It's official: Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) is a full-blown member of the Church of Night. The final episode of Part One of Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina's first season ended with our protagonist signing her name in the Book of the Beast, pledging herself to the Dark Lord and, as a bonus, turning her hair platinum. Now, in the recently-released Christmas special, we see Sabrina's newfound allegiance in action. However, I wouldn't blame you for not quite understanding what that really means. The Church Of Night has always been a bit of a mystery, and the Netflix show enjoys gradually revealing crazier and crazier things about the fictional religion. Now that Sabrina has chosen to be a part of it, we might as well get familiar. Starting with: What is it?
The Church Of Night is a coven (a gathering of witches who regularly meet). This particular gathering of witches gather to worship the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord is literally Satan. In the show, he is a stomping goat with horns who often appears via possession or creepily in the background of shots. He represents evil and free will, but we have to remember that evil is, like, a "cool" thing in Sabrina.
The Church Of Night is led by a High Priest. Sabrina's father was the High Priest, and was known for his progressive values. Now, however, it's lead by Father Blackwood (Richard Coyle), who is also the headmaster of the Academy of Unseen Arts.
To join the Church Of Night, you must sign your name in the Book Of The Beast on your 16th birthday. This ceremony is called a "Dark Baptism" — Sabrina famously fled hers. By signing your name, you also sign over your life and agree to serve the Dark Lord.
From that point on, things aren't too different. Well, except for all the cannibalism. Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving, witches celebrate the "Feast of Feasts" by sacrificing and devouring one of their own. #Thankful. Christmas is a little less gruesome, instead called the "Solstice" and is a time when demons run amok. #Festive.
Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of putting the Church of Night under the broad umbrellas of Satanism or Paganism. As Pagan set designer Lisa Soper told Refinery29, it's actually a blend of aspects pulled from many religions.
“We are taking from some parts of reality to help sculpt this to make it more layered and textured and creative and interesting for people that might have a hand in a certain belief or not,” she told a group of reporters on a set visit in October. “None of it’s made to offend. It’s all made to try to elevate...I myself as a Pagan think it’s funny. I think it’s great." Soper compares the use to Satan in the series to the use of Santa as a symbol of Christmas. "I don’t believe in Satan, but I draw him every day, and I put him in the show, and I think it’s wonderful," she said. "I would say the same thing when you watch Spirit of Christmas and Santa comes down the chimney. Santa’s not real, he doesn’t actually come down the chimney, but we understand that.”
Sometimes, in fact, Santa is actually a demon on earth who steals the bodies and souls of children. That will make a lot more sense when you watch the Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Christmas special but, warning: It won't be any less terrifying.