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The First Rite!

(Although I am a member, I do not speak for the Church of Satan) During the final week of May, I went to a gathering of Satanists. All attendees were dressed up to the nine's and had cheerful faces. Food and drink were in abundance, booze, and smokes were a-plenty, and there was, overall, jovial energy that permeated the entire household. To onlookers who observed some of us congregating outside, they saw a group of snazzily dressed individuals. But to those of us involved, there was something far more 'diabolical' going on. (cue thunder, lightning, and maniacal laughter) The roles were set, the candles lit, the altar was put upon her mantle, and I had donned white robes. This was a stark difference from the ebony garments that draped over the other attendees. We were going to have a ritual, and it was going to be one helluva good time! But this ritual was larger-than-life, for me especially. Not only was it going to be my first group ritual, but the occasion was also marked because it was my Satanic baptism. I was never baptized in my family's religion of choice, much to the chagrin of those around me. I would sometimes be berated with the question: "So when are you going to get baptized?" Often in some kind of passive-aggressive manner which made it all the more irritating. As a child, I told myself that if there were ever going to be a baptism; it would be of a religion of my own choosing. And not because I was 'supposed' to. Flash forward to twenty-something years later, and here I am. The purpose of a Satanic baptism exists for individuals such as myself. Casting off the cuffs of sanctimonious fraud and repression was something I just needed to do, and the blasphemous nature of LaVey's Satanic baptism was just the ticket. It is a beautifully simple ritual that symbolized my rebirth as a Satanist and cemented my personal citizenship as a member of the Infernal Empire. Burning away the guilt and self-deceit of my Christian upbringing was exhilarating and exposed parts of myself I did not know existed. Back to the story at hand. The music was set, kicking off the ritual with Ave Satani, the theme song of the 1976 horror classic, The Omen. It was a chilling prelude to the devilish church services we were about to partake in. I was the first to enter. The smoky, sweet-smelling room was a foreboding subterranean lair that chilled me to the bone but also felt (at least for the duration of the ritual) like a second home. Never has the invocation of "coming forth and greeting thyself as brother and friend" been so apt. But what caught my attention the most was the nude female altar. The lights of several flickering flames danced upon her flesh; moving in and out between the all-embracing darkness and the sultry and seductive burn of candlelight. My mind, and loins, hungered for the carnal experience of the ritual at hand. I then took my place nearby, sitting with infernal anticipation for the others to make their way to the chamber. One-by-one, the others entered; a procession of Satanic practitioners all daring to send out their wills upon a sleeping and unsuspecting world. As they stood in their respective places, I then stood back up and was given a bell. As I made my way counterclockwise, each ring of it bounced off the walls with a resounding call to action; goading the gates of hell to open up and hear our demands. Nervousness and elation filled my very being: 'What if I drop the bell? what if I don't ring it enough?' Etc. I resolved to not worry about such trifles and just experience the ritual for what it is. Setting aside the worry made the bell sound all the more beautiful. As the music began to crescendo, the priestess took the mantle of invoking the dark lord himself. Her commanding voice made the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. Hearing a chorus of voices shout out, in unison, the infernal names was exhilarating. Every member in this cabal was pushing their heart into this ritual as well. All had their hand on the big Satanic button of change, pushing their 'is-to-be' into the very ether. Then came my time to shine: My baptism. The altar was the only nude individual within the chamber, but not for long. I was soon butt-ass naked, making me think that the both of us at least deserved a few dollars tossed our way for the peep show the others were getting. All jokes aside, being in the nude was not strange or embarrassing and having all eyes on me for the baptism 'stroked' my ego if you know what I mean. The very musical piece I requested for the ritual was the song called Rebirth from the soundtrack to the 2018 horror film, Hereditary. The eerie, yet surprisingly comforting theme made the entire event resonate emotionally with me. This added to the power behind this ritualistic endeavor. For anyone who has seen Hereditary, they will know exactly what I am talking about and how well my baptism goes with the scene and music I am alluding to. Perfect timing, and very fitting music. As the baptism continued, I felt more and more in tune with my mind and aware of just how vulnerable, yet powerful, I was becoming. As I am stark naked, exposed as a fleshly being, years of Christian indoctrination was being stripped (no pun intended) away. The warmth of the candlelight was melting away my trepidation, the music stirred my soul. And the loud and proud voices, booming their desires for themselves and myself to walk the infernal path; all came together. Urging me to stand proud as a Satanist, defiant against all who have told me that I am to live my life in shame. After the required steps of the baptism were done, I stood in front of the sigil of the Baphomet. The priest leading my baptism joined me, shoulder to shoulder, our fingers extended in the sign of the horns as musky incense filled my nostrils. The glaring eyes of the Baphomet stared into mine as if piercing my being with a hearty "Welcome!" I smiled at the thought. As I stood, now covered in black robes, in a ritual chamber which was the space between mind and matter; the conscious world and the subconscious dream. As I yelled, "Hail Satan!" and a chorus of voices followed, I thought to myself: "I'm home."

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