Choosing a Satanic Pseudonym
Thanks to prejudice and fear, being a Satanist is not an entirely safe religious path. You may think your friends, family and employer are open-minded enough to accept your Satanism, but there is always the risk that one of them secretly has some deeply ingrained fear of Satan. After all, the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 1990s poured the unfounded fear of Satanic ritual abuse into our national psyche here in America ─ plus fundamentalist strains of Christianity inculcate terror of the devil into its adherents, especially those raised from an early age with the belief that Satan is everywhere around them, luring them into sin and eternal torture.
While most of your acquaintances may be open-minded, there's always a chance that someone will be offended or scared by your Satanism, and make life difficult for you. You could lose your job, your housing, connections to family members ─ potentially even your children in a custody battle. You could bring unwanted attention to family or friends. Many of us have also experienced threats of violence.
To minimize these risks, many Satanists adopt a pseudonym for their Satanic activities, so their real name is shielded from negative scrutiny and their family is protected. While some detractors have insisted this "hiding" connotes dishonesty and deceit, considering the potential risks, it's perfectly valid to use another name for your Satanic activities. Many writers use pen names, and many celebrities go by something other than their given names. Pseudonyms are accepted and even celebrated in the Satanic community. Perhaps someday when Satanism is accepted by all, their use will drop off, but for now, using a pseudonym provides an added layer of protection against those who would harm us for our religious choices.
I asked a number of Satanists how they chose their pseudonyms. Satanism is a highly individualistic religion, so it's no big surprise that everyone had different reasons for using and choosing a pseudonym. They're intensely personal.
There were a wide range of sources for inspiration; Satanists drew from traditional names in demonic mythology, references in literature, film or music, family or genealogical history, nicknames from friends ─ even video games. One Satanist received his name in a vivid dream. Others simply made up something they liked. Not everyone chose something explicitly demonic or Satanic; there were plenty of unique names with no apparent reference to Satan. You're the one who will have to live with your pseudonym on a regular basis, so choose something you like. Your name is the shorthand for you; you have a great deal of freedom as to what you want that shorthand to be.
I also heard from people who were ambivalent about pseudonym use ─ while they had at least a nominally changed name available, they could go either way, and didn't mind if people used their pseudonym or their regular name. I included responses from folks who chose not to use a pseudonym as well; not everyone feels the need or desire to create one. I didn't get any sense from these people that they looked down on those who chose to use a pseudonym, or vice versa; in keeping with the individualistic nature of Satanism, no one presumed to dictate what other people should do, but rather focused on their own unique situation.
Dex was picked at random by my wife. Desjardins is the name of a bank & office complex in Montréal.
Luciano is the Italian version of Lucien.
My name is a mix of a character in a book I read as a teen, Dragon Lance. And also my Guardian demon Sargatanas.
I chose Synergy because I love the idea of multiple forces or people working in harmony and because I can shorten my nickname to Syn. I chose moon because of the magic, feminine, and occult associations with the Moon and because of the My Little Pony character Nightmare Moon. She's a sort of Satan figure in that she's the "bad guy" but is redeemed and accepted back into the fold.
I also like that Moon is a real last name people have.
When my mother died ... Beautiful angel ... vakker engel is "beautiful angel" in Norwegian. I had to remove myself from everyone at that time in my life. I realised that with my mother gone everyone that has been in my life left. I realised they loved her; I was never part of that I guess.
So I moved on and wanted to have a profile free to be myself. I dedicate this account to my mother because she is a beautiful angel. She never judged, she always loved, she was intelligent and a million other positive things.
Who else was a beautiful angel? Well we know that answer. Now I use this name for my poetry and books etc.
I chose mine when I started doing porn because I wanted to bring Satanism to the trans porn industry and make the world have to see it and us. I based it phonetically on my favorite porn star Sabrina Sabrok, who is also a Satanist.
A friend of mine gave me mine. It's a play on my first name and Apollyon being the Greek name of Lucifer.
My satanym is Thomasin. This came from the movie, The VVitch. Not only is the movie thematically relevant, but the namesake character is constantly blamed for problems within the family and that really hits home. I'm still looking for a last name. My email shows "Satanlad" because it needed a last name, but I'm not married to it.
My satanym is kinda nerdy. So, I've been a gamer for most of my life and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is of my favorite games. Agahnim is a wizard that is the villain in the game and alter-ego of Gannon (the main villain). I've always thought it was a cool name even as a kid.
I chose mine because my first name is actually Damian. I decided to go with Faust because well ... Faust.
I was dating a German guy who introduced me to the Radical Faeries. They, and the Hindu community I was hanging out, with said that I should change my name. I thought "alright, whatever." But then I had this dream. I was being pulled up into the sky by a very big, very black, winged creature and I became frightened. At that moment, the entity, or whatever it was, whispered in my ear, "I am Belial and I will never let you fall." Truth. I woke up the next day and told the German guy that I was dating "I'm going to change my name to Bellial." He said "You know that's the son of Satan, right?" I replied "Well, then, I guess it fits me perfectly."
Mine is admittedly kinda dumb. Chalice is for "Alice," in reference to my favorite band in the world. "Blythe" comes from one of my favorite old-time actresses Betty Blythe, who played the Queen of Sheba and was well known for her exotic films. Figured it would be fitting for my extracurricular hobbies.
My first pseudonym was "Fir Fur" because it was a childhood nickname that I tweaked to represent plant and animal. And of course, demonology irony. But it just seemed too fake.
I've always adored Maude from "The Big Lebowski." She's a great character! And "Moon" because I've always been nocturnal and connected with our moon.
I wanted something low-key. The short story "The Devil & Daniel Webster" was adapted into a one-act play that I did twice in high school ─ junior year and senior year both, it was well-received ─ so I picked Daniel based on that association. "Daniel Webster" didn't sound right though and was also, inconveniently, a real, famous personage, so I also tapped the very similarly titled "The Devil & Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, and "Daniel Walker" had a nice ring to it, and that's all there is to it.
Mine is Epona. I chose her as she is a strong warrior-like female, and because she is the mythical goddess of horses, the most beautiful, noble and majestic of animals IMHO.
I got really high and went on a midnight walk and thought about what it is about my worldview that Satanism helps bring into focus for me and helps me express. Darren Cage is a kind of "namification" of the phrase "dark age," which is something I think certain elements of our society are trying to move us back toward.
Billy was always what they called me in school in place of William; Bullhorn was my gamer name in the early 90s playing Duke Nukem 3D. A drunk friend once looked at me at a party and said "Billy Bullhorn" and walked away. I embraced that.
At first I didn't have one as Shi means death in Japanese, and I've always loved that. Then, I thought as a just in case, I should figure one out. I chose Abset; it's a name created for a demo of a now defunct US Black Metal band ─ the demo was called "Blasphomet sin Abset." It tells the story of a demon that falls in love with a goddess. I was even granted permission by the band to use their creation.
Cinna SinAlma: Cinna = old nickname (short for Cinnamon Girl), sounds almost like "sinner"; SinAlma = sin alma = without soul or soulless (play on the fact that I am a redhead). I like alliteration. Together = my playful way of being a soulless sinner.
I chose mine, Lux Black. Lux is my favorite character from one of my favorite movies, Virgin Suicides. And means Light. Black because the Harry Potter series is very dear to me and that's a last name used. And because it is "Light Dark" and I like to think of myself that way. Not very satan-y but I like it!
Crowley is from Good Omens (if I was a demon I’d be like him). Maroosha came about during a rough personal period; it was my much stronger alter ego.
Illiam is a w short of William, my given name. Shadows just sounded cool.
I chose "Z" from Zatanna. I first got into occult things from comic books. The last name is only there for Facebook reasons, but it's a Czech word that means Firebrand/Insurrectionary/Troublemaker.
I decided upon taking up a Satanym as an opportunity for personal growth and as part of overcoming childhood trauma. I was drawn to the name Belial (originally translated from Hebrew as "worthless") as growing up with mental health issues this is often how I have felt. What finally drew me to the name Belial however was LaVey's interpretation of the name being "without a master." This shift from feeling worthless to being independent, courageous and free really appealed to me. The choice of "Blackthorne" in my Satanym was purely because I found it aesthetically pleasing.
Mine's almost my name. I use a light pseudonym just to try to be a little less easy to find for employers, etc. I'm perfectly happy using my normal name when talking about Satanism though, since I wouldn't want it to seem like I am ashamed of what I do and don't believe.
I picked this pseudonym from a profound personal experience I had while meditating; the name Darkur just felt right and like it accurately fit a part of my individual being somehow. NyghtFrost was a combination of night and frost, as these two elements are super important to me and make me feel powerful/in control in some way. I love the cold and something about ice and frost is refreshing and makes me feel alive. The night time to me is a time of silence and deep reflection, and darkness within it allows illumination of everything that had been overlooked or hidden by the daylight. Therefore I think combining frost and night to me was an ultimate expression of life and true understanding of things below the surface.
I don't use my pseudonym all the time because I feel like my mundane life is a reflection of the culmination of my beliefs and values. Therefore I see little to no distinction between the two and I am proud to be who I am and to believe what I do regardless of who is watching. If they can't accept all of me, then they do not deserve to have any of me.
Before the Satanym:
I’ve considered using a Demoniker, but I never have found one I liked well enough. I also never have had a gamer tag or chat handle that stuck. Part of that is not being able to boil down my entire being into a few words. Part of it is how much I’ve put into making sure my real name does encompass my whole self.
Because of my endeavors, I’ve learned to consider my name as a brand. I still do in some ways. I like who I am and am proud of what I say online and in real life, so I see no need to hide my identity. I have used fake names for some occasional amateur sex work, but nothing I’m in love with.
I’m privileged enough to have employment that won’t be discriminatory towards me for my religion. I don’t care if my family likes it or not, and I don’t have kids that can be taken away. I suppose it’s possible that my life or safety could be threatened, but I haven’t felt it yet. Sometimes I consider if that will change if/when I pursue ordination or a leadership role in TST.
About one month later, I changed my mind.
I had resisted adopting a Satanym for a long time because I wanted to be genuine and I kinda put some work into my “brand.” I'm proud of who I am and I don't want to hide. I want to live in a world where we don't have to.
But … looking around right now ─ and I hate to admit this ─ I’m getting scared. With everything that's going on and the misinformation, lies and conspiracy theories seeming to gain traction every day, I'm afraid we are headed for a new Satanic Panic.
I've already heard things: Ghislaine Maxwell is a Satanist. Demon sperm causes endometriosis. With the rise of shit like Qanon, it's getting dicey out here. The other day, I distinctly heard my neighbor say "worshiping Satan" as I walked out my door. Maybe it was nothing, but right now, I don't know.
Then there’s my job. I finally have my dream job and I don’t want anything to jeopardize it. While my boss and my coworkers understand, I’m about to start working with clients, helping people with addiction issues. I don't want anyone to find me online and then refuse my help because of fear or ignorance. It’s sad that this is a very real concern.
The day after I changed my name on Facebook, TST dropped the big abortion ritual announcement. Things are about to get even more “interesting,” and I’m really glad I decided to start obscuring my identity. A bunch of right-wing gun nuts now think they have evidence that we sacrifice babies to Moloch. I feel afraid for my friends and our leadership, but I am extremely proud to be a part of a religion that fights for our rights and beliefs.
It’s not all bad! Changing my name has given me the freedom to speak even louder as a Satanist. I started a Satanic self care and lifestyle blog called Go Hail Yourself! and wrote my first post about why abortion is sacred to me. My new name is also more gender neutral, which has been affirming to me as a nonbinary person. And ─ I did finally find a name that I could fall in love with. DRESDEN - A German city that was bombed by the U.S and the British for no good reason during WWII, which critics have called a war crime. Author Kurt Vonnegut was in Dresden during the bombing and wrote about it in Slaughterhouse 5.
Dresden, as a name, carries special significance to me. It was the name chosen by my former partner for a daughter we planned to have together. We never did. We separated a few years ago and he recently passed away. Taking this name ensures that his dream lives on in some way.
VISAGE - The maiden name of one of my early American ancestors. Visage means "face" ─ specifically the appearance of a person's face. The origins are Latin and then French.
From Paradise Lost:
"Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face
Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envie and despair,
Which marrd his borrow'd visage, and betraid
Him counterfet, if any eye beheld."
Mine is my name.
I didn't bother. I didn't want to create a separate Facebook account and waste twice as much time. And I just didn't feel any different.
I've gotten death threats for the years of pro-science/anti-theist podcasting and activism I've done already. I have been interviewed on the news a couple times in relation to Joe Kennedy (the praying high school coach) among other things.
I have never hid. Fuck those hating fucks. Come at me.
Lilith Starr is a Satanic writer and the author of "The Happy Satanist: Finding Self-Empowerment." She founded the Satanic Temple - Seattle Chapter in 2014 and served as its Chapter Head for four and a half years. In 2020, she was awarded The Satanic Temple's first ever Anatole France Literary Award for her writing.