New Religious Movements Same Old Reasonless Nonsense
“Exposing Scientology, Eckankar, and Wicca”
Ron Hubbard, who founded the religion of scientology, was a liar by telling his followers that he was Nuclear Physicist, educated in advanced physics and higher mathematics, a student of Sigmund Freud and others, and researched years ago at George Washington University. In fact, Hubbard had no scientific degrees. In 1979, Hubbard was a criminal, found guilty of fraud, and sentenced to four years in prison. Scientology is not above using ethically questionable tactics and the worst of these is called Fair Game. The scientology organization claims to have ceased using fair game but many people have experienced harassment since that claim was made. What is fair game? As part of this fair game, scientology members have created and distributed pamphlets that are full of lies and slander against people who have publicly protested against them. In fair game, scientology members may be tricked, sued, lied to, deprived of property, injured, or destroyed by any means by any scientologist without any discipline of the scientologist. You think this an exaggeration well scientology has killed Lisa McPherson (February 10, 1959 – December 5, 1995), who was a scientologist and died of a pulmonary embolism while under the care of the flag service organization (FSO), a branch of the church of scientology. When Lisa died, scientology was indicted on two felony charges of “abuse and/or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license,” which put the nature of scientology beliefs and practices under trial. The heated controversy included regular pickets outside the scientology offices on or around the anniversary of her death until the year 2000. The charges against the church of scientology were dropped after the state’s medical examiner changed the cause of death from “undetermined” to an “accident” on June 13, 2000. A civil suit brought by her family against the church was settled on May 28, 2004.
However, one of the real systemic harms promoted by scientology is that it is anti-psychiatry. A number of psychiatrists have strongly spoken out against the church of scientology. After Hubbard’s book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published, the American Psychological Association advised its members against using Hubbard’s techniques with their patients. Hubbard came to believe that psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack scientology and create a “world government” run by psychiatrists on behalf of the USSR. Hubbard also decided that psychiatrists were an ancient evil that had been a problem for billions of years. He cast them in the role of assisting xenu’s genocide 75 million years ago. So it seems that scientology is indeed, if you have not already guessed, unscientific. Scientology is entirely a manmade invention of one man: L Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Scientology, through its narconon organization which promotes Hubbard’s theories on substance abuse treatment and addiction, tricks people into believing that they are getting help. They instruct people not to take psychiatric medicine and even in the case of sufferers of schizophrenia or other physically based mental disorders.
Among scientologists, the prime belief is that man is a spiritual entity or “thetan,” and capable of feats beyond those, which they will normally, envisage. Scientologists claim they are able to unlock these abilities through processes known as “dianetics.” Scientology teaches that all of the “mental image pictures” you accumulate through your life are known as your “time track.” Certain types of particularly vivid “mental image pictures” are called “engrams.” Dianetics explains engrams clearly via the following equation: “A=A=A=A=A”. Scientologists’ processes attempt to erase false engrams in followers by resulting in a state of mind known as “clear.” Scientologists would like to “clear the planet.” Just like christians, jews, and other religionists, scientologists have their own special symbol. It comprises the letter “S” and a double triangle. Unlike other religions, which are primarily based around books and stupid statues, scientologists claim to use advanced, futuristic technology to “audit” its members. Auditing is the process whereby scientology ministers cure spiritual upset; the stupidity just keeps going and going. It gets better or worse depending on how you look at it. According to Hubbard, the planet Earth was once part of a galactic federation along with 76 other planets. However, 95 million years ago, the Federation was suffering from overpopulation and its evil ruler, xenu, captured billions of alien species, transported them to Earth, killed them all by detonating the planet’s volcanoes using hydrogen bombs, and then harvested their spirits. The stupid goes on more but I am sure you get the picture.
Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp, who founded the religion of eckankar, which claim you, can learn to prove spiritual truths to yourself through your own experiences. In 1960s Paul Twitchell joined the “church” of scientology, was soon branded a Suppressive Person which is scientology speak for excommunication, moved on and later created eckankar in 1965. Eckankar is a new religious movement based on a 19th-century Indian tradition called sant mat, which centers around surat shabd yoga, which is a synthesis of hinduism and sikhism and focuses on spiritual exercises that enable practitioners to experience “the light and sound of god.” Some core ideas of eckankar seem to be watered down buddhism with some new age special effects.
Paul Twitchell founded eckankar, by dropping the Indian cultural elements from what he had learned and offered practitioners a means of “soul transcendence” through techniques that placed them in contact with the divine light and sound. The spiritual laws taught in eckankar are the law of cause and effect (karma) or past lives, dreams, and soul travel. In eckankar, they think colors and sounds are magical too, for instance, the color pink is from the astral plane and the source of emotions and many problems. Eckankar teaching is considered an advanced form of surat sabd yoga, “sound current,” which concentrates on physical and spiritual techniques that enable the soul to travel beyond the physical limitations of the body to the higher spiritual realms of the “sugmad,” the formless, all-embracing, impersonal, and infinite equivalent of god in theistic religions. Eckankar teaches that the universe was created by a series of sound waves coming from the divine, in the course of which the divine sound current became imprisoned in the realm of matter. Humans are sparks of god trapped in a cycle of reincarnation who nonetheless can return to god by listening to the divine sound and repeating the divine names: mantras.
The leader of eckankar, Harold Klemp, is regarded as a living eck master, who has “made the journey into the heart of god but has returned to help us on our way home.” Members of eckankar worship many deities, but their chief deity is called sugmad. Eckists believe sugmad is the endless source from which all forms were created and that the eck, the sound current, flows out of sugmad and into lower dimensions. This word is an amalgam of the names of three Egyptian deities or occult expressions called saa, hu, and maa, which figure prominently in Egyptian occult practices. In ancient Egyptian metaphysics, the material body: the spirits of touch was saa, the spirits of taste was hu, and the spirits of sight was maa. The astral or inner self: saa was the perception, knowledge, and understanding, hu, was command and divine utterance, and maa, was justice and the ability to perceive rightly. Practitioners chant ‘hu’ constantly, unaware that in doing so they are supposedly invoking an Egyptian god.
Harold Klemp calls all who do not practice eckankar, “weeds,” similar to what scientologists call “wogs,” a derogatory term that implies non-practioners are only worthy to be stepped on and ground into the dirt. Klemp has said in some of his lectures that “each of those who are eckists must come to the realization that they each belong to the chosen race of the superior being, All others are aliens, that is those who have not yet voluntarily taken up the path of eckankar. These aliens, as we speak of them, who do not practice eckankar, “weeds,” are in a way heathens or pagans who have not yet found truth. They are the agents of the kal, the god of the lower worlds, the devil, and the enemy of those who are the followers of the path of eckankar.” Most ex-eckists are able to pick themselves up after a period of grieving, however, they have extreme difficulty breaking free of the fear and bad karma threats that are strewn throughout the writings. They have been conditioned to believe that if one walks away from the “master,” they will lose all spiritual status and must begin their journey in the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms again, and for some people, these fear implants have led to terrible suicidal depressions that can last for years.
Paul Twitchell has said, “Who so ever shall divulge the secrets of the path of eckankar shall be deprived of his sight and tongue in order to never say anything about the degrees of initiation in eckankar.” Harold Klemp has said, “But once the chela, a member of eckankar, has become a member of the inner circle, HE cannot resign… Those who fell have found that spiritual decay sets in immediately, affecting the health, material life, and spiritual life, and brings death more swiftly.” Harold Klemp further states, “The wrath of the eck crashes down upon anybody who is still a slave to the ego and deserts the master. Not once will he see the connection between his betrayal of the eck and the horrendous troubles that strike him down like a plague on every hand. And thus he goes downward on the spiral of awareness until he leaves this body in hopeless despair, still wondering why the fates have treated him so cruelly.” There have been a few instances of eckankar suicides and usually from people in the upper levels of training. One of them committed suicide in his garage with the car running and a picture of eckankar plastered on the inside of his windshield. Many more practioners have had psychotic breaks on the upper levels and are usually escorted out the back door with admonishments to keep silent about their experiences or suffer the consequences. Also as in all religions, there is a certain fanatical core group and with such ones around, anything could happen such as the sea org in scientology. Paul Twitchell once wrote, “The eck not only condones warfare, but has used it on occasion.” These are dangerously inflammatory words from a so-called spiritual teacher. If history is any guide, fanatics of all stripes latch onto such irresponsible words and use them to justify the most horrible treatment of others. So eckankar can be considered somewhat dangerous.
Gerald Gardner, who founded the religion of wicca and put it together in the middle 1950s using blatant rip-offs of Aleister Crowley, Freemasonry, Egyptian ideologies and Celtic lore. Wiccans or neo-pagan witches are not satanists nor do they worship devils or consort with demons. Let us address the satanic ritual abuse and used to describe the actions of “pseudo-satanists” or those who sexually abuse children and use the trappings of so-called satanic rituals and claims of magical powers to coerce and terrify victims, but do not actually believe in the official organized satanic rituals. In the first place, there has never been any consensus on what actually constituted satanic ritual abuse and it was actually used more a catchall fear motivated term. This lack of a single definition, as well as confusion between the meanings of the term “ritual” (religious versus psychological), allowed a wide range of allegations and evidence to be claimed as a demonstration of the reality of satanic ritual abuse claims, irrespective of which “definition” the evidence supported.
A survey of more than 12,000 satanic ritual abuse allegations has found no substantiating evidence for an intergenerational conspiracy, but did document several examples of abuse by pseudo-satanists. Despite allegations appearing in the United States, Holland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia, no real material evidence has been found to verify allegations of organized cult-based abuse that practices human sacrifice and cannibalism. Satanic ritual abuse is considered a moral panic and no more credible to the historical witch-hunts. Anthropologists, sociologists, and journalists performed the initial investigations of satanic ritual abuse, which failed to find evidence of satanic ritual abuse actually occurring. However, they concluded that satanic ritual abuse was a result of rumors and folk legends that were spread by the media hype, christian fundamentalism, and some evangelical activists and groups were using claims of satanic ritual abuse to further their religious and political goals.
Now back to wicca, which is the largest category of neopaganism. Wicca, no matter how it would like, it is not historically accurate and not part of or a continuation of a Stone Age religion. Wiccan expressions are essentially esoteric, not exoteric. Wicca is a decentralized religion, which mostly involves witchcraft as a spiritual system, and though many share this common name, many wiccans develop their own beliefs, rituals, and other practices. As a result, they place their emphasis on a subjective religious experience and not on historically verifiable facts. Originally, wicca’s founder Gerald Gardner claimed the rituals in the book of shadows were the original rituals used by British wiccans for centuries; it becomes quite obvious when reading it that the material comes from several sources. The writings of Aleister Crowley were a major source of material and without question; there were no sources from British wiccans as historically there is no such thing as British wicca since it was created in the 1950’s. If wicca is the survival of an ancient tradition, there would be a record of those beliefs somewhere and yet, there is not. There is an old saying that if you ask any ten wiccans about their religion, you will get at least fifteen different answers. Margot Adler a wiccan author states, “The most authentic and hallowed wiccan tradition is stealing from any source that didn’t run away too fast.”
The truth is all too clear and not a single culture from pre-christian Europe held beliefs, even remotely similar to those of wicca. There are literally thousands of inscriptions to Celtic deities, most of them appearing only once, and many tied to small areas of population. The surviving Celtic myths speak of their gods as behaving as individual beings unto themselves and not pieces of one super-god. The druids, often cited by new agers as being monotheistic, were actually of little importance to Celtic religion. After the Romans outlawed the druids, the Celtic religious practice continued uninterrupted. The druids are often viewed as something of a mystical brotherhood of priests and wizards. Upon closer examination, one finds they were more akin to a guild of bards and lawyers who acted as priests from time to time. Wicca instead relatively a mix of witch cult, ceremonial magic, Victorian ideas and British legend about nature worship, some old esoteric knowledge into his original tradition, including eastern mysticism, kabballah, a sprinkling of hinduism and spiritualism all put together by Gerald Gardner created and founded wicca with possibly some additional help and wicca is relatively a mix of witch cult, ceremonial magic, Victorian ideas and British legend about nature worship, some old esoteric knowledge into Gardner’s original tradition that includes eastern mysticism, kabballah, and a sprinkling of hinduism and spiritualism.
The claims of a surviving Stone Age cult appears to me as an attempt to validate wicca by making it appear older and to give it the popular appeal of “ancient and powerful mysteries.” Many wiccans criticize or deny the division of an ultimate deity into a purely good god and another into purely evil. For wiccans, the ultimate deity divides into a male god and female goddess. Since this division does not correspond to a division between good and evil, it follows that the male god and female goddess must be mixtures of good and evil or is mixtures of positive and negative values. However, as stated before, wiccan views on theology are numerous and varied and there is no universally agreed-upon religious canon. Traditionally, wicca is a duotheistic religion that venerates both a triple goddess associated with the moon, stars, and often the earth, and a horned god associated with the sun, forests, and animals. These two deities are variously understood through the frameworks of pantheism as being dual aspects of a single godhead, duotheism as being two polar opposites, hard polytheism as being two distinct deities in a larger pantheon which includes other pagan gods, or soft polytheism as being composed of many lesser deities. In some pantheistic conceptions, found within the wicca and including monotheism, the concept that there is just one deity, which is seen by some such as dianic wiccans as being the goddess, whilst by others, like the church and school of wicca as being genderless.
There are other wiccans, who are atheists or agnostics and do not believe in any actual deity, but instead view the gods as psychological archetypes of the human mind, which can be evoked and interacted with. Many wiccans believe that the god and goddess are merely two aspects of the same godhead, often viewed as a pantheistic deity, thereby encompassing everything in the universe within its divinity. Many wiccans believe in magic, a manipulative force exercised through the practice of witchcraft or sorcery. Several wiccans agree with the definition of magic offered by ceremonial magicians such as Aleister Crowley, who declared that magic was “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” Many wiccans believe magic to be a law of nature, yet misunderstood or disregarded by contemporary science, and as such, they do not view it as being supernatural, but a part of super powers that reside in the natural.
Some wiccans believe that magic is simply making full use of the five senses in order to achieve surprising results, whilst other wiccans do not claim to know how magic works and merely believing that it does because they have observed it to be so. Some spell it “magick,” a variation coined by the influential occultist Aleister Crowley, though this spelling is more commonly associated with Crowley’s religion of thelema than with wicca. If wicca really is nature-based, then it is contradictory to the present theory of nature and is so deeply inconsistent with natural science. Therefore, if wicca really does demand empirical testing, then it is contradictory for wiccans to make claims that are obviously empirically false. Skeptics and rationalists ought to put pressure on wiccans to naturalize their beliefs. Wiccan texts are full of woo and just plain irrational thinking. It is precisely because wicca has naturalism that it seems it can very easily become naturalized and de-mythologized. As long as our brain structures remain the same, religion is here to stay. The question is whether religion can be changed so that it becomes more rational.
There are new religious movements that have been called occult, new age, neopaganism, and esotericism, but they have the same obscure and arcane reasonless revelations and prophecies. Generally, the word “occult” is associated with secret knowledge and practices that deal with the supernatural or “psychic” phenomena and often, with the purpose of obtaining personal power. Some occult practices rely on good or evil “spirits” or “deities” to achieve their goals. Interest in the occult has been promoted by the new age, neopaganism, and esotericism. Can a hoax/hoaxer or an esoteric con be the basis for a religion? Do not we see this in the religions of thelema, scientology, wicca, and eckankar? Yes, but this is nothing new and even if they are under the class of new religious movements, they have the same old reasonless revelations and prophecies that all religions enjoy. These new religious movements still have to work harder, need more followers, and more time to increase their respected status where the other more traditional but still mythic bullshit religions enjoy.
All religion, whether old or new, are reality hoaxes and mythological frauds that act as bearers of truth which are esoteric or special knowledge folklore cons. Well, all religions had a beginning point and a point when someone started telling lies. One of the new religious movements’ highly influential liars of reasonless revelations, prophecies, or predictions was Aleister Crowley, an esoteric conman who influenced scientology, eckankar, and wicca, which was created as a hoax. A hoax tries to make you believe in something that is not true or compatible with reality such as creationism, prayer, or magic for examples. Really, how is any religion different from a hoax religion? To me there is little to no difference. Aleister Crowley was a hoaxer, occult delusionary, and esoteric conman extraordinaire who inspired others like him directly or to a much lesser second hand sense such as L. Ron Hubbard (scientology 1952-1954), Gerald Gardner (wicca 1954) and Paul Twitchell (eckankar 1965).
Aleister Crowley, the continual hoaxer who once faked his own death by leaving a sad note about heartbreak at the top of this dangerous rock formation and the implication being that he had jumped to his death. The papers ran with it and announced Crowley’s suicide much to the amusement of Crowley. Some weeks later, Crowley arrived unannounced at an exhibit of some of his paintings in Berlin and showed that his death was a hoax. L. Ron Hubbard was a hoaxer, occult delusionary, and esoteric conman as well, even though he lacked any real contact with Aleister Crowley, that did not stop him from that Aleister Crowley was his “very good friend,” but then comments that Crowley is “Very, very, something or other.” Aleister Crowley did have some knowledge of L. Ron Hubbard by learning of Hubbard’s friendship with Jack Parsons, who at the time was master of agapé Lodge No. 2, one of the American lodges of Aleister Crowley’s ordo templi orientis. Hubbard and Parsons had started a business together and began the ridiculous babalon working which the business partnership ultimately ended in shambles, Hubbard ran off with Parsons’ boat, and went on to start his sci-fi religion called scientology. Gerald Gardner was a hoaxer, occult delusionary and esoteric conman who took a bunch of Aleister Crowley’s writings and material from liber al vel legis, and sort of cut and paste them with a few words changed and added into his creation of initiation rituals, the charge of the goddess, the drawing down the moon ritual, and more. Another aspect to consider is that Aleister Crowley had influence on Ron Hubbard’s scientology and on Paul Twitchell’s eckankar. In fact, it is interesting to know that Aleister Crowley’s religion of thelema and Paul Twitchell’s religion of eckankar share elements with Egypt religion. Coincidence? Moreover, the teachings of eckankar have something by the name of “The nine silent ones.” Could this be Paul Twitchell’s hidden version of “the nine” that links the council of nine and esotericists such as Aleister Crowley had already brought together as far back as the 1930s which surrounds ideas in the schismatic golden dawn order called the stella matutina and appeared in two books, Light-Bearers of Darkness (1935) and The Trail of the Serpent (1936).
Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, and novelist, responsible for founding the religion and philosophy of thelema, in which role he identified himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the aeon of horus. Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named aiwass, who provided him with the book of the law, a sacred text that served as the basis for thelema. Crowley was influenced from a variety of sources, ranging from Eastern religious movements and practices like hindu, yoga, and buddhism, scientific naturalism, and various currents within Western esotericism, among them ceremonial magic, alchemy, astrology, rosicrucianism, kabbalah, and the tarot. Several Western esoteric traditions other than thelema were also influenced by Crowley. Gerald Gardner, founder of gardnerian wicca, made use of much of Crowley’s published material when composing the gardnerian ritual liturgy, and L. Ron Hubbard, the American founder of scientology, was involved in thelema in the early 1940s with Jack Parsons, and Crowley influenced some of his early work.
Anton LaVey and Michael Aquino, who are two prominent figures in religious satanism were also aware of Crowley’s work and had conflicting thoughts on it. It is not uncommon to read the name Aleister Crowley and it linked to satanism or devil worship. There have been various statements made by Crowley or attributed to him that were used as proof that he was the archetypal satanist. However, many occultists reject the belief of Crowley-the-Satanist as well. Many of these occultists, even some of these are satanists and followers of Crowley’s magical system of thelema believed he was a satanist; however, there are some satanic groups who also reject the idea of Crowley being a satanist. Many of the people claiming that Crowley was a satanist based their assumptions on the literal interpretations of his writings. It is clear that some of Crowley’s writings were extremely anti-christian. However, to be anti-christian does not make someone a satanist per se and does not indicate that the person identifies with the popular conceptions of satanists. Crowley wrote of being the servant of satan, “the devil, our lord whose number of magic is 666, the seal of his servant the beast” in his ritual for the attainment of knowledge and conversation of his holy guardian angel, shaitan-aiwaz. Kenneth Grant, another student of Crowley, wrote, “This whole ritual is an invocation of shaitan (satan) or set.” It is easy to see how Crowley, the great beast 666, gained the reputation as a satanist and hardcore anti-christian. The simple answer to the question of Aleister Crowley of having been a satanist is that there is no definitive answer. The religion of satanism is stupid and is just like all religions. I do care and am against satanism, even though it is not real, it is still a religion or a form of religious thinking, all of which I reject just like all other religions or pseudo-religions. I am sometimes asked by religious/theists if I am a Satanist thinking all atheists must actually be a satanist, possibly thinking if one does not believe = just don’t like, thus working for some anti-god (satanist to them), rather than the antitheist that I am, no satanism required and for most antitheists they to will likely not be satanists. I will speak for myself that I have nothing to do with satan nor do I follow satanism at all but here go, I will offer the general explanations to inform those who don’t know or are interested.
Satanism is a belief or social phenomenon that features the veneration or admiration of Satan or similar figure for some brands of Satanism but not all nor always in the same way or not necessarily always the same figure.
Satanism may also refer to:
- LaVeyan Satanism, the movement founded by Anton LaVey
- Theistic Satanism, the worship of Satan as a deity
- Our Lady of Endor Coven, a cult founded by Herbert Arthur Sloane
- The Satanic Temple, a religious political activist group promoting secularism and bodily autonomy
- Satanic ritual abuse, a moral panic that occurred near the end of the 20th century
I see satanism as kind of having three main divisions: philosophic-atheistic, mystic/animistic, and theistic.
Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on the character of Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression. Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active and that they were behind events such as Protestantism and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations levelled at them. Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that self-identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits. Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet. The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes. Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries. The word “Satanism” was adopted into English from the French satanisme. The terms “Satanism” and “Satanist” are first recorded as appearing in the English and French languages during the sixteenth century, when they were used by Christian groups to attack other, rival Christian groups. In a Roman Catholic tract of 1565, the author condemns the “heresies, blasphemies, and sathanismes” of the Protestants. In an Anglican work of 1559, Anabaptists and other Protestant sects are condemned as “swarmes of Satanistes”. As used in this manner, the term “Satanism” was not used to claim that people literally worshipped Satan, but rather presented the view that through deviating from what the speaker or writer regarded as the true variant of Christianity, they were regarded as being essentially in league with the Devil. During the nineteenth century, the term “Satanism” began to be used to describe those considered to lead a broadly immoral lifestyle, and it was only in the late nineteenth century that it came to be applied in English to individuals who were believed to consciously and deliberately venerate Satan. This latter meaning had appeared earlier in the Swedish language; the Lutheran Bishop Laurentius Paulinus Gothus had described devil-worshipping sorcerers as Sathanister in his Ethica Christiana, produced between 1615 and 1630. Religious Satanism rather than being one single form of religious Satanism, there are instead multiple different religious Satanisms, each with different ideas about what being a Satanist entails. The historian of religion Ruben van Luijk utilised a “working definition” in which Satanism was regarded as “the intentional, religiously motivated veneration of Satan”. Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen believed that it was not a single movement, but rather a milieu They and others have nevertheless referred to it as a new religious movement. They believed that there was a family resemblance that united all of the varying groups in this milieu, and that most of them were self religions. They argued that there were a set of features that were common to the groups in this Satanic milieu: these were the positive use of the term “Satanist” as a designation, an emphasis on individualism, a genealogy that connects them to other Satanic groups, a transgressive and antinomian stance, a self-perception as an elite, and an embrace of values such as pride, self-reliance, and productive non-conformity. Dyrendal, Lewis, and Petersen argued that the groups within the Satanic milieu could be divided into three groups: reactive Satanists, rationalist Satanists, and esoteric Satanists. They saw reactive Satanism as encompassing “popular Satanism, inverted Christianity, and symbolic rebellion” and noted that it situates itself in opposition to society while at the same time conforming to society’s perspective of evil. Rationalist Satanism is used to describe the trend in the Satanic milieu which is atheistic, sceptical, materialistic, and epicurean. Esoteric Satanism instead applied to those forms which are theistic and draw upon ideas from other forms of Western esotericism, Modern Paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The first person to promote a Satanic philosophy was the Pole Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who promoted a Social Darwinian ideology. The use of the term “Lucifer” was also taken up by the French ceremonial magician Eliphas Levi, who has been described as a “Romantic Satanist”. During his younger days, Levi used “Lucifer” in much the same manner as the literary romantics. As he moved toward a more politically conservative outlook in later life, he retained the use of the term, but instead applied it as to what he believed was a morally neutral facet of the Absolute. In his book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, published in two volumes between 1854 and 1856, Levi offered the symbol of Baphomet. He claimed that this was a figure who had been worshipped by the Knights Templar. According to Introvigne, this image gave “the Satanists their most popular symbol ever”. Levi was not the only occultist who wanted to use the term “Lucifer” without adopting the term “Satan” in a similar way. The early Theosophical Society held to the view that “Lucifer” was a force that aided humanity’s awakening to its own spiritual nature. In keeping with this view, the Society began production of a journal titled Lucifer. “Satan” was also used within the esoteric system propounded by Danish occultist Carl William Hansen, who used the pen name “Ben Kadosh”. Hansen was involved in a variety of esoteric groups, including Martinism, Freemasonry, and the Ordo Templi Orientis, drawing on ideas from various groups to establish his own philosophy. In one pamphlet, he provided a “Luciferian” interpretation of Freemasonry. Kadosh’s work left little influence outside of Denmark. Both during his life and after it, the British occultist Aleister Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He nevertheless utilised Satanic imagery, for instance by describing himself as “the Beast 666” and referring to the Whore of Babylon in his work, while in later life he sent “Antichristmas cards” to his friends. Dyrendel, Lewis, and Petersen noted that despite the fact that Crowley was not a Satanist, he “in many ways embodies the pre-Satanist esoteric discourse on Satan and Satanism through his lifestyle and his philosophy”, with his “image and thought” becoming an “important influence” on the later development of religious Satanism. In 1928 the Fraternitas Saturni (FS) was established in Germany; its founder, Eugen Grosche, published Satanische Magie (“Satanic Magic”) that same year. The group connected Satan to Saturn, claiming that the planet related to the Sun in the same manner that Lucifer relates to the human world. In 1932 an esoteric group known as the Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow was established in Paris, France by Maria de Naglowska, a Russian occultist who had fled to France following the Russian Revolution. She promoted a theology centred on what she called the Third Term of the Trinity consisting of Father, Son, and Sex, the latter of which she deemed to be most important. Her early disciples, who underwent what she called “Satanic Initiations”, included models and art students recruited from bohemian circles. The Golden Arrow disbanded after Naglowska abandoned it in 1936. According to Introvigne, hers was “a quite complicated Satanism, built on a complex philosophical vision of the world, of which little would survive its initiator”. In 1969 a Satanic group based in Toledo, Ohio, part of the United States, came to public attention. Called the Our Lady of Endor Coven, it was led by a man named Herbert Sloane, who described his Satanic tradition as the Ophite Cultus Satanas and alleged that it had been established in the 1940s. The group offered a Gnostic interpretation of the world in which the creator God was regarded as evil and the Biblical Serpent presented as a force for good who had delivered salvation to humanity in the Garden of Eden. Sloane’s claims that his group had a 1940s origin remain unproven; it may be that he falsely claimed older origins for his group to make it appear older than Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan which had been established in 1966. None of these groups had any real impact on the emergence of the later Satanic milieu in the 1960s. Ref
In Western esotericism the terms Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path refer to a dichotomy between two opposing approaches to magic. This terminology is used in various groups involved in the occult and ceremonial magic. In some definitions, the Left-Hand Path is equated with malicious black magic and the Right-Hand Path with benevolent white magic. Other occultists have criticised this definition, believing that the Left–Right dichotomy refers merely to different kinds of working and does not necessarily connote good or bad magical actions. In more recent definitions, which base themselves on the terms’ origins in Indian Tantra, the Right-Hand Path, or RHP, is seen as a definition for those magical groups that follow specific ethical codes and adopt social convention, while the Left-Hand Path adopts the opposite attitude, espousing the breaking of taboo and the abandoning of set morality. Occult and religious paths are sometimes divided into two categories: the left-hand path and the right-hand path. While there are many religions and spiritual practices in each path and they vary considerably, they hold a few things in common. These terms are not void of controversy and bias, however. The left-hand path is considered to be about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner. It downplays the need for intercession by any high power although some may believe that a higher power exists. Satanism (both LaVeyan and Theistic) and Luciferianism are considered left-hand paths. Followers of Thelema disagree whether it is a left- or right-hand path. The right-hand path, in the words of left-hand path follower Vexen Crabtree, “concentrate[s] on the symbols of goodness, of the sun, of herd mentality and submission to god(s) and religious authority.” To put it a little more diplomatic, the right-hand path can be thought of as one of dogma, ritual, and a belief in the community and formal structure as well as a higher power. Though each of those can also be found in left-hand path religions, there is less focus on indulging the self in the right-hand path. The vast majority of religions are considered part of the right-hand path, from Christianity to Wicca. Ref Ref
Theistic Satanism (also known as traditional Satanism, Spiritual Satanism or Devil worship) is a form of Satanism with the primary belief that Satan is an actual deity or force to revere or worship. Other characteristics of theistic Satanism may include a belief in magic, which is manipulated through ritual, although that is not a defining criterion, and theistic Satanists may focus solely on devotion. Moreover theistic Satanism or Spiritual Satanism is an umbrella term for religious beliefs that consider Satan as an objectively existing supernatural being or force worthy of supplication, whom individuals may contact and convene with. The individual belief systems under this umbrella are practiced by loosely affiliated or independent groups and cabals. Another characteristic of Theistic Satanism is the use of ceremonial magic. Unlike LaVeyan Satanism, as founded by Anton LaVey in the 1960s, or more generally, unlike atheistic Satanism, theistic Satanism is theistic, believing that Satan (Hebrew: הַשָׂטָן ha-Satan, ‘the accuser’) is a real entity, that can be contacted, convened or even praised, rather than him being just an archetype, symbol or idea. While, theist satanists may believe Satan is an actual deity, they likely do not worship him or supplicate to him.
Left-hand Path philosophy states that we do not worship or submit ourselves to any external authority. So, while theistic Satanists do believe Satan is real, they do not worship him like the way Christians worship their gods. They tend to see the gods as helpers or equals as opposed to superiors. Also, just because someone is a theistic Satanist, that does not mean that they practice magick either. The history of theistic Satanism, as an existing spiritual path practiced by people, is obscured by a number of groups accused of being devil-worshippers who asserted that they were not, such as in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe. Most actual theistic Satanist religions exist in relatively new models and ideologies, many of which even claim to be independent of the Abrahamic religions. Theistic Satanists may try not to project an image that reflects negatively on their religion as a whole and reinforces stereotypes, such as promoting Nazism, abuse, or crime. However, some groups, such as the Order of Nine Angles, criticize the emphasis on promoting a good image for Satanism; the ONA described LaVeyan Satanism as “weak, deluded and American form of ‘sham-Satanic groups, the poseurs’”, and ONA member Stephen Brown claimed that “the Temple of Set seems intent only on creating a ‘good public impression’, with promoting an ‘image’”. The order emphasises that its way “is and is meant to be dangerous” and “[g]enuine Satanists are dangerous people to know; associating with them is a risk”. Similarly, the Temple of the Black Light has criticized the Church of Satan, and has stated that the Temple of Set is “trying to make Setianism and the ruler of darkness, Set, into something accepted and harmless, this way attempting to become a ‘big’ religion, accepted and acknowledged by the rest of the Judaeo-Christian society”. The TotBL rejects Christianity, Judaism and Islam as “the opposite of everything that strengthens the spirit and is only good for killing what little that is beautiful, noble and honorable in this filthy world”. There is argument among Satanists over animal sacrifice, with most groups seeing it as both unnecessary and putting Satanism in a bad light, and distancing themselves from the few groups that practice it, such as the Temple of the Black Light. Theistic Satanism often involves a religious commitment, rather than being simply an occult practice based on dabbling or transient enjoyment of the rituals and magic involved. Practitioners may choose to perform a self-dedication rite, although there are arguments over whether it is best to do this at the beginning of their time as a theistic Satanist, or once they have been practicing for some time. The worship of Satan was a frequent charge against those charged in the witch trials in Early Modern Europe and other witch-hunts such as the Salem witch trials. Worship of Satan was claimed to take place at the Witches’ Sabbath. The charge of Satan worship has also been made against groups or individuals regarded with suspicion, such as the Knights Templar, or minority religions. In the case of the Knights Templar, the templars’ writings mentioned the word ‘baphomet’, which was a French corruption of the name ‘Mohammed‘ (the prophet of the people who the templars fought against), and that ‘baphomet’ was falsely portrayed as a demon by the people who accused the templars. It is not known to what extent accusations of groups worshiping Satan in the time of the witch trials identified people who did consider themselves Satanists, rather than being the result of religious superstition or mass hysteria, or charges made against individuals suffering from mental illness. Confessions are unreliable, particularly as they were usually obtained under torture. However, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has made extensive arguments in his book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages that not all witch trial records can be dismissed and that there is in fact evidence linking witchcraft to gnostic heresies. Russell comes to this conclusion after having studied the source documents themselves. Individuals involved in the Affair of the Poisons were accused of Satanism and witchcraft. Theistic Luciferianism believes in Lucifer as an actual deity, not to be worshipped as the Judeo-Christian God but to be revered and followed as a teacher and friend, as a rescuer or guiding spirit, or even the one true god as opposed to the traditional creator of Judaism. Theistic Luciferians are followers of the Left-Hand Path and may adhere to different dogmata put forth by organizations such as the Neo-Luciferian Church or other congregations that are heavily focused on ceremonial magic, the occult and literal interpretations of spiritual stories and figures. Ref Ref Ref
Mystic/Animistic Satanism (Which to me generally involves Luciferianism but us bit limited to it)
Luciferianism is a belief system that venerates the essential characteristics that are affixed to Lucifer. The tradition, influenced by Gnosticism, usually reveres Lucifer not as the devil, but as a liberator, a guardian or guiding spirit or even the true god as opposed to Jehovah. Luciferianism is the ideological, philosophical and Magickial attainment of knowledge and inner power via the left hand path. The type of knowledge sought is firstly that of the self: strengths, weaknesses and all that which makes us truly ‘individual’. Initiation or the revealing of knowledge is through study, practicing Adversarial Magick/Sorcery and the continual struggle for self-improvement through spiritual rebellion. Magick (Thelema), in the context of Aleister Crowley‘s Thelema, is a term used to show and differentiate the occult from performance magic and is defined as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will“, including both “mundane” acts of will as well as ritual magic. Crowley wrote that “it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature”. John Symonds and Kenneth Grant attach a deeper occult significance to this preference. Crowley saw Magick as the essential method for a person to reach true understanding of the self and to act according to one’s true will, which he saw as the reconciliation “between freewill and destiny.” Crowley describes this process in his Magick, Book 4:
One must find out for oneself, and make sure beyond doubt, who one is, what one is, why one is …Being thus conscious of the proper course to pursue, the next thing is to understand the conditions necessary to following it out. After that, one must eliminate from oneself every element alien or hostile to success, and develop those parts of oneself which are specially needed to control the aforesaid conditions. (Crowley, Magick, Book 4 p.134) Ref
“Luciferianism is rooted in numerous magickal traditions which express some specific aspect of the Adversary. The Adversary is perceived as being the “light bringer” and empowering spirit in which the individual models their initiation on. The Mind is trained to “think” as a God or Goddess, thus liberating the self from restrictive spirituality. The avenues of initiation within Luciferianism are as varied as its initiates. Lucifer is merely a symbol for a deeper, more enriching, diverse energy surrounding the order, thus allowing a trans-cultural embrace of darkness and the light contained within. Luciferianism encourages a strict adherence towards the self-determined goals of the initiate as well as the discipline of magickal practice. The process of initiation is central to Adversarial Light, known as Luciferian Magick, alchemical changes within the mind and soul of the initiate, thus a state of continual self-improvement and transformation.” – Adversarial Light, Magick of the Nephilim.
“Satanism is the rational focus on the self in relation to life here and now. This philosophy is based on carnal fulfillment with consideration for the preservation of self. Magic is practiced as a type of ideological empowerment and psychodrama. Firstly, Luciferianism is a modern term for the ideological, philosophical and Magickial attainment of applicable knowledge and inner power. The type of knowledge sought is through study, initiation and the continual struggle for self-improvement through spiritual rebellion against the social concept of “God” and “Religion”. Luciferianism is different from medieval magic and witchcraft as the Luciferian approaches the art as a psychological, subconscious and conscious foundation. The theory of ritual magick is that the Luciferian understands the “gods”, “spirits” and “demons” are the archetypical creation of humanity; that our subconscious feeds the type of energy in which these beings exist through. Luciferians thus seek experience and the darkness within to gain knowledge, wisdom and power. Luciferianism is thus the ultimate spirituality as it focuses on the growth and expansion of the individual in a rational sense here and now, with the broad range of spiritual exploration as well. “– Maskim Hul, Babylonian Magick
The left hand path for Luciferians is not a specific doctrine yet clearly an aspect of who we are. Luciferians are against the social concept of “God” and “Religion” as both is collective, sheep-herding doctrines which suppress knowledge, reward weakness and apathy and place unrealistic expectations on the individual for a ‘future’ reward which does not exist. Luciferians do not accept the dualistic concept of “good” and “evil”; we hold the opinion that like in nature, darkness empowers light and light establishes growth and renewal. Luciferians do not believe in an “afterlife” in the way which Judeo-Christians do. This does not insinuate that Luciferians don’t believe in the possibility or existence of an afterlife, there is just no need to believe in the Judeo-Christian absolutes such as a blissful paradise or some horrid place of punishment where terrible demons continually torture those who do not recognize the executed criminal-turned savior and his perceived ‘father’. In short, you will be hard pressed to find a Luciferian who believes in the “devil” and in “hell”. While it was the rage in a time of the masses having no literary skills, little science and overbearing masters, in our modern age of possibility that wonderful light is being shined in areas the early Christians would surely burn us for now. Luciferians consider magick to be a process of continual self-improvement, strengthening consciousness and obtaining knowledge via a self-chosen path of initiation. Rituals are small markers of this process, for they represent “road signs” which assist the adept on their own path of spiritual and physical insight. Luciferians consider that a balance and interaction of the spiritual with the physical leads to the wisdom of experience, ultimately power. Through pushing these boundaries, the Luciferian can ‘ascend’ as gods themselves. The theory of ritual magick is that the Luciferian understands the “gods”, “spirits” and “demons” are the archetypical creation of humanity; that our subconscious feeds the type of energy in which these beings exist through. Luciferianism is thus the ultimate spirituality as it focuses on the growth and expansion of the individual in a rational sense here and now, with the broad range of spiritual exploration as well. Luciferians find the symbolism of demonic gods, or ‘deific masks’ as representations of either a power or phenomena in nature and within the mind. It is the ‘bridge’ between both, the initiation, which unlocks the wisdom of darkness. Luciferians consider the Black Flame, or “Melammu”, the power of gods and demons, to be the essence of divine consciousness. This is visualized within via meditations and in ‘dream’ workings or astral projection. The Black Flame is the inner fire of the mind given to humanity by the Watchers or fallen angels. In ancient Mesopotamia, Melammu is the divine gift first held by Tiamat the Goddess of Darkness. (See MASKIM HUL – Babylonian Magick by Michael W. Ford) The Hellenic Ruler Cult is thought to be one great-grandfather of the ideological Luciferian foundation; albeit taken to an individual level where each individual cultivates a ‘Daemon’ or ‘Genius’ which is the esteemed possibility of self-excellence. This Daemon is the ‘true will’, ‘higher-self’ or ‘holy guardian angel’ which is not some complicated ‘outside’ deity. The Daemon is the continual spiritual possibility of what we wish to be; the Daemon is made strong by seeking to perform your Will and continually evolve (called Ascension) in the manner in which you have determined. The Daemon is formulated by a careful balance of understanding the darkness (base desires, lusts and motivational drives) and how it fuels and inspires the light (conscious self-excellence, discipline and achievement without regret). In the darkness we find our strength, it is the survival-instinct; the predator which is symbolized often as ‘demonic’ or ‘therionick’; this is our foundation and must be explored and reveled in. Never deny your primordial/therionick nature; darkness is equally as beautiful as light. The light is the willed conscious mind directing our deep desires towards creative goals. Luciferians think before speaking or acting; the luciferian ‘code’ is simple in summary: You may act selfishly (ALL humans do no matter their religion or image) as long as you do not impact another negatively. Luciferians create and destroy. Harming others is only an option in self-defense or when reasonable. If a soldier in the military, then you act in accordance with your governments’ laws and social contract. Thus, Luciferians do not accept Sin as it is Christian and self-defeating. If you make a mistake; think of what lead you there and consciously make sure this cannot happen again. Luciferians will not hurt animals or children; as this destroys the balance in nature and hinders another from ascending from the Christian death-cult. Lucifer is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlêlor heylel, occurs once in the Hebrew Bible and according to the KJV-based Strong’s Concordance means “shining one, light-bearer”. The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally “bringer of dawn”, for the morning star. The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which translates הֵילֵל as lucifer, meaning “the morning star, the planet Venus“, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”. Later Christian tradition came to use the Latin word for “morning star”, lucifer, as a proper name (“Lucifer”) for the devil; as he was before his fall. As a result, “‘Lucifer’ has become a by-word for Satan/the Devil in the church and in popular literature”, as in Dante Alighieri‘s Inferno, Joost van den Vondel‘s Lucifer and John Milton‘s Paradise Lost. However, the Latin word never came to be used almost exclusively, as in English, in this way, and was applied to others also, including Jesus. The image of a morning star fallen from the sky is generally believed among scholars to have a parallel in Canaanite mythology. However, according to both Christian and Jewish exegesis, in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14, the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, conqueror of Jerusalem, is condemned in a prophetic vision by the prophet Isaiah and is called the “Morning Star” (planet Venus). In this chapter the Hebrew text says הֵילֵל בֶּן-שָׁחַר (Helel ben Shachar, “shining one, son of dawn”). “Helel ben Shahar” may refer to the Morning Star, but the text in Isaiah 14 gives no indication that Helel was a star or planet. Sometimes mistakenly associated with Satanism due to the Christian interpretation of the fallen angel, Luciferianism is a wholly different belief system and does not revere the devil figure or most characteristics typically affixed to Satan. Rather, Lucifer in this context is seen as one of many morning stars, a symbol of enlightenment, independence and human progression, and is often used interchangeably with similar figures from a range of ancient beliefs, such as the Greek titan Prometheus or the Jewish talmudic figure Lilith. They support the protection of the natural world. Both the arts and sciences are crucial to human development, and thus both are cherished. Luciferians think that humans should be focused on this life and how to make the most of it every single day. The ability to recognize both good and evil, to accept that all actions have consequences, both positive and negative, and to actively influence one’s environment, is a key factor. For Luciferians, enlightenment is the ultimate goal. The basic Luciferian principles highlight truth and freedom of will, worshipping the inner self and one’s ultimate potential. Traditional dogma is shunned as a basis for morality on the grounds that humans should not need deities or fear of eternal punishment to distinguish right from wrong and to do good. All ideas should be tested before being accepted, and even then one should remain skeptical because knowledge and understanding are fluid. Regardless of whether Lucifer is conceived of as a deity or as a mere archetype, he is a representation of ultimate knowledge and exploration: humanity’s savior and a champion for continuing personal growth. Ref Ref
Philosophic-Atheistic Satanism (Which to me generally involves LaVeyan Satanism but us bit limited to it)
Despite the name, Laveyan Satanism has little to do with Satan from the Christian Bible. In fact, Laveyan Satanists do not even believe in the devil. Satanism is, at its core, individualism and free thinking. LaVeyan Satanism is generally an atheistic religion founded in 1966 by the American occultist and author Anton Szandor LaVey. Scholars of religion have classified it as a new religious movement and a form of Western esotericism. It is one of several different movements that describe themselves as forms of Satanism. LaVey established LaVeyan Satanism in the U.S. state of California through the founding of his Church of Satan on Walpurgisnacht of 1966, which he proclaimed to be “the Year One”, Anno Satanas—the first year of the “Age of Satan”. His ideas were heavily influenced by the ideas and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Ayn Rand. The Church grew under LaVey’s leadership, with regional grottos being founded across the United States. A number of these seceded from the Church to form independent Satanic organizations during the early 1970s. In 1975, LaVey abolished the grotto system, after which Satanism became a far less organized movement, although remained greatly influenced by LaVey’s writings. In coming years, members of the Church left it to establish their own organisations, also following LaVeyan Satanism, among them John Dewey Allee’s First Church of Satan and Karla LaVey‘s First Satanic Church. The religion’s doctrines are codified in LaVey’s book, The Satanic Bible. The ”Satanic Bible,” remains the most available text on the Satanic religion. He also formed the Church of Satan, which is by far the most well-known and most public Satanic organization. The religion is materialist, rejecting the existence of supernatural beings, body-soul dualism, and life after death. Practitioners do not believe that Satan literally exists and do not worship him. Instead, Satan is viewed as a positive archetype representing pride, carnality, and enlightenment. He is also embraced as a symbol of defiance against Abrahamic religions which LaVeyans criticize for suppressing humanity’s natural instincts and encouraging irrationality. The religion propagates a naturalistic worldview, seeing mankind as animals existing in an amoral universe. It promotes a philosophy based on individualism and egoism, coupled with Social Darwinism and anti-egalitarianism. LaVeyan Satanism – which is also sometimes termed “Modern Satanism” and “Rational Satanism” – is classified by scholars of religious studies as a new religious movement. When used, “Rational Satanism” is often employed to distinguish the approach of the LaVeyan Satanists from the “Esoteric Satanism” embraced by groups like the Temple of Set. A number of religious studies scholars have also described it as a form of “self-religion” or “self-spirituality”, with religious studies scholar Amina Olander Lap arguing that it should be seen as being both part of the “prosperity wing” of the self-spirituality New Age movement and a form of the Human Potential Movement. Conversely, the scholar of Satanism Jesper Aa. Petersen preferred to treat modern Satanism as a “cousin” of the New Age and Human Potential movements. For some LaVeyan Satanists their beliefs involve the practice of magic, which encompasses two distinct forms; greater and lesser magic. Greater magic is a form of ritual practice and is meant as psychodramatic catharsis to focus one’s emotional energy for a specific purpose. These rites are based on three major psycho-emotive themes, including compassion (love), destruction (hate), and sex (lust). Lesser magic is the practice of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour (or “wile and guile”) to bend an individual or situation to one’s will. LaVeyan Satanism is atheistic. According to LaVey, neither God nor Satan are actual beings. Instead, Satan is a symbol representing the qualities embraced by Satanists. Invoking the name of Satan and other infernal names is a practical tool in Satanic ritual, focusing one’s focus and will upon certain concepts. The only “god” in LaVeyan Satanism is the Satanist himself. Satanism is a celebration of the self. It encourages people to seek their own truths, indulge in desires without fear of societal taboos, and perfect the self. Ref Ref
The Satanic Bible
The Satanic Bible has been in print since 1969 and has been translated into various languages. Lewis argued that although LaVeyan Satanists do not treat The Satanic Bible as a sacred text in the way many other religious groups treat their holy texts, it nevertheless is “treated as an authoritative document which effectively functions as scripture within the Satanic community”. In particular, Lewis highlighted that many Satanists – both members of the Church of Satan and other groups – quote from it either to legitimize their own position or to de-legitimize the positions of others in a debate. Many other Satanist groups and individual Satanists who are not part of the Church of Satan also recognize LaVey’s work as influential. Many Satanists attribute their conversions or discoveries of Satanism to The Satanic Bible, with 20% of respondents to a survey by James Lewis mentioning The Satanic Bible directly as influencing their conversion. For members of the Church, the book is said to serve not only as a compendium of ideas but also to judge the authenticity of someone’s claim to be a Satanist. LaVey’s writings have been described as “cornerstones” within the Church and its teachings, and have been supplemented with the writings of its later High Priest, Gilmore, namely his book, The Satanic Scriptures. The Satanic Bible has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. The book contains the core principles of Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. On their website, the Church of Satan urge anyone seeking to learn about LaVeyan Satanism to read The Satanic Bible, stating that doing so is “tantamount to understanding at least the basics of Satanism”. Petersen noted that it is “in many ways the central text of the Satanic milieu”, with Lap similarly testifying to its dominant position within the wider Satanic movement. David G. Bromley calls it “iconoclastic” and “the best-known and most influential statement of Satanic theology.” Eugene V. Gallagher says that Satanists use LaVey’s writings “as lenses through which they view themselves, their group, and the cosmos.” He also states: “With a clear-eyed appreciation of true human nature, a love of ritual and pageantry, and a flair for mockery, LaVey’s Satanic Bible promulgated a gospel of self-indulgence that, he argued, anyone who dispassionately considered the facts would embrace.” LaVey was an atheist, rejecting the existence of all gods. Accordingly, LaVey and his Church do not espouse a belief in Satan as an entity who literally exists, and LaVey did not encourage the worship of Satan as a deity. Instead, the use of Satan as a central figure is intentionally symbolic. LaVey sought to cement his belief system within the secularist world-view that derived from natural science, thus providing him with an atheistic basis with which to criticize Christianity and other supernaturalist beliefs. He legitimized his religion by highlighting what he claimed was its rational nature, contrasting this with what he saw as the supernaturalist irrationality of established religions. He defined Satanism as “a secular philosophy of rationalism and self-preservation (natural law, animal state), gift-wrapping these ideas in religious trappings to add to their appeal.” In this way, LaVeyan Satanism has been described as an “antireligious religion” by van Luijk. LaVey did not believe in any afterlife. Ref
Religion is big on claims but small of real reasoning. Take the Abrahamic faiths they propose a very specific well defined god but are fond of a very unspecified god of naturalistic inferred theistic creationism or intelligent design. In other words when pressed to demonstrate god in the world or as the reason for the big bang they can only at best try and surmise a magical power or unknown and unknowable possible something as the “creator” but how does that do a thing to prove any specific anything. So even if we were to concede for the sake of argument that some god phantom menace started things they still have to show it’s their very specific claimed god. But the issues don’t stop there, as they also would have to prove or give warrant as well as justification for every attribute and claimed character trait attached to their specific god using only nature arguments, not some holy book or otherworldly revelation. The truth is for all the appeals to nature for god they do, not one is valid in anyway to confirm that their god and only their god is true, they must always leave the facts and return to faith. Thus they always will fail to show any naturalistic reasons for believing their special needs god. What they show instead is a belief not in the god of some myth or scriptures but belief in a projected somethingism god attributed to nature which is indistinguishable from a nothingism godless reality attributed by nature. I don’t know if I should be called a just an atheist as this is too limited to define my disbelief. Thus I am best described as an Axiological atheist: (Ethical/Value theory Reasoned and Moral Argument driven) Atheism, Anti-theism, Anti-religionism, and Secular Humanism I also value Ignosticism or igtheism. I was raised and forced to be Christian and for a time lived my whole life believing in the Christian faith. Though, I could have never have been touted as a holy person or a true follower of the Christian moral rules. My life more often resembled the sinner than the saint. However, I truly believed what was taught to me about Christianity was the truth. Though, I nitpicked and had qualms with some of the philosophy, I still wholeheartedly was a believer and felt I was born again.
By Damien Marie AtHope
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