What Is Satanism?

Pseudos and Other Groups

Fallen Angels, part of an altar decoration, Naples, 18th century. Photographed by Andreas Praefcke.

Other Groups

Various Satanic/Satanism Groups

Many groups may offer a "theistic Satanism", "tantric Satanism", or alternative flavor of Satanism and definitely count as pseudos. Perhaps they will sculpt a new philosophy and decorate it with images and iconography from Satanism to brand their group. Anton Szandor LaVey defined Satanism in 1966 and Church of Satan continues to present day. You are, of course, free to feel you identify with these groups and not with LaVeyan Satanism, but do keep in mind the age and longevity of Satanism and that it begins with Anton Szandor LaVey.


Pseudos or pseudo satanists is a mature term used for a few decades to denote individuals that are attracted to the media, attention, and imagery of Satanism but have chosen their own unique twist of Satanism.

Temple of Set

Founded by Michael Aquino, previously a high ranking member of the original Church of Satan, the Temple of Set splintered off into a new direction in 1975. Dissatisfied with LaVeyan Satanism, Aquino founded this organization based on mystical knowledge he received from Set.

The Satanic Temple

Unlike LaVeyan Satanism, The Satanic Temple is an outgoing organization involved in widely public initiatives. Founded in 2014, The Satanic Temple uses imagery and "Satanism flair" with the core principles being quite different from LaVeyan Satanism. Satanism, from LaVey, is an established religious organization that requires their members pursue their own goals. The Satanic Temple has no religious establishment in spite of dressing their organization in "tenets" and "beliefs" as a "temple".

If you hear of activists for Satanism or statues representing Satanism you are most likely reading about this group. There is no relation between Church of Satan and The Satanic Temple.

It is worth noting here that Church of Satan has made an official statement regarding some of these activities. In response, The Satanic Temple turned to trying to conflate their own "beliefs" into Satanism.