How the UK chaplain of the Order of Satan is challenging misconceptions
By Quentin Gavignon
“One of the contributing things which caused me to join Satanism was Brexit and Trump because I felt much disenfranchised and I felt like the things were going in the direction I didn’t like,” explains Andy, 39, UK chaplain for the Order of Satan.
In Satanism, Andy found a new way of seeing the world. “It means to me personal freedom but also the ability to question things as well as looking at things differently. It also allows me to stand up against hypocrisy in the world,” he adds.
Joining the organisation has given him a good direction to go in as well as a feeling of a personal power.
The name Satanism turns out to be an issue for them since it does not encourage people to try to discover it and go beyond preconceptions. The Global Order of Satan is a non-theistic movement that implies that they do not believe in any god or devil. “I like to think of us as atheists with teeth,” he laughs.
“The reason why we choose [the name] Satanism is because of the impact it has and not the fact that we want to annoy or scare people. It is to show that it is an embodiment of people who are questing after truth, who are challenging the status quo as well as he authorities of the world.”
“In a way, we believe that actually we are gods in our own rights. It is about the worship of ourselves and the care for self,” he adds.
If Satanism remains a rather blurred concept surrounded with negative and overstated stories, it is partly due to its wonky coverage by media. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, many newspapers reported on Satanism and claimed that it was linked to killings or abductions. Some others alleged that heavy metal caused kids to embrace Satanism. That period was called the Satanic Panic.
“There is still to this day a type of way of reporting about Satanism in newspapers which is based on sensationalism. They will always draw line back to the Satanic Panic, especially in the tabloid newspapers,” he adds.
Andy and his organisation aim at becoming an authority to raise awareness on their organisation’s ideologies as well as breaking down long-established clichés floating around Satanism. They have also held talks at the Glastonbury Occult Conference in the past. At the 2019 Conference, Zeke Apollyon, one of the founders of the Global Order of Satan, talked about the evolution of Satanism throughout the years, the creation of their organisation and answered questions.
The Global Order of Satan also supports projects across the globe. For instance, the Autonomy project consists of helping victims of domestic violence to hide their physical scar under tattoos, paid by the Order’s funds. Another initiative that took place in Australia aimed at collecting blood for blood transfusion. “All these little things show that we can prove that we do good things, “he smiles.
When he was younger Andy considered himself a “hardcore Christian.” He would go to church every Sunday and be involved in church youth groups. Eventually, he spotted flaws and decided to move away from Christianity.
He recalls reading an obituary on Anton LaVey (founder of Church of Satan) and being interested. Throughout the years, he learnt more about Satanism. He joined the organisation four years ago and offered his service to design the logo. A year ago, he became chaplain for the UK thanks to his activity within the organisation.
“As chaplain, it is more my responsibility to look after the UK membership and look after the people involved and we have got people spread out in places like London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland.”
The organisation was founded in 2013 now has approximately 5,000 members. The Order is active in organising social events, mainly using online communication tools to inform members. “We get together and have brunch, stuff like that. We are trying to get past that idea that we are scary and we eat babies.”