Satanists speak out to explain what the public always gets wrong about them
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Featured Image Credit: @jennifer.crepuscolo / Instagram
Satanism is often associated with very negative connotations - we've all heard of Satanic Panic, right?
Thanks to criminals claiming to worship the Devil (Jeffrey Dahmer comes to mind) and other mainstream practices such as Christianity, Satanism gets a seriously bad rep.
Here to dispel some of the myths is a group of Satanists who spoke with Vice to explain everything we've been getting wrong about the practice.
First up, let's get into the why. Jennifer Crepuscolo, founder of the Union of Italian Satanists (USI), told the outlet: "If you try to look for information about Satanism in books, newspapers or on TV, you won’t find anything provided by actual Satanists."
It's a bit of a vicious circle - the reason there isn't much truthful information shared by actual Satanists is that they fear if their name is out there, they might face judgement and persecution from society.
But the negative connotations associated with the practice is because so many non-members have shared damaging misinformation on it.
"USI wants to give a voice to those who, for millennia, couldn’t speak without risking persecution, censorship, condemnation, or being burnt at the stake," added Crepuscolo.
Satanism itself isn't what many people think it is - worshipping an evil deity and sacrificing animals to drink their blood.
Just like other religions, Satanism has many variants, with some people who believe Satan to be a real entity and others who see it as a symbol.
As explained by Vice, the USI supports traditional Satanism, which believes that Satan is an ancient god who became demonised by the Abrahamic religions.
Crepuscolo said: "We refuse all forms of hierarchical organisations based on the subordination of Master and follower."
As such, all of those who follow this denomination are both connected and on their own journey to knowledge.
But many USI members choose to keep their identity private over fears they may be attacked or lose their jobs.
However, a number of those who are part of the organisation spoke with the publication to reveal some of the key misconceptions about their practice.
As said by 25-year-old Eugenio: "We don’t believe in the biblical devil. For me Satan is the primordial entity, God of knowledge, God of the human soul, whereas for many people he is a set of stereotypes."
One of the biggest stereotypes, he explained, is that all Satanists are criminals, which he said has been perpetuated by the amount of people who commit crimes in the name of the devil.
"These people are more anti-Christians, criminals who don’t have a real calling, they just want to rebel against the system," he continued.
"They are actually a by-product of Christianity, since they do not really worship Satan, but exploit the concept of the devil to vent their frustrations.
"Their devil does not correspond to the true figure of Satan, it’s a Judeo-Christian invention created to frighten the masses and keep them at bay."
Similarly, 31-year-old Alessandra, a legal consultant who has been Satanist for 13 years, added: "The most deeply-rooted cliché about Satanism is the association with crime.
"Nowadays, there are also a lot of conspiracy theorists associating Satanism with powerful elites and ritualistic forms of child abuse.
"These beliefs can escalate into dangerous forms of mass hysteria, and it all comes from misinformation."
The same goes for animal sacrifices. Despite this being one of the strongest associations with the practice, on the contrary, Satanists tend to deeply respect nature.
Davide, 39, who has been a member for four years, said: "We respect anything that comes from nature, that is why we are trying to dispel the myth that we sacrifice animals.
"What value would the blood of a defenceless animal hold for a true God? The only sacrifice Satanists make is that of ignorance on the altar of wisdom."