Church of Azazel > Rituals > For new members
Recommended practices for new and prospective members of the Church of Azazel
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2004, 2007 by the Church of Azazel. All rights reserved.
- On dedications, self-initiations, etc.
- On magick and communication with spirits
- For all our members
Update, January 2013: The article below says, about both the self-initiation rite and the rite of blasphemy, "Note that these rituals are not required or even strongly encouraged. They are offered here primarily as alternatives for those who might otherwise be inclined to perform a premature dedication rite."
As of January 2013, we do encourage participants in the NYC Church of Azazel proto-congregation to perform the self-initiation rite or something similar, before participating in other rituals using our standard ritual format for Satanic rituals. However, as for the rite of blasphemy, we still consider it to be a highly individual matter as to when, or even whether, a member chooses to perform it at all, and we still caution against performing it prematurely.
Also as of January 2013, we strongly encourage members and prospective members of the NYC Church of Azazel proto-congregation to perform rituals focussed on at least one of the Rising Gods, as well as rituals focused on Satan/Azazel and the elemental Princes. In fact, for many people it may be best to develop a relationship with a Rising God before doing any rituals addressed to Satan/Azazel.
- On dedications, self-initiations, etc.
If you are new to theistic Satanism in general, it is recommended that you spend quite a bit of time studying -- as detailed further down on this page -- before you do any rituals.
Otherwise, if you are new to the Church of Azazel but not new to Satanism or occultism, you may wish to perform either or both of the following rituals (on Diane Vera's Theistic Satanism site), either on your own or in a group. Note that these rituals are not required or even strongly encouraged. They are offered here primarily as alternatives for those who might otherwise be inclined to perform a premature dedication rite.
- The self-initiation rite (or some personalized variant thereof). Even if you are not new to Satanism, the self-initiation rite will help you draw closer to Satan. After you've performed it three nights in a row, it is recommended that you continue to say the Prayer of acknowledgment of Satan's rulership every morning and evening as part of a daily devotional routine.
- A rite of blasphemy, which should be customized to your upbringing, as explained in The purpose of blasphemy in Satanism. (If you were brought up non-Christian and never became Christian later, then the focus of your blaphemy should not be the Christian god but, rather, some aspect of your background which has had highly limiting effects on you -- possibly, but not necessarily, your parents' religion.) The rite of blasphemy should be performed on three successive nights.
The above two rituals may be performed in either order. They should be done separately, at least a week apart and perhaps even a few months apart, or even longer if necessary. They should not be combined into one ritual, because the two rituals have very different aims and involve very different emotions. (The self-initation rite is intended as the first step in an ongoing practice of devotion to Satan. Its focus is on Satan/Azazel Himself, not on His enemy.)
Before you perform either ritual, some preparation may be needed, both intellectual and emotional.
- Before you perform the self-initiation rite, spend some time studying the various different kinds of theistic Satanism, including, of course, the Church of Azazel's own beliefs and principles. You should perform the self-initiation rite only if (1) you feel emotionally drawn to Satan on a deep level and (2) you've studied enough and thought enough about Satanism to have a well-informed belief system that makes sense to you (at least on a preliminary basis, though it might be subject to change later).
- Before you perform a blasphemy rite, make sure you don't still have any semi-rational reasons for fearing that Christianity (or whatever else you've decided to blaspheme, if your background is non-Christian) might be true after all. If you're still worried about the possibility that Christian theology might be true, spend some time studying the Arguments against traditional Christian beliefs, and perhaps participate in some religious debate forums for a while, before you perform the blasphemy rite. Similar study is recommended if you'll be renouncing either a non-Christian religion or a nonreligious ideology. To be honest with yourself, examine the arguments for the ideology you'll be renouncing, as well as the arguments against it, and examine at least several different versions of the ideology to be rejected (e.g. several different denominations of Christianity). You should also spend some time exploring alternative ideologies. (If you'll be renouncing Christianity, spend some time exploring other religions besides Christianity and Satanism, including modern Western Pagan religions and occult traditions.) The purpose of the blasphemy rite is to help you overcome any remaining purely irrational fears by facing those fears head-on, after you have fully - and fairly - dismissed the validity of those fears on a rational level.
Prepare for the blasphemy rite on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level. For example, if you came from any but the most liberal Christian backgrounds, think back to your experiences as a Christian and how you were tormented by senseless guilt over your natural desires and emotions, in an endless merry-go-round of "sin" and "repentence." Allow yourself to feel anger and hatred toward the torment that was inflicted on you.
If you are new to theistic Satanism, do NOT perform a dedication rite immediately, or any other ritual in which you make long-term promises. The Church of Azazel recommends a dedication rite ONLY after you've been a theistic Satanist for at least several years, for reasons explained in Pacts and self-initiation. Do not do a dedication rite as one of your very first rituals. For preliminary self-initiation purposes, do the self-initiation rite or a blasphemy rite, rather than a dedication rite.
If you are still in your teens or even your early twenties, we recommend that you not perform a dedication rite until you are in your mid-twenties, even if you first felt drawn to Satanism at a very early age. While you are still in your teens or early twenties, you should allow yourself the freedom to explore whatever kind of spirituality you want whenever you want, without locking yourself into any premature longterm commitment. Furthermore, if you are still in your teens, we recommend great caution about constraining your choices in any other way either, e.g. by performing a rite of irrevocable blasphemy such as the renunciation rite. However, do feel free to go ahead and perform the self-initiation rite, which does not involve any longterm declarations or promises.
- On magick and communication with spirits
The Church of Azazel's approach to Satanism involves primarily (1) spiritual devotion to Satan/Azazel and/or to one or more of the The rising gods of the modern West, (2) philosophical thought, and (3) social activism, mainly against the Christian religious right wing and to counteract popular fears about Satanism and other nonmainstream subcultures that have been demonized by the religious right wing. We are not a magick order per se and do not require our members to practice magick. Eventually, some of us may form a magick order within the Church of Azazel.
In the meantime, insofar as our members do practice magick, our main concern is that our members use a sane and systematic approach. Do not jump straight into the deep end of the pool without first learning how to swim.
If you are new to magick, the Church of Azazel does NOT recommend that you begin trying to communicate with demons immediately. Learn basic meditation, energy manipulation, etc. first. (See Psychic development techniques and ritual magick.) Otherwise, you are likely to deceive yourself.
If and whenever you are ready to begin trying to communicate with with demons, do NOT use the hostile methods of the grimoires. Do NOT treat the demons as your enemies. (See About demons.)
If communication with spirits is something you very strongly want to learn how to do, we recommend that you study the literature of OFS Demonolatry. If you decide to practice the OFS's system, please take the time to learn the entire system; don't just do the rituals. Note that the OFS's paradigm differs from ours (they are pantheistic and Hermetic-based, whereas we lean toward a harder polytheism and see many of the Hermetic "laws" as having only limited applicability), but their system seems to be the sanest one out there for communication with demons in a manner compatible with reverence for Satan.
Whatever your level of development, please do stay in touch with other members of the Church of Azazel and let us know about at least some of your experiences, insofar as you feel that it is appropriate for you to share them. We can all learn from each other's experiences.
- For all our members
We expect all our members to study a variety of different philosophies, religions, and forms of occultism, and to learn about the history of religion, in order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of Satanic theology and epistemology.
Members from Christian or other Abrahamic backgrounds are especially urged to familiarize themselves with with a variety of non-Abrahamic religions and worldviews, on all three of the following levels: (1) intellectual, (2) social (personal friendships with adherents of various non-Abrahamic spiritualities and preferably some atheists/naturalists too), and (3) practical -- actual personal involvement in at least one type of spirituality with a totally non-Abrahamic-derived paradigm, e.g. some form of "dark Paganism" or chaos magick.
Theistic Satanism has a built-in difficulty: It inherently uses part of the Christian/Islamic paradigm (Satan being a figure in Christian/Islamic mythology) and may therefore tend to reinforce other aspects of the Christian or Islamic paradigm in a person's mind as well, especially if the person happens to have left Christianity/Islam only recently. This effect can be counterbalanced only via immersion in non-Abrahamic paradigms, in addition to a thorough deconstruction of the Abrahamic worldview itself. Only thus can theistic Satanists continue ALSO to use one part of the Abrahamic paradigm -- as one necessarily does when revering Satan -- and yet keep it in perspective.
On the other hand, those members from either a non-Abrahamic background or a liberal Abrahamic background are encouraged to spend some time learning about fundamentalist/traditionalist Christianity and Islam, in order to learn what we are up against, in addition to learning about a variety of other religions and worldviews as well. (See The growing number of Christians of kinds which inherently fear demons, Satanists, witches, occultists, Pagans, and atheists on the Against Satanic Panics site, and see Resources for learning about the religious right wing on the New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry site.)