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  • Writer's pictureLilith Starr

Facing Helplessness: Different Satanic Perspectives

Image: Dark matter distribution across the universe. Source: Millennium Simulation Project

Having to take so much time off work to have my diseased gallbladder removed is a giant lesson in helplessness. I am powerless to do anything other than let the medical establishment treat me and let my body recover on its own sweet time. I work for myself and that barely keeps us in housing as it is; I have no sick days, no savings account, no well-off family ready to step in in an emergency. Thus I’m flung out over a giant void, deathly afraid I will fall and dash to pieces on the rocks below: financial disaster and certain homelessness.

And here my strongest force of will, all the personal might of my LaVeyan Satanism, falters and fail me. I got myself off the heroin with this LaVeyan self-empowerment two and half years ago, and I’ve been using that burning personal drive to fight tooth and nail for survival and success ever since. Through constant pain, struggle, and crushing hardship I’ve pushed again and again to keep my husband and myself housed and fed and the Satanic Temple Seattle Chapter family healthy, growing and effective. I draw on that dark fire of self reliance deep down into my reserves every day.

But none of that can save me right now. My will may be strong, but there is no arguing with a gallbladder that must be removed. I can push through back pain to work, but not this, and I won’t be able to get out of bed at all for weeks. There’s no choice, and there is no amount of pushing that will fix the situation. I must accept that this is beyond my control, though I feel that by LaVeyan standards this is tantamount to admitting failure. In that philosophy, only I have the power to fix my problems. So what happens when no matter how hard I try, I no longer have that power?

Luckily, this is where the Satanic Temple’s more progressive Satanic philosophy blossoms around me, lighting up not my own burned-out fire, but rather the connections in which I am enmeshed: my community. My friends, my Chapter members, strangers who want to support me and my work with the Temple, Satanists and non-Satanists alike: so many have reached out with help at this time when I have no means of supporting myself.

The evolution in Satanic thought seems evident in my own experience here. We are social animals, meant for individual greatness but also frequently at our best when we work together. Connection, compassion, empathy: these are our birthrights, even those of us who til now have felt unconnected, rejected by society, walking a path of fierce independence.

I’ve hauled myself up by my bootstraps according to the old LaVey tradition, but at some point those straps can break, whether by accident, illness, discrimination or some other external force over which we are powerless. I’m a boot with no straps now, yet somehow the community has formed a net, reached out to me in this difficult time and shown me again and again the power of connection. In my hour of weakness and powerlessness, I'm getting by with a little help from my friends.

This is the beautiful dark web I see in the Satanic Temple and its allies, spreading thready like mycelium or dark matter across vast spaces, connecting so many who have walked the path alone. We have been outcast, misunderstood, left to make it on our own at the fringes of society. But we have awakened, one by one, each lighting up a node and unfurling tendrils out to all the others.

With the Satanic Temple, our Seven Tenets and social justice goals are extremely simple and common sense, leaving all the rest of self and life open to however you want to define it. I feel that I am part of something larger, working towards a common good, and once more I marvel at the miracle of Satanic community, that we can all be so individually different and walk different paths, yet share friendship and partnership so passionately. It gives me such hope that I can look past the illness and survival fears and see the other side of this chasm appearing under my feet.


If you'd like to help me meet my expenses during surgery recovery, you can donate or buy a signed book on my DONATION PAGE.

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