Church of Azazel > Structure > Who we are and how to join
Church of Azazel
Who we are and how to join
- Who we are
- Brief history and background
- How to join the Church of Azazel
- How you can help us build the Church of Azazel
- Who we are
The Church of Azazel is a still-very-small group for people who share the specific approach to Satanism that is spelled out on the Church of Azazel website. Diane Vera, the founder, also leads NYC Satanists, Luciferians, Dark Pagans, and LHP Occultists, a group that is not limited to one particular approach but welcomes Satanists, Luciferians, etc. of all law-abiding kinds.
Our approach to Satanism is both devotional and philosophical. We aim also to do what we can, on a practical level, to counter the growth of Abrahamic fanaticism in the world at large, and to promote a world in which freedom of thought is respected.
The Church of Azazel has a polytheistic theology, with some crossover with both modern Paganism and the Western occult tradition, plus a few ancient ideas, found in many different cultures, which most modern Pagans overlook. Our beliefs are neither purely "reverse-Christian" nor purely "Pagan." Our paradigm is a systematic synthesis of ideas from many different religions, both ancient and modern, unashamedly including some "reverse Christian" themes but by no means limited to them. Our pantheon includes Satan/Azazel, whom we see as a very multi-faceted deity, and a set of five distinct deities whom we call the Rising gods of the modern West: Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar/Astarte, Pan, and Lucifer-of-Sophia.
We worship Satan/Azazel. By "worship," we do not mean self-denigration. We mean reverent love, adoration, and awe, directed toward a Being who is manifest in our own innermost selves as well as outside ourselves. (For the occult snobs out there, that's bhakti yoga.) Members of the Church of Azazel should be people who feel drawn to Satan on a deep level, and who also feel drawn to at least one of the five Rising Gods. (We do not expect our members to relate equally well to all five of the rising Gods.)
We believe that worship (often highly emotional) must be counterbalanced by philosophical thought. By the word "philosophical," we are referring to the art of thinking clearly and deeply - an art we aim to cultivate, both among our own members and in the larger Satanist subculture. We believe that Satan wants us to think for ourselves. To that end, we encourage Satanists to learn informal logic, debating skills, etc., and to think carefully about our worldviews and their foundations.
We also expect our members to take practical action, at least in small ways, toward at least one of the following goals: (1) politically opposing the religious right wing, (2) debunking Satanic panics, (3) raising the intellectual level of the Satanist scene, (4) promoting religious tolerance, or (5) countering the growth of the more fanatical and intolerant forms of Christianity and Islam themselves.
Members of the Church of Azazel should be people who both are drawn to "the dark" and share our active opposition to the religious right wing. Our spirituality is by no means limited to political and social activism. But our stand against the religious right wing is indeed a core component of our activities as a group.
Our core beliefs are stated in the following articles:
- A brief introduction to the Church of Azazel paradigm
- Our core beliefs and their here-and-now basis
- Theology of the Church of Azazel
Also important to us is epistemology. Because the realm of the gods is almost completely unknowable to humans, we keep our theology deliberately sparse. We are very conservative about identifying Satan/Azazel with any god in any other culture, and we avoid making any pronouncements at all about what might have happened amongst the gods in the remote prehistoric past. (See The here-and-now principle in theology and On gnosis, sacred texts, channeling, attaining knowledge, and the role of faith.)
Moreover, we avoid thinking about the gods in cosmic terms. (See Post-Copernican natural theology.) We reject the idea that the cosmos has any overall "meaning" or "purpose" discernable to us humans. It is up to us as individuals, and as groups of people, to give our lives whatever meaning we want, based on our own deepest passions.
Unlike LaVey's Church of Satan and some other Satanist groups, the Church of Azazel does not have a socioeconomic agenda. But we do take a stand against the religious right wing and in favor of those social trends, such as feminism (or, at least, moderate feminism) and the gay rights movement, that are most loathed by those kinds of Christians who most strongly push belief in an all-evil Devil. We also oppose Satanic panics. And we reject the silly, noisy "elitism" of so many blatantly un-elite Satanic groups, in favor of a more genuine meritocracy which need not make so much noise about itself.
We believe in the likely existence of many other gods besides our own. How, then, have we decided which ones to revere? In line with The here-and-now principle in theology, we have chosen to revere spiritual forces that seem relevant to the major social and religious trends in today's world, and which we can call upon to aid our opposition to the forces of ignorance and repression. Some of us may also feel a deep personal connection to one or more of the five Rising gods, as well as to Satan/Azazel.
Brief history and background
This section has been moved to a separate page, History of the Church of Azazel, so far.
How to join the Church of Azazel
If you are interested in becoming part of the Church of Azazel:
- To join our local New York City proto-ongregation, please follow the instructions here.
- To join our Internet Congregation, please follow the instructions here.
Please note that the Church of Azazel sees no need for violent criminal activity in our practices, and we do not welcome those who believe that violent criminal activity, or advocacy of same, should be part of Satanism. See our statement against violent crime and vandalism.
Also, the Church of Azazel requires that its members be at least 18 years of age (with the sole exceptions of young people whose parents are members of the Church of Azazel or whose parents have given them permission to join).
The Church of Azazel reserves the right to refuse membership applications for any reason we deem necessary.
How you can help build the Church of Azazel
This section under construction.