Rules and Sins in Satanism

baphomet pentagram
Church of Satan, used with permission

When learning about new religions, it is common to seek out general expectations of that religion. This is in large part colored by Western society's experience with Christianity, which has ten central rules – the Ten Commandments – and a variety of other rules as understood by various branches of the faith. Separating goodness from sin is a central part of the faith. Thus, rules defining goodness and sin can be central.

Anton LaVey put out two principle guiding lists for the Church of Satan. They are the Nine Satanic Sins and the Eleven Rules of the Earth. The terms “rules” and “sins” causes people to equate them to codified religious expectations. That is not the case. No Satanist will accuse another of breaking a rule, for example.


The celebration of individual freedom – so long as it doesn't impinge on another innocent's freedom - is a central concept to Satanists. To then invoke objective religious laws would be completely contrary to that ideal. Each person has the freedom to make choices for himself. Ethics are subjective and often dependent upon circumstances, leaving the individual to weigh each situation individually.

Guidance, not Dogma

The laws and sins of Satanism are meant to be guidelines within Satanic life. Not following these rules or indulging in Satanic sins are likely to make you a less productive person and earn unwanted enmity from those who might otherwise be useful resources.

The sins of Satanism are also basically the converse of central values.

The sins of stupidity and herd conformity leaves you open to manipulation, while a Satanist should be striving to master his own fate. Pretentiousness and self-deceit are about getting caught up in your delusions of grandeur, when you should, in fact, be striving to be legitimately grand. Satanic sins are not an offense to any supernatural being nor an ethical failure.

Instead, they are an impediment to one's own success.

Tempered by Common Sense

Because these rules and sins are guidelines, they should only be applied as necessary. While they work in a large number of situations, they might not be relevant for all, and it is the Satanist's responsibility to make that judgment. “But according to the fourth Satanic rule...” is not a legitimate explanation for one's behavior. Choices should be based on circumstance and the weight of potential rewards and consequences.

The first Satanic Rule states “Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.” In short, don't be nosy. Don't butt into someone else's business unless you have been invited into it. Otherwise, you're being a jerk, and that will alienate people. This does not mean, however, you can't express the opinion of “ice cream is awesome.” That's not really the spirit of the rule.

Common sense is, indeed, a great guide in Satanic thought. Conclusions should make sense. If one has to go through mental gymnastics to justify an action, one is more likely looking for an excuse rather than responsibly considering repercussions. Again, Satanists do not looking highly on excuses. Actions have consequences, regardless of explanations.