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As a lifelong Satanist, I was pleasantly surprised to read the mostly accurate depiction of our religion by Garance Franke-Ruta in the article “Satan’s School for Kids” (6/23). I do want to clarify just a few things.

First, an absence of a deity is an important thing, but not the only thing, that distinguishes Satanism from neo-paganism. Pagans, like Christians and even Buddhists, pursue a philosophy of the Right Hand Path. This tends to subordinate the individual to the universal absolute, whether one sees that as Nature, God, goddesses, or whatever. Satanism is a belief system of the Left Hand Path, which places the individual and her will and pleasures as being above all and completely liberated from restrictions placed upon her by any god or societal structure.

Second, Damon Morningstar was quoted as saying that we “reject the worship of a quote-close-quote Satan.” Probably the emphasis there should have been on the word “worship.” We embrace the idea of Satan as an archetype and a sort of heroic mythological role model. But we don’t “worship” Satan. We don’t grovel, beg, pray, kiss butt, or any of the other self-debasing things typically associated with the idea of “worship.” We consider that to be degrading.

Third, I wanted to congratulate Fred Harper on the delightful graphic that was included with the article. But please note that we prefer our pentagrams earthward, or point down. The pagans take theirs point up, thanks.

Finally, if anyone would like more information about modern Satanism, they can visit www.churchofsatan.com.

Washington, D.C.