Well, a large and many-faced question to which every one of us will answer differently. Welcome on the forum.
Firstly, what is their to know of the Occult? In speaking of knowledge of the so called "black arts" and the paranormal.
To me, occultism is a key to understanding the law of nature, so in essence, everything. I see nothing as "unnatural" in the universe, and therefore, no thing is "paranormal" either, although I understand what you mean by this. As an occultist I wish to understand
; the essence of God (by which I do not mean a omnipotent and at the same time personal, benevolent God, as such a thing is an impossibility), various different planes -material or not-, basically all those things which have no ready answer but which are secrets. And in doing this, I wish to change myself for a more wholesome, patient, lacking a word here, better person.
What you can gain from any arts depends entirely on how you approach it and what your capacity and intention is. If the intention therein is simply to gain more power as quickly as possibly, the ride may be quite short and destructive; but again this is a question of how one approaches this work, what is one's capacities and beginning level. In this I am not attempting to appear as superior (indeed my understanding is but little) or elitistic, but simply stating what I have observed people who take shortcuts in occult work because it gives the promise of easy. There are no shortcuts to success. It's all hard work. I've seen people be tempted by astral phenomena and then they become servants in the worst sense possible of those distorted forms, leading to what we refer to as the "downwards path".
In short I'd say, one can not begin to hope to understand God (or universe) if they don't understand self. And the understanding of self is to an extent, the steps on the way of understanding God. In here I am not referring to this "we are all gods and goddesses even if we do nothing about anything and never put any work into anything" nonsense. In the wonderland of internet one will be able to find lots of opportunities to spend their money on courses which are supposed to open one's chakras, which make one a living god, which supposedly give magical spells guaranteed to work.
Equally one is able to spot societies and organisations which promise the same. Be wary of this kind of promises. Because if it really was that easy, every one would already have understood the secrets, and there would be no conflict in the world.
Secondly, what is the best way to be informed of demons? I've found a few very genuine books on demonology online, and I'm wondering if that would be the best way to go.
I think it's very difficult to do this simply because of the mass from which to choose. The best way is indeed to read as much as possible, especially the old texts on the subject, familiarize yourself with the laws of magic, be mindful of your working ethics in ritual work, adopt a respectful but not inferior approach (because no being is one's slave). And ask yourself why you wish to do this, what are your aims, is contact necessary or is theory enough. And then of course, are you seeking knowledge of western esotericism or perhaps something else? This is a universal phenomena after all.
Personally I use shamanistic techniques and approach, so goetic invocations for example, I don't do at all.
Finally, what are some of the "types" of Satanism? I'm very intrigued in learning more about them, and I'm attempting to see which one fits my way of thinking more. Is it best as well to find books on Satanism?
It's a bit of a rainbow really.
It might be an idea to read up on various Left hand path societies. Depending where you are at, there might be societies functioning in your country or in a city near you.
It's very hard to answer this question, because it's like asking what types of Christianity are there? Tons! To mention a few, in Satanism you have the "material approach", so the LaVeyan / Church of Satan approach. Then you have the anti-cosmic Satanists, or you might have currents of witchcraft which border or tap into Satanism. And then to add to the confusion, Satanists can be atheistic, theistic or agnostic. They can work alone always, or in groups.
Personally my approach is religious but not everyone has this in SoA.
The Star of Azazel differs from other societies in a sense that we believe in uniting the Left and Right hands in our work. We believe that violence is a mistake and that one should aim to lessen, not add, suffering in the world.
You're very welcome to continue reading, asking questions and conversing on our forums, many topics on various occult subjects. There's quite a pool of knowledge here, in a respectful and friendly environment that's very tolerant and welcoming to beginners and old bones alike. There's also lots of articles and other material on our website that you can look at.