based on freedom of religion we don't compete with other religions, we are about freedom, not domination. Since our beginnings some of our members have held and do hold dual or even multiple memberships with other organizations, we support freedom of religion so we never had a problem with multiple memberships. But some of the other groups have expelled their members that joined SoS because those groups do not support freedom of religion and clearly wish to dominate religion and their members. The Satanic Temple's political and civic activities are to be commended. Too bad they have to resort to extortion tactics to achieve their objectives but it seems that's the only thing their opposition understands. As far as a relationship, again we have members that are members of TST as well so SoS continues to shine the light of tolerance and acceptance proving you don't need to dominate to cooperate.
In recent years have you found that a more understanding attitude towards the Sinagogue has developed? Why/Why not?
Again, it looks like society is embracing our ideas whether they know of our existence or not. I also see the enemies of freedom are still hard at work trying to continue their campaign of slavery in the name of their religion being the one true religion. If any of these religions were the one true religion why have they divided themselves into so many sub-sects of themselves? They can't even agree with each other on how to practice their true religion. Anyway, the more society supports freedom of individuality the easier it is to swallow the pill of SoS philosophy.
To my mind, it seems like more and more people are adopting an attitude less constrained by external pressures and standards, politically, ideologically and however else. Being that such an attitude is central to the Sinagogue’s ethos, does it seem to you like we’re on the edge of an immensely colossal, societal change?
Colossal no, more like slow and steady but going in the direction SoS philosophy directs. The more society supports diversity and the rights of the individual the more you'll see a decrease in hate crimes. Education is emancipation for it frees you from the primitive misconceptions, racism, religion and so many other outdated ideologies have created. When we fight with each other it's not a matter of us against them. It's us, fighting ourselves and this history long activity really needs to stop and be replaced with cooperation, respect, and understanding.
Do you often (or ever) come into contact with the other kind of Satanist? ie. the ones who legitimately believe in the devil?
Yes, and again we support freedom of religion including the right of Christians that think they're Satanists because they renounce Jesus. Renouncing Jesus and worshiping the devil doesn't make you a Satanist. It makes you a Christian that is doing everything their religion has taught them to do if they renounce their faith. Thus, they are still Christians whether they understand this or not. They are continuing a belief in Christianity even with their renunciation of Christ. To be a Satanist is to throw away the shackles of old religions and not to lock yourself up with new ones. Step out of the realities that religions have created and view the world as it is, not how you've been told it is. Free yourselves from these ancient mythologies so society can grow instead of being stuck in primitive ideas from thousands of years ago. If we continue to base our reality on ancient mythology the past becomes our present and the present has no future.
You make poetry yourself and even have a couple albums out, but what kind of work does the Sinagogue do to foster creativity from its members?
We provide a forum where they are actually free to create and think as they will. Thus, giving our artists an endless pallet of color to explore and our writers the freedom to truly express themselves without the fear of rejection or ostracism for their works.
If there was one person you could sit down with and discuss the current state of the world, and what needs to change, who would it be and what would you talk about?
There isn't one person, there are billions of persons, your interview provided me an opportunity to talk to some of them. And what I would say are in my answers to your questions.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us!
You're very welcome and thank you for this opportunity.