• Lilith Starr

Activity Ideas for Satanic Groups


You’ve found other Satanists in your area and started a Satanic organization together─now what does your group or Chapter actually do? Here are some tips on potential activities for your Satanic group.

Keep in mind that in a Satanic Temple pre-Chapter or Chapter, any activity that will be public-facing will require prior approval from the TST National Council, usually via a formal proposal that your group submits to your National Council Point of Contact. This includes not only political action, but also activities like fundraising, talks, and community service campaigns. Any time you anticipate people outside your group will be involved or will witness the event, you should have permission from National first; this helps ensure consistent quality and gives National a heads-up when TST is being represented to the public. You don't have to get approval from the National Council for private Chapter-only internal activities.

Get Your Voice Out There

Whether you’re trying to find others who are interested in being in your group or you just want your group’s voice to be heard, you may benefit from an online presence. One of the first things I did when I started the Satanic Temple - Seattle Chapter was to set this up. If you have someone skilled with tech in your group, their assistance may be helpful in this arena, though most of today’s applications need little or no technical know-how.

It’s handy to have an email for your group, so people who are interested in joining, the press, and others can reach you. It’s best if you create a separate Gmail or other email account for your group, as opposed to using a personal email; that way multiple members can log in to handle emails and the account can be passed down to new group leadership at some point.

Social media is a huge part of your online presence. You have many different platforms on which you can broadcast your group’s voice. Facebook is one of the biggest social media platforms, and many people will turn to your Facebook page for info about your Satanic group. It’s easy to set up a Facebook page for your group that contains your mission statement and links to your website (if you have one). I post a steady stream of Satan-adjacent articles on our Facebook page, usually at least one a day, but you can post far less often than that and still have a useful page. Just remember to check the messages sent to your page on a regular basis.

Twitter is also a good platform to announce events and share relevant information, so consider making a Twitter account for your group as well. Our Twitter account is used less often, but it’s an important platform for our event announcements. It’s not essential to use Twitter, but if you’re already on it, you may find it fairly useful.

Other big social media platforms include Instagram and Pinterest, which are focused primarily on visual images. If your group has a lot of photos to post, you may consider Instagram; Pinterest allows you to make collections of images around whatever themes you pick.

YouTube is also considered social media, though it’s less useful for sharing day-to-day info or announcing events. If you frequently have original videos to post (of talks you’ve given, events you’ve done, rituals, Satanic philosophy videos, a Satanic video blog, etc.), it’s a good idea to have a YouTube channel. If you have a Gmail account for the group, you also have a YouTube channel already setup and assigned to that account.

A website is also handy, but for many groups, a standalone website is optional. You can do a lot with just email and social media. If you do want to build a website, I recommend using Wix.com for hosting; the included website editing program makes it super easy to create good-looking websites with no technical know-how (for an example of a Wix-created website, see our Chapter’s website). If you have members well-versed in Wordpress, that also works well. Or if you have deep technical skills in your group, you may have someone build a custom website from scratch.

Contribute to the Satanic Discourse

Satanism is a growing religion, and many are interested in its philosophy and practice. One of the best things about Satanism is that it’s an individual path, so adherents will have differing personal perspectives to offer, all of them valuable to understanding Satanism as a whole. Your group can join the Satanic discussion (also called the “discourse”) in a variety of ways.

You can keep a public blog or write articles for other media that explore Satanic themes. You can make videos exploring Satanic philosophy, practice or issues─whether they are slick professional videos with high production values or homespun webcam videos, people will still be interested in what you have to say. If you’d like to contribute to the Satanic discourse on a regular basis via audio, many people enjoy listening to podcasts. You could start your own podcast, broadcasting audio of interviews and discussions. Many podcasts have guests in for interviews, so you could invite other Satanists, members of the secular community, artists, writers and others willing to be on your show.

Your group can also present in-person talks in your local area. These talks can cover a wide range of subjects, from Satanism 101 to in-depth explorations of Satanic texts or personal experiences with Satanism. You can also hold a public info meeting for your group, giving a talk about what your group is and what you do, how to join, and so on. You can often reserve a room for public talks for free at your local library. Universities also often have lecture rooms that can be reserved by students, so if any of your members attend college, you may have that option.

When giving a talk, a good rule of thumb for length is not more than 60 minutes total. Usually, our group’s talks run for 30 - 45 minutes, with a 15-minute Question & Answer session afterwards.

Another excellent way to contribute to the Satanic milieu is to host an art show. You’ll need a place to have the show─usually a gallery, but many other places host art shows too, like clubs, coffee shops, and doctor’s offices. Though you can populate the show with pieces done only by your group’s members, you may have more options if you open submissions to everyone. You might want to have a theme for your show, though “Satanic art” itself could also be a theme. For instance, the Arizona Chapter of TST is currently accepting submissions for a “7 Deadly Sins” art show.

Fundraising

Though they may be minimal, any organization has costs associated with running it. For example, TST Seattle pays for website hosting; signs and banners; printed informational literature; travel, flyers, and other activism costs; charity campaign costs, and the costs for talk or meeting spaces. We have a donation bucket that members can contribute to at our meetings, but the bulk of our funds come from fundraising events.

As with any public-facing events, you'll need to get approval from your National Council Point of Contact if you are or hope to be a TST Chapter.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what kinds of events to do for fundraising. We’ve had a great deal of success with benefit shows. Our first big benefit show featured three bands, two dance performance sets, a midnight Unbaptism ritual and vendors and tattoo artists. You don’t need to be that ambitious, though. If you can find one band that want to donate their performance time, you’ve got a show. You can also sponsor club nights, where there is only a DJ spinning.

Our experience with putting together our benefit show was that first and foremost task was reserving a date at a local club. Many clubs will let you put on a show there for just the price of the sound tech’s fee (in our area that’s around $150); the club keeps all the money from drink sales, and your group gets the money from the door. You can also start from scratch with a warehouse or other rough space, but in that case, you have to get event licenses and licensed staff to serve liquor, buy all the liquor, and in many cases provide your own stage, lighting, and sound equipment. We found it much easier to put on a show at a regular club.

The next step after securing a date at a venue will be to find performers. The saying “if you build it, they will come” holds here: if you have a date reserved, there will generally be performers who want to come perform. We were able to find a whole slew of people in local bands and the burlesque and fusion dance communities who donated their time to our benefit show for reproductive rights (half the proceeds went to the Satanic Temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights legal defense fund, and the other half went to TST Seattle). We didn’t pay them, but we did offer them two drink tickets apiece.

You may also decide to put on a ritual somewhere and charge admission. We’ve done a public Unbaptism ritual at our benefit show; other Chapters have done destruction, bloodletting, invocation, Walpurgisnacht, Saturnalia, Babylonian lottery and Satanic mass rituals, among others. Consider sharing photos, videos, or text of the ritual on your social media and website; people are always curious as to what Satanic rituals are like.

If you have an art show, that could also be a fundraiser. Here is the verbiage from TST Arizona’s art show info page: “Each artist will be allowed 2 pieces. The first will go into a silent auction with the profits going directly to TST AZ to aid in our community endeavors. The second will be priced according to the artist's desires, and those profits can go where the artist chooses.”

You have a lot of different event options for raising money─one TST Chapter even had a Satanic bake sale.

One of your biggest moneymakers may end up being merchandise. Many people are thirsty for Satanic goods. If you have a unique logo, you can use it on your merchandise. If not, you can always use public domain images (which is NOT the TST logo or name─those are copyrighted and you shouldn’t use them unless you’re an official TST chapter with permission). Items with pentagrams or occult symbols tend to sell well. There are also old woodcuts and medieval illustrations you may be able to use. Just remember whatever images you use should be large enough to provide a clear, unpixelated image on the final product.

Whichever products you want to carry is up to you. We have a number of low-cost items, like stickers, buttons, keychains and magnets. We also have drinkware─shot glasses, pint glasses and mugs. You can make DIY patches via screen printing onto black canvas (or pay more for embroidered patches). You can sell screen-printed T-shirts, though it’s a slightly harder item to sell as you’ll have to carry inventory in all sizes and you can often end up with unsold T-shirts. The Portland TST Chapter does well selling T-shirts though; they have several different designs and are always adding more.

Do some web searching to find the best prices on bulk merchandise orders. There will often be a minimum order─for instance, the lowest order we can make for pint glasses is 12 glasses. You’ll want to mark up your merchandise enough to make a profit, but not so much that no one will buy it. This usually means you price it at a minimum of twice your cost (often three times or more in the case of cheaper items like stickers).

You can sell your organization’s merchandise at events you put on, like benefit shows. Invest in some table decorations and arrange your merchandise booth to be visually pleasing. We have a banner with our logo on it that we hang off the front of the booth.

You can also reserve a booth where you can sell merchandise at local street fairs, art fairs, and conventions. Some areas have punk rock flea markets or similar events with low entry fees.

Another fundraising option is Patreon. If you publish a blog, run a podcast or create other online content, you can take donations via Patreon.com’s creative content donation service. People can sign up to donate a certain amount per month, or you can set it so that people pay a certain amount every time you publish new content.

Participate Politically

For many, getting active politically is part of becoming a Satanist. The second Tenet of the Satanic Temple states: “The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.” This reflects the narrative of Satan as the eternal rebel against unjust and arbitrary authority─we too are meant to stand up for justice, freedom and human rights. Activism is a form of worship for many Satanists.

Religious freedom and church-state separation are two important issues that the Satanic Temple tackles in the courts, along with bodily autonomy, including religious freedom exemptions for restrictive reproductive rights laws. Your group too can make a difference in your local, state, and federal governments. Identify issues you’d like to address, and do what you can to get your Satanic viewpoint into the discussion on these issues.

Participate in your own government, starting with voting but also including canvassing, protesting, attending government meetings (like city council meetings), and coming together with other groups to fight for the issues you want both to tackle.

Satanists have a few areas that hit especially hard when it comes to demonstrating that religious freedom is for all. There are some aspects of government where religion enters into the mix, opening up a public forum to religious voices ─ all religious voices, not just the dominant one. Two of the easiest ways to amplify your Satanic voice in government are to apply to give a Satanic invocation or place a Satanic holiday display on public grounds. Before you do either of these, or any other public event as a group, make sure you have permission from your TST National Council Point of Contact first (if you are working towards official TST status).

Your group can apply to give an invocation at a city or county council meeting, a meeting of your state’s legislature, or anywhere else in the governmental process where citizens can give invocations. Sometimes invocation assignments are invite-only, or the invocation is performed by a chaplain who works for the governmental body. But in many cases, anyone from the community can sign up to give an invocation (usually with just a few requirements about length and refraining from political endorsements). If this is the system your local government uses, sign up to give your own invocation.

A number of Satanists, both within and outside the Satanic Temple, have given Satanic invocations. The one most frequently used was written by Lucien Greaves, Spokesperson for the Satanic Temple; you can find it at the end of this article in the LA Times.

Another good place to assert your Satanic voice is with a holiday display. Many municipalities, counties, and states have opened up their public spaces to holiday displays near Christmas time. The most common display is of course the Christian nativity scene, but if a government body allows Christians to place a nativity scene, they must also allow other faiths (along with humanists and atheists) to place their own displays. You can apply to place your own Satanic holiday display.

One of the most well-known of these displays was the “Snaketivity” display placed at the Michigan state capitol by TST Detroit; it featured a snake, a book, and the text “The Greatest Gift is Knowledge.” But you should design your own display according to your group’s artistic and craft talents.

You generally have to apply to place a display many months before the Christmas season─find out early on what the procedure is. Most government bodies have a few restrictions, like keeping the display below a certain size. Make sure you’re ready to build your display with those restrictions in mind.

You may wish to send out a press release to local publications about your upcoming invocation or holiday display. They may decide a Satanic version of either of these is worth mentioning, as it is likely to cause a great deal of controversy.

If your group is a Chapter or working towards Chapterhood, you should ask your point of contact for advice and tips on handling the press. Before sending out a press release or responding to the press, make sure you've cleared it with your point of contact ─ they can also give you advice or tips on what to say or how to interact with the media.

In an article aimed at the Pagan community, Greaves mentioned these tips for speaking to the press:

“Stay on point and control the dialogue. Don’t be pulled into superfluous and irrelevant arguments. If you’re asked an unreasonable question, simply answer with whatever message you wish to put forward, whether it addresses the question in any way or not. Move away from meticulously describing what it is you believe and practice. Your material has long been publicly available to the genuinely curious. You simply do not have to justify your religious perspective to anybody to assert your rights as equally regarded citizen[s].” [70]

Incensed community members may demand a stop to the invocation or display ─ which the government cannot do without preventing other invocations or displays, as endorsing one religion over others is a clear violation of the Establishment clause of the US Constitution. According to Lucien's Law, in some cases having a Satanic version in the mix will cause government bodies to end all religious displays or invocations, which is itself a victory for the separation of church and state in that no religion enters into the government.

BE CAREFUL ABOUT REPRESENTING TST

Because anything done in the name of the Satanic Temple could have very real legal fallout for the organization, especially in its many ongoing court cases, you must be very careful not to position yourself as a representative or spokesperson of TST when applying for governmental invocations or displays, when speaking to the press, or in any other outward-facing situation unless you have specific permission from TST's National Council. It can be all too easy for well-meaning people to misrepresent themselves as speaking for the Satanic Temple and say something that would harm the organization's ability to effectively fight their legal battles, so unless you have prior permission from National, refrain from identifying yourself as a TST representative.

Just because you can't use the TST designation, it doesn't mean you have to stay silent as a Satanist. For instance, several groups have marched in protests or counterprotests under the generic banner of Satanism. People are still interested in what Satanists have to say regardless of whether they are representing TST or not.

Community Service

The first Tenet of the Satanic Temple is “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.” Like many other religious groups, Satanists can act in the spirit of this tenet by engaging in community service.

This can take many forms. Your group can put on a charity drive to collect items for those without homes, in shelters, and otherwise in need. TST Seattle is currently running a menstruation product drive; menstrual supplies are a non-optional necessity for many people, and often times they are not donated to shelters and charity organizations. We aim to help destigmatize menstruation along with collecting items to donate to local shelters.

Other chapters have run successful drives for other items, like socks or winter coats. You can always call local shelters or organizations that help the needy, and find out what they need the most.

To run a drive, you’ll need to find places that will host your donation boxes or collect items. We talked to businesses all over Seattle to find a few that were willing to host our menstruation product donation boxes. Some places will take items without having to put a box up. You can also ask people to bring items to an event, like a show or a club night.

Let people know where their items are going. We got permission from a few local charities to list their names as donation recipients; it can be hard to find a charity partner who is willing to publicly work with Satanists, so you can always state “donations will be given to local shelters,” or something similarly general describing where the donations will go.

You can also put together care packages to give to homeless people on your own. For tips on what to give out, check out these care package tips from Odds and Evans, or download and print their care package checklist.

You can volunteer your time at local charity organizations. We send a team of people to work at a food bank every few months. Check your local youth centers, shelters, homeless encampments, food banks, LGBT centers and so on for opportunities to volunteer.

Chapters have helped out in their local communities in other ways. TST Los Angeles does beach cleanups. TST Arizona is volunteering to clean up their local highways─and after they’ve put in a certain amount of cleanup work, their name will be put on a highway sign recognizing their contribution.

You can lend your support to marginalized communities. For instance, our chapter sends a presence to all our local Pride festivals, including marching in Pride parades, hosting info booths, or standing near the fundamentalist hellfire preachers who spew hate speech towards gays and simply offering another perspective with our compassionate signs.

Internal Activities

So far, these have all been outward-facing activities, involving interacting with the public or the greater community. But there is a lot you can do internally as well.

You can spend some of your group energy learning. A book club that covers works like “Revolt of the Angels” and “Paradise Lost,” or works involving Satanic philosophy, can engage your members and help advance your understanding of the Satanic path. You can also give presentations internally, having one member give a talk or presentation to the others (a sort of Satanic salon, if you will).

You can put on rituals just for the group. We’ve performed a number of Unbaptism rituals within TST Seattle for the members who wanted a clean break with their religious past. You can work together to write, plan, rehearse and perform the ritual.

Then there are the social activities available to you. Our Chapter does a lot together. We go out for drinks after every meeting. People also get together for dinner, movies, club nights, shows, and so on. We have nature walks in good weather. We have parties for Halloween, Krampusnacht, and Walpurgisnacht, in addition to the parties held for no special occasion. And like any other religious group, we have a lot of potlucks. We have a couple of picnic potlucks every year, one of which is a public event, so people can come get to know us in a fun, informal setting.

We also go on an annual camping trip. If you want to take a sizeable group camping, I recommend reserving the campsites far in advance, as (at least in Washington) the campground reservations fill up quickly and it’s hard for us to find three sites next to each other later in the season. We collect money to cover the cost of the campsite, and also to pay for breakfast and dinner on the trip (we pool the money and buy the food in bulk).

When planning your social events, do keep in mind people’s limitations when it comes to money and other obstacles. Not everyone can afford to go out to a movie, dinner or drinks─plus some people may be under 21 and unable to go to a bar. We have a lot of potlucks because they are all-ages friendly (some members bring their kids) and don’t cost much; movie nights at someone’s house also don’t cost a lot. If someone can’t afford to go on the camping trip or another event but really wants to, you can see if your group could pool some money to cover them.

You have a lot of options as a Satanic group, for activities both internal and external-facing. Working together on these will bring you closer and help your group explore what it means to be a vibrant Satanic community.

Lilith Starr is Chapter Head of the Satanic Temple's Seattle Chapter, and the author of "The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment."


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