WATCH: Founders of satanic church say they stand for freedom
All hell broke loose on social media when news spread that the SA Satanic Church had opened its doors in February with an office in Century City in Cape Town.
The Daily Voice spoke to co-founders, Riaan Swiegelaar, 39, and Adri Norton, 32, who say their beliefs focus on satisfying their inner desires, while freedom and personal choice is the foundation of Satanism.
Their website states: “We don’t spend our lives living in guilt, or waiting for someone to punish us for who we are. We accept all consequences of our actions. We are the only ones whose forgiveness we need. Hail Yourself! Hail Satan!”
According to them, they do not worship a deity, but exalt Satan as being the prime example of carnality, pride and enlightenment.
Adri says there's a difference between Satanism and devil worship.
They also believe that one is born a Satanist, and new members are hand-picked by their seven-member council and they do not allow anyone younger than 18 to join.
“The council comes together and we review the applications and we ask, is this person really a Satanist? Or they are devil worshippers,” Adri explains.
“A devil worshipper will use the words, ‘Satan the lord, I love Satan, I need to worship Satan’.
“We see Satanism as an archetype, a force, it is not something that needs worshipping.
“A lot of people think we are going to convert you into Satanists. We don’t do that, we know that Satanists are born. You can’t be converted into a Satanist from another religion.”
The duo says they are the voices for “thousands of Satanists” in South Africa and have been left “horrified” by the public’s “misconception” that Satanists perform ritualistic sacrifices.
Instead they say their bible, written by Anton LaVey, speaks about the preservation of all life.
Riaan says their journey began four years ago when he first read the Satanic bible and it resonated with him.
He started meeting fellow believers on social media and when he met Adri, they decided to open a church in the hopes of creating awareness and educating people.
“There is no high priest, there is no cult, a cult has a leader,” explains Riaan.
“I am the presiding reverend, and Adri is the spokesperson.
“When Adri got involved, we had this conversation about how Satanism is misrepresented.
“Even in local media, like the incident recently in Krugersdorp where the students’ artwork was called Satanic, that day we decided to register and set the record straight.”
They are reluctant to discuss their membership, but Riaan says: “We have a lot of members who are in the medical profession, even TV actors and artists.”
Adri reveals: “In June, we had over 300 new applications.”
Riaan explains their rituals and services do not involve any sacrifices.
Normally they would gather at undisclosed locations for church, but now during lockdown, services are facilitated via Facebook.
“We do an interview via a video group and we do bible study,” says Riaan.
“It is a private group because only people over the age of 18 are allowed to view it.”
He says their rituals usually involve three things: psycho drama, where they empower people, rites of passage, for example weddings, or when someone wants their baptism to be reversed, “as a symbol to be more free”.
“As it clearly states in the Satanic bible, which is our doctrine, we do not practise or condone human or animal sacrifice.
“We also don’t partake in anything that is self-destructive like drinking or drug abuse.”
When asked about their black clothing and tattoos, they laughed and said it’s a matter of personal taste and members are not required to have either.
“We love the colour black but our members wear all kinds of different colours,” says Adri.
On a Satanic altar in their office, black candles are burning next to animal and human skulls, upside down pentagrams and a Ouija board, used to “contact” the dead.
According to Adri, the skulls are fake and reminders to Satanists.
“We have it as a remembrance that life is short and that death can come at any time, and you need to live your best life while you can while being responsible.”
Next she points to a picture of the “devil” but says it’s not him: “It is the representation and depiction of one’s inner self.”
Adri says while the Baphomet figure - a goat head on a winged human body - has become a universal symbol for satanism, it is a very misunderstood symbol, and actually reminds satanists of their “carnal nature and true human desires.”
However, she insists that their church does not indulge in sex orgies.
The Daily Voice