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On Satanism

To: alt.satanism,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: On Satanism 

49980613 aa3 Hail Satan!

1 Christianity and the Concept of Satan
In _Witchcraft_, Pennethorne Hughes wrote:
"First, the new witch denied the Christian faith and baptism, some-
times gratuitously emphasizing the sincerety of this by insulting
the Virgin Mary (known as the Anomalous Woman), spitting on the
Cross, and so on.  This was followed by vows to the adopted god,
the Devil.  As time went on, he was the Christian Devil, but
earlier he was more perceptibly the old fertility god, and the
witches vowed themselves his not only soul, but body and soul.
The process was pantomimed in the custom of the Scottish witches
of putting one hand to the crown of the head, and the other on
the sole of the foot, and dedicating to the service of the Master
all that lay in between the two hands.  Professor Murray quotes
a case where a pregnant woman excepted the unborn child, and the
Devil was very angry."
p. 96.

the religion of Christianity is a complex patchwork of
Mystery cults, ecclesiastic architectures, mythic collage,
and social infrastructure, its components brought
together by a number of factions from several time
periods and locations to serve a variety of purposes.

the concept of Satan as an entity can be traced to its
roots in pre-Christian religions: as cosmic antagonist
(the Egyptian Seth or Mazdaist Ahriman), rebel against
the God (the Jewish Azazel), the God's Attorney General
(the Jewish Satan of "Job"), the liberator of humankind
(the Greek Prometheus), and the natural hedonist (the
Greek Pan or Dionysus), among others.

the character and appearance of 'the Devil', as he came
to be called, were consolidated and shifted over the
course of Christian history, the first official description
was published at the Council of Toledo in 447 CE:

          a large black monstrous apparition with horns
          on his head, cloven hooves -- or one cloven hoof --
          ass's ears, hair, claws, fiery eyes, terrible teeth,
          an immense phallus, and a sulphurous smell. (PHughes)

this magnified into several co-options from the sources
mentioned previously, and others, to form a literary
tradition used to support or reject the Christian religion
over the last 1500 years.

2 Condemnation and Co-option
Gerald Gardner (arguablly the founder of modern witchcraft) wrote:
" should be noted that there are certain rites where
a man must be the leader, but if a man of requisite rank
is not available, a chief priestess belts a sword on
and is thought of as a man for the occasion.  But although
woman can on occasion take man's place, man can never take
woman's place.  This may derive from the time of the
associations of Druidesses of whom the Romans spoke as
witches.  Whether these were true Druidesses I do not know.
It seems to have been a separate religious organization,
possibly under the rule of the chief Druid, much in the same
way that there was a priest or someone who might turn up
at a witches' meeting and be acknowledged chief who came
to be called "The Devil" in mediaeval times."

_Witchcraft Today_, pp. 43-4.

this literary tradition inspired or was used to justify a
host of peculiar developments in European history,
from mass-executions to anti-Christian religious rites
that featured the new bogey in preferred variation.

the history is blurred through the screed of politicians
posing as historians, advocating their particular slant,
so the exact details are not accounted.  but there were
at least rumors and legends through the years of those
who worshipped or served this Christian antagonist,
whether as interpreted merely by those who condemned
them or on the part of those who sought his assistance.

French writers such as Jules Michelet (a well-known
historian) described the transformation of pre-Christian
religions into devout diabolism.  English publicists such
as Pennethorne Hughes painted rich proseic imagery to
match the fantastic genius of painters such as the Dutchman
Hieronymous Bosch, and provided a presumed history of
witchcraft, diabolism and satanism.

fomenting an incredibly rich cultural tapestry (the
demonology and pacts such as that of Marlowe and Goethe's
Fausts, the nightmares of Dante's and Milton's Christian
apologies, the beatification of the Eden serpent and Devil
by a variety of Gnostics, and the admirable Satans of Shaw and
Twain),  these fine texts were utilized as structural support
for cosmologic underpinnings to defend or refute the
Christian religious tradition.

those who condemned their non-Christian religious rivals
ascribed allegiance to the Worker of All Evils, that Devil
whose insidious interventions had wrought the downfall
of Primordial Man and continued to threaten existence
through nefarious and deceitful enterprises.

those who co-opted the bogey into a hero and underdog
in order to combat their oppressors described the Light-
Bringer and genius who fought for the liberation of
humanity from the clutches of a tyrannical archon, that
rapacious chieftain of a tribe of dominating warriors and
hypocritical priests.

3 History of Satanism as a Religion
Gardner's spiritual successor, Doreen Valiente, wrote:
"The spirits of Nature which the pagans sensed as
haunting lonely places, were neither good nor evil.  They
were simply different from man, not flesh and blood,
and therefore best regarded with caution and respect.
People of Celtic blood in the lonelier parts of the
British Isles take this attitude to this day towards the
fairies, whom they call the Good Neighbours or the People
of Peace.

"The Devil is that which is wild, untamed, and
unresolved -- in nature, and in human nature.  He is
the impulses in *themselves*, which people fear and
which they dislike to admit the existence of.  Hence
these impulses become exteriorised, and projected in
the form of devils and demons.  No wonder that in the
Middle Ages, when the Church ruled with an iron hand,
the Devil appeared everywhere!  He was the projected
image of the natural desires, especially sexual desires,
which would not be denied, however much the Church
denounced them as sin."
_An ABC of Witchcraft Past & Present_, p. 109.

where we locate the exact origin of Satanism depends
largely on how we are defining it.  as an antagonistic
movement supporting innovation and freedom of thought
and deed (the way many modern Satanists portray it) it
is age-old and impossible to isolate to one time period or
geographic culture.

as an anti-Christian diatribe or liturgy accomplishing the
travesty of the rites of the religious establishment now
identified with the Roman Catholic Church and opposed
to the authority and values represented therein, it is
somewhat more easy to trace, especially if we allow for
a broad range between propaganda and actuality,
condemnatory slander and confirmable behavior.

pacts with Satan have a long and intriguing history, as
do what are called 'Black Masses', whether or not they
included the precise elements described by the
authorities who put them down.

in no case does it seem there have been wholly unrelated
cults fabricating a parallel to Christian cosmology with
their religious allegience firmly planted upon 'the Devil'
or 'Satan' per se, and most religious who designed
anything of the sort seem to have done so with full
knowledge of setting themselves at least slightly in
opposition to the Christian religious establishment of the
time, whether on account of conflicting values in a devious
co-option or from the delusion of seeking solace from the
adversary of their cosmic Creator.

if Satanism is understood as a social phenomenon of self-
identification, the promotion of certain doctrines and
values associated with the term, and a system of traditional
rites and symbols with coherent integrity congregating
around some positive notion of 'Satan', then Satanism
probably started in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late
1960s, surrounding the person of one Anton LaVey, who
was inspired by numerous artists in the tradition of
rebellion against the establishment (co-opting the figure
of 'Satan' toward desired ends as so many did before him).

it is at this point in time that the self-identification
truly comes into prominence ('Luciferan' and 'Promethean'
being possible precursors), and the creation of the 'Church
of Satan', which was followed by numerous offshoots and
alternatives, started a social trend that had not previously
arisen (extensive networks of those who identified AS,
rather than having been identifed by OTHERS as, 'Satanists').

since that time, due to the rebellious and innovative nature
of Satanism itself, several varieties of this religious current
have blossomed, to the point where it rivals most other
religions for diversity despite its comparatively smaller

4 Principles Important to Satanic Religious Tradition
that encyclopedian rascal, Richard Cavendish, wrote:
"The followers of the Devil are intensely excited by and
preoccupied with sensual pleasure and worldly achievement.
They admire pride, strength and force.  They revel in self-
assertion and dominance, lust, dirt, violence, cruelty and
all passionate sensations.  Christian piety, with its virtues
of otherworldliness, self-denial, humility, cleanliness of
heart and mind, they condemn as spineless, colourless, dead.
They whole-heartedly echo Swinburne's accusing line --
'Thou has conquered, O pale Galilean, and the world has grown
gray from thy breath.'
"As in black magic generally, actions which are conventionally
condemned as evil are valued for their psychological and
mystical effects.  Devil-worshippers usually believe that the
attainment of perfection and the experience of the divine come
through an ecstasy achieved in sensual orgy, which is likely
to involve perverse sexual practices, homosexuality and
flagellation, sometimes cannibalism.  Because the Christian
churches, especially the Roman Catholic, are regarded as
abominable institutions devoted to the worship of an evil god,
their ceremonies are parodied and degraded.  Doing this is not
merely to make a gesture in the Devil's cause; it captures and
twists to Satanic uses the power which is believed to be
inherent in the Christian rituals."
_The Black Arts_, p. 317.

the principles important to the tradition of Satanism as a
religion are very old and were emphasized by the literary
tradition of revolutionaries, artists and champions of
human freedom and aesthetics who preceded it.

as the varieties of Satanism proliferate, there are bound
to be extensive additions to any list that an analyst such
as I might draw up.  therefore, beware that what follows
are merely observations on commonalities shared by
Satanists and their expressions to which I have been

rather than attempt to describe some favored cosmology
(beyond this parenthetical mention that a high regard for
materialistic and atheistic science seems quite common),
I would prefer to provide a list of qualities ascribed to the
character of Satan, and typically or ideally emulated and
admired, by the modern Satanist:

          A     Genius/Innovation/Creativity
          the guile, intelligence and fertility of insightful and
          liberated consciousness

          B     Self-Interest/Individualism/Uniqueness
          authentic expression arising from the true nature of
          the person, centering unambiguously in the self as the
          source and benefactor of rational action

          C     Rebellion/Liberation/Independence
          resistance to oppressive authority, freeing constrained
          energies, autonomy of motive and purpose

          D     Hedonism/Indulgence
          sensual immersion and revelry, the appreciation and
          enjoyment of pleasure free from guilt or inhibition

          E     Mischief/Deception/Trickery
          usage of imagery and language as a tool to deceive
          or manipulate, for instruction and/or gain

          F     Destruction/Wrath/Pain
          vengeance upon deserving enemies, the integrated
          expression of anger or sorrow, a respect and honor
          for wrathful imagery and language in processing
          deep and difficult emotions

5 The Future of Satanism
the Queen of anti-feminist, anti-lesbian, lesbian feminists,
Camille Paglia, in her outstanding _Sexual Personae_, revealed:
"The Bible defensively swerves from God's true opponent,
cthonian nature.  The serpent is not outside Eve but in her.
She is the garden *and* the serpent.  Anthony Storr says of
witches, 'At the very primitive level, all mothers are phallic.'
The Devil is a woman....  Nature is serpentine, a bed of tangled
vines, creepers and crawlers, probing dumb fingers of fetid
organic life which Wordsworth taught us to call pretty."
p. 11.

and within the Manifesto Satanika is the clear admission:
"identifying our focus of service with the uncontrolled aspect of
human and other forms of life (wild nature), Satanists of my type
forge a direct link with that sovereignty, which some symbolize as
a goddess, some as a draconic fusion of species and gender given
varying names (such as Tiamat, Python, Leviathan and Baphomet),
and some as antagonistic alien beings which consider 'civilization'
to be an obstruction to their entropic and disruptive ends (esp.
typhonian qliphotic demons, the 'Old Ones' of H.P.Lovecraft, and
various other 'wrathful' deities of older religious cultures)."

here I begin to advocate my preferences regarding Satanism
and my vision for its development in the years to come.  the
form that Satanism takes is truly only limited by our minds.

as a central advocate for freedom and the preservation of
Nature, Satanism will assume greater ecological and anarchic
features as it matures, moving beyond the limited social
standards it needed to emerge into public consciousness and
integrating the ideas and tactics of those who oppose the
puritanical and exploitative establishment.

names such as Camille Paglia, Susie Bright, Pat Califia,
E.F. Schumacher, Duane Elgin and Edward Abbey will join
those of traditional aesthetes and revolutionaries such as
Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, Georges Bataille,
Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, Frater Nigris,
Max Stirner, Gustav Landauer, Louis Michel, Emma Goldman,
Federica Montseny, Henry David Thoreau, and Dave Foreman
as source material from which to deepen and energize our

a wider vision will be incorporated by the future Satanist
than the importantly-espoused egotism of today's milieu,
featuring long-term social platforms, the preservation of
natural splendor through restriction of human reproduction
and consumption, and the intensification of human pleasure
and experience via scientific and mystical enterprises.

Satanism will remain the standard of the powerful,
infiltrate the uppermost echelon of modern society as its
wisdom is recognized, and offer both remedies to social
ills and guidance to the masses through its anarchic
network of revolutionary and compassionate aesthetes.
from a lecture on Satanism, 6/11/98, 7pm PST, IRC: #witch
 by nocTifer (; copyright 1998,
 no compensation shall be received beyond cost for the
 electronic reproduction of this file; other forms of
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