Podcast: Satanic Ritual with Jill Rycerz from The Satanic Temple-Boston

Podcast: Satanic Ritual with Jill Rycerz from The Satanic Temple-Boston October 19, 2017
Image credit Screenshot Courtesy TST-AZ via Youtube

When it comes to criticisms about The Satanic Temple there are many, from several sides. On one side there are a bunch of Church of Satan adherents who feel that members of TST calling themselves Satanists is an affront to the Church of Satan and Anton LaVey; you can find some of them in my posts’ comment sections. On another side are some non-religious atheists that truly respect what TST does and wants to consider them kindred spirits but can’t get over their anti-religion biases and are very insistent that TST is nothing more than “tongue in cheek atheists pointing out hypocricy [sic]”. On yet a third side there is, of course, abrahamic religious zealots that think Satanists are devil-worshiping maniacs.

There isn’t much to be done for that last one except keep trucking along, but I do hope this episode of my podcast helps with the other two.

My guest for this episode is Jill Rycerz from TST-Boston, who will be giving a talk this weekend at The Satanic Temple Headquarters called “Prayers to the Devil: The Value of Ritual“. One of the criticisms that people make about The Satanic Temple is that it isn’t an authentic religion. If you’ve been following this blog you will have seen a post about all the different ritual events various Satanists are doing this October. These rituals (in my opinion anyway) go a long way toward demonstrating the group’s sincerity. So for this show I sit down with Jill to talk about how TST views ritual, including a few examples from rituals we’ve been at, and their upcoming Black Mass on Halloween night.

I’m going to level with you, many of you non-religious atheists who think that religion is inherently bad … might not get it. Don’t panic, we’ll get back to talking about court cases, legal precedents, and church/state separation issues soon enough. I really want hope listening to this will start to help you see where Satanists are coming from and why it’s important that you recognize it for what it is instead of lumping it in with things like FSM. Meanwhile, I expect that folk from CoS might be a little upset about the changes TST has made to the ‘traditional’ Black Mass, sorry.

That said Jill was a great guest and we had a good conversation about things like ‘how big is too big for a ritual?’, balancing personalization and acknowledgement of historical precedent, and how placebo effect studies suggest that maybe ritual, at least in a non-theistic context, can be a real benefit to quality of life.

For you TST folk, if you’re not a subscriber to the Naked Diner Podcast you might want to do that; we’ve got some fun in store for our Oct. 30th episode. Please consider visiting my erstwhile co-host’s blog as he does not appear in this episode.

"I appreciate this article and your perspective, thank you."

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  • Alder Strauss

    To address your comments regarding the Church of Satan and the female altar, LaVey explicitly states why a woman is used. However, he doesn’t say that only a woman can be used for an altar.
    So, simply reversing the roles to make the altar a man for TST rituals isn’t really signifying a difference between them and LaVey.

    Also, the CoS has had homosexuals and trans persons in its membership since practically its inception. So, they’ve accepted them as they truly are long before TST came about. Therefore, there is no evolution in Satanic thought here, as TST assumes it’s spearheading.

  • Alder Strauss

    Also, the grotto system was disbanded by LaVey, not Gilmore. Per Blanche Barton’s book, ‘The Church of Satan’: “The tightly-regulated grotto systems was dismantled in 1975.”

    Also, while the CoS does not do rituals that are open to the public (and for good reason), there are members only events headed by the organization on occasion and there’s also members living in close proximity with one another that have and do meet; ritual therein being their prerogative and not without exercise.

    The grotto system, with the inception of the internet (and especially social media), has become unnecessary. There are easier ways for Satanists to meet and meet up and these methods are being executed almost effortlessly.

  • I … disagree. Not with when the grotto system went away part, but their reasons. I don’t believe their reasons for not doing public rituals are good (they may have once been but I don’ t think they are now), and I think saying ‘the grotto system is unnecessary because of the internet therefore it was disbanded in ’75’ seems like the revisionist justifications of someone who has painted themselves into a corner. But hey, if it works for y’all more power to ya.

  • Alder Strauss

    Other reasons was because it got too hard to manage for a number of different reasons.

    As rituals tend to be very personal, goal-focused acts, doing a ritual in the guise of performance art tends to be pointless and can prove to be counterproductive to the goals of doing such.

    If a CoS member feels it’s something they want to do, then fine. But that doesn’t mean that action is backed by the CoS itself. However, I haven’t really seen any ritual performed “publicly” for non-CoS members to view in person (aside from a few journalistic reports, etc.).

  • Ok, so let’s assume, for the moment, that TST is just one big thing that someone wants to do, as you say. Now you can say ‘well he got kicked out of CoS because he didn’t toe the hierarchical line so that doesn’t count’ … but what part of the mythos of Satan has anything to do with yielding to authority when you think you’re right? Several of their rituals are on YouTube, do your research.

  • Alder Strauss

    What the hell are you talking about?
    Just because they’re available on a public site doesn’t mean the ritual itself invited the public to its performance.
    The videos of CoS rituals are by invitation only and weren’t open to the general public.

  • They’re still available for public consumption though is all I’m saying. So the decision to not have them open to the public could be for a lot of reasons but it’s not to keep them personal. If they know ahead of time it will be going out on video then it’s pretty impossible to separate the performance art aspect of it.