The Satanists of Australia are gathering blood. Not to drink, or bathe in, but because they believe that offering blood aligns with the first of the Seven Tenets of The Satanic Temple: that “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.” By the Red Cross’ estimations, they’ve saved 15 lives this month alone.
The Blood for Satan donation drive is the country’s first Satanic charity event. In association with The Red Cross, Satanic Australia—the “nontheistic religious” group behind the plasma gathering—are encouraging members of the public to roll up their sleeves, cop a jab to the arm and donate in the name of the Devil. To be clear, these aren't the robe-wearing, witchcraft-practicing Satanists you might be used to.
“Satanists care for our fellow humans,” a spokesperson for Satanic Australia told VICE via Facebook. “Since we believe that action is more meaningful than prayer, a blood drive was a logical and appropriately Satanic way to help others out. Especially with donated blood only lasting 42 days on average—there just simply isn't enough to cover the demand.”
Satanic Australia’s mission statement is right there in the name: they want to bring Satanic change to Australia. But that isn’t as fire and brimstone as it might sound. As it turns out, the group’s new age model of Satanism ends up looking like a not-so-extreme form of left-wing activism: championing the causes of euthanasia, voluntary abortion and the separation of church and state.
“We are a rational, humanist organisation,” they explained. “Admittedly there were some concerned questions when we set up with the Red Cross, but ultimately once we explained who we were and what we were about, they were pretty cool.”
While some detractors have suggested that the blood is in fact being used for the group’s “stupid sacrifices and rituals”, Satanic Australia insist that they are not a magic group and their rituals “do not involve human or animal sacrifice”.
“We perform rituals because we find them fun,” they said. “It helps to build a strong sense of community within the group, and many of us just like the aesthetic.”
These liturgies consist more of “unbaptism rituals”—where a person lets go of religious dogmas and the guilt associated with so-called sins—and “destruction rituals”—when a person destroys an object that reminds them of a negative past experience—than they do the beheading of chickens and goats.
Overall, the Blood for Satan donation drive is just about raising nationwide awareness of the need to give blood. But Satanic Australia are also hoping to organise some group donation events in major cities where local Satanists, atheists, secularists and humanists can come together and contribute to the cause.
“These events will aim to embrace our differences and promote equality and benevolence, whilst encouraging each person to pursue their own path,” they say. “Each group is free to structure their donation however it works best for them.”
This article originally appeared on VICE AU.