The Intellectual Decompression Chamber

By Vexen Crabtree 2003


The Intellectual Decompression Chamber is what I consider to be an element of ritual readiness. I would not use the word "ritually clean", but "ritually ready", but given that such a state in religions is hardly ever concerned with actual hygiene or cleanliness, perhaps 'readiness' is a more accurate term anyway. As Satanism is concerned with practical results and not superstition, such things no doubt take a different twist in Satanism. Dogma, as an unthinking assumption, is abhorred by Satanists, who wish to remain fully in control. But this hedonistic refusal to conform and believe is a detriment to ritual events as it prevents suspension of disbelief.

So, the Intellectual Decompression Chamber open and closes Satanic rituals and is the area where the Satanist purposely enters a state of mind of 'wilfully contrived ignorance', from where they are more attuned to the requirements of symbolic and ritual behavior. This, in Satanism, is the element of ritual readiness.

It is important to have a clear and concise start and end to a ritual. You know that everything in between those two events are part of the psychodrama; that intellectualism will work against you during that time. Rituals are the time of emotion and this is the case for both group and private rituals.

Sometimes LaVey refers to the entire ritual chamber as the Intellectual Decompression Chamber, however I like to refer in particular to the ceremonial opening and closing elements of the ritual by this name. The third chapter of the Book of Belial in The Satanic Bible1 is entitled "The Ritual Chamber", from which I quote two paragraphs:

Book CoverThe formalized beginning and end of the ceremony acts 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, where the whole will must be employed. This facet of the ceremony is most important to the intellectual, as he especially requires the "decompression chamber" effect of the chants, bells, candles, and other trappings, before he can put his pure and wilful desires to work for himself, in the projection and utilization of his imagery.

The "intellectual decompression chamber" of the Satanic temple might be considered a training school for temporary ignorance, as are ALL religious services! The difference is that the Satanist KNOWS he is practicing a form of contrived ignorance in order to expand his will, whereas another religionist doesn't - or if he does know, he practices that form of self-deceit which forbids such recognition. His ego is already too shaky from his religious inculcation to allow himself to admit to such a thing as self-imposed ignorance!

"The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey (1969)1
Book of Belial 3:paragraphs 8-9

This acknowledges the dogmatic nature of all religious ritual and at the same time justifies it by explaining the blatant honesty with which all Satanic rituals are performed. The Satanist goes into the rituals with both eyes open, there is no deceit, Lucifer is the bringer of Light, of enlightenment, and the Satanic Rituals are meditative, contemplative and self-influential.