Journalist, blogger and TV host La Carmina has been documenting alternative culture for years. A Little Book of Satanism: A Guide to Satanic History, Culture, and Wisdomaims to shed light on a widely misunderstood phenomenon.
The book contrasts the outspoken progressive activity of the Satanic Temple with its connection to the satanic panic of the 80s and still today, exploring various depictions and perceptions of the devil throughout history.
La Carmina talks about her research process and her intentions in writing the book.
Tell us about yourself and your blog.
i am mine La Carmina Blog I mainly write about Japanese fashion, pop culture and subculture. Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, I was obsessed with the gothic and alternative scenes.
I also researched the Satanism scene in Japan. The Satanism scene in Japan is very unique and the different representations were fascinating. That was my first foray into Satanism. It all grew over the years and led to the TV stuff, Little Book of Satanism.
How does Satanism manifest in Japan?
In the West we often hear about how Satanism is a response to fundamentalist Christianity. Many people consider satanic symbols to be blasphemous. The idea has had a rather negative response.
Japan has a completely different cultural background, as only about 1% are Christians. People don’t turn a blind eye when walking around in an upside-down shirt, or 666. They think you’re just into alternative fashion. So you don’t have the same reaction to the Christian narratives that the West has forced on you.
However, the Satan metaphor is still very much relevant to Japanese Satanists. I have.
What motivated you to write the book?
I have been really intrigued by the Japanese Satanic scene for over a decade. I met some Satanists there and wrote about their parties and shops. The Satanic Temple was founded in 2013 to bring a new movement of socially and politically engaged Satanism. This was very new and also very interesting to me.
I was fascinated by how they used their position as a religion to oppose theocratic aggression that threatened the separation of church and state, or laws against LGBTQ, minority, or reproductive rights. I thought it was very cool that a Satanist would raise this flag and stand up for the weak.
I was writing more and more about this not only on my site, but also in various publications. Little Book of SatanismThere was a lot of news about Satanism and satanic panic. People are very curious, but there is also a lot of misinformation out there.People don’t really know what it means. Satanists probably believe in real demons or consider themselves to be Satanists, but that’s not quite the case.
So we thought that making a little book to explain the history of Satan’s roots would help people understand what Satanists really stand for.
What was your research process like?
The research process involved obtaining many dense scholarly sources, including a book on Satanism published by Oxford University Press. Bringing it all together in a form accessible to the general public was the biggest challenge.
For those who may not know anything about Satanists, I wanted to make sure I covered all the basics. I wanted to
But it also got deeper into more niche topics like Hellfire Clubs and Witch Trials. Different historical moments I mention – the Templars, the case of poison, the rise of Satan in pop culture. There are so many different aspects to cover.
But the devil is in the details. I hope this book encourages people to check out the excellent sources listed in the bibliography if they want to know more.
What defines Satanism as a religion?
Some people define religion by their belief in the supernatural, but when you look deeper, that’s not always the case. Even historically established religions like Buddhism and Jainism have nothing to do with worshiping gods or the supernatural.
Yet you see them as legitimate religions, they have communities, they have common philosophies.
I think you see it in non-theistic Satanism, but also in other new religious movements that you probably haven’t heard of.
Was there anything that surprised you during your research?
The same theme came up again and again, and it really struck me that over the centuries, so many people have been marginalized and even killed on accusations of Satanism.
Most of these people were minorities and considered the wrong religion. They were probably Muslims or pagans. Women were targeted in witch hunts, and so were men, but many women seem to have borne the brunt of these accusations. people who didn’t.
We’ve seen it all the way through the satanic panic of the ’80s and ’90s when metalheads were accused of committing satanic crimes. Even today, it still continues.
For me, researching and writing history really made me realize just how much Satanism means to people today as it confronts centuries of injustice on behalf of those who aren’t liked in society.
Why do you think 1960s and 70s pop culture seemed to show fear of Satan?
I think there are various factors. The sixties were a very interesting period of cultural change and social flux.So when you like movies rosemary baby Also exorcist Songs about the devil came out and had a huge impact on the public consciousness and continued to grow throughout the 80’s with Satanic Panic.
There are various social factors behind this, but I would also like to point out that media has become even more popular through television and movies. Now social media and the internet are spreading these ideas all over the world. It can be good and bad. Not only does it allow people to spread and organize ideas, it can also spread misinformation.
Satanic panic tropes still abound in modern horror films. what do you think about it
This is another thing that I found interesting while writing the book. You grow up with these ideas of signing your soul and making a pact with the devil, but people don’t think much of where it came from. It was the story of the Middle Ages that really continued to grow, leading to literary works that led to the tropes of films in the 1970s.
It can even be traced back to before the devil was invented. People were talking about demons because they wanted to understand the world around them. I think it’s human nature to create stories. We are drawn to the dark, intrigued and excited. That’s why people have always loved moving horror-type stories.
I had no idea that the Satanic Temple was associated with so many progressive activities. How do you think you can better convey your message?
It’s always an uphill battle. I think action speaks louder. Large-scale projects like the Baphomet statue often make the news. But small community organizing works if you hear that local Satanists are organizing clothing drives or whatever.
Vancouver and Ottawa have chapters or congregations, as they are called these days. We also organize community events and charity drives.And just like in the documentary there is a source Praise the deviland hopefully my book to help people have a different perspective on Satanism.
Were you surprised to see many of these old Satanic Panic tropes returning in the form of QAnon and other conspiracy theories?
No! I don’t have high hopes for humanity improving its critical thinking. I think the threads are always there. These conspiracy theories have long permeated people’s consciousness. Helps certain people increase their power. It turns out that during the time of the Knights Templar, the king hunted them down and accused them of being Satanists in order to get their land and money.
There is a lot of power in this anti-satanic narrative. Unfortunately, I think it will continue no matter what, as it helps the group strengthen their own power by demonizing others.
One of the tenets of the Satanic Temple is that people are fallible and should be willing to change their minds based on evidence. It’s a real skill, a difficult and challenging skill that people don’t talk about much.
I think we should leave room for dialogue and allow people who are making real efforts to change.
What’s your favorite portrayal of Satan in pop culture?
I love Japanese kawaii culture, so I think it’s the kawaii version of Satan.of Hello Kitty The brand Sanrio also has a demonic character Kuromi. Not Satan, but a cute little devilish character.
What do you hope readers will get from reading your book?
I hope they open up to it and want to know more. I like to approach this from a non-fiction historical perspective, so I’m not advising anyone to subscribe to a religion or practice it.
I hope it helps you better understand what Satanists really are.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
https://www.forbes.com/sites/danidiplacido/2022/10/30/the-little-book-of-satanism-author-la-carmina-talks-debunking-the-satanic-panic/ ‘Little Book of Satanism’ Author La Carmina Exposes Satanic Panic