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Historical Basis to the Religion of Satanism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.satanism,alt.magick.folk,alt.lucky.w
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Historical Basis to the Religion of Satanism (was Satanism ...)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 06:12:56 GMT

CoE SOD wrote:
> "Lord Egan"  posted:

> > Satanism and the History of Wicca
> > by Diane Vera
> > Originally written January 1992.
> > Revised January 1994, March 1996.
> >
> > There's also a possibility that Wicca borrowed ideas from writings 
> > about actual Satanists living in the late-19th or early-20th  
> > century. In Crafting the Art of Magic, Aidan Kelly says Gerald 
> > Gardner drew  key concepts from the description of Ozark folk 
> > witchcraft, including  folk Satanism, in the 1947 book Ozark  
> > Superstition by Vance Randolph. I'll admit that Kelly's conclusions 
> > have been challenged by other historically-knowledgeable Wiccans.
> the problem is that there IS NO "folk Satanism" contained in this 
> book. we have a copy of it here at ArkaotikA, and it contains no 
> mentions of "Satan" that I can discover. its references are to "the 
> Devil" and most appear to be of a meeting and a bogey, few if any 
> admirable mentions of this being, and no worshipping that I can 
> detect; no 'Satan'. this was apparently the European "Der Teufel" 
> rather than some Judeo-christian Satan.

I agree -- i have owned Randolph's "Ozark Superstitions" (Columbia
University press, 1947) since i was a teenager way back in the early
1960s and i have read it through and through. I also -- partially
prompted by this and Randolph's many other books on Ozark forklore --
lived in the Ozarks for ten years, from 1972-1982. 

Randolph's collected tales of the Devil are few compared to those about
witchcraft -- and they are all about the Germanic domestic "Teufel" type
of Devil -- a shape-shifting and/or cloven-hoofed woods-demon who scares
travellers at night, takes the form of a weird black dog (the booger
dog), and leaves no foot-tracks when he walks in the snow. (p. 276) When
rain falls while the Sun is shining it means that "the Devil is whuppin'
his wife." (p. 17) The Devil hates salt. (p. 282) People are often
fooled into thinking they have met the Devil in a buryin' ground, but it
was only someone playing a trick on them. (pp. 212 - 213) The Devil
lives in a hole in the ground that smells of brimstone somewhere in
Missouri or Arkansas, trapped under a fall of rock, and dark-visaged
"furriners" are seen near there. (pp. 276-277) Local landmarks given
names like "The Devil's Half-Acre" and "Devil's Backbone" testify to
regional consciousness about the Devil -- but when Randolph asked folks
who lived near these places if they knew where the Devil's reputed hole
in the ground was, they always said it was at another, distant location.
I myself tramped over the Devil's Backbone -- a long ridge -- in
Missouri and no one there whom i asked knew where the Devil lived. 

In short, Aidan Kelly may be right about a lot of other things, but he
is wrong in his description of Vance Randolph's book -- there is no
mention of "folk Satanism," no mention of "Satan," and no mention of
either Satan-worship or Devil-worship in this exhaustive study of Ozark
folklore and spiritual beliefs. 

cat yronwode 

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