• Lilith Starr

Finding a Satanic Group


Until the rise of the Satanic Temple ("TST"), “Satanic community” was something of an oxymoron. The Satanist was always the Outcast, shunned by most of society, which in most cases also instilled a deep reciprocal mistrust of that society. The result was often a rugged individualism as the Satanist struck out on their own as best they could once they realized there would be no help from their various communities and families. A few groups did form, but because their doctrine ignored the fact that humans are social animals and instead tended to foster a cut-throat competitive culture, they often did not last long or expand in a major way.

But thanks to the rise of the Satanic Temple, Satanists now have a globally connected community, actively working towards common ends. There are TST Chapters around the globe, with new groups sprouting up on an ongoing basis. In this Satanic community, individualism is honored and maintained, yet members can work together on greater goals and find kindred spirits and friendship along the way.

If you're in interested in being part of a local Satanic community, the chances you'll find an existing TST-related community within a few hours drive of your home grow ever greater with time, as groups are founded, grow, and become Chapters.

The Satanic Temple is organized into three levels, at least at the time of this writing:

1. The Executive Ministry, made up of TST's founders, Lucien Greaves and Malcolm Jarry. Greaves is the official TST spokesperson as well. The Executive Ministry guides the overall strategy and direction of the organization and makes financial and legal decisions on its behalf. The Executive Ministry also runs the Satanic Temple headquarters/art gallery in Salem, Massachusetts.

2. The National Council ("NC"), a body of directors that manages the Chapters. The National Council decides which event and action proposals to approve and provides oversight and guidance to Chapter leadership. Each Chapter and group working towards chapterhood has a Point of Contact on the National Council, who acts as their group's advocate.

3. The Chapters. Each Chapter serves a city, state or region, offering a chance for members to come together and work on local issues. Chapters usually have one or two Chapter Heads. Chapters report to the National Council.

Additionally, there are groups outside the official TST structure who are working towards Chapterhood but haven't yet been granted official status; I call these unofficial groups "proto-Chapters."

FINDING A LOCAL CHAPTER

The Satanic Temple is always growing, and there are TST chapters in many major metropolitan areas of the US at the time of this writing, as well as ongoing expansion to other countries.

If you're interested in joining a local chapter, you have several options for finding the group. Most official chapters are listed on the main TST website here, along with links to their Facebook page or group and/or website:

https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/find-chapter

You can also try searching for "the satanic temple" or "TST" along with the name of your city, state or region, both on the web and on Facebook or other social media. However, if the chapter isn't also listed on the main TST website, there's a chance it's not an official chapter and if it's using the TST name or graphics, is operating in violation of TST's copyright. Try to find out from TST if it is a properly vetted, official chapter registered with TST's National Council.

You'll also find a few communities who, while they do follow TST's Seven Tenets and share TST values, for one reason or another have decided not to follow the official route to Chapterhood and instead operate independently of the TST organization. Some independent groups like Satanic Bay Area and their Black Mass Appeal podcast do contribute quite a bit to the Satanic discourse, but it can be harder to gauge the quality of each independent group, and only official Chapters get support from TST headquarters and get to participate in official TST campaigns. Ask the group's leader if you aren't sure whether or not the group is working towards TST Chapter status or officially sanctioned by TST.

Joining an official Chapter has many advantages. Chapters and chapter leaders are carefully vetted by the TST National Council over time, and have to adhere to certain guidelines, so there's a better guarantee of consistent quality across the board. Chapters have already proven themselves viable within the TST organization, and report back to the National Council on a regular basis for approval and guidance. Chapters thus face ongoing scrutiny and usually have regular processes put in place for things like membership applications and complaints. All Chapter members have to adhere to a standard Code of Conduct and agree to abide by the Seven Tenets.

FINDING A PRE-CHAPTER GROUP

If your region does not yet have an officially recognized Chapter, it's still quite possible that there is a local pre-TST-Chapter group working towards official recognition that you can join. These proto-chapters still have to report to the TST organization, and are guided by members of the National Council as they work towards Chapterhood. They are usually called "Friends of TST [City or Region]," ─ as in "Friends of TST Houston" ─ or in some cases "Satanic [City or Region]" or another name. Eventually, if they follow the directives of their National Council point of contact and prove that they can pull off a successful public event or campaign with National Council guidance, these groups can attain official Chapter status.

These pre-Chapter groups are usually harder to find, as they aren't listed on the official TST website. The best place to find pre-Chapter groups is generally in the TST Official Forum group on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1663215740560553/

Once you join that group, look out for the admin to post a list of TST chapters and pre-chapter groups in different areas; they also periodically put out posts with a call for people who are looking to find local groups. You can also try posting in the discussion that you are looking for a TST-oriented group in your area.

Many Satanic groups have a social media presence. It's common for Chapters and proto-Chapters to have a Facebook group where you can join to get to know Chapter members better and learn about events. Many of these groups will have a couple of brief questions for you to answer before they add you.

If there's no Facebook group, they may have a Facebook page instead, or simply a website. Try doing a web search looking for such a group.

You can also ask around your local community, especially atheist, humanist, or skeptic contacts or people involved in the occult, pagan, goth, metal or other alternative scenes.

Be patient as you search; it can take a little while to find your local Satanic community.

Observe the community at least briefly to ensure it's a legitimate group following the Seven Tenets, with no big red flags immediately apparent. If it looks like a community you want to be part of, contact the group via their email, website or social media accounts to find out how to join.

APPLICATION PROCESS

The process for membership application will vary group to group. For example, our chapter's application process starts by filling out an application form on our website. The application asks for contact information and the answers to a few more in-depth questions like "What drew you to the Satanic Temple?" Every month, our New Member Team then takes the applications that meet certain standards and invites those applicants to an in-person group interview at a local coffee shop. If an applicant is accepted at the interview, they become a probationary member of the chapter for 90 days. At the end of the probationary period, if a new member has made it to 4 out of the 6 meetings held in that time period and otherwise seems like a good fit, they become a permanent member of the chapter.

Other groups hold Meet and Greets or other gatherings open to the public, where interested parties can get to know group members and vice versa. Different chapters and pre-chapters will have different ways of vetting and accepting new members.

Be patient when requesting membership. Group leadership is usually very busy and there may not be enough resources to respond to applications quickly. Be persistent but not annoying, and recognize that it may take a few months before you're properly vetted as a member.

Can't find a local group? You may be interested in starting your own! Check out the next article for tips on getting started:

Build Your Own 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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