If you are new to Devil worship, you might think that performing a Satanic ritual is overwhelmingly complicated, and that you will need some kind of priest or other spiritual authority to help you in conducting it. This is actually very far from the truth.
Every Devil worshiper is entirely capable of performing their own rituals, by and for themselves. You don't need any kind of officiating priest or guru to help you. Instead, you should view yourself as your own priest. Technically, you do not even need to have an altar or candles or anything. Whenever you feel like you need to conduct a Satanic ceremony, for whatever purpose, all you really need is yourself.
And although some Satanists do indeed practice very complicated rituals, there is no rule anywhere which says that you have to. As a matter of fact, I am the sort of person who prefers to take a very simple approach toward ritual. You might say that my approach is somewhat Quaker-ish ("Society of Fiends," anybody?). I only ever do more complicated rituals on very special occasions.
The word "ritual" simply refers to a habitual practice that forms part of a normal routine. In this context, even something as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning is a ritual. When we talk about religious rituals, we are referring to habitual practices and normal routines that are intended to help the individual commune with whatever spiritual forces they acknowledge or worship. Therefore, something as simple as going to church every Sunday morning is an example of a Christian religious ritual.
When it comes to practicing religious rituals, the first question we must ask ourselves is, "What is the intended purpose?" There are all sorts of different reasons that a person might choose to do a ritual. People who believe in magic, for instance, will focus their rituals on trying to make things happen in accordance with their wills (sort of like being your own genie and granting your own wishes). At this point in time, the majority of self-described Satanists would appear to practice rituals like this.
Devil worshipers, on the other hand, tend to have an altogether different focus in their religious rituals. For someone like myself, the point to a Satanic ritual is not to practice any kind of magic, but simply to spend time in prayer with the Prince of Darkness, and to re-confirm my commitment to the path. As opposed to practicing magical rituals, you might say I am more interested in practicing simple prayer ceremonies.
Now after we've gotten the intended purpose for the ritual out of the way, the next question one must ask is, "What will I do in the ritual?" In other words, are you going to recite prayers and incantations over an altar? Will you recite invocations to each of the four cardinal directions? Will there be any symbolic imagery used in the ritual - such as burning a doll that represents a problem or an enemy you wish you could be rid of?
This may come across as surprising, but while each of these practices are most certainly valid, none of them are absolutely necessary. A Satanic ritual can consist of something as simple as just sitting down, reciting a few prayers, and reading, watching, or listening to something that you really enjoy.
For instance, one of my favorite things I love to do is a very simple ritual I invented for myself long ago. This ritual is to be performed every Friday night at Witching Hour, and it consists of (1) reciting a short invocation to the Prince of Darkness, (2) inviting Him to join me in listening to one of my favorite albums, Ozzy Osbourne's Bark at the Moon, and (3) meditating in His presence while I listen to the music. Sometimes I may choose to have a movie playing silently on the television, to go along with the music (and the film is usually either Pumpkinhead or Motel Hell - don't ask me why). And whenever the music and/or the movie ends, so does the ritual.
It can be that simple.
Now many Christian conspiracy theorists claim that the "black mass" is the single most important Satanic ritual ever, and that all Satanists everywhere practice it regularly.
The truth of this claim depends largely upon what is meant by the term "black mass." In most cases, the term is used to mean a strict parody of the Catholic mass, in which the wine and communion wafer are desecrated, so as to be made "unholy" in Satan's name. It is further claimed that these things must be stolen from a Catholic church, thereby implying that Satanists are required to break the law in order to observe their religious rituals.
While black masses of this sort have indeed been practiced at times in history, the fact is that they have hardly ever been practiced by serious Satanists of any kind. Usually, they have been performed by defrocked Catholic priests. Such a thing has never been popularly practiced by the majority of Satanists, and even in the few cases when a strict parody of the Catholic mass is performed, the materials used therein are never obtained illegally. The majority of us Devil folk are more interested in being law-abiding, so that we can be free to practice our religion in peace - rather than get ourselves landed in jail.
However, some Devil worshipers like to use a more general definition for the term "black mass." For me, a black mass is absolutely any kind of complex ceremony that is performed in honor of the Prince of Darkness. Whether it actually resembles a Catholic mass or not is unimportant. It only has to be some kind of complicated ceremony in which worship is specifically given to Satan. In this context, even a ritual that resembles a "ceremonial magic" ritual can be a black mass, provided that the point to the ritual is worshiping the Devil, rather than practicing any kind of magic.
My kind of black mass is a ritual that consists of many incantations and symbolic gestures. It is also the only time when I actually use an altar and candles. I usually start the ritual by lighting a black candle on the altar, and then reciting an incantation in which I repeat the phrase, "I focus my mind and my will upon the Prince of Darkness" nine times. After that, I recite a general invocation to Set, in which I utter a long list of names and titles used to describe Him. Immediately following this, I take a good ten or twenty minutes to meditate while staring into the flame of the candle. When I feel that I've meditated enough, I then perform a symbolic gesture of thanksgiving to Set - usually in the form of a sacrifice - and then I recite any particular prayers or requests that I might have. In closing, I tell Set how much He means to me, and I re-confirm my commitment to following Him and my initiation. The entire ritual usually lasts about an hour or so, and I always perform it at night.
My black mass essentially conforms to the following basic formula:
(1) Incantation for focus
The invocation I use for my black masses usually goes something like this:
Now when I say "sacrifice," I'm not talking about blood sacrifice. Christian conspiracy theorists typically claim that we Devil worshipers like to sacrifice animals and/or children in our rituals. Well, I've never known any Devil worshiper who seriously believed in human sacrifice. I have met a few who believe in animal sacrifice, but these are usually people who live in rural areas, and who are therefore still accustomed to killing their own food. Furthermore, they kill the animals in humane ways that are in accordance with the laws of the land, and the animals are usually eaten in a meal afterwards. So long as the animal is killed and disposed of in a humane manner, I have no objections to other people practicing animal sacrifice. Afterall, the observation of Thanksgiving dinner is an example of Christian animal sacrifice.
When it comes to myself, however, I am not a believer in any kind of blood sacrifice. When I choose to make a sacrifice to the Dark Lord, I do one of two things. The first is a food sacrifice. What I do is I'll dedicate part of my money to buying some food - like a pumpkin pie or a fried chicken or something - and I'll leave it outside somewhere for Set to take through the creatures of nature. Or, if it happens to be a holiday, I might prepare a great feast in Set's honor.
The other kind of sacrifice is what I think of as an "erotic sacrifice." This consists of tapping into my unconsious through a self-induced orgasm, and dedicating the expression of that pure, animalistic energy to the Dark Lord. Usually, I only ever practice this kind of sacrifice for when I am doing a rite to Lilith, but I sometimes use it for Set as well. When I am performing a black mass together with someone else, I prefer to do a food sacrifice if a sacrifice is to be given at all. I only ever do an erotic sacrifice when I am worshiping alone.
In any case, I do not practice black masses very often. I'd say I probably only do two or three of them a year. I consider simpler rituals, like the "Bark at the Moon" ritual I described above, to be far more important to me. This is because I've always had something of a problem in swallowing the pomp and circumstance of the more ceremonial approach. For me, it seems a lot more intimate and spiritually powerful when it's just me, the Prince of Darkness, and my Ozzy Osbourne.
Some people, on the other hand, do not consider the practice of religious rituals to be important at all. I am friends with at least one Satanist who says he's only ever performed one ritual during the entire time he's been running with the Devil. This perspective is every bit as valid as anybody else's. Perhaps some of my readers out there are people who have tried to perform rituals and who just didn't feel that it was really worth their time. If that is the way you honestly feel, then that is okay. You shouldn't be made to feel like you have to practice rituals if you don't want to.
I hope that this sermon has been helpful to any readers out there who might be feeling nervous about the idea of Satanic ritual. Just remember, you are your own priest, and you are completely in charge of what your own rituals are going to be like. They can be as long and drawn out as you want them to be, or they can be as simple as meditating to some good music. There are only two people in the entire universe who can rightfully have a say in how you do your rituals, or if you're going to do any rituals at all. And those two people are the Prince of Darkness and yourself.