a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


History of Satanism

From: (nocTifer)
Subject: History of Satanism (II - Literary)
Date: Sun, 3 May 1998 19:31:04 -0700 (PDT)
49980502 aa2 Hail Satan!

History of Satanism

Part Two: Literary Satanism

comments/review welcome.

beginning with the balance of citations from Baskin on Lit and Arts:
$ LITERATURE AND SATAN -- The literature of the Middle
$ Ages teems with demons.  In modern times, poets and
$ dramatists have kept alive the personality of the Devil.
$ The Don Juan legend has been explored by many writers
$ since its introduction by Tirso de Molina in the seventeenth
$ century.  Vondel, Holland's greatest poet, devoted his
$ masterpiece to Lucifer; Milton assigned him the main role
$ in _Paradise Lost_ (1667); Goethe made Mephistopheles one
$ of the major figures in his _Faust_; de Vigny (1824) and
$ Lermontov (1840) wrote poems about Lucifer; Leopardi
$ sketched out a hymn to Ahriman (1835); Ibsen called Satan
$ 'the 'Great Curve' in _peer Gynt_ (1867); one of the 
$ manifestoes of German Romanticism, _Die Rauber (1781)
$ is an apology for Lucifer; Carducci made Satan the symbol
$ of liberty and progress; and Ferdinando Trinnanzi (1879-
$ 1940) revived the great vision of Origen and expressed
$ the hope that Satan would find redemption.  Among many
$ other writers who have produced significant works related
$ to Satan or Satanism are Huysmans, Baudelaire, the Marquis
$ de Sade, Laclos, Balzac, Hugo, Byron, Isadore Ducasse, Yeats,
$ Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Jarry Rimbaud, Bernanos, Montherlant,
$ Camus, and Gide.

alot to work with here, though certainly some of these authors
were merely portraying Satan in an uncomplementary fashion.

$ SATAN IN ART -- Artists have treated the theme of the Devil
$ variously, Hieronymus Bosch portrays him as the ape of God,
$ supreme master of disorder.  Albrecht Durer depicts him as
$ a pig waiting to snatch a human soul.  Goya shows him as a
$ goat.  He often appears in medieval art and sculpture as a
$ grotesque figure with horns and tail.

it was the graphic arts of Satan and demons which convinced me
of the identity between Satan and wild nature.  I've not seen
Durer, but Bosch and Goya are very lovely.

$ -----------------------------------------------------------
$ _Dictionary of Satanism_, by Wade Baskin, 
$  Philosophical Library, 1972; various pp.
$ __________________________________________ 


lastly I append for your review text posted by Kyr and
myself to Usenet.  the text to which I was referring was,
as I recall, the espousal of an orgSatanist who was to
be writing an article on Literary Satanism.  I critiqued
his text and never heard back from him.  comments welcome.

To: alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan,alt.satanism
Subject: Re: Literary Satanism 
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 20:01:18 -0600 (CheshireHawk):
# Also.. I've heard the term "literary Satanism".. where would that fit?

  Literary Satanism (in western literature, anyway) probably begins with
Milton's "Paradise Lost". Milton's Satan is a magnificent, courageous,
tragic character, rather in the mold of Homer's Achilles. He gets all the
best lines and the best decriptions - at the poem's start, anyhow. As the
story progresses his character becomes much pettier. Milton's God, by
contrast, is a vindictive bore all the way through. Blake thought that
Milton was unconsciously "of the devil's party" because he wrote so well
about Satan and so badly about God. Satan's character was an inspiration
to the Romantics, people like Byron, Shelley, Blake and Baudelaire. They
saw him as the archetype of the individualist who rebels against tyranny
and conformity, and also as Lucifer/Prometheus, the spirit which
liberates humans from ignorance. Satan stood for liberality. Baudelaire
wrote about him as a kind of champion of the underdog and the oppressed,
effectively a substitute Christ. The Romantics saw in Milton's Satan the
spirit of their own imagination, that which dares to "dream the
impossible dream". If you extend the term "Literary Satanism" to cover
works which don't actually mention Satan, the list would be very long
indeed. As an example, I would call Shakespeare's Cleopatra a Satanic
character - proud, sensual, individualist, looks out for number one,
refuses to submit to Caesar's authority. The play could be called Satanic
in that (IMO) it portrays her in an admiring light. That's a very brief
and sketchy account, but I hope it sheds a little light on the subject.
The literary side of things doesn't seem to get discussed much on
alt.satanism, but it shouldn't be underestimated. My own investigations
into Satanism began when I read "Paradise Lost" at 16 and fell horns over
hoofs in love...



To: Zazas-L Elist (
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: Literary Satanism
Date: 1 Mar 1998 19:28:43 -0500

49970702 aa2 Hail Satan!

[this from private correspondence; please excuse the choppiness - n]

...literary Satanism is a vast subject and I'm only just
beginning a study of it, having perused through an overview of the
concept of 'the Devil' in Western literature as given by JBRussell (JBR)
(this included some nice pointers to the literary tradition of which
I will try to make note below; they also point to the *philosophical*
tradition amongst what I would class as Satanists (materialism, and 
in particular atheism), and it was this upon which I'll been 
focussing after my indulgence in a collection of graphics).


Literary Satanism

in reading JBR's overview of Milton's treatment of Satan in both of 
the latter's works (Lost and Regained), I came away with the 
impression that Satan was not at all the hero and instead that Milton 
is sorely misunderstood by Western readers, inclusive and perhaps 
*especially* by Satanists.  I think JBR's text is worth a scan as 
an argument in this light and that a thorough review of scholars 
of literature who have interest in the matter is valuable in 
pursuit of any resolution.  I know when I tried to read Milton 
directly it was not at all easy for me to parse.  not quite as 
daunting as King James English, but not too far beyond it in my 
fair nonmodern-English illiteracy.

luckily the Abyss had Russell's _Mephistopheles..._ still checked
out from the local library, so I reproduce relevant portions:

	The deep power of Milton's Satan raised a long-standing
	debate as to whether Satan was the real hero of
	_Paradise Lost_.  The answer depends upon what one means
	by "hero."  In a purely literary sense, the hero is the
	protagonist, the character who most moves the action
	along.  Dryden and others in Milton's own time saw Satan
	as the hero in this sense.  The action of the poem is
	the struggle between Satan on the one side and Adam,
	Christ, and the Father on the other.  That three
	characters are needed -- two of them divine -- are 
	needed on one side to balance one on the other indicates
	the dramatic power of the one.  Further, since only one
	who changes can carry the action, the eternal and
	unchanging Father can scarcely be the hero, and even
	the Son is too remote and impervious.  As protagonist,
	Adam has severe limitations: half the battle between
	God and Devil is already over before attention can focus
	on Adam, and he is too passive, too acted upon -- by God,
	Eve, and Devil -- to be the hero.  (Some critics have
	argued that the dramatic hero is really Milton or the

	...Satan could be both opponent and hero; indeed, he
	needed to be in order to make Christ's triumph in the
	war in Heaven noble and magnificent....

	...Milton was able to depict Satan as heroic and at the
	same time cast doubts upon his heroism by taking an
	ironic distance and showing in action, dialogue, and
	asides that Satan's apparent heroism is sham.  It is
	hard to retain a heroic picture of Satan when one is
	brought up against his incest with his daughter Sin,
	his ugliness..., his stench..., his filth..., and his
	grotesque parody of God....  Yet these are corrections
	to our first impulse to admire his rich, sensuous,
	lofty rhetoric and is determination to be true to
	himself, enduring every defeat and agony in his fierce
	his fierce adherence to his own identity in the face
	of a superior power determined to destroy him.

	Milton certainly knew what he was doing when he made
	the character of Satan powerfully attractive.  He
	intended the reader to be caught up in admiration,
	to feel the tug of attraction to the terrible, self-
	indulgent prince of darkness, to feel the pull of
	that darkness of self turned forever narrowly down
	into itself instead of opened up courageously to the
	broad world of light and beauty.  He intended us to
	identify with the Devil and then, as the poem
	develops, to identify the gradual revelation of his
	viciousness and his impotence with the understanding
	of our own sin and weakness.  Milton applied the 
	characteristics of the epic hero to Satan so that the
	reader could see the emptiness of loveless heroism
	in a world governed in reality by love.  Though the
	poetic personality of Milton's Satan is so strong
	that those unfamiliar with Christianity can mistake
	him for a noble figure (as the nineteenth-century
	Romantics did...) *Paradise Lost* is best read in
	the spirit in which Milton intended it.

		{NOTE: Modern writers favoring the view
		that Satan is the real moral hero include
		W. Empson, *Milton's God*, 2d ed.
		Cambridge, 1981).  Those defending Milton
		and Milton's own view include, above all,
		C. S. Lewis, *A Preface to Paradise Lost*,
		2d ed. (London, 1960).  See also D. R.
		Danielson, *Milton's Good God: A Study in
		Literary Theodicy* (Cambridge, 1982); 
		R. Comstock, *The God of Paradise Lost*
		Berkeley, 1986).}


	As C. S. Lewis remarked, Satan is gradually
	reduced from bright angel to peeping, prying,
	lying thing that ends as a writhing snake.
	_Mephistopheles: the Devil in the Modern World_,
	by Jeffrey Burton Russell, Cornell University,
	1986; pp. 97-9, 112.

given the above I think it valuable to reconsider whether the English
speaking came to know "the devil" in anything but a *Christian*,
albeit majestic, sense within _Paradise Lost_.  one has to, in effect, 
do what one does with popular Christian interpretations of Satan in 
order to come up with any kind of complimentary perspective on Satan 
from Milton.  the apparent fact that Romantic poets were inspired in 
their MISinterpretation of Milton does not make Milton more the 
Satanic source.  

in my previous contemplation of all this, and subsequent anger at the
fact that Milton and his Christian Satan have been so oft-portrayed
as Satanic, I tried to point out the real alternative (but a spark 
or glimpse) in a small poem (this revisitation uncovered its absence!):

whether Goethe (1808) provides a model of the modern Satanic hero
depends on whether you include Goethe's second half of his Faust
work, or whether you just treat the initial alone, I gather.  I
have not got hold of the second portion as yet, only seen an
overview.  the first part was quite strange and I didn't get the
impression that Faust was in it so much for power as knowledge
and as Goethe portrays it, is on a path of Christian salvation.

it seems to me that omitting specific mention of the details of
Geothe's _Faust_ may be best, instead providing an overview of
the Faustian tradition (perhaps beginning with Rabelais) as an
important element of Satanic inspiration ('pact with Satan').
after all, Goethe's is a work following on an extant depiction
of the theme in literary and puppetry sources (apparently as a
reflection of Marlowe).

Faust agrees with Mephisto to be his servant in the next world
if Mephisto is his during his life.  the pact then transposes,
as Russell puts it, into a second wager that Mephisto derail
Faust from his striving and bid a moment of pleasure linger in
exchange for exposure to Mephisto's occult knowledge.

there is no selling of souls here for there is no acknowledgement
of such an object (per my memory of Part One and seemingly also
that of Russell).  that is, Goethe's Faust is a scholar striving
for occult knowledge, and Mephisto as Devil engages him directly
for the purposes of ephemeral antagonism (as Russell points out,
Mephisto's limitation prevents the first pact from ever coming
to resolution with Faust's service, and the tale plainly turns
into a Christian success story in Part Two by Russell's reckoning
despite the lovelessness of Part One -- it appears that this
quality of lovelessness is a commonality betwixt Milton and Goethe,
and I suggest that it features precisely because they are Christian
writers exalting Satan as its lack and Christ as its fulfillment).

Russell I think correctly portrays Mephisto as not at all admirable:

	Essentially blind to reality, Mephistopheles tries to
	negate and destroy it.  He denies the value of
	existence and declares that the purpose of creation is
	to be destroyed.  He hates beauty, freedom, and life
	itself; he causes the deaths of individuals and advocates
	ruinous social policies that destroy multitudes.  This
	nihilism is the essence of evil, and it comes directly
	from God....  Like the traditional Devil, Mephisto is
	a liar and a cheater, a master of illusion who repeatedly
	shifts his shape, appearing as a dog, a scholar, a knight,
	a fool, a magician, and a general.  With sophistry,
	flattery, and gossip he sows doubt and distrust; he uses
	his magic to instill illusions, hallucinations, and dreams;
	as conselor of state he creates false wealth, and as a
	general he destroys armies by committing illusory troops
	to battle.  The spirit of chaos and disorder in the natural
	world, he also promotes disorder in society by disrupting
	justice.  He delights in cruelty and suffering.  He tempts
	and threatens in his efforts to corrupt and is most 
	pleased with the despair of the innocent.  Incapable of
	grasping what love means, he promotes coarseness and
	brutality in sexual relations.  He opposes social reforms
	and crushes a revolution against tyranny.  He regrets his
	unfallen past but refuses to repent, falling into the sin
	of despair.  Yet he speaks for Goethe in his ironic
	comments on philosophers, professors, fanatics, generals,
	clergymen, bureaucrats, politicians, and exploitative
	Ibid., pp. 159-61.

I don't see either of these as heroic in any meaningful
and lasting sense.  I would take what little I know of Shaw's
Satan to be much more heroic in the sense of aesthetic refinement.

Russell quotes correspondence with Flaubert and states that:

	more often, Baudelaire took Satan as the symbol of human
	evil and perhaps even as a personal entity.
	Ibid., p. 206.

thus what modern Satanists consider to be 'Baudelaire's Satan' 
may in fact be a re-interpretation of Romantic or modern 
writers/readers.  the goth culture may well, perhaps like the 
Romantics in the early 1800s, be re-interpreting and re-inventing
Satan to suit their needs while drawing mistakenly from those
who portrayed the Devil in substantially Christian ways.

#>...For further reading see _The
#>Devil's Mischief_ By Ed Marquand 1996, _The Devil in Legend and
#>Literature_ by Maximilian Rudwin (latest reprint 1989 Open
#>Court), _Literature and Evil_ by Georges Bataille 1957, and _The
#>Devil's Race-Track: Mark Twain's Great Dark Writings_ 1966. The
#>greatest quick introduction to Satanism remains Huck Finn's
#>"Alright then I'll go to hell" speech when he decides to protect
#>Jim from the law....  

thanks for these references.  Russell's attitude toward Satanism 
and in particular the Temple of Set is asinine, but my interest is 
more with his specialization in philosophy and literature rather 
than as an apparently distracted Christian religionist.  my read of
Goethe and other texts he reviews is supportive of his acuteness
and depth of vision, and his preparatory remarks on evil and the
notion of analyzing literature in the history of concepts strikes 
me as genius in its conciseness and insight into method.

both of these posts were found in the Hollyfeld Archives.

blessed beast!
nocTifer:  ---
TOKUS-COE Office: 408/2-666-SLUG --- Emergency Contraception:18005849911

From  Thu May  7 07:59:16 1998
Received: from ( [])
	by (8.8.5/8.8.5) with ESMTP id HAA14908
	for ; Thu, 7 May 1998 07:59:16 -0700
Received: from ( [])
	by (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id HAA03364
	for ; Thu, 7 May 1998 07:56:10 -0700
Received: from by venus with SMTP Local (MMTA v2.2) 
          with ESMTP; Thu, 7 May 1998 15:39:40 +0100
Received: from ( []) 
          by (8.8.5/8.6.12) with SMTP id PAA13761;
          Thu, 7 May 1998 15:39:37 +0100 (BST)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 07 May 1998 15:39:13 +0000
From: Peter Edwards 
Organization: The Open University
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01Gold (Win95; I)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Newsgroups: alt.satanism,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan
To: nocTifer 
Subject: Re: (Z) History of Satanism (1; LONG) (was Church of Satan FAQ)
References: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Status: ROr

Hi Tagi,

> $ WILLIAMSON, CECIL -- A practicing sorcerer living in
> $ Bocastle, England.  He is the proprietor of the Witches' House,
> $ said to be Europe's most extensive museum of black magic.
> $ He claims to have produced spirits by ritual magic.

> is this fellow or his Witches' House still extant?

He was an acquaintance of Gerald Gardner's who fell out with
him, I believe. He used to own the witchcraft museum at Boscastle,
Cornwall, until he sold it last year to Graham and Liz King.
He is now retired but you could reach him by writing to him
c/o The Museum of Witchcraft, The Harbour, Boscastle, Cornwall, UK
should you wish to question purported materializations. He wrote
on one of his exhibit labels that he tried most of the spells etc. 
he came across and also described some of the local cursing cases
he helped resolve.

The museum itself is well worth a visit, they have a collection 
of cursing objects, poppets and so on, other witchcraft, Satanic 
and Golden Dawn paraphernalia and Crowley's chalice on loan.
Some of the exhibits are quite lively, others, like the GD rods
and dagger, are not.

I believe they are planning to create a web version of the
collection at some point and are working on scanning material
into a database at the moment.

We publish a regular news from the witchcraft museum column:

Regards, Peter
Pagan Central magazine and UK Pagan Federation Central Region

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races