Theistic Satanism: Home > Rituals, etc. > Pacts > Self-initiation
Pacts and self-initiation
by Diane Vera
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.
- Satanist uses of the "pact" idea
- Oaths of longterm dedication to Satan
- Preliminary self-initiation without longterm promises
- Focussing your spirituality
- Practical tips
- Satanist uses of the "pact" idea
What is the point of a pact with the Devil?
According to traditional folklore, the pact involves "selling one's soul." Hardly any Satanists believe that Satan is literally interested in "buying souls." Nevertheless, quite a few Satanists, of both the theistic and symbolic kinds, have found some variant of the idea of a "Pact with the Devil" to be useful.
The idea of a "pact" has been used in the following three ways: (1) an indirect repudiation of one's own irrational inhibitions, (2) a means of dealing with Satan or other spirits in the short-term, or (3) a seriously-meant formal vow of long-term allegiance to Satan.
For an example of the pact as an indirect rite of repudiation, see John Allee's article Mystery of the allegorical escape clause -- A pact with the Devil. Note that Allee (Lord Egan) uses the traditional folklore of "selling one's soul," but without literally believing in it on an intellectual level. Instead, the point is to conquer your inhibitions by telling your subconscious mind that "It really doesn't matter 'cause you're going to hell anyway!"
A similar effect can be achieved via rites of blasphemy -- especially a renunciation of the Trinity including the Holy Spirit. According to the Christian Bible, "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is the unforgivable sin -- the one and only sin which damns you irrevocably, whereas a pact with the Devil does not. In folklore, there are plenty of tales of people who managed to cheat the Devil. On the other hand, from "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit," there is no escape clause -- at least provided that the blasphemy was deliberate, premeditated, and said by an "apostate" such as yourself -- if indeed you happen to be an ex-Christian. (If you're not an ex-Christian, then this ritual doesn't have much point. To achieve a similar effect, people from non-Christian backgrounds would need to blaspheme something pertinent to their own upbringing. See The purpose of blasphemy in Satanism.)
As mentioned above, some people have used the idea of a "pact with the Devil" as a de facto blasphemy rite, as a means of conquering inhibitions. But other theistic Satanists would prefer to reserve the "pact" idea for other, more straighforward purposes.
One of these more straighforward purposes is in short-term dealings with spirits. (See, for example, The Art of Summoning Demons by Mastorn.) However, the remainder of this page will focus on long-term oaths of dedication to Satan.
- Oaths of longterm dedication to Satan
Two dedication rites that can be found on the web these days are:
- Maxine Dietrich's Making a Commitment to Satan, on the Joy of Satan website. The Joy of Satan dedication rite has the form of a pact: "I proclaim Satan/Lucifer as my one and only God. I promise to recognize and honor him in all things, without reservation, desiring in return his manifold assistance in the successful completion of my endeavors." (This ritual has been revised since it was originally posted. The version that was on the JoS site in 2002 and early 2003 had been copied almost word for word from the Black Mass in LaVey's Satanic Rituals.)
- Stephanie Connolly's Self Dedication Ritual on the OFS Demonolatry website. This one does not have the form of a pact, just a promise.
Some theistic Satanists, including the Joy of Satan folks, recommend a dedication rite as the first step for a new Satanist.
I, on the other hand, do not recommend such an oath as your first, preliminary self-initiation rite. I would recommend it, or a similar rite, only after you have been a Satanist for at least several years, and after you have explored a variety of other religions and mystical traditions as well. To swear allegiance to Satan as "my one and only God" without first spending quite a bit of time getting to know Satan -- and other gods too -- is a little like getting married to someone you just met yesterday. If you truly intend to take such an oath of exclusive allegiance seriously, don't enter into it lightly. Wait until you've had enough experience to know that an exclusive allegiance to Satan would indeed be in accord with your own innermost Will.
Many theistic Satanists -- probably the majority, in fact -- do eventually leave Satanism, either permanently or temporarily. Some of these people come back to Satanism later, after having explored one or more other religions. Others do not come back. In either case, if you're new to Satanism, the statistical odds are against your being able to keep a permanent, exclusive lifelong commitment to Satan.
If you are now in your teens, it is extremely likely that you will want to explore other religiions later in life. It is even possible that you might, in a few years, want to return to some variant of the religion you were brought up with, at least temporarily, unthinkable though that might seem to you right now. Or, more likely, you may want to explore some other religion altogether. No matter how intensely you may feel drawn to Satan right now, a teenager's future religious feelings are unpredictable. That being the case, you should allow yourself the freedom to explore whatever kind of spirituality you want whenever you want, rather than locking yourself into a premature commitment. So, if you are in your teens, I don't recommend performing a dedication rite until you are in your twenties.
If you became a Satanist later than your teens, I would still recommend waiting at least several years before you do a dedication rite. Even if you felt drawn to Satan long before you became a Satanist per se, give yourself some time to grow in Satanism before you make an oath of permanent dedication.
Satan is not a "jealous God" like the Christian "God." He does not demand, from everyone, longterm exclusive allegiance or nothing. And the most important things Satan asks are that we question all things and that we be true to ourselves. Satan is the ruler of what Christians call our "fallen nature" -- i.e. our nature, period. Because Satan rules our innermost self, we must be true to ourselves in order to serve Satan.
If you have not made an oath of longterm dedication to Satan, then there is nothing inherently wrong with leaving Satanism for a while and coming back to it later. On the contrary, temporary involvement in another religion adds to your overall sophistication and thereby enables you to serve Satan more effectively. Even if you become a devout Christian for a few years, you will have thereby gained insights that will enable you to serve Satan by challenging the beliefs of Christians. On the other hand, if you have temporarily embraced a religion outside the Jewish/Christian/Islamic tradition, then you will have thereby made an even greater gain in your overall intellectual and theological sophistication -- not because these religions themselves are necessarily more sophisticated, but because the mere fact of embracing a series of different paradigms outside the norm can help a person to become a lot more sophisticated intellectually.
However, oaths or promises to Satan should be taken very seriously. Do not make a promise to Satan until you are sure you can keep it.
(Yet, if you happen to be one of those people who did a rite of dedication prematurely, then left Satanism for a while and have now come back, don't despair. Please see my article To those who did a premature dedication rite and then faltered.)
If and whenever you do decide to make an oath of longterm allegiance to Satan, it most likely will help you draw closer to Satan, if indeed that is truly what you desire. And, in that case, it most likely will benefit you in various ways, including helping you open some spiritual gateways. But this step should be taken only out of a deep, long-lived love for Satan, based on years of experience as a theistic Satanist. A dedication rite should not be viewed as a quick fix for whatever problems you might be experiencing in your life.
Preliminary self-initiation without longterm promises
Until such time as you are ready for a dedication rite, there are plenty of other self-initiation/gateway-opening rituals you can use. Possibilities include (1) this preliminary self-initiation rite and (2) a rite of blasphemy. And, if you're at all spiritually inclined, your first prayers to Satan are likely to be major gateway-openers in themselves, regardless of content or method.
The Joy of Satan dedication rite combines a dedication oath to Satan/Lucifer and a renunciation of the Christian Trinity in the same ritual. If you wish to do both these things, I personally would recommend doing them as two separate rituals, renunciation rite first, dedication rite later, just as you would finalize a divorce before you remarry, rather than finalizing a divorce on the same day as your wedding.
However, if you are in your teens, then not only do I recommend not doing a dedication rite yet, but I also recommend caution about constraining your choices in any other way either, e.g. via a rite of what many Christians would believe to be irrevocable blasphemy, such as the renunciation rite.
Also, no matter what age you are, do not perform the renunciation rite without first making a thorough study of the arguments both for and against traditional Christian beliefs. If you do a renunciation rite without having first done the homework necessary to leave Christianity fully on an intellectual level, then the rite won't have the desired effect, but will just give you yet another thing to feel tormented about. (See The purpose of blasphemy in Satanism.)
Some may ask, regarding the arguments both for and against Christian beliefs: Why spend any time at all studying that obviously worthless pile of shit? Answer: If you never took Christianity seriously in the first place, then you probably don't need to perform a rite of blasphemy against it either. (See The purpose of blasphemy in Satanism.) On the other hand, if you ever did take it seriously, then you'll have much better grounds to feel confident in your renunciation of it after you've taken a good hard look at it.
For those readers who are itching to perform something like a dedication rite, even though they aren't yet ready for any ritual involving a long-term promise or other long-term declaration, I've written a self-initiation rite which does not involve any longterm declarations or promises.
Focussing your spirituality
Although a premature oath of permanent dedication is not a good idea, it nevertheless might be a good idea for at least some (not all) novice theistic Satanists to have -- at least on a temporary basis -- an exclusive commitment to Satan in the sense of not trying to combine one's Satanism with another religion such as Neo-Pagan Witchcraft. If you've been trying to combine your Satanism with another religion and you've been getting strong indications that Satan wants you to leave that other religion, or if the combination just isn't working very well for whatever reason, then you will need to make a decision, at least temporarily, between your Satanism and the other religion.
This is not true for everyone. Satan deals with different people in different ways.
In my own case, I was a Goddess-oriented Pagan for several years in the late 1980's before I had a sudden, profound, totally unexpected spiritual experience involving Satan in early 1991. For almost a year after that, I still thought of myself primarily as a Goddess-oriented Pagan, and I tried to work Satan into that somehow. It didn't work well for me, and I got the strong feeling that Satan was urging me to take a break from venerating any other deities besides Himself. So, for many years after that, Satan was the only god I venerated (though I also believed in the likely existence of other gods). I feel that my time away from any involvement with modern Paganism helped me to grow in some new directions. But I eventually developed a paradigm within which I now feel comfortable revering other gods as well. (I now revere what I call the Rising Gods of the modern West, as well as Satan.)
If you're new to Satanism yet still attached to another religion;, and if you're having doubts about whether the two are compatible, my suggestion would be that you consider taking a temporary break from the practice of the other religion (say, for at least a few months), or at least de-emphasize it as much as you feel you can, while you focus on getting to know Satan. Then, later, you'll be in a much better position to figure out whether it really is appropriate for you to combine your Satanism with your other religion, and, if so, how.
Thus, if you're a new theistic Satanist, it's okay to venerate Satan as your "one and only god" on at least a temporary basis, but I would not recommend an oath that you will do so for the rest of your life.
The above is aimed primarily at people who, like myself, were staunch adherents of some non-Abrahamic religion before beginning to identify as a Satanist.
On the other hand, if you've converted to Satanism directly from Christianity, then you definitely should make a point of exploring a variety of other religions and worldviews (including perhaps some form of "dark Paganism" or Chaos magick, as well as other, better-known religions). Therefore, I would not recommend that a recent ex-Christian limit oneself to focussing on Satan even on a temporary basis, at least not for very long. A recent ex-Christian should get to know a variety of different gods.
For this reason, among others, I definitely do not think it is a good idea for a recent ex-Christian to make an oath of dedication to Satan as "my one and only God" even on a temporary basis.
Anyhow, if and whenever you do decide to perform a dedication rite or any other formal oath to Satan -- and if you choose to use a ritual that involves writing your name in blood -- then please be sure to read my article on Writing your name in blood for some important physical safety precautions and other practical tips.