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Is Witchcraft Satanic...?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.satanism,alt.religion.wicca,alt.witchcraft,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc
From: (SOD of the CoE)
Subject: Re: Is Witchcraft Satanic...?
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 00:03:04 GMT

50040315 vii 
Mary Meat!
#>#> in certain time periods and religious perspectives it is indeed.
#>#> some who write for witches and [even sources] that witches 
#>#> recommend even talk about the satanicness of witchery (e.g. 
#>#> "The Satanic Witch" and the Paul Huson book I mentioned!).

Gemini :
# That, is an oxymoron

there are more connections between Satan and witches than 
disconnects, from where I'm standing. I'll try to see 
from your perspective and I hope you'll do the same. :>

Gemini :
#># Just because certain religions and people of certain periods 
#># *perceived* witchcraft as satanic, 
#> even some witches themselves.

Gemini :
# Again, it doesn't make it true. 

"truth" is just a matter of matching up a description to someone's
experience. it doesn't make it true to you, of course. does it
make it true to the people of these periods and religions? if you
want a relative kind of truth such as defined by the individual,
then yes it certainly does make it true. if you want some kind of
objectivity (I'm *not* advocating for the infallibility or superior
authority of the latter as regards knowledge, believe you me!),
then I think there is also a case to be made, and I'm attempting
to make it here in this thread, seeing through individual 'truths'
(which I regard as opinions, sometimes uninformed) and toward a
more comprehensive view on the whole of the real. :>

# Just because someone perceives their self a vampire, doesn't 
# make them one. Or werewolf or intelligent or whatever. 
# Perception is simply that - perception.

agreed, especially as regards statements of condition. saying
that one is a vampire usually includes things about being
"undead" (having died and now being a thrall to some kind of
superior dead thing creeping in shadows afraid of light and
garlic and the like). it means someone lives solely off of
the blood of others, etc.  the category of vampires is not
clearly defined, in many ways like religious categories, 
but it does have to do with a *condition*.

this is a very intriguing topic to me, which is why I seek to
belabour the point slightly. I appreciate your willingness to
persist in grinding out the rudiments of your ideas and the
rational support for them. I think your points are important,
and I'd like to contrast those from other quadrants here.

from what I can tell, religions are different than categories
of monsters like werewolves and vampires. we have definitive
characteristics of these monsters, though they sometimes will
shift slightly in the writings of others. usually when some
individual CLAIMS TO BE a vampire, we can ascertain that they
are role-playing, are not dead (or indeed undead), or that
those who claim to be werewolves do not in fact have a disease 
which makes them grow hair all over their body at the full of 
Luna and become immune to ordinary bullets, ravaging the 
occasional passerby (lycanthropy only has some of these effects).

we can class the "Satanist" as a kind of monster, but this is
as unfair to the Satanist as it would be to class any other
religious with monsters and demons, ever Other and relegated
to some qualifying criteria which we will always control.

I would agree, therefore, that perception is perception, and
that if we wish to examine the true nature of things we have
to look a bit closer and discern the facts. where it comes to
religious individuals, it is almost always best to look at what
religious say about THEMSELVES and see how much of what they
say is carried out in practice. Satanists should be no different.

#># does not mean that they are satanic. 
#> part of the problem is the ambiguity of the terms. religious are 
#> too often willing to accept a single dimension of meaning for these
#> terms and broad-brush them across the whole of a topic area. this
#> seems to apply whether the painter is someone seeking to condemn
#> others [or] someone who seeks to evade the condemnation of others.
# This is true, and over time, makes the terms even more ambiguous.

granted this, then we should not be surprised if the statement 
which I am contesting is in some meanings true and in others false.
more below.

#># Witchcraft is a very old practice, predating the Judeo-Christian 
#># entity of satan. 
#> there we agree.
# cool. :-)

inasmuch as 'satanism' (which I would in fact discern from 'Satanism'
by the way: the former is created by Christians to plaster upon their
opponents and condemn and the latter is created by those interior or 
outside Christianity in regard to a concept, spirit or entity which 
Jews, Christians, and Muslims seem to have demonized and feared 
through centuries) is the worship of the anti-god of the Christian 
religion, we are in complete agreement that most of those who 
identify as witches do not venerate this entity and most are 
actually *anti-Satanists*, linking Satan with Christianity 
and rejecting the *existence* of such a being. 

it is this with which I expect you'll agree, and I think it true.

however, inasmuch as 'Satanism' may be observed as a transcultural
phenomenon as described by Satanists, the focus of admiration, or
emulation, or worship appears to be something *dependent for name*
upon the culture in which it arises. as such, the question of
whether this being called 'Satan' (amongst any number of other
names) is what Christians or witches or whathaveyou believe it to
be immediately becomes important in our discussion on the matter.

just as we would not wish to require everyone accept the biased
Christian viewpoint on the matter of the character and nature 
of our Neopagan gods, whether as "demons" or "spirits of 
indeterminate character" or even "fallen angels", so we should
not, as open-minded Neopagans, expect that all Satanists should
cohesively adhere to some simple-minded inverso-religion about
which some Christians and some Neopagans have become convinced.

not only this, to begin to classify the existential character
of the focus of other religious is *insulting to them*! there is
really no need for us to decide for Satanists that their focus
of worship or admiration is "merely an idea" or "the Christian
anti-God", especially if they don't agree! we can listen to what
it is that *Satanists* say about their religion and then begin
to reflect upon this as what they themselves believe. some of
the Satanists whose paths I've crossed do think of Satan as an
idea worthy of holding up in Promethean, Luciferian splendour,
symbolizing human liberation and rebellion against domineering 
gods like the Judeochristian Old Testament chieftain Yahwe or 
New Testament fictions. other Satanists attribute to Satan a 
far more concrete and interactive being of variable quality
which they do *not* usually think of as inherent to Christianity.

#> overlaps are demonstrable. the instances that I pointed out above
#> (LaVey's incorporation of witchery into his Satanism and Huson's
#> "Mastering the Art of Witchcraft", recommended by Wiccans and I
#> might add a very well-written and entertaining book citing the
#> origins of witch-powers as deriving from the Fallen Angels) are
#> examples of these overlaps. combine this with the obvious witch
#> craze incidents, and you cannot deny that at least some common
#> ground exists between the two at least in folklore and in some
#> trajectories of witchcraft as it proceeds into religious form.
#> even such figures as Gerald Gardner focussed heavily on the
#> figure of Satan and the notion of Satanist Sabbats in his early
#> text reflecting on Pennethorne Hughes.
# There might be overlaps, but, just because a witch decides they 
# want to follow satan, doesn't make witches satanists. 

your logic is impeccable. I couldn't agree with you more to this
point. anything that any single individual or member of a group 
does has no necessary bearing on the character of the religion
of the rest. just because a Satanist decides that they want to
undertake witchcraft, this doesn't mean that all Satanists are
therefore witches. I'm not yet convinced that witchcraft is a
religion, but we'll get to that.

# At that point, they are no longer witches, but satanists 

here I lose you. why does this make them "no longer witches"?
do witches have a particular focus of worship that forbids
them from becoming Satanists for some reason? it is in part
this kind of contention which leads me to believe that the
Neopagans which are doctrinal *are in fact Christians, but
antagonistic to their parent-faith* ("My gods exist, the
Christian god and anti-god does not." etc.).

# - even if they DO continue to use what they learned/practiced 
# as a witch. Sometimes things become bastardized, by combining 
# several beliefs into something else. Know what I mean?

not really. I'm not sure of the beliefs that you think are
maintained by all witches or all Satanists. the vast complex
of Neopagan and neuvoreligious include so many differing 
kinds of people and groups, so many divergent beliefs, most 
of them apparently NONDOCTRINAL (i.e. no specific beliefs are
required), that I don't understand your conclusions here at 
*all*. I'd love to hear more, however.

#># Witchcraft has no connection to/nor any interest in satanism. 
#> my 2 examples above directly dispute this. all that you can say
#> in response is that you don't think 1) LaVey or his daughter
#> were witches (in which case you've begun a problematic attempt
#> to identify witches as compared with non-witches), 

this is what you believe: that they were never witches as long
as they were "Satanists" by your assessment (which I don't
think that they ever were -- they specifically opposed the idea
of Christianity and claimed to be atheists, but they identified 
by this name).

#> or 2) Paul Huson wasn't making a connection between 
#> "Fallen Angels" and the instruction of witchcraft (in which 
#> case you're easily demonstrated in error with a quote from 
#> the text).
# See my above point.

apparently you don't believe that Huson is instructing 
witchcraft, though some witches might have recommended 
his books. the text in question does contain clear
references to apocrypha of Christianity (specifically
the Book of Enoch -- check it out!). one might also
mention here the text "Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches",
which has the couple Diana and *Lucifer* as important
gods. one might go all day denying something is "really
witchcraft". what you consider to be witchcraft is 
apparently falling within a very narrow range. in fact,
the narrowness of your views makes your claims false.
#># There is simply no correlation between the two.
#> there is a correlation in the minds of those who use witches
#> as condemnation-scheme place-holders for heretics and Satan
#> Servants. there is also a correlation between witchcraft and
#> those who either identify as Satanists or utilize the stories
#> of Christians to undergird their cosmological expression.
# The bottom line being that these people are ignorant, 
# and usually refuse to believe anything different, 

the first group I agree conform to this description and are 
blanketing their condemnation across all manner of individuals 
about whom they probably know or knew very little. the latter 
is not, and you have not made a case that they are in fact so 
ignorant, just stated it flatly. it is this latter for which I 
have provided very clear and well-known examples, to which you 
have not cogently responded except as to repeat your beliefs.

# but, just because they have a warped perception, doesn't make 
# them right - even if *they* believe they are right. 

what does make someone (anyone) right? especially as regards
what one is oneself doing and who one is oneself worshipping?
why would you wish to repeat the errors of the religious before
you who took it upon themselves to evaluate and dismiss the
religious activities of others as "ignorant" without coming to
know in some proximity those who were engaging in the religion?

# Satanist are simply another sect of xtianity. 

and upon what do you base this opinion, other than that you
have been taught this by Christians?

# When you believe in/worship satan, 

many Satanists do neither of these things.

# no matter *what* you called yourself in the past, or 

I'm not sure how this applies except that it excludes the
condemnation schemes, about which we substantially agree.

# no matter what belief structures you draw from currently, 

what if one isn't drawing from a belief structure? for
example, it is my contention that witches stretch very
far across a range of belief, and that belief ITSELF is
not a qualifier for Neopagan religion of any kind. do
you know differently? is there a requirement in your
Neopagan witch coven that certain beliefs must be held
in order to be a witch? if so, what are these beliefs?

# the simple fact is that you are a xtian satanist, 

you've already agreed with me that terminology is ambiguous.
granted this, "believe in/worship satan" is also very vague,
inasmuch as the figure/character "satan" is given no strict
identification, cosmological context, or specific qualities.

your contention is that anyone with any relation of this
type to anything they call "satan" (/Satan presumably) is
ipso facto a Christian accepting Christian cosmology and
values. do you know that there are very many examples to
the contrary which I have logged and archived for a greater
understanding of cross-religious tolerance?

are you aware of the fabulous website by the Ontario 
Consultants on Religious Tolerance (OCRT) promoting a wider 
understanding between religious, which maintains many very 
concise descriptions of modern religion, and which is 
largely at variance with your contentions regarding Satanism??
	Promoting religious understanding, tolerance and freedom.  

does it matter that you might be spreading lies that Christians
have helped to promote in order to divide up non-Christian
religious and set us against one another, kin against kin? 

I urge you to think very carefully about the importance of the 
beliefs you have about other religions and what your criticisms 
and strong lines of demarcation may do to undermine what you 
value and what you actually believe. :>

# and even if *they* want to call themselves a witch, 
# its simply not true. 

it is certainly not true to you. we can understand that much.

# They no longer qualify as a witch under its truest definition.

here is the crux of the discussion, then. what do you think is
"the truest definition of 'witch'" and why are you so convinced
that there are no other relevant or supportable alternatives?

# Sorry if I was ambiguous, I really suck at orchestrating my point.

I think you're doing fine! I hope we can work all the way through
the meat of the discussion and examine the parameters of reliable
knowledge, where it ends, and who should be making assessments of
the religions of others, the status of the gods of others, and why.

blessed beast! :>

boboroshi at-sign Satanic Outreach Director
Church of Euthanasia:
Ninth Scholar's Library (Satanism Archive):

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