Reflections of an OG Satanist
by Jake Block
I’ve been called an “OG Satanist.” It comes with the territory when you’ve been around for as many years as I have. It’s better than being called “a legacy,” or “an antique” or “a relic,” all of which I have heard before.
I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go, and I’m here to tell you that most of those I knew 50 years ago as a Satanist are gone from the scene. For some, Satanism was a rebellion, for some it was a fad. For some, it was a way to get chicks, for some it was a way to be left alone. For some it was a posture and for some it was a calling. Some joined the Church of Satan, and some just wore the “kit” and filled their house with kitsch. Everyone had their own reason for “being,” and everyone had their own reason for leaving. I’m often reminded of that old movie where students are in a classroom and the instructor tells them, “Look to the student on your left and your right. At the end of this class, they will probably not be there.”
Now, certainly, after fifty years or so, there are some of those whom I knew in the beginning that died. Nature has a way of thinning the herd, no matter what herd you belong to. Nature doesn’t care. You are simply meat for the harvest, the same as any other living thing on the planet. You are born, you serve your purpose, and you die. Nobody lives forever or gets out alive. One truism about life, is that as an organism, you either thrive and grow or wither and fade, thereby making room for others, at most becoming an inspirational tale on the road to success or a cautionary tale on the road to failure. Another truism is, that after fifty years on ANY path, you’re bound to be both at one time or another.
Looking back on the past fifty years, and remembering those I once knew or was in contact with as Satanists, one formed The Temple of Set and has since died, others went with him and still survive. One of those who went with the Temple of Set subsequently quit and became am independent Satanist, and a psychiatrist, doing decades of good work for his patients until his death just a few years ago. One gentleman died of AIDS in San Francisco in the 1990s. Another became a Baptist preacher in Massachusetts, a woman I was involved with quit Satanism and, after earning two Ph.Ds, eventually joined her father in the establishment of a new school of psychological thought, got married, had three kids and one divorce. Many others just “dropped off the map,” nevermore to be heard from, swallowed up by obscurity or simply lost in some quiet backwater niche, not that I spent any real time or effort in finding them.
Those who now call themselves “satanists” are greater in number these days, but often less in conviction and determination. Often when I think of it, I hear the voice of Anton LaVey in my head reciting the line from Kubla Khan by Coleridge, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The path might be more congested, but more lonely than ever before. Over all, this lane along the Left Hand Path has become more popular and evermore so diverse than it has ever been, but more dilute and fluid in philosophy. I sometimes wonder how long they will stay the course and if they will leave their mark or, as so many have before, simply find something new to glom onto as the next best thing, or disappear never to be seen again.
I am still on the path and have no idea where it ultimately leads, or how long I will have to follow it until I reach the end of either the path or my life. One thing that I am certain of, is that there are many of those on the path behind me that will falter and fail. Some will leave the path before me, and some will surpass my mark. How may will complete the trek is anyone’s guess, although my money is on “the path never ends.” Perhaps one day someone will make a movie and in it will be an OG Satanist standing before a roomful of young Satanists, saying, “Look to the Satanist on your left and your right. At the end of this class, they will probably not be there.”