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According to author La Carmina, the devil is in the details (and the history).
“In the popular consciousness, people associate Satanism with criminality, ritual abuse, evil-doing or devil worship—and that’s really not what it is as all,” says author La Carmina. The Vancouver-based blogger’s new book, The Little Book of Satanism, is out to dispel those modern-day rumours.
It’s a mission that seems a bit bizarre until you dive a little deeper into the devilish history—and the way that Satanism has been used against marginalized people. “In witch hunts, they called women who were different ‘Satan’s mistresses,’ and people in the LGBT community are accused of being ‘the devils bedfellows,’” Carmina points out. In her book, she references the modern Satanic Temple, a U.S.-based organization that encourages activism as part of their practice. “This Satanic Temple is a socially engaged one,” says, “one that advocates for LGBTQ rights, for reproductive rights and for the separation of church and state.”
There’s a documentary on the Satanic Temple—Hail Satan?—that further looks into this, and the Temple’s co-founder Lucien Greaves actually wrote the forward of Carmina’s book. (Note: I’ve watched the Hail Satan? documentary and I think it’s an excellent film, regardless of your beliefs).
But The Little Book of Satanism isn’t just about the Satanic Temple. It’s a greatest hits of Satanist history, from the origins of the devil in ancient Egyptian dieties to Satan in the bible to the Knights Templar to the aforementioned Salem witch trials. Carmina doesn’t miss pop culture’s impact, either: think Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and even references to Satanic panic in Stranger Things.
“Pop culture paints Satanism in a certain way,” says the author. “There’s influence—it makes people think that Dungeons and Dragons and heavy metal are corrupting the youth and making them worship the devil.”
Instead of relying on the common biblical definitions, her research involved academic texts located through our local library system (and her book contains a bibilography, so curious readers can find out more). Carmina grew up in Vancouver, and says she was first introduced to Satanism through the local goth scene. “It’s fascinating to me—to question and rebel against conformist society in a peaceful way, to identify with the metaphor of Satan and to speak out against arbitrary authority,” she shares.
When it comes to The Little Book of Satanism, Carmina says she hopes that folks approach it with an open mind. It’s not supposed to be scary: even the antique-style purple cover has only subtle devilish imagery, something the author calls “a welcoming, elegant Satanism.”
“The book isn’t trying to convince anyone of anything,” says Carmina. “You can really get an overview of Satanism without any judgement—there is a lot of false information out there, and lot of people suffer because of that.”
The Little Book of Satanism launched earlier this week, and is available to buy now both in paperback and digitally.