Children and the Left Hand Path
Someone told me that when they saw a television program where I was baptizing a child, it bothered them. "Satanists are acting like Christians. The child is powerless to object. What made me angry about my own baptism is, I NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO SAY NO! The priest marks the pentagram on the infant's forehead and they shout Hail Satan. This reminds me of Christianity. I have nothing against marriage and funerals because that indicates free will, but baptisms?"
I strongly disagreed and responded. "Are you trying to suggest that you will never try to impress your values upon a child? Let's be realistic and really think this through. Do you intend to stop your child from attending birthday parties, Halloween and Easter egg hunts? They are rituals too! Do you intend to hide all the books in your library, ban television until your kid's old enough to vote? Harry Potter promotes a belief in magic, so I guess movies are out of the question. Do you intend to raise a sociopath?"
Every child needs ritual, fantasy, and role playing. The drama of myth and legend embodied by religion plays a vital role in a child's natural development. When native American Indians tell their kids legends of the Great White Spirit or animals speaking with one another, it provides a link to that tribe's collective unconscious, past and present and provides a feeling of continuity, a sense of identity, purpose. We need ritual in our lives today, this has been evidenced by Joseph Campbell, who saw myth as an important part of the fabric of society itself. The collective unconscious, a term coined by Jung, is a psychic realm that we humans share, and it has been developed layer upon layer for ages. Every living thing is connected to every other living thing, throughout our world, galaxy and Universe!
You may ask, "What occurs in a culture stripped of myth, where pop psychology and scientific skepticism negates this tribal current?" One need only pick up the newspaper and read about kids killing kids, the "trench coat mafia," etc. Blindly following the herd can be detrimental, but total alienation can be equally catastrophic! When a child discovers he or she is adopted, they will move mountains to discover their roots - who their parents are, what they value. Simply put, the herd mentality has its useful, even necessary aspects. There has to be a connectedness. We all need to feel a part of a larger whole.
As far as choice of traditions are concerned, a Satanic baptism celebrates a child's natural state and claims that he is perfection in what he is - there is no attempt to "indoctrinate" the child into anything! The infant is godhead, not the deity! Their free will and the choices they will make as adults is what is we worship. Compare this with a Christian baptism where the child is considered "unclean" to begin with because a "sinful dirty deed" brought them into this world.
I believe this person when he says his choice was taken away, but I'm sure this betrayal has more to do with his family and the way they tried to raise him. Ritual, faith, can be a force which sustains... pulls people together OR it can be a force of oppression. The question is, what is the intent? Clearly, the First Church of Satan is NOT the Vatican! If the child in question grows up angry, resentful, it will have more to do with events following his baptism!
One parent said, "Don't make the mistake of believing that all Christians baptize children. Large Christian denominations including Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, most non-denominational churches and many others are strongly against the idea. We have four boys, and there is no way we would have baptized them when they were babies. *If* they make the decision to be Christians later in life, they can also make the decision to be baptized. Of course, we hope they will, but it's not the kind of decision we can make for them."
Our society is always making decisions for children from the time they are born! Forget the fifteen minute ritual - what about the twenty-four hour routine? Parents give their children the tools necessary for survival! We instill within them our values every day, whether you care to admit it or not. We expose them to our routines, our rituals, our cultural heritage from the time they are born! We do this every day. Then, when they reach that wondrous age of rebellion, they begin to form their own opinions. They then keep the values they find useful and discard the values they find worthless and you as a Satanic parent must respect their wishes!
But don't start by giving your child an empty plate from the time they are born because that is not how the real world works. Potty training is not imposing - teaching the child to wipe before it flushes is not imposing! Those parents I speak with advance the point of view that any parent who would baptize his or her child must intend to impose their beliefs upon that child for the rest of their life! Why are we making these assumptions? Could it be Satanists carry a lot of unnecessary baggage? Perhaps guilt over the fact we are Satanists? Why this guilt?
Adults who leave the family faith, choosing to become pagans, often "forget" to tell family members. Though they are "free to make their own decisions," few actually tell family, parents, friends and employers they are Satanists. Few invite non -Satanists to their baptism. This happens not just with Satanism, but in Wicca as well as with born again Christians! Adults have this marvelous freedom to choose, but are fettered with fear. The infants in this instance appears less encumbered than the adults.
The child will likely forget the fifteen minute ritual performed for the benefit of family and friends. The adult blames current feelings of self-loathing on an event ("I was baptized against my will as an infant") because it is less painful than examining his relationship with his family. In this case we see that guilt is not just the property of recovering Catholics as so many claim, and that the responsibility needs to be accepted ... by you.
No one is saying that baptism is a must. In fact, forming your own opinion regarding this issue is more important.. You must be comfortable with the faith decisions you make for yourself and your family. Your right to exercise your free will concerning how you intend to raise your child should be respected by all. It is an important point, however, to point out that baptism is a sound Satanic practice.
Here is a "Satanic" bedtime story for the kids, derived from Hindu mythology:
THE ROAR OF AWAKENING
Once Upon A Time a tigress, big with young, prowled hungrily for many days without discovering any prey, when she came upon a herd of goats. She leapt ravenously upon them, but the strain of the leap brought about the birth of her cub, and she, from sheer exhaustion, died in the process. The goats, who had scattered, returned to their grazing to find a tiger cub, whimpering beside its mother's body. In compassion, they adopted the poor creature and raised it as their own.
At first, the goats suckled the tiger cub with their own young, and as time passed it learned with them the language of the goats, adapting its voice to their gentle bleating. At first, it was difficult to nibble the thin grass blades with its pointed teeth, but in time it managed, and the vegetarian diet kept its form trim and its temperament meek.
One night, after some years had passed and the tiger cub had nearly grown to his full size, a fierce old tiger attacked the herd and again it scattered. The cub, however, completely unafraid, remained where he was. He had never seen another tiger since his birth, and he stared at the intruder with utter amazement. Then he began to feel a little self-conscious and uttering a thin and forlorn bleat, he nibbled at a blade of grass while the old tiger stared at him in amazement.
Suddenly, the old tiger roared, "What are you doing among this herd of goats? What are you eating?" The cub looked up and bleated, then returned to his grazing. The tiger roared again, "What is this sound you make? Do you think you are a goat?"
Then, taking the cub by the scruff of the neck and shaking him, he carried him off to the edge of the pond. Setting him down, the old tiger compelled the younger to gaze at the glassy surface, illumined by the moon. "There!" he roared. "Do you see the two faces reflected there, yours and mine? Are they not the same? Like myself, you have the face of a tiger, and indeed you are one. Why do you imagine yourself to be a goat? Why do you utter only that miserable bleating sound and nibble pitifully on thin blades of grass?"
At first the young tiger did not know what to say. He stared at his reflection and that of the old one. Troubled, he shifted his weight from paw to paw, and bleated quiveringly. The old tiger seized him again by the scruff of his neck and carried him off to his den. There he gave the young tiger a piece of raw meat from a fresh kill. The cub, shuddering with disgust, turned away and bleated. The old tiger ignored his cries and turned him again to the meat. "Take it! Eat! Swallow!" the old one bellowed, and forced the bloody meat into the young one's mouth.
At first, the unfamiliar taste and texture of the food was unbearable to the young tiger. He chewed as best he could, but the muscles of his jaws were weak from grazing, and his teeth not used to anything tougher than grass. The old tiger was relentless however, and as he chewed, the young one began for the first time to taste blood. He was alarmed at the new taste, but then amazed.
Eagerly he swallowed the first morsel and seized another and began to chew. And as he chewed, a strange sensation began to creep over him, a fiery strength flowed into his veins and nerves and muscles and throughout the whole of his body. An excitement and a kind of drunken joy filled his heart. He licked his jowls and opened his mouth in an enormous yawn, as if awakening from a long sleep. His tail swept from side to side, and then from the depths of his lungs, grown mighty from the surge of energy that now flowed in him, there burst the terrible, glorious and triumphant roar of a tiger.
As the echoes of that roar died away down the valley below, the old one said to the younger, "Now do you know who you are? Come, let us go to the hunt."
This then ends our tale. Personally, I enjoy this story more than the one about those hooligans, Hansel and Gretel, who push that kindly old witch into a flaming hearth!
A myth is a myth is a myth; you may choose a parable from the Holy Bible, Bhagavad-Gita or Watership Down (the Bunny religion) or Winnie (the Pooh Bear religion). Same archetypes, same morality plays. There is no difference because the subjective mind does not distinguish!
But myths are important! Again, it taps into the collective unconscious, provides the ego with a point of reference, necessary to our physical and emotional well-being. Choose your myths wisely and they will benefit you and your child!
John Allee/Lord Egan
founder, First Church of Satan
copyright 1994, 2003 JDA/lca First Church of Satan