Post by Joanna on May 2, 2017 20:26:28 GMT -5
Not All Satanists Are the Same
What is Satanism? Is it full of devil-worshiping maniacs who sacrifice children? Not exactly. True, there have been several Satanic cults that have performed terrible deeds, but like any other religion, Satanism can be divided into several different branches and sects. The most famous form of Satanism is Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan in San Francisco. These people aren’t literal believers, and Satan simply represents “the adversary” to traditional Christian values, e.g., indulgence vs. abstinence, or revenge vs. turning the other cheek.
However, there are many other forms of Satanism that haven’t quite achieved the same fame as the Church of Satan. Some of are atheistic like LaVey’s version, while others do see the Devil as a literal being. Some of have received been the subjects of mainstream attention, but others have remained extremely obscure. Regardless, followers of the Left-Hand Path have devised many ways to express their own version of Satanism. Following are a few:
The Satanic Temple. The Satanic Temple is an organization that probably wouldn’t fit most people’s idea of what Satanists are. After all, they claim their goals are to “encourage benevolence and empathy” and “embrace practical common sense and justice.” Much like Anton LaVey’s version of Satanism, the Satanic Temple doesn’t actually believe in or worship Satan. Members see him as a symbol – a rebellious figure against tyranny and authority. Regardless of their lack of belief, followers of the Satanic Temple consider themselves a religion and believe religion should be based on science and critical thinking rather than supernatural or superstitious claims. To them, Satanism provides everything that a religion should provide – a sense of identity, symbolic practices and a community of those who share similar beliefs.
The Satanic Temple has gained notoriety by pushing the boundaries of free speech and having a go at fundamentalist Christians. The group is most famous for attempting to erect a statue of Baphomet in Detroit because the city had approved a statue of the Ten Commandments. The logic was that if Christians were allowed to publicly profess their religion, then Satanists should also be allowed to do so.
Following the Hobby Lobby decision, which allows religious organizations to opt out of providing birth control, the Satanic Temple decided to use its status as a religion to challenge US laws, claiming that “informed consent” laws, which require doctors to share state-approved information to a woman before she has an abortion, violate the Temple’s religious beliefs because some of the shared information has been deemed unscientific by members.
The Satanic Temple also held a “Pink Mass” in 2013 at the grave site of Fred Phelps’s mother. Phelps is the head of the Westboro Baptist Church, an extreme Christian group notorious for its opposition to homosexuality. The Pink Mass involved gay couples kissing in order to turn Phelps’s mother “gay in the afterlife.”
Luciferianism. Luciferians are similar to LaVeyan Satanists. Most of them are nonreligious and simply treat Lucifer as a symbol. The 11 Luciferian Points of Power, provided by the Greater Church of Lucifer, illustrate how Lucifer represents values such as self-determination and liberation rather than “slave mentality.” In this regard, Luciferianism falls closer to a philosophy rather than an actual religion. The Neo-Luciferian Church indicates the core goal of Luciferianism is to help people “take responsibility for [their] own life and act as an individual moral agent, using the full potential of [their] own genius and thereby optimizing [their] own possibilities.” Luciferians also see Lucifer as being a completely different entity than Satan, because the word “Lucifer” (meaning “Light Bearer” or “Morning Star”) existed far before Christianity and translations and interpretations have changed over time to equate Lucifer and Satan as one being.
Perhaps the greatest difference between Luciferians and LaVeyan Satanists is that Lucifer (the Light Bearer) is a symbol of knowledge, while Satan (the Adversary) represents carnality and opposition. The Greater Church of Lucifer compares the story of Adam and Eve to the Hellenistic story of Prometheus, in which Prometheus brings forbidden fire to humanity and teaches them how to harness it for their own good. For this, Prometheus is punished by Zeus. This is not unlike the Biblical story of how the snake tempts Adam and Eve into eating from the forbidden Tree of Life. The ultimate goal of Luciferianism is to help each individual ignite his/her inner Black Flame and become self-aware. Luciferianists are called to question everything, overcome individual ignorance and balance carnal desires with intellect.
Christian-Based Duotheism. Christian-based Duotheism is an infinitesimal fragment of theistic Satanism, according to polytheistic Satanist Diane Vera. This form of Satanism accepts that Christian theology is true and there is an ongoing war between God and Satan. The main difference is that these people are cheering on the Devil rather than God. They believe God and Satan are the two most powerful beings in the universe and Satan has enough power to eventually overpower God and win the war.
Vera claims the idea of duotheism and warring gods is from ancient Zoroastrian beliefs concerning the eternal war between Ahura Mazda, the God of Light, and Ahriman, the God of Darkness. Some of these Satanists see the Devil as “the good guy” rather than “the bad guy,” as he is the one who has given humans knowledge and freedom, while God wants to keep humans enslaved. In this sense, Christian-based Duotheism is an inverted form of Christianity: Satan is the hero, liberating humanity from an evil and tyrannical God.
Anti-Cosmic Satanism. Anti-Cosmic Satanism, also called Chaos-Gnosticism, believes the cosmic order created by God is nothing more than a grand fabrication and behind this illusion is an endless and formless chaos. One practitioner of this form of Satanism is an occultist author who calls himself “Vexior 218.” In an interview, Vexior said he believes in an all-powerful god called the Demiurge, who has been interpreted as Odin in Norse religion and God in Christianity. This deity created restrictions – time, space, and flesh – to bound our otherwise free spirits. Loki and Satan are rebels against the Demiurge’s tyrannical rule and aim to destroy his control. Other anti-cosmic gods might, among others, include Tiamat, Baal, Asmodeus and Lilith.
This form of Satanism, much like its other non-LaVeyan variants, is obscure and unfortunately, it is difficult to find information about it. It’s most well-known member was Jon Nodtveidt of the black metal band Dissection. He was a member of the Temple of Black Light, once called the Misanthropic Luciferian Order, an organization with the goal of destroying the order of the Demiurge and returning the universe to the original chaos. The Temple used many invocations to various deities and beings, especially Lilith.
Transcendental Satanism. Transcendental Satanism is a unique form of Satanism created by a man called Matt “The Lord” Zane. As he documented in the first few pages of his book Transcendental Satanism, under the influence of LSD, he had a vision of Satan being cast from Heaven, followed by another vision of a man making a pact with Satan before the man was born. The man would avoid Hell by doing Satan’s bidding, but would have no knowledge of making such a deal throughout his lifetime. Instead, he would help lead others to Hell while under the delusion that he was actually doing God’s work. According to Zane, Satan wanted the man to experience everything the world had to offer and create his own beliefs rather than accepting the beliefs of God. The man’s journeys would lead to a plethora of experience, which would inspire others to act in a manner that would be in opposition to the will of God and cause them to create a separation.
Zane saw this separation as the Hell to which people were being led. The story wasn’t a warning about eternal damnation, but one of spiritual evolution. Transcendental Satanism is exactly that – a form of spiritual evolution with the end goal of the individual reuniting with what is called a Satanic Aspect. The Satanic Aspect is a hidden part of the self separated from consciousness. It influences us by helping to cultivate our consciousness. The paths to each individual’s Satanic Aspect are many, and no one is required to follow the path that is laid out for them.
Demonolatry. Demonolatry quite literally means “the worship of demons,” though modern demonolators do not actually worship demons. Instead, they “work with” demons, as each demon is considered a force or energy that can be called upon to aid in rituals or magic. Traditional demonolators actually do worship demons that personify their own attributes. It is important to note that not all demonolators are necessarily Satanists, though they certainly can be. Each demonolator chooses his/her patron deity and is free to choose Satan, who represents the element of fire. However, there are many demons of different religions from which to choose.
In Demonolatry, there are three different possible interpretations of demons. The first are akin to the demons of Christianity – evil sinners and tempters. The second is what traditional Demonolators believe are personified forces of energy. The third interpretation is that demons are “gods in their own right as Demon means divine power.” Regardless, Demonolators believe their practice will not result in any sort of perdition or divine punishment, as such are “merely perpetuated myths handed down from a religion long past its prime.”
Setians. The Temple of Set was founded by LaVey’s former right-hand man Michael Aquino, who left the Church of Satan after LaVey began selling priesthood offices. The idea that LaVey would profit from his Church caused many members, including high priestess Lilith Sinclair (who eventually became Aquino’s wife), to leave the Church of Satan. Aquino and other defectors colluded in forming the Temple of Set, which developed philosophies different from those of the Church of Satan. While LaVeyan Satanists do not believe in any sort of god or deity, Setians “believe” in a suprapersonal entity known as Set, the Egyptian god of violence and disorder, who eventually became known as the god of darkness and the enemy of all other Egyptian gods. In other words, Set is “the original Satanist: the ‘god’ against all false, man-imagined gods.”
LaVeyan Satanists believe each member is his/her own personal god, and seek to ascend to godhood. The goal of Setians is to achieve xepier, an Egyptian word roughly meaning “I have come into being.” Setians believe that each person goes through a divine experience at some point it is possible to create additional divine experiences through self-development, magic and other means until the Setian finally achieves a level of godhood, the ultimate purpose of man.
Satanic Reds. The Satanic Reds do not believe in Satan in the traditional sense, but rather view him as a dark force that has existed since the beginning of time. Tani Jantsang, one of Satanic Reds’ most prominent figures, believes the origin of the word “Satan” comes from two pre-Sanskrit words: sat, the word for “the boundless darkness,” and tan, which describes how this force stretches and permeates into all things. In other words, sat means “being,” and tan means “becoming.” Whether this is the true root of the word “Satan” is unknown.
The Law of the Tan describes how sat is infused into every being. Each creature is connected to its parents and these connections form an intricate web going back to the beginning of life. They all follow their nature and are naturally at peace with their own chakra flow. The Nine Satanic Postulates expand on these beliefs, saying each being is motivated by an inner force to constantly change and evolve according to its environment. Those who deny their own nature are called Kipploths. According to the Satanic Reds, someone disrespecting what another person or creature is, or turning against his/herself, is an act of evil:
“The disrespect for what another creature is, is a violation of all principles of life. [ . . . ] Disrespect means to not honor what another creature is. Or a human not respecting what another human of another type is. This disrespect is evil, it is like a war against the Great Darkness and it is thus, a war against the Self. The Dark Breath in that other person is the same Dark Breath that is in the offender. And, the Dark Breath can withdraw, leaving a shell.”
Polytheistic Satanism. Polytheistic Satanism is exactly what it sounds like – the belief in many gods as opposed to just one. The most famous polytheistic Satanist organization is the Church of Azazel, a New York City-based group open to all Satanists, occultists and followers of the Left-Hand Path. They revere several distinct deities, focusing on what they call the “rising gods of the modern West” – Satan/Azazel, Lilith, Prometheus, Ishtar, Pan and Lucifer-of-Sophia. (Sophia was a Gnostic goddess who had many parallels with the story of Lucifer and that of Adam and Eve.) All these gods have been demonized by Abrahamic religions, yet they represent values and principles with which the Church of Azazel strongly identifies, i.e., social trends rejected by the religious right. For example, Prometheus represents knowledge and understanding, and Ishtar represents nature and sexuality, but most importantly, Satan is the one who encourages free-thinking by challenging and questioning dogma.
The Church of Azazel doesn’t worship any deities in the traditional sense. Rather, its followers revere and respect their gods and often feel drawn to one or more of them. Members are also somewhat agnostic, realizing that the realm of the gods will never be totally accessible to mankind, and therefore, follow what is called a here-and-now philosophy. The Church of Azazel believes individual gods are capable of interceding in human affairs, but one should not assume such gods are universal.
The Cult of Cthulu. There is, surprisingly, a small sect that mixes the writings of H. P. Lovecraft with Satanism, black magic and the Left-Hand Path – the Cult of Cthulu. Venger Satanis, the cult’s founder, acknowledges that many do not accept Lovecraft’s writings as reality, to which he responds: “There is no reality. What the human mind calls reality does not exist.” Satanis claims everyone is locked inside a paradigm called Generally Accepted Reality and each has the power to shape his own reality according to his own will. “Long ago, I chose to believe in Cthulhu, Satan, Nyarlathotep, Yog Sothoth and the Tsalal,” he writes. “My belief gives these gelatinous, winged, blasphemous and sickeningly undulant fiends power.”
The Cult of Cthulu claims the Old Ones presided over the Earth countless ages ago and they spread their dark, forbidden and arcane knowledge to humans. The Lesser Gods were chained and whipped and their spilled blood created the universe, but some of the surviving Lesser Gods managed to break free and banish the Old Ones.
The Cult of Cthulu places the Old Ones in the same category as other Satanists place Lucifer – as beings who wished to bring knowledge and free humanity from enslavement. The Cult of Cthulu believes the vast majority of human beings will live their lives trapped within the Generally Accepted Reality and their suffering provides energy to the Lesser Gods. The only way to break free is to awaken and achieve True Consciousness. The Greater Reality that lies within each Cthulu Cultist goes by many names: the black flame, the mark of Satan, the gift of Set, or the call of Cthulu. All evil gods – Cthulu, Satan, Loki, etc. – are thought to be merely extensions of the “formless black essence” underneath Generally Accepted Reality. These gods may be thought of as real or symbolic; it doesn’t matter how one chooses to interpret them. They all represent the concept of self-empowerment, the cult’s highest law.
Source: Patrick W. Dunne, Screengist, May 1, 2017.