Witchy Wednesday – The Ritual, or “Intellectual Decompression” Chamber

Welcome back. This week I’m continuing to delve into ritual magic by learning all about the purpose of the Intellectual Decompression Chamber, the place where rituals are held.

This section definitely requires context to make sense. Primarily, the fact that Satanism is a religion. It has everything a religion has; most specifically, for the purposes of this writing, dogma.

It is one thing to accept something intellectually, but to accept the same thing emotionally is an entirely different matter. The one need that psychiatry cannot fill is man’s inherent need for emotionalizing through dogma. Man needs ceremony and ritual, fantasy and enchantment…There is nothing wrong with dogma, providing it is not based on ideas and actions which go completely against human nature.”

p. 53

In Satanism, dogma is expressed through the performance of these greater magic, or ritual, ceremonies. As mentioned above, these ceremonies are emotionally driven and intended “… to purge oneself of unwanted emotional baggage that might be hindering a daily pursuit of joy in life.” The beginnings and endings of these events are infused with dogmatic elements, and take place in the Intellectual Decompression Chamber (IDC) – more on that later.

Rituals can be performed alone or in a group setting, and LaVey points out that there are advantages to each method. Generally speaking, a group is ideal; it is “…certainly much more of a reinforcement of faith, and an instillation of power, than is a private ceremony” (p. 119). High Priestess Peggy Nadramia notes in her essay, On the Role of Ritual in the Life of a Satanist, that “large Satanic group rituals can be an amazing and hair-raising experience. I don’t think anyone who attended 666 could deny the power of over a hundred voices shouting Hail, Satan!'”

Considering this, it’s easy to imagine that performing a destruction ritual certainly would feel a lot more powerful with an entire group of people committed towards the common goal. The ‘personal’ part of this ritual does not involve any acts that could be considered embarrassing. On the contrary, ritual ceremonies for compassion or sex require an intense personal release (shedding tears or having an orgasm, for example). These types of rituals succeed best when performed in an environment that the practitioner is comfortable with, as there is no room for self-consciousness or embarrassment in the ritual chamber.

In the event that a practitioner is not comfortable performing the personal part of the ritual in a group setting, they are welcome to leave the space to perform that part. However, it is important that the invocation and closing portions of the ritual take place in the IDC.

In addition to having all of the necessary elements for performing a ritual, the IDC must be held as a space that is reserved strictly for emotional release. No intellectual activity allowed. This separation is created by the formalized beginning and ending of the ritual ceremonies, which act as “…a dogmatic, anti-intellectual device, the purpose of which is to disassociate the activities and frame of reference of the outside world from that of the ritual chamber” (p. 120). Once you enter the space and the invocation happens, the intention is that you lose the frame of reference of the outside world, and have singular focus on the ritual. LaVey notes that, for someone who happens to fall into the intellectual or sage archetype, these dogmatic elements of are particular importance, as these people are naturally skeptical.

LaVey ends this section with quips I won’t even bother attempting to paraphrase. Buy the book and enjoy his wit for yourself!

That’s all for this week, come back next Wednesday and learn all about the items and elements required for performing these ceremonies.

All quoted material comes directly from The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey, unless otherwise linked or noted.

Interpretations are my own; I am not a spokesperson for, nor endorsed by, the Church of Satan or any other entity.

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