TWIN TEMPLE & THE ULTIMATE SECRET TO SATANIC PRACTICE
I think even Satanists need a little guidance sometimes, and that’s when it may be useful to consider Twin Temple.
Not necessarily because of that band’s music, although obviously that helps if you’re fan. More just because of the reality of their religious expression.
Satanism is broad. It’s versatile. At times it can seem almost formless, like a trunk full of Nickelodeon Gak on a hot day.
By and large these are good things; prescriptive religions should be regarded with skepticism. And besides, Satan isn’t real, so there’s no one in particular you need to worry about pleasing. Still, I find this may leave some people unsure what Satanic practice even is.
Previously we discussed the fact that it’s very hard to define what religion actually is. Which leaves us open to at least the possibility that, perhaps, religion is personal expression. And vice versa.
On the most recent episode of Black Mass Appeal we talked with Alexandra and Zachary James of the LA-based Satanic doo-wop group Twin Temple.
Actually as Alexandra pointed out, “doo-wop” is probably too narrow a term for Twin Temple’s style. Their stage aesthetic and videos pair a metal vibe with a very mellow sound, and the pair told the metal site No Echo in 2018 that they gets fans of “black metal, classical, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, and country” at shows.
I’m not cool and do not have interesting opinions about music, so this is not the place for probing insight about Twin Temple’s discography. Last time I identified a hot trend in the industry it was to clock that maybe Woodstock ’99 was not going to enjoy the historical goodwill of the original concert.
(Although at least Imagine Dragons won’t be haunting its memory 50 years later.)
The point is, clearly these are two people who are very comfortable creating a singular Satanic identity for themselves.
Sometimes you’ll meet folks who are engaged by the idea of Satanism but are unclear on the practice, which is a slightly weird problem to end up with. By contrast, people who “find Jesus” know what they have to do: pray, read the Bible, go to church, or I guess in the case of most Christian types not go to church and get nagged by passive-aggressive signage.
Almost every other religion gives you a set path. But there’s no bible for being a Satanist, except of course for The Satanic Bible, which is arguably less helpful than nothing at all.
Even just asking, “How do I be a Satanist?” feels like a stupid question. And it’s liable to get you some stupid answers, sometimes to the effect that asking is itself some disqualification. (FYI, the proper response to this is glare at the other party until their brain catches on fire, which should not take very long.)
It’s more helpful, perhaps, to see that one perfectly valid expression of Satanism is to form a seemingly unlikely musical act blending diverse influences with unexpected aesthetics, which then connects with a surprisingly diverse audience.
Or to consider the idea that, as former Satanic Temple spokesperson Jex Blackmore puts it in the upcoming Penny Lane documentary Hail Satan?, “Confronting injustice and corrupt authority is an expression of Satanic faith,” and therefore “activism is a Satanic practice.”
Or don’t. Satanism does not have to be loud or public, for those who are not loud public sorts of people. Observers often make the mistake of thinking Modern Satanism is “just activism” simply because they’re not privy to smaller and more personal practices.
Point is, ALL of these things are Satanism. Because they are all things that Satanists do in the name of their lack of faith.
Discussions about Satanism often flog around terms like “personal freedom,” but sometimes with very little context for what that means.
Mainstream religions almost always want to tell you things like what to eat, what to wear, where to live, who to fuck, what to do with your own body. The fact that so many people ignore these principles only underscores how many there actually are.
It’s one thing to say that through Satanism these choices are entirely in our hands. It’s another to realize that making choices is ITSELF a Satanic act. Even the word “heresy” means choice.
This does pose a potentially troubling question: Does this mean that ANYTHING can be Satanism? Well, principally I’d say that’s not up to me to decide–review the previous paragraphs for more on that.
But my hunch is no, I think there must be some underlying values and principles that are informing however many unique expressions exist. But if you asked where the hard boundaries between Satanism and Not Satanism are, I’m not sure I could tell you, or at least not all of them.
Simply for the reason that I haven’t yet found all of those boundaries for myself.